+ Photographs by JR Compton
of the lessons I learned when
I was a typesetter was that we should not proofread
what we'd set, because we'd see what we expected, not
On Friday, I picked up slide copies of some
digital photo files, barely in time to send off to TCU's Art
in the Metroplex show. They have it every year, and
almost every year I enter, although I gave up in disgust
in the 90s.
In the 80s, I got in every show I entered and
placed in many. I thought getting in art competitions was
Then came a much longer period when I did not
even get in. My work was changing, I thought, towards art
from photojournalism. Jurors did not recognize my progress.
I struggled with the AiM form that Friday deadline
afternoon, because I didn't know which slides would
be good enough till I saw them, and I hadn't taken them to my
photo outfit until late in the game. An inveterate
I always think there must be more time — later.
JR Compton -
from the digital West Texas Prairie
EI 100 exposed at f / 8 @ 1000 @ 70 MPH
I was disappointed with half of the slides — all
my beautiful dark tonalities shown on these digital
versions had been blanded out and exposured up to ordinary snapshots
of tanks and towers by the side of the road. But
deadline day was already upon me and a redo would take
a whole 'nother
My precious, dark, moody tones and gently ramping,
slightly mysterious contrasts, and especially my luscious,
silvery highlights, had disappeared in the digital to analog
My magnificent West Texas
Prairie Schooners were rendered ordinary, dull,
tepid. So I chose instead abstracty experiments from my White
Rock Lake Journal series, images I'd hoped to enter
in another show.
A half dozen times over the multi-folding,
multi-serated form, I filled out my name, address,
city, state, county, zip, phone number, title, medium and size.
I kept assuring myself that they've been doing this
these years, they must know what they're doing, despite
Then, when I tried to fold the elaborate form
along its many "Do Not Detach," folds and stuff
the sucker into a number ten envelope, it did not fit.
So I wadded up the thick,
folded three times sidewise, accordioned form, untill it,
my SASE, check and three too bright, too dull slides, all
fit in a big bulging mass in the middle of the long vlope.
JR Compton -
Black Tanks + White Lines
from the digital West Texas Prairie
Kathy drove me to the
post office, where I licked the thinly glued flap, pulled
it tentatively across the lumpy mass and hoped it wouldn't
explode before the West began.
I joined the long line
waiting for one clerk at my local P.O. and waited at least
ten minutes before despairing and trying the postage vending
Then, suddenly in Saturday's
mail, there it was. My postally flattened entry was delivered
to my door by an agent of the U.S. Government. Instead
of posting it to AiM in my carefully postaged and addressed
number 10 envelope, I'd crammed it into my own SASE to
At least I'd remembered
to include the check — years ago, after another one
of these ordeals, I'd got my entry off in another nick
of time only to get a letter back a week later saying I'd
forgot the check and could I send them one, and of course,
This time, I found a bigger, more secure envelope,
placed the still pristine, unopened pack into it, wrapped
it in a letter listing my travails and idiocies, added another
stamped, self-addressed envelope and noted that the still
sealed SASE had, imprinted upon its trio of multicolor stamps,
the requisite postmark of Friday June 6, and mailed the whole
shebang off from the main post office on the old turnpike,
hoping it would still be delivered by Monday.
was going along all hunky-dory when
an acquaintance E-mailed saying, among other accusations,
that she had no "patience with those who slam
others' faith path."
She said I'd called someone's
religion a "load of crap," which is a phrase I
rarely use — in print, so I asked her where she'd
got the quote.
She said that it "came
from your Virgin of Guadelupe "review," which
was widely circulated in my peer cricles as an example
of bad journalism."
I re-read the page and noted
that, though I had indeed used the word "crap," I
had not said "load of," and I was writing about
art, not religion.
Apparenly someone offended by
the page, which included commentary by both Kathy and me,
had distorted our words. No telling how many other perversions
were in the distributed text.
Odd that supposedly professional
journalists hadn't bothered to read the stories in their
easily accessed, original online format.
welcome to read
the stories, to decide for yourself, whether our journalism
is bad. As always, DARts is happy to print criticism — both
positive and negative — on
our feedback page.
already there, albeit submitted anonymously (which we do
not mind. Or you can submit it under a pen name or we can
withhold your name).
As I explained
to that ill-informed writer, I am as careful to sign my
opinions as I am to express my personal opinions.
I write, I struggle to keep me in it as much as possilbe.
Some people call it populist. Years ago, something like
it was called The New Journalism.
not many people aspire to it, but it is necessary for
me. It is an expression of my Self. Without it, I would
not be me. It becomes ingrained. I hardly notice it,
unless someone calls me on it."
also an E-mail from a major DARts' supporter.
Everyone is entitled to their
opinion. We all have them.
And I, of course, believe it's
beneficial to express them — when they are
based on fact. But to change the wording of a story,
copy and distribute it, is frustrating.