Archive for May 2009

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I wrote last time about the nude figure workshop I attended on the coast of Oregon last weekend. I arrived to the coast a day ahead of everyone else, and one of the things I did on that extra day was to drive down to Newport to pay a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

While not as large or impressive as the fantastic aquarium further down the west coast in Monterey, California, the one in Oregon is nonetheless a nice place to spend a few hours. One of the exhibits that had was a recreation of a tidal pool ecosystem, with marine life in a large tank that get swept over by a large wave of water simulated a real tide.

Among the marine life in that tank were some large, colorful starfish. The type of starfish I’d been accustomed to seeing was the brownish, monochrome variety, but the ones in this tank were of a multitude of colors. They looked very much like star shaped cushions or pillows, more than anything else.

Well, a day later, at the workshop, I happened to come across some examples of these starfish in the wild when the tide was low. Seeing this type of wildlife in an aquarium tank is one thing, but to see them and get up close to them in their native habitat is another experience altogether.

The top photo shows model Lori Madison posing among the rocks with the starfish. It’s not a great photo by any means, but click on it to see the larger image and a better view of these colorful creatures clinging to the rocks.

At the aquarium I happened to take some snaps with my little digicam, and perhaps the most interesting one is this fellow here. I saw some beautiful jellyfish floating and pulsating ethereally through the water, along with a cuttlefish – an animal that can change its appearance in so many ways that it makes a chameleon look positively monochromatic.

Then there’s this fish. I don’t know it’s scientific name, but I just call it a “nosefish” for what I think is an obvious reason. This fish has got to have one of the most human looking faces of any sea creature I’ve ever seen.

I want to finish with something a little more serious in nature: the nomination of Sonia Sotamayor to be the newest member of the United States Supreme Court.

I’m a registered Democrat. I normally approve of people appointed by Democratic officials, and I think that having a Hispanic woman on the court is a fine thing. A lot of people say that I’m a liberal, but I really like to think of myself as a moderate – liberal on some issues, more conservative on others. While I (and the rest of the country) need to find out more about the nominee, there are some things about her background that I find troubling.

One is a statement she made that said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that a Latina woman, with her experiences, would more often than not make a better judgement and come to a better decision than a white male would. The reaction of Newt Gingrich to this, I read, was to say that if a white man had made the opposite statement – that white men are better at making decisions than Hispanic women – then he would be lambasted and criticized roundly for saying such a thing.

As absolutely loath as I am to agree with anything that Newt Gingrich has said, I have to side with him on this one. We all have different experiences in life and they lead each one of us to think in different ways, and to suggest that one category of people is better at it than another is wrong.

Still, that’s just talk. What counts here are actions, and the one thing that has me concerned here is judge Sotomayor’s ruling in the case of firefighters who sued the city of New Haven, Connecticut for failing to give them promotions, even though they finished at the top of the promotional exam lists. The reason the exam list was not certified and the promotions not given was that the people at the top of the list were mostly Caucasian and the people toward the bottom were mostly members of minority groups – something the New Haven city elders couldn’t live with. In a society free from racism, race should not matter, but in New Haven it clearly does.

I don’t have a problem with affirmitive action programs. I think having a society where members of all ethnic groups are represented at all levels would be fantastic. Sometimes, though, people try to take it too far. The purpose of affirmative action is to insure equal opportunity, but it should not guarantee equal results. As I heard said once, it should make everybody equal at the starting line, but should not make everyone equal at the finish line. That depends on the individuals' abilities and how hard they work to take advantage of those abilities.

From what I read, the New Haven fire promotion exams were written in consultation with a company that tries to eliminate any type of ethnic or racial bias in these exams. Therefore, everybody taking the exams had an even shot. The fact that the results did not match the New Haven city elders idea of a utopian fire department should not have been cause to ignore the results – and I’m sorry that Ms. Sotomayor agreed with them. Doing so is simply another form of racial discrimination.

I actually felt such a similar type of discrimination when I tried to register for a nude figure workshop several years back. First I was told that I was signed up, but then I was told that I couldn’t be in the class. Why? Because they wanted to have a more even ratio of men and women among the photographers. Now hey, I’ve attended many figure workshops and I do really lament the fact that there are not more women involved behind the camera. The fact is, though, that women had the very same opportunity as me to register for that workshop, and for me to be bounced because of my gender is nothing less than sexual discrimination.

Regarding the New Haven case, it’s much more serious because it’s a matter of public safely. During last year’s presidential campaign, in the matters of people looking for someone who can turn the economy around and whether whites would vote for Obama, somebody said this: When you’re drowning, you don’t care what the color is of the person who’s coming to rescue you. Unless someone happens to be a member of the KKK, I guess that statement is true.

So I’ll ask this question: If you’re trapped inside a burning building and you need the fire department to rescue you, who do you want those firefighters to be? People who were selected based on their ability to save you, or people who were chosen based on their ethnicity???

I think judge Sotomayor should ask herself that question and think of how best to apply the law to it. While I imagine that I agree with her on some of her other rulings, this case in particular has me concerned.

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Yes, people. I am still alive and kicking. Any rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I’ve just been away for awhile and have been kind of busy since I’ve gotten back. So, now here I am trying to get back into the swing of things – until my next trip, at least.

It all started off with five days in Las Vegas to visit family. On my first night there, I met my friend Terrell Neasley, and along with his friend Melissa, we went to see the new Star Trek film. Terrell has written on hid blog about our experience sitting in the third row of the IMAX theater. What he didn’t write about was the film itself.

One of the ads for the film says that people should see it even if they’re not Star Trek fans. Being a long-time Trek fan myself, I think that non-Star Trek fans may like it even more than fans. Why? I don’t mind the fact that a new cast of actors inhabits the characters from the classic series. I don’t mind that the starship Enterprise is given a new look both inside and out. I don’t mind that they’ve tried to make Star Trek cool.

I just couldn’t take the way that this film simply ignores and rewrites Star Trek history. The only way I could somewhat enjoy this film was to tell myself that these are not just different actors, but different characters, too – that it’s a totally different parallel universe of sorts. The names are the same, but the people are different. Parallel universe or not, I still thought the ending of the film (with what Starfleet does to Kirk) was totally preposterous. Anyway, enough said with that.

In Las Vegas, I also had lunch with my family one day at a very good Italian restaurant called Maggiano’s Little Italy in the eastern end of the Fashion Show Mall. If anyone happens to visit Vegas, I can recommend this eatery.

The only thing that had me a little miffed was seeing another customer wearing a tank-top shirt. Now, I’m not one for getting dressed up to go out to eat (especially for lunch) and Vegas is a casual kind of place. I like to at least wear a shirt with a proper collar, though I’ve sat near people wearing T-shirts and that was fine with me.

Wearing a tank-top, though, (especially in a nice restaurant) is a bit too casual for me – even in Las Vegas and even for lunch. Just the thought of there being nothing between that guy’s armpit and the rest of the air in the restaurant kind of gave me the creeps

As for Oregon – well, that was for photography. I made my first trip ever to the Pacific northwest to attend Steve Anchell’s Nude at Westwind workshop. (The photos posted here are from that event, made with my pocket digital camera.) I attended my first workshop with Steve at Big Sur ten years ago and I hadn’t seen him for five years, so I decided to make a return visit.

I flew into Portland and then drove down to the state capitol, Salem, in (what else?) a driving rainstorm. Still, I made it without incident, and had dinner with Steve and his wife Donna that night. The next day I drove out to Lincoln City on the coast, close to the private property where the workshop would be held. Then, the next day, the workshop group met, followed by two days of photographing models.

While most of my photography now is done with models on an individual basis, occasionally I don’t mind working with a group for the chance to meet other people interested in photography and for an opportunity to show my work. Besides meeting Steve and Donna again, I also had the chance to catch up with some photographers I met at previous workshops.

As for the photos I made over the two days, I think I got some good images on the 21 rolls of film that I used. Of course, I’ll have to develop that film to make certain.

Perhaps I’ll have it done by the end of the year.

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Katarina Ivanovska for V magazineKatarina Ivanovska for V magazine

Katarina Ivanovska for V magazineKatarina Ivanovska for V magazine
Katarina Ivanovska for V magazine

Katarina Ivanovska for V magazineKatarina Ivanovska for V magazine

Katarina Ivanovska for V magazineKatarina Ivanovska for V magazine

Magazine: V Magazine
Issue: Summer 2009
Model: Katarina Ivanovska
Agency: Women Management
Stylist: Yuki James
Hair: Dennis Gots
Makeup: Asami Taguchi
Photography: Seiji Fujimori

The May issue of the coveted V Magazine from USA features an army of supermodels in an array of bathing suits and summer florals and brights. Stylist Yuki James goes against the grain - taking you through the most wanted evening wear of the seasons in not so summery of a color palate. Photographer Seiji Fujimori captured poses by Macedonian model Katarina Ivanovska from Women Management in an assortment of sleek patterned or highly embellished knee length dresses and leggings or tights (which will still be in the mix for this upcoming fall season). Seiji is well known here because of the collaboration with another famous Macedonian model, Martina Pavlovska.

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Well, there’s not a whole lot to report here. Still trying to clean up around here so I can start printing again. Still trying to find the impetus to finish developing my film and file my negatives. (I guess I’ll get those done some day.) Still trying to plan out my travels for the year.

My last posting was about the second anniversary of my getting hit by a car, and I wrote that I’d post something prettier than my broken fingers in my next posting. I hope you’ll agree that today’s photo – of model Kerie Hart - is indeed prettier than the last.

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Stefanija BinoskaStefanija Binoska (18) from Prilep will be Macedonian representative at the 35-th annual beauty contest "Miss Bikini International 2009" that will be held from 18th May to the 2nd June 2009 in Sanya, Hainan Island, China. Stefanija, member of fashion agency "Crnokrak" will compete with more then 70 beautiful contestants from all over the world. The world final of "Miss Bikini International" will be held at the beauty Crown Cultural Centre in Sanya on the 30th May. Kathrin Anez of Venezuela will crown the new winner at the final that will be beamed to more then 600 million viewers.
Edit: Canceled

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Today is the second anniversary of my getting hit by a car, so I was especially careful when crossing the street today. I got hit by a car making a right turn at a green light, and as I was looking forward while crossing the street, I was blind-sided. (To read my posting from two years ago, click here.)

Since then, I always try to look over my shoulder at cars that might be turning when I cross. I did that this morning at the intersection where I got hit two years ago, and the vehicle that was making a right turn this time was a school bus. I am very glad that I did not get hit by that.

The picture at the top shows what my fingers looked like a few days later, after the cast was taken off. One or two fingers on my left hand were broken, and that fingernail was ripped off and sewn back on. Fortunately, I’m right handed.

Even more fortunately, that plus a five day concussion was the extent of my injuries. My father got hit by a car when I was in high school and it broke his back, so it could have been much, much worse for me.

I’ll try to post a prettier picture next time.

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