I got a lot of cousins. Christian is in the second generation of cousins. For the past ten years I've been taking pictures of just about every family related event we can think of. For my neice Lil' Lucy, I put together a photo book titled "Two, Two, Two". It was my debut in turning my pictures into photo books and covered her day in the life when she turned two. From the minute she got up to celebrate at the water park to the barbecue to cake time with family and friends.
Christian Year 1 is the second book I've put together. The photo above is Christian pretty much getting initiated to the dance floor. He will experience many more of these moments for years to come. His book is 42 photographs deep.
Clean Guys Auto Shine
An Interview with Jose Montoya
about Recovery, Justice,
& the Community
Lately been organizing my archive of photographs over the years with the goal of doing something with them or attaching them to different projects. At times I get the opportunity to conduct interviews I refer to as photo narratives with people in the El Paso community. Other times I'll conduct interviews online with people from other communities to promote specific projects related to literature or music.
One of those projects from last year was an interview with El Paso community leader, Jose Montoya. On two occasions I photographed the work of his business Clean Guys Auto Shine at an off site and on-site location. Jose runs a local waterless car wash and detailing business that is all about helping people involved in the justice system that are in recovery from substance use problems. His work is also just as much about environmental advocacy too. Jose has quite a recovery story which he agreed to share so that people get a better understanding of the mission of Clean Guys Auto Shine and how it relates to reentry, the justice system, his faith based roots, and the community.
With the first interview I was also able to get help from a very cool group of Spanish translators who volunteered through Volunteer Match volunteermatch.org. Special thanks to Erika, Vivian, Mariana, Julia, Crystal, & Evelyn for translating the interview. For those that don't know El Paso is a border community where a big percentage of our population is Spanish speaking first. In the event that the interview makes its way around, I want to be sure the content could be received in both languages.
Last year, I was also able to attend the Clean Guys Auto Shine grand opening. The business first started by bringing their service to their customers. Today, while they continue to meet the customer where they are, people also have the option of visiting Clean Guys for services on 11426 Rojas Drive, Suite A-7. At the grand opening I recorded an interview with Jose using my Olympus hand held recorder while he gave a tour of the new location. I also took a bunch of photographs and combined them with photographs that Mr. Avalos from the El Paso Corvette Club took earlier in the day.
There are a few other photo, video, and interview projects that I plan to archive on Lens & Words. Especially as they relate to photography. I've also gotten into story telling with family as we work on tracing genealogy thanks to family members who have started sharing photos and collecting information.
Til' the next post...
Here are links to download the interview and to watch the video:
Clean Guys Auto Shine Interview (English) / Download (PDF): click here
Clean Guys Auto Shine Interview (Spanish) / Download (PDF): click here
Clean Guys Auto Shine Grand Opening Photo Narrative Video:
As software continues to upgrade into the creative cloud takeover, I went ahead and signed in for access to Adobe CC. Figured it doesn't hurt to take a few minutes to learn some new tricks through the software tutorials I plan to share on this blog. I currently use Adobe software to do very specific things. While I'm not as interested in editing photographs to look any different than how I originally shot them, I do work on creative projects like covers for music, books, postcards, and media that would benefit from the information shared in the video above.
This video provides a few basic tips on how to change the background to focus on a specific piece in the image which would be helpful in developing for example, a mixtape cover. The tutorial makes me think about the latest Black Belt Magazine with Bruce Lee which didn't look as good as I think it could've with better editing.
Expect to see more videos under the label Tutorial Archive. The label function on blogger will provide a quick reference if needed. World Wide Web tutorials are also shared at the following YouTube playlist: click here
A special thanks to Priscilla and her family for the opportunity to capture some cool photographs earlier this month for her graduation invitations. It was the first time I turned photos into an invitation. Priscilla graduates May 20th from Las Cruces High School in the City of the Crosses. Currently working on my lil' brother's graduation invitations after a photo shoot around El Paso.
For the graduating class of 2015... from Paso to Cruces, congratulations ya'll.
Looking forward to this morning's Photography meeting. My first for the new year.
Last year, I read about the McGill Pauper Cemetery in the Northeast in an article written by Aaron Martinez with photography by Victor Calzada (click here). I've been thinking a lot about photography from the Northeast side of the city. I had no idea this cemetery existed. Above is a shot from a perspective that shows the nearby neighborhood and of course our mountains in the background.
There is a blog about the cemetery featured in the article and the stories that remain untold beneath the graves.
Reflecting on 2014, it was a year of learning for me.
Going from the 31st to the 1st, midnight... everyone watching their clocks, texting, calling, welcoming the new year... there's a lot of energy in the event everywhere. It's a time when people reflect on the year and what happened, and in the imagination of some, a restart. Even though the math of getting older has nothing to do with starting over. Time is all about seconds adding on top of seconds equal to minutes that add on top of minutes, years add on to years, with lives beginning through birth or ending through death. For me New Years is a chance to think about the memories of the previous year and organize some of them. We see that in how some of our social media pages are, whether its Wordpress or Facebook or even here with Blogger.
Looking back, there is a lot to think and write about. And for this post I want to write about one of the events that really stood out to me and meant a lot. Something I think is perfect for Lens & Words.
My friend and fellow poet, Phillip Campbell, aka Phil Da Poet aka B.Fire aka B.Sunkist aka Pidi Pecan aka Minister of Dopeness took a trip to revisit family in Seattle. Checking out the photos and notice he sent through text, I thought about a few things including Pidi's connection to Seattle, Nirvana, rain, the Seattle Supersonics of the Payton & Kemp era, Keystone cops, the Seahawks, etc.
I'm not much of a traveling man, but in my imagination, I thought about what I would do if I was visiting Seattle and the first thought to come to mind was visiting Bruce Lee's resting place at the Lake View Cemetary. I thought about the Child of the 80s Mixtape that I made at a point in my life where I had gotten very sick and uncertain about the future. It was a difficult time that I worked myself through by making a mixtape returning to the memories of my childhood during the 80s decade. One of the pieces I included closing the first side of the mixtape was a clip from the film No Retreat, No Surrender. It was the part when RJ tells Jason that he knows where Bruce Lee is buried agreeing to take him to the site the next day. It was Jason's first day in Seattle.
I texted Phil Da Poet with a favor asking if he could visit the Lake View Cemetery for me and leave a haiku poem I'd written about Bruce Lee. I've been a fan of Bruce Lee my whole life. First through my father who was a martial arts practitioner, and then of course through all of Bruce Lee's films, including other flicks in the 80s like The Last Dragon or No Retreat, No Surrender with plot lines that idolized the character of Bruce Lee. It wasn't until I entered adulthood and got to college that I started to think of Bruce Lee as a source of inspiration, applying much of what he expressed through writing & film into what I was coordinating through my education and life's work. As a poet, I became inspired by Lee's approach to learning, teaching, and the effort he put into his art, craft, students, fans, and his lifetime involvement in film.
Like the brother that he is, PDP went out of his way to make plans to drop off the poem. He caught the 10, taking a 35 minute ride then walking to the destination with the poem in hand. Along the way he met a Penn State University student from China named Michelle who you'll notice in one of the photographs below.
This was a spur of the moment request and I'm extremely thankful to my brother Phil Da Poet for making it happen. It's an event that stood out to me in 2014 and something that I've been wanting to post about since his trip back in September. If you know Pidi, you know how great of a friend he is and what he does for crew members when the call is made. He's the energy of the crew we refer to as OGSV which probably has a lot to do with his nickname, 'Brother Fire'.
You can view the images from his trip below including the poem I wrote titled 'Bruce 575'. Thank you to B.Fire, shout out to our OGSV brothers and all we're connected to, including the spirit and influence of Bruce Lee.
Photography of W.F. Stuart (El Paso, May 16, 1910)
One of my current reads is Ringside Seat to a Revolution, An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juarez, 1893-1923 by David Dorado Romo. I bought my copy at Cinco Puntos Press a few years ago and from time to time take a break to read about the history of the community of which I was born and raised. Amongst the wonderful research in this text are a bunch of really amazing photographs.
When I stumbled across this photograph I thought about John's Astrophotography presentation with the Photography Enthusiast of El Paso group and all of the really cool shots that the group takes when they point their lens towards space. This photograph captured by W.F. Stuart really blew me away because of its date and the periods in which the comet is visible from earth.
I also thought about the photographer and who they were. Back when I took to dropping by the El Paso Public Library downtown to scan old periodicals and photographs. From Gordon Parks to James Vanderzee, as much interest as I have in photography, I try to remind myself of the importance to take time and appreciate the shooters from years past.
I'm interested in knowing more about W.F. Stuart.
Keywords + Tag = Ringside Seat to a Revolution An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juarez | El Paso | Texas | Ciudad Juarez | Juarez Mexico | Mexico | David Dorado Romo | revolution | photography | Halleys Comet | 1910 | history | Southwest | borderland | border | space | Cinco Puntos Press | W.F. Stuart | astrophotography | PEEP | earth | black and white photographs | Photography Enthusiast of El Paso
Throughout her entire b-day week I was snapping shots. Luckily on the day of her b-day, I forgot my cell phone and wallet at the crib and decided to head back home for lunch. My younger bro and his daughter, Lil' Emi, just happened to be there which allowed me to get a couple shots on her born day. This past Saturday and Sunday commenced a celebration for Lil' Lucy at the park, the aquatic center, and at the house of my brother's family for some delicious grilling and baking to welcome her 2nd year on earth. With my index finger tip hovering and pressing over the button of my Fuji cam, I captured enough shots to develop a nice photo gift for her to remember what she'll more than likely forget at her age.
While developing the photo gift I listened to Alvin Masters piano music. A digital project called Dream Inside a Dreamand Cantando. Over the weekend we dedicated ((Happy Birthday)) by Stevie Wonder to Lil' Lucy, check out the HHA Tweet: click here.
Keywords + Tag = Lucy | birthday | Fuji camera | HS30 EXR | Fuji HS30 EXR | Sam's Club Digital Photo Center | Alvin Masters | Dream Inside a Dream | Cantando | piano | girl | 2 years old | happy birthday | July | Hotter than July | Hip Hop Alumni | Stevie Wonder | summer time | summer baby
A shot from my first workshop with the PEEP group in El Paso... on this day John gave a presentation on Astrophotography...a chance to "see the unseen". I scribbled down a few notes including reference to a photographer named Eric Chesak where you can learn more on Astrophotography... visit www.ericchesak.com. Below is a collage of photos I took... this was around location of the meeting space... a building off of West Paisano. Here's to my first Photography Enthusiast of El Paso workshop as I continue halfway through this year of learning, 2014.
On another note, I could've sworn I heard someone play the Jetson's jingle from their cell phone during John's presentation.
This past week I met a photographer in a continuing ed class at EPCC, Steve Burns who told me about the Photography Enthusiast of El Paso group here in town. Excited to catch a workshop someday and learn. Since the start of the year, I've been thinking about a stronger commitment to the learning process... especially for something like photography that's been a hobby for so long.
Here is the Facebook page for the group: click here
Description: PEEP is dedicated to encouraging the improvement of the photo enthusiast’s photography. PEEP provides
an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and an enjoyable forum for the
development of artistic and technical photographic skills. PEEP
promotes a healthy spirit through educational programs, exhibitions, and
competitions. PEEP is a member of Gulf States Camera Club Council. PEEP
consists of photographers of all skill levels and ages. Paid membership
is available at our monthly meetings. If you would like to attend one
of our meetings, they are held the second Saturday of each month at The
Art Junction, 500 W. Paisano, El Paso, TX. Meetings are from 10am -
Noon. Visitors may attend up to 3 meetings before becoming a dues paying
member. Hope to see you at our next one!
"This picture was taken with a 70,000 x 30,000 pixel camera (2,100 Megapixels.) These cameras are not sold to the public and are being installed in strategic locations. It can identify a face in a multitude of people."
Don't remember what brought me to Trent Bell's work, may have to backtrack a few blogs. But I'm verygladidid. A lil' while ago a colleague told me to check out some work from someone he knew that goes by Peter Langone. More on the commercial photography side, nevertheless interesting stuff to check out and learn from.
A have a thing for taking pictures of basketball goals. A co-worker sent me this shot and I've been wanting to share the shot for a long time now. For more of Seph Lawless work, check out sephlawless.com
Stumbled across a few shots on the El Paso Times. They display a database at the link above. An archive from El Paso's earlier days. Alfonso Casasola is the name of the photographer. More information available at the link above.