I learned something today, and because of that today was a good day. This afternoon I headed down to the Civic Center to check out how the Occupy Movement was progressing there and to inform myself a bit more on what it stood for. It was a typical 70 degree sunny and warm San Diego day and the plaza was filled with a pretty diverse crowd. Occupy San Diego is comprised of 8-10 camping tents, about 150 or so protestors, 15-20 police officers and 10-15 tourist – everyone seemingly getting along in what appears to be a very cooperative culture. For those of you that know me, you know I support the Occupy Wall Street movement because of the greed fraud and corruption that I witnessed first hand working as a fraud consultant to the industry. I support the movement because one of its central philosophies is that the government and big time wall street executives have a relationship that is too cozy.
What I learned today was just how difficult organizing a movement that represents 99% of the population of the US. The economic grievances that US citizens feel is so pervasive, so widespread that there are literally hundreds of different causes and groups that should have a voice with the movement. Quite literally there is so much economic inequality between the mega rich and the rest of us that it touches just about everything in our lives. What I did see today was that the people protesting were interested in including each and every single person and listening to what they had to say – the drunk, the homeless, the destitute, the unemployed, the forgotten, the left behind. Now people might criticize the Occupancy movement for not having a targeted agenda – but what they did stand for – at least what I saw was treating all people as equals no matter how much they made or how little they appeared to contribute to society.
One of my favorite signs that I saw said. “This piece of cardboard is the only lobbyist I could afford”. To me that said it all. Corporations spend millions to put politicians in their back pocket – a capability and luxury that no individual in the 99% can afford. This movement is that piece of cardboard – the message on the sign. The occupy movement is the populist means to lobby are government officials and tell them what we think. We may not have millions to donate to their campaigns but quite honestly should we. We may not own the newspapers or media outlets that the wealthiest in this country own but that does not mean we don’t have a message or a voice. About 60% of Americans now support the occupy movement, and that support has not come through main stream media but through blogs, word of mouth, Facebook and other alternative forms of social networking. Not surprisingly the same way that many of the successful revolutions in the middle east were started in the past year.
Take a look at the gallery pictures to get a sense of what is going on with Occupy San Diego. I am actually pretty proud that we have people that stood up and did this in our great city.
My brother Bill took me out to his friends Ranch outside of San Diego. His friend is a pioneer in heart transplants and is probably the foremost expert in the world, having developed a technique in the mid 1970’s that made transplants work. The Ranch has exotic animals, two lakes, two homes and a helicopter landing port – an amazing opportunity for me to see something special. While there, we met his friend – Sir Terrence – who is an actual crowned Knight from the UK. He too was an amazing person that revolutionized transplanting in the UK. What an amazing day on the Ranch.
I have always enjoyed black and white photography; the simplicity of it and the beauty of it. Good black and white photography can really highlight emotion and mood better than almost any other type of photography. The lack of color forces you to really look at the composition, shadows and subject and it can really focus the eye on what you want. I took a black and white photo that I liked of the Pier at Scripps (one of my favorite places to photograph) as you know. The pier looks very moody and calm at sunset – almost peaceful even.
I got a chance to take some pictures at Mary (my sisters) house yesterday. Irish had his Homecoming Dance this weekend so I was there taking pictures of him and his Homecoming date Ashlyn. Mary decided to do some portrait poses before I left and she is a great model – a natural. Mary is a great sister and a great mother with a great family. I see them often and they are a great source of joy for me since we have so much fun. We actually have been going to Charger games for years and/or hitting up the BBQ Pit on Saturday nights (which we actually did again last night).
When Mary was growing up everybody would comment on her beautiful eyes and long hair. Well you can tell from the photos here why that was the case. I hope you can check out some of the photos in the gallery, there are just a few but Mary makes them all look great.
One of the best new bands to emerge in the last couple of years is Foster the People. Their song. “Pumped up Kicks” has been on the charts for the last 12 months and has hit #4 recently despite being recorded awhile ago. The band was formed in LA by Mark Foster hence the name “Foster the People”. The band was originally called Foster and the People but the name Foster the People stuck. I had a chance to check them out live in San Diego this week and they put on an incredible show at SOMA. The songs are incredibly singable and the whole place was jumping and singing the songs along with the band. I was particularly excited because they gave me a photo pass to the show so I got a unique vantage point (right up front and back stage). You can check out the gallery of all of the photos in my Music gallery.
My niece Madeline McKenna formed a group with her boyfriend Ryan Mattos (phenomenal songwriter and musician). They exploded on the indie music scene over a year ago with a single they recorded in their apartment in York called “Go Outside”. The single was meant to be played just for their friends and they uploaded it on the internet. Within weeks the single had gone viral on the internet and was even picked up by Perez Hilton who claimed that this was the next big group. Well he was right and The Cults went on to sign on with a major record label and began to tour the world non stop since they launched.
Just this last week, I had a chance to watch the Cults again as they played one of their largest shows I had seen. They were playing with another indie group – Foster the People and the place was absolutely packed. I was thrilled to watch her and they even gave me a coveted “Photo Pass” which allowed me into the photographers pit and also back stage. It was a phenomenal night and I loved every minute of it. Check out the band photos for the Cults on the link below.
My brother has been playing in straight edge punk bands since he was 16 years old. Straight Edge is an alternative movement in punk rock which was more or less popularized by bands such as Minor Threat in the 1980’s Patrick’s latest band “Adult Crash” holds on to those straight edge values and delivers a super tight punk sound. The benefit of playing in a punk band for 20+ years is that Patrick and Tim’s band (the founder) can out muscle the other bands in terms of sheer talent and the wall of sound that they deliver with the help of their better equipment. I went to see and photograph a couple of shows of my brothers band in small clubs here in San Diego and were hard driving and fast. I took a picture which captured the level of passion and aggressiveness of his band. As you can see from the picture below his hands are chaffed, raw and close to bleeding from the pounding he gave his drum set that night. Pretty incredible.
I just got back from Roseville after spending a weekend up there for my friends Chris and Vanessa’s wedding. Chris is one of my very good friends from college (we were dorm mates), and his wife is a very nice girl that is a Librarian just like him. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful event that they organized at a small hall called “Portuguese Hall” near Auburn. I got a chance to see the beautiful wedding but also to see the historic town of Auburn which is a great place to shoot for weddings or portraits since the town is very old and beautiful. The wedding pictures will be up within a week and I am looking forward to sharing them.