Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Eye of the Photographer

My partners in crime Cris Pulos, Bill Davis and Terry Thompson with his wife Linda at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art.

Cris Pulos, Robbie Steinbach and Bob Parker at David Anthony Fine Art.

Aftermath, the old four at Wilder Nightingale.

Saturday night the exhibition "The Eye of the Photographer"opened at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art and David Anthony Fine Art in beautiful downtown Taos. Thanks in part to our partnership with the Taos Center for the Arts to which a portion of the proceeds was donated, the ticketed pre-opening event was chock-a-block with art aficionados and the subsequent public opening was even busier. Thanks to all that attended.


Among the red dots were these images:

Cuba and his Mauser EspaƱa

Andrew and Lamb

Under a Big Sky
The show continues through July 4. Please come take a gander.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

I give up


When Fort Ord shut down it 1994 it was one of the largest base closures ever. The part facing US 101 and the Pacific became California State University-Monterey Peninsula while the rest was left to decay in the briny air blowing in from the ocean. A handful of wooden basic training barracks on the north end of the base have been converted to businesses but most, like my old crib, have withered away, a haven for the unseen.

Exploring the barracks it was clear that the closing had been haphazard and incomplete. Army manuals lay about and evidence of human habitation since the closure was everywhere. Graffiti was in florid display as if it’s destiny is to cover every vertical surface. 

A poem on a barracks door speaks achingly. "I can't get enough. Hoping that we never see the sun coming up. I give up." The dark wish asks us to write the ending.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Silvery, shimmery, glimmery


This is a detail of a gnarly pine atop 12,100 foot Frazer Mountain just north of Taos Ski Valley. Frazer Mountain is the crest of Northside at Taos Ski Valley, the Pattison family’s 1,200-acre aerie in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain that rise above the town.  The photograph reveals shimmering highlights that are reminiscent of a real silver gelatin print. That silveriness is something that digital prints often lack. The soft focus background or bokeh lends something ethereal and seems to bring the pine forward in the frame. 

Bokeh comes from the Japanese word “boke” and both are pronounced “boke eh”. Fittingly enough the word means blur or haze. Quiz later. 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Cylindrical and Tubular

Spiky versus smooth the Saguaro cactus and the grain silo aren’t often paired as an artistic statement. Both have been photographed and painted ad nauseum but together they're refreshing and new. Or so I say.

Saguaro, Saguaro National Park West

Silos, Sudan, Texas

Towering Saguaros and the even more towering silos of, say West Texas, attract the eye and belong in the pantheon of forms the we know and love. Each of us has a list of forms that appeal to us and I just bet there are some matches on our lists. My list, were I forced to disclose it, would include the aforementioned silos and the statuesque Saguaro and would be joined by the acoustic guitar, the racing bicycle, the female posterior, the lowly corral, the hood, grill and fender of a vintage car, trees in general and the wine bottle, itself cylindrical and tubular. What's on your list?

Tubular was once slang in the vein of "bitchin", "far out", "rad" and "grotty to the max." These are important phrases to bandy about at your next soiree.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Better late than never

Every decade or so I Google my old singing partner, John Ellsworth, the artist formerly known as John Acuff. Who knows what prompts me? Our duo broke up in the summer of 1960 when John wearied of couch surfing across Hollywood and West LA, fell in love with Becky something or other and retreated back to Arizona. It felt like the end of a friendship though I think we limped along musically a little while longer. Still the intensity and heady moments of our youthful half steps reverberate and the connection continues however frayed.

This is literally the only image I have of John and me singing. I honestly have no idea who the the guy on the right is. This a scan of a scan from the 1960 ASU yearbook .

Losing, as I saw it, our chance at stardom made me resentful, a sentiment that persisted for a while, if “a while” can describe 56 years of what might have beens. The big time was a long shot but I know “I coulda been a contender.”

After our conscious uncoupling we lost touch except for crossing paths as solo acts around Phoenix. The last that I remember was at the bandshell at Encanto Park where we each performed and felt the awkwardness of superficial pleasantries. John may remember it differently

I floated in and out of the folk music world into 1964, most notably opening for John Denver at the Lumber Mill in Scottsdale, Hoyt Axton at some bottle club in Salt Lake City and auditioning at The Abbey in Aspen when Buffy Sainte Marie was headlining. I didn’t get the gig and began to get the message. It ain’t happening.

When the Beatles landed in the spring of 1964 it was sayonara baby. I hung it up for good. 

For the longest time I tried to find a copy of our record, Once Upon a Time, and hoped that John might have it. Just as he and I would start a web conversation it would end the moment I asked if he had the record and if we would make me a copy. A lot of baggage comes with that little 45. In advanced middle age I’m more sympathetic than I once was about it. So, forget the vinyl, buddy. It’s not that important.

From our infrequent interchanges over the years I knew that John and Becky moved to her home state of Illinois, that he had divorced and remarried somewhere along the line and that he had become a lawyer near Chicago. That’s about it. Then came this week’s revelation. When I did the aforementioned search up popped John Ellsworth and, in pictures associated with that name, the lanky dude with whom I harmonized so sweetly appeared, still 6’4” or so he says and with all his hair. I didn’t expect that for some reason. But hey, I’ve got all of mine, too.

When I clicked on the pic a link to the author named John Ellsworth appeared and I discovered that my old singing partner has become a prolific crime novelist with 500,000 copies sold so far and a new volume published daily. Well, not quite. I tend to inflate.

This doesn’t completely surprise me. John was the wordsmith of the twosome.

His tale is aspirational. Becoming a best-selling author at our age boggles what's left of my mind and knocking out a new one every 40 days blows me away. And to think I’ve been talking about one simple book for a year and a half.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Intricacy and Luminance



Point Lobos at the top of California’s Big Sur and just below Carmel Valley is the stuff of photographic legend. On a handful of visits over more years than I care to disclose I have been skunked but for these kelp that are jewel-like in their intricacy and luminance.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reach for the Red Bull

Not Amos Abeyta
In late February the sheep are shorn. It’s a communal effort where friends and neighbors gather to help out. For friends of young Amos Abeyta, the great grandson and namesake of the Amos Abeyta who started the whole shebang back in the twenties, there’s actual work to be done, work fueled by copious quantities of Red Bull, Bud Lite and eclairs.  For older volunteers there’s a lot more kibitzing than work.

The sheep come in the front door all insulated and round and exit the side door ten pounds lighter. That’s the weight of a typical fleece. Last year all survived the trauma of losing their wool but dozens were lost to the cold. This year one didn't make it, the apparent victim of a heart attack. It was a back to earth moment that underscored the uncertainty of life wrested from the land.