Portrait of America show this weekend

The Portrait of America show is this weekend. I’ve started to hang the prints.

This show is part of SF Open Studios, so it’s taking place in my studio, otherwise known as the garage. And like a typical garage, it has a big door that faces the street and opens on the sidewalk. I’ve been told I should be discrete, so I’ve done most of the work with the door closed.

This afternoon I had the door open for a couple of minutes just when a young woman walked by. Like most people she glanced in the garage as she passed. Usually people get to see me making pieces of wood into smaller pieces of wood. But this time there were a lot of very nude people on the wall.

She did a double take and came back for another look. She said she’d like to get naked and join them.

There you have it, the first public review of the show.

Preview is Friday, 25 October 2019 from 4-7pm. Wine, beer, and snacks.

Regular shows are Saturday and Sunday, 26-27 October 2019 from 11am to 6pm.

Hope to see you there.

Portrait of America Show

Later this month I’ll be showing 20 Portrait of America images in my studio. The full size, fully nude images are arranged in an oval with the viewers in the middle surrounded by nudity.

A couple of years ago, Michael A. Rosen and Charles Gatewood served as props to demonstrate the scale of the installation. The show looks the same, except there’s more.

Here’s the official (censored) show announcement postcard. The show is uncensored. Nude images where the people are actually nude. What a shocker!

 

Big prints, small prints, books, postcards, and t-shirts available for purchase. Buy direct from the photographer. No dealer markup = half price.

Hope to see you there.

Internet companies will be the death of art

A little more than 200 years ago some far sighted people created a constitution that guaranteed the people freedom of speech and the press. You could say or publish anything, free from government interference.

Of course, that wasn’t really true in the 18th century (it was more aspirational as some politicians might say today), but over time, government restrictions have been chipped away and today, we pretty much live in that state; there is virtually no government interference with free expression in this country.

So having solved that problem, along come the big Internet companies. They are restricting speech right and left. But only concerning nudity. Anything violent or hateful is given full, unrestricted distribution, but a nipple causes apoplexy.

Some might say they are private companies so they can do what they want. I say they are ubiquitous in everyday life, so should be subject to the same rules as government.

This blog and web site have been removed from “safe search” results. Yes, that’s right I no longer exist. Or do I?

On most search engines, my web site simply disappears if the safe search setting is enabled. Google is somewhat different. If you enable safe search there, my website drops from position 2 to about position 20. Apparently, Google believes if the user is willing to look a little deeper, they should be allowed to see less safe things. Scary stuff lurks in the depths of the search results. Me!

Or else they have a bug. I’m becoming more and more convinced that there aren’t any great algorithms in the Internet companies’ repertoires, just a bunch of hacked together and very buggy software. I can’t otherwise explain the mysterious results. Sometimes things work; sometimes they don’t.

For example, California instituted new water conservation rules for plumbing fixtures in January 2019. Showers can only drip once a minute or something like that. Last month I easily found the rules with Google. Today when I looked again, Google could only find the 2016 specifications. Time quake!

Here’s an image to help cement my reputation as a master of things unsafe. Or maybe not, there’s no nipple.

Next post, we’ll look at my recent experience on Instagram. That company has the most confused policy about nudity that I have ever seen.

Youth discount

I bought a chair last week. A used, somewhat broken chair. At the local Community Thrift as I usually do. Price was $12.00.

Except I was charged $10.80. I was momentarily confused. Usually the sales at Community Thrift are on the first Monday of the month and the amount is usually 25% off. So I asked what was going on. The reply was “Senior Discount”. He thought I looked old and gave me their standard 10% off for old people. I wonder why I’ve never gotten a discount there before. Do I suddenly look older?

But the bigger question is, why do stores give discounts to old people? Is it a reward for lasting that long? Are they surprised that we even managed to make it to the store? Maybe to compensate for the fact that we have gray hair (if we have any hair at all)? Or do they really believe that old people are poor?

Well I do have gray hair and I guess there’s something to be said for stamina, but the idea that old people are poor is definitely false. Here’s the true situation in this country. Median net worth statistics from the government; chart by me.

Old people are better off than young people. By a huge margin. And interestingly the median wealth continues to increase after the normal retirement age. Must be all those municipal workers whose income goes up after they retire because of our excessively generous public pension rules. Or maybe all the poor people die early.

So to make up for all of the “Senior Discounts” that I get in places as varied as buying used furniture or groceries, I’m announcing a “Youth Discount”: 50% off if you’re under 20 and 20% off if you’re under 30. If you’re 29, better hurry and buy lots of art, because in a few months, you’ll be paying full price like all the old folks.

The net worth curve looks something like this, except the curve has a really big butt.

Swiping Fun

My web site is now swipe friendly. You can ignore the little buttons and view the site by touching and swiping. In the future I may remove the buttons for touch screens.

Web site programming is so much fun. Sometimes there is a specification. Sometimes it’s public and written; sometimes not. Sometimes it’s even followed. Sometimes different browsers do things differently. And the myriad number of versions, all of which act differently. Then there are the browser bugs, hundreds of bugs all over the place. You have to test every change on every platform and browser combination. But it is getting better; a few years ago displaying images how you wanted to required special browser specific code.

Swiping has been tested on Windows 10/Chrome, Windows 10/Firefox, Android/Chrome, Android/Firefox, and iMac/Safari. For a while it looked like the Android/Chrome combo didn’t work, but that was traced to Google’s caching, which continues to use the cached stuff on a phone even after you tell it to reload! It doesn’t on a PC. Everything works with those combinations, except full screen mode on the iMac. Who knows? If you have a different combo, please let me know how it works.

No swiping on the home page. Swiping fun begins after you select one of the galleries by touching an image.

From an image page:
Swipe up to return to the home page.
Swipe down to get the matrix page.
Touch an image and swipe left or right and the display scrolls so that image is in the spot you left it.
Swipe left or right the full width of the window (actually 80% is enough) and the auto play feature starts.
Swipe again and it goes faster. Try 4 or 5 times. See if you can cause an ocular migraine or other visual event.
Swipe in the other direction and it slows down until eventually it stops.

From a matrix page, swipe up or down to return to the main image page.
Touch any image and it returns to the image page with that image in the center. (This was supposed to work before, but I have bugs too.)

For full screen mode, you still have to use the button. I was going to implement a super cool 2 or 3 finger twirling swipe or something equally hard to remember, but I couldn’t get that data back reliably from the browsers and I got tired of trying. And as I said above, on some platforms full screen mode doesn’t work correctly.

Your reward for reading all of that, is this new image.

Torso Reprised is Live

Torso Reprised is finished. 12 new images from 2018 inspired by the original 12 Torso images from 1985.

Here’s one of the pairings. They’re similar, aren’t they? At least, the model is upside down in both.

That’s 1985 on the left and 2018 on the right. See if you can match up the rest.

New Men

Last month I shot a bunch of new men for Portrait of America using my nifty, new digital camera. The resolution is too low for full size prints, so I shot the men in 5 stripes:

face,

chest,

hips,

knees, and

feet.

Then I’m pasting them back together. Voila.

Torso Reprised

Just like a Hollywood studio, when out of ideas, redo the past. That brings us Torso Reprised. 33 years later, same model, similar images.

That’s 1985 on the left and 2018 on the right. More to come.

I like grain

I resisted the digital camera for a long time. Since I knew how to make film do what I wanted it to do, digital cameras just didn’t seem worth it. And the resolution seemed too low and there was the whole question of format. I never seriously used an SLR, and all of the digital cameras were of that style. So I stuck with film, T-Max 100 and Tri-X in my Rolleiflex or 4×5.

But about two years ago, Canon produced the 5Dsr with a 50MP sensor and I was tempted. I wanted to do some closeup work and I wanted to use a ring light which would be possible with this camera and not with my existing cameras. I rented one to try and then bought one. It’s the heaviest camera I have ever owned, but I like it. With a ring light attached, it’s like going to the gym and doing a weight workout.

I’m shooting the Legs images, the new Line images, and the new Torso images with it.

The camera has a few annoying features, beginning with having way too many buttons. What do all of these things do? I have no idea. And I am constantly changing the lens aperture because the thumb wheel is placed in a manner that I somehow move accidentally. Maybe with my nose? There’s probably a button that fixes that, but I still haven’t figured out where it might be.

But it’s biggest problem, is the lack of film grain. I shot the new Line and Torso images with this camera and I didn’t like the appearance of the fine detail. Yuck! Skin texture just doesn’t look good. I’m not talking about age wrinkles but the really fine cross hatching that appears all over the skin that you don’t normally see because it’s so small. Suddenly that was all over. And it was annoying me.

Software to the rescue. I tried two grain producing plugins for Photoshop. First I searched the Internet for reviews and that was worthless. Fake reviews, misinformation, and just plain junk. Fortunately, trial copies are available. I downloaded Imagenomic RealGrain and DxO Nik Collection. Here is my review. Unbiased and unpaid by either company. Just the opinion of a cranky old man.

DxO Nik Collection. I couldn’t get this product to work. It’s installed and it runs, I think. But I couldn’t get it to do anything useful. Probably, it’s my fault, but really, if it’s that hard, I don’t need it. Scratch that one.

Imagenomic RealGrain. This one’s menus abort frequently. Make sure you save your files before applying grain. The menus are also too small. It resets option values inconsistently between uses. And it tries to do too much. With the default settings it alters things that have nothing to do with grain (such as image tones). But after some trial and error, I figured out how to turn those things off and I figured out which options controlled which aspect of the produced grain. I have now set most options to values that have no affect, a few options to the values that produce pleasing grain, and I use one option to control the size of the grain depending on the image resolution.

So the final review: it is an annoying product, but I am using it to produce pleasing grain. Of the Tri-X variety. This product also claims to produce T-Max grain by lowering the opacity of the same filter it uses for Tri-X grain. That’s silly, the two films don’t look anything alike. But since no one likes the look of T-Max grain, that’s no big loss.

(Note to Imagenomic: When your product aborts when a user sets a menu option, you should be embarrassed, very embarrassed. And you should fix it! Right away! Like now! Oh, and send me a check for testing it for you.)

Here’s a new Torso Image, with grain. Same model, 33 years later.

The sort of, semi, bi-weekly nude

Writing something every week is hard. I may have to change the name of this blog.

I have so much going on that I just can’t find the time to sit down and write something meaningful. There’s new work to shoot, photos to finish, and then the roof leaks too.

It’s a small, but annoying leak. It slowly drips into the kitchen. It’s been a battle to find where it enters the house. A couple of weeks ago, we found the drip into the attic and put a pan under it. No more drips in the kitchen. But, where is it getting through the roof?

Not where it is dripping. So we patched a line along the gutter. Nope, that didn’t stop it. Then maybe a couple of shingles up high near the chimney were the problem. Nope, not that either. Turns out it’s the neighbor’s wall. Water runs down it and gets directed onto our roof and then there is a tiny hole and it manages to get under the flashing and it’s wet and soggy.

After today, there is a gallon of roof patching compound spread all over the probable leak. We’ll see.

Anyway, this week there are 2 new photos to make up for the lack of photos last week.