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:




knees, and


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.

Line Reprised

The Line images seemed to be the crowd favorite at fotofever. What should I do? I know. Make some more.

I’m going to start with existing negatives and files. Sometimes it is surprising what you can find in previously passed over images. Then I’ll shoot some new work.

Here’s the first image.

More to come in the weeks ahead.

Art is dead, long live merch

It’s good to be home. Got back from Paris a couple of days ago and just about back on California time. It’s nice to be home where dinner is easy, there’s no traffic noise at night, and the bed smells like me.

60 postcards, 2 t-shirts, 0 prints. That’s the sales tally.

The postcard results are impressive and the markup on postcards is phenomenal. Good thing I have so many. But one can’t live on postcards alone. The sales did buy a bottle of wine for the table each evening. I guess that’s a success.

So why, no prints. Maybe French people don’t have walls. Or at least no flat walls. Maybe they all live in ultra-modern apartments with curving walls and soaring ceilings and no place to hang a print. Like the circular airport terminal. Or maybe they’re advanced and do everything, including art appreciation, electronically.

They certainly enjoy taking the art home. There was a continuous stream of people taking photos of the photos. Every couple of minutes someone was taking a picture. Hundreds of people took home a photo of a photo.

Here’s a selection of the images. I like it when you can see the photos on the screens of their phones.

There were a couple of fun incidents: A ten-year old boy whose parents shielded him from seeing my wall as they walked by, sneaked back for a look when they weren’t paying attention. And then there was the 50ish woman pushing an 80ish woman in a wheelchair, who exclaimed, “Look Mom, a butt!” as they approached. Then they wheeled over for a close up look.

They said that in French by the way. I’m so proud that I understood. That’s one thing that was a success on this trip, my knowledge of French words for body parts has improved enormously.

All packed and ready to go

Prints are going as hand luggage, frames are going as checked baggage. Plan to put it back together when I get there. The shipping cost estimate was astronomical. I guess there’s no such thing as ground shipping to Europe, so everything goes by air and is priced accordingly.

Prints, mats, and acrylic fit in the sturdy Fiberbuilt portfolio cases I have leftover from the 80s and just barely come in under the carry on luggage specification. The weight is the tightest.

We have a couple days on the Normandy coast before the show to get over jet lag and convert to Paris time. I’ve already started to convert. Woke up at 4am this morning, noon Paris time. Still if previous trips are a guide, it will take me about a week to get used to the time change–just in time to come home and do it again.

I’m planning on shooting some photos on the coast. The model isn’t so sure. She says, “It’s November!” So maybe not. Or maybe everything will be under multiple layers of sweaters.

I’m going to show 12 prints like this. This venue has some colored walls. That would be nice.

The bottom row is a little low, people will have to stoop to take photos of the photos. At least, their butts will stick out nicely for my new series of work.

Hope to see you there. Free passes are available.