Saying goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013

Twenty twelve was a great year.

It was great for Tina and me, both personally and business-wise.

It was a year when we finally relinquished the urge to have children, even though it hurts the hell out of us to think we won’t have biological children.

We haven’t ruled out fostering and adoption. It’s just not something we want at this time.

We started the year in Bali celebrating her birthday and experienced some major firsts and landmark events within our business.

We had our first major commercial photo shoot.

I started shooting concerts and shot Lollapalooza for the first time.

Other events include:

We shot Luis V.’s and Beck F’s wedding.

We shot runways in New York and monkeys in Indonesia.

We traveled to several states. We saw way more clients than I ever imagined we would.

This blog increased hit counts year over year by 200,000 hits. That was more than double.

What attracts people to this site is often the content that doesn’t include discussions of religion or non-belief. Photography has become a major draw. I know a lot of you enjoy the stories I tell about daily life in Chicago.

I love that kind of feedback, and I hope to get it more.

Over the year, I found myself censoring my views as the family that reads this blog have reverse-incented such behavior. There has been a decline in readership from active disbelieving readers. I imagine my self-restraint is a part of that.

Perhaps that is a bit egocentric, but whatever.

One fact that stopped me in my tracks was on the Le Café Witteveen year in review generated by WordPress. It said,

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2012. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

I refuse to write about the Cure for Tourettes T-shirt … thank you very much.

The most pleasing part of keeping this blog was forcing an existing restaurant in the Netherlands called Le Café Witteveen to rename itself to Brasserie Witteveen, as we were getting their hits when folks googled their name.

Not kidding.

I’ve felt a Death Star gravitational pull toward bettering my business blog, its web site and content. If I could make this blog a 377,000 hit blog, why not make that same effort to make my photography blog that successful.

Twenty thirteen may be a year where we let this blog be that field. You know, the field that the farmer doesn’t plant too many crops in paying attention to another one more for a while.

Don’t rush off. I’ll continue to post here. Just not as frequently. Maybe 10 times a day rather than 50. 

I’ll still post photography and personal stories. But my efforts to keep the blog filled with jokes and videos will take a back seat.

If that’s why you visit, well, I can give you all the sites I go to to find that stuff and you’re welcome to frequent them.

I already started making this transition during 2012. I’ve been spending more time learning the craft of photography, improving my photoshop skills and spending much more time networking within the industry.

I don’t imagine this place dying so much as I imagine it becoming my drafting board for my company. It’s what I started to do last year. I wrote posts here that I altered and edited for my professional blog.

This isn’t so much of a goodbye as it is a redistribution of resources. Plainly put, I’m going to spend more time pushing my company’s brand, and less time letting this blog be a distraction.

You can update its status to somewhere between back burner and red-headed stepchild.


If you liked the photography and stories, please consider subscribing if you aren’t already. If you liked the jokes, go see my favorite spots: I have seen the whole of the Internet and Tastefully Offensive Tumblr.

If you’re interested in other aspects of my blog roll, please feel free to contact me.

Bring on 2013, bitches.


BAMF’ing Photo

I found this over at The Daily What who writes:

Yes, this shot is real — photographer James Morgan submitted it to this year’sNational Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:

Enal, a young sea nomad, rides on the tail of a tawny nurse shark, in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Marine nomadism has almost completely disappeared in South East Asia as a result of severe marine degradation. I believe children such as Enal have stories that could prove pivotal in contemporary marine conservation.

Just… wow. Our money’s on Morgan for the win.

Apart from the shirt, shoes, and polo, there’s hardly a difference between these two guys

I shot the two cuties (above) while visiting the monkey sanctuary in Ubud, Indonesia.

Gosh, apart from the cigarette, clothes and camera, there are very few differences between the two critters.

Well, I bet the guy on the left has bigger balls.

But, monkeys are known to enjoy a few too many bowls of yogurt.

Another headline contender: “Brothers from different mothers.

Click to enlarge.

And you started doubting evolution. Are you kidding me?

How about that? I took a picture of you, if you were born somewhere else

Imagine if you were not born where you are now, and you were born as this woman on the island of Bali in Indonesia.

You would not have the same thoughts. You would not have the same wealth.

You should not have the same foundation of understanding about life.

So stop thinking you know everything. And rethink E V E R Y T H I N G.


Balinese Children

Here’s a slideshow of shots I took of kids while in Bali.

I was able to get quite a few, and some of the shots are two frames of the same kid that I took zoomed in or out.

I could be wrong, or paranoid, but I felt that when I squatted down to take photos of kids, nearby adults would callout a warning for them to disband or walk away from me. It wasn’t callouts of panic. It was gentle words and the kids simply slammed the brakes on the cute.

For a few moments after squatting down, kids would attract toward me. But then suddenly, and unexpectedly, they would move quickly away.

I made up stories in my mind as to why. One thought was they didn’t want photographers “profiting” from their kids without giving something in return. “Stealing their souls,” I thought.

Or maybe they were seriously finished with their games.

This is going to sound all, “Did you know how poor kids are in third world countries,” but one group of kids —  that I didn’t get one decent shot of — was playing with a wad of tape. I kid you not. They were having a blast. It looked to be a mix between dodgeball and catch.

One other interesting bit is about the girl with her arm in a sling. I stopped my driver to take a photo, and I wandered onto someone’s yard (where the little puppy barked at me from Wednesdog). The girl with the sling showed up and I took her picture.

In the car, our driver told me some poor kids are made of glass. Which I took to mean that kids with inferior diets have brittle bones.

Before I left the little girl, I gave her a bunch of rupiahs, not knowing my driver would tell me that.

It made me feel a little less guilty for what may have been construed as trespassing.

It’s Caturday!

This fine Caturday is brought to you by all the skinny cats with nubby tails that we saw while in Indonesia.

We saw plenty. I didn’t always get clear shots of them, and this one isn’t great.

But I figured this would be my final attempt to use the Bali cats as a Caturday.

We’ll attempt an American Caturday next week. In the very least, a North American one.


Wood penises for sale! Carved women sitting on dildos for sale! Just another day in Bali

When you live in America, or many first world countries, the ubiquity of American corporate presence becomes almost comforting.

You can be almost anywhere in the world and find a McDonald’s, KFC and a Dunkin Donuts. Or a Starbucks. Whatever.

It’s NUTS!

But in Bali, the ubiquity of those comforts was slimmer. We passed a McDonald’s, DD and KFC in the main city of Denpasar, but they weren’t anywhere else that I saw. And if we stayed there longer, I would have eaten at McD’s just to check out the differences.

The things that are everywhere are markets loaded with tourist goods, and some bads, if you know what I mean. Above is an image that we saw everywhere, carved wooden penises (with legs!) and women riding high on erect wooden dingdongs.

If you open click that image to, erhm, enlarge, you can see that they added pubic hair, too.

Amazing attention to detail, yeah!

The first day we were in Bali, we were waiting on our luggage, which arrived about 24 hours later. The airline gave us $100 to buy clothing. We walked to a tourist-heavy area called Kuta, where those huge bombings took place in 2002 and 2004.

We walked into a local shop where I bought some extremely overpriced shorts and a t-shirt. The woman helping me apparently didn’t care to understand the English written on her shirt. She kept offering me Ts with things like, “Two in the Pink, One in the Stink” or “I love Big Fat Pussy” written on them.

I. am. not. kidding.

Could you imagine? Me, walking with Tina, down the streets of Bali arm around her shoulders with either of those two shirts on?


Anyway, just thought you’d get a naughty kick out of the locals view of sex.