Sunday, December 28

A Feminine Problem

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And the moral is....

Sunday, December 21

Why Not Australia & New Zealand?

I have decided not to go on the trade mission I discussed two posts ago. Thanks for your posted and emailed counsel.

The thing is that I see hotel and meeting rooms all of the time. To know that just beyond their walls lies all of Australia and New Zealand would be too torturous. Given the economic storm which has struck, it is clear that the April editions of my business magazines will be focused upon the impact of of the conflagration upon first quarter financial statements. And since the trip is in March, I may not be able to find any substantial room for it in the April edition.

Perhaps I can ask for a raincheck until a time when the interest of my readers will be different and I can arrange more time to extend the trip to experience the places fully. But that time will not be in March... Plus there appears to be some pressing managerial opportunities with which I must be involved over the first quarter of next year which may also peak in early March. So, the stars are not in an alignment for this trip... and tomorrow I shall turn down the flattering offer to join the trade mission. Sigh.... Needless to say, there will always be a regret for the road not taken. Eh?

Merry Everyone

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Wishing you a warm and balmy Christmas... Blessed, of course with all of the joy that we imagine can happen and dream about over these days. Christmas is a feeling to believe in. Hope you do... tenaciously.

Thursday, December 18

Advise Anyone?

<- Click here A month ago the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania invited me to accept a spot on a March 2009 trade mission to Australia and New Zealand.

Never been there... sounded like a trip of a lifetime. But... but.. but...

While they will pay half of the cost (on everything but dinners/drinks) the mission lasts eight days... in three cities (Melbourne, Sidney and not sure of the New Zealand city yet). It will involve four days in the air going to and from, and however long the trip will take from Australia to New Zealand.

Each day will be filled with meetings (three to five meetings daily). So... eight days of meetings, four days of travel... best part of two weeks away from my work (I am a partner and managing editor of business magazines). Most of my work would involve writing a major piece on the fit between the Pennsylvania business culture and those of the countries I'd visit.

But... but... It will still cost me a lot, and I will lose about two weeks from my management responsibilities and simultaneously have to do a lot of my editing by internet on top of the many hours of work during the days of the trip.

Sigh... In some ways it is a trip of a lifetime (and of course my wife wants to go... hmmm... but for pesky some reason that expenditure is mine, go figure...). I have until Monday December 22 to notify the folks at the commerce dept. re. my decision. And frankly, this is a lot of work and a lot of money for... for... well, I'm kind of wondering what's in it for me. Can't really afford to add more days to the trip away from the job. And while it could be cool to see those cities after work, well, there are a lot of cities I still haven't seen that won't take four days of travel.

Anybody got any advice? Most photo opportunities will be at night when I probably will also have to do my editing chores. Sounds like a whirlwind... and I'm not sure the benefits outweigh the costs. Hulp!

Maybe there will be a spot on a later mission, but there's sure no guarantee. Sigh....

Email always accepted at the email address there on the right... K?


Thanks... Reeeeely appreciate advise especially from folks who live or visit Down Under.

Ted

Sunday, December 14

Saturday, December 13

Three Squared


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People bring cities current. Hmmm... let me try that differently. Each new generation adds some permanent mark to a city in its architecture which grows like the rings of tree. But it's the people lurking about the streets which swirls the present moment's culture all over that longer term background. Our ancestors create the setting for the present instant's drama.

Right now is always inextricably mixed with ... back then.

Sunday, December 7

Wasn't Going To Post This

Entry Into A RedBubble Challenge

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I suppose many of you know of the Red Bubble forum? I'm fascinated by the talent of many of its participants, I'm finding them both instructive and VERY challenging. They accept all sorts of art including short stories, poems, and other fiction. One of the groups, WMG - The Writer's Market Group is bringing out an annual "Best Of" E-Book and this year they will apparently combine submissions from 2008 which shared "Epic" as a theme.

To that end, they challenged group members to submit entries into a contest to design a cover. Now since it is an eBook I decided to break with the convention of a horizontal book format (so far I'm alone in entries which have done that). Of course all of the text on the cover can/will be eventually tailored to the forum's specific needs. However it seems to me that a graphic which screams EPIC needs to have some pretty common elements, right?

(1) VAST... It's gotta be BIG... HUMONGUS... SWEEPING! Hence the panorama format.
(2) Sexy... Gotta imply all sorts of moist liaisons which of course demands a blonde... Obvious, hun?
(3) Weird, scary, sinister villains.
(4) A mysterious object.
(5) A palette that oozes something spooky either reds or yellow-greens, or cold-cold blues.
(6) Suggestions of edgy texture? Gritty.
(7) Action.

Now I probably should have had armies massed in the background along with booming cannons, lots of smoke, and squirming bodies. But, lacking any squirming bodies ... well y'gives it what y'gots. Right?

Wuddaya think.... does it screech "EPIC!!!!"

Hope so, if you're Red Bubble members... please vote for the sucker. K?

OOOPS!!!

Okay.... I should read the rules. Seems that the dimensions had to be A4 size.... Sigh.... I still think that the pano screeeeechs out EPIC!!! But if it has to be book cover size... well, hey.... I can do dat.... Which do you prefer? Choices?

Thursday, December 4

Monday, November 24

A Child Is A Future Probe

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Buried deep within our children: a time capsule. To be opened... When?


***

At Andreas request.... Here's the virgin image from my FlashCard. Comments?

Sunday, November 23

Pretty... Very Pretty

Help, I'm under attack by my tools!

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Help, I'm under attack by my tools!
My dad used to say, "Ted, it's a poor worker who blames his tools." Sigh... But it's true. I'm living in a shoddy Steven King novel. I can't seem to tame my filters or techniques. Look at this image taken at Eleanor Rooselvelt's Hyde Park, NY home called Val-Kill.

Nowhere does it communicate my political feelings. Nor does it show something else. Hyde Park is the Land Time Forgot! There has been no change there since maybe 1947! i swear, right in the center of town there's a roller rink. Everyone who toured this place with us remembered the Roosevelts. Now you have to remember that they governed in the 1930s-40s. I felt as if I was suffocating in a musty pile of my parents clothes. And yet, instead of creating an image of moth balls, or reaction to a tour of the Democrat Party's Vatican... instead what came out was that image up here.

I have become an obsessive romantic! Look at this thing. It is .. charming. Charming is not how I felt. How I felt was like... MMMMMPH! I am quite happy to be a citizen of today. It is as if I was visiting the old country while holding daddy's hand. Much as I loved them, today is the world I watched and helped to get made. I like it.

You know what happens when anti matter hits matter? KABOOM! ... Right?

Somehow I KABOOMed! in Hyde Park. Nostalgia kicked me into a psychotic break. AAARGH! And did I get an image of it? Huh?? Huh? Nope... What I got was On Golden Pond up here. I gotta get control of my tools.

Saturday, November 22

Taxidermy

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John Updike wrote, "We cannot expect the camera to suck in, with light and shade, the photographer's emotions."

Of course he's right, but we can expect today the photographer to reveal his emotions almost transparently in the finished image. Right?


Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Friday, November 21

I've Got A Cold... Poor Me...

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Sitting in the library. Snowflakes falling outside. Gray November. Listening to torch singers from the 30s & 40s... buzzed on a Mucinex high. Thinking of California. We'd have liked to live there. Family here on the East Coast was an anchor. So instead we visited a lot. Hey, still do. And on gray chilly days I wonder how it is in Sausalito, or down along the Big Sur.

Images bring me back... once again to Pigeon Point.

But then I wondered what I could pull away and still leave a sense of the place? How much can be chipped out without loosing that dreamy mood. How about this? Huh?

Wednesday, November 19

What's The Story With Flowers?

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Have they anything to offer but beauty? Must you justify them because of their prettiness? They share a force with babies, puppies, and kittens which squeezes an, “Awwww!” out of us. Now I can understand our hard wiring to young mammals, evolution’s hooked that up for obvious reasons. But why to flowers? What primal instinct is served by us feeling so much from blossoms?

They rarely signal the presence of food. Nor water. They’re lousy shelter. They’re never warm in the cold, hell, they’re not around then. And since the most colorful thrive on direct sunlight, they don’t advertise relief from heat. So if it’s not survival or sustenance, what’s the deal?

Let’s go back to the baby thing. We’re drawn to the big eyes and helpless movements in an instinct to hold and protect. And their memories certainty are one motivation for procreation. Hmmmm…. Are flowers wrapped up in our protective or procreative instincts? Certainly Georgia O’Keefe discovered Freudian metaphors in blooms for – well you know where I’m going… Or where she went.

Oddly though, flowers seem to appeal even more strongly to women than to men. Perhaps it’s cultural, but in most societies, aren’t flowers a coveted gift by men to women? I suspect there is some gender correlation to the intensity of their appeal.

Regardless, I have taken flower pictures, hasn’t everyone? And each time that I do, the best of the shoot seem to resonate among the better images I’ve captured. Until I wonder about them. Yes there are all the classical elements of texture, form, shape, and palette. And they can be easily framed in any of the most powerful compositions.

But once you’ve done that, what have you captured? April has found ways to speak eloquently through her flowers. I cannot find that voice. But what do I get? A pretty flower picture, like the ones that come with new picture frames. Beauty does not resonate, it merely attracts. We use it up quickly - it is monotonous.

Perhaps the problem with pictures of blooms is that they do not die. They do not wiggle, sway, or glottal together to create new patterns. Perhaps it is the persistence of photos which may distill out the beauty of the original flower, but not its impermanence . Perhaps it’s the fragility that they share with babies, puppies, and kittens that make the real things more interesting than their photo representations?

I want an image to bring me beyond itself. I cannot find those stories in my flower pictures. Nor can I find the feelings that are larger than the blossoms. Which probably leads to my disappointment with my images since I can’t seem to visually answer the question: What’s the story with flowers?

Sunday, November 9

What A Card!


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I'm almost out of my website/blogsite cards. So it's time to think about a new design. Hmmmm.... Since there was a lot of nagging from people who were in disbelief that I wasn't transfixed with taking pretty pictures of Fall - well, how about a tongue-in-cheek presentation of a Fall image? A BIG Fall image. On the wall of a gallery. A BIG gallery. Of course it's a virtual gallery. But why not... I am a virtual artist. And here I am presenting a virtual Fall. Hmmmm.... maybe the gallery's not BIG enough?

What do you think? Maybe it should be presented on the wall of Grand Central Station? Or how about I put it up and present it on the wall of The Metropolitan Museum? Or... or.. how about St. Peter's Museum in Rome?

Maybe I gotta think on this, eh?

Saturday, November 8

The Gliding Light

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Most mornings he glides past.
Effortless.
A body matching the road.
They dance.
But which one
I wonder
Leads?


***

Here's the virgin image from my FlashCard... Comments?

Tuesday, November 4

Gratuitous Fall Picture

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There's a strip mall in the City of Lancaster. When they built it- it became apparent that Red Rose Commons would not be able to spill onto an adjoining wet land. So imagine this... here we have a wild bird preserve that's the result of and virtually a part of a city mall. Cool, huh?

Oh, as for the image look. It's Fall. I take pictures. So I've got to take at least one picture of Autumn in Pennsylvania. Those are the rules in the Ancient Book Of Photographers,right? And this week was the high color. Yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble at the mall, and took this on the way out. Another annual task checked off.

Monday, November 3

Brothers

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Something large and different for a living room wall. Needed color and bold graphic design. Needed a strong feeling of boy. The parents are happy. The grandparents though... they are ecstatic. I like ecstatic a whole bunch. You know what I'm saying here?

Sunday, November 2

Election Street Week

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After years: Election Street’s there.
Is a smiley umbrella sufficient?

Unfocused bright, shadowed darkly
Obviously ambiguous
Poised at the noisy silence.

From here
It gives up so little
Of its Rewards or
Risks.

Thursday, October 30

A Test

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So I wondered whether instead of asking if an image was pretty... well whether instead it should make us consider how we might best live our life.

Uh-huh, that's a another reasonable test of art, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 29

And Then Came The Senator

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Pennsylvania is a battleground state in this Presidential election. When our local TV stations take advertising breaks there are, like, frequently three minutes of the senator's ads in a row. It's as if everything is being brought to us by Him. The whole world and everything in it are sort of a gift he's giving us. It's an unusual kind of experience, you know what I'm saying here?

So anyway, when he stopped by for one of his many speeches, I stood there surrounded by buddies, each taking pictures of Him. The crowd was enthralled. We all snapped dozens of images. But strangely when we compared them later... Well, it seemed hard to make out anything sharp. For that matter in lots of the pictures all we got was glowing light. But as far as any details... Nope. Just grainy impressions.

My equipment's worked fine since... What do you make of that?

Monday, October 27

You've Seen This Before But....

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See this? Yeah, I posted it before during the Summer, just click on the keyword "sailing" below to see the series. That's not the point. Fun is the point.

Steve wasn't posing here. I was standing in the gangway to below decks, taking picture for so long that I became invisible. Now I like it that this mid-afternoon picture is something that we can do today that used to take me a bank of lights to create back in the day. But that's not the point either.

The point is that Steve's just had a major birthday. So I took the image over to Dave at Poppit Studios and he blew it up for me to a size that would get big-time attention. The idea was that Rita and I would invite Steve and Maria to dinner at a top of the line restaurant. And we'd arrange to get a table off to the side last Saturday night where we could prop the image against the wall behind a covering. And of course we'd rip away the cover during the meal, and well... embarrass the hell out of him... heh heh heh...(Okay, women won't get this... but to men it resonates, right guys?) Think of it as a really big Birthday card.

So Dave, he blows it up... and up... and up... to FOUR feet by SEVEN FEET!!!! SEVEN FRIGGIN FEET!

You should see it. It is tack sharp (where it is supposed to be tack sharp) and the colors ROCK! And I invited my buddy and partner Steven and his wife Julie so we could carry the thing and.. and...

Well Dave doesn't own a truck at Poppit Studios. And we couldn't get the print into any of our cars. Or into our station wagon. And well, what the hell to do? The practical joke careened back on me! How to give it to him when I couldn't take it out of the printer's studio?

Meantime Dave was so proud of it that he set it up right by the door of his place (the guy owns massive printers, and cameras, and even a large device that will computer-cut images out). In fact he offered to have it cut Steve out of the big image as a stand-alone figure. Have you noticed, or imagined, that he's life size in the image? I took it with my old Canon 20D and you can count the hairs in his mustache... it's that detailed. Imagine what my new 40D will do... but I digress.

So what to do? Well finally my colleague Tammy, the layout artist at my magazines brought her huge RV over to Poppit and last Friday we got it to my house. So.. we changed plans and had a dinner party for the six of us.

During cocktails my partner and I went upstairs and hefted the thing down the steps et voilá .... we swung the thing around to reveal... "Heroic Steve At The Helm".

Great reactions... Everyone loved it. Super fun... BUT.. BUT!!!!!! He couldn't get it home. The BILLBOARD is sitting in our living room. YIPES... Didn't see that coming.

Steve's first reaction was, "Holy S**T, that thing will cost a grand to frame!" Um, well, yeah. It's printed on a fairly solid substrate so it stands up by itself. But what do you do with this .. object the size of Romania?

I suggested he take it to his plant, frame it in busy golden gilt, and put a tiny plaque engraved... "Our Founder". Mount it right behind the receptionist, right? Get her a tiny sailor uniform.... Somehow Steve isn't crazy about my suggestion. Particularly my plans for installation of track lighting. Pity.... Some folks don't have enough imagination, huh?

What do you do with a 24 foot square heroic image? Steve told me that "It ain't my problem!" He's right. It was fun, but I'll probably throw it away tonight.

The moral to all of this? A four by seven foot portrait might not be the best idea. Bummer.

Sunday, October 26

When Christmas Came


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Today's the deadline for entries to a holiday juried show at the Lancaster Museum of Art. It's open to all media. the constraints? Images must have to do with the holidays, and the region. I decided to go very small here. This image is printed on a 5X7" paper. The jpg loses a lot of the impact of the print. Not sure why the dynamic range of jpgs are so lightened when I shift from rgb to srgb. Anybody know? At any rate the original pops better than this image does here.

Hoping for the best but frankly, I'm not certain that this really captures everything I'd like. Unfortunately I forgot about the deadline, only remembering late on Sunday. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, October 21

Creepy Guy

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A Halloweenie....

I found parts of this guy at Governor Palin's rally last Saturday. Somehow his essence (changed to protect the innocent) felt right at Pigeon Point, huh?

Monday, October 20

Saturday, October 18

Sarah Came Today

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This morning Sarah Palin came to Lancaster. 10,000 folks poured into Clipper Stadium. I wonder how you recover from this sort of thing? I mean Mrs. Palin. If this is the high point in her life, how will she handle the end of her fifteen minutes of fame? There were jumpers in the crowd. You've seen them at rock concerts. People who look as if they are well past the point of having to go potty. They're so excited that they leap about in place clutching their signs or autograph books. Every so often they scream. The same thing's happening at Senator Obama's rallies. It's exciting to watch all of these people so wrapped up on an enthralling moment of ecstasy. It spits all over you, as if a water sprinkler's come on and abruptly you're all covered with the stuff. There were two gorgeous young women, probably college age, standing against a fence. Each had such a wonderfully warm smile in the golden fall sun. And each wore a pink badge with simple text that read.... "It's A girl." And after he speech the crowd sighed into her. They were gentle yet demanding. They wanted to congratulate, to thank, to weep, to laugh. They wanted autographs and they wanted her to smile at them.

Before I went there this morning I met three friends who are hairstylists. The women are all Democrats and were staunch Hillary supporters. Now they are supporting Sarah. They each hope to see a woman in the White House. It is much their dream as Obama's promise resonates with my African American friends. One of those women said, "She's so bright Ted. She's raised five kids, been on television, been a mayor, now she's a governor. She's tangled hard with her own party and she's negotiated with the toughest oil companies in the world. And yet the supporters of Obama claim none of this is important. Everything we've dreamed to be able to do, she's done. And they dismiss all of it, even though their guy's done none of it. He's never met a payroll, never done a budget, never run anything. They're treating her... like... like... a girl. Well, she's more than that, so are we. And... and... have you seen her smile. It doesn't hurt," the woman said to me with a strong look on her face.... "Doesn't hurt that she's beautiful. Right?"

Thursday, October 16

MORE NEWs

As promised, I've taken this one down.

Saturday, October 11

The News

Yep the news is distracting. However the value that we place upon things has not changed, just their monetary descriptions. Only for those who have valued stuff for its price tag... only for those people is the present situation truly alarming. My wife, my dog, our home, our friends, these photos... and so much more are worth no more or less to me at this moment than thye were a moment ago and will probably be worth more in the moments to come. Maybe I'll find a way to express this as an image, perhaps not.

There's an economic expression which is worth understanding just now. It's "The Monetary Veil". Too often we categorize things by their position on a dollar/euro/whuddever scoreboard. Even people, wondering how much someone makes for a living. Sometimes we're fortunate to pierce that monetary veil and see the reality on the other side.

We'll leap this financial chasm that's appearing in front of us on the TV and in the papers. But as we steel our nerves to jump, it's valuable to look around at everything on this side and see it denuded from some monetary number... and actually value the worth of the things beneath that coverlet before they're all tricked out once again in price tags.

NOTE: If you want to read my take on the causes of this economic malais.... In my other - real - world, I have a published article on the causes you can find if you Click here

Wednesday, October 8

Tensed



There's a difference between the artist and craftsman. "The artist," it's said, "Does not picture things as they are."

___
And here's the virgin image directly from my FlashCard... Comments?

Monday, October 6

Heart Flutter

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Okay, given the financial news, howzabout some Jazz-Age romance? Huh? Huh? Time for escape...






***

For those who like to see the starting points, here are the virgin images from my FlashCards. The auto is from the gift shop at the Vanderbuilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY. The blonde was in a glass case at an antique dealership in Adamstown, PA.

Sunday, October 5

La Passione Di Santa

"DECK THE HALLS..." TRA-LA

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And why the title? Well let's go deep, okay? The etymological origins of the word "passion" lie in the Latin passus (stemming from pati, patior- "to suffer [to happen]", in the passive sense).

Now it's clear, huh? As Christmas decorations and carols appear on the earliest days of October (this one in Hyde Park, NY)... It's The Passion of Santa!

BTW: Although they work cheap, there is no evidence anywhere that Santa Clause actually likes elves. Actually their whacky little voices are so hard to understand – it's a little know fact that bending to hear their tiny prattle damaged Santa's back.
________

And here's my erratic convention... The virgin image posted directly from the FlashCard. Comments?

Saturday, October 4

Just Before It Came

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Went to Hyde Park, New York this week. It's just east of the Catskills. You probably know it as the Vatican of the Democrat party in America. It's where FDR and Eleanor lived and got buried. The American taxpayers have preserved both of their homes (they didn't live together, but that's another story). Pilgrims to Hyde Park are just this side of death. They have memories of these people and their dog. Look, I'm not a young puppy myself, but among the tour groups trembling their way through these MUSTY buildings... well, I'm The Kid!

Hyde Park, like a lot of Appalachian Pennsylvania and New York towns, seems encased in amber. You peer through a golden shell to see things that were everywhere at a time just a tiny tad before the memory of sixty percent of most Americans. It's a clean, Stephan-Spielberg-sort-of-place where the buildings look like sets for pictures of restored vintage cars.

Hyde Park feels like grandmother's living room – outside. You can barely smell the moth balls.

It wasn't clear how best to show The Eveready Diner. Above I teased out a romantic pano but then there's a grittier way, this one taken at 1600 ISO to make the noise explode along with the blare and glare of the morning sun careening around inside of my lens to zap up the contrast. Dunno which evokes the essence of this place. Above I feel the 1940s-50s floating into view, and here the place is clad in a harsher light of the moment. Where's the truth lie? Perhaps somewhere between stark and warm? You call it, K?

NOTE: I am an economist. It's what I do all day long. Some weeks ago it was apparent that the world's financial institutions were at ghastly risk. As you all know now, that risk is upon us. In that period between recognition of potential disaster and its first encroachments... I have been seeing commonplace things as potentially temporary. Existing in borrowed time as the storm built.... Standing here, innocently unaware and doing business as usual... Just before IT came. This is not a happy picture. I am not happy just now. I am developing a nostalgia about... not the past... but the present which seems so fragile as I look around. A storm is coming, and people go about their days, unwarned and unprepared. On top of it we have a bitter election in America. Its shape frightens me even more.

Thursday, October 2

Fish Girl

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Can we evolve down? Have we evolved up? Hmmmm.... There's this belief that we've reached the top of the evolutionary chain. Okay, let's buy that for sake of argument, okay? And since the Darwinian thing is all based upon natural selection and genetic adaptation – well – does that assume that every species always goes one way? Well, no. Any one can slip, right?

And anyone can get a step ahead.

I guess all we can assume is that we humans have got an edge. For the moment.

Although every now and then I meet someone who makes me wonder if, just possibly, we're already slipping some. And I'm going to bet you've also met them... right?

***

Want to see the virgin image from my FlashCard? Here you go....

Monday, September 29

Pebble Beach

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Sitting on the patio... Rita's got a margarita. Me? A gin and tonic. There's a gentle breeze blowing around the 68 degree air. Not bad... no... not bad at all.

Sunday, September 28

The Professional's Challenge

THE TRACTOR BEAM OF COMMODITY PRICING


NOTE: Inspired by a note on the terrific http://prophotolife.com/, I was moved to expand this essay from a comment I posted on Jim Talkington's blogzine.

***

At an early career turning point I had the choice of following the road marked “Professional Photographer.” Didn’t because it simply looked too steep, twisty, and poorly marked. Put simply, it seemed too damned hard. So for fifty years I’ve picked the low hanging fruit that amateurs get to pluck. And they have been sweet. Photography’s given me consolation, perspective, and an alternative outlet for my passions, ideas, and emotions.

But while I don’t regret my choice, I do admire just how hard successful commercial photographers in every one of the fields work for their living. Yes there are more competitors than ever. And yes technical competency is coming at a younger age when those youngsters lack family responsibilities and are stoked with an enthusiasm to work a hundred hours on projects that only pay for ten. The young wolves have always challenged the pack leaders - but it does seem as if they are coming on in larger hoards, each anxious to work for a Happy Meal at MacD’s with enough left over to buy a new lens. Subsidized by parents, they have little sense of overhead, depreciation, or profits … But many seem fixed with the edgy eye that editors, art directors, designers, brides, and gallery owners find the passion du jour.

And since they share the generational culture that buyers want to attract/distract - what they lack in capital equipment can frequently be overwhelmed by a cultural vocabulary. It’s useful to speak in the voice and language of your market.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a generational divide in the tastes of those who pull the trigger on purchases. A generation of young buyers who have been raised within a thick-walled paradigm which reflects back their self worth at ever angle… is hard for folks to crack when they are standing outside of that generational bubble.

But… all is not grim for the professional who can escape the tractor beam of the commodity force which seems to pull prices down as equipment, overhead, and life costs soar. Never before has marketing literacy been so important to commercial photographers. If price is the opiate of the new photographer, brand is its cure.

How many community photographers, for example, are Rotary members? Lions? Sertoma? Elks? How many have joined the Chambers of Commerce? How many attend every mixer and small business meeting? How many volunteer for arts organizations? For non-profits? How many have donations in every charity fund raising auction? How many hang out at the local coffee shops in the early AM where everyone knows your name? How many warm calls do you make a week? How many cards do you hand out daily? Where? I can think of a half dozen guerilla marketing techniques that are invaluable to advertising but cost nothing except sweat equity. How many do you know? Have you ever heard of guerilla marketing? Punk marketing? Why not?

How do you use free media? What is it? If you don't know, you are NOT a professional. And now I'm not just thinking of the community professional. Speaking of professional - what professional meetings do you attend? Are most of them, or all of them in your profession? WRONG! You will meet very few buyers at a seminar on "The New Wedding Techniques," or - "Follow Focus For Sports Photographers." Simple question, are you building technique or market with your spare time? What is your balance? What must it be to survive?

Have you Googled brand building? Read any books? Does the whole thing make your eyes glaze? Then you either need to find a job working for someone who has clear eyes, or sell the cameras to pay for those accounting, economic, and science credits you should have taken to get you into another career.

To the degree that the commercial photographer has been engaged over his/her years in building brand and product differentiation: To the degree that it’s been reinforced with strategic networking techniques: Then this appears to be a very good time to be a pro.

Although I still won’t swap my amateur standing with any of you.

Next October

SUMMER'S CHAIRS ARE EMPTY

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I'm sitting here on the last Sunday morning in September hearing the hourglass sand drop away. It's flowing inexorably toward October. So my fingers work to remember the future. Each time we wish that this time we'll hold this glory forever. Each time we hope that it all won't die. Each time it does.

We are the only species in history who expect that we are entitled to a Fall, and a climate, that never changes.

Fall would be the finest time of year except... it lacks a happy ending.


***

Here's the virgin Middlebury, Vermont image from my FlashCard... Comments?


Saturday, September 27

Boy?

So? Does This Do It?

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How to break out of the kid portrait mold, eh? How to push what I can do to a limit? And push it into a character study that leaves us with the essence of boy? If there's no essence left, well I've merely done craft all over this frame. Craft is good, but it stops right at art's door. Art tumbles on through. It leaves us not so much distracted by the image but thinking or feeling about something behind it.

Hey, I admire kid portrait photographers. It's a hard craft. But here I wanted to go after, not so much this boy, but instead to kind of find boyishness. Boyhood. And do it from a postage stamp head-n-shoulders composition that was as close as I could get.

Does it happen? For me, yeah. For you?

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Here's the virgin image directly from the FlashCard. Comments? Should I have left it alone?