This Little Piggy

There are some things you can’t explain. Sometimes you just snap a photo and move on. I’m not sure what this little piggy was doing this dreary morning in New Braunfels. Was he on his way to market? He certainly seemed out of place. Or maybe it was I who was out of place. Queue the Twilight Zone theme music. We passed in the cross walk. Things seemed normal thereafter. Maybe it was just a glitch in the Matrix.

The Open Road

I got to see a nice little photography exhibit today at the Blanton Museum of Art on the UT campus in Austin. Thanks to a reminder from my friend Andy, I got in to the exhibit on a free admission day before it wraps up this weekend.  The exhibit was all about the travels of several photographers on the American roads and included such greats as Robert Frank, Gary Winogrand, and William Eggleston to name a few.

It is always a treat to see museum quality prints of photographs of familiar images. I have books by some of the featured artists and it was interesting to see the large prints that were selected for exhibition. There was a good assortment of black and white, along with color images. Of course, I tend to favor the deep silver gelatin black and white prints myself.

The exhibit was fairly small but it was a decent representation of the theme. One omission in the artists that occurred to me is Richard Avedon. His work on his The American West project would have been appropriate, although I suppose it is more portrait oriented than the images that were presented here. I was happy to discover the work of one new-to-me photographer. Some images by Shinya Fujiwara, a Japanese photographer who did a road trip in America in 1988, had a kind of surreal feel that I found fascinating. Sadly his book American Roulette is out of print and is quite expensive in the used market.

Window Shopping in Taylor

I stopped at a favorite watering hole in Taylor for a beer or two after work this evening. It was quiet for a Friday and I sat in a chair off in the back. My mind was in a bit of a funk and I could have easily stayed there way too long. I paid my tab after a sandwich and a couple of pints, then headed out for a walk around town as dusk settled in. Tailor is such a nice place to gather one's thoughts.

It came to mind that the month is almost over. Geez, it has been such a blur. I'm working extra hours and taking a class right now. There isn't much time for anything else. It seems like I've hardly touched my camera lately and I didn't have it with me this evening. I did have my iPhone though. I guess I do consider it a camera these days - grudgingly. It will do in a pinch and I'm usually perfectly happy with the results.

Wandering around town, I found myself looking at windows. Sometimes I look through them. With a camera in my hand I tend to look more at what they reflect. It was an appropriate activity tonight. I struggle with anxiety and depression and photography is a kind of therapy for me. When my mind is clouded with darkness, it can bring clarity. As much as I love photography and the benefits it brings, I can make every excuse not to do it. I can be too depressed to grab a camera, while at the same time feeling depressed about not doing a bit of photography. It's a vicious mental cycle. Having a quality camera in my pocket at all times does take away the "Well, don't have my camera." excuse.

My "window shopping" did lift my spirits a bit. Looking at the town as reflected in the glass reminded me that there is more than one way to look at things. Sometimes we need a different perspective. There is darkness and there is light. There is what we see on the surface and there is what exists inside. Sometimes none of it makes sense. Sometimes there is something wonderful that we never realized was there.

All images taken with an iPhone 6s Plus and the Blackie app.

Art After Dark in Taylor

There were a couple of art shows going on in Taylor, TX last week. I stopped by with my wife to browse around and grab a beer at our favorite brew pub. After folks left for the evening, I wandered briefly through the vacant space. There was a peacefulness about it that I enjoyed. It's a hard thing to come by in the Austin area these days. 

As is often the case, I didn't bring my "real camera" with me since this was a fun social outing with my wife. I do try to not be the annoying photographer guy that abandons family and friends on outings where photography isn't an intended priority. Times like these it's handy to have that iPhone and my favorite app, Blackie. I made a few quick snaps of the quiet moments to fulfill the ever present drive to preserve what moves and inspires me.

A Ride to Remember

Central Texas Harley-Davidson did a group ride yesterday morning to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in nearby Killeen, TX. I went along on the ride as it was a good opportunity to take part in an activity that honors what Memorial Day is all about - remembering those who served our country in military service and have passed on, particularly those who sacrificed their own lives while defending the rights and freedoms of others.

The group met at the dealership and after a safety meeting we hit the road for Killeen. The overcast skies kept the sun from beating down. The humidity made for a muggy tropical climate that had me sweating profusely under my mesh riding jacket. I wasn't complaining. Once at the cemetery, our ride leaders said a few words of remembrance. A chaplain with the Christian Motorcycle Associate said a prayer. The group sang our national anthem. We walked some of the countless rows of headstones and placed flags as a small token of thanks. A few tears ran down the cheeks of some of the bikers who are veterans themselves, as they remembered their buddies who didn't make it back. 

As I walked amongst the headstones, I notice the inscription on the grave of Private Clarence Lee Carr. I don't know anything about this soldier but he was someone's Paw Paw. My Paw Paw passed away many years ago. He made it through WWII and the Korean war. I won't be able to visit the grave where he and my grandmother (also a veteran of WWII) were laid to rest. I chose to place my flag at Private Carr's grave. Thank you for your service, Paw Paw. 

The Motorcycle Painter

An incredibly talented painter was doing some bike portraits at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show last weekend. I stopped on the way out to watch him work a bit. His technique was rather fascinating and his portraits are as unique as the custom bikes I saw at the show.

He was applying paint with what appeared to be a chopstick. His strokes appeared crude at first and he carefully smoothed out swaths of paint while carefully considering his subject. Peaceful strokes were periodically accented with abrupt flicks of his paint stick at the canvas, producing additional texture and a bit of chaos to complement the graceful lines of the machine. It was such an intriguing creative process to observe.

Images were captured with an iPhone 6S+ using the Blackie app.

The Day After

The atrocity that was the 2016 election process is done. I'm not going to rant about politics on my blog. Just a single photo this time - I took it last month while walking around the UT campus in downtown Austin. It feels right for today.