City Slickers

DSCF8425.jpgMy grandmother raised me to be a cowboy.

Each morning, amidst the sirens and the swampy Chesapeake Bay air in south Baltimore, Audrey Hall ensured that this city kid would grow up longing for the great southwest….DSCF8419.jpg

Too many mornings I spent watching reruns of Rawhide and the Roy Rogers show…DSCF8411.jpg

The last time I’d been horseback riding was maybe when I was 12 in the Catskill mountains in upstate NY. This time fun even though I’m a bit saddle sore. Also, my horse was a complete dick of an asshole…LOL. DSCF8422.jpg

Maybe I’m not a good rider.

From Baltimore to Phoenix

This summer 2018 has been huge for me.

For years I’d casually tell my friends and family: “I’m moving out west someday, probably to Phoenix…”

This summer I finally did it 🙂

It rains a lot in Baltimore, a lot. It’s also very mild during the summer. Too mild. It was time to go…

As I told you before I deleted my Twitter and Facebook. To make this move work I didn’t need or want random peanut gallery comments and observations from “friends”. I went zero dark thirty on this one…besides Instagram. I soft posted my move on there….

The trip was in three phases:

Phase one was early June. I flew out to Phoenix with plans to maybe visit Vegas and LA if I didn’t LOVE Phoenix the way I thought I would. I stayed 4 days in hotels. Needless to say I loved Phoenix…

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Phase 2 was mid-July. I drove the newer of my 2 cars to Phoenix and rented a condo within 72 hours of my arrival.

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The flat majesty of middle America…

 

Phase 3 was in mid-August. After working and buying furniture for maybe 3 weeks I flew back to dreary-ass Baltimore and collected the rest of my tech, as well as my older car and my beloved Harley-Davidson, which I towed.

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Both cross country drives took me roughly 3 days and I did 2 of them in one month. Tough guy status.

Now I’m all settled and stuff and looking forward to spending the balance of my years in sunny, dry, hot-ass Phoenix.

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I hope you guys had a good summer, even though I’m sure you didn’t get busy like I did. I was on a mission!

 

Understanding a Dance Recital….

 

I’m still puzzled by Jiren’s power levels and what I still don’t know the hell Ultra Instinct is. Also… 17 was the MVP.

Oh…am I talking Dragonball Super Again?

Modern dance is something I could not tolerate when I was younger. I didn’t get it. I think wisdom comes with age as they say.

I still rock my Canon 5d Mark III for pro work. Hopefully the Canon Full Frame mirrorless will have a native EF mount.

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The Dance Concert was at Patapsco High School in Dundalk, Maryland….

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Not bad at all….

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Exit….

Why I Hate Photographer Meetups…

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Every time I see a majority of old white men in one place I get uneasy….

It’s a power thing. It’s a “my great-grandparents were lynched” thing. It’s a money thing, meaning I’m broke. It’s a racism thing, they don’t want me there and it’s obvious.

So when I walked into a local photographer/model meet at greet at a semi-popular warehouse last Saturday, I was immediately put off by the number of silver haired white men with big cameras I saw.

The problem with photographer/model meet ups is you get maybe a 40:1 ratio of photographers to models. You get huge “mines are bigger than yours” lighting setups popping off constantly. Randomly. You get a bunch of leery men rushing over to photograph an amateur model who just switched to her racy mini-dress, fishnet stockings, and heels number….

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You get paparazzi practice basically. This is how TMZ should train their photogs. Send them to local photographer/models meets and greets.

How is it a meet and greet when the models are wary and hostile and the photographers look at me, a black man, as if I’m there to steal their gear or something? If I want to get rejected by a model I’ll go on Model Mayhem thank you very much. No need to get dissed in person after I paid an entrance fee. If I want to know where I stand with old white men I’ll check our President’s Twitter feed….

I will never understand why these photographers clamor to get the exact same shot 32 other guys are getting….

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My homie said when he goes to these events he doesn’t even bring his camera. I see why. Next time (as if I’ll ever go to another one again and waste $25 bucks)…. next time I’ll bring a blunt and a beer and maybe my business cards.

Exit.

 

 

The Streets Lately

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I haven’t been “gunning” much street photography as of late….

 

Reason being: I love shooting models AND, to be honest, I don’t vibe with the respected professionals out there who call themselves street photographers.

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Being a geek is fine. I’m not a geek however. I’m from the ghetto. I ride a black Harley-Davidson. I have a criminal record. I’ve shot guns at people in the streets and have sold my fair share of narcotics.

 

I know I’ve said before that being a street guy makes me a better street photographer. This is probably true. I’m a good street photographer. Turns out I’m a better glamour/fashion photographer though….

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I also LOVE shooting females. Love it. There is little more I’d rather do on a Sunday besides shooting with a pretty lady and then editing the photos later on my iMac.

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Will I shoot more street shots? Of course I will sooner or later. I AM the streets. Right now though I’m doing other shit and having fun doing it. It’s not like anybody was paying much attention to my street stuff anyhow. I’m invisible. We all are, most of us at least. The internet is oversaturated with street photos. There can never be enough photos of pretty women though…Ever.

Exit.

 

Fall Random Thinkings…

Having a model girlfriend would be nice…

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I know…we all want a model girlfriend. Still, I’m a photographer and having a live-in model would make things a lot easier for me moving forward. I’m not being selfish here am I?

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I could rehearse lighting setups with her. I could shoot her wearing different colors and in different locations. It would be fun. Experimentation is my mindset here. None of that gutter stuff YOU’RE thinking about…. witcho’ nasty self…

 

She needs to be close to my age though…

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🙂

 

My new lighting setup is working great. No complaints here. It took a few months to work all the kinks out and buy my strobes but now I’m all set to continue my street portrait career and kill shit…

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My new site is R X R Photo

Check it out!

I miss bus trips to amusement parks. My favorite part of the trip used to be sitting beside a girl I liked and hoping our arms or legs touched…

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Life isn’t fair but I suppose we all have our micro-struggles to deal with huh?

 

Exit.

Dating Profile…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

 

Beyond Social Media: The Old Ways…

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Like any good Samurai, I long to do things the old way…

 

Do I like microwaves? Nah. I heat my food up in the oven. TV dinners too.

 

Do I like TV? Of course I like TV. Um….at least I used to. I guess TV has lost its appeal to me as the centerpiece of human entertainment…

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What has replaced TV?

Facebook.

Instagram.

Snapchat.

YouTube (which I like)

Netflix.

Every video game ever made in last 17 years…

…the distracting temptation of each mindless app on your phone.

 

At some point you look at all these cable stations and social media platforms and you feel as though you are spending your waking hours in a place that isn’t real.

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I mean, lets say you are at work, (which is most likely a real place) but when you get bored or frustrated or happy or whatever at work you go to this virtual place on your phone to share random thoughts or to gain some sort of misplaced perspective by driving yourself to irrational jealousy as you follow other peoples lives…

 

I don’t want to be too harsh here. Even a Samurai must adapt to change. When the Shogun dies we become Ronin. When the Katana is outlawed we buy guns. When guns are outlawed we buy wine.

 

Still… I think back to my youth, when we had 3 TV’s (which each had 5 available channels to watch) and a chorded phone and a radio. Nowadays I have all that in my iPhone. All of it. I long for the days when the world was smaller and I couldn’t interact with so many people virtually.

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For instance, I have several Facebook “friends” in Indonesia. I will never see them in person within this lifetime most likely, and even if they really aren’t so special that I’d go to the other side of the planet to holla at them, part of me wishes I could see them. Why? Because I see them on my phone and maybe we traded some adult photos back when Facebook was newer and people did that shit. That makes me want to see them. That makes me subconsciously compare American woman I meet to these world-apart Indonesian gals. Life was a lot simpler when Indonesian girls were a “theory” or a curiosity and nothing more. In short: the internet has made the world smaller but it has also made me feel smaller too, while making my expectation of the world bigger.

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I deleted my Instagram account today. Why? First because I was shadowbanned and secondly because it was useless to me. I have never made a single meaningful contact through IG. R X R Photo has never booked a photoshoot or made a dime from it. I have felt bad when a photo didn’t get as many “likes” as I felt it deserved though…

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Will I delete Facebook next? That’s possible, but I’ll give that another year or two. I have a feeling I’ll just end up using Facebook messenger only…which I really don’t understand how it’s superior to regular old texting, but whatever. I would like to be like the old photographers who booked clients through word of mouth and their own websites and not through becoming a bitch for social media. I’m starting to hate what I see everyday. Nothing is separate any longer. There are no sub-genres. Every little interest you may have on social media moves along the rivers and dumps into the big social media oceans of presidential politics, social causes, and blindly fighting with strangers. It sucks. I suppose this social media thing as isn’t social anymore…

 

Exit.

 

The Follower…

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I have never been comfortable with the concept of being a follower.

This attitude and subsequent behavior pattern for me dates back to my days as a toddler, according to my mother. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel she says, or more precisely, a little badass free agent.

Not to say I haven’t followed behind friends and done dumb shit. Of course I have. Those experiences just made me more adamant about not being a follower.

So along comes Twitter and then Instagram and these apps ask me to follow people and try to attract followers by any means…. and ya boy Ric Ray is immediately offended. Followers huh?

I mean, Tom of Myspace didn’t ask me to follow him. Tom wanted to be my friend. I sort of liked that about Tom. Even Facebook went the “friend” route and did so more intimately by limiting the number of friends I could have to 5 thousand. As far as reductionism is concerned Facebook is an outlier. IG and Twitter put no limits on the number of followers you can amass. Myspace had no limit to the number of friends you could add.

IG doesn’t limit you. Nope. Your pathetic, uninteresting, pedestrian life limits you. Ive never had more than a few hundred followers on any platform….

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I’m too humble to think myself so fabulous that I’d have actual followers. To be fair though, I know “follower” in the social media sense means that this or that person is following my feed, not the creepy “Jim Jones in Guyana with a few cups of cyanide and a cult” type of followers…..but it still seems contrived and unseemly. Of course someone like Taylor Swift has millions of true followers and deservedly so. She’s a megastar. Perhaps a person who amasses say… 25 thousand followers on Twitter can have a slice of that megastar feeling. Maybe for a price…

You of course can buy followers. You can also “follow for follow” with people and then get sneaky and unfollow them so you can have that golden ratio of 1000 to 1 followers.

Like when you look at some pop star’s follow/follower count and she has 1.2 million followers but only follows 1200 people….Nice.

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I just don’t like the concept of following anyone. No one is worth following to me really. I don’t care what my favorite rapper is doing this evening or when my favorite pornstars’ next live cam show is happening. Who gives a fuck?

The reasons I’m done with IG and Twitter sort of mirror my hesitancy to buy into bitcoin at the current time… Allow me to explain….

Bitcoin was good to get into early. You could mine bitcoin without using a completely prohibitive amount of power (electricity) to do so. Nowadays mining bitcoin can only be undertaken by people (or sovereign nations) with a lot of money and resources already at their disposal, like North Korea for instance. Otherwise your ROI will be negative in all but the most ideal circumstances. Similarly Twitter was hot to get into early when people were following like crazy, but a few million spam bots and Nigerian email scams later and people are a bit more conservative with their follows, UNLESS you are a person with a lot of fame, money, and resources…..

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I hate following people and honestly I don’t like being followed. Facebook even tries the follower thing but it’s not well defined and it comes off as sketchy. They can keep it. They all can just keep it…..

Exit.

WHAT IVE BEEN DOING ON SUNDAYS II

I haven’t been watching football on Sundays this year.

Why?

Who knows?

I have been shooting aspiring models and friends though.