my personal website about the stuff that makes me more or less real and almost human, especially including art and birds and family.
The Amateur Birder's Journal and DallasArtsRevue
My Latest Photos Older Photos search
contact links more than 2,000 movies reviewed How to Photograph Art meta old words J R's Poetry
Links down this page: who I am birds travels art Other stories + photos Family resumes My Cat Ideas Websites Blogs
Who I Am
Informal portrait of me by Thomas Diekwisch
One of the nicer things about being a photographer is having friends who are photographers, and I am lucky to have many photographer friends, most of whom also take photographs of birds. But this photograph of this bird is a special case. I knew he was photographing me. Every time I looked up into his direction, he was aiming his elaborate configuration of camera at me. I thought about hiding, but I never like it when other people dodge a simple photograph by me, so I tried to be as normal as I could under the circumstances.
I don't know where all that light came from. I remember it was getting dark. I was talking with Anna and Charles and possibly others. I didn't want to look at the camera and smile, because those portraits don't mean anything. To me. And because Tom was using such a sharp lens, all my bumps and wrinkles and unshaven hairs and spots and unruly eyebrows but very recently hair-cut head are rendered in superb detail. I know this guy. This is me, warts and all.
Anna's photograph of me photographing birds at Goose Island along the South Texas Coast
I am a photographer, writer, editor and art critic, exhibition organizer, poet, curator, promoter and website producer. Among other things. I have been a Staff Photographer for The Dallas Times Herald, Dallas NOTES from The Underground, HOOKA, The Austin Sun, The Edinburg Daily Review and had photos published in dozens of other publications around the world, including Life Magazine, The Texas Observer and the Dallas Observer.
I've also been a photojournalist, typesetter, community radio and TV producer, milkman, Secret Film Courier in Viet Nam, Instructor of Photography and Publication Design for honors college classes, Yellow Cab Driver, Publisher of Underground Newspapers and a Night Watchman at The Imperial House of Message in Irving where DFW Airport is now. I have curated 14 art exhibitions and am a published art critic — writing about art longer than anyone else in Dallas. My story about George W. Bush's paintings of world leaders was published by the very Conservative National Review, although the version of it with much better pix is on DallasArtsRevue.com.
I used to collect jobs. Some of my favorites were Night Watchman at The Imperial House of Massage and Secret Film Courier in Vietnam, where I got shot at from time to time, and Photography Teacher informally and at various colleges around Dallas. I used to think I could teach any camera to anybody, and I probably still could. Even if I'd never seen that camera before. Check out my resume for the rest of my jobs. But in the last few years, I've kept the same ones and will probably jettison a couple of those as I pass my 70th year.
My photographs have been published in dozens of publications around the world, including Life, Jet and Texas Monthly, and they've been exhibited in more than 100 art exhibitions.
I don't like to do the same any thing for very long, so I don't. I'm easily bored but never without something interesting to do. And I keep coming back to making photographs — especially of birds and art, and writing, editing, designing and publishing — community-based publications (including this one), although the medium keeps changing.
American White Pelican Engaging in In-flight Preening
Most of this century my art has been about birds. See my Amateur Birder's Journal for
bird photo-filled pages that go back to June 2006.
My Other Website is DallasArtsRevue, and I've been
publishing it since 1979, back when there were no
art publications in Dallas featuring work by Dallas artists,
though it's still difficult to find work by Dallas artists
in the new art publications.
Lately, way more people read my Amateur Birder's Journal than my art reviews,
so I spend most of my time on that.
Large, flat, gray object out in front of Sun & Moon Gallery near the river that runs through Dallas, Texas, USA
DallasArtsRevue includes — in its more than six hundred web pages on line — art, art stories and news, views and reviews of, by and for the artists of Dallas, Texas, USA. I'm the editor, publisher and writer. It's the main reason I'm still here, wherever this might be. I published it in ink on paper from June 1979 till approximately 1999. All this century, however, all four to six hundred pages of local Dallas Art, Artists, Art Spaces and Art has been online.
Large, flat, gray object out in front of Sun & Moon Gallery
Said gallery keeps promising to put me on their mailing
list, but it never has, and I'm betting it never will, but I still
like their black, white and simultaneously 18% gray object.
Snowy Egret Looking for Fish at the Lower Spillwa Steps
The Amateur Birder's Journal — more info below, takes up most of my time and effort online. About three times a week I show bird photographs from White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, USA and as far as Montana, Colorado and The Lower Rio Grande Valley and other places we wander. The six years of my Birder Journal is indexed here. There's also a bibliography of useful books, a links page to other lake and bird and other sites and a Feedback page and dozens of others linked from the index.
Bald Eagle Bringing in a Big Catfish
On January 27, 2009, I was the first person to photograph a Bald Eagle at White Rock Lake, and I wonder if this eagle and that one are the same, although these photographs (as well as the ones of it perched on its usual log well out into Sunset Bay resting a few weeks previous) are substantially better, because I have better equipment now — better lens and a much higher resolution camera, and I've been practicing a lot in the last five years, usually adding more bird photos to my Amateur Birder's Journal at least three times a week.
Reddish Egret Fishing on an Intercoastal Turnaround near Corpus Christi, Texas
This is probably my favorite photo from another trip. Intercoastals are the highways up and down the coast, and Turnarounds are the more or less solid ground that holds up bridges and lets travelers go back from whence they came or visit the various life forms underneath, where are bars and bait houses and boat ramps. The current link for that page is jrcompton.com/photos/The_Birds/J/June-14.html. And this bird is in its ready-to-mate finery, dancing around like only Reddish Egrets do, looking for food and acting like a drunk human.
This section may always be a work in progress …
Visiting Saint Francis Assisi Church in Rancho de Taos
My latest photographs of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico — the one that Georgia O'Keefe often painted, are up as of May 2, 2015
Rocks In Palo Duro Canyon in Texas
Palo Duro Canyon October 2 2014
Dallas to Austin to Houston and back with Artist Matt Kaplinsky
Galveston Island January 2013 The Ferry Early May 2013
bad link San Antonio June 2012
South Texas Coast May 2012 June 2014
Corpus Christi, The South Texas Coast and Goose Island
Glacier Park, Montana summer 2010
San Francisco, California October 2011
Birds of West Texas, New Mexico & Arizona in 2006
Down South in New Orleans
Angels on Fire 2002
Colorado Trip 2001
Me Meditating in Casa Rinconada at Chaco Canyon 2006
Lost in the Ozona — a night in the Ozona City Jail mid-1970s with, unfortunately, no photographs. The only other time I've ever been in jail was when I was the editor of Dallas NOTES from the Underground, when I was arrested for asking a guy some cops were arresting in Lee Park what he'd done. They arrested me for "interfering with an officer during a lawful arrest." I called Jim Mattox, who was the paper's unofficial lawyer and who later became the Attorney General for the State of Texas, and he got me out. No official charges were ever filed, and I lived mostly happily ever after.
Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley - The Birds of the Rio Grande I and the much more popular (just under 130,000 hits, so far) Birds of the Rio Grande II (winter)
Birds in the Monterrey Aquarium White Tailed Kite in CA other California birds
Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area July 2014
Stripey baby Black Bellied Whistling Ducks somewhere
We kept wondering where all the clouds kept coming from. Then we found The Cloud Factory
Matt K and I drove from Dallas to Austin to Houston. He was selling art, and I was along for the ride with my little camera. I wasn't expecting birds, but we found some. We also found several abandoned buildings and other interesting experiences along the way. I've commemorated the event with a quick, trip web page at the link above.
Other stories & photographs
The most popular and informative of my photography pages is How to Photograph Art or Pretty Much Anything Else, and I've got feedback from all over the world about it. When my The Dreaded Dream Host site hit counters still worked, that page had got more than 213,000 hits. But DH pulled their provided hit counters without telling us ahead of time, and I don't know how many hits it's got since.
Other photo info pages include some of my blogs listed below.
Photographs are everywhere.
It's not one of my official photo series, but over the years I have photographed a lot of people's houses. Some in the guise of studio visits, some just because that place fascinated me. Here's Somebody's House in East Dallas. And here's a whole other way of showing where my mother and father used to live — Maravilla for Mom.
Poemagraphics combined poetry and photographs many years ago when websites with pictures loaded much more slowly than they do now, so the pictures were smaller.
George Bush's portrait of Vladimir Putin
Photograph Copyright 2014 by J R Compton.com All Rights Reserved.
In an odd twist of fate, I had a slightly rewritten art review of Former President George W. Bush's The Art of Leadership Portraits at the Bush Library in Dallas through June 3, 2014, was published in National Review but they took it down from their site, and now my full original text — complete with the only accurate photos of the Bush paintings I've seen, although the net is awash in lousy images of them — is on DallasArtsRevue. The NR story had only the bad copies that are all over the net, even though the story overtly disses those. I tried to sell them the good copies that were in my original story, but they seemed happy enough with the lousy ones that did not illustrate the story like this portrait of Putin and the others that I made at the library.
Its odd twistiness derives from the historical fact that in the early 1970s I was the Editor & Publisher of Dallas NOTES, which became HOOKA (the Humanitarian Order of Kosmic Awareness), Dallas' most popular Underground Newspaper. My leanings are still mostly left, but we haven't had a bona fide Lefty in the Presidency for decades, and everything I hear about W is that he's an amazing nice guy, I'd love to meet him and talk about his art.
I have a check for $73 for the story, parking and entrance to the Bush Library here, and I wonder if I should cash it or frame it.
John T Compton 1913 – 2015 Daddy tries some Birthday Cupcake at his 100th Birthday in 2014
My Father's Funeral
Visiting Daddy during His Last Days
116 photographs of many of the people who knew and loved my father on his 100th Birthday in 2014. Whenever anyone complained about much of anything, he liked to say, "It gets worse," usually with a big smile.
My Mother's 90th Birthday in early 2011
My Father's 97th Birthday in late 2010 was a great excuse for a family gathering.
The Fire - How my father's mother died in a fire saving his life, and what happened after that in a story by my mother.
Back Home in Indiana - My Father's Story
My 2012 Clare Family Reunion page and my 2008 Pictures from a Reunion include pix of both my parents and all their kids, cousins and etc.
Maravilla for Mom is of, in and around my family's home of 40 years in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Included are many pictures of all of us, including wonderful pix of my late Father. Before that, the Compton family lived all over the Western United States except Alaska.
The Clare Family Story - my mother, Mary Clare Compton's family story
The Ballad of Harold & Emily - my mother's parents' story
The B-17 Dad Flew into Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 During the Japanese Attack
Somewhere I have a video of Dad telling us about him flying one of the new B-17s from Seattle-Tacoma into Pearl Harbor on the early morning of December 7, 1941.
The new B-17s they were flying were not in any of the plane Identification books yet, so not just the Japanese were shooting at them, but every gunner in Hawaii. As Dad told it, he'd been stationed there in the late 1930s, so he led the squadron of brand-new bombers to Hickam Field, where they landed and hid behind some hills at the end of the runway. When the smoke cleared and the Japanese went back to their carriers, members of the crews learned that those hills were ammo dumps.
From top left: Distinguished Flying Cross; Legion of Merit; Silver Star
top row: Distinguished Flying Cross - 2nd highest award for valor, for "Extraordinary Heroism in Connection with Military Operations Against an Opposing Armed Force." Established 1918. • Legion of Merit - For service in the US Armed Forces between 07 December 1941 and 31 December 1946 • Silver Star - 3rd highest award for valor, for "Gallantry in Action Against an Opposing Armed Force." Dad's was pinned to the chest of his uniform by General "Hap" Arnold. Air Medal - Authorized on 20 July 1942 to all members of the United States Armed Forces and foreign national, for exceptionally meritorious conduct and achievement in a key position of responsibility.
bottom row: American Defense • Victory Medal - For service in the US Armed Forces between 07 December 1941 and 31 December 1946 • National Defense Service • Asiatic Pacific Campaign in WWII • World War II Service Medal • American Campaign Medal - For service in the US Armed Forces within the American Theater of Operations
Dad did not receive a Purple Heart because his major injury in an attempt to save a crew after a plane wreck did not happen in war time. He told the story that he was knocked out by the blast, and a corpsman saw him and told someone he was too far gone to be saved, but Dad said, in curse words he never would quote exactly, he told them not yet.
My full resume
The shows my photographs have been in so far.
Exhibitions I've produced and/or curated.
My logo designs
And all those employments that have filled in the betweens.
The Meep Cat Stare June 25, 2015 17 months after I got him
My cat was given to me as "a female about four months old," but the first vet told me he is a seven-to-nine-year-old male. It was small for any age. The very nice people who gave it to me called it "Tinkerbell," because "she" came with a little bell, so somebody would know where she was. That's a great idea. He disappears sometimes within seconds and stays gone for hours. Then he reappears right where I last saw him, or I trip over him when he's sauntering toward food.
But I wouldn't want a bell on me, and he somehow rid himself of it, so I'm not going to do that to him. He's endured enough indignities already. I'd rather have a cat who disappears. In fact I'm liking it. I have a cat who disappears — as if I were the only one.
He now has a name he supplied for himself. He's Meep, which may be spelled Miep, although I doubt he cares.
He responds equally to "kitty-kitty," "hey, you" and resonant, flat-hand pats on my stomach when I'm sitting on my office chair or couch in the living room, both places have a handy cat brush or Furminator and a thick towel to put between my flesh and my cat. He's a cat; he likes to be brushed. He objects less now that I turn him upside down to pet him, and sometimes he even lets me rub his tummy — briefly. When he's really enjoying being pet, he sinks his claws into my flesh, if I don't use a towel.
His kind — not species — of cat is usually called a Mackerel Tabby. He's darker than what I thought of as a tabby, and he has five parallel black stripes along his back from neck to tail that mimic the dark lines on his wrists.
I've had him since January 1, 2014, and I'm very fond of him, and treat him better than he treats me, and I am not even surprised he's never made effort to get to, let alone through a door to the outside. I'd hoped to have him a couple decades, so I was disheartened to learn he had already done at least half that. But with cats, you get what you get, and it's never really what you expected — usually better.
During my early, intense online feline research, I learned that cats who get their toothaches fixed often radically change cat personalities, and that's just what happened to Meep, although I never really got to know his proclivities before I took him to the vet dentist.
What personal website could ever be complete without pics of the owner's cat?
Remember when people didn't know
to just click the home button to get back
to the top, so we had to put in a dozen or
more "top" links all down the page?
That's why these are still here.
For historic purposes.
I love using enigmatic images for my ThEdBlog
Most times my fave blog is The Amateur Birder's Journal.
Sometimes my favorite blog is my ThEdBlog (spelled and pronounced thed blog), which is me blogging about me publishing DallasArtsRevue and living life as I have come to understand it, if I even approximate that task. Those pages are illustrated with often enigmatic photographs from my personal experience. This shot, for one such instance, is in my office window where hang dozens of wires that used to connect electronic things but now just dangle in the historic wind.
Every time I get a new camera, I start a new Learning My New Camera blog, and the collection now includes my continuing Olympus E-M1 journal, Nikon D800E journal and my(Panasonic Lumix) G5 Journal and other cameras including my Nikon d7000 journal; the Canon S90 and Canon S90 Tips & Accessories and Canon S90 Accessory Nikon D200 journal that are mostly completed. I still use the D800E and the G5, although the little Panasonic camera is becoming difficult less than a year after I bought it.
Bloggish in a photographic way is my DallasArtsRevue members page of usually very recent photographs — usually new every three to six months. Often they are personal images, like this one I shot after getting bored with a gallery show, then walking out into the setting sun.
I also cover Dallas area exhibitions blog style in an ongoing art criticism series called Art Here Lately. These are huge, all in one, web pages that include photographs and criticism of local art by local artists.
Ideas + Spirituality
Images of personal and public magic.
An artist who professed to be my friend made fun of me on Facebook for calling this collection of magic rocks magic, then he never had a new idea for art again, lost his gallery, and he went back to the ad business, then his company went broke. So be careful when you make fun of other people's religions, even if they seem funny to you. Mine certainly seems funny to me, too. But then a lot of people's are, but I try not to make fun in public.
Spiritual — The Meta Index includes links to my photographic pages of SolstiCelebrations and other bits of magic.
The Magic of Color
My metaphysical and philosophical writings about intimacy and prayer and some other stuff.
A Meditation of the Five Ancient Elements
J R Compton's Cosmic Coping Kit of Metaphysical & Other Knowledge
2,100 Movies Reviewed this century.
The best of My Poetry
In 1974 and 75, I worked for/with The Austin Sun — and enough with The Austin Rag to list in on my resume, and here's some historic pics of the Sun gang at a baseball game somewhere in Austin.
I used to do websites. Well, I still do my own websites — JRCompton.com here and that big other one, DallasArtsRevue.com. And I only do a spare few sites for other people anymore. The most recent one is my dear friend and International sculptor TJ Mabrey's.
Every year, 20% of humans on this planet change their email addresses, and so do i, and my latest email is where my latest email address always is — on this site's Contact page, which is not anywhere near as entertaining as DallasArtsRevue's Contact page.