Sunday, October 21, 2012

Time of the Auguries

A sign can be an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else.  

Loaded with irony, a sign can also be a source of amusement or distress.

Signs of disconcerting hilarity are abundant in the swamp, and in the beauty salons.

For this augur, the interpretation of omens is a Sunday pastime.
I predict uniforms will be back in style and Diana Vreeland's movie will come to Miami soon.

A sign of the times is something judged to exemplify or indicate the nature or quality of a particular period, typically something unwelcome or unpleasant such as the hair loss on your head.

Signed, sealed and delivered means formally and officially agreed and in effect.
For bloggers it means hit the publish button.

Hard to ignore, signs are often notices publicly displayed giving information or instructions in a written or symbolic form, as with this political add asking you to pull the lever for Hardemon.

But a sign need not be printed words boldface on placards.  Signs are also something regarded as an indication or evidence of what is happening or going to happen, as with the cranes that tower over the swampscape.

A sign of the cross is made in blessing or prayer by tracing a cross from the forehead to the chest and to each shoulder, or in the air in the hopes that all goes well for god's chosen few, such as the new museums dwntwn.

Signs are also each of the twelve equal sections into which the zodiac is divided, named from the constellations formerly situated in each, and associated with successive periods of the year according to the position of the sun on the ecliptic.  The Design District is a Scorpio.

South Beach is a Pisces by day, a Gemini by night.

Whatever the horoscope says, the signs are clear.
South Florida and all its chipmunks will be underwater in 100 years.

But we are too busy replacing perfectly good sidewalks with some version of new and improved WTF.
This corner crossing has been people un-friendly for over a year.

A sign of abandonment, boarded windows near the ocean indicate that someone or something is not present where they should be or are expected to be.

Pigions and sea gull provide other signs of wild things to come with their tracks and droppings  adorning a gutted hotel near the ocean.

A sign of privatization of public commons, South Point in SoBe typifies action or reaction that conveys something about someone's state or experiences, particularly developers and politicians.

Public art in private places, a monumental crankshaft up ended is a metaphor for excess capital.

This contraption is another sign of perceived security, a pataphor, a gesture or action used to convey information or instructions,  such as big blubber is watching.


Alas, a sign can also be a miracle regarded as evidence of supernatural power.

In Swamp We Trust.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Shoot Film Not Bullets

If the Treatise of Versalles was signed to bring an end WW1,  how in blue blazes did a Cuban Restaurant named Versalles on Calle Ocho become ground zero for a rumba beat in favor of going all out War On Cuba.

For casual readers, the backstory is the Cuban-American Saga of Disillusion that is stirred into each super-sweet coffee brewed at Versalles, disillusion woven into every idle conversations spoken in Little Havana and snapshot taken in Moral Gables. For the past 50 years in Miami the cuban political exile experience is edified in the Freedom Tower, our beacon of hope downtown. Recently beautified but still bewitched the Ellis Island of the swamp was also affectionately called Tyrone Power...

But the point of this post is to focus on the task of documenting the dynamics of conflict in past decades.  Not too long ago film was king and to get that shot a photographer had to focused on the technical craft and, of course the chemistry.  It was a messy Weegeean affair but worth the trouble as each contact sheet became the proof that only photography can deliver.  In the field of war photojournalism and cuban-american nostalgia, Jim Nickless is a celebrated guy.  

Jim Nickless gets five stars from me.  Not because he was embedded with the 'freedom fighters" of the infamous botched Bay of Pigs invasion but because he has kept a very professional and unbiased view of the Cuban Revolution.  To put it mildly Nickless today is seasoned to perfection.  The appointer chronicler of an impassioned cadre of ex-patriots,  Nickless could not go wrong having the only cameras on site at the remote jungles and training camps and beachheads of that tragic fateful honorable push to regain Cuba from the clutches of communistic castro.

The vintage photos speak for themselves, romantic in black and white, violent with the musk of bearded rebels and gunpowder.

Of great photographers and lucky ducks, I got a visit from Jim Nickless and 305 legend, Mark Diamond with ladyfriend for the 3-D Show at Swampspace Gallery.

Today the ratio of cameras to shutter-bugs is much changed from 1960. Practically everyone is a photographer a publisher and a critic.  Cameras have become so ubiquitous the only frontier left may be the outer reaches of the inner mind and its forbidden images.

Today military camps are the size of cities,  such as this fine spread somewhere in Afghanistan.

War correspondence is a circus of outrage as seen in the protests of FEMEN in eastern Europe.

Boys become warriors in the Middle East were guns sell like corn-dogs at a county fair here.

There is no place where there is no camera. But sadly there is no microphone for Pussy Riot in Moscow.

Politicos want us to think they know the One and Only Way Forward.
But for every conflict there is resolution if we take a clue from one principal of photographic truth.  Pictures lie.

Politicians give us the thumbs up and that's all very nice from behind bullet-proof glass.

But it's the ratt-tat-tat of machine guns and the glorification of war that I give a thumbs down to.