Friday, August 18, 2006

Camel's nose

In 1937 H.T. Ferron purchased land south of the Woolen Mills neighborhood. Classic camel's nose under the tent event, the day the first H.T. Ferron concrete truck short-cut through the Woolen Mills residential neighborhood, traveling north on the footpath under the railroad tracks, then roaring west on Woolen Mills Road.
I ran into the advertisement above in the 1928 Lane High School yearbook. Could it be the same H.T. Ferron? Was H.T. into music before he was into concrete?
Music soothes the savage beast? Not in this case.

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

eternal self promotion

Shutterbug Magazine asked the question:

How much does color add to - or take away from - a photograph?

Then proceeded to profile 4 black and white photo web sites.

NOTE: nothing untoward happened in the Hilton ballroom. Secret service contretemps occurred in Lafayette park.


Monday, October 31, 2005

stalwart or shill

Speakers Corner, October 2004

Our namesake, Uncle Ben, was an African-American rice grower who harvested his rice with such care that he reaped honors for the full-kernel yields and quality. In fact, his rice was of such excellent quality that it came to represent the standard by which all other rice was judged. As the story goes, the proudest boast a rice grower could make was to claim his rice to be "as good as Uncle Ben's."

Years later, Gordon L. Harwell launched a company offering to the public the same high-quality, nutritious rice he'd supplied to the armed forces in WWII through his company, Converted Rice, Inc. He chose the name "UNCLE BEN'S" to symbolize the high quality of his rice products. To this day, we preserve the standard that was set so many years ago by the Texas rice grower named Uncle Ben.-
(from the Mars web site


Advertisers used little black pickaninnies with braids and spindly legs, tar black Sambos with oversized rubbery red lips and large bugging eyes and overweight mammies to sell everything from cigarettes to cereals.
These symbols not only continued but proliferated around the turn of the century with the overwhelming success of Uncle Ben, The Gold Dust Twins, Rastus and Aunt Jemima.
- Marilyn Kern-Foxworth from her book Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Imagine the consternation among journalists when, in a photo with two people of color, there is a box of the rice product.

What to do? Disappear Uncle Ben?

We believe in truth.

We believe in the freedom of right speech.

I like this rice, always have a 5 pound bag...

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Monday, October 17, 2005


Making 16x20's the way grandma use to make them, optical chemical physical process, selectively reducing silver.
Photographic darkroom work is different than Photoshopping zeroes and ones. A dance in the dark, requiring mental presence, physical exertion and balance.
Being old as dirt I am delighted that photography can be accomplished digitally.
My useful life as a printer will be extended.
When I no longer have the strength to pour a 20x24" tray loaded with chemistry back into a jug I will still have the strength to hit the print button.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

everything i don't believe in

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005


photoshop gaussian blur
Back in '99 blurred photos were highly considered by the cognoscenti. Fine Manhattan galleries displayed images that looked like the shots KMart wouldn't charge for when your color processing work was returned.
The goof-proof guarantee...


Friday, August 05, 2005

denatonium benzoate

photoshop liquid filter
Rita and Elaine

In April 2003 a bill was introduced in the Senate to add a bad taste to antifreeze. The bill is still kicking around DC.

Last month George Allen, chairman of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer affairs, invited dogs to a committee hearing (approximately 10,000 dogs die yearly from ingesting antifreeze, many are poisoned deliberately).

There you go, some good news about George Allen. Save the dogs!

Better life through chemistry.

Wish the subcommittee could add something to the water to make everyone happy.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Dead photographer


Teenage corn. I'll probably miss the flowering of these three. Sixteen days later, no longer cute

What is up with all the color? Digital color is quick, digital black and white takes time, at the very least pressing the desaturate button in Photoshop.

B&W from film is a comparatively labor intensive process: load film, unload film, develop film, cut film, scan film. To date, I am happier with the end product from film. In my case that is partially due to having good film tools and a limited digital toolkit.

Dead photographer. Ansel Adams, said something to the effect of
if photography was harder the images produced by photographers would be improved.
His thinking was that if a fair amount of effort was required to make an exposure, the photographer would think more about what was photographed.

What kind of digital camera would Ansel buy?