The old house is still standing
Though the paint is cracked and dry
And there's that old oak tree I used to play on… It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.
It was calling my name…
I photographed this GMC at lunch. I was eating lunch on the banks of the Red when a gentleman drove up in this stunning truck. He began photographing it so I assumed he was putting it up for sale and needed photos for an ad. I was sure glad when I found out I was wrong. I didn't get his name but he just finished restoring this truck passed down from his grandfather. It is a labor of love & a legacy to his dad and grandfather. Both have passed but his father was able to see him restoring it. He let me photograph it too. It will be in classic car shows around the state in the weeks to come. "Go Jimmy Go"
Brief stroll thru the woods on a Friday Morning.
I made this page of inspiring creative words for the inside of an art journal I created for a gift. Worth a read…
I took these a few weeks back on the banks of the Red River. Nothing exciting, just a quiet morning watching the barges flow under the old railroad bridge on the Red. An event that happens often, I am sure, but one that requires a lot of coordination between the railroad traffic and river traffic. I saw no one which made me wonder if the bridge was on a timer of some sort causing it to rise and lower when a barge approaches… like the doors at Walmart. I'm sure the technology is available but I sleep better believing that there is an engineer in the house atop the bridge and pilots aboard the tug boats. I timed it right to see the event. It was a hot morning and the mosquitoes were bad so I didn't stay long.
These two are untitled but are clearly about "image" as well.
In the works…
In The Works
I repurposed teabags a few weeks back… and they sit. The next step will present itself in due time of that I am sure. I am looking forward this weekend to completing one art piece I am working on. I just need to mix the epoxy and I will be done. Last Sunday I was stuck but I simply walked away and by mid week an idea presented itself. It is titled, "Image". I never stop creating. I get stuck sometimes as with my teabags but I simply move on to the next idea in my head. I have two more boxes prepped and ideas for use so I plan for a busy studio weekend.
Every person has ghost. Not necessarily bad ones just persons no longer here that pop up now and again when you least expect it. I like the concept of this piece. I may do more.
Thought we could use a bit of flora on this hot, sunny, September day.
Help Me – The anti-abortion theme has found a place in my art and it speaks loudly here. It is a small piece. The box was a drawer to a wooden jewelry chest I recently found at a thrift shop. I painted it black and played with the idea of using shaved sidewalk chalk as an accent. I like the effect and will use it again. The doll pieces I found on eBay. The doll head was broken but I made it work. The clown butter knife speaks volumes and the added photo concludes the story.
Mac - I began this piece with the paintbrush and the photograph of a boy. I married the two and the rest just fell into place. The box itself is a child's art box from the 60s or so. The red pegs were a part of the art box set. The architectural drawing in the background I found at an estate sale. The roll of drawings were from a student's project and something I just couldn't pass up. The background design, combined with the compass, protractor,and mechanical pencil give it an architectural theme. It is a musical piece in a way as the metal spikes are from a child's piano and can be played if you wish but they were not added for that purpose just for aesthetics. The top is an art deco desk calendar. I added MAC for my Dad. This peace reminded me of him.
Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
Tin can at my feet
Think I'll kick it down the street
That's the way to treat a friend
Bright before me the signs implore me
To help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
I love these lyrics. My favorite interpretation is by Katie Melua. She is a beautiful young woman with incredible talent and a beautiful, soulful voice. It was also sung by Bette Middler in Beaches back in the 80s. I think these lyrics are fitting for this series of broken window photographs.
I made a few shots before work today and played with color. I kind of like the results and I really like this space. Nice find.
Have a most blessed three day weekend.
I fell in love with this huge tree and the little house in its shade. Sadly, the house was unoccupied but at some point I imagine lots of children climbed in the branches of this tree. Perhaps at one point there was a swing hanging from the sturdy limbs or maybe even a tree house nestled in the branches. Regardless, you can be sure it is home to lots of squirrels, birds and insects. Enjoy…
A bird chirped outside my window all night long or so it seemed. I kept waking up to his endless chirping. I finally rose early and grabbed my camera where I was treated to the morning fog. So, as annoying as that bird is I can credit him with being able to see and photograph the beauty of a foggy morning in the woods.
I used the HDR (High-dynamic-range imaging) effect on these three photographs. It's different. In some ways I like it but in other ways I see it as just a gimmick. I don't like when it is used to the extreme. I feel it works most effectively in architecture and thus used it here and if it works at all, it works here. This is an interesting space. I have photographed it before and it hasn't changed much since I last shot it. The bleachers are gone and there is a bit more graffiti on the walls. Here I show all 4 walls of this rectangular space in HDR.
Storms On The Horizon
We have been blessed in Central Louisiana not to see the rain of our neighbors to the South but we have still gotten more of our share of wet stuff this year. The good thing durning this photo shoot was the showers were spotty and I could easily drive out of a rain shower into clear skies.
May God continue to bless those who will suffer the effects of the flooding for years to come.
Light And The Lack Of
“It's beautiful here, but morning light can make the most vulgar things tolerable.”
― Donna Tartt, The Secret History
One of the most beautiful spots in Louisiana is Cane River country. The area spans between Alexandria and Natchitoches in the central part of the state. I remember the day I first saw the cane. Prior to that I never knew that was the origin of the name of the river. Last week I had the opportunity to escape to the area. It was overcast and I had to dodge the rain showers but I still found the beauty of the river. Had the light been more forgiving the shoot would have been more productive but I enjoyed the brief escape none the less.
I guess it is both…
This tree, ugly and bent from age, is a family tree. We all walked past it time and again. Maybe others didn't ever pay it much mind but I always did. I think If you study it you may find the McNamara's in the branches. This tree is the tree my dad climbed on as a child. I use to swing on its vines. This is the tree my Uncle Johnny hung Louisiana moss from. This tree shaded our cars from the Mississippi sun. It wasn't a pretty tree but it was there and is still today. It is as much a part of us as the house.
Kisatchie National Forest
I woke early and went walking in the woods prior to coming to work. The light was bad. It was overcast but I enjoyed the escape anyhow. The photos are not great but a memory anyhow.
"Bankrupt Manor". That's what my uncle called in a video he made on Christmas Eve 1987. It was an odd choice of words, since it was't… bankrupt that is, but I found it humorous when I first viewed the video. That was almost 30 years ago. A lot has changed now. Don't get me wrong, the house is the same, but it's just a house. The life is gone. I said I wasn't going back. I said I wasn't going to photograph it again, but I did. I'm not sure why, maybe in some ways it is a member of the family too. Maybe it is more than just a falling down old house. Maybe it has a heartbeat too. I must admit, it is hard to separate it from my memories of the family.
After Aunt Joe died, I had many bad dreams about her being sick. Maybe it was because I was there the day before she died. The cancer was advanced and she was suffering greatly. We talked about the house that day. She said her best memory of the house was of us kids having a play on the front porch back in the 60s. She died that night in the house where she was born. The bad dreams ended the night I dreamed she was in heaven. Heaven was the McNamara front porch. It was all bathed in white and Aunt Joe was a bright light. I knew she was at peace. I hope Dad is there. I hope the author of the words, "Bankrupt Manor". is there too. I miss him… miss them all.
Why would anyone buy dying flowers? That is something my Dad would have said. I love "dried naturals", as Hobby Lobby calls them. I supplemented them with ones I found in the woods. The pot was found as well. The moss, I took off a tree in the Natchez trace. The result… a pot of dead flowers. Seems appropriate for the history of the pot. And this photo feels appropriate for this Friday.
My Uncle Son passed away this morning. He went peacefully. His wife and daughter were at his side. He donated his body to science so there will be no funeral. He was an old man, worn down by life. He had this theory, that I named the “Uncle Son Bucket Theory”. It goes like this: The mind is like a bucket filling with water and as one ages the bucket get so full that new information simply flows over the edges. I added an addendum to that theory. It goes like this: when one gets a hole in the bucket it’s called Alzheimer’s. Uncle Son had a hole in his bucket.
I didn’t know him as a kid. He was simply one of my Dad’s many brothers I didn’t see very often. It was later in life that I got to know him. We both shared a fondness for family photos and our visit usually ended up in his den of photographs. Uncle Son had taken a staple gun and stapled the family to the wood paneling. To me it was beautiful. Only Uncle Son could come up with that. The room was full. The photos got him to talking and before his bucket developed a hole he would tell stories. One of his last was this…
My Grandfather, Uncle Son’s dad was the "McNamara" in O’Neill McNamara Hardware Store in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was their top salesman. He would leave on a Monday morning from Vicksburg. He would travel into Louisiana across the Mississippi River bridge and then travel south thru Louisiana till he got to Vidalia. He would cross into Natchez Mississippi and head north ending back in Vicksburg on Friday. He would always take one of the McNamara boys with him… not the girls. One week he took very small Uncle Son. They climbed into his Model T. On the floor of the back seat was large jug of whiskey. It soon became clear to Uncle Son why his dad was their top salesman. As evening set, they arrived at a large plantation house in Louisiana. Here, Uncle Son was to spend the night. Hand in hand they walked to the big house. Uncle Son ask my Grandfather what the large bell was for in the front of the mansion. He explained that the big bell was used to call the help to work in the mornings. After my Grandfather dropped Uncle Son off, having arranged for him to stay the night, he then traveled to a near by farm. There, after a night of poker and whiskey, he would return to pick up his son with his bulging sales book full of orders for tools, seed and farm equipment. Uncle Son woke very early the next morning in a strange bed in a strange house. He looked out the window and saw the big bell in the yard. He slipped out, unnoticed, and walked to the big bell. On his tip toes he pulled the rope that set the bell to clanging. From all directions the help came running. The were yawning and rubbing their eyes that were filled with fear as the thought they had overslept. Uncle Son took off running back into the plantation hoping to avoid the punishment that was sure to follow.
I will miss his stories, his BBQ ribs, his dry humor, his den of photographs and his love for life but I believe he is in a better place. I believe his bucket will never be full again and will never have a hole. I believe he is with my Dad and his other siblings. I believe he is swapping stories with them all of growing up in the McNamara home, the Model T, going to the Brother’s school, WWII and so much more that I was never told.
I have his photos and stories to remember him by. I have a set of 100 year old encyclopedias he gave me. Ones that he purchased from the Vicksburg library book sale. And as frail as he was he insisted on helping me load them in my car. I have the clock my Dad gave to him when he was home on leave from the Navy. But I will still miss him….
This isn't good by simply a…see ya later Uncle Son.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
This is my latest assemblage piece. It speaks for itself really. It is an odd jumble of objects: keys, tintype, old carpenters ruler, typewriter key (floating shift), doll parts, brass dog, needle book needles, and old printers type all inside a wooden box. I will let your mind write the story.
Among The Weeds
This photograph was made in the Old Rapides Cemetery in Pineville on July 30th, 2016.
This gentleman died 100 years ago. He was 74 years old. Who was he? Was he a father? Was he a farmer? Perhaps he was an elected official or a preacher. Was he Catholic, Baptist or did he not have a faith at all? Did he live in the area or was he passing thru on a boat floating down the Red River or was he on a train riding the rails through town when he left this world? Who erected this stone. Was it his wife or son? Did he pass after a long illness? Maybe he fell off a horse to his death or was run over by a Model-T. Maybe someone shot him in a bar room brawl on Main Street. Or did he simply just close his eyes while watching the sun set one evening and opened them to see the beauty and glory of heaven.
These are the things I think of when I walk through an old cemetery while reading words engraved on headstones. Sometimes I will see the words Mother and Father engraved in large letters but aside from that, I can't always tell a whole lot about a life that once walked on the same soil as I. It saddens me today that young people in our society label people not by their position in the family, their religion, occupation, military rank or origin but by appearance and sexuality. Young people use words like: gay, straight, bi, transgender, black, white or latino when ask to describe someone. How sad is that? Young people see a person's appearance not their contributions to society. The result… devision and hate.
God made us the race and sex we are for a reason.
God made us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him.
God put us here for a reason.
Have you figured out why you are here or are you still hung up the fact that God made you as you are?
Time to wake up and work on the second part… the reason you are here. The end is near.
Morning After The Rains
I like warm colors and cool grays, odd I suppose. This morning on my way to the office, I made this photograph. In this image, the early morning sun was casting warm colors off the concrete making it the focal point. The warmth is also seen in the trees in the foreground pines and even those in the background have a warm yellow cast to them. We use the same terms for color as temperature… warm and cool but in reality that isn't always true. A blue flame is often times a hotter temperature even though it is considered a cooler color. The best time to shoot is early morning. It is cooler but the colors are warmer… go figure.
This sculpture is downtown Alexandria. What I noticed Saturday morning when I made this photograph was not the sculpture itself but the colors in the negative space. I always think of O'Keefe. Perhaps studying her work has taught me to see beyond the object just as she did in her desert bone paintings. The bones, the decay, framed the living art created by God. That's not the same here, however, as most of what is downtown was created by man. We define what is art. The creator of this sculpture is an artists but so are the Architects that build the buildings. The city planners, the brick layers all are artists in their own rights. Maybe we all are, God included, weather we care to admit it or not.
Wishing our girls luck today… Geaux Team
I woke to this news: France church attack: Priest killed by two 'ISIS soldiers'….The attackers entered the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, taking the priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, 84, and four other people hostage….Police sources said it appeared the attackers had slit the priest's throat with a knife…..Pope Francis decried the "pain and horror of this absurd violence".
My heart is saddened. Let us pray…
Eternal rest grant unto him,
O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
I made this photograph in a Catholic Church in Marksville, LA. The mid day sun is shining through the beautiful stained glass windows onto the baptismal font. Most beautiful.
The two statues are from my altar in my home. At Mass this weekend Father ask if we had a time and a place for pray. My answer was yes. For the first time ever, I have a set place and time to pray and feel it is one of the best things I have ever done. Mary's message this month also echoes that. God is first in my life and prayer is a joy.
Our Lady of Medjugorje's July 25, 2016 Monthly Message:
“Dear children! I am looking at you and I see you lost; and you do not have prayer or joy in your heart. Return to prayer, little children, and put God in the first place and not man. Do not lose the hope which I am carrying to you. May this time, little children, every day, be a greater seeking of God in the silence of your heart; and pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes joy for you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
I love finding old toys. These are well loved. They have chips and dents. They have ripped seams or broken pieces but that only shows the love given to them. They came from yard sales, antique shops and estate sales. This morning on the way to work, I heard that children as young as 7 have cell phones. Their parents get tired of them asking for theirs so they buy them their own. Do kids even still play with toys? If the answer is no, how sad is that? I treasure my found toys as my Mom wasn't one to keep our old things. I understood. The house was small but it would be awesome to find a box somewhere of all my old toys. Agree? I photographed these toys in my living room using natural light and my Nikon.
I was passing through Marksville a couple weeks ago and stopped at the local Catholic church for a moment. I was in Avoyelles parish photographing for our next ADs Avoyelles directory. There are few spaces that can compare to the peace, quiet and solitude of a Catholic church. It is a space where you can drop to your knees and speak to Jesus. It is a space where the outside world is silenced and ones heart can open to hear God's voice. Avoyelles parish is Catholic country and I passed several Catholic churches in my journey but, this being my favorite, called my name and I had to stop. I knew the doors would be unlocked. After a brief moment of prayer, I made a few photos. I remembered standing in this very spot with my Mom and later her sister. Memories I hope will always remain.
One of my favorite photo spots is the Old Rapides Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana. I was most dismayed to see how overgrown and neglected it was on my last visit. Despite that, I still took a few shots. My eyes were open at all times for snakes and other critters. Hopefully on my next visit the caretakers will have made a pass thru.
I discovered this spot on my lunch break one day. The path through the pines once was a part of an Army base durning WWII. On the right, not shown, are the remains of perhaps bunkers that once housed young men prior to them being shipped overseas or maybe offices or a mess hall. It is a beautiful space and a nice escape but I feel the ghost of a war long past as I walk the path once walked by scared young men that gave their service to our country. A different time by far. A time when patriotism was at an all time high. When men were men and women were women. A time when one cared for their neighbor and fellow man more than their self. A time when Sunday was sacred and God was first and foremost in all man's hearts. O, to only return to that time again. I wish… I wish…
Black & White
"A League of Their Own" is one of my favorite movies. The best part for me was the end when the credits roll. As Madonna sings, they show black & white stills, from the movie, of the actors portraying the players of the All-America Girls Professional Baseball League. When processing my photos taken of our local softball team, I couldn't help but convert some to black & white in homage. The movie itself is in color but I am also a fan of all old B&W films. Another favorite of mine is, "The Little Fugitive". I recently learned that, Morris Engel, a photographer made the film. His love for B&W still photography is evident throughout the film. There are many others of course but, I particularly enjoy Hitchcock's use of light and shadows in his many excellent films and television productions. Enjoy…
I am in the process of upgrading my site. I do so as I watch the events unfold in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sadness feels my heart with what has become a daily realty. Last week I had the honor of photographing a girls softball team. This gave me hope. There was no hate on the field. What I see played out in the news, day after day was just not there under the blazing sun in Alexandria, Louisiana. Persons of all races, ages and religions joined hands in a common goal to simply play softball, to teach young girls life long values and to have fun. I only with this could be seen on the news instead of the hate that is broadcasted day after day on our local news sources. Yes, it is accurate reporting but there is more and I only wish that all could see life thru the eyes of our young people on the ball fields across America.