Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Over the last couple of years I’ve become more and more dissatisfied with my photography. Well, not necessarily the photography actually but more so with the subject matter. Making technically perfect pretty pictures of attractive subjects was fun but at the same time, it wasn’t fulfilling.
Growing up in the 1950, some of my most vivid memories are of sitting on the floor in our living room quietly going through the stacks of Life and Look magazines that my mom kept. My mom also had subscriptions to both of those magazines so I was always eager to get my hands on the latest copies as soon as they arrived.
It was those magazines and the incredible photo essays they contained by such great photographers as Robert Capa, W. Eugene Smith and Margaret Bourke-White and so many others that first inspired me to want to become a photographer.
I actually starting taking pictures around the age of eight using a hand-me-down camera that my mom had given me. Though I’ve been a photographer for most of my life, I’ve never followed that original inspiration. Instead, once I turned pro, I did what far too many people do and that is I chased the almighty dollar, mostly shooting whatever I thought would sell.
A few weeks before my girlfriend Lyn died, I had decided I really needed to get back to what had originally inspired me to become a photographer in the first place. However, Lyn’s death effected me deeply and everything just sort of got put on hold. Her death still has a profound effect on me every single day but I simply have to start moving forward again. At sixty-one years of age I feel as though if I don’t do this now, it just ain’t gonna happen.
Poverty, illiteracy and hunger are issues that have always concerned me. I have personal experience with two of those (some might say all three.) Of those issues, hunger concerns me the most since it has a profound effect on being able to overcome the other two.
I’ve recently begun working on a photo documentary project to put a human face on the problems of hunger in New Mexico and looking for support from local organizations to help out with this important project. Whether or not I am able to receive any support though, I feel compelled to keep working on it. It’s a terribly important issue.
Irrespective of ideology, political leanings or the size of one’s bank account, every one of us should be embarrassed, ashamed and in fact, outraged, that here, in 21st century America, the richest, most powerful and most productive country that has ever existed on this planet, there should be ever be one single person that does not always have enough to eat.
Over the years, almost every U.S. President has declared some type of campaign or introduced legislation to end the scourge of hunger in America. We live in a country with enough food and money to feed everyone in the world twice over and yet, hunger still persists right here in the good ol' US of A.
One out of every eight people in America doesn’t always have enough to eat. That number jumps to at least one out of every six people in New Mexico that don’t always know where their next meal is going to come from and that includes one out of every four children. I find that obscene.
Of course, the United States Government no longer calls people who often lack enough to eat "hungry". Instead, ever since the George W. Bush administration objected to the term "hunger" these Americans are now called "food insecure", a euphemism used to describe hunger without actually carrying all of the weight that the word hunger implies.
Unfortunately, hunger in the United States as well as New Mexico is fundamentally a political issue. Charities, businesses, and private citizens all have very important roles to play in this issue but only governments, at every level, actually have the size, power and the resources to finally solve the problem once and for all. Governments must stop playing ideological games and one-upmanship and start actually LEADING the way for a change.
This is not going to be an easy project. In fact, baring something entirely unforeseen, within the next couple of weeks, it is going to get much, much harder.
Since Lyn’s death, I have been staying with relatives but I can only stay here until about July 15th. After that, I will be essentially homeless which is going to make literally everything infinitely more difficult. However, for some reason I seem to be drawn to and in fact driven by the prospect of doing this project and hopefully bring a significant amount of attention to the problem of hunger in New Mexico.
I may not be able to end hunger in New Mexico but I do plan on giving it my best shot by trying to bring this important issue to the attention of those who are best able to make a difference. That would be politicians as well as those people and organizations that are best able to put badly needed pressure on the politicians to bring about the needed changes in policy.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Everything seems so exceptionally difficult and I’m still finding it very hard to just move through the day and do the things that must be done. My concentration on any one thing is pretty much non-existent since thoughts of Lyn constantly intrude and my mind constantly wonders back to when she was still alive.
Of course, being essentially homeless at almost sixty-one years of age isn’t helping matters. I’m still trying to find a job so I can then find a place of my own to live but this is all very, very difficult. The pain of losing Lyn is still too fresh, like an open wound. Sure, it will eventually heal but it’s going to leave one hell of a scar. I miss my Sweetie so bad I can hardly stand it every single minute of every day
Everyone tells me I’ll get through this. I’m sure I will just as others have but that doesn’t make it any easier. Hopefully I'll make it through this dark period and back into the light.
Monday, April 25, 2011
This is a very difficult post but one I unfortunately need to make. I’m not posting this looking for comments, condolences or sympathy. This is just something that I need to say and to let everyone know where I've been lately.
On Monday morning, April 18, 2011, my whole world came crashing down. Lyn Ballough, the woman I have loved and lived with for almost nine years died.
Lyn was first diagnosed with diabetes when she was nine years old. For the past several years she had been what some would call a “brittle” diabetic. We had a great deal of difficulty keeping Lyn’s blood sugar levels up to what would be considered “normal” and she suffered very frequent episodes of severe hypoglycemia.
The doctors considered Lyn to be in generally good health except for the diabetes. However, the diabetes finally took its toll on her body.
Monday morning, I checked on Lyn since she was usually very low in the mornings and needed help in the form of sugar to get out of bed. Lyn was again very low but things were not normal and I called 911 and performed CPR on Lyn until the paramedics arrived.
The paramedics then took over CPR and did everything else they possibly could do to get Lyn’s heart started again. They worked on Lyn for almost forty-five minutes but finally pronounced her dead at 10:37am.
Taking care of Lyn for the past nine years has taken up most of my days. To tell the truth, taking care of Lyn was more than a full-time job. Now, my days are empty and meaningless. Quite honestly, I’m lost. I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m going to do. Absolutely nothing seems worth while right now.
I guess I’ll eventually be able to figure things out and find some kind of direction but for now I just can’t. The pain of losing Lyn is just too much. I loved her dearly.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I recently moved my main website from my old host over to SmugMug and the reason was simple- ease of updating.
My old website suffered from a major case of pain-in-the-ass to update on a regular basis and was therefore rarely ever updated. Not good. The new site is extremely easy to change and update. In fact, with SmugMug I can update the photo galleries directly from Adobe Lightroom.
I had recently read an article extolling the virtues of SmuMug and several people I know had also recommended it. I checked out the SmugMug site and found that they have a fourteen day free trial and began playing around with that though I wasn't sure at that point that I wanted to go through the hassle of actually making the move.
The more I played around though, the more I discovered about how easy it was to customize just about everything. At some point after playing around for a few days, I decided to make the move and I'm extremely glad I did.
In the process of moving from my old host to SmugMug I did run into a problem that had me rather confused and so I contacted SmugMug customer service. This was actually on Christmas day and I honestly didn't expect a response right away. But, in no time, not only did I receive a response, they actually offered to take care of the problem for me. Within the hour, my site was moved, setup and running. I really can't express how impressed I have been up to this point.
I'm still working on the site, mainly making minor tweaks here and there. I'm also working on adding some new categories and galleries in the not to distant future.
If you happen to be so inclined, check out the new jimhunter.com and leave a comment below.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
For those who think it never snows much in Albuquerque, think again. On December 28, 2006 the forecast was for 3 to 4 inches of snow overnight. By morning, we had already had at least that much and the snow continued to fall. In fact, it snowed steadily for almost two days.
This was how my backyard looked by the afternoon of December 29.
Of course, the kids in the neighborhood absolutely loved it.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I love how ideas come to me sometimes from the oddest circumstances. I call it planned serendipity. Planned serendipity sounds like an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms but it's really not.
1. Designed or carried out according to a plan
2. Make plans for something
1. Good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries
So, "planned serendipity" simply means to me that I consciously "plan" to keep my mind open to "Good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries" that may happen during to course of any given day. An excellent example is the image posted above.
Yesterday, I was trying to decide what to do for my 365 Project. I had a couple of ideas but neither one really excited me so I decided to take care of some errands and see if anything else would pop up.
First, I needed to go to the pharmacy just done the hill from where I live and then stop by the grocery store just up the way to pick up a few items. As I was standing in the line at the checkout at the pharmacy, the song "Faithless Love" by Linda Ronstadt was playing. I've always loved that song and it stuck in my head.
Then, as I walked into the grocery store, there was a large assortment of roses on sale which were probably left over from Valentine's day. I casually glanced at the roses and continued down the aisles to do my shopping but the song was still playing in my head.
As I headed to the checkout at the grocery store, the image above suddenly popped into my head. I immediately turned around, went back to the other end of the store and picked up a dozen roses and as soon as I got home I began working on making the image.
So, the image above is completely a result of this planned serendipity wherein my mind was open to making unexpected discoveries through the unexpected juxtaposition of two seemingly unrelated circumstances.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
A wooden serving tray with Christmas sugar cookies shaped as holiday trees and bells.