Category - photography

Where’s Buster?

Well, she’s not on Facebook or Instagram, that’s for darn sure.

Because I deactivated both of those accounts about six weeks ago.

I probably need to write some kind of essay about why I finally pulled the plug on those accounts (deactivated but not deleted), how the “poke-and-scroll” impulse was making me nutz, how the past year of pandemic-induced solitude had magnified that impulse at the same time it reset my internal clock, etc. etc.

It’s complicated, but I have to say that I really do feel a whole lot more coherent without those nagging temptations, and I don’t really miss the illusion of “social” contact at all.

Too many times over the past year, I have described my use of Facebook (in particular, social media in general) the same way that I felt about vodka and Scotch in the last couple of years before I quit drinking (in November of 1987; 34 years if I’m still breathing come Thanksgiving).

Now I have gone ‘cold turkey’ and that experience echoes: when I first quit drinking and started going to AA meetings, I told myself “I’ll give this 30 days…” At 30 days, I figured I could go 60, and somewhere between 60 and 90 days I became DDFL – your Designated Driver For Life.

It’s been about two months since I shut those accounts down, and it feels like it did between 60-90 days when I quit drinking – like I could be a social-media avoiding lifer.

If I had any ambition left, I would be making some kind of concerted effort to round up those Facebook friends that I really want to stay in touch with and encourage them to sign up for the “Weekly Digest” that I set up for this site years ago. Maybe I’ll get to that yet.

In the meantime, the one thing I did with any consistency over the past year was post frequent photos of my Covid Kitty, the gender-neutrally named female cat called “Buster.”

Some people who have asked about my Facebook disappearance tell me they miss the #DailyBuster (even tough the posts were not exactly daily). I haven’t made a lot of new pictures of her over the past couple of months, but I did make one this past Sunday, so… there it is, atop this post.

If you want more, sign up for the Digest. Maybe I’ll rename it “The Daily Buster” – regardless of the frequency, and keep posting picture of the cat here from time to time.

Unity: April 10, 1865 – 2015


April 10 – 1865 / 2015

People who know their Civil War history recall that Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant when they met in the parlor of the McLean House near the village of Appomattox Courthouse in Western Virginia the morning of April 9, 1865.

Less known is the story of their second ‘interview’ the following morning.

Grant knew that Lee only had the authority to surrendered his own defeated Army of Northern Virginia, which had been the primary military force of the Confederacy. Lee did not have the authority to surrender any of the other armies still in the field or, for that matter, the Confederacy itself.

The morning of April 10, 1865, Grant summoned Lee to a second meeting. They met on horseback for roughly a half hour, on a ridge surrounded by the mist of a cool spring morning. Grant urged Lee to use his influence on the other generals to likewise surrender and put down their arms.

That moment was recreated – at the exact time, in the exact spot, and under very similar conditions – 150 years later as part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

I spent a fair amount of time over those four years working with @Thomm Jutz @Peter Cronin and @Karen Cronin and many of Nashville’s finest singers and songwriters on “The 1861 Project” – a collection of three CDs of original recordings about the Civil War.

I did all the photography for that project, and went to several re-enactments over those years – Fort Donelson and Bull Run (among others), and finally Appomattox. I had hoped to photograph the recreation of Lee’s surrender and perhaps recreate the paintings that have survived that period, but alas, that task fell to a photographer sanctioned by the US Parks Department.

But somehow, I managed to get myself in the right place at the right time for the re-enactment of that second encounter, and got this shot, which I still consider one of the defining moments of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. In post-processing I have rendered the original as a ‘digital tintype’ – a type of photography that was popular in the 19th century.

I submitted the photo to the Parks Department to consider for merchandising at the gift shop at the Appomattox Courthouse National Park.

A few weeks later I got their reply: “The horses are too fat.” Jeezus.

If the horses aren’t too fat for you, you can order prints – and read the rest of the story – from this website.

Or visit Spotify to listen to the recordings from The 1861 Project:

And see the rest of the photography here:


Appomattox 150 (+5)

Today, kids, Cohesion Arts has a history lesson for you:

On April 9, 1865, Union General Ulysses S. Grant accepted the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the drawing room of a house near the village of Appomattox Court House in western Virgnia. There are no actual photographs of this historic occasion, though most people familiar with the history have probably seen artistic renderings like this one:

An (unknown) artists rendering of Lee’s surrender to Grant – April 9, 1865

For most people who know a little American history, this is presumed to be the moment that marked the end of the American Civil War.

What most people don’t know is that there were two meetings between Grant and Lee. The second took place the following morning – April 10, 1865 – 155 years ago today.

When Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9th, Lee had only the authority to surrender his own Army of Northern Virginia. He did not have the authority to surrender the rest of the Confederacy, or the other armies that remained in the field.

Realizing that the war was not yet fully over despite Lee’s surrender, Grant summoned Lee to a second meeting. At this second “interview,” Grant implored Lee to use his considerable influence over the other generals to likewise surrender. They met for roughly 30 minutes, first doffing their hats to each other, then shaking hands, but never leaving their horses.

Once contacted, the other generals complied and the war was, within a few days, effectively over.

From late 2010 until mid 2015, I was privileged to be part of “The 186 Project” – a musical commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial produced by Americana songwriter and guitarist Thomm Jutz. I formed a partnership with Thomm and songwriter Peter Cronin, and acted as an Executive Producer on the project. Thomm and Peter did most of the songwriting along with a host of some of Nashville’s finest, and I did all the photography for the cover art and inserts for the three CDs the project delivered between 2011 and 2014.

That assignment took me to several Civil War re-enactments over the course of of the following four years – culminating in the re-enactment of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April of 2015.

I did not get to enter the McLean House, where Lee’s surrender was re-enacted the morning of April 9. That plumb assignment went to a photographer working with the National Park Service.

But the following morning, I did manage to get myself into the catbird seat for the re-enactment of that ‘second interview’. I ignored the NPS ropes and pushed my way through to a small rise, across the road from the ridge where my friend Curt Fields, portraying General Grant, and Thomas Jessee, portraying General Lee, met: at the exact same spot, and at the exact same time that their predecessors had met 150 years earlier.

I was the only photographer at that vantage point, and I believe that I shot the defining photo of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

There is more to be told of the event, and the final “tintype” rendering of the photo above (available for purchase, duh) can be found at

This “tintype” rendering suggests how an actual photo of the event might have turned out in 1865

There are links on that page to some of the other photography I shot during the Sesquicentennial.

While you are perusing those images, let me suggest you also listen to this moving to tribute to Grant and Lee co-written and performed here by Dana Cooper, from The 1861 Project Volume 1: From Farmers to Foot Soldiers.

And…. funny story: I really felt this was a special image from the Sesquicentennial. I imagined all kinds of products that would go well in the National Park Service gift shop at Appomattox. I called the manager there, they sounded really interested, but would have to clear it with the Park Historian. I sent some mounted prints. A couple of weeks later the manager got back to me and said that the Historian didn’t like the picture – because the horses are too fat.

Go figger.


As seen on my walk through the neighborhood this morning – Self-Incarceration Day 15

#Pandemic #Coronavirius #Quarantine #MorningWalk #Flowers #Nature #Nashville

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What To Wear in A #Coronapocalypse

I found something to wear during the #Coronapocalypse.

There is only one god,
His name is Death.
And there is only one thing we say to Death:
“Not Today” –Syrio Ferrel, First Sword of Bravos
Introducing the unofficial Game of Thrones Quarantine T-Shirt. I may wear this until Danaerys and Drogon fry the bug.

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