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Oakland Carijama Parade

June 8th, 2004

Genetic Engineering?
Another day in class in San Francisco arriving at my own office in Oakland around 7:30 this morning, getting on BART forty-five minutes later, in class by 8:30 to be first in line for a bagel, cream cheese and a cup of coffee. Exciting stuff.

I did walk over to photograph the crowd demonstrating in front of the biotech conference beingMoscone Center held at Moscone Center during the noon hour. A break to stretch the legs, get out of the building. Bright sun, lots of contrast, I knew I was shooting crap. Still. Interesting. There were maybe a couple of police for every person with a sign - you couldn't get into Moscone through the cordon of police that surrounded the center without a large picture identification card - and the people demonstrating seemed tired, as if they'd done all their heavy lifting earlier in the day and wanted to catch their breath. OK. Click. Tired crowd, tired photographer.

My assumption about genetic engineering is influenced by the current political climate: big companies who buy federal and local government protection are creating things that may or may not kill off half the population. Which pretty much sums up my confidence in biogenetics. I believe all the Corn Flakes we eat today are made from genetically modified corn, are they not? I seem to recall being vaguely surprised when I heard it. Silly me.

Thirty percent of all the kids who live in California central valley farming communities have allergies. Maybe it's from eating Corn Flakes for breakfast instead of the pesticides they spray as everyone has been thinking. Maybe it's an illusion, this concern with genetic engineering; maybe the Europeans are crazy old farts for even thinking about it, but if we're willing to let thirty percent of our kids go down with allergies without complaining, why would we raise questions about genetic engineering?

The banner photograph was taken at the Oakland Carijama parade with a Nikon F5 mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens on Kodak Ektachrome 100s and processed by New Lab in San Francisco. The second photograph was taken in San Francisco, this morning, with a Nikon D2h mounted with a 28 - 70mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at ISO 200.