Sunday, October 31, 2010

Learning Curve Update

In July, I started to teach myself photography with a digital camera. I called the whole process the Learning Curve. I'm up to Day 27. Originally, I was going to shoot everyday for 30 days -- a crash course. But that didn't happen because I couldn't find people to shoot, or my schedule didn't allow it. I improvised and started to take the camera with me to events I would attend and shoot there. It's been enjoyable. I'm grateful for all the support I've received during the process. There are a few people who have been very influential to my photography and those I know I will create beautiful art with in the future -- Thank you. And I have to thank my friends who always seem to end up in my photos...

What's happened since I started? Well, a few days ago, I entered the One Life Photo competition. It's definitely worth a shot. The judging takes place in November. Grand prize is a choice between $25,000 or a trip around the world! Prior to this competition, I entered the BK Loves MJ photo contest held by Spike Lee/40 Acres and won! I was pleasantly surprised and touched that my favorite photo of a brother and sister is the image that won the competition for me. The day I went to the 40 Acres office in Fort Greene to pick up my prize, I ran into Michelle, a woman I met the first day I started shooting. It's amazing how things come full circle.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Made In Haiti

The Simpsons have always bitten the hand that's fed them and that opening sequence was the most visual, direct... biting  at 20th Century FOX that I can remember. There have been digs at anything FOX related throughout the series - 

  • Homer and Marge go on a reality TV show, Mother Flippers, after winning a no-expenses paid trip to Fox Studios 
  • After Kent Brockman gets fired for cursing on the air, Lisa encourages him to reveal how Fox news gets money to the Republican party by airing racy, tasteless shows on Fox Network.

Chime in with the ones you can remember, I'm drawing a blank...

Now back to the opening sequence. The images of workers deep in the "sweatshops" which resembled coal mines is too close to the truth. I thought about the Chilean miners and I thought about @TastyKeish. On the Friday before this episode of The Simpsons aired, I went to the 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks office to pick up my prize package for this contest I won (I'll get to that later). One of the items was a commemorative Michael Jackson T-shirt. I  looked at the tag to check the size and noticed it was a Hanes Beefy-T "MADE IN HAITI". I tweeted the info to TastyKeish and expressed that some of the same concerns she had popped into my mind as well. Were the workers treated fairly, working in safe conditions and paid a living wage? U.S. clothing companies are encouraged to source 1 percent of their clothing production from Haiti. Let's hope that doesn't give them license to take advantage of those they should be helping.

I did a very quick web search to see what I could read about "hanes beefy t made in haiti". There were message board comments about the shirts being made in Haiti and insults about "that should tell you about the quality", other people complained they couldn't get any answers from Hanes (Sara Lee) about their policies and practices. 

I also came across this tweet from @mattnedostup
Turns out my Hanes Beefy-T was made in Haiti, so it looks like I contributed to the earthquake relief effort after all!

Wouldn't that be great if it were totally true? There are t-shirts sold where the proceeds go to the Earthquake relief or in some instances you donate to the relief effort and get a t-shirt. According to Hanes, this is what they did do to help

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hottentot Makes Any Man's Eyes Pop

I found this magazine just sitting outside my apartment building last night. Just sitting there. I didn't dig in the garbage to find it. It was just there. Like a sign. Ass all over the place. I thought the timing was pretty uncanny considering I was just discussing on Twitter with @alvinthethird that I was pondering what my next erotic work of art would be because I received another request to make a sex tape and had just read some commentary on the Kim Kardashian spread in W magazine. No doubt, I want my project to be sensual as well as erotic and somewhat political -- make a statement.

I want to always be in control of my erotic art. And as an obvious extension of that, my body. If I want to pose nude, I will. If I want to sext with pics, I will. If I don't want to work with a particular photographer, I won't. It all boils down to my comfort, my mission and the joy of creating. 

Of course there were comparisons to J-Lo made with the whole Kardashian photo and whether or not a Black woman could get away with the same thing. Black women do it all the time. The question is the stigma attached to it. What made Kardashian any different? Her image is art because she didn't have a g-string disappearing between her cheeks for emphasis? We have butts. Some of us have big butts. Some of us have humongous butts. And thanks to magazines like the one pictured above, some Black women use those butts to earn a living and make a name for themselves. But what's in a name? What's behind (technically, in front of or on top of) the booty? When I was a personal trainer, I got most of my clients because of my butt. Many of them told me they wanted a butt like mine. I was never offended because they were never offensive. Sure, I had a shapely butt, but I also had the knowledge and experience to get them what they wanted or the sense to tell them it wasn't gonna happen no matter how many squats we did. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Still Cursing The Name Christopher Columbus...

So we were taught that Christopher Columbus discovered America on his way looking for a new trade route to India but went the wrong way. He got here, marveled at the land the people, spread word back to Spain and the rest is history. "America"; North, Central and South are believed to be named after Amerigo Vespucci. Ok, so far, I got the gist of it. 

Then anthropologists and Columbus haters said the land bridge between Asia and North America (Russia and present-day Alaska) is what brought the indigenous people to this continent. Ok, works for me. Human history dictates that ancient man was nomadic. We searched for food and shelter at the whim and the weather and animals we depended on for food and clothing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Everything Old Is New Again...And Still Kinda Old

I watched The Expendables about 2 weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon (I should note I started scribbling this blog right after I watched it) and marveled at how old Dolph Lundgren looked every time he was on the screen. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger's (or the Governator's as my friend called him) cameo didn't help the situation. These men are growing old right before my eyes. On the following Monday, I saw the commercial for Red and that's when it clicked and I tweeted: The Expendables and now Red -- I see where Hollywood is going.

Everything old is new again. I don't mean the endless remakes but the actors and the eras. Aside from Sylvester Stallone's eyebrows, it was refreshing to see people who actually looked 50 or 60 years old on screen. Side note: I enjoyed the return to a good old-fashioned shoot-em-up movie. I recently finished reading Beauty Junkies by Alex Kuczynski and the extent of plastic surgery in Hollywood and because of Hollywood is disheartening. (not taking anything away from her talent, but the over-saturation of Betty White is a sign that there just aren't that many older actress in Hollywood. And Cloris Leachman is doing her thing on Raising Hope! Who else could they have cast?

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