2 Honorable Mentions in Tokyo

It turns out that - to my surprise- I have two honorable mentions at the Tokyo International Foto Awards out of 3,000 professional contestants. I thought I'd only received one. David Johnson, you own the first copy of this - good investment professor. I should have sold it for more... I accept cider tips at Father Tom's. 


Tokyo International Foto Awards

Here is my good news of the day. My first victory. There were 3000 professional international photographers and I placed at the top. I'm not the best photographer in the world, but I'm one of them. Placing at the top in Tokyo makes me hopeful for the big New York international competitions that get judged at the end of January.

Dear George Furman,

It is my great pleasure to inform you that your work has been awarded an Honorable Mention in the 1st TIFA Photo Awards 2016! This year was the first year for the Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA), and it was a majorly successful one at that. With over three thousands of submissions from over seventy countries, the judges certainly had their work cut out for them. The panel of professionals cast thousands of votes and the results are in. 

An international jury panel of photography professionals judged entries by the following categories: Advertising, Architecture, Book, Editorial, Fine Art, Nature, People, Events, Science, Portfolio and Moving Images. TIFA asked each judge to use the same criteria when reviewing the photographs: originality, creativity, excellence of execution, and overall impact. The identity of all photographers is not shown during the voting process to ensure fairness and the integrity of the competition.

To find your TIFA HM Winner’s Certificate (PDF) and TIFA HM Winner's seal please login to your TIFA account xxxxxx click Winners section and use these materials to promote your winning works. TIFA will be sending a major press release announcing the winners in hope that your winning work will get the exposure it deserves.  


You can check all TIFA’16 Winners 

The 40 Main Category Winners will be exhibited in the end of February 2017 in Tokyo, venue and exact day will be announced shortly. All other winners will be projected on screen. To see the list of winners’ included in exhibition click 


Congratulations on your great work!

Hossein Farmani
Co-founder, TIFA



One Life Photography Awards

I'm ready to stand trial. Turning 50 this week, I decided to see how my artwork holds up at international art competitions – top level. It's part of my mid-life crisis. I'm sensitive and hate to be judged, but he who dares wins, so I've entered the big game. You'd be doing me a tremendous favor to visit the link below and vote in my favor on the portfolio. It's quick, easy and invites a smile.



I like to watch it burn

A Frenchman, a Chaplin, and a Marine Sergeant are at a bar... they order beers and begin debating the six existential steps to love. “In spite of everything we must love.” says the Chaplin. The beer is cold, the night is cold and love is cold observes the Sergeant – between swigs, puffs, and laughter. The Chaplin offers her cigarette, the Frenchman receives it. He is quiet for a long time, holding the cigarette, he says “Je veux regarder brûler.” (I like to watch it burn.)

At first glance, this photo is about artist John Sellberg – laughing and smiling. There is more to the story, a subplot. In the background, the girl in the striped dress is finding her place in the circle. I can see how sweet she is by the way she holds her hands and floats along the line of chairs until she discovers Kate – who is one of the great spirits of love at the party.

I get nervous at weddings

I get nervous at wedding – so formal. When children show up, I feel saved. Children at a wedding always make the day better. They add happy chaos to the event, guaranteed. This is the daughter of Matthew the groom, whom I've known since he was the size of his daughter now – makes me squishy. Congratulations Matthew and Kristin. Beautiful daughter, beautiful wedding.

Clean Spatula

 I'm cooking, it's ready, time to scoop it up into the bowl. What “it” is matters not, because “it” all comes out brown and crunchy.  Let's call it Cajun and cover it with hot sauce.  I need an excuse for hot sauce. Where is my antacid? To the point. Scooping it off the pan and into the bowl would go better if I used a metal spatula rather than the current food chiseling tool, an old floppy plastic spoon. ($1, over-used, been melted) I won't do it. I won't use the good metal spatula for fear of having to wash it. Washing the spatula is a big deal. I'll get my hands wet, have to dry hands on pants, and still they won't be dry the way I want them dry. A mission launches to find a clean dish towel that doesn't smell rank. I'm a sniff test person. I can share a list of nasty smells. I've special long names for kitchen smells – I was a German scientist in a previous life. I used the metal spatula and I'm glad over it. Today's lesson: If you have the tool, use it, clean it, but always use it... and maybe clean it later.

I am a giant.

I am a giant. Pull a weed, beat the dirt out of it,and give the weed a fling. I'm a savage giant. Weeds must die. I carve out small pieces of time to landscape during the day – keeping the shovel by the back door to save the walk to the shed. Offline is a new luxury. Most days, I've got my face in a camera, mind in a computer, and come days end head on a pillow before my child is asleep. Making the best of time, no action without a purpose - happiness. I have an unquiet mind, to slow it to silence, I let it daydream in the right garden. I'm planting ferns and moving rocks to keep the ferns company. This work soothes me. I love rocks and feel I'm doing them a favor when I move them. A rock in the same place for 100,000 years, it's bound to be grateful for a new view . It's good to move rocks far, so they don't have to live next to their ex-spouses another 100,000 years – that's the feeling I get. But, there was a rock who ran. As I carried a stack of rocks to the fern wall, a little rock rolled off the top. I hear it skittering down the hillside screaming, “ Mommy - Mommy Mommy, Mommy! I love my job as a giant.

Wurzburg Wedding

Presented with the opportunity to photograph a wedding in Germany, I said yes. I'd read a meme about risk taking, one that said – I don't exactly recall what it said – but it suggested screw it, do it. Worry about the details later. I did it. The slogan I prefer is, “life is too short to drink bad wine” – which is what I did on the plane. I love how people clap when the airplane lands – must be the wine. On the train ride to Wurzburg, I altered the slogan to life is too short to drink bad beer – because in Germany the have the best beer – try the Kellerbier or Zwickelbier (same thing). At the wedding of Gunther & Linda Reimherr there was both good wine and great beer. A quality selection I attribute to Gunther being the third cousin once removed to the Kaiser – Franz Beckenbauer – the one true Kaiser. None shall hold the throne as Franz did. I took 2,653 photos at the wedding, which had six events and lasted – for me – for 17 hours. Sleep, who needs it. I hope to share many of the best photos from the wedding in the future – once the bride approves. I cherish my new German friends. ScheibenKleister, we had a good time! I look forward to retelling their Great Gatsby stories, as many of them are relatives of both Gatsby and the Kaiser... and a few of them know the details of how the Seventh Bank of Dutchland was relieved of 6.6 billion Deutschmarks and a Golden Ninja statue of significant value, but that is another story.

The Gray Haired Truth

I opened the freezer, took out a battered gallon of Blue Bell Ultimate Neapolitan Ice Cream and tossed the lid away. There wasn't a lot of ice cream in the carton. I'm not crazy, not going to eat a half gallon of ice cream. The carton had a few spoonfuls more than a reasonable person would eat. I'm shoving the extra spoonfuls in because I'm in a semi-reasonable state. I went to the DMV to renew my driver's license. I went there with the correct expectations - the worst. Turning 50 in December, I needed to get a new license with a new photo. I've some wisdom and wisdom dictates wear comfy shoes because I'm going to be standing on an ugly line. Things went well – smooth and quick. No problems. Wow, wonders. No big wonder, however, my new driver's license photo sucked. The photos get worse every time. It's not them, it's me – 50 soon. I'm not overly unhappy about it, not happy either. It's coming, in December, 50 is coming for me. I'm not feeling it. Not feeling much of anything besides a nagging desire to do something special – quick. So, eating the ice cream I'm thinking about what to do with my life – the deep stuff – a thinking pattern which rapidly gets distracted with the question of why am I eating the ice cream with the lid tossed away. The answer is vanity. At the DMV, I had to check off my hair color. I wasn't sure. I asked the clerk, “what do I check off, brown, gray, bald, what?” She paused and with an expression of compassion I've never seen on a government official said, “I would say gray.” It was the truth and the truth can only be stated once. I'm 50 in December.

Frankfurt Trainstation

Returning to Tennessee. Assignment complete, I rode a high-speed train to Frankfurt on route to the airport. German trains travel at 300km/h (186 mph). I traveled in comfort – smooth and fast... and they serve nifty snacks on the train – better than the airplane. I'm all about snacks. I travel well, as I enjoy my own company and keep myself well entertained. My favorite daydream game is “What if”. As in, what if I lived in Germany? Would I live in the farm house with wind power or the apartment with solar power? The game quickly advances to, what if I married that woman in the green dress crossing the street or the one driving the mini-cooper way too fast? It's the art of the crush, the 60-second romance. I chose the tall, blue-eyed, with white hair. We had two kids. We lived a good life, birth to death, imagined in a New York minute. We had a solar powered house, she was a doctor, we spent holidays on long adventures while the kids stayed with their uncle in Switzerland. We always traveled by train because we both loved to read. Mass transit rides seem to be the only time I read a book cover to cover. Can't do that driving a car. And, as I don't sleep well on airplanes because they don't design seating for my Sasquatch body type, I'm motivated to crack a book there. On this trip, I read the Untethered Soul – perfect for me. Right book, right time. Germany was good for me. My life as a journal photographer is underway. My website is sort of up and running. Lots of work to be done still. Have a visit now – a quick peek. Stories to come.

Hector Black love is greater than hate

I spent the day with my old friend Hector Black. He is 91 and a half – he counts the halves now, like a kid. Hector is old, he knows stuff. Hector knows more than most. If you don't know him he's one of those Harvard -WWII vet -piano playing-Quaker-blue berry farmer-civil rights leaders who enjoys blue cheese on his crackers. There is more to him than that for sure. The thing is, I spent the day with him and now my head if full of thoughts. In Nashville, We talked to some smart people today about Black Lives Matter, Trump, Hillary, poverty, the death penalty, lost friends, family, community, and the quality of Dublin cheese. At day's end, the world's problems had me feeling sad above the grief of rush hour traffic. At the Hermitage Exit, I asked him, “how do you take it? All this terrible stuff all your life, how do you take it?” An hour later at the Baxter Exit, Hector looked at me and said “I honestly believe, LOVE is greater than hate. That's how I take it.” Me too.

Esme Patterson Hell Fire Ride

I took a Hell Fire Ride last night. My old pal Jeremy Averitt invited me out on a Monday night to the High Watt in Nashville. I had a large time. I made the acquaintance of the charming and complicated Esmé Patterson - whose band Jeremy plays bass for. I enjoyed the show. True to my quirks, I found full happiness cruising Broad with my friends in the back of a pickup truck at night's end. I'm all about Nashville's neon lights and now, after seeing the show, I'm all about Esme. I'm fascinated by her music. She is the sound of my summer.