Sugar and Gaow at a Chiang Mai Fish Spa

Chiang Mai fish spa. Photo by Jim Newberry.

Here’s Sugar (at left, yawning) with Nattapol “Gaow” Nukulkham at a fish spa near Tha Phae Gate. Gaow is a Chiang Mai University photography student who has assisted me on several shoots. You can see a couple of his fine photographs here.

[br] A fish spa is a place where a person exchanges hard-earned money for the opportunity to allow Garra rufa fish to dine on the flesh of their lower legs and feet. Might be a good way for pescetarians and carnivores to rebalance their karma. [br] [br] [br]

Maurice Seymour Pt. 3: The Plot Thickens

Quick recap: In Austin, Texas, I bought a strange and lovely old (1940s?) 8×10 glossy of an anonymous dancer. I Googled the photographer’s name (his credit was on the print) and discovered he was a very prolific, abundantly talented Chicago photographer, who shot not only local entertainers, but also world class celebrities like Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett, not to mention German synth rock pioneers Kraftwerk (!).

After posting here about the portrait and photographer, my friend David Kodeski sent me a message pointing out that Seymour’s son Ron Seymour is also a professional photographer, whose studio is less than a mile from my own. I had heard of Ron Seymour and walked by his studio many times, but I didn’t make the ‘Seymour’ connection when I got the print.

Photographers: terrorists?

A good read from The Guardian:

Since 9/11, there has been an increasing war on photography. Photographers have been harrassed, questioned, detained, arrested or worse, and declared to be unwelcome. We’ve been repeatedly told to watch out for photographers, especially suspicious ones. Clearly any terrorist is going to first photograph his target, so vigilance is required.

Except that it’s nonsense. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid subway bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.

Given that real terrorists, and even wannabe terrorists, don’t seem to photograph anything, why is it such pervasive conventional wisdom that terrorists photograph their targets? Why are our fears so great that we have no choice but to be suspicious of any photographer?

Because it’s a movie-plot threat.

I’ve definitely experienced this paranoia; since 9/11 I’ve been told not to take photos numerous times, in situations that wouldn’t have been an issue before. The thing is, if you wanted to take pictures for dastardly purposes, it would be quite easy to do it surreptitiously–why would you walk around with a big ol’ SLR when you could use a hidden video camera, or use your camera phone while you pretend to text someone. I can understand that people feel jumpy and there are very real threats out there, but freaking out about someone photographing a building just seems silly.

And another thing. Once at a Whole Foods store I spied a swell looking stack of oranges that I decided to take a snapshot of with my little point and shoot. Mere seconds elapsed before a staff member told me I couldn’t take photos in the store. In this case, I’m guessing the fear is not of terrorism, but probably more a corporate competitive issue. It seems that all chains have that policy.

Utah photographer vandalizes rival’s studio

I was aware that it’s tougher than ever to be a photographer these days, but this is the first time I’ve heard of fighting the competition with a slingshot:

Kurtis Leo Leany, 52, must also pay a $1,000 fine, write a letter of apology to the victim and complete an anger-management class as part of a 36-month probation.
In March, Leany pleaded guilty as charged in 5th District Court to one count of third-degree felony criminal mischief.
Leany used a slingshot to damage windows at Studio West Photography five times during a six-week period between Aug. 5 and Sept. 14, according to court documents. He told police he believed owner Karl Hugh was stealing business from him.
But Leany, who owns Zion Photography, later told The Tribune: “I was just in a really bad place; I couldn’t see that it was the economy and I instantly blamed [Hugh] because of things in the past.” —
By Stephen Hunt, The Salt Lake Tribune