2015 Image of the Year Poll – Vote Now!

Images and article by Greg W. Gilstrap.  With the New Year just around the corner, it’s once again time for our (fifth) annual Photoremedy Image of the Year contest. We call it an ‘image’ contest because each of the finalists are either 1) a photograph, or 2) a photography-based digital art image. The list if heavily influenced by a few of the areas where I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this year- Louisiana, Arizona’s Verde Valley, and the Seattle area.

2014 Image of the Year Finalists

2014 Image of the Year Finalists

As always, we are offering what we like to refer to–tongue in cheek–as a Chicago-style approach to voting.  This means you can vote early and often. If you love a finalist, follow the poll’s progress and don’t be afraid to share it with your friends. Better yet, don’t hesitate to come back to register extra votes for good measure. Because multiple votes are allowed by individuals, this is more of a passion poll than a scientific sample. Last year’s contest drew more than 3,000 votes – essentially tripling the previous record of around 1,000.

The 2016 poll is featured at the bottom of this post. Click on an individual image below to view images, captions, and locations in slide show mode.

As mentioned above, the 2015 images include traditional photographs and some that feature significant digital art enhancements. Like many, I enjoy both forms of artistic expression. All of these pieces were captured and developed while pursuing photoremedy–or photography-based healing art–as a means of coping with my ongoing chronic pain struggles and failed back issues. For more information about photoremedy, please click on the ‘Background and Initial Post’ tab (near the top of this page) for our working ‘photoremedy’ definition. Our poll follows – please select the image that you feel is worthy of being crowned Photoremedy Image of the Year. The contest closes at midnight MST, New Year’s Eve.

 

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New Orleans French Quarter: The Incomplete Edition

This promises to be one of the most incomplete New Orleans French Quarter–also known as the Vieux Carré–photo essays ever constructed.French Quarter Guitar 1j

There’s nothing here about Bourbon Street at night. Because Mary and I didn’t walk around with eyes glued to a map or with ears focused on a live tourist guide, I have no idea if the photos below are officially from the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Royal Street, the French Market, or Downtown New Orleans.

Despite all of the deficiencies mentioned above, I adore visiting New Orleans and I loved working on this post. New Orleans is, after all, more than just one of the most unique North American Cities. It’s one of the world’s most intriguing, diverse destinations. From spicy and spiritual to Cajun and Creole, New Orleans is both historic and contemporary.St. Peter 1j

Masquerade mask b&w j

Lithuanian-American writer Ruta Sepetys offers one of the best short explanations of what makes the Big Easy so interesting. “Its cultural diversity is woven into the food, the music, the architecture – even the local superstitions, Sepetys has been quoted as saying. “It’s a sensory experience on all levels and there’s a story lurking around every corner.”

Mary and I stopped long enough to capture images of each other while near the French Market. It is important to note that the photo of Mary did not need much “touch up.” The picture of me, however, took a long time to develop. We snapped the photos just after having the famous chicory coffee and powdered sugar covered beignets at Café du Monde. To no surprise to those who know me, it took a very long time to electronically remove the “more than significant’ amount of powdered sugar that covered my black jacket. Yes, the beignets were wonderful; we were in such a hurry to devour them that I forgot to take any Café du Monde photos.

I guess that means we will have to go back!

🙂

The Glorious Garden District

If the eclectic French Quarter is New Orleans’ bass trombone, the Garden District–it seems to me–is the sensual master’s breath that sweetly fuels the one of a kind tone that effortlessly flows from the “T-bone.”

During our January Louisiana trip, we made our Big Easy hub a “period perfect” boutique hotel at the edge of the Garden District. We took numerous casual strolls where we enjoyed a sui generis neighborhood coffee shop, fine cajun and creole dining, interesting architecture, and remarkable historic homes. It was an awesome leisurely adventure that provided just the right amount of photoremedy. The Garden District was, arguably, a perfect base for our trip; intermittent showers even added to the extraordinary atmosphere we enjoyed there.

As an added bonus, most of the Garden District lodging is near the iconic New Orleans streetcars that offer easy access to destinations in the Garden and University Districts, as well as to Downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter.


Downtown and the Quarter are must see–and experience–areas in New Orleans. I’ll be pursuing photoremedy and offering additional details about these areas in my next post. Cheers!

New Orleans

New Orleans

 

Louisiana 101

I must admit I’ve struggled in putting together Photoremedy post number 101. Why? Because Louisiana is one of the most colorful and genuinely unique places Mary and I have visited. We delighted in the enchanting aroma of history and spice found as we pursued photoremedy in eclectic places from low-key Jeanerette to the authentic New Orleans Garden District to the celebrated French Quarter.

Volumes can be–and have been–written about the cultural gems of Louisiana. I found, however, that the place that most etched an enduring mark was the one that left me grasping to find the right words: the renowned Oak Alley plantation.

Oak Alley Plantation -

Oak Alley Plantation – Vacherie, LA

Ironically it wasn’t the beautiful people, lush vegetation or much-photographed Oak Alley Big House that took my breath away. It was the direct manner in which the attraction addressed the overwhelmingly somber aspect of its history – slavery.

This blog is intentionally more about photography than words. Nevertheless, I struggled in identifying the photos I took that best describe how this exhibit seemed to painfully sandblast my heart, while leaving me strangely satisfied. In the final analysis, this unusual mix of emotions was based on the relief of sensing that plantation attractions like Oak Alley have joined those of us wanting to guarantee that such an appalling part of history is never repeated (at home or abroad).