March 27, 2017

Self-Portraits

Filed under: black & white photography,People — j0jgvm89bj @ 12:46 pm

These days selfies seem to be a big deal. They’re devoted primarily to social media sites. I suppose it’s a form of self portraiture, but despite the urging of friends and colleagues, other than this blog, I have never subscribed to social media. I have however, made self portraits ever since I’ve been using a camera.

I suspect the self portrait goes back as far as early man painting on cave walls. It’s certainly something the classic art masters did occasionally. What drives the urge is anyone’s guess, but self portraits have much to say about the person making them. It may be egotistical or just playful. My involvement has been sporadic yet impulsive.

Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery in Nags Head has hosted an artist self-portrait exhibition for 22 years. This year’s show runs from April 1 through May 11, and it’s always entertaining and fun. One of my previous entries was shot in 1974 while I took my 1964 Volkswagen searching for waves on Ocracoke Island. Once I reduced air pressure in the tires, my Microbus easily went anywhere on the beach. With a tripod-mounted Yashica, I tripped the shutter using the self timer and Pan-X film.

For this year’s entry I chose a self-inflicted photo from 2013 when I was attending a seminar in Washington, DC. After a day of hearing some presentations by some of the world’s finest photographers, I found myself socializing with a few others at the beautiful home of Tim Kelly the National Geographic Society president. After a while, I excused myself to the restroom on the main floor.

Going inside I was immediately captivated by the effect of mirrors on all four walls of the tiny room. I have not really been one of those photographers taking their camera everywhere, but this was an exception. I put on my best passport face and shot with a Panasonic GF1.

April 23, 2016

Greatest Generation

Filed under: black & white photography,military,People — j0jgvm89bj @ 4:29 pm

Coined by journalist Tom Brokaw, those that grew up through the depression and then experienced the Second World War are known as the Greatest Generation. They were also the parents of baby boomers like me.

1942

My mother and father married in Annapolis in 1942, after dad joined the Navy. Early on, he was gone a lot, and mom was on her own taking care of the babies. A few years after I was born, we moved from California to Japan. There were tours in the states, Newfoundland and Guam. We moved around as a military family, and it was an interesting life growing up. There were trials and tribulations, but it was the time of our lives.

Dad passed away in 2001, five months before 9-11. Mom died just recently on April 12th at the age of 92. She lives on in me and my siblings. With Mothers Day approaching, I recall a poem I read to her recently. It was written by a dear friend, Louis Richard Batzler.

TO MOTHER

In your womb you formed my body,

At birth in your pain you released me,

To begin my earthly journey,

To manifest my destiny,

Then in my helpless infancy,

You nursed, nurtured wonderfully,

My body, mind and spirit gently,

As years went by so swiftly,

Your presence ever lovingly,

Guided and guarded my ways,

Throughout my nights and days,

With countless unheralded displays,

Of kind care and encouraging praise,

How can I express my gratitude,

For the magnitude and multitude,

Of all the ways you blessed my being?

It’s beyond all speaking and all seeing,

Such thankfulness is ineffable,

I can only say my heart is full,

Of love for you and that you shall be,

Always present in my memory,

For such a love as yours for me,

Lives on throughout eternity.

 

January 25, 2016

Winter Storm

Filed under: black & white photography,history,Outer Banks,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 3:14 pm

Last week, forecasters predicted a low pressure system to develop into a major winter storm for the east coast. Things turned out as expected with snow dumped to the north of us in dramatic amounts. At home, we had just over an inch of cold rain backed by some gale force winds. Oceanfront properties were threatened by large waves but little damage. Sound front properties saw tide surges of about 3 feet as west winds kicked in.

houseOn Saturday the seas were still running with strong westerlies blowing into the swells. This house at Mirlo Beach was awfully close to the action.

wavesThe surf and clouds were stunning.

offshoreWave tops were feathering nicely.

cemeterySadly on the sound side, seas were once again beating the shoreline at an old family cemetery in the Salvo day use area. Headstones and crypts were inundated and falling in the water. Other than that, this winter storm posed no serious problems.

The biggest winter storm I’ve seen here occurred 35 years ago in March of 1980. A coastal low was right on us as temperatures plummeted below freezing, accompanied by a foot of snow with northeast winds gusting to a hundred miles an hour. The blizzard brought white out conditions with zero visibility. Sea tide mixed with floating ice and snow flowed through Rodanthe.

hwy 12Bruce Midgett rescued Robin Gerald from his old house surrounded by 3 feet of tide and drove him to higher ground.

cottageThe Queen Cottage was one of the few oceanfront houses in north Rodanthe. I took this picture from the roof of my place with a 400mm lens. The cottage was eventually washed away in a later storm and no longer exists.

oceanAs seas washed around the Queen Cottage, I shot this picture from the deck. The ocean was breaking all the way to the horizon.

my houseLooking back from the Queen Cottage I photographed my house amid streets of sea water and ice.

I had never seen a storm like that before, nor have I seen one quite like it since.

 

September 27, 2015

The Creek

Back in the day, I used to love hanging out at the Rodanthe Creek. Originally built as a Pamlico Sound access for the Coast Guard, it was bulkheaded and was one of the few protected harbors for local fishermen to use. It was always fascinating to see what they were catching.

It was also a good spot for honing my photography. I bought Kodak Panatomic-X black and white film in 100 foot spools and rolled my own 35mm cassettes. Then I’d develop the film at home in the darkroom. The creek was only a few hundred yards away from my house.

I’ve never shown these photographs from this period before, and it’ll never be like that again.

Dale A young Dale Midgett ran the fish house. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and packed fish for wholesaler Jimmy Austin.

derelicts Derelict boats were part of the landscape.

derelicts 2 John Herbert’s sail skiff sat high and dry on shore. It was one of my favorite boats with classic lines, and was featured in my New Inlet and Skiff photo, shot in 1979.

mojon Harry Midgett’s trawler was at the dock for much needed maintenance. He eventually took it shrimping to the Gulf of Mexico, where I heard it sank and was lost.

boat I don’t know who owned this workboat, but I admired it’s design and narrow stern.

nets bruce m                  Bruce Midgett prepared his nets at one of the fish houses on the north side of the creek.

pound net Bruce and Dale set up pound nets a mile out in the sound.

Bruce Bruce loved fishing the pound nets.

Jobob                                                            Joe Fegundes, known as Jobob, was also fishing from the Creek.

Corley Ed Corely was an avid fisherman. I helped him for a few months. It was hard work. Ed moved to Coos Bay, Oregon to work on an ocean trawler. On a New Years Eve, he went down with the boat and was never found.

Selby jr                                                             Selby Gaskins, Jr. was always helping out at the fish house.

GlenMartin Maestas and Glen Boykin were gill netting from this Privateer. Fiberglass boats had become more common than the traditional wooden boats. Glen married Selby Jr’s sister, Teresa, and I shot their wedding.

Irvin                                                             Irvin Midgett was another young fisherman, and still fishes some today. He runs a successful campground and is always willing to help others.

Dale net dale m                 Back then, Dale Midgett made a decent livelihood as a fisherman.

Mac's rig One of my favorite shots was taken of Mac Midgett’s haul seine rig. In a way, it symbolizes the best of times.

September 16, 2014

Vintage Surf

Filed under: beach,black & white photography,history,People,surfing — j0jgvm89bj @ 6:48 pm

It’s been a year since my lifelong friend, Robin, passed away, so I’ve been contemplating our relationship and good times. It’s hard to believe it’s over and done. We all have opportunities to love and enjoy life, and Robin certainly did. What a gift!

His worldly possessions have been dispersed as he wanted. Among the items he left me was a fairly large collection of photographs. He was many things, hunter-gatherer, prolific reader, jack of all trades and surfer. Most people don’t realize the amount of photography he produced.

I spent last winter going over thousands of photos he made since his early teens. Many of those images were inconsequential personal memories, but there are many that have merit.

northside Taken from the north jetty.

Of particular interest to me are Robin’s photographs contained in an album from his early days surfing at Indian River Inlet in Delaware. I didn’t know him then, but it’s about the time I learned to surf a 9’6” Bing there. It was a good wave and a good place for a young surfer to make friends and integrate into a new lifestyle.

These old Polaroid photographs taken in 1967 and ’68 are one-of-a-kind originals.

longboards I think Robin is on the far right, the others are unidentified.

surfari I don’t know where this Polaroid was taken, but it looks typical of rural Delaware.            A 19 year old Robin stands between two unidentified friends while changing a flat tire.

gemini 1 A few years later, surfboards got a lot smaller. Robin took this snapshot of his team mates from Gemini Surf Shop out of Rehoboth Beach, perhaps about 1970. Dave Isaacs, Gary Revel, Jeff Ammons, Bryant Clark, Brent Clark, Skip Savage, Karl Gude and one unidentified. Who knows who he is?

When most people take a picture, they don’t realize they’re making a historical record. As a photographer, I didn’t intend the pictures I took many years ago become history. But in retrospect, I see a lot of value in old photographs, the older the better. If I had it to do all over again, I would opt to do much more shooting of people or things that I routinely took for granted.