June 03, 2017 – Doug Stanhope

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What can I say about Doug Stanhope – people either know his comedy work or they don’t. Whether or not the name rings a bell, there’s a healthy chance you’ve seen him. He was a prankster on Spy TV, co-hosted The Man Show with comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, and has an admirable collection of stand-up specials under his belt. He has also guest starred on Louis CK’s hit television show Louie, started his own podcast in 2013, has been collaborating with actor Johnny Depp, and recently drafted a book called “Digging Up Mother: A Love Story.”

When I moved to Bisbee, Arizona in 2011, I hadn’t ever heard of Doug Stanhope (although I realized after-the-fact that I had seen several of his works). During the annual Bisbee Home Tour, an elderly gentleman – who had been regaling me with treacherously graphic Vietnam war stories – told me about this interesting house he’d toured over in the Warren District – it was the Stanhope Compound. A few months later, my girlfriend and I were invited to a Superbowl party over there and all the pieces fell into place.

He was a gracious host. A pretty and relatively quiet guy, it seemed – a radical shift from his opinionated, anarchic, cynical stage performances. From everything I’ve gathered, he chose Bisbee because it’s a remote location, away from the madness of Hollywood. He spends a tremendous amount of time on the road, so it makes sense to have a quiet, sleepy, bizarre little high desert town to retreat to.

In the years since then, I’ve consumed just about as much of his comedy and writing as possible. His cynicism and outright rage at our political system, at social justice activism, and at art in general – almost always clutching a cocktail – absolutely resonates with me. I also found it refreshing to wander about the grocery store or stand in line at a local bodega for a cup of coffee and see a man like Stanhope – a successful performer and, by all accounts, a celebrity – milling about and saying hello to people just like anybody else; no grandeur, no need for a posse of sycophantic parasites, he doesn’t appear to treat anybody like they’re beneath him.

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, check him out. I believe Beer Hall Putsch is still on Netflix, and there are plenty of clips on YouTube to dig through.

Today’s image was taken at The Bisbee Royale in the winter of 2012, during a stand-up performance filmed by the BBC. He returned to The Royale in November 2015 to shoot No Place Like Home, which you can watch here. He’s a genuine talent and I am very honored to have had the chance to wander around backstage and take his photograph.

Illustration of the Deadbeat Hero

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May 30, 2017 – Tumacacori

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“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Tumacacori is the site of Mission San José de Tumacácori, an 18th Century Franciscan mission. It takes its name from an earlier mission site founded by Father Eusebio Kino in 1691, which is on the east side of the Santa Cruz River south of the national park. This particular mission was founded at an extant native O’odham settlement and represents the first mission in southern Arizona.

The later Franciscan mission, now in ruins, was never rebuilt once it was abandoned after repeated Apache raids in the 19th century. Nearby Tubac was besieged in 1861.

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May 29, 2017 – Driftwood

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No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
~Heraclitus

During my time living in the more remote areas of Cochise County in Southeastern Arizona, I made it a point to walk along the trails that followed the San Pedro river. Depending on the time of year, different wildlife could be spotted, from roosting owls to large fish and frogs, as well as javelina, coyotes, and deer.

I could easily fill an album with photographs of the flowers, the driftwood, the butterflies and the beaver dams.
For some reason, this image always stood out to me.

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May 26, 2017 – Downtown Tucson

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“Photography is simultaneously and instantaneously the recognition of a fact and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that express and signify that fact”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson

Originally known as the Willard Hotel, this property on South 6th Avenue – a stone’s throw away from the heart of downtown – was renamed the Pueblo Hotel in 1944. This weathered sign was installed in the 1950s. The hotel and apartments closed in 1984, when I was only one year old, and is currently home to a law office. The sign remains, though, even if it might be a little misleading. It was restored to like-new condition back in 2012 and I’m really pleased that I photographed it before the change.

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May 24, 2017 – Winter in Bisbee

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“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”
~John Steinbeck

A small town is a strange place to live, but I loved living on the hill looking over Old Bisbee. Up on High Road, this was the view from my deck. I watched winter storms descend in January and monsoon storms roll through the canyons in July. There’s no other place like it in the world.

But life moves on and things change. The view will always be beautiful, but I eventually had to leave.
This image was taken in February of 2012. A crisp, dry morning with snow dusting the hillsides.

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May 23, 2017 – Whitewater Draw

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Whitewater Draw, originally Rio de Agua Prieta – “the river of dark water” – is a tributary stream of the Rio de Agua Prieta in Cochise County, Arizona. Famously, this is the wetlands where the sandhill cranes migrate to during the winter months. In the shadows of the Chiricahua Mountains in the Coronado National Forest, this remote destination is about a forty-five minute drive from Bisbee, Arizona, the old mining town I once called home.

I used to go out here to photograph the birds and capture these colorful sunsets. One of the great benefits from living in a small town like Bisbee is the lack of traffic and the abundance of unspoiled land like this.

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May 10, 2017 – Service

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“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
~Susan Sontag

I’m not sure if this place still exists. Unfortunately, I don’t even remember where it is. It’s probably somewhere on South Stone Avenue, or in the warehouse district on South Park Avenue. I suppose I could look it up, but it really isn’t important. I just remember riding my bike through the wrecked car lots, the warehouses, over the railroad tracks by the lumber yards and steel yards and welding operations.

I try to image what these places must have looked like when they were brand new. I can’t seem to conjure the image in my head. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a salvage yard or a warehouse that looked clean and new, with fresh signage and rust-free construction. These places always look like they’ve been there forever – they always look old. Old and tired.

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