Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RayKo 3rd International Plastic Camera Show review

Nice that the San Franciso Chronicle covered RayKo's 3rd International Plastic Camera Show, and it's also nice to be featured along with Carlos Arietta, Michael Borek, Rachel Fox, Jan Watten and Layven Reguero. Notice that the writer mistook the camera setting 'bulb' for 'bold'. FYI on the reference to my photo that is 'perhaps a jail'--actually it's SRI International a think tank.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

free photo offer

Jesus Saves Houston--8"x8" on tracing paper

I'll send this photo to the first person that responds by email. Must provide a shipping address either in the US or Canada only. Do not leave your information in the comments--send it to my email address:

UPDATE: C Gary Moyer clocked in at 3:13 my time and wins the photo. Stay tuned for other offers.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The mess that is the press

Well the story of my confronting a Palo Alto police officer over the right to take photographs in a public setting is in today's Palo Alto Daily Post. What a mess they made of it.

"Dispute over Pix"
by Austin Walsh, Palo Alto Daily Post

"Bystanders cheered when a police officer yesterday told a retired photographer to back away while taking pictures of a man who had fallen and injured himself on a downtown Palo Alto street, according to police. The photographer, Bob Holmgren of Menlo Park, said he didn't violate any laws, but claimed the officer told him that backing away would be the moral thing to do.

Holmgren, 64, said that he called 911 immediately after the man fell outside Lytton Roasting Company coffee shop at Lytton Avenue and Waverley Street at 10:20 am yesterday. Holmgren then began taking pictures and continued to snap away when medics arrived a prepared to take the man to Stanford Hospital. Holmgren said he decided to take the pictures in case the man wanted to sue.

A police spokeswoman, officer Marianna Villaescusa, confirmed that officer Nanell Newbom told Holmgren to back off, and that the bystanders cheered. Vallaescusa said she couldn't confirm that Newbom had asked Holmgren to pull back on moral grounds, but said the officer had legal ground to have him get out of the way of medics. "II didn't hear any cheering when she asked me to back up," said Holmgren "and if there was a comment about interfering, I would have complied." Holmgren added that he was using a zoom lens which allowed him to stay more than 10 feet away."

Here's what's wrong:
1. They had their own reporter on the scene from the beginning. The reporter told me today that she doesn't remember hearing anyone cheer. There goes their lede. People cheered--so what, I don't expect people to know their legal rights in such a situation--I do. The issue is whether I have the legal right to take photos. If people indeed cheered--confirmed by no one--who knows the reason for their behavior unless someone asks. No one asked. Suppose they booed the officer. You think a police spokesperson would use that on my behalf? Perhaps as their last official act.
UPDATE: I've asked the woman who was attending to the person who was injured about whether she heard anyone cheer--she doesn't. Thus far only the police officer heard cheering while 3 others at the scene report no such activity.

2. I was never told to back up. It was requested that I stop taking pictures. I don't have a legal right to stand in a particular spot and I know that. My claim had solely to do with the right to take photos in a public place. What kind of idiot refuses to back up when asked by a police officer? What kind of idiot reporter refuses to report my version of events but happily tells readers what someone not there thought happened?

3. My cell phone recorded the 911 call at 10:06 not 10:20. If we accept their timeline--also confirmed by police--I called before the accident happened. So much for press and police accuracy, but it is a step in the direction of time travel. I'm putting in for either a Pulitzer or Nobel prize.

4. I told the reporter that it wasn't necessary to give a reason for the photos but among the possible uses would be for their news value or for a potential lawsuit. This got interpreted to mean that I was only looking to support a lawsuit.

6. A police spokesperson is in no position to confirm what an officer said. Why not ask for confirmation that I was always at least 10 feet away, or that I was obligated to listen for cheers to determine how to respond. The spokesperson can't assert knowledge in one instance and not another without it becoming obvious that she simply prefers one narrative over another.

UPDATE: The paper published my letter in response. End of story.


Thanks Holgablog!

War on Photography

Sometimes things just fall into your lap. Here's a photo of events outside my coffee shop this morning shortly after I arrived. An old guy tripped and fell on his face. As several customers pitched in to treat his wounds and comfort him I called 911. We watched a city EMT unit drive past and wave and then a couple of police cars had to be waved down. Ten minutes later help arrived. I think he's going to be alright since his vital signs seemed pretty good.

As I took photos a female police officer suggested I wasn't welcome to do so. I firmly pushed back telling her that as long as I wasn't interfering I had the legal right to continue taking pictures. I then asked if she knew the law. Without answering the question directly she said her comments were based on morality--the morality of imagining what someone else may not want anyone to see--at which I suggested her job was legal in nature and perhaps removing the uniform would be a more appropriate way to address the moral issues. A reporter from the Palo Alto Daily Post was having coffee at that time of the accident and immediately went into reporting mode. After the confrontation with the police officer she then interviewed me about events. I suspect this may have some news value for tomorrow's edition.

Here's a handy guide to your photography rights.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fotofest III

At Fotofest's Meeting Place participants await the signal that the time begins for a new round of reviewers.

Reviewers in action, such as it is.

The Sunday night event allows the public to interact with photographers displaying their wares. Here Dr. Paul Greenberg discusses his panoramas with an interested party.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fotofest II

The venue--Fotofest headquarters off downtown Houston. Getting there with a few fellow photographers was an adventure. We hailed a taxi outside of our hotel. The driver was a pleasant Somli man who had no idea where we wanted to go, but was happy to drive around somewhat aimlessly until one of our group pulled out a GPS phone and gave turn by turn directions.

Richard Mosse showed massive prints from his series on Iraq. You have to admire the technique, vision and bravery to pull this off.

Much of contemporary photography seems geared towards inducing depression. A little, okay, but it dulls the senses over time.

Lots to take in. Time for a break--let's follow the red carpet to the VIP tent. Opps, sorry, I thought I was important...sure I'll keep moving. It looked dull anyway so nothing lost.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fotofest I

Fotofest, the biannual gathering of photographers and those interested in the topic, convened in Houston on March 12th. Photographers interested in showing their wares to galleries, curators, publishers and the like have an opportunity to do so during Fotofest by signing up in advance for one of four four-day get togethers they call The Meeting Place. This year I attended for the first time in the first session of The Meeting Place. I hope to do a series of posts that show some of the activity.

Following the first day of reviews Fotofest kicks off the month long event with a party/gallery opening. Not sure about that line 'Literacy Through Photography". According to my understanding literacy is the ability to read and write.

Jason Lazarus was among the exhibiting photographers.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jeff Bridges

From time to time I'll check in on Jeff Bridge's wonderfully wacky website. He's also a very fine photographer with a Widelux. Seems appropriate to have a look around after being given the Academy Award for best actor. Take it away Jeff...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rayko 3rd International Plastic Camera Show

I think I got all of them. Click to see larger version of each photo.