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© © 2016, John Crosley/Crosley Trust, All Rights Reserved, No reproduction or other use without express prior written permission from copyright holder

'The Gleaner: Part III'


Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 (Windows)


© © 2016, John Crosley/Crosley Trust, All Rights Reserved, No reproduction or other use without express prior written permission from copyright holder

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The gleaners are a husband and wife team who scour the coastal Santa Cruz County,

CA area for used and second hand goods which they haul away for a fee to the dum,

using this small truck (cab shown), then deal in some of the detritus and discards for a

profit. The truck's cab bespeaks the eclectic castaways which have 'stuck' to this

couple as they have gone about their business. Your ratings, critiques and evaluations

are invited and most welcome. If you rate harshly, very critically, or just wish to make

a remark, please submit a helpful and constructive comment, please share your

photographic knowledge to help improve my photography. Thanks! Enjoy! john

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This was taken at night in a filling station at 1/15th of a second hand held after I had been taking photos less than half a year.


It took me most of the intervening time to realize its worth - and I value it highly, along with one of her husband.  This is an 'environmental portrait', and one of my best ever.


Thanks for the compliment.




John (Crosley)

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Hi John

This is a loyal portrait of a person who seems to live a hard life. The cut assures that you can see some of the belongings that ads to the character. The colors ads to the realism. It all ads up to a hart breaking realistic portrait. Well done.


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A reflective moment. She seems to have created a cluttered but very private space within the car. Perhaps for her, the safe world has been reduced to this. Great color and rich tones, John.
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This photo was not indexed where my ordinary photos are (superbly) indexed, and I'd come across its unindexed copy or original from time to time, and I always had  difficulty evaluating it as a standalone.  


As I'been delving more and more into 'fine art' photography, I have begun to realize its worth, despite original doubts, and now can see I've overlooked it all this time.  


That's why I never delete unless, say, an unwanted subject passes between me and my subject COMPLETELY interrupting my view when I press the shutter or the focus is so horribly off that it just absolutely ruins the photo (some badly focused shots can be 'saved' now with newly devised software, which I've done to great success).


Thanks for a wonderful, concise critique.  Best wishes.




John (Crosley)


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This is a truck cab, a pickup I think, with an enclosure on the back, used for hauling to the dump unwanted things from people responsible for doing so themselves in a county where dump service is unavailable to many except in two cities, and it's also used for moving such things and for moving small households (?) or heavy goods, (for sure).


I think this couple also goes through their 'dump hauls' to 'recover' and 'recycle'  otherwise unwanted collectibles which they can resell, and which supplements their income.   Their truck is their home, as I recall, and one look inside shows the extent of it.


My recollection is this woman is Hispanic, husband American of Hispanic? descent, and this provides their income.  They are gleaners or scroungers, and honest people at that, from all appearances.  Certainly if they made more, they'd be living a higher class existence, but I respected they appeared to work as a team and felt they were 'in love' by the way they worked seamlessly, one late misty night at a filling station, the only time in my life I ever met them.


And, that's the 'rest of the story'. (a tip of the hat to the late broadcaster/storyteller  Paul Harvey).


Best wishes to you, Tommy.




John (Crosley)


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Not shown here, but in two other posted photos is she and her husband together, and this is not just her home, but theirs together.  Whether this is to his 'taste' is one thing, but it it's hers, he indulges it, and I have an inkling it's a mutual thing, and this truck cab is their 'living room'.  Perhaps in this very temperate county they sleep in the back?  That's speculation, of course, but it was covered, and they appeared 'far from rich', if you get my drift.


In any event, this truck is not only their livelihood and means of transportation, it is their 'home' and also in a sense, their personalization, and in another sense a 'work of art' however kitschy.


i respect that, and that respect has grown in the eleven years since I took this photo, which I first had no regard for at all.  The first of the series, showing her and her husband had a then-fatal focus error, now corrected through the use of a Photoshop sharpening 'tool'which since has gone on to great success as one of my highest rated recent photos; prompting me to begin thinking about posting this one too.


I'm glad I have.


I note and thank you for your remarks and compliments about the photo techniques and qualities themselves, they are much appreciated, as is your psychological profile, which is not far from the mark.


Your comment are ALWAYS welcome here, Jack.




John (Crosley)

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It has only been since I have begun studying 'fine art' in the photographic sense and what succeeds and what is regarded as true 'fine art' as opposed as what is a 'snapshot' that I have begun to understand why some of my work is highly regarded, when to me, it's 'just another photo'.


I am beginning to understand the difference, and thus, hope to be able to initiate taking more of the 'fine art' type photos along with my usual fare, though to be fair, I've been taking both since I've held a camera, but haven't shown much of my work you'd classify 'fine art' to any audience, for fear of audience reaction.


Finally, after many years, I've understood, that the exposition of all that 'kitsch, and the moody atmosphere, her intense reflection and disregard for me, and the total atmosphere of the truck cab have been captured in this photo, and it's more an 'art work' than your average snaphot, though that's what it started out to be.


And what it was regarded as most of the time I've viewed it; I'm no 'fine art' savant, you must understand; I take the photos,but that doesn't mean I understand them, until sometimes a  decade later.  Same for some of my 'awful' photos I once thought were pretty damn good; which now I don't think so highly of.


Tastes change.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this 'finally revealed' and 'hidden' photo, uncovered for the first time, more than a decade after its taking.




John (Crosley)

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You must understand, my dear friend, that I am entirely self-taught in photography, and that I have no credentials at all in 'fine art' for which many are highly trained and even degreed.


I found out long ago that I am not even entitled to teach journalism in university though I know far more than 95 per cent of journalism professors, having worked at the center and been a boss at a worldwide wire service (Associated Press, San Francisco, Reno, then NYC as a editor and department head/editor, having worked my way up ending age 25.  The general manager of AP (CEO) told me he would support me to be his successor if I would stay with AP, but I didn't want to wait 15-20 years for him and sink my life into a promise when I had a lifetime to life, and maybe he couldn't keep that promise?)  


Yet, not having gone to journalism school, disqualifies me from teaching what I  know for a fact, others who 'teach' this subject have no idea of much of what they are teaching . . . . having personally sat in on a journalism class or two, because most who teach (unless they're former journalists as well) have little idea of the practicalities faced by journalists, and got their training in degree programs, but no real 'trench' experience.  Book learning just doesn't cut it.


Same with photography in a sense.  I am legally NOT qualified to teach photography in a state-run school in most states or government run higher education systems because I have NO degree or education at all in 'photography' or 'fine art' other than a six-month survey 'art' class at Columbia College way back when . . . . . 


But I know I could teach the subject, and teach it well, however, a little more academics would not hurt, and I read incessantly trying to 'fill in' the gaps.


My first wife worked a year in New York City for 'Art in America', and our home was filled with back issues of this most prestigious magazine, touted to have the highest income readership of any magazine in the world, then and I think still now.


I struggled to appreciate the art then that the rich were paying hundreds of thousands, then millions for, and how gallery owners were unable to pay for their advertising bills, and lead a hand-to-mouth existence, then when they got a fabulous sale were 'in the money', and a few dealers were always 'in the money', and how prices of 'fine art' have soared among the super wealthy and museums, giving 'priceless a new definition.


So, I'm still learning, and my failure to show this image 11 years ago when I took it is all my fault and my lack of having 'fine art' education in photography.  I'm struggling to overcome that void. (or is it  always going to be an abyss?)


Who knows?


In any case, I want you to know I always appreciate hearing from you, you never seem to miss a good one.




John (Crosley)

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There are two interiors here; that of the truck and that of the Gleaner. And although the photo shows the truck's interior, it is the Gleaners interior that this picture truly depicts. The Gleaner seems completely lost in thought, the thought is the story. As to what that thought is, we can only guess (aided perhaps by the objects we can see), and therein lies the magic in this photo. What's your story?

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There's an awful lot of detail in this photo that tells us much about this woman and the way she lives and views life.


Did you see that she is eating?  Can you see What she's eating?  It's in her right hand in her lap.  


Is that a dart tail stuck into the dash?  


What about the miniature 'skull' on the top of the dashboard?   There's an unexplored story about each of those I think.  


Mysterious . . . a little.


I don't live that way, never have and never have run across anybody in wide US or foreign travels who does.  I'd expect to see such more in a foreign country such as the Philippines or Thailand than the US.


She or her husband smokes . . . Camels.  


See the smoke stain on the windows.  A film of smoke stain covers the entire inside of the truck cab including window insides which have not been washed for a long time.  That window haziness is not just from mistiness from the low country that hugs the Pacific Coastline at huge Monterey Bay which cools and moistens growing lettuce, strawberries and farther south, artichokes.  It's from thousands of smoked cigarettes, probably almost all Camels.


There are reading glasses barely seen/someone's getting older, and an Allen wrench, maybe for disassembling Ikea furniture or just for general purpose on other things, such as work on the truck's engine.  The steering wheel is old and its covering is cracked and discolored from age and use.   This truck is a 'junker' -- possibly so old it's headed to becoming a 'classic' and a rising 'Blue Book' price.


It has a shift transmission, rare, and indicative of great age.  Few present pickup trucks have been made recently with manual transmissions in the US where this was taken, and it's been like that for some time.


She wears a leather jacket, probably not because she just wears leather; it's probably not in her price range.  From another photo  her husband is seen wearing a Pendleton shirt, which ranged in price at between $50 and $100 for the finest in plaid patterned woolen men's shirts made in Oregon, probably not purchased at 'The Emporium, and likely 'salvage' possibly from emptying out a house or a storage locker to haul to the dump as part of their work, or swag for doing some other work,  -- maybe even for hauling away divorced hubby's clothes at the request of divorcing wife?   We don't know, but we can guess, probably pretty accurately.


There's a lot that can be read into this photo, just as one was meant to read a lot into Medieval and Renaissance paintings, as they were deliberately telling stories and very often allegories, sometimes Biblical or sometimes just disguised as Biblical as an excuse to put risque figures on the wall without causing too many religious tongues to wag -- say the village or other priest, for instance, (who would hate to part with generous donations anyway, one suspects? by causing too big trouble for a patron rich enough to pay huge sums for a painting by suggesting that his painting was anti-Christian despite its portrayal of bosomy and/or nekkid women because it portrayed a Biblical theme 'straight out of the Bible'.  


Here it's grit and bear it.  


A nice leather jacket, a handful of tiny grapes, a manual transmission, a very, very worn steering wheel, and signs of the kitsch that must be important to her, surrounding her as she waits for her husband to pump gas, pay and return to drive away, giving me a chance to ask her 'does she mind?' to which she answered 'go ahead' and thus preserve all this for as long as time will allow.


A moment (and a lifestyle), perhaps, preserved in photographic amber.


In its way, analogous to those paintings those ancient rich people put in their salon walls to remind everyone how rich they were and the vast wealth and family they held sway over.


Only in this case, it's skulls, Camels, an old truck, a very sturdy and warm leather jacket and a very old truck with windows covered inside with cigarette tar.


I collect photographic amber, many pieces far from as worthy as this.


I feel they are a trove of wealth.




John (Crosley)




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While I was working on my post above, you had made your post with your interesting, even intriguing observation and question(s).


I hope in part I have answered them, as much as is possible about the physical objects, and their close relationships to this occupant, but what's on her mind?


I assure you she's not the Secretary of State, and geopolitical concerns I suggest are far from what concerns her.


I don't know her education, only my observation of her life station (and life partner depicted in two other posted photos), and that's all, but suggest that her thoughts are probably somewhat predictable and universal, most likely.


Absent any other sign, one suggests it's thoughts of daily living or relatives and dear ones . . . . and how to get food or the next day's work and how to make a profit from their work and her relationship with him.  Ninety per cent chance is I hit the nail on the head, just with this guesswork, but you never can tell.


Maybe she's a college graduate or going to community college to become a computer programmer and is working on some arcane computer programming language problem before tomorrow's evening class?  Maybe she's an artist too, and she's thinking of a design and/or execution problem and/or maneuver that will best suit her and please her audience.


I tend to be careful and not undersell people, yet understand that most individuals have much in common with everyone else -- how to get through the day . . . . and all share issues of maintaining their bodies, their shelter, their relationships . . . . their faith (when they have them), etc.


In fact, she may be far richer than anyone who lives in 'Trump Tower' (is that in Washington, D.C. or NYC?, I'm confused.)  


Sometimes it's the spirit that counts . . . . not wealth trappings.


And in that regard, those grapes may be all the green she may need to please her soul.


I am very grateful to her for sharing this short moment of the richness of her life and allowing us subsequently to examine it; without individuals like this, I'd be out there taking photos of pretty sunsets and misty mornings over mountain lakes having frozen my ass off in a sleeping bag on the rocky earth, and getting up before any humane hour. ;~))


Best to you, and and thanks for a great observation and interrogative.




John (Crosley)


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where primary subject and context are caught in a perfect storytelling shot. There's drama here, and sadness and a mistery touch too. One of your best, John. Ciao, G.
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Is the return to Photo.net is one of its most masterful shooters, a 'street' and 'impromptu' and 'emergent' street artist named Giuseppe Pasquali.


Giuseppe spent many active years here, then disappeared for a while, all of a sudden, leaving many of us, including me, most of us ardent admirers, wondering 'what became of Giuseppe"?


And for a  number of years we were left 'wondering'windering, wondering.


Now the day has come when our prodigal PN son has returned, and I couldn't be happier, just preceded by some private explanatory communication.


I hope that PN members who are newer and don't recognize Giuseppe's name or work will be sure to look it up when it's been posting, and understand he was long one of PN's best shooters, often king of street and in the reproductive quality,  absolute master.


Giuseppe not only is a great photographer, he's a skillful writer, an Italian  educated a while in Great Britain, returned to Italy and if not a genius, I'd be surprised, but no nose stuck in the air.  He's a man for all seasons here, writes great critiques, and is a welcome asset.


Not only is he a great photographer, a brilliant individual, but he's also got great character -- rare assets to cross over in one person.


I hope you'll welcome him back; for those who remember him from 'time past', I hope you agree with this assessment.


On a personal note Giuseppe, I hope you made the new, deferred deadline for the Hamdan (HIPA) photo competition and were able to enter, its world richest photo prize was nothing to ignore and your work is up to quality for such a prize.




John (Crosley)


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In the post next above, it should have referred to the Hamdan (not Haman) photography contest.


I apologize for the error.




John  (Crosley)

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