Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2007 08:27am | Post a Comment

This is the second half of the two-part series of photos taken in Oakland, CA (aka "the O"), shot over the past few months. Like the previous set, most of these are simply shots of random objects and things that grabbed my attention at the moment I snapped them. One of the reasons I love taking photos is that it offers me fresh new insights into everyday objects and things. Whenever I look back at a photograph of some scene or image, no matter how commonplace or how many countless times I might have walked by and noticed it with the naked eye, I always manage to view it in a whole fresh new light after capturing it on camera. And so, for me, taking pictures is not just a fun hobby but it also enables me to start looking at life's little things, and hence life itself, in a whole new light.

These photos were taken in and around downtown Oakland and near the lake (Merritt), including the above shot of the beautiful outdoor ceiling near the ticket booth of the Grand Lake Theater. Not only is the Grand Lake an absolutely beautiful structure both inside and out, complete with its own mighty Wurlitzer organ, but its politically aware owners regularly post some topical and relevant message on the marquee outside in letters large enough to see as you drive by on 580. Meanwhile, below, among the dozen more photos is another one of the Grand Lake's outside sign. Also in the pictures below is a shot of the sign above the nearby legendary Oakland greasy burger spot -- just down the block a bit from the Grand Lake Theater-- Kwik Way, which some longtime music fans might remember was also the name of a short-lived Bay Area mid-eighties punk band who jacked not just the name but also the logo of the take-out only eatery as the cover art for their sole album back in the day. 

Continue reading...


Posted by Billyjam, September 22, 2007 09:30am | Post a Comment

I love Oakland, CA and I have always enjoyed taking random pictures around and about "the Town," as it is fondly known by locals. These photos, the first in a two-part series (shot over the past few months),  were all taken within about a mile radius of downtown Oakland. Thematically disconnected, they are merely various images that appealed to my personal sensibilities, such as the above shot in Chinatown Oakland one Sunday morning when it is a-bustle with folks grabbing dim sum from the numerous eateries dotted throughout the area (Well worth a visit if you've never been. Meanwhile, just down the street on Broadway, at Jack London Sq, is the farmer's market, although the Saturday-only farmers market over near Grand Lake Theater is a much more fun market, in my opinion). The above shot is about the only one of a person I took, as I gravitate more towards inanimate objects. Plus, I don't like to invade peoples' personal space. And if I ever do take pics of people, I always ask their permission first -- as with the gentleman above.

The shot below is by Lake Merritt, and while art-cars might be a common sight around the Bay Area, it is only when you travel outside to other states/places you realize that it is not quite so commonplace to see such intricately decorated vehicles. I have spent many hours just stopping to admire and study the countless art-cars I have seen around Oakland and Berkeley. They're amazing. I love the detail and the creative use of various found and recycled objects (including lots of toys) that people put into decorating these cars and I admire their makers for not wanting to adhere to the strict, bland uniformity of merely leaving their cars exactly as they rolled off the assembly line. These are truly unique vehicles. The picture below with the koala bear is the roof of this particular art car while the second last picture is of the hood of this same auto, which is just so creatively and lovingly decorated with keys, beads, and cocktail drink stirrers -- all cemented into a perfect form and design. 

Continue reading...