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Friday, January 10, 2020

Breaking The Connection

 Apparently two years off of facebook and a year off of Instagram still isn't enough of a pull-back for me. I've deleted all my forum accounts, I've parked my flickr account and this will be my last blog post at least for six months, if not forever. I'm tired of reading about horrible exhibitions by institutions looking to cash in on the trending social topic of the moment, clowns with the most followers getting the press and opportunities, grants given to those only with the right connections, the age discrimination that now plagues it, the ass kissing, the collusion, the pay to play, the "safe" exhibitions. Natasha began and runs the Michael Penn Photography facebook page and if she no longer wants to bother with it that's ok. I'm done until the joke of world of photography and art is taken seriously again.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Somewhere In The Middle

 16 months ago I moved from my very spacious center city loft to a cozy townhouse in the suburbs. Well not exactly the suburbs as it's still with in Philadelphia's borders. So close to the border I could actually cross over it with in two minutes of walking out my door. Even though I'm technically still in the city my new neighborhood is anything but urban and it's also not your vision of a suburban town, it's somewhere in between. Every experienced photographer has a vision of what a city looks like, well at least when cities were actually CITIES, think pre-2000. They also have a vision of the suburbs but what happens when you fall somewhere in the middle, a place hard to define. This has an effect on your photography and your methodical order even though your m.o. is chaos. This is my daily struggle and I didn't expect it to take so long to get my groove back. I'm still not comfortable but I'm working on it.



Sunday Breakfast at Bob's Diner

Snapshots at Bob's Diner in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia. The diner was Built by the O’Mahony company in 1947.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

No Need For Upgrades

   Lately I've been having great conversations with older former photojournalists. Over the last couple of weeks I had several great ones with a former newspaper photographer who was forced into retirement five years ago due to a youth movement and almost complete obliteration of it's photography department. I made a promise to him that I wouldn't mention his name because he's sort of a recluse now and isn't fond of today's internet. He's never had a social media account, ended his website a few years ago but is still represented. The thought of having to be a social media star in order to be recognized today sickens him. At the age of 69 he just wants to go out and take photos. Surviving off his work is mostly a thing of the past and I understand his bitterness towards the way photography and photographers have been devalued. I've stated the same FACT numerous times.
  Since 2009 he's used the same camera which is the only digital camera he's ever owned. The camera is the big and heavy 12 megapixel Nikon D3s with the just as heavy 28mm-300mm lens. Here's a 69 year old guy lugging this camera around for hours at a time almost every day and I'm constantly hearing those less than half his age complain that a Fuji x100 is too heavy for them. Wusses. By the way Jay Maisel used the same combination into his 80's !!! The Nikon D3s has a rated shutter life of 300,000 but he's recently topped 400,000 in the 10 years he's owned it. He's told me that he never thinks about megapixels or six digit iso so all these new cameras don't mean a damn thing to him. Next week he begins his search for another D3s so whenever this one dies he doesn't miss a single day of shooting. My admiration for photographers like this is well, let's just say I can't think of a good enough adjective.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Finger - The Birth Of A New Typology Project

 This was an idea of mine from a few years ago and last week I've decided to begin it. A typology of people giving the finger but unlike my other more abstract black and white typologies I've decided to use color. I'll post more about this soon.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas Dinner at Midtown III Diner

The Midtown III is one of only two remaining diners in center city Philadelphia and still operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Rumors have been swirling that they will be closing in the near future. I spent a couple hours talking to the staff and regulars.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Website Update

 There will soon be an update on my website. I've decided to replace my black and white "Welcome To Market East" portfolio with the color version of the photos. I believe that the color photos have more of an impact.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Flash Up

   I miss seeing flash being used for anything other than wedding photography (BARF!) and corny portraits (BARF AGAIN!!). With today's ridiculously high ISO cameras and smartphones using computational photography many people just aren't using it much anymore. Even the new Ricoh GRIII camera doesn't come with a flash which is one of the reasons I will never use that overpriced cliche of a camera, but that's a conversation for another time.
  Yes there were some bad flash trends like those who used it during the day to highlight the subject and then darken the background. Then a 180 degree turn took it in the opposite direction where people became silhouettes and the background was highlighted. Both were horrible trends amplified by neverending copycats on Instagram. Granted people don't have the fortitude they did ten years ago and I've grown tired of photographers complaining that todays dslr and mirrorless cameras are too heavy to carry around for a few hours. Add a flash to the top of the camera and they're pretty much immobilized. How Weegee The Famous would laugh his ass off at them as he would carry around the huge Speed Graphic camera with a powder flash for hours at a time.
  I've been giving a lot of thought to the flash lately as I've been going through my Welcome To Market east archive. For the new year I would like to begin another project at night using flash. I'm not sure what it will be and I only have about ten days to work out the details. In the meantime I'll continue to use flash in diners and the Acme supermarket.

 The whole Welcome To Market East portfolio was shot with the Pentax K50 dslr and its in camera flash. It did a great job even though sometimes I wish the flash had more reach but the project came to an end after the cameras sensor failed.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I Don't Miss Social Media One Bit

 I've glanced over a few social media pages in the last week to see what's changed since the 2 years I've been off of Facebook and almost the year away from Instagram.  A quick conclusion is that political crap still rules Facebook and has been beginning to take a footing on Instagram since it's becoming the more dominant of the two. I also expect it to get worse in this upcoming election year. The constant advertisement postings, influencer crap and the never ending sea of horrible photos dominating the platform made me want to jump in the shower to try to wash it's filth off of me. I didn't think the joke of today's social media could get any worse. I was wrong. Being off of social media feels like being the only sober person in a room full of drunks.


Breaking The Connection

 Apparently two years off of facebook and a year off of Instagram still isn't enough of a pull-back for me. I've deleted all my foru...