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Just a Couple Mardi Gras Shots – and the Passing of Jim Duvall

Mar 10, 2019

Not that I'm getting tired of working on my Havre de Grace Street and related images project, but it's been a while and I'm looking forward to some more "scenic" work as soon as the weather improves a little. Perhaps even something of a mini-project. But back to my town shots and our Mardi Gras parade. This is the third one that we have been able to attend. The first provided some great shots – in spite of or more likely because of the torrential rains and spectators numbering in the dozens. The second, last year produced no images – and lasted not much more than ten minutes. It left me pretty much not looking forward to a repeat.

But this year was a great improvement. Streets were crowded and the parade lasted almost a half hour – exponentially better. There are still far too many "floats" with no lights, making for eye-strain trying to see what it is supposed to be, but the percentage of these is falling every year. Crowds were magnificent. In fact, with the radio team on hand, the density of the throng moving into the street behind the parade gave me an idea:

Both the numbers and atmosphere are there – why not a sudden flooding of one block of Washington street with minimal light along with offering up the David Bowie/Mick Jagger version of Dancing in the Street – it would be a great and fitting finale.

As far as my B&W images, I tried, I really did. The intro image above "Waiting for the Parade" shows what is fast becoming the center of action – and the radio station is set up right off to the left. Man, shooting at ISO 6400 can be kinda rough. Anyway, there are three more images below – provided only for interest or to show some atmosphere. Not every event gives me images that get me excited. Maybe I'm just a little off because there were so few opportunities to zoom in on great faces.

Naturally these have their own little album on the Havre de Grace Street page where they are larger, on black background and are downloadable.

A fellow came into RiverView the other day as I was gallery-sitting and commented that at one point he tried shifting focus into serious B&W photography but soon gave it up as just too tricky and involved. Actually I would probably speculate that the reason most people give it up too soon is more along the lines that it can be so long between images that bring any kind of satisfaction. Nothing better than the low percentage of good B&W to teach one a little humility, the hard way.

to Jim Duvall – a Thank You

Jim Duvall back around 2000, taking a break to relax during the ArtQuest show in Bel Air. I have a more recent picture, and this one is a very-cropped portion of an old B&W, but this is how I choose to remember him…

Jim Duvall passed this week. He was something of an unheralded member of the County's art community. Sure he dabbled as an artist, mostly computer graphics – but his contribution was in the area of help and enablement. Jim simply loved to be in there contributing, eventually even taking a turn as President of Harorrd Artists Association.

Jim was an active member of the ArtQuest committee that ran the ArtQuest event in Bel Air from the early nineties until 2005 (at one point he was one of six Jims on the committee – we had a lot of fun with that one). He's responsible, among other things, with getting the children's exhibit and art tent launched, complete with display racks. He was one of the handful of volunteers that keep the show running, especially during my seven years at the helm.

On a personal note, as I moved into ArtQuest and then digital photography, Jim managed to do the impossible – take someone who had never used a computer and teach him Adobe Photoshop – talk about starting at the top. I can still remember the torment of having that stuff beat into my head. He never lost his temper once – but at the same time never hesitated to let me know what I was doing wrong – just the way I like it. I can still hear his frustrtation at my habit of using too many different fonts in early flyers – having had no experience in the graphics world. Now, when it comes to the computer stuff, Nan says Jim created a monster.

More importantly, because of Jim, as photography evolved away from film and darkroom to digital and computer, I was more than ready for it. Thank you!

Recently Jim's health has been going downhill – Nan and I were beginning to worry. But this still came as a shock, an aneurysm. This is why i missed my Gallery Sitting at RiverView this Saturday – the funeral was 1 to 3 at Evans Funeral Parlor in Forest Hill. I wanted to get this posting up ahead of time, but simply was not up to it.

Recently Jim gave me an old Olympus 50mm f-1.4 film camera lens that fits on my Fuji via an adapter and makes for a nice 75mm portrait lens – I'm looking forward to giving it a tryout.

Jim, along with his very devoted wife Linda, was good people – we'll miss him. When a good friend passes, it leaves an empty space that leaves you for a while feeling that everything is somehow a little out of kilter, even when expected. I tried retreating into a huge bowl of ice cream, but that did little to restore a sense of balance. Anyway, again, Jim, thank you!