Archive for October 2008

Just a quick post here tonight on the eve of Halloween. Things have been hectic for the past couple of weeks, with my family visiting me here, but my sister and niece went back home today so things are a bit quieter and I’ve begun to sort through the things that have piled up. My mom will still be here for a few more days.

Not too much to report on photographic matters. I did buy some picture frame parts (two 20 x 24’s, three 16 x 20’s) so that I can display some more of my photos – both my own and the ones I’ve purchased for my collection – here at home. I’ll pick up the glass and foam core backings tomorrow. I also plan to resubscribe to B&W magazine along with the guide that lists photographic shows and events here in New York and elsewhere. I am going to try to get into the swing of things photographically again.

The photo at the top is a set-up I walk past on the way to the subway each day I go to work. It’s been in the front yard of that particular house for a number of years in the days before Halloween so I thought I’d take a photo of it. I’m also posting a photo I made recently in Brooklyn Heights of some pumpkins on a building’s landing - just part of the Halloween season.
Finally, I've decided to also post my old Halloween chestnut - Charlye Rayne and Nemesis looking wicked like witches on a broom. Happy Halloween, everyone!

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The visit of my family to New York continues for another week, but yesterday I went out on my own and had a day devoted to photography. The primary thing I planned to do was attend the annual PhotoPlus photo equipment show at the Javits Center, and I was able to do so, though I arrived later than planned.

The day started with a necessary trip to the post office to pick up some packages. Then it was back home to grab a bite to eat, followed by the 14 block walk to the subway station and a ride into Manhattan. My first location there was the Staley-Wise gallery to see the Patrick Demarchelier show on its final day. I’d seen his work exhibited before, but it’s always good to see beautiful black & white fashion and nude imagery again. (The photo at the left was one of the photos in the show.)

I had been unaware of this exhibition (hence my seeing it on the last day) and thus missed the opening night reception last month. Normally the photographer whose work is being shown is at the opening, so I was upset at missing it, as I have a couple of Demarchelier’s books that I would like to get autographed. I mentioned this to the receptionist and she told me that he actually wasn’t there that night, so now I don’t feel so bad. There should be another exhibit of his work in the springtime, she said, so perhaps I’ll have another chance.

Speaking of books, the gallery had an advance copy of Demarchelier’s latest book, a career retrospective that should be released next month. (Click here to see the Amazon page.) After seeing it, I’m pretty sure that I’ll have a third book of his in my collection. It’s a big, heavy tome, printed on heavy glossy paper, and it’s filled with gorgeous fashion, nude and portrait images. If you’re interested in such things, try to take a look.

After the gallery, I went up to PhotoPlus. This is a show that I’ve been attending for over a dozen years, but during the past several years, it’s been of less and less interest to me as everything is turning to digital. It was no different this year. I walked past one exhibitor after another featuring digital equipment or dealing with digital workflow. The only one that seemed to have anything to do with film was Kodak, which had a smaller set-up than in years past. I don’t even remember seeing Ilford (though by virtue of my late arrival, I didn’t get to see everything.)

I even went to the Pentax area to see if they had anything new regarding my camera, the Pentax 67. When I didn’t see anything on display, I asked one of the Pentax people where the 67 display case was. “We don’t make any more film cameras,” she told me. The first word that entered my head was “Shit!!!,” but I just told her that I use the 67 and that I plan to continue using it with film.

Still, going to the event was useful for a few things. I renewed my lapsed subscription to American Photo magazine at a special show rate. (I could have renewed my lapsed subscription to Popular Photography, too, but as that magazine is pretty much all about digital media now, I no longer have an interest in it.) I also ordered a 16 x 20 portfolio case transport bag from Light Impressions. This is something I’ve been wanting to get, and the company was offering show attendees a 15% discount through the end of the month, but by ordering it right then and there, the guy I dealt with gave me free shipping, too.

Going back to books, I added a couple to my collection – again, at a discount. Yesterday was the only day I was able to attend the event, but it was also the last day. Sometimes, exhibitors with items for sale will offer them at a discount at the end simply to cut down on the number of items they need to carry back – and such was the case with Aperture, which was offering 50% off all of their books. I saw three copies of Sebastiao Salgado’s Workers, a book that had long been on my wish list but was always too expensive. (I remember seeing the exhibit at ICP a number of years ago and it was one of the best show of photographs that I have ever seen.) Two of them were the softcover edition, but one was the hardcover, which I had not seen for a long long time. With the half-price discount, I could no longer resist (and the Aperture people even thanked me for taking such a heavy book off of their hands!) I also got Jock Sturges’ new book, Misty Dawn.

Thinking of my own photography, I spent some time at the booth for Blurb, the book self-publishing company. I met a fellow who has used them to make a number of books and he said he was very happy with them. Today I looked through Blurb’s store and I see that some people I know have created some books with them, so perhaps I’ll write to ask their opinions. I may also use Blurb to make an album of the BW photos I took at my cousin’s wedding a few years ago, just to see how their products look. One thing is certain: once I get finished developing my backlog of film, I need to spend time working on a book project of my own – but with 14 years worth of figure work negatives to go through, it will not be quick or easy.

I need to mention that when I got home yesterday, my apartment was filled with my family visitors plus my sister’s friend, her husband and their two adorable but extremely energetic six year old twins – a boy and a girl. I did my best to entertain the little ones, but when they and their parents left, the kids asked me about my nude photos hanging on the wall near the entrance. Earlier in the evening, the kids’ mother had told me that she liked the photos, but if you’ve never tried to explain art nude photography to some six year olds…… well, it’s not easy. Whatever I would say, the refrain would always seem to be (especially from the little guy), “But they’re naked!” (Oh, well.)
It’s not one of the photos on my wall, but the photo at the top of this post is another one of Kat at Muir Woods in Marin County, California, this past summer.

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Biljana Gjorgiovska

Born: 21.10.1986
Place: Veles
Height: 177 cm
Bust: 89 cm
Waist: 62 cm
Hips: 92 cm
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown

Photo by: Darko Moraitov

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It’s been a while – more than a week - since I’ve posted anything here. The visit of my family is keeping me pretty busy and limiting my time here online, so I thought I’d better find some time to make an update least people begin to write me off.

Photographically, I haven’t had the chance to develop or scan any film this past week. I did manage to get to the Swann Galleries in Manhattan to see the preview for their photo auction. I actually own a copy of a print that was on display and up for auction – a photo of two nude models underwater by the fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier – but the auction photo is signed by the photographer and I’m not sure that mine is (I bought it relatively cheaply at a benefit sale several years ago), and an unsigned print is not as valuable as a signed one. Still, both look just as good hanging on a wall.

The annual photo equipment show at the Javits Center here in New York – PhotoPlus – begins tomorrow and runs through Saturday. I’m planning to go the last day. The show is smaller than it used to be, and most of the stuff on display pertains to digital imaging, which really has no interest for me. Still, it is a chance to see people I know but don’t get to see too often, such as the staff at the Santa Fe Workshops, so I am looking forward to it. Saturday is also the last day to see the current exhibit at the Staley-Wise gallery in Soho – an exhibition of work by the aforementioned Mr. Demarchelier – so I’ll try to get to that, too, as part of the “get-off-my-ass” project.

Even though I have a great deal of film to develop, I am corresponding with a model here in Brooklyn to set up a shoot for next month, so I am trying to keep shooting. As it’s too cold to work outdoors, I’ll probably work in my home studio, but I may try a different lighting set-up than the last few times.

Finally, today’s photo is of Kat, made at Muir Woods during my trip to San Francisco and its surrounding in July.

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As I promised last time, I’m posting some of my film images that I made at the Community Zoe get-together last month at Twentynine Palms, California. I shot 49 rolls of film – 45 with my Pentax 67 and four with my Holga – but have only developed nine of them.

The remainder will have to wait, for the most part, until I’ve developed the film that I shot earlier in the year. Those comprise the last rolls from Cambodia (some of which I’ve developed this week) plus the other undeveloped figure nude work, including workshops at Woodstock and Colorado, studio work and my summer trips to Utah and the San Francisco area. Whichever order I do things in, it’ll take several months to get it all done – and filing away the negatives into pages takes almost as much time as developing them (or so it seems).

At any rate, the photos posted here today are with (from the top photo down) Candace & Amber, Madame Bink, Claudine, Rael, Jin, Rebecca, Joceline, Stephanie and, again, Candace & Amber.

I wanted to make sure I made a posting here today because, quite honestly, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to do here over the next two weeks. That’s because my mother, sister and niece arrived today to stay with me for two and a half weeks. It’ll be good to spend time with everybody again, of course – but do please wish me luck, all the same!

As I spent this evening going to the airport (not once, but twice), I was unable to watch tonight’s third and final debate between Senators McCain and Obama. Hopefully I’ll be able to find time to watch the tape I made of it before too long.

As far as the presidential campaign goes, the Republican rallies seem to be getting angrier and angrier. I’ve read reports that after McCain and (especially) Palin put down Obama, people have been shouting out things like “terrorist,” “kill him” and “off with his head.” Perhaps the next thing they’ll start to do is cry out “Hail, Victory!” (That’s the English translation of “Sieg, Heil!” – a phrase many people should be familiar with.)

At one rally, an African-American cameraman was the target of racist remarks by the crowd, and I’ve read that at one event in Florida, a black reporter working for a Tallahassee newspaper was removed, even though he was standing in the journalists’ area and had proper ID, just because he was black. (And some people claim that there’s no racism here.)

The one positive thing I can say is that McCain at least tried to tone things down a bit last week. One man said that he feared Obama becoming president because he’s a terrorist, and a woman said she didn’t trust Obama because “he’s an Arab.” McCain replied that they shouldn’t fear, saying that Obama is a “decent man” and a “family man.” This leads me to wonder again just how torn John McCain is between his principles and his desire to become president. It’s obvious from his recent actions and his political positions that the latter is more important, but some of his principles do seem to show through now and then. The question is, who’s really running his campaign and setting the ugly tone that they’ve shown?

Last week I read an interesting column in the New York Times written by David Brooks. He’s a conservative, but a thoughtful and moderate one, unlike the extremists who now dominate the Republican party. He wrote that conservatives used to be against the liberal elite but were still open to a lot of ideas: “They disdained the ideas of the liberal professoriate, but they did not disdain the idea of a cultivated mind.”

“But over the past few decades,” he continued, “the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare….

“The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts. What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect….

“This year could have changed things. The G.O.P. had three urbane presidential candidates. But the class-warfare clichés took control. Rudy Giuliani disdained cosmopolitans at the Republican convention. Mitt Romney gave a speech attacking “eastern elites.” (Mitt Romney!) John McCain picked Sarah Palin. Palin is smart, politically skilled, courageous and likable. Her convention and debate performances were impressive. But no American politician plays the class-warfare card as constantly as Palin. Nobody so relentlessly divides the world between the “normal Joe Sixpack American” and the coastal elite.

Brooks finished his column with this: “And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away.”

So, if Brooks is correct, is it any wonder that Republican rallies attract people who actually believe that Obama is a terrorist and who actually think that Obama is an Arab?

Another NY Times story of interest dealt with the term “maverick,” which Palin has used to describe John McCain and herself. The term began with a rancher named Samuel Augustus Maverick who, in the 1800s, was known for not branding his cattle. His cattle were called “Maverick’s,” and the term came to denote someone who didn’t bear another’s brand.

The members of the Maverick family today certainly seem to disagree with Palin. They’re known for their progressive politics, the story said, and quotes one of them as saying “I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick.” To quote further:

“It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’ ”

“He’s a Republican,” she said. “He’s branded.”

This reminds me of a skit I heard on an old Jewish comedy album. A man is showing his parents around his fancy new yacht. He’s decked out in a captain’s outfit – hat, jacket and all – and he says to his parents, “Your son is a regular captain, isn’t he?” His father replies: “Listen, sonny. I don’t have to tell you that by you you’re a captain, and by your mama you’re a captain, and by me you’re a captain – but by a captain you’re no captain!”

So, in keeping with that, I guess we can say that by the Republicans, McCain and Palin are mavericks; and by McCain they’re mavericks; and by Palin they’re mavericks – but by a Maverick, they’re no mavericks!!!
Of course, as I’m comparing political topics to stories that I’ve heard, I can’t forget the economy. Let’s start with the Republicans tired old line that the Democrats do nothing but “tax and spend.” (They’re still using it, even though independent groups confirm that under Obama’s tax plan, 95% of the people in the U.S. would get a tax cut.) I don’t like to have to pay unnecessary taxes any more than anybody else does, but I consider “tax and spend” to be a much more responsible way of doing things than how the Republicans conduct business: “borrow and spend.”

Yes, when Reagan took office, he said that one of his priorities was eliminating the federal budget deficit – but when he left office, the deficit was three times greater than when he started. It took a Democratic administration – that of Bill Clinton – to reduce federal spending, give us a surplus and actually begin to pay down the national debt. Then good ol’ George W. took over, and guess what – the surplus is gone, and the deficit and debt are going through the roof! (Of course, with the government pouring billions into the financial system to try to prop it up, who knows when we'll ever see a surplus again.)

This reminds me of an exchange I remember from the TV show I Dream of Jeannie. Jeannie has just learned the joys of buying things on credit, and she excitedly tells Major Nelson, “You don’t have to pay today!,” to which he responds, “That’s right. You have to pay tomorrow.” Obviously, Bush and company have not put any thought into us paying tomorrow. Dick Cheney even said that the deficit is meaningless – but meanwhile, it and the national debt are continuing to drag us down.

Of course, part of the problem today is that Americans in general act like the government does by continuing to buy things that they can’t afford and can’t pay for. Sooner or later, it’ll catch up with you. Like most people, I have several credit cards that I use, but I always pay off those cards 100% each month. If I can’t afford something, I don’t buy it. The only exceptions are things that are truly necessary, like my college education (I took out a student loan that I paid off long ago) and my apartment (I took out a loan that I’m still paying off, but the payments are manageable).

Back to the federal deficit, part of the reason it’s risen during the past eight years are Bush’s big tax cuts for the corporations and for wealthy Americans (with the resulting drop in federal revenue intake). This is supposed to allow the wealthy to spend money that will find its way to ordinary Americans, and will increase everyone’s economic well-being. Some people, of course, call this “trickle down economics” (though Bush Sr. called it “voodoo economics,” as I recall) – and it’s obvious that during the past eight years, that money has not been trickling down to either the average worker or to the federal coffers.

The quote that this brings to mind comes from the 1940 comedy film, The Great McGinty, written and directed by the great Preston Sturges. It stars Brian Donlevy as McGinty, a hustler who is first seen on Election Day, voting for about the 37th time that day. Through his involvement with a political boss (know only as The Boss), he becomes a city alderman, then mayor and finally governor. All the while, he’s taking orders from The Boss, getting involved with kickbacks and other corrupt dealings.

Finally, McGinty realizes that what he’s doing is wrong, and confronts The Boss about stealing money from the people. The Boss then answers him thus: it’s impossible to steal from the people, because whatever you take from the people, you spend it and it goes back to the people.

That kind of reasoning doesn’t make sense, and it wasn’t meant to. It was a rationalization by a criminal mind in order to justify his criminal activities – but yet Republicans are asking the American people to believe just that! Still, I think a better way to describe Republican economic theory is through this joke that I once heard:

An old Irishman knows he doesn’t have too long to live, so he goes down to the pub and says to his friends, “I haven’t got much time left, so could you do me a favor? After I’m gone, could you pour a six pack of beer over me grave?”

One of his friends answers and says, “Ay, sure, we’d be happy to do it – but would you mind if we passed it through our kidneys first?”

That, in a nutshell, is Republican economics: the wealthy get to drink the beer, while the rest of us just get pissed on by them.

Finally, in summing up here, I offer this: Sarah Palin told her audience last week that Barack Obama doesn't think the way they do and that he doesn't view America the way that they do. Well, as far as I'm concerned, that's about as ringing an endorsement to vote for Obama as one can get.

Election Day is less than three weeks away, my friends. Things are looking good right now, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.

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A few weeks ago, I was walking around the Soho section of Manhattan, inspecting some buildings as part of my job. I started to think to myself the same things I’d thought a year earlier when I was also out there to look at buildings.

“I used to come here to Soho so often,” was what I told myself. “What happened? Why haven’t I been here for so long?” Indeed, there were some totally new buildings that I don’t remember having seen being built.

As it is, visiting Soho is just one of a long litany of things that I used to do regularly but I just haven’t done that much, if at all, during recent years.

I used to go to see movies after work and on weekends.
I used to go to concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center after work and on weekends.
I used to go to the Metropolitan Opera after work and on weekends (and even had a subscription for a few years).
I used to go to opening night receptions at photo galleries after work.
I used to go to photo galleries during the week and on weekends.
I used to go for long walks in the city, just for the sake of walking and looking around.

And the list goes on.

So, what happened? Well, I guess it’s a combination of things. Maybe I’m just getting old and tired. After a putting in a day at work, I just feel like heading straight home so I can take my shoes off and relax. (Of course, much of that ‘relaxation’ time is devoted to things like developing film, scanning and filing negatives, writing this blog, etc – so I need to have a lot of it.)

On weekends, I just feel like staying home, too. After having to deal with the subway five days a week, I guess I just want to avoid it during my days off.

Still, I think it’s more than that, but something physical, too. I suppose it began in earnest with my foot surgery two years ago. (Tomorrow, in fact, will be the second anniversary of the surgery, so it’s appropriate that I’m writing about it now.) After the surgery, I really had to stay off of my feet (or at least one foot) as much as I could. That made it rather different to get around and do the things I used to do. Two years later, it still isn’t easy as my foot still hurts!

Then last year, a week after I stopped walking with a cane, I got hit by a car. Again, I was forced to have to take it easy. Now, this year, a number of things have been bothering me that have kept me going to doctors on a regular basis.

I think these things explain much of it, but not all of it. There’s one more thing that has kept me at home and prevented me from getting out and about. I wrote about it earlier here regarding my trip to Montreal a few years. In a word: inertia. The force that resists a change in motion (or in my case, a lack of motion). A case of too-lazy-to-get-off-my-ass-itis.

Last year, late in the summer, I was walking down Third Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and saw a fellow walking toward me who I thought I recognized. He wore shorts and a t-shirt, and was carrying a grocery bag or two in each hand. As we got closer, he looked at me with a bright face and exclaimed “Hey, I know you! You used to come into the gallery, didn’t you?!”

That’s right, I did. He was the manager of a small gallery that was owned by a larger, adjoining gallery in Soho, and I used to visit both galleries regularly. The odd thing is that I always felt that he scowled at me whenever I came in, and now he’s treating me like a long lost friend! Well, that was okay with me. He told me that he now owns his own gallery on the East Side, and said I should drop by some time. I told him that I did want to start getting back into the swing of things, and being close to the start of the Fall arts season, he said the time was right to start.

Well, you can tell from this blog entry so far that I never did start. Still, I haven’t given up. Last month, I went to the opening night reception at a cooperative gallery in Tribeca that I’m thinking of joining (but that’s another story.) Yesterday, I got off my ass and took the subway into Manhattan to do some photo viewing. New York is a great place for doing such things, with lots of galleries and museums showing the best of the best (as well as material not quite that lofty, too.)

What a lot of people don’t realize is that New York City also hosts branches of the world’s best auction houses. Twice a year (normally in April and October), they hold their big photography auctions. I don’t attend the auctions – they’re during the work week, and I can’t afford anything, anyway – but the previews have weekend hours and they are free and open the public. Anybody who’s interested in art photography and is in town during the auction previews should try to see them. It’s like going to visit a photography museum – and it’s free!

So, yesterday, I went to a couple of auction houses for the first time in several years. I started with Phillips de Pury, way over on the west side of Manhattan in West Chelsea. It had photos on display for its own auction, including photos from Lisa Lyons’ collection of photos made of her by Robert Mapplethorpe, but I was also interested in seeing the New York preview for the Photo Review benefit auction, which will be held in Philadelphia on November 8. (See The online catalog should be up in a week or two.)

I generally attend the event each year and also donate a print or two. This year’s contribution is one from my Nevada nude series. You can see it at the top of today’s posting – and can place a bid on it if you want to buy it cheap. Benefit auctions often yield sale prices much lower than normal, so I generally do my own collecting – with my limited budget – at these events. The Photo Review is the primary one I go to, so I was interested in seeing what will be up for grabs. There were some nice nudes that I saw (including one of historical interest and one of a model who I photographed myself last month!), but I also have a collection of 19th Century images of Japan and ancient Egyptian monuments, and there were some of those, too.

From there, I wanted to see the previews at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s, but as I only had time for one, I choose Christie’s for its proximity to the Rockefeller Center subway stop. Again, there were a lot of beautiful photos on display, and it reminded me of how important it is to go out and see actual photographic prints, as opposed to seeing images on a computer screen.

Between the two auction houses, I saw a number of my favorite classic photographic images: Chez Mondrian by Andre Kertesz (posted here); Alfred Eisendstadt's wonderful photo of kids watching a puppet show (posted here); Edward Weston's classic nude of Charis Wilson (posted here), which I consider to be the classic nude image; and another of my favorite nudes, that by Herb Ritts showing a model covered by some windblown transparent fabric (posted here).
I'm also posting some other interesting images here. I think my favorite of the Mapplethorpe-Lisa Lyon collection was the one of her with a large snake. One of those that I saw at Christie’s was the Richard Avedon photo of Nastassja Kinski, also with a large snake. This particular print was big – over four feet across – and I stood there imagining how such a photo would look on my living room wall above the sofa. Of course, since the estimated sale price for this print is in the $50,000 to $70,000 range, I would need to sell my apartment to be able to buy it, which means I would no longer have a wall upon which to hang it, which would kind of defeat the purpose of buying it in the first place!

Another stunning image with a very high estimate ($150,000 - $250,000) was a gorgeous Irving Penn photo from 1950, shot for the cover of Vogue. The black & white print was just stunning. Ah, to have money to burn……

Overall, I saw a lot of photos by a lot of great photographers – Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Andre Kertesz, Helmut Newton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, Alfred Eisenstadt , etc. It’s one reason why living in New York has its advantages.

As for Soho, there are two reasons why I haven't been visiting much lately. The first is that I used to be able to walk to Soho from my office in time to hit a gallery and then get back before my lunch hour was over. When my office moved several blocks further away from Soho, I could no longer do that. The other thing is that most of the photo galleries moved away from Soho, mostly to West Chelsea or the Upper East Side. If I can get over my case of inertia, I'll just have to go someplace else to view the art that's on offer.

I was going to write some things about the presidential campaign, but I’ve written enough already, so that will have to wait until next time, when I’ll post some new images of my own, too.

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-Vlado Georgiev
-Dejan Milichevich

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I received my 2009 calendar from Lulu this weekend. Having looked it over, I’ve now made it available for purchase by the public. The cost is $14.99. The calendar features thirteen 8.5 x 11 inch black & white images – one for each of the twelve months plus the cover. The images are all art nude photos that I’ve made indoors.

The link to the calendar on Lulu is .

I’m posting a composite of thumbnail images for the twelve photos inside (click on it to see it larger), but you can see the images even larger on the Lulu page. Scroll down and click the “Preview This Book” button on the left side. Just give it a few seconds to open and for the first image to appear.

As I’ve written earlier, I got into the calendar game very late last year, with the calendar first becoming available on the last day of 2007. It was composed of outdoor nude images. I’m much further ahead of that this year, and as relatively few people may have seen that first calendar, I’ve decided to update it for 2009 and offer it again. The images are the same as before, with only the calendar pages changing.

The Lulu page for the calendar, Figures of Grace 2009 #2, can be found at . I’m posting the cover image and a series of thumbnails for this one, too.

So, that’s it for my 2009 art nude calendars. One year, two calendars to choose from. I’ve also been thinking of creating a calendar with some of my travel images – probably from Japan – but that’s something that remains to be seen.

The next presidential debate is tomorrow evening. Obama is ahead in the polls and apparently gaining ground, so McCain and his moose-gutting surrogate are trying to engage in character assassination. They can’t seem to win by talking about things like the economy (you know – issues), so I guess there’s not much else they can do at this point.

Followers of my blog will know that I pretty much try to limit what I write to my photography and my travels, but this presidential campaign is just too important to ignore and be silent about.

However, I’ve got a story to recount that mixes both my photography and presidential politics. (The connection between the two may be a tenuous one, but it’s better than nothing.) Here’s the story:

I guess it was in November or December of 2000 that I went to B&H Camera, the big photo store here in New York, to get some things. This was shortly after George W. Bush had been “elected” president the first time. I had paid for my merchandise and was sitting in a small area beyond the check-out line, going over the stuff I’d just bought before I left to go home.

Sitting near me were some other people who were evidently waiting for someone else in their group to join them. I overheard them talking, and I heard that they were from Texas. Knowing this, I asked one of them – a woman sitting close to me – if she was happy that Texas had finally gotten rid of Bush as governor.

Her answer was ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ She said she was happy that Bush was finished running Texas, but sad that the whole country was now stuck with him. She readily told me that she was a Democrat, but she also shared this with me: she knew Republicans who had worked in the Texas state house when Bush was governor, and even these Republicans admitted that “Bush is an idiot.”

So, I guess the moral of this story is that some Republicans can be right now and then. Eight years later, and it’s pretty obvious that those Texas Republicans knew what they were talking about.

Of course, it still boggles my mind that someone like George W. Bush could have made it to the White House not once but twice. This year, in 2008, I hope Americans choose their next president based not upon likeability, but simply on ability.

(Four more weeks, four more weeks, four more………)

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I’ve made a lot of progress in putting together my art nude calendar for 2009. That’s because it’s already done. Finished. Complete. The only thing left for me is to receive my copy so I can look it over and give my approval. Once that’s done, I’ll announce that it’s available for sale to the public. If I feel that any changes need to made, I’ll do that and wait to get a copy of that revised edition.

Either way, it should be ready to go public much earlier than my calendar was last year, which was December 31 – somewhat late in the calendar game these days. While last year’s calendar was composed of art nude images made outdoors, this year’s calendar is of images made indoors. The photos I’m posting here today are part of the new calendar.

However, since my 2008 calendar of outdoor images was ready for sale so late last year, I may choose to update it to 2009, offering anybody interested a choice between indoor and outdoor imagery.

In other news, I’ve also been spending time working on my new website. Most of the work has been done, with the bulk of the remaining work being to fill the photo galleries with images. So far, I’ve spent more time on the art nude galleries than those with my travel photos, but before I go live with the new site I’d like the two sides of imagery to be roughly even.

I watched the vice-presidential debate earlier this evening. There were no major surprises. Some people expected to see Sarah Palin fall on her face (figuratively speaking), but I’d read that she did a lot of debating in Alaska so I wasn’t surprised to see her stay on her feet. While I thought she came across the best talking about her family and stuff like that, I felt that Biden looked much better and more relaxed when discussing the issues.

I’m voting for Obama next month (thought I supported Hillary in the primary) and I agree much more with Obama’s policies than those of McCain, but aside from that, I got this impression: that when Biden spoke about most issues, he did so from knowledge and experience; when Palin spoke about these things, I felt that she was just reading from a script or a teleprompter, without having a real underlying knowledge of what she was saying. In short: Sarah Palin is not qualified to take over as President of the United States.

I was also tired of constantly hearing her referring to herself and John McCain as "mavericks." I think it's one thing to have others call you that, but when you keep on calling yourself that it sounds very disingenuous.

The other question about the governor of Alaska is: which is the real Sarah Palin – the one who was on TV tonight or the one who did not do well in interviews these last couple of weeks?

As for Biden, he avoided being long-winded or belittleing Palin (he didn't correct her when she got the name of our top general in Afghanistan wrong), and I think he projected having greater concern for the middle class and its problems than Palin did.

If you’re interested in keeping up with what the polls are saying, here’s a website you can view to keep current with the tallies:

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