A Photographer's Coda

Everything Else

Sunday Morning 3 AM – A Brief Essay of Bewilderment

At anchor aboard MV Aurora Explorer – Bute Inlet, British Columbia – 2 Sept 2009

From curiosity driven by the latest news, I made a first time visit to “Twitter”. And I don’t get it. So here is more than 280 characters of explanation.

I grew up with emergent technology. Navy Electronic schools were brutally difficult and equipped beyond what any civilian college could afford. As an Enlisted Submariner, I taught young contract engineers at Electric Boat, with BSEE Degrees, how to use an Oscilloscope and read complex schematics. Before they hurt themselves or the Boat.

My resume is littered with the Darwinian graveyard of once envied IT companies: Control Data Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation and the IBM Personal System Group. My job title for the last 11 year of my corporate career was I/T Architect.

Having just wrapped up an encore career enabled by the wonderful capabilities of digital cameras, I’ve been pondering current popular culture. And what worries me is the preoccupation with meaningless and artificial urgency to the detriment of human relationships. And sense of self, of self awareness. And the disconnect from the world we inhabit, vs hokum.

I freely confess to being a bit of news junkie. So my day starts with a good 90 minutes of coffee and reading news. It is a luxury of being in the last part of my life. Mostly it’s WRAL, Associated Press, Washington Post and New York Times. I learned to read long ago and have no need for anyone to explain or interpret it so the TV is mostly off. Cut cable long ago.

Establishing my tech cred’s, I’ve too many Desktops (photography needs real horsepower), a Laptop and a Chromebook and a home network that’s secure. I do have a mobile phone. Being cheap, its Android. I can make and receive phone calls, browse, texts, etc – all that stuff. It’s mostly turned off. I keep it in the truck in case I need to call AAA. But I’m not going to answer it while driving. Or having dinner with someone. Or making a portrait. Or teaching. It’ll wait. And I find it’s a bit of pain to keep up with. I’m not anti tech. It can be a wonderful servant. But as much as I loved my Labrador Retriever, I never gave the gun to the dog.

So what bothers me so is the sense of losing humanity. Of the disconnect between human beings driven by a collective, cultural inertia of some marketing nonsense.

And of course, I’m sharing this to Facebook where my main goal was to show my photographs to my extended Cary Ballet family. There was a profit motive but it was never really about money. I/T bucks are way easier.

My FB friends grew to include family family and others I hold dear. Sort of a community campfire. A comfortable place for confident introverts like me. And a way to let some some thoughtful caring folks know I’m okay, after loss.

Which brings me back to Twitter. I think it is a silly thing. Like Pet Rocks. Just noise. And I think, like the folks I see texting while driving, a poor excuse for being in touch with ourselves and the people around them.

It’s been bothering me and writing it out helps. Like looking in the mirror and seeing what’s there. So be kind to yourself and the folks around you. Listen to yourself and them. That, I believe, matters.

The current version of the carney hucksters, not so much. They’re mostly air, like the “Palmetto Bug” you mash on the sidewalk at night, South of Broad, in Charleston. So that’s 688 words and 3882 characters or 13.6 Tweets. I’ve no desire to be a Twit.


Moon & Memory

I made this photograph in a cold, late evening, with the company of an old dog who explored the events of the day with his nose. Had just learned how the Moon faced the Earth the same way, regardless of orbits. I thought of the Lunar connection to a friend in Japan and a young Officer of Marines in Afghanistan. And how many times, when he was an infant, I read to him, out loud, “Goodnight Moon”.

Photographed from Seabrook Ave, Cary, North Carolina, U.S.A. – 26 November 2012


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Now, I’m Gonna Rest Awhile


Hard Times

I made this long ago but it was only yesterday. Harder than leaving, is coming home.

My war was a cold one, hidden underwater and an intellectual abstract. Clean, well lit and well fed. And “Battle Station Missile” sounds while you’re in the shower and you’re dripping and wearing a towel and flip flops and sound powered phones with “hard cards”, rolling switches in Missile Control Center that you hope stop with before “Tactical” because it has to be a “WSRT” aka “Weapons System Readiness Rest’, right?

But if it isn’t, we’re putting birds in the air and in a few minutes, because we’re already most of the way to the target, a couple of million folks with the bad luck of living close to military installations are going to be incinerated. Then it’s going to get ugly.

1960’s vintage Polaris A-2’s with Mk47 Y2’s were good for about 1.2 Megaton Yield. “Little Boy”, the fission weapon dropped on Hiroshima was estimated at a hundredth of that yield, about 10 or 15 Kiloton. And we had 1600x that. Plus another 20 or so other U.S. Boomers on Patrol. The current Ohio Class boats with Trident D-5s currently on Patrol are also, indefensible.

The decisions of a Warrior are made before battle. The price is eventually paid. I’m writing this because of a conversation I had today with another Warrior. His war was not abstract. And we are both too familiar with how deadly is, benign, corporate inertia.


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Delicate Balance


Dancing In The Streets

This is what happens when you photograph lots of dance.  Shot this last April, at the intersection of Academy and Chatham.  I’ll be there Saturday, with Santa.