Lens: Canon 100mm 2.8 macro
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Chicken Ranch Central
[Dennis] Hof goes on to say that the ban is inappropriate because prostitution is largely legal in Nevada. “LinkedIn has all of a sudden got morals and they decided that worldwide they want to take prostitution off their site. Well that’s great, but it’s legal here in Nevada in certain places.” Christie Summers, a college graduate who works as a “Bunny” at the ranch, is equally outraged at the decision. “I don’t think its very fair because I do this legally. I graduated from the University of Michigan recently and I do this legally. I get tested every week and I work hard,” said Summers, whose profile was also removed.Nothing against Christie Summers, since I don't know her and have never heard of her before, but Dennis Hof is hardly a paragon of moral virtue. He's the owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada, which was the location of the HBO reality series "Cathouse." And let me tell you, Hoff is so slimy the TV remote slipped from my hands whenever he was onscreen. If this were the 70s, he'd be one of those guys wearing an unbuttoned leisure suit with a big, ugly gold medallion dangling on his chest. Suffice to say, I'm not terribly bent out of shape about him getting booted from the site. Still, had Linked In ruled the other way and allowed prostitution profiles to remain on their site if the profile was posted from areas where the practice remains legal, I can't help but chuckle at the hijinks that could ensue. Linked In has a feature called "Endorsements," where folks in your network and recommend you for proficiency in a certain skill set. For example, I have an array of endorsements for Publications, Editing, Journalism and Press Releases. Were prostitution allowed on the site, I can barely contain my laughter at the thought of recommendations for Fellatio, Around-The-World, Threesomes and goodness knows what else... Now Playing: Earth, Wind and Fire The Eternal Dance
The Army is investigating Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen, a sexual abuse educator at Fort Hood in Texas, for allegedly running a small-time prostitution ring and for the sexual assault of another soldier, senior military officials have confirmed. .... Investigators believe that McQueen, 37, persuaded a female private first class to become a prostitute who sold sex to other servicemembers, according to a senior defense official and Capitol Hill staffer who have been briefed on the investigation.I lived and worked in Temple for close to a decade, and visited Fort Hood many times, so this hits a little close to home. If the allegations are proven true, then this guy is the worst kind of predator, preying on those vulnerable victims he's supposed to be protecting. I have no sympathy for people like that. The other story making the rounds takes the cake for oddness. A prostitution ring was broken up at a New Jersey retirement home, with police arresting the ringleader--a 75-year-old man.
The suspects, 75-year-old James Parham and his neighbor and assumed accomplice, 66-year-old Cheryl Chaney, have been accused of allowing others to use crack in their apartments and have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a nuisance. Chaney had an additional penalty for possessing crack cocaine. .... Parham’s nuisance charge stems from encouraging and permitting prostitution on the premises. Authorities state Parham admitted to running a prostitution ring out of the complex, employing some of the elderly residents along with a few younger women with addiction problems from the neighborhood as sex workers, according to NBC 4 New York News.It's almost laughable, the very idea of geriatric prostitution, until you look further and realize many of the residents were low income and disabled, essentially prisoners in their homes because of the rampant illegal activity and dangerous characters haunting their building because of this vice ring. Crack and prostitution does not equal a safe environment for anyone. It's certainly not anything like the Chicken Ranch, which offered a measure of safety for the women who ended up working there. It will be interesting to see if the investigations in these cases result in charges against any of the men who actually paid for sex. Dollars to donuts says they don't, because that's how these cases usually go. Now Playing: Dick Dale and the Del-Tones King of the Surf Guitar: The Best of Dick Dale
your images were a decent B which is what the 85 is but didn't reflect much workOh, it's on. Just because something looks easy doesn't mean it was easy. That, coupled with the fact that some students turned in random images with bad white balance and camera shake got better grades really, really pissed me off. Don't throw arbitrary parameters at me to justify an unfair grade. Now, some of you may think an 85 is nothing to get worked up about. In most cases, that's true. But I wasn't taking these classes as a lark. I wanted to become a better photographer, but by this point I'd realized I wasn't going to be "taught" anything I didn't already know. In the absence of actual learning, I wanted to earn an A, come hell or high water. So I'd tried to play the game his way, and gotten smacked down for it. Fine. If he insisted on giving me a B or C, then he'd do it on my terms. So that inspired my Missing Persona project, a narrative photographic series that amounted to me double-dog-daring him to say it didn't look like I put much effort into it. He gave me a 91--which is fine, on the surface. But several people I sit near went into fits of laughter, as other assignments scored higher than mine, despite lack of white balance control, compositional coherence or even a discernible narrative element, despite that being the prime element in the assignment. To make matters worse, my grade remained a B, and even if I scored a 91 on the final and another 91 on the nebulous "class participation" element of our grade, I'd still end up with a B. Clearly, it was time for the dreaded triple-dog-dare: Infrared levitation. The stakes were higher. With this series, I challenged him for the entire course grade, daring him to give me anything less than an A. I knew good and well that this series was beyond his ability, that although he could learn, this was my turf and game, set and match were on my terms. During our mandatory class consultation, I showed him one, simple preliminary print, and he immediately tried to dissuade me from this project. Oh, he wasn't so blatant as to tell me no after I'd asked repeatedly if there were any technical or subject restrictions for this project ("No LOL cats" was his only answer). But he did try to convince me that the series would be more striking and more surreal if I didn't use infrared. Laughable. That's like telling Napoleon he'd be more successful if he'd give up the high ground and find a nice swamp to fight in. For our final critique, most of the class was pretty much stunned by my work, except for the few who knew of my private little war, who thought it both amusing and insane for me to invest so much effort on a relatively meaningless class. Not only was Infrared Levitation the most technically and artistically realized final project presented, I'll go so far as to say it lapped the field. Is it arrogant for me to say that? A show of hubris? Maybe, but it's also the truth. I can go through each image and cite a laundry list of shortcomings and mistake and flaws, so I'm not claiming they're perfect or even contest worthy. But they were by far the best images produced in that class this semester. And my prof agreed (although reluctantly, if you'll look at the grade he gave me for participation lab, which is joining discussions in class. Some days, I was the only one discussing anything):
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Blaschke by way of BlossfeldtKarl Blossfeldt (1865-1932), the German photographer who profoundly influenced macro as well as fine art photography in 1928 with his landmark volume, Art Forms in Nature, ironically didn't consider himself a photographer. Nor did he pursue photography as an art form. An enthusiastic amateur, to Blossfeld photography was merely a tool, a means to an end, and he used it as such. The fact that the images he so painstakingly created over a three-decade period were–and remain–jaw-droppingly beautiful is a happy coincidence, and one I am personally grateful for. As a photographer, I have many influences, many photographers of greater artistic vision and skill than my own who I greatly admire. Ansel Adams is one, of course, and Peter Lik is another obvious choice, as I deeply love breathtaking landscape photography. Less obvious are photographers such as Robert W. Wood, Simon Marsden, Elio Ciol and Martin Reeves (especially Reeves) who have done great work using the infrared portion of the spectrum. This appeals to my inclination to photograph that which can't be seen. I am drawn to the unusual, the obscure, the path less traveled. Blossfeldt appeals to this part of me–shooting what isn't visible–as his macro photography undeniably opened up a world normally invisible to the human eye in a way that proved both original and timeless. Blossfeldt possessed an innate artistic instinct, the ability to see elegance and beauty in nature where perhaps none before him had done so. Also possessing a nearly stereotypical German determination and dedication to efficiency, he could not merely create art for art's sake. There needed to be a greater purpose behind it, and for Blossfeldt, that purpose was education. The son of poor farming parents born just before German unification, Blossfeldt did not enjoy the privileged life of German aristocracy. At age 16 he left secondary school to apprentice in a metal work shop, creating decorative cast iron for architecture in distant Berlin. As a boy, he'd spend hours in the countryside studying nature, and his lifelong love of plants served him well in the metal shop. He relied on his keen observation of plant forms to inspire his designs, and his original patterns and forms soon created a demand for his work. His talent was apparent to everyone who came into contact with him, and mentors arranged for him to attend an art academy in Berlin. Blossfeldt's photographic career began around 1886, and true to form, it came about as an expression of pragmatism rather than artistry. One day, the art academy director visited Blossfeldt's drawing class and carefully examined a detailed sketch of a many-faceted dragonfly wing Blossfeldt had created. Instead of heaping praise on the young man, the director dismissed the details as "hocus pocus." Distressed by the director's refusal to believe the drawing was accurate and life-like, Blossfeldt stayed up all night creating a blown up photograph of the dragonfly wing to prove his point. This tenacious determination alone would be enough to make Blossfeldt my photographic hero, regardless of the quality of his photography. I strongly identify with this obsessive need to prove himself when dismissed by others, and have applied it to my photography as well as other endeavors in my life. I would not go so far as to claim we are kindred spirits–I do happen to enjoy creating photography for the sake of creation–but I do understand at least a tiny part of what makes him tick. In any event, this technique served him well in later years when he became an instructor at that same academy. As Blossfeldt had years before while apprenticing in the metal shop, the art academy relied on the forms of plants to instruct and inspire its students. To this end, the school maintained an extensive collection of dried specimens for reference. The collection took up a great deal of space, however, and proved very fragile and impractical to use. As an instructor, Blossfeldt hit upon the idea of using photographic references instead of the actual plants, and created a homemade plate camera with an extendable bellows that allowed magnification of subjects up to 45 times. He converted his office at the academy to a makeshift studio and dark room and devoted himself to photography in order to make himself the best teacher he could possibly be. Blossfeldt made macro images of plants he'd find on many excursions to the German countryside and beyond in his classes, examples he presented to architectural and design students, showing that all of the various styles and inventions of humanity had already been well-tested by nature. I intend to approach my subject matter in a similar fashion. I have dabbled in macro photography over the years, but never in a formal setting. I've never planned, never prepared for any macro shot until this course. I find myself emulating Blossfeldt in several ways on this project, first and foremost, developing a predatory eye for interesting plants and other subjects. Whereas Blossfeldt prowled the German countryside, I find myself slamming on the brakes whilst driving down a Texas farm road, because a stand of Texas thistles has just burst into bloom. Or parking in a no parking zone on the Texas State campus, because the perfect red yucca specimen three levels up in the planter caught my eye. Or combing through the thorny branches of huisache trees in order to find the perfect feathery blossom. I have carried home more dirty, twisty, spiny, thorny, bristly and bushy plant matter in the past month than I ever thought possible. And here's a secret: Once you start looking at the world this way, you can't turn it off. Even with my project complete and my prints finished and in the box, I still find myself collecting bits and pieces to save for future shoots. Despite the similarities in our methods of collecting subject matter, the conditions under which Blossfeldt and myself are taking our photographs are quite different. Blossfeldt worked in his academy studio using diffused natural light–sunlight either from above or directly in front–which necessitated extremely long exposures for the high magnifications and narrow apertures he photographed his subjects with. The slightest breeze would result in unacceptable blur in his images. Although other macro photographers of the time used artificial light, Blossfeldt did not. He eschewed impressionistic photographic techniques. His goal was not to impart any emotional quality to the subjects. Instead, he preferred stark, even clinical representations of his subjects to isolate the forms. First and foremost, Blossfeldt considered his images as teaching aids. I, on the other hand, am benefitting from the convenience of modern technology. While my studio setup is pitifully makeshift compared to Blossfeldt's, it did serve my purpose and give me the ability to leverage my available equipment to its maximum potential. The "studio" consisted of two pieces of left over foam core, one wrapped in foil to serve as a reflector and the other with a sheet of black felt tacked to it to serve as a background. I used a kneaded eraser to support larger, upright subjects, and used four-inch head pins with a dab of rubber cement to support smaller subjects suspended against the backdrop. Primary photography was accomplished with a Canon Elan 7ne 35mm camera, with test shots completed with a Canon 7D digital SLR. A Canon 100mm 2.8 macro lens was used exclusively, occasionally coupled with a Vivitar 2x telextender. Unlike Blossfeldt, I had no aversion to artificial lighting, using a Canon 580EX II speedlite on perhaps 90 percent of my photos. Off-camera lighting was aided by Cybersync radio triggers. In the end, I have created a portfolio of macro work that is both formal and aesthetic. Despite the influence of Blossfeldt and obvious visual cues, my work is distinctly separate from his. In fact, out of the dozens of prints I made in the darkroom (and the hundreds more shots I took that I never developed) a grand total of one vaguely resembled the imaging and print style of Blossfeldt, and I stumbled across that quite accidentally rather than by intent. And, to my knowledge, other than that initial dragonfly photograph Blossfeldt used to plead his case to the art academy director, he never used insects as subject matter, whereas I find them equally fascinating–and in some cases far more alien–than the engrossing plant matter I have shot. Despite my working in the 35mm format, I believe I have achieved a high degree of sharpness and detail in my images, revealing much of what is not normally seen. In choosing a black background for the majority of my images, I have intentionally opted for a high-contrast image, one that is eye-catching and presents the elements of the subject in a pleasing and striking manner. Seeing the unseen excites me, and I have accomplished what I set out to do. This final project constitutes the best macro work I have ever done, so much so that I am now looking into acquiring extension tubes and focusing rails with which to continue my macro explorations and take my future work to the next level.
Advanced Traditional Photography 3361
by Jayme Blaschke