Science, Statistics, Politics, Current Events, Photos and Life.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Voyeurism and the Camera's Eye

This is a photo essay on privacy and the camera.  The camera takes pictures, sometimes of subjects caught surreptitiously or accidentally.  Are we invading someone's privacy when we take the picture?  When we view the picture?   When it is posted on the web?

This picture of a tree and a man.  The man is aware of the camera.  We are not invading his privacy.  The tree is unaware of us, and perhaps we have violated its privacy.  But many of us do not consider plants to have privacy, and worrying about the privacy of a tree would be considered ridiculous. 

Now these two gentlemen fearlessly sitting alone in front of the church, unworried that the facade might fall on them at any moment.  Have we violated their privacy?  They are a little too indistinct for us to worry about their feelings.  The building dominates the photo and in the end the picture is not about the men, but about the building.

Here we have a passageway.  One person is climbing out of the passageway basement, another approaches to enter.  The presence of a passage connotes strength and privacy, but there are two people here, and they are obviously not together.  Thus they protect each other, and we do not worry too much about their privacy.  The man in green is well lit, if we worry, it is about the person whose back is towards us.  That is the person protected by the passageway whose privacy we might be violating. 

Another passageway, underneath the previous passage.  We observe someone unobtrusively.  The passageway is protective of the person, but his head is turned, could he perhaps be aware of the camera?  If he is, then we have not observed him unnoticed. 

City Hall, employees entrance.  Someone has exited the building either for better cell phone reception or to not bother those inside with the noise of his conversation.  We waited for him to leave to take the picture but he outlasted us.  In his concentration, he does not notice the cameraman. 

This man is in public, but somehow he feels safe, and the camera intrudes on his space.  This person perhaps has self possession, and we feel as if we are intruding on his space.  Perhaps if he turned his head slightly, he could see into our rooms and our lives.  The tables would be turned, and the photograph voyeurs on the observer. 

Two statisticians engaged in conversation isolated at a table on a patio.  Other people may be located behind the camera, but the camera shows no evidence of others.  This couple might assume they are alone, and they are engaged in comfortable discourse, unaware of you watching them. 

A final picture, to lighten a heavy subject.  These colleagues of the tin wood man rest in a corner, shunted away from the crowds, the front patio heater with his head tilted, perhaps the better to hear what another patio heater says.  Does the tin wood man care if we watch him? 

Trees of San Antonio

A select few trees for your viewing pleasure.

Many trees were flowering.  Nice UTSA (University Texas San Antonio, downtown campus) building in the background.  I like the white saturation on the clouds. 

This tree was growing out of the wall along Riverwalk.  It has grown to quite a stately height.  I'd hate to be resident in the building when the tree decides to fall down. 

Inset: a close-up view of the base of the tree. 

This monster tree is on the Alamo grounds.  The branches keep growing off towards infinity.  This is the kind of tree that Disney's Tarzan would tree-surf along. 

Up close and personal -- another flowering shrub or tree. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

San Antonio: Buildings

Buildings in San Antonio. 

First a panoramic shot out the hotel window, complete with smudge.  The vehicles on the freeway look like toys, all red or yellow.  The Drury Plaza Hotel on the left, the football dome just to its right, the hexagon right of center is the Tower Life Building.  On the far right is the Grand Hyatt San Antonio. 

What tour de San Antoine would be complete without a shot of ye olde Alamo.  Remember this, because Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz won't want you to.  The line snakes around the corner, but moves quickly, possibly because there is virtually nothing inside to see. 

The San Fernando Cathedral, from the side.  Some of the dead folks from the Alamo are interred inside.  The not-so-flying buttresses are difficult to resolve in three dimensions here, shades of Escher again.  This architectural characteristic is common even in modern buildings. 

A newer version of not-so-flying buttresses in a modern construction. 

The old and the new.  My favorite pic in this set.  This is the same building as is on the left in the panoramic shot, the Drury Plaza Hotel. 

This is the Nix Professional Building.  It's a hospital. 

High saluting.  Nix again. 

The Tower Life Building and a church I presume. 

University of Texas, San Antonio, downtown campus.  A pretty, almost beautiful campus but your thoughts are completely drowned out by the elevated highway 35 next door. 

Find the Fotografer

It's time for another round of Find the Photographer!  In each of these pictures, can you find the photographer? 

Yes, there are two images here.  One reflected in the rate plate on the door, and the shadow on the door.  

Occasionally your friendly neighborhood photographer goes to church.  I'm in the left door.  You knew that.

Apparently my shadow likes to climb tree shadows.  The shadow to the right is our model from the red brick building of the previous post. 

Now this guy knows food.  And your photographer's shadow points to him. 

San Antonio: Store Fronts and Such

Smaller and older street level buildings showed character not necessarily beauty. 

Right this way!  Without the sign, we wouldn't know. 

An empty store front.

Same building farther down the street.  Our model demonstrates how passing pedestrian traffic would react should you relocate your business here. 

Bill Miller makes barbecue and given the size of this fleet of trucks, they must make just about all of the barbecue consumed in San Antonio and surrounding counties. 

Fruit?  Bakery?  Mexican Food?  Bee and Sisy have got it all for you.  When they're open. 

And right next door is Bee's and Sisy's Mexican restaurant.  Beyond that (partially visible) is Bee's gift shop.  I guess Sisy didn't want to go in on the gift shop with Bee. 

Obviously closed for the interim.  Fortunately some blue paint was available to help with closing. 

In case you want to buy or rent one of our store fronts, these guys can front you the cash for your front up front. 

San Antonio: Signs of the Times

San Antonio had more than its share of noteworthy signs. 

Colorful maps of the city were everywhere.  The traditional West is placed comfortably at the top.  Or you can tilt your head 90 degrees to the right. 

Resources for human department.  I liked the building.  Google says the address means 'parade ground' or 'barrack square'. 

This beautify San Antonio award was incredibly ugly. 

The Spanish Governor's Palace is temporarily closed.  Since 1845.  You'll just have to make due with state government in the meantime. 

It's not no-parking if you're a member of city council.  If I were a politician, I wouldn't want the entire city to know that I'd reserved the best parking spots for myself.  I'd turn these into handicap spots.  And suppose a deranged constituent became upset with their council member? 

San Antonio: Water, Light and Reflections

More photos from San Antonio, Texas.  These are pictures involving water and light and their interplay.  You might think of water and light as mostly cheerful and pretty, but some of these photos reflect the glumness underfoot in SA TX. 

A fountain in front of the cathedral, the kind kids love to play in.  Ok.  Frolic in.  I wasn't going to say "frolic". 

Reflections on the bridge underside.

Another San Antonio fountain.  I like the water textures in the falls. 

Not every piece of water is beautiful and pleasant and you want to hang out nearby. 

Waterfall down stairs.  Gotta love stairs. 

Rough water in the Riverwalk water. 

This is not a picture of the building.  Neither is it a picture of the water.  It is a picture of the reflection of the building on the water. 

And these ducks were frolicking in the reflections of the building.  There.  Said "frolic" again.  That's the problem with water.  Almost only thing to do is "frolic". 

Dark and gloomy reflections. 

Another less than famous waterway. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More colors of San Antonio

We continue with the colors of San Antonio. 

Green, red, aqua and blue, with black and white highlights and sand roofing. 

This is a highlight showing the attention to detail of the painters.  Even the pipe changes color at the right height. 

And pink and yellow.  I liked the chair so much it shows up in the next photo. 

This is the continuation to the right of the previous photo.  The trash bins have also been painted bright strong colors. 

Someone left their pasta box lying around outside. 

The crowd along the farmer's market, with pennants flying above it all.  Great faces. 

An arboreal view of the pennants.