Dale Yudelman’s Very Serious Humor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 22, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Dale Yudelman is an award-winning South African photographer who has the instincts of a comic novelist able to tell a serious story while playing to your sense of humor.  Like Rian Malan and other artists of his generation, he left South Africa when it was intolerable and returned when the country embarked on its democratic path.  Since the mid-1990s, several of his projects have gained an international audience, but it is long past time that he be recognized as one of the foremost street and social documentary photographers on the planet.

The artistic stakes are high in a country with as poignant a history as South Africa, but even when Yudelman is funny — funny like Elliott Erwitt is funny — he never hides behind irony.  He’ll show things as they are — see on his website, under the project called “Reality Bytes,” the man who’s crashed his car and been projected through his windshield, though the little girl in the foreground seems more amazed that a photographer is taking a picture than she is at the accident itself.

He’ll show the country as it is:

Even as he also captures his Cape Town environment at its most romantic:

Fortunately for some high school students in Cleveland, he was in the States last autumn teaching photography — a white South African in post-Ferguson America, living in Cleveland when a 12-year old black boy could be shot by police while playing with a toy gun.  Welcome to America. He calls the resulting project “Knocking On Cleveland’s Door,” and you should go see it: here.

To our knowledge, there are no books by Yudelman in print in the States.  But there should be.  The only book of his work that we can find, Life Under Democracy, is selling used on Amazon for $1000.  A steep price for an introduction to a photographer’s work.  A bargain, though, when you realize he is a contemporary master worthy of joining the canon.

To see more of Dale Yudelman’s work, go here.

Mistah Tulip Frenzy – He Dead

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 18, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Life is filled with choices.  Last week, we chose to be at the Tidal Basin on the sunny evening in order to catch the Cherry Blossom Frenzy.  Of course, we said, we’d be able to get to see the tulips this weekend in their customary frenzy, like so:

2015 Tulips Supplement 1

And yet upon arrival at Dumbarton Oaks this afternoon, we found this:

2015 Tulips-3

We missed the Tulip Frenzy!  In fairness to us, the weather pattern has the flora and fauna confused, and the camellia bush that always blooms by Easter just bloomed.  But sadly, this was the best we could find:

2015 Tulips

Wait, You Think The Tulip Frenzy Is This Weekend…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 17, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Blossoms 2015

Wire, Last Of The Class Of ’77 British Punk Bands, Returns Anew With A Gorgeous Album

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 17, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Next year, when Wire celebrates its 40th birthday as a working band, only they and the Fleshtones may be entitled to lay claim to having played CBGB in its prime and still be intact.  Yes, guitarist and guiding spirit Bruce Gilbert left in 2003, but the core of Colin Newman, Robert (Gotobed) Grey, and Graham Lewis have just released their 14th album, the eponymous Wire.  It should be no surprise to readers of Tulip Frenzy that it is melodically beautiful, occasionally thrilling, and completely worthwhile.  We still haven’t listened to the new Calexico, because Wire is the only band we can listen to this week, on our iPad, in the car, at home before the computer.

Forget the Halley’s Comet reunions of the Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols, and even that ephemeral episode where Magazine thrillingly came back from the dead.  Of the British bands who set our ears on fire in the late ’70s, it is only Wire that we have been able to rely on, at least since they reformed in the mid-’80s following their having been dropped by EMI upon the release of their third album, and masterpiece, 154. That album was the most fascinating document of a fascinating era: Wire’s three-chord rhumba having given way to gorgeous Eno-inflected experimentation all within the construct of pop songs, on an album that symbolically closed the punk era they’d helped create by being titled with the address of New York’s preeminent disco.

Since Gilbert left in the early Aughts, his replacement, Matthew Simms, plays with, not against the grain, and sure, something is lost in the process, same as the way Pere Ubu was never the same without Tom Herman, the Stones without Mick Taylor.  But on three successive albums, particularly 2011’s Red Barked Tree, and 2013’s Change Becomes Us, the band has touched past glories and updated the story.  With Wire, the foursome consolidate much of their gains in an upbeat, occasionally beautiful record that is more than a reminder of what has been.

Colin Newman has always been a schizophrenic vocalist as comfortable playing the Cockney punk as the pretty-voiced pop singer.  On the new one, it’s really all the latter, a series of songs for adults to listen to on a late-night car ride when they want to stay awake and engaged but not on edge.  We might not rave about it the way we did Change Becomes Us, but we welcome it, and Wire, as old friends, here for the long haul.

People Taking Pictures Of Themselves Taking Pictures Of People Taking Pictures

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 13, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Blossoms 2015i

All pictures taken by the Leica M and either the 28mm Summicron or 50mm APO-Summicron-Asph.

Since the advent of the iPhone, the Tidal Basin at Cherry Blossom time has taken on a frenzied atmosphere, as crowds press in to have their pictures taken, by others or themselves.

Blossoms 2015d

Even when beauties show up for their portraits, it’s hard to believe their friends can get a clean shot without several smartphones in the foreground.

Blossoms 2015g

Oh sure, there are faces that can be isolated from the crowd.

Blossoms 2015h

And sometimes it’s fun to see people posing amidst the blossom frenzy.

Blossoms 2015e

But the advent of Selfie Sticks is a pretty horrifying development, and if you note, even the toddler seems to be taking a selfie.

Blossoms 2015c

And then it seems the only way to stand out and have a memorable image taken is to mug for the camera — your own camera.

But as you can tell, it was a lovely night, and after a long winter and a late bloom, the blossoms this year are truly awesome.

Out Into The Morning Light

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 31, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Blacksmith whimsy under parlor curtains.  Usual set up: M-240 and 50mm APO-Summicron-Asph.

Blacksmith Whimsy

Interesting Interview With Damon McMahon of Amen Dunes

Posted in Music with tags on March 31, 2015 by johnbuckley100

The artist and blogger Jane Chardiet (who publishes as Jane Pain) has an interesting interview with Damon McMahon of Amen Dunes.  Read it in full if Love, the amazing album McMahon released last year, affected you half as much as it hit me.  There’s a lot in there, not to mention his talking about wanting to record an album this year that sounds like Warsaw (early Joy Division) meets a countrified Nirvana.

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