Portrait of a Meaningless Marriage

No matter how much fun folks appear to be having on social media, it is painfully apparent what is going on these days. People are lonely.

Even if those folks are in a seemingly loving relationship, sharing a beer with him or her will usually lead to them telling you that they have no outlet for their true feelings. They are in a secure relationship, rooted in children and marriage, but they are utterly lonely.

These days, relationships are more about marking off life’s checkboxes and social status achievements than the real exchange of feelings and seeking a deeper understanding of what it means to be a loving person. I’m not saying people are decidedly shallow these days (well maybe I am) but I do think people have far too many options and distractions to have meaningful relationships.

Perhaps 200 years ago a couple, with no glowing electrified devices around, actually had to talk to one another while they lay in bed. Back then only one adult had to work per household. There wasn’t an unspoken sense of competition built into the relationship. A young couple, having avoided polio and the Black Death and insane infant mortality rates, we’re not throttled by individual ambition. A disgruntled lover could not pick up a phone and dial her mother to complain about every little thing her man does. Her mother, who lives 100 miles away, can’t tell her grown daughter to “come home then.” … thus dissolving a young relationship before it can be strengthened by overcoming workable conflicts…

People want fairy tales. It’s way deep and too much to get into for this format. I may write a book about it. Who knows?

Exit.

Dating Profile…

2b2ef219-bb24-4656-9c1e-f0ec6679c970

I have never looked better.

 

I have never felt better physically, besides maybe when I was in boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois or training at the RTC in San Diego, California…

 

I have never been more at peace. It’s a hard-fought, uneasy peace at times, but it is peace nonetheless.

img_0023

I’ve never been more single though. I’m single as shit. It’s crazy really…

 

My retreat from the grips of “all-social-media-all-the-time” has been documented, (and needed) but I have also retreated from dating sites. They suck these days, dating sites…

 

Dating sites worked well maybe 10 years ago for guys like me perhaps, but not now. They don’t work as well today for me because my expectations have changed a bit. Also, I see the same people on all the sites I have tried in the area. Just recycled profile pictures all over the place.

copypasteimage

I suppose I have resigned myself to the reality of living and dying alone. This arrangement isn’t all bad at the moment, but it could suck pretty badly if I reach old age and still haven’t found a nice pretty lady.

 

Pretty is a thing too for me. I’m dead ass sick of being rejected by mediocre looking women. If she isn’t truly exceptional looking then I’ll take my chances elsewhere. She also needs to be fit. I spend hours in the gym each week. She at least needs to be in shape.

TSLK0292.jpg

The older I get though, the more I realize that the entire “mating and dating” phase of my life isn’t exactly in its beginning stages. I’m far closer to the end of the era where my reproductive drive dictates the majority of my decisions. Nowadays, I just want to plan and make art when I’m not working. I don’t want any stress related to pleasing another fussy human. I don’t want to be responsible for the emotional well being of another adult. Not yet. Soon maybe…

 

The Slow Death of Instagram and Facebook….

5E58EC25-D1CA-4C16-959B-05D5F2DD1229.jpeg

“IG just ain’t right no more…”

The hunger to be liked is perhaps the most addictive non-chemical phenomenon I’m aware of. Nearly every effort we partake in is in some manner to make someone start to or continue to like us. Who is that someone? For devout Christians or Muslims it’s God who must like us. (There is hell to pay if he doesn’t like us.) While dating, especially when we are young, it is imperative that our lovers…like us. At least it should be. At work we want our bosses or clients to like us. It certainly seems counterproductive when they don’t like us.

Is seeking to be liked wrong? Nah. It’s fine. Being liked is all about congruency. Fitting together with others is fundamental. I mean, truly fundamental. Atoms bond with nearby atoms and form molecules based on how easy it is for them to share resources. They “like” one another, so they bond.

So why am I shorting my stock in Facebook and Instagram? To put it simply, it’s because both platforms have rigged the system to control how many likes a user gets on a particular post. Initially, it was a combination of a meritocracy and a chronological reward system. Post timely, good content and get showered in likes and promotion for you self, your brand, etc…

Now Facebook and Instagram have put an invisible vending machine interface between you and those followers and their precious likes. This after years of letting people exchange likes for free, unfettered.

For me, my instagram posts generated twice and many likes when I had half as many followers…

A6558AFA-1A2D-4330-BBD9-DCFC38A1C2B1.jpeg

Now, after a very recent algorithm tweak (or I might be shadowbanned 🤔) my likes trickle in at a snails pace. Slower even. I have deleted and reinstalled the IG app a few times as I debate abandoning the platform altogether. As for Facebook I still use it but only for messenger and to scroll memes and news. My posts get substantially less likes than they used to on there of course….

C23B5DD1-4801-4B27-9D04-CEB3C20378F1.jpeg

I have a serious glamour photography business developing here, and chasing IG likes seems like something I should let my gorgeous models worry about. Not me. Even they don’t get the engagement I think a typical flawless twenty something should get. I mean, a pretty gal has always been able to trade on her beauty as a commodity. If you try to force pretty girls to pay to execute that commodity trade, then they will eventually evaluate the commissions you charge (for advertising etc) and maybe go elsewhere. Instagram is losing its fundamentals. Facebook has good fundamentals but is starting to feel dated and repetitive. Perhaps some new way of exchanging real time data is around the corner. I say bring it on….

B3CDBE7C-0DD2-48AF-AADC-7CEA56C4E4EE.jpeg

Exit.

FUJI X100F – 6 Month Review

Enter.

I like this little camera. Model Ana Rivera ain’t bad either.

So it has been 6 months since the Fuji X100F debuted and I of course purchased the first one sold in my city of Baltimore. In fact, I have yet to see another X100F in Baltimore, but I digress. Since I bought the camera I’ve shot ~5000 photos and spent untold lunch breaks going through the menus. I’ve shot sports sidelines, pretty models, and I’ve shot and killed streets. I’ve hooked up an external flash, more on that later, and have fallen in love with using the LCD only to shoot.

WHAT I LOVE

I started out with this camera thinking I could shoot jpegs using those cute film simulation modes. I really tried to make it work too. My favorite one is ACROS (followed by Classic Chrome). I used ACROS a lot. I knew though, that sometimes I needed to record a scene in color so I quickly started shooting RAW + Jpegs to my card, which slows my Lightroom flow down, but it was manageable. Then, at some point, I downloaded the fuji film simulation plugins from some damn place on the internet and installed it in Lightroom. That way I could change a Fuji (only Fuji) RAW file to the Classic Chrome look if I wanted, or whatever. After a while I figured there really is no fucking difference between the in-camera jpeg film simulations and the Lightroom plugin camera conversions, AND I noticed that Fuji RAW files have a shit ton of dynamic range. I shoot all RAW now. Fuck it. Those in-camera film simulation modes are too cute for me…

I never understood or cared about having a leaf shutter until I started shooting sidelines at sporting events. I normally shoot 1/1000 F5.6 and auto ISO range 200-800 during the day for streets. When I’m shooting events I turn on the built-in fill flash just for shits and giggles. This is when I discovered that I could overpower the sun and create these hauntingly half dark images. I continued this trend later shooting models using an external flash….

The image quality beats the unholy fuck out of my Canon 5d Mark III, even when the DSLR is coupled with the world class 70-200 2.8 IS II lens. This little Fuji point-and-shoot compact beats it handily as far as micro contrast and sharpness is concerned. RAW to RAW the Fuji wins handily when it comes to dynamic range for both shadow pulling AND highlight recovery. Colors are more of a taste thing, but I find Fuji colors to be more accurate than Canon, even though Canon’s colors are warm and lovely.

The face detection works reasonably well, and it will even detect a models eye (left or right depending on your chosen setting) when it feels like it.

 

This is most likely the finest street photography camera ever made.

Models and subjects smile at this camera, as opposed to my big ass Canon which makes folks get all serious or run away.

THINGS I HATE

The afl/ael button is useless and positioned horribly. I have reassigned it to change my focus type.

The control ring concept is so horrid that I try my best to never touch the lens unless I’m changing apertures.

What the fuck is up with Fuji and off camera flash? Nothing works right. I can get my Canon (actually a Pixel Mago) flash to fire in manual using a chord that I have to jiggle and pray to get it to work. When it works the results are good though. I’m getting the X-T2 and some lenses soon as well as this new Godox flash trigger and flash unit that’s supposed to work with Fuji TTL and HSS and do it all wireless. We shall see…

I hate the view mode button. God forbid you ever hit that bitch by accident and spend an hour thinking your camera is malfunctioning. Perhaps I’m just an idiot but still….

FINAL THOUGHTS

This camera is a nice intro into the Fuji universe and also has a leaf shutter. That’s the deal. The jpegs are good but overrated. The RAW files are superb. It’s compact yet made of steel. It’s sharp as fuck. It’s silent. The autofocus is good in single shot mode. If you’re a street photographer this camera is superior to almost any camera you can buy besides a manual focus Leica and maybe my beloved Leica Q. None of those cameras have a fill flash though. This one does….

Exit. Please like and subscribe.

Tee shirt available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X8L6WS

Model: Ana Rivera @myrlanis_ on Instagram.

The 2017 Summer Has Been Boring AF

DSCF3004.jpg

This summer, for some reason that goes beyond me being an old shut-in, has been boring.

I’ve ridden my motorcycle as much as makes sense given the Seattle-like climate that seems to hang over the mid-Atlantic region each summer. Still, there is no place to ride. Nothing is happening. I can’t ride to go shopping. I need a trunk for that. Shopping isn’t really fun unless you’re rich or maniacal anyhow….

I have an advertising shoot with a young Puerto-Rican model for my line of T-Shirts coming up next weekend. I’ll keep you posted on that. Still, even though I love taking photos, it’s work. It’s not guilty, ignorant fun. I want THAT. The ignorant shit.

DSCF3095.jpg

I’m getting old. My romantic engine is showing it’s age and struggles to get started most days. My sufferance of fools and friends is at an all time low. Despite this, my overall temperament feels jovial. I’m not brooding.

DSCF3130.jpg

I need activities. I’ve taken some pretty neat photos this summer. A handful of winners maybe, but thats all that can be expected. My X100F remains a solid choice of mine. It’s the greatest street photography camera of all time perhaps.

DSCF3013.jpg

As I’m trying to transition into being a full-time photographer and do it MY WAY, I find myself treading water most months financially. A monetary breakthrough would be nice. With my checkered past, age, and tendency to be self reliant we shall see….

Exit.

 

Muggy Summer

This summer has been very hot and muggy. Blame global warming I guess, but if I’m going that far I may as well blame the sun while I’m at it…..

I’m gearing up to accept a second sports photography gig for the school year. Here goes….

I’ve been shooting street, working full time hours at my day job, and launching a few other business ventures. I’ve also resumed investing in my potential retirement. Here goes….

Single again. Here goes…..

Summer means scooting around on my Harley. I’ve been doing that a lot. If I wasn’t so busy maybe I’d combine my rides with street shooting….

The next big purchase for me is the Canon 1dx II. Then after that I’ll try to get the 300mm 2.8 IS II…..

Besides that shit is real. Keep banging….

Exit.

7 Random Thoughts Before Summer….

I’ve been busy launching a new business venture, settling into a new relationship, and generally shooting less lately now that spring school sports has ended. I have some potential gigs lined up to shoot over the summer, but besides that let me give you 7 random things from my brain meat….


▪️ Sony has made their move to take over the professional photography market. You may not notice it now, but I think the modern DSLR is dead….

▪️ This might be the worst allergy season I’ve experienced in my life. Brutal….

▪️ After sniffing around I’ve discovered stock photography is not worth the time, money and effort required to make a decent bit of coin from it. 


▪️ Even though my current boss at my day job is cool as fuck, I hate nothing more than having to answer to a boss in the first place. I really want to work for myself.

▪️ I am not at all interested or excited about the newest iPhone coming in a few months, despite the fact that it’s near time to upgrade my phone. I love apple of course, but I’m not excited in the slightest. 

▪️ No GAS for me lately. I’m still getting the Leica Q and the Hasselblax X1D though, but there is no real timetable set. 

▪️ My birthday was May 2. I was born the same year as the former twin towers in NYC. Do the math. 


Talk to you soon folks! Enjoy your week. 

Exit. 

The Polite Street Photographer

I get it. You’re a nice person. As a photographer, you have great skill and charm but you don’t want to offend people. So instead of taking bravely composed street photos featuring human faces, you shoot the backs of people’s heads, which just doesn’t sound right in general, and if a person offers a mean gaze after you’ve taken their photo you offer to delete the photo and you cry. You have violated their privacy in public! Everyone deserves to be invisible if they so desire, especially if they are on city streets! How dare you do that you creep! You shouldn’t do that ever! Instead of shooting candids in the streets you should ask permission first! Be polite and have some goddamn manners!

I’m being sarcastic here because really you’re not being polite. Really you’re being a bitch.

Here is a quote which encapsulates my attitude:

“No one deserves to be praised for kindness if he does not have the strength to be bad; every other form of kindness is most often merely laziness or lack of willpower.” ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Maybe calling you a bitch is too harsh. Perhaps it is more accurate to call you lazy. Put simply: bravery requires effort. 

No person is born brave. Having a set of balls is a choice. Some make the choice to be brave early in life. Many of us develop bravery after becoming frustrated with the way life plays out when you mask your cowardice by calling yourself polite. I’m not suggesting you should be rude to everyone you meet, or even rude on occasion, but I’m convinced that in street photography, which is a form of direct-contact photojournalism, it is better to be an asshole and get the shot than to cower and pass up the shot….

We all are negligent. We all are bitches from time to time. I’m as guilty as anyone. When my inner punk-ass bitch flares up, I stay mindful that I should be brave as opposed to polite, and am able to correct my behavior when out shooting. Approaching a pretty woman in a tavern, with romantic goals, is a different set of circumstances altogether, but similar rules of bravery vs. politeness apply. Closed mouths don’t get fed. It’s far better to get shot down by 100 pretty women than it is to settle for and ruin the life of an ugly woman with your contagious cowardice, passed down to your seeds and their seeds, in perpetuity…

The best I can say about street bravery is: fuck it. Fuck the world. That’s a reliable philosophy to adhere to. Curse the entire world to hell and then raise your camera to your eye and compose your masterpiece. People on the streets have no right to privacy. They are in public. Did the men who pulled off the Boston Marathon bombing have any right to privacy while carrying bombs through the public streets that day? Wouldn’t the earnest, more photojournalistic thing to do, in hindsight, be to take photos of the perpetrators, even if they objected to having their photos taken? How is a camera a more substantial recorder of events than my own eyes? Both a photograph and testimony backed my the memories of what I saw can be used to convict a person in a court of law. Who is to say that one is right and the other is wrong, between my eyes and a Leica rangefinder?

Do what you want of course. You are under no obligation to be good at anything. If you want to take photos of people walking away from you and of hedges and homeless people who are in a daze, do your thing. Don’t be offended, please, if you spot another photographer watching you, mouthing the words: “What a pussy….”

I’ll leave you with one more quote:

“Sometimes in life there are events that you need to be a little foolish to handle.” ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Exit.

Random Thoughts on Street Photography and Life….

• I ordered these today on Amazon in advance of buying the Fuji X100F next month or     whenever its available (I pre-ordered the camera). Anybody use these things?

• Part of me wants to enter a few Street Photography contests but I’m always suspicious of the photo judgement process. It may be that I never trust authority in general. In addition to my innate suspicion I also don’t want to spend 25-50 dollars (or more) on entry fees. I’m not really a cheap bastard but I’m not a gambler either. These contests feel a lot like gambling.

• I’m still on a break from shooting street. I have been shooting sports a lot lately and I hate it as much as usual. I love the high school sports environment and the on-court access, but there is no creativity involved in shooting live sports. All I do is track and shoot. In fact, I usually feel some shame that I missed a killer dunk or something because I was chimping or chatting with a fan….

• My dating life still fucking sucks. If you know any good looking single women between 29-52 in the Baltimore/DC area hit me up…..

• Having used back button focus for years when framing street compositions and while shooting sports photography, I think I’ll try using the shutter button to lock focus with my Fuji X100F when I get it. There’s no real reason. I just want to see how it feels.

• After the success of my decision post I’ll likely compose a real life review of the X100F. Don’t worry, I’ll curse up a goddamn storm just like you’d expect me too. Fuck that….

• I have been torn between curvy fat women and smallish fit women my entire adult life and am no closer to determining which I prefer than I was at 26 years old. This decision isn’t helped by the fact that no woman wants me anyhow.

• Does everyone check their order status on Amazon every 7 minutes like I do? Why hasn’t the shit shipped already? It’s been 25 minutes since I ordered it. Come on! Do your fucking job!

• My social media blackout has been extended indefinitely. You people are going silly shit nuts over Trump, especially women of a certain ilk and hue.

Exit…..

_93X0049-Edit.jpg
Everything looks normal here….

Thrift Store Dating

Many of you are older married fuckers. You got married when telephones were connected to wall jacks and gas was 87¢ a gallon. You did not have to deal with the nightmare of modern dating an in particular: Online dating sites. I swear to skinny jean Jesus that my experience is just like sifting through used dinner jackets at the local church thrift store. I may find something that looks decent but there is always something wrong with what I find, and I forever get the sense that if only I could afford to shop retail, I’d fare far better.

_47A1480-Edit-2.jpg

Dating is expensive. Dinner and a movie will run me maybe $120 bucks. This would be fine if I was taking my girlfriend out but I don’t have a girlfriend. All I have are 30-50 year old women who are looking for a free meal and to be treated like a princess for an evening. That shit adds up. For example, 5 dates in a month and I’m already in luxury car payment territory. For all my expenditures I still am home surfing porn at 1am on a typical Saturday night as opposed to being inside the chunky woman who I spent an AT&T cell phone payment on earlier that evening. I always suspect a woman is just using me for a free meal when she repeatedly says “Thank you” during the date. I know women have it hard in some ways when it comes to dating, and it must be nice when a guy takes them out and shows them a good time. To be honest though, I don’t give a fuck about being a nice guy. I want results and 600 bucks a month on dates with no ROI is not a maintainable situation.

_47A1543-Edit-2.jpg

Online dating is meant to find relationships for women and not men. If you see the commercials, the main marketing push is towards women. So marketing, combined with the natural interrelation between the sexes, results in a typical attractive female receiving hundreds of overtures per week in her inbox, while an equally attractive male will maybe get three messages per week. This disparity is magnified by the dating conduct of modern women. There is a zero tolerance policy pervasive on these dating sites. A prospective man is not allowed to have any discernible weaknesses or flaws. If he does then he is easily replaced by another potential suitor. There is no “trying on outfits” at the thrift store. All they do is rifle through the for-sale rack, looking for the perfect deal.

_93X0056-Edit.jpg

I could go on but nah…..fuck it. I’ll write more about this later. These are my micro-struggles. Enjoy your day…