Katie Brooks, August 2005, Nashville, TN

In January, 2002, on a shoot at the Ryman Audtorium in Nashville, I walked through the backstage door and met Katie Brooks. We’ve been great friends ever since. We’ve shared confidences almost daily, and even though we’ve only actually seen each other “in person” 3 separate times over the years, we’ve come to actualize Aristotle’s definition of Friendship as “one spirit dwelling in two bodies”…Even at a great distance, these days, friendships can flourish. She’s a performer, a songwriter, and the President of a veterans’s service organization. A true Renaissance Woman, Katie’s always in motion. She’s also extremely independent and totally her own truly original person. She’s different than me in background and political and religious beliefs, and in almost every way that usually keeps people apart.. With Katie Brooks, however, none of those things matter…Katie’s pure Light. It’s a joy to know her. Oh, and congrats on her recent (2-24-07) marriage to The Marine Colonel.

Ray Davies’ shoes. Austin City Limits July 24, 2006

For quite some time I’ve been photographing performer’s feet as an interesting detail. I rarely show them to anyone, but this shot, paired with the previous one (#152), tell a much fuller story than either does alone. Our imagination can take a representational shot like this and supply the rest of the image…check out the previous shot on this site and see how close your imagination got you. Ray is a rocker. This fuzzy blurry shot says it….

Ray Davies at Austin City Limits July 24, 2006

Ray Davies, formally headman of The Kinks, performed at ACL last evening, and has been giving interviews and performing at other venues around town too. He’s one of the founders of the dominant popular art form, rock and roll, and he’s got IT, better than ever. He’s really perceptive and gives great interview….London in the 60’s still reverberates down through the decades…. It seems that whenever an art form explodes out of whatever was the construct that preceeded it, it has a vitality that is rarely equaled again. Rock and Roll in England in the early to mid 60’s was one of those periods, it appears. I think that’s why we keep waiting, in vain, for the reappearance of giants like The Beatles. We’re going to have to wait for the next musical art form to burst through the Rock Chrysallis… (Maybe that’s what Rap and Hip Hop is, and I’m just too out of touch to perceive it.)

Texas sunset somewhere off IH -37. July 2004

What is Art, anyway? For me, it’s a celebration of consciousness and a personal comment on the reality each of us finds ourselves living. An image has to sing to some deeper place; and not always harmoniously. In fact, sometimes uneasily or anxiously, or even violently, does the trick really well . The only real test is whether an image successfully conveys experience or emotion or intuition, or sense of place or even placelessness….some larger whole, some hitherto unseen scene…. This is just an ordinary grabshot, but the image, for some reason, sings to me about the nature of Now. Can you discern how I feel about Texas?

The Killers at Austin City Limits 2005

Nice image. The Killers put on a theatrical, visually striking performance. This image works in spite of the main subject being centered. There’s enough depth and interest and layering going on that the usual energy-killing central position actually helps the magical/spiritual-conjuring impact of the shot. Got that? If that sounds like blather, I understand…. If you actually understand me, then our compositional sense is similar, but not necessarily Right….

Times Square Portrait, New York, June 2004

I was in New York to shoot an attorney’s portrait, and was fascinated by the numerous sketch artists churning out quick commercial charcoal and pencil sketches for the tourists. When I was there, very late one warm busy June evening, all of the hard-working artists were from China. Each of them had an interesting story; the guy who sketched me was formerly a professor at an Art Institute in Shanghai. For $20-30 they would crank out a quick rough likeness in about 10-15 minutes. The level of artist’s skill varied widely. What I like about this shot is the depiction of the revealing nature of the idealization, and just plain lying, that goes on in portraiture. First, make the eyes at least twice as big as they really are. Then bring everything to an idealization of what’s there and erase all defects. Everybody’s happy and no one’s hurt… How cheeeesy…

Townes Van Zandt 1985 Austin, TX

I haven’t posted anything for a while; so let’s break out some oldies… Here’s Townes. In Austin, and in songwriting circles elsewhere, he’s attained mythological stature. I knew him as the really great songwriter who could drink more than anyone I’ve ever been around and still function. Townes pushed the Inspiration/Intoxication dichotomy as far as it could be pushed, to its logical conclusion. Townes had a wicked gleam in his eye. He was alive, as much as anyone. He was a rare poet with a sardonic wit. He was a Pisces, like me. I understood and liked him, a lot.