(coming soon!)

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Yesterday, my friend Claus became a US citizen. At the age of 84.

I sat with Christine, his wife, who long ago had to give up her German citizenship to become American. I sat among 4,000+ people who came to watch the 2700 others - children, spouses, brothers, sisters, mothers & fathers, friends - pledge allegiance to the United States.

People from 90 countries whom the presiding justice, recognizing that becoming a US citizen today does not mean that you give up your past, called to stand up as each of those country's names were called and honored. Dual citizenship is the norm and it recognizes that there is no instant transformation of loyalty, culture or history from one nation to the next. In fact, stated most profoundly by the judge, it is precisely that background that the immigrant brings that makes the US strong – and especially in this difficult time when we are not - for it is the new creative force and culture that continues to weave the American fabric into a greater tensile strength.

Having spent the last nine years photographing in the Chinatowns of the US and Canada, it is startling how such a simple ceremony summarizes so much upon which my work seems to be based, even if only at a subconscious level.

I, a multi-generational American, far from and unknowing of much of the cultural background from which I came, was honored to be invited to this evocative event. It is far more important that many of us realize and I would heartily recommend that we who take our citizenship for granted - in all countries! - spend a moment thinking about identity, about the individual contribution of each of us, of what hard work means to those who make the choice to leave their homeland and move to another land to raise families and connect with the greater community and even, to return or move back and forth between many lands. The mix is vibrant.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Photographers, writers and illustrators: please note that the Orphan Works legislation, badly written to ease the taking of our creative work is rearing its head again.

From the
orphan works illustrators' partnership blog:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Orphan Works: Back Again
In Orphan Works Land, no news has been good news, but that's about to change:

Website Optimization & Metadata

"The point is", the knowledgeable stock photographers at the Photometadata.org tour, told us last night at an APA/LA-sponsored event, "you set up a beautiful website and no one comes." (kinda like this blog so far... have to tell more people about it!).

What draws others to your site or blog is essential now in this not-so-new-anymore millennium. The point is - and we now have the means - to "attract INBOUND traffic," a great complement, if not becoming the substitute for, "outbound traffic," i.e., traditional marketing via our material sent to others who may not have requested it via email, postcard, calls. How we do that is through keywording of images and/or pages (for those not photographers who still want to attract others to their site) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

There are many tools, some of them overwhelming at first and some not so. Many can be found, even for non-photographers at photometadata.org or via the SEO COOKBOOK, provided for free by Photoshelter at http://pa.photoshelter.com/mkt/seo-kit-for-photographers.

Something I should have known but that surprised me: Keywording, although valuable for many other reasons, is NOT picked up by Google and other search engines. Think about what you say in your text on your website for that is what Google sees.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In the Interim

I haven't posted anything lately because I have been sending out proposals, thinking about a curatorial project, working on my gridlock series - I seem to be the only person in Los Angeles actually seeking to be stopped in traffic - and now, responding to interest from a major photography museum for an invitational show! Not yet selected but at least nominated.

Above, the one photograph I managed to be still enough to shoot after an hour and one-half at rush hour on five freeways around LA yesterday. Tomorrow when I venture downtown for theatre and need to make time, I'll be crawling. Yesterday when all I wanted was to be slow, still trying to photograph that surfboard on the I-10Eastbound that I've been racing by four times in the past week, traffic was uncharacteristically non-existent.

So today I took a less oil-squandering tour around the internet - trying not to watch too many SNL spots. There I found this lovely, contemplative and for me right now, oh so relevant blog about photography, shows and photo books, The Space In Between, by German writer/photographer Stacy Oborn.

Truly fascinating: her article on two very different photographers as they adventure down diverse paths to the making of a photographic book. http://the-space-in-between.com/2009/01/14/one-thing-done-two-ways-elijah-gowin-and-james-luckett-on-making-a-book/