Speaking of Ted “Calgary” Cruz, did you hear the part of the Republican Debate last night where Cruz demanded the US commit war crimes?
CRUZ: Well Chris, I will apologize to nobody for the vigorousness with which I will fight terrorism, go after ISIS, hunt them down wherever they are and utterly and completely destroy ISIS.
You know, you claim it is tough talk to discuss carpet bombing. It is not tough talk. It is a different fundamental military strategy than what we’ve seen from Barack Obama. […]
You want to know what carpet bombing is? It’s what we did in the first Persian Gulf war. 1100 air attacks a day, saturation bombing that utterly destroyed the enemy. Right now, Barack Obama is launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day. He’s not arming the Kurds.
We need to define the enemy. We need to rebuild the military to defeat the enemy and we need to be focused and lift the rules of engagement so we’re not sending our fighting men and women into combat with their arms tied behind their backs.
(click here to see video of Cruz Argues For War Crimes To Defeat ISIS | Crooks and Liars.)
Carpet bombing: the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, bombing hospitals, schools, neighborhoods, anything alive at all. Very Christian of you, Teddy. I guess I missed that part of Jesus Christ’s message that called for indiscriminate slaughter of innocent babies and pregnant mothers.
Seriously, even the Pentagon doesn’t think that’s a good strategy, but then Commandant Cruz doesn’t often listen to experts…
The Pentagon on Wednesday criticized proposals to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that it says would fuel the terrorist group’s recruitment abilities.
“It’s clear from ISIL’s strategy that their objective is to cause us to engage in what they believe is an apocalyptic war with the West,” said Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, using an alternate acronym for ISIS. “And anything that we do to feed that particular frame of thinking counters our national security, and we have to be very careful about how we prosecute a campaign that appears to be an indiscriminate attempt to attack ISIL and the population that surrounds it.”
“We will carpet bomb them into oblivion,” Cruz said last weekend in Iowa. “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”
[Senator] McCaskill slammed Cruz’s comments, saying that actually carpet bombing Iraq or Syria would kill numerous innocent women and children, prompting some to side with ISIS.
“If we did an indiscriminate carpet bombing of a major area and killed thousands of women and children, would you assume that would have some impact on their ability to recruit misguided barbarians like this couple that took out more than a dozen innocent people last week?” she said, referring to the couple suspected of carrying out last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. “I would have to assume it would put their recruiting on steroids.”
Selva avoided answering directly, saying the military’s campaign strives to avoid collateral damage.
“I’m going to avoid anything hypothetical,” he said. “What I would say, categorically, is the process you described as your hypothetical question is not the way that we apply force in combat. It isn’t now, nor will it ever be.”
(click here to continue reading Pentagon blasts ISIS proposals that would lead to ‘apocalyptic war’ | TheHill.)
Police who intentionally skirt civilian oversight by destroying or disabling their dashcams should be fired, plain and simple. Or at least severely reprimanded. The police need to come back to being part of society, not standing alone from it, without accountability. Serve and protect used to be the motto, but destroying evidence of police actions only serves to protect the police themselves.
Why are so many police dashcam videos silent?
Chicago Police Department officers stashed microphones in their squad car glove boxes. They pulled out batteries. Microphone antennas got busted or went missing. And sometimes, dashcam systems didn’t have any microphones at all, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.
Police officials last month blamed the absence of audio in 80 percent of dashcam videos on officer error and “intentional destruction.”
A DNAinfo Chicago review of more than 1,800 police maintenance logs sheds light on the no-sound syndrome plaguing Police Department videos — including its most notorious dashcam case.
Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show monthslong delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix “intentional damage.”
Between Sept. 1, 2014, and July 16, 2015, maintenance technicians assigned to troubleshoot and repair dashcam systems reported 90 incidents where no microphones were found in squad cars, according to police logs.
Another 13 inspections during that period turned up only one microphone in squad cars that were supposed to be equipped with two audio recording devices, according to the logs.
On 30 occasions, technicians who downloaded dashcam videos found evidence that audio recording systems either had not been activated or were “intentionally defeated” by police personnel, the records show.
(click here to continue reading Chicago Police Hid Mics, Destroyed Dashcams To Block Audio, Records Show – Archer Heights – DNAinfo.com Chicago.)
An important story, and you should read it all…
Long time readers of this blog know we feel strongly that America would have much better served if we had invested money in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure instead of invading Iraq. American taxpayers spent trillions of dollars, basically pissed away in the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan, most of which did America no good. I guess if you were a defense contractor, you did ok, replenishing supplies of jet fuel, bullets and bombs for the military, but wouldn’t that money have been better spent fixing bridges, water pipes, sewer pipes and the like in places taxpayers live in?
The water crisis in Flint, Mich., has exposed the danger that lead could potentially leach into the drinking water of millions of Americans, showing what can go wrong if aging infrastructure isn’t properly monitored and maintained.
Lead is common in pipes across the country, mostly in service lines linking street pipes to people’s homes. Millions of pipes now in use were installed well before 1986, when federal law banned lead pipes and solder, and some date back to the 1800s.
The price tag just to dig up and replace as many as eight million lead service lines into homes and businesses could easily reach tens of billions of dollars. The task is complicated by the fact that utilities and cities often don’t know where such lines are buried. And tens of millions of other water lines have lead solder or fixtures that also can contaminate drinking water.
Nationwide, lead solder that seals pipes and joints exists in about 81 million homes, or roughly two-thirds of households, and leaded brass fixtures, another source of contamination, are in the vast majority of homes, said Marc Edwards, an environmental engineering professor at Virginia Tech.
“While Flint is an outlier, it confirms everything that we have been speaking out against for the last 10 years,” said Mr. Edwards, who tested Flint drinking water samples last summer, revealing high lead levels.
Experts generally agree that the lead service lines that connect water mains to homes are a leading culprit for lead contamination in water and need to be removed.
“It’s going to be a huge financial challenge,” said G. Tracy Mehan III, executive director for governmental affairs at American Water Works Association, a trade group representing 4,000 utilities across the U.S., not including Flint’s. Just 2% of water utilities surveyed by the group last year said they had all the financial resources to cover future pipeline upgrades, which would include replacing lead pipes and fixtures.
Replacing Flint’s lead lines, solder and joints could take 15 years and $60 million, according to a September estimate by an aide to Gov. Rick Snyder. On Wednesday, the governor said it was too soon to estimate the cost.
(click here to continue reading Flint Water Crisis Shines Light on Lead Pipes Across U.S. – WSJ.)
The Donald keeps up his birther schtick, expertly trolling Ted “Calgary” Cruz…
Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said on Thursday that his candidate would be “happy” to debate Ted Cruz once the Texas senator gets a federal judge to rule him eligible to run for president. “Once you’ve gotten that ruling from the federal judge and you’re the last man standing in this presidential contest next to Donald Trump, we’ll be happy to have a debate with you one-on-one, anywhere you want, because that’s the way the system works,” Lewandowski said. “But, as it stands right now, we don’t even know if Ted Cruz is legally eligible to run for president of the United States.” Trump and his supporters have argued that Cruz, who was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen, is not natural born and therefore ineligible to run for president under the Constitution.
“What this is, is a publicity stunt by Senator Cruz who is continuing to fall in the polls in the state of Iowa,” Lewandowski told Boston radio host Jeff Kuhner, before unleashing a slew of attacks at Cruz, arguing that he had used “dark money donors” through his super PAC to offer a donation to charity if Trump agreed to the debate.
“If Ted Cruz were able to disclose the loans that he’s taken out from Goldman Sachs and Citi, then maybe he would use his own money for this, but instead he’s using super PAC money which I don’t even know if he can do legally,” Lewandowski said, referring to loans Cruz took out during his 2012 run for Senate that he did not disclose in campaign filings. “And the bottom line is, you know what we’ve said to Ted Cruz, go into court, seek a declaratory judgment to find out if you’re even legally eligible to run for president of the United States.”
(click here to continue reading Trump Campaign Manager: Trump Will Debate Cruz Once Judge Rules Him Eligible To Run – BuzzFeed News.)
At least this particular Birther attack has the benefit of being plausible, unlike Trumpf’s earlier ridiculousness regarding Barack Obama’s childhood.
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A commenter by the name of “PoorCitizen” left the following statement in response to the very interesting discussion re: Natural Born Citizen and Ted Cruz as part of a Talking Point Memo blog post entitled: Centuries-Old English Law May Hold The Answer To Ted Cruz’s Birth Issue, which you should read too.
“Why should American constitutional law in the 21st century depend on what English law from the 1300s?”
The reason is fairly simple to understand. If the words in the Constitution are to mean anything at all, then they must be at least they must be tied to the spirit and context in which they were originally used. This is true, whether you believe in a very restricted “original” interpretation of the meaning of the words in the Constitution or whether you believe in an interpretation of the meaning of the words that allows their meaning to evolve in the context of their “contemporary” legal meaning.
The specific requirements for eligibility for the US Presidency don’t simply demand that a person be a citizen, they specifically require a person to be a “natural born” citizen. The meaning of this common law term dates back to English common law and it is evident that the meaning of the term, as is amply evidenced in virtually all English Common Law as well as in the letters and discussions surrounding the writing of the US Constitution indicate that “natural born” refers specifically to the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the territory where a child is born and not to that of where his parent or parents were born.
There has been much talk about this being an “unsettled” matter of law. However, this is not true, since the US Supreme Court did rule specifically on the question of “natural born” in a case US vs Ark 1898 and specifically researched the meaning of “natural born” in the context of Common law to establish its meaning. After much reference to the meaning of the term in both English Common Law and with respect to its legal meaning at the time the Constitution was written, the Court ruled that “natural born” meant precisely that a person is considered “natural born”, if and only if, they were born within the sovereign territory of the United States. In fact, this is precisely why Mr. Ark won his case, even though both of his parents were Chinese and not Americans. Mr. Ark was born in San Francisco.
It should be noted that in US vs Ark, both the majority and minority opinions came to the same conclusion that “natural born” means specifically that a person is born within the jurisdiction or sovereignty of the United States. It is clear that had Mr. Ark not been born within the jurisdiction of the United States he would have lost his case and would have been deported as the US was trying to do.
It is further worth noting that the Court in US vs Ark also made specifically clear that the US could not simply pass a law, at that time the Chinese Exclusion Act, and use it to alter the meaning of “natural born”. They specifically referenced the fact that since that term was used in the Constitution, its meaning could not be altered by statute alone but would require a Constitutional amendment. The Court ruled that no law can amend the Constitution of the United States and any law that the government may attempt to use to do so is unconstitutional in its application. Congress has the power to naturalize, but it does not have the power to amend the meaning of the constitution via statute.
Legally, since the ruling in US vs Ark remains precedence, Mr. Cruz is ineligible to hold the office of the Presidency because he was born in Calgary, Canada as his Canadian birth certificate clearly demonstrates. He remains in ineligible under US law, at least until he gets a constitutional amendment passed permitting him to do so or he can provide proof that US State Department specifically claimed US jurisdiction over his birth. So far Mr. Cruz has not provided that critical piece of evidence.
The present court may attempt to reverse the precedent. However, to do so it will clearly have to waive the original meaning of the term in the Constitution, previous Supreme Court precedent, and more than 500 years of Common Law to do it.
(click here to continue reading Discussion: Centuries-Old English Law May Hold The Answer To Ted Cruz’s Birth Issue – TPM Article Topics – The Hive.)
The facts of this case, as agreed by the parties, are as follows: Wong Kim Ark was born in 1873 in the city of San Francisco, in the State of California and United States of America, and was and is a laborer. His father and mother were persons of Chinese descent, and subjects of the Emperor of China; they were at the time of his birth domiciled residents of the United States, having previously established and still enjoying a permanent domicil and residence therein at San Francisco; they continued to reside and remain in the United States until 1890, when they departed for China, and during all the time of their residence in the United States, they were engaged in business, and were never employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China. Wong Kim Ark, ever since his birth, has had but one residence, to-wit, in California, within the United States, and has there resided, claiming to be a citizen of the United States, and has never lost or changed that residence, or gained or acquired another residence, and neither he nor his parents acting for him ever renounced his allegiance to the United States, or did or committed any act or thing to exclude him
Page 169 U. S. 653
therefrom. In 1890 (when he must have been about seventeen years of age), he departed for China on a temporary visit and with the intention of returning to the United States, and did return thereto by sea in the same year, and was permitted by the collector of customs to enter the United States upon the sole ground that he was a native-born citizen of the United States. After such return, he remained in the United States, claiming to be a citizen thereof, until 1894, when he (being about twenty-one years of age, but whether a little above or a little under that age does not appear) again departed for China on a temporary visit and with the intention of returning to the United States, and he did return thereto by sea in August, 1895, and applied to the collector of customs for permission to land, and was denied such permission upon the sole ground that he was not a citizen of the United States.
It is conceded that, if he is a citizen of the United States, the acts of Congress, known as the Chinese Exclusion Acts, prohibiting persons of the Chinese race, and especially Chinese laborers, from coming into the United States, do not and cannot apply to him.
The question presented by the record is whether a child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution,
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
The evident intention, and the necessary effect, of the submission of this case to the decision of the court upon the facts agreed by the parties were to present for determination the single question stated at the beginning of this opinion, namely, whether a child born in the United States, of parent of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States. For the reasons above stated, this court is of opinion that the question must be answered in the affirmative.
(click here to continue reading United States v. Wong Kim Ark :: 169 U.S. 649 (1898) :: Justia U.S. Supreme Court Center.)
If you have some time, the US v. Ark case has lots of citations and references. I confess I did not read it all, just enough to get the gist.
And as I’ve said more than once, until the Supreme Court takes up this case and settles what specifically the phrase “Natural Born Citizen” means, speculation will continue. Ted Cruz is a citizen of the United States, but does he meet the additional requirements to run for president? Who knows?
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I remember when DHS came out with a report mildly critical of the anti-government tea bagger types, and remember the Obama administration caving to the GOP idiots rather quickly. Right wing extremists are easily as scary as Muslim extremists, except the right-wingers have their own support group in Congress, their own media infrastructure, including Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest. So from where I sit, I’m more scared of the right-wing militia.
Daryl Johnson once worked in the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that studied the threats posed by antigovernment groups. His former office was shut down more than five years ago.
But when members of an armed group took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon last week, Mr. Johnson was not surprised.
In 2009, the former analyst wrote a report that warned of a growing antigovernment movement and the possible recruitment of returning military veterans that could “lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone-wolf extremists.”
His words drew fierce criticism from Republican lawmakers and conservative news media, labeling the report an unfair assessment of legitimate criticisms of the government. The document was retracted after Janet Napolitano, who was then the Homeland Security secretary, apologized to veterans, and the Extremism and Radicalization Branch was quietly dismantled.
Some lawmakers and former intelligence analysts, such as Mr. Johnson, say the department has allocated significant resources to combating violent extremism among Muslims, but has failed to gather the intelligence needed to fight right-wing extremism in the United States.
“The D.H.S. is scoffing at the mission of doing domestic counterterrorism,” Mr. Johnson said. “The same patterns that led to the growth of the antigovernment groups in the 1990s is being played out today. D.H.S. should be doing more.”
(click here to continue reading Homeland Security Looked Past Antigovernment Movement, Ex-Analyst Says – The New York Times.)
Wouldn’t want to offend anyone who might vote for a Republican:
The radicalization office was meant to monitor domestic threats, with a major focus on militia groups, particularly because Homeland Security analysts worried that these groups might be able to recruit returning military veterans. The reference to veterans, in addition to claims that the report was targeting Tea Party activists, promoted the backlash that led to the closing of the office.
Former Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, who was then House minority leader, criticized Ms. Napolitano for the department’s failure to use the term “terrorist” to describe groups such as Al Qaeda, while “using the same term to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation.”
After the criticism, the Homeland Security Department reduced the number of analysts who studied domestic terrorism that was unconnected to foreign threats
Daryl Johnson said that despite these efforts, he thinks the extremism office is still needed. “The Department of Justice looks at these things to make its law enforcement cases,” he said. “The mandate for the D.H.S. is broader. It’s supposed to provide the analysis and intelligence to track these kinds of things before it gets to the point of confrontation.”
(click here to continue reading Homeland Security Looked Past Antigovernment Movement, Ex-Analyst Says – The New York Times.)
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I too was born in Canada of an American mother. She had to provide a signed, notarized list of all places she lived after the age of 14, can we see Ted Cruz’s mother’s statement like that? Especially since Ted Cruz’s dad was a member of Fidel Castro’s army in Cuba.
Maybe I can become president of the US after all!
It was only a matter of time before Donald Trump threw Ted Cruz under the birther bus now that they’re duking it out to win Iowa. Behold, that time came on Tuesday. Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1970 to an American mother, and although it clearly pained Trump to bring it up, he just had to do it. For the better of the Republican Party, of course.
“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when asked about the topic. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”
Trump added, “I’d hate to see something like that get in his way. But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.” Is this little hiccup too good to be true? Maybe not.
It comes down to a question of what the constitutional requirement of being a “natural born citizen” means. Legal scholars have typically interpreted that to mean someone who was a citizen at birth, which Cruz was based on his mother’s U.S. citizenship. However, one nagging fact remains: the Supreme Court has never ruled on exactly what “natural born citizen” means.
(click here to continue reading Trump goes full birther on Cruz: His Canadian birthplace could be ‘very precarious’ for the GOP.)
The Constitution does not define the term natural born citizen. Even so, Governor Schwarzenegger is clearly out of the running. Given that he was born in Austria to Austrian parents, there is no basis for arguing that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States.
For Senator Cruz—who was born in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother and a Cuban father—the question is more complicated. There is a strong argument that anyone who acquires United States citizenship at birth, whether by virtue of the 14th Amendment or by operation of federal statute, qualifies as natural born. The Supreme Court, however, has never ruled on the meaning of the natural-born citizenship requirement. In the absence of a definitive Supreme Court ruling—or a constitutional amendment—the parameters of the clause remain uncertain.
The origins of the Natural Born Citizenship Clause date back to a letter John Jay (who later authored several of the Federalist Papers and served as our first chief justice) wrote to George Washington, then president of the Constitutional Convention, on July 25, 1787. At the time, as Justice Joseph Story later explained in his influential Commentaries on the Constitution, many of the framers worried about “ambitious foreigners who might otherwise be intriguing for the office.”
“Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen,” Jay wrote.
Washington thanked Jay for his hints in a reply dated September 2, 1787. Shortly thereafter, the natural-born citizenship language appeared in the draft Constitution the Committee of Eleven presented to the Convention. There is no record of any debate on the clause.
(click here to continue reading Is Ted Cruz a natural-born citizen eligible to serve as president?.)
And of course, some couldn’t help but jump on the birther wagon…
Rand Paul said on Wednesday that he’s not sure if his Canadian-born rival for the Republican presidential nomination Ted Cruz is eligible to be president of the United States.
“You know, I think without question he is qualified and would make the cut to be prime minister of Canada, absolutely without question, he is qualified and he meets the qualifications,” the Kentucky senator said of Cruz on the radio show Kilmeade and Friends.
“You know, I’m not an expert on the natural-born clause in the Constitution and people have various opinions,” said Paul. “Some people believe it means you need to be born here, some people think it means you can be born in another country as long as your parents are citizens.” “And we’ve had some previous cases of it, but I don’t think we’ve ever gone through the court system for the Supreme Court to decide one way or another,” he continued. “It is interesting, and I think sometimes people point out that it’s a double standard, in the sense that people went out, hot and heavy, including Donald Trump you know, about President Obama when there was really nothing more than conjecture that he wasn’t born in the country. And yet, there hasn’t been really the same outrage at all for some one who actually is born in another country.”
(click here to continue reading Rand Paul Says He’s Not Sure If Ted Cruz Is Eligible To Be President – BuzzFeed News.)
White House press secretary Josh Earnest poked some fun Wednesday at renewed interest in Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’s eligibility to be commander-in-chief.
“It would be quite ironic if after seven or eight years of drama around the President’s birth certificate if Republican primary voters were to choose Sen. Cruz as their nominee,” Earnest said with a smirk. “Somebody who wasn’t actually born in the United States and only 18 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship.”
(click here to continue reading WH Spox: It’d Be ‘Ironic’ If Canadian-Born Cruz Chosen As GOP Nominee.)
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, who once dismissed birthers as “cranks,” suggested Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may be ineligible for the presidency because he is not a “natural born citizen.”
(click here to continue reading Ann Coulter Now Suggests Ted Cruz Isn’t A ‘Natural Born Citizen’.)
the only real obstacle is having standing to argue in front of the Supreme Court, before the election:
Despite the shadow that lawsuits may cast over a presidential bid, the obstacles to successful litigation of natural-born citizenship challenges are formidable. These matters raise a wide array of justiciability concerns. Standing issues led to the dismissal of lawsuits filed in federal courts in New Hampshire and California challenging Senator McCain’s natural-born status in 2008 (Hollander v. McCain, Robinson v. Bowen), as well as to the dismissal of claims brought by a Guyana-born naturalized citizen who argued that the Fifth and 14th Amendments effectively repealed the natural born citizenship clause (Hassan v. Federal Election Committee).
Standing is not the only obstacle to adjudication of natural-born citizenship issues. Claims that a candidate lacks the requisite natural-born citizenship credentials are unlikely to ripen until a nominee is chosen, or perhaps even elected, and federal courts may be reluctant to delve into the merits of challenges to a candidate’s natural-born citizenship status on political question grounds.
(click here to continue reading Is Ted Cruz a natural-born citizen eligible to serve as president?.)
Photography in the digital age is different than most other art forms. Here is why.
First the photographer must take the photo. What does this action entail? A whole litany of things, beginning with identifying something interesting enough to photograph, then properly framing the interesting aspects, composing the shot, deciding about depth of field, shutter speed, and more. Depending upon the kind of photograph, you may have time to think through all these implications, but for the kind of photography I usually practice, instinctual, learned reactions are best, or else the moment may be lost. In the pre-digital days, there was also the complication of what film you had in your camera at the moment. I guess if you were a professional, you maybe didn’t mind switching out rolls of film mid-stream, but that was probably unusual. In the digital era, ISO settings can be tweaked from shot to shot.
Ok, you’ve captured something interesting, now what?
The second part of the process1 is processing the image. Currently my digital darkroom contains two main tools: Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe Photoshop CS 62. I have all of my digital images stored in Lightroom3 and when I’m in the proper mood, I browse through them, searching for an image to work on. I use Smart Collections in Lightroom, which is a way to automatically sort images into groups: by camera, by lens, by aperture, by year taken, by kind of image4, and so on. Sometimes I’ll work on photographs that I took recently, especially if there is some topical, photojournalism reason5, but more often I’ll work on an image I took long ago. During the photographing session, I may think I’ve taken a good photo, but later when I’m looking at the image while sitting in front of my computer, perhaps I see a flaw6, or perhaps I stumble upon something I took long ago but forgot about and work on that instead.
In the pre-digital age, I would make contact sheets of images from a particular roll of film, then decide which of these to work on in a darkroom, having Lightroom eliminates that tedium. Not to mention that the chemicals required in a darkroom cannot be good for one’s health!
Once I decide, I open the image in Photoshop, adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, cropping, angle, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance, saturation, white balance, lens distortion, and other tweaks. Some images are easy – they are what they need to be without much brainwork from me, many images take longer. I often convert color images to black and white, sometimes rather easily because that is what the image wants to become, but sometimes this process takes quite a while. I currently use two third party filters: the Nik Collection7 for color and contrast tweaking, and Alien Skin’s Exposure – which emulates film stock from various films.8
The second part of creating a photograph is a much different process than the first. In fact, the two processes use quite different skill sets, and require a much different state of mind. I prefer to wander the streets, headphones on, snapping photographs. Traveling to somewhere new helps focus the eye, but as Heraclitus noted, “δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης.”9. I guess this is why I don’t take that many portraits: portraits require many photos of the same subject, I get bored by that. My style of photography is to snap only one or maybe two photographs of any particular subject at any particular time. For the processing aspect, I have to be able to concentrate at my computer, ideally without distraction, not always an easy request.
Other art forms are not the same. Painters may sketch what they are going to put down on canvas, or not, but the sketch is only tangentially related to the finished work. Writers might create characters, and back story, but again, the finished work is a different thing. Musicians practice, create riffs, but playing the song is in the moment of the song. Photographers work differently. I guess you could argue that the photographing process is collecting raw material, but that’s not quite accurate because if you don’t take a good photograph, you aren’t going to be able to save it in your digital darkroom, you just won’t.
A final thought: there is another type of photography that doesn’t involve processing images much. Namely, instant photographs, or in the digital age, images created with smart phones. I use the Hipstamatic app, but there are other similar photography tools, and part of the fun is that the photograph you’ve just taken is finished. You don’t have to go home and work on it, the image is already ready to be shared.Footnotes:
- and this is for me, how I work, you may handle this differently [↩]
- the last version available without having to pay a monthly fee [↩]
- nearly 50,000 DSLR photos as of now [↩]
- segmenting the photos from my DSLR from my iPhone snapshots, for instance [↩]
- protests, parades, weather [↩]
- out of focus, weird crop, whatever [↩]
- now owned by Google, I mostly use Color Efex Pro, rarely Silver Efex Pro, and once a year the Analog Efex Pro plugin [↩]
- Kodak T-Max 100, Agfa Scala, Fuji Neopan, etc. [↩]
- You can never step twice in the same river [↩]
Songs by Fela Kuti are perfectly suited to listening to while exercising. One queues up Sorrow, Tears and Blood, and maybe Zombie and then International Thief Thief1, and suddenly an hour has passed. Driving, deep rhythms of bass and drums, interwoven with horns, guitar, electric piano, chanting choruses, and so on, and of course, searing politically edged lyrics by Fela Kuti. His lyrical inventions don’t always translate into English, but if you concentrate, you’ll get the gist. Sorrow, Tears and Blood is the Nigerian version of KRS-One’s “Sound of Da Police”, or N.W.A.’s “Fuck The Police”, Junior Murvin’s, “Police and Thieves”, or even the Dead Kennedy’s “Police Truck”.2
That is all…Footnotes: