understanding art, lesson one
this will never not be funny
Stephanie Gonot Insult Cakes 2014
Lita Albuquerque Sol Star, Giza Plateau, Eqypt 1996
An ephemeral art installation south of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Sol Starconsisted of three tons of powdered blue pigment arranged in a specific pattern of ninety nine blue circles across the desert surface. Each pigment circle was of a different diameter to reflect the varying brightness of the stars directly above. Sol Star created a star map “reflection” on the sands.
Corrie Baldauf Infinite Jest Project 2014
Baldauf initially began the process of flagging all the references to color in the text — more than 2,600 of them — as a sort of mechanism to help her concentrate on reading David Foster Wallace’s infamous masterwork, a notoriously difficult literary achievement that has divided readers on one side or the other, or in many cases, lost somewhere in the middle. Stymied by her early attempts to tackle the book, Baldauf “realized that the part I cared the most about was the color references, and that was going to be my impetus — it was going to be the familiar, intriguing thing that was going to help me focus, to commit,” she told Hyperallergic.
Photos are on the Spiegel website
On Monday, sales were discontinued of the Google Glass Explorer version, which had a pricetag of $1,500. And good riddance, too. The prototype had been riddled with problems like short battery life and complicated handling. Later this year, Google plans to sell a totally overhauled consumer version, at a lower price and with longer lasting batteries. Development of the new product is being overseen by former Apple executive Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod.
Google is not alone in its efforts. Headmounted displays proved to be all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.
Could these headsets, with their tiny, unobtrusive cameras, change the way we perceive the world in the same way Kodak cameras did a century ago, with candid photography becoming easier than ever before? Could they usher in something that we might call, for lack of a better word, wearable photography?
We asked two masters of candid street photography, Elliott Erwitt and Bruce Gilden, to give us a glimpse of the future as the legends tested Google Glass.
Bruce Gilden fiddles nervously with his glasses on his first day as a photographer without a camera.
With his full, white beard, green army jacket and sneakers, Gilden looks a little out of place amid the throngs of suits and Prada outfits here on New York's Upper West Side. Gilden has a world-famous body of photography to his name, but that isn't much help to him today. For the next couple of days, he will be trying out Google Glass, the headmounted display with a built-in miniature camera lens.
"I look like a damn cyborg," Gilden grumbles. A monitor barely bigger than an M&M glows in front of his right eye, where the camera lens is also located, all of it reinforcing the impression that Gilden might indeed be part man and part machine. "I can be a glasshole for Halloween," he grouses. The term is an epithet for Google Glass wearers in San Francisco, where they are reportedly much hated.
Gilden arrives at Elliott Erwitt's studio. The door opens to reveal a stooped man in a lilac-colored shirt, his eyes at once mischievous and sad. Erwitt is likewise a world-famous photographer -- the master of street photography, some say.
"You're 86 and I'm 68, like mirror images," Gilden declares. Erwitt smiles and says nothing. He once commented that the whole point of taking pictures is so that you don't have to explain things with words.
These two photographers have known each other for about 20 years. Both work for the photo agency Magnum and wear the same gray sneakers. And yet they could not be any more different. Erwitt is the patient observer, Gilden the grandstanding go-getter. Together, they have more than 100 years of photographic experience.
Today, they're meeting to discuss a new project. Are cameras hidden on the photographer's body the future of street photography? Google Glass' eye-tracking camera could make it possible to take the most unobtrusive, true-to-life pictures imaginable. Or it could be used to spy on unsuspecting people.
It's a head-on collision between old masters and new technology. Both Erwitt and Gilden prefer black and white analog photography, but now they're being asked to swap their Leicas for these absurd glasses. Gilden jerks his head back like a chicken gulping down food and says, "Okay, Glass, take a picture." The device follows his command instantly. But the photographer finds the jerky motion painful. "All this twitching is going to give me a seizure," he says.
So far, this early version of the data glasses, the so-called Explorer version, has been used almost exclusively by programmers developing apps for them. But the competition hasn't been idle, and companies such as Huawei and Sony are at work on similar products. Google Glass, meanwhile, is still just a prototype in beta, and it's likely to be a while before the product really catches on, perhaps initially for use by specialists such as engineers, surgeons and laboratory technicians.
And yet even in their unfinished state, these photo-taking glasses may afford an initial, if perhaps blurry, glimpse into a future where not a single moment must remain undocumented, as tiny cameras become capable of nestling closer and closer to the body, built into watches, glasses, necklaces or plastic clips. The Google Glass Explorer Version will soon go the way of all technology and land on the shelves of tech museums, next to the original, 100-year-old Leica camera. But the trend they stand for will continue as the pioneering devices slowly become classics, then museum pieces: ever easier, ever more candid photos.
The test run is starting. Bruce Gilden makes his way through the crowds on Fifth Avenue, his old hunting grounds. Gilden, who as a child wanted to be a boxer, instead fought his way to fame on these unyielding sidewalks by taking portraits of strangers. His preferred method: jumping out at his subjects like a tiger pouncing on its prey, using his camera with its harsh flash to immortalize them from an arm's length away. His final product: unvarnished snapshots direct from daily life. The art world rejoiced over Gilden and in 1998 he was honored with membership in Magnum.
The new wearable photography technology, on the other hand, affords an opportunity to take pictures secretly, which is not at all Gilden's thing. There -- a woman with a bitter gaze and a lot of makeup, just the sort of subject Gilden likes. He snaps his shot. "I just took a picture of you," he calls after the woman. She doesn't even notice. Taking and exhibiting pictures of strangers is legal in New York, falling under the auspices of freedom of speech and artistic freedom. In Germany, with its obsession about privacy rights, though, this right may soon be curtailed.
Gilden is zigzagging through the throng, constantly engaging strangers in conversation, doing photography as a contact sport. A driver leans, bored, against the side of his black limousine. Gilden walks right up to him, adjusts his glasses, quirks his finger, done. The chauffeur, too, didn't notice a thing.Gilden doesn't like this secrecy. "You don't take good pictures with a camera, you take them with your entire personality," he says. "You have to go up to people, get as close as possible. The photographer Robert Capa once said, 'If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough.' Absolutely true."
Gilden's photographs project the insolent attitude of a street urchin. He grew up in New York's Williamsburg before the neighborhood was fashionable, with a father who wore heavy rings on his fingers, kept a cigar clamped in the corner of his mouth and conducted opaque business deals in his used tire store. Bruce played basketball, the dirtier the better, winning was what mattered.
The crowd flows around him like a raging river. "They all look alike. New York is getting more and more boring," he says. "There, that homeless guy has an interesting face, but I don't want to expose him. Hey, that woman over there, her makeup makes her look like a clown. Or her, back there, she's perfect."
He steps into the woman's path. He introduces himself: "I'm Bruce Gilden. I'm a famous photographer." She nods. "If you believe that, I'll tell you another one." She laughs. "No, no smiling" he says. He puts his hands at the nape of her neck and angles her face a bit to the side and down -- after all, using Google Glass leaves both his hands free -- and the woman allows him to do so. "Great, that doesn't look posed at all," he says, and snaps his picture.
"The street is a stage and the passersby are actors," he says. "But this is my play and I'm the director here." The woman thanks him effusively. "Most people love attention," Gilden says afterward. "I just made her day."
An Invisible World Star
Gilden's colleague and antipode Elliott Erwitt takes a different approach. He shuffles across the street from his apartment to Central Park. Passing dogs often catch his eye, since he's still mourning Terry, his mutt who died a couple months ago.
Erwitt is an invisible world star, an artist who disappears behind his pictures. His warm-hearted snapshots of dogs and people are widely known, and he publishes a new photo book nearly every year. He's been taking photographs for 70 years. "Most editors think I died years ago," he says, and smiles.
Erwitt doesn't talk much -- in fact, he's never talked much -- but the little he does say tends to hit home. He, too, is testing out the Google Glass camera on familiar terrain. Couples, passersby, a dog, a photograph, a smile. Then he slips off and continues on his way. A small poodle appears in front of him and Erwitt bends down to arrange the background composition around the dog. Then there's the sudden sound of a loud honk and the dog jerks around with wide eyes. Erwitt snaps his picture.The old bicycle horn is one of his little tricks, something he keeps attached to his cane, he calls it the "Elliot Erwitt Walking Stick". "It works with animals of all kinds, and with people too," he says.
Erwitt was born in Paris in 1928. His parents, who were Jewish, had fled there from Russia. He grew up in Paris and Milan, with the family speaking Italian. When World War II broke out, the family fled again, this time to the US. At the age of 13, Erwitt received a dog and a camera, two presents that would alter the course of his life. Drafted into the army in 1951, he served as a photographer in Germany and France. The legendary Robert Capa then invited him to join Magnum. He took photographs for advertisements, newspapers and exhibitions, as well as shooting documentary films, all the while remaining always curious, always skeptical.
'Like Eating Soup with a Fork'
It's time to take stock of the preliminary results in Erwitt's studio directly on Central Park, a darkened room that looks like a shrine to the history of photography, with enormous prints on the walls and cabinets full of originals. Their freshly taken images are downloaded on a computer, they sit down in front of the screen to evaluate their catch of the day. They are surprised at the resolution of the 5-megapixel camera.
Does the Google Glass camera allow him to get closer to his subjects? "No, the opposite is true," Gilden says. "It's got such a wide angle, far too much ends up in the picture." Erwitt nods.
"Besides, the screen is much too small, you can hardly control the frame" Gilden says. Erwitt nods.
Google Glass might work for email or GPS, Gilden says, but not for taking photographs. "It's the wrong tool, like eating soup with a fork."
"I often eat soup with a fork," Erwitt says. "If it's matzah ball soup." Both men come from Jewish families, where this traditional dish is popular.
"We barely had time to get to know this technology," Gilden explains. "If you put me on an island, I think after a time period I would figure out how to use it to its best effect."
"Manhattan is an island," Erwitt points out.
The room is a bit small for two full-scale egos, the two of them flirting and sparring with each other. And with the technology.
Gilden throws himself back into the fray. After half an hour, the rechargeable battery built into the glasses frame has run down, so a cable now hangs from the glasses, connecting them to a back-up battery. The right side of the frame is growing alarmingly hot. "I can use this to keep my fingers warm in the winter," Gilden proposes. Passersby turn around to watch and whisper when they catch sight of his cyborg look.
But the biggest obstacle is the fact that the glasses are only designed to take pictures in a horizontal format, whereas Gilden is considered a master of the vertical format.
Gilden is thirsty and takes a drink, then sets the bottle down behind him. A minute later, someone steals it. Then he notices the handsome young man behind him, in a suit and a tie and a wool hat, leaning unobtrusively against a traffic light and photographing Gilden with his smartphone. "I hate these beginners, that guy is sneaky, I don't like photos like that" Gilden complains. He calls over to the paparazzo and takes a picture of him. The two men photograph each other.
Gilden hates having anyone boss him around. It's one reason he became a photographer. Now these nightmare glasses are literally leading him around by the nose, forcing him into all sorts of absurd contortions.
After 40 years of working intensively with his manual Leica camera, Gilden could operate it blind. When he doesn't have it with him, he feels it like a phantom pain. Wearable cameras could allow everyone to experience that melding of body and camera. Because the devices are so small, they're operated with gestures -- a nod turns Google Glass on, a blink can trigger the camera shutter. The body becomes a part of the camera, with neck muscles and eyelids replacing the on/off switch and the shutter button. That may be a good thing for young nerds, but not so much for old men.
"All this nodding is giving me a stiff neck," Gilden says. Instead, he chooses to operate the glasses using a tiny button the size of a grain of rice on the right side of the frame, but it's far too small to be easily manipulated by Gilden's large mitts. Confronted with glasses developed by young geeks for young geeks, the director of the streets feels the device is dictating what he should do, rather than the other way around.
"I feel like a gorilla that's being made to eat with fork," he says. He's fed up. He scans the crowd and picks out a bald man. He addresses the man in broken Spanish and convinces him to stand still. Then Gilden twists himself around until the glasses are vertical instead of horizontal. Finally, he takes the glasses off and holds them in front of him. Like a camera.
"Don't move, man," Gilden says, then adds a little joke: "I had to hold still, too, 170 years ago when I had a daguerreotype taken."
Erwitt, too, is groping half-blind through the dawning of a new technology. He doesn't see well with his right eye, but the right side is where the Google Glass' display screen is located. "I try not to get noticed, but these glasses are much more conspicuous than a camera or a phone," he says.
Erwitt is familiar with the growing pains of new forms of media. He experimented with color film, and published a book of color photographs titled "Kolor". The "K" is an homage to the Kodak company, which revolutionized photography in the late 19th century with its family friendly cameras so simple a child could operate them and the slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest." When the Kodak factory in Rochester, New York, shut down, Erwitt made a pilgrimage there to say farewell. But even the newfangled headmounted camera, as he is still grappling with its novelty, is turning into a piece of legacy hardware from a bygone future.
"Google Glass might be nice for keeping a picture diary," he says. "It's good for pictures, but not for photos." He cuts the Bluetooth connection between the headmounted display and the cell phone on which he can review the pictures he takes. It makes him uncomfortable to think everything he sees there could theoretically also be viewed by others over the Internet. "My clients would use that to be constantly looking over my shoulder and giving me instructions," he says. "Which would mean less time and less work. Less freedom."Wearable photography is bound to catch on sooner or later, at least in some niches, whether with Google Glass or other devices. The ubiquitousness of the tiny lens will make it possible for anyone to capture even the most fleeting moment, without having to dig out a cell phone or camera to do so.
In 1839, the painter Louis Daguerre gave the world the photograph, a new kind of image that seemed to paint itself, making it possible for even those without artistic talent to capture highly detailed pictures. Then came Kodak, which again radically simplified the process of creating images. Then came the spread of cell phone cameras, and now the next revolution in images is at hand. Not only are shutter buttons now superfluous, but spoken commands are as well. Users who wish to do so can operate Google Glass with the simple blink of an eye -- you blink, we do the rest. Scientists are already tinkering with integrating cameras into contact lenses.
This test run has demonstrated the democratic promise of wearable photography, as well as its limitations. It can't replace the most important elements of a good photograph, qualities such as patience, persistence and an ability to assert oneself -- against the technology, if necessary.
Erwitt has taken off the glasses and is holding them close to the ground, at eye level with a white poodle. He releases the shutter not with a spoken command, but by hand. As if the glasses were his Leica.Above him, the leaves of a mighty plane tree rustle in the wind. "This tree is special," he says. Pause. "Terry liked to pee here."
When he still had Terry, Erwitt sometimes forgot to take his camera along when he took the dog for walks, and was sad when he missed out on capturing unique, natural daily life scenes he saw. Wouldn't it be comforting, then, to have a camera with him at all times, in his watch or glasses?
"No," Erwitt says. "The pictures I didn't take are the best ones."
ALFREDAS PLIADIS / XINHUA / ACTION PRESS
RUBEN HOLLINGER / DER SPIEGEL
MITTWOCH, 10. DEZEMBER 2014Inkasso-Mails: So schützen Sie sich vor Trickbetrüger (Netzwelt, 15:28)
DIENSTAG, 09. DEZEMBER 2014Letzter Vorrundenspieltag: Liverpool scheitert durch Unentschieden gegen Basel (Sport, 23:36)
Joichi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab on bitcoin
In the post that follows I’m trying to develop what I see to be strong analogues to another crucial period/turning point in the history of technology, but like all such comparisons, the differences are as illuminating as the similarities. I'm still not sure how far I should be stretching the metaphors, but it feels like we might be able to learn a lot about the future of Bitcoin from the history of the Internet. This is my first post about Bitcoin and I’m really looking more for reactions and new ideas than trying to prove a point. Feedback and links to things I should read would be greatly appreciated.
I’m fundamentally an Internet person -- my real business life started around the dawn of the Internet and for most of my adult life, I’ve been involved in building layers and pieces of the Internet, from helping start the first commercial Internet service provider in Japan to investing in Twitter and helping bring it to Japan. I’ve also served on the boards of the Open Source Initiative, the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN), The Mozilla Foundation, Public Knowledge, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and been the CEO of Creative Commons. Given my experiences in the early days of the net, it’s possible that I’m biased and everything new looks like the Internet.
Having said that, I believe that there are many parallels between the Internet and Bitcoin and there are many lessons from the Internet that can help provide guidance in thinking about Bitcoin and its future, but there are also some important differences.
The similarity is that Bitcoin is a transportation infrastructure that is decentralized, efficient and based on an open protocol. Instead of transferring packets of data over a dynamic network in contrast to the circuits and leased lines that preceded the Internet, Bitcoin’s protocol, the blockchain, allows trust to be established between mutually distrusting parties in an efficient and decentralized way. Although you could argue that the ledger is “centralized”, it’s created through mechanical decentralized consensus.
The Internet has a root -- in other words, just because you use the Internet Protocol doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily part of the Internet. To be part of THE Internet, you have to agree to the names and numbers protocol and root servers that are administered by ICANN and its consensus process. You can use the Internet Protocol and make your own network, using your own rules for names and numbers, but then you’re just a network and not The Internet.
Similarly, you can use the blockchain protocol to create alternative bitcoins or alt.coins. This allows you to innovate and use many of the technological benefits of Bitcoin, but you are no longer technically interoperable with Bitcoin and do not benefit from the network effect or the trust that Bitcoin has.
Also like the beginning of the Internet, there are competing ideas at each of the levels. AOL created a dialup network and really helped to popularize email. It eventually dumped its dialup network, its core business, but survived as an Internet service. Many people still have AOL email accounts.
With crypto-currencies, there are coins that don’t connect to the “genesis block” of Bitcoin -- alt.coins that use fundamentally the same technology. There are alt.coins that use slightly different protocols and some that are fundamentally different.
On top of the coin layer, there are various services such as wallets, exchanges, service providers with varying levels of vertical integration -- some agnostic to whichever cryptocurrency ends up “winning” and some tightly linked. There are technologies and services being built on top of the infrastructure that use the network for fundamentally different things than transacting units of value, just as voice over IP used the same network in a very different way.
In the early days of the Internet, most online services were a combination of dialup and x.25 a competing packet switching protocol developed by Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique, (CCITT), the predecessor to the International Telecom Union (ITU), a standards body that hangs off of the United Nations. Many services like The Source or CompuServe used x.25 before they started offering their services over the Internet.
I believe the first killer app for the Internet was email. On most of the early online services, you could only send email to other people on the same service. When Internet email came to these services, suddenly you could send email to anyone. This was quite amazing and notably, email is still one of the most important applications on the Internet.
As the Internet proliferated, the TCP/IP stack, free software that anyone could download for free and install on their computer to connect it to the Internet, was further developed and deployed. This allowed applications that ran on your computer to use the Internet to talk to other programs running on other computers. This created the machine-to-machine network. It was no longer just about typing text into a terminal window. The file transfer protocol (FTP) and later Gopher, a text-based browsing and downloading service popular before the web was invented, allowed you to download music and images and create a world wide web of content. Eventually, permissionless innovation on top of this open architecture gave birth to the World Wide Web, Napster, Amazon, eBay, Google and Skype.
I remember twenty years ago, giving a talk to advertising agencies, media companies and banks explaining how important and disruptive the Internet would be. Back then, there were satellite photos of the earth and a webcam pointing at a coffee pot on the Internet. Most people didn’t have the imagination to see how the Internet would fundamentally disrupt commerce and media, because Amazon, eBay and Google hadn’t been invented -- just email and Usenet-news. No one in these big companies believed that they had to learn anything about the Internet or that the Internet would affect their business -- I mostly got blank stares or snores.
Similarly, I believe that Bitcoin is the first “killer app” of The Blockchain as email was the killer app for the beginning of the Internet. We are in the process of inventing eBay, Amazon and Google. My hunch is that The Blockchain will be to banking, law and accountancy as The Internet was to media, commerce and advertising. It will lower costs, disintermediate many layers of business and reduce friction. As we know, one person’s friction is another person’s revenue.
One of the main things we worked on when I was on the board of ICANN was trying to keep the Internet from forking. There were many organizations that didn’t agree with ICANN’s policies or didn’t like the US’s excessive influence over the Internet. Our job was to listen to everyone and create an inclusive and consensus-based process so that people felt that the benefits of the network effect outweighed the energy and cost of dealing with this process. In general we succeeded. It helped that almost all of the founders and key technical minds and technical standards organizations that designed and ran the Internet worked together with ICANN. This interface between the policy makers and the technologists -- however painful -- was viewed as something that wasn’t great but worked better than any of the other alternatives.
One question is whether there is an ICANN equivalent needed for Bitcoin. Is Bitcoin email and The Blockchain TCP/IP?
One argument about why it might not be the same is that ICANN fundamentally had to deal with the centralization caused by the name space problem created by domain names. Domain names are essential for the way we think the Internet works and you need a standards body to deal with the conflicts. The solutions to Bitcoin’s centralization problems will look nothing like a domain name system (DNS), because although there is currently centralization in the form of mining pools and core development, the protocol is fundamentally designed to need decentralization to function at all. You could argue that the Internet requires a degree of decentralization, but it has so far survived its relationship with ICANN.
One other important function that ICANN provides is a way to discuss changes to the core technology. It also coordinates the policy conversation between the various stakeholders: the technology people, the users, business and governments. The registrars and registries were the main stakeholders since they ran the “business” that feeds ICANN and provides a lot of the infrastructure together with the ISPs.
For Bitcoin it’s the miners -- the people and companies that do the computation required to secure the network by producing the cryptographically secure blockchain at the core of Bitcoin -- all in exchange for bitcoin rewards from the network itself. Any technical changes that the developers want to make to Bitcoin will not be adopted unless the miners adopt them, and the developers and the miners have different incentives. It’s possible that the miners have some similarities to the registrars and registries, but they are fundamentally different in that they are not customer-facing and don’t really care what you think.
As with ICANN, the users do matter and are key for the network effect value of Bitcoin, but without the miners the engine doesn’t run. The miners aren’t as easy to identify as the registrars and registries and it’s unclear how the dynamics of incentives for the miners will develop with the value of bitcoin fluctuating, the difficulty of mining increasing and the transaction fees being market driven. It’s possible that they will develop into a community with a user interface and a governance function, but they are mostly hidden and independent for a variety of reasons that are unlikely to change for now. Having said that, one of the first publicly traded Bitcoin companies is a miner.
The core developers are different as well. The founders of the Internet may have been slightly hippy-like, but they were mostly government-funded and fairly government-friendly. Cutting a deal with the Department of Commerce seemed like a pretty good idea to them at the time.
The core Bitcoin developers are cypherpunks who do what they do because they don’t trust governments or the global banking system and are trying to build a distributed and autonomous system, one that is impervious to regulation and meddling by anyone at any time. At some level, Bitcoin was designed to not care what regulators think. The miners have an economic interest in Bitcoin having value, since that’s what they’re paid in, and they care about scale and the network effect, but the miners probably don’t care if it’s Bitcoin or an alt.coin that ends up winning, as long as their investments in hardware and plant don’t disappear before they make a return on their investment.
Regulators clearly have an incentive to influence the rules of the network, but it’s unclear whether the core developers really need to care what the regulators think. Having said that, without some sort of buy-in by regulators, it’s unlikely to scale or have the mainstream impact that the Internet did.
Very much like the early days of the Internet, when we saw the power of Internet email but hadn’t yet invented the Web, we are just imagining the potential uses of concepts such as crypto-equity and smart contracts … to name just a few.
I believe it’s possible that over-regulation could cause Bitcoin or the blockchain to never achieve its full potential and remain a feature of the side-economy, much in the same way that the Tor anonymizing system is extremely valuable to people who really need privacy but not really used by “normal people”... yet.
What helped make the Internet successful was the lack of regulation and the generally inclusive and permissionless nature of innovation. This was driven in large part by free and open source software and the venture capital community. The question I have is whether the fact that we’re now talking about “money” and not “content,” and that we seem to be innovating at a much higher speed -- venture capital investment in Bitcoin is outpacing early Internet investments, the dialog in popular media is growing, and governments are very interested in Bitcoin -- makes this a completely different game. I think ideas like the five-year moratorium on Bitcoin regulation proposed by US Representative Steve Stockman are a good idea. We really have no idea what this whole thing is going to turn into, so a focus on dialog versus regulation is key.
I also believe that layer unbundling and innovation at each layer, assuming that the other layers will sort themselves out, is a good idea. In other words, exchanges and wallets that are coin-agnostic or experiments with colored coins, side chains and other innovations that are “unbundled” as much as possible allow the learnings and the systems created to survive regardless of exactly how the architecture turns out.
It feels a lot to me like when we were arguing over ethernet and token ring -- for the average user, it doesn’t really matter which we end up with as long as in the end it’s all interoperable. What’s different is that there is more at stake and it’s moving really fast, so the shape of failure and the cost of failure might be much more severe than when we were trying to figure out the Internet and a lot more people are watching.
Dune + our motto
Omar Sosa is a Barcelona-based art director, graphic designer, and publisher. In 2008, after a period of working at Folch Studio in Barcelona as a Business Partner, Omar founded the magazine Apartamento together with his friend Nacho Alegre. Apartamento is now distributed in 45 countries. Two years later he went on to win the prestigious Yellow Pencil Award and Apartamento was awarded the Best Entire Magazine of 2010 by the D&AD association (Design & Art Direction Association, UK). Sosa has worked as the Art Director for a wide range of international clients: Flos, Louis Vuitton Group, Rizzoli International, Carolina Herrera NY, DDG Partners, Corriere Della Sera, Patricia Urquiola, Ricardo Bofill Architecture, among others. His work spans from designing books and magazines to creating brand identities, designing exhibitions and generating successful liaisons among creative professionals.
Neptolemos Michaelides house, Cyprus
Last January I went to Cyprus for the opening of an exhibition of the Cypriot light designer Michael Anastassiades and had the chance to visit the private house of the Cypriot architect Neoptolemos Michaelides and his wife. They both passed away few years ago and now the house belong to their foundation. We came together with the photographer Hélène Binet who took beautiful pictures that where then published in the last issue of Apartamento (pdf) and in a exhibition in Cyprus that opened last month. The house has an incredible architecture full of sensibility and respect for nature and light, and it’s still full of the furniture and amazing collection of fossils and stones that once belonged to Neoptolemos.
Marmoreal by Max Lamb, Milan
April is a great month, not just because the winter is over but also because it’s the Milan Design Week called Salone. This year I’ve been quite lazy, too many offerings usually make me end up remembering nothing. One of my favorite things was this nice project of my friend the British designer Max Lamb for Dzek. A whole room entire made for this special terrazzo.
La Fabrica of Ricardo Bofill
This is the house/studio of one of the biggest architects in Spain of all times, Ricardo Bofill. This is seen from its neighboring building, Walden 7, also by Bofill. It’s a huge recovered cement factory from the beginning of 1900. The size of a cathedral, it’s an incredible work in progress for more than 40 years.
Alexander Girard: An Uncommon Vision, New York
May is design week in New York and Herman Miller made this amazing exhibition about the legacy of the designer and architect Alexander Girard. Together with them we launched the 13th issue of Apartamento featuring an extensive supplement about the legacy of Girard and his family in Santa Fe (New Mexico).
Donald Judd Foundation, New York
While in New York I had the opportunity to visit the recently restored Judd Foundation. The 5-story Soho iron building was purchased by the artist Donald Judd in the 1970s and served as his studio and house for his family. It has been fully restored this year and is finally open to the public.
111 Lincoln Road, Miami
While in Miami this June I was impressed by this amazing parking deck by the Swiss architecture studio Herzog & de Meuron. I was even more impressed when I heard that the owner of the parking deck lives on the top floor with a huge garden and a swimming pool.
City Flats Hotel, Michigan
Every time I travel to the small city of Holland (Michigan) I have the opportunity to explore new rooms at the City Flats Hotel. The hotel is well known because Holland is home to many of the biggest furniture companies in the US, which means that many, many designers have stayed in the City Flats Hotel. This hotel is peculiar in that every single room is different, with all the possible configurations of queen bed + king bed, double queen bed, queen + double single, etc., that you can imagine. It’s known that you don’t want to receive the kind of room I got the last time, which featured two queen beds facing opposite walls. It was definitely impossible to get a good rest there.
Walden 7, Barcelona
This is another beautiful project from the architect Ricardo Bofill—a subsidized housing complex built in the early 1970s. I always knew it existed but never went to visit it. I was impressed by the color, proportions, and shapes, its little streets inside and balconies make it resemble a small vertical city.
Four Seasons Restaurant by Philip Johnson, New York
I had the opportunity to have a drink at the bar and I was impressed by the space, the sculptural ceiling installations, window curtains, and materials on the toilets.
Kiss Room, Paris
I met the interior designer and artist Mathias Kiss in Paris and showed me one of his recent projects. This tiny 10sqm bedroom in the backside of a bar in Le Marais could be rented for one night, 1000 nights are for sale and it will be destroyed after. The whole space is skillfully covered in mirror tiles with a geometric architecture that enables the guests to feel like you are underwater. Despite being all covered in glass, the spaces feels incredibly cozy rather than a torture room, and the effect after you have a shower and the whole little space becomes visible because of the steam is something you have to live.
Chloe Dewe Mathews, “Private Joseph Byers, Private Andrew Evans, Time unknown / 6.2.1915; Private George E. Collins, 07:30 / 15.2.1915; Six Farm, Loker, West-Vlaanderen” (2013)
In 2006, Britain’s Ministry of Defense officially pardoned 306 soldiers it had executed for cowardice or desertion during World War I. Many of them were underage, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and hadn’t been given a fair trial. Among them, 16-year-old Herbert Burden had lied about his age so he could join the army; after he fled a massacre 10 months later, he was shot by firing squad. Burden later came to represent these ill-fated young men: his likeness was used in a monument commemorating them, titled “Shot at Dawn.” Photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews borrowed that name when she embarked on her own photographic tribute, commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art as part of 14–18 NOW and currently on view at Stills center for photography in Scotland.
For the series, the photographer visited 23 execution sites around the same time and season as when the soldiers died there. These landscapes may now be quiet and even bucolic, but Mathews’s photographs ensure that their past horrors are not forgotten. As Geoff Dyer, who introduced the accompanying monograph by Ivorypress, wrote in Harper’s, “When no grave or memorial is in view, one still understands — one feels — that this is more than just a conventionally pleasing landscape, even if the particulars of what has happened remain unknown. History has taken root here.”
Chloe Dewe Mathews, “Soldat Ahmed ben Mohammed el Yadjizy, Soldat Ali ben Ahmed ben Frej ben Khelil, Soldat Hassen ben Ali ben Guerra el Amolani, Soldat Mohammed Ould ben Ahmed, 17:00 / 15.12.1914, Verbranden-Molen, West-Vlaanderen” (2013)
Chloe Dewe Mathews, “Soldaat Jean Raes, Soldaat Alphonse Verdickt, Time unknown / 21.9.1914, Walem, Mechelen, Antwerpen” (2013)
Chloe Dewe Mathews, “Private Herbert Chase, 04:30 / 11.6.1915, Sint-Sixtusabdij, Proven, Westvleteren” (2013)
Shot at Dawn, Chloe Dewe Mathews is on view at Stills (23 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, Scotland) through January 25, 2015.
Skeleton Hand Hair Clips, from etsy seller Always Anchors…..(Read...)
I sent takedown notices to a store selling phone cases, to Etsy for an artist hawking pirated prints of a fire ant, and to Twitter for an exterminator heading his company account with one of my bed bug photographs.This rate of commercial infringement is normal, as photographers and other online visual artists can attest. I deal with most cases by using a provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA that requires Web hosts to remove infringing content when informed. I send, on average, five takedown notices to Web hosts every day, devoting ten hours per week to infringements. Particularly egregious commercial infringers get invoices.
I actually have let a few of my most commonly infringed images go unenforced. I could not keep up, so I left these as a natural experiment. The result confirmed what I suspected: images that become widespread on the Internet are no longer commercially viable. Thousands of businesses worldwide now use one of my Australian ant photographs to market their services, for example, and not a single paying client has come forth to license that image since I gave up.
Copyright infringement for most artists is death by a thousand paper cuts. One $100 infringement here and there is harmless enough. But they add up, and when illegal commercial uses outnumber legal ones 20 to 1 in spite of ambitious attempts to stay ahead, we do not have a clear recourse. At some point, the vanishing proportion of content users who license content legally will turn professional creative artists into little more than charity cases, dependent only on the goodwill of those who pity artists enough to toss some change their way.
Chai Yan Leung thanked the taxpayers who paid for it, and then dismissed her critics as non-taxpayers, since employed people wouldn't have time to comment on Facebook. Read the rest
My father reads my column every week. Without fail. Recently, he took exception to the fact that I labeled my writing “nonsense.” Thank goodness for encouraging parents.
I try to keep these articles entertaining, and have found that a little self-deprecation goes a long way. Occasionally, I revel in it, because I used to have very thin skin, as a youth. I’d fall to pieces if anyone made fun of me. (As Dad can attest.)
That’s why I love to start these travel pieces and festival reviews with a funny story, making me look foolish. Like the time I set off the fire alarm at the NY Times review. Or the time a heavy door at Gagosian hit me in the stomach, right in front of a gorgeous gallerina.
Eventually, though, I was bound to run out of embarrassing incidents. It was inevitable.
And here we are.
Nothing funny happened to me at Review Santa Fe this past June. I was invited as a roving reviewer, and as the guy who announces their raffle at the Saturday night party. (Yes, I broke into Spanglish, but it was more ha-ha funny than Ricky Gervais cringe-worthy. So not relevant here.)
I had a very nice time, as it was my sixth consecutive trip to the review. Good food, good weather, lots of nice people from around the world. I think I’ll even skip the part where I defend the review process from those who get upset about having to pay for meetings.
Overall, I saw the best work of any review I’ve yet attended. Polished, relevant, accomplished projects, professionally presented.
So if nothing bad happened, nor anything eventful to recount here…let’s get on to showing the best work I saw at the RSF ’14.
Qian Ma is a photographer based in Brooklyn, who recently finished a degree at ICP. In a perfectly strange coincidence, he just finished studying with my former professor, the great Allen Frame. I wasn’t surprised to hear that, as Allen is adept at pushing young artists to dig into a practice that allows their personal aesthetic to shine.
Qian’s black and white prints were totally gorgeous, and admittedly, the jpegs don’t do them justice. People literally lined up to see this work. I loved the otherworldly, odd, metaphysical qualities. How a simple cell phone can make you think of a parallel universe. So of course I asked him if he read Haruki Murakami, and of course he said, “Yes. Everything he’s written.” The project is called “Luminance,” and if you happen to see a sheep man lurking in a corner, at least you were warned.
I met Julia Cybularz within seconds of walking into the open portfolio viewing at the Santa Fe Farmer’s market. Normally, you wander around such events, looking for the juicy bits. Not that night. Hers was the first work I saw, and I loved it.
She’s photographed her niece, who has horrible scoliosis. Debilitating stuff. The photos were elegant, razor sharp, and visceral. Apparently, Ms. Cybularz suffered from the same affliction, which adds to the resonance. She also had a concurrent project which featured her cousin, who has schizophrenia and is mentally challenged. And he has scoliosis as well. It made for a fascinating mix of family, malady, and personal connection.
Meike Nixdorf is an artist who was visiting from Germany. Again with the Japanese references, she was showing a project that was inspired by Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mt. Fuji.” She was looking for a mountain that she could photograph from many different angles, that would allow the structure of the pictures to change radically.
She found one, El Teide, in the Canary Islands. I asked her why there, as it seemed so random, and she told me she visited the mountain many times, flying over it in a virtual flight simulator. If that’s not updating Hokusai’s vision to the 21st Century, I’m not sitting at my kitchen table on a rainy day in the mountains. (In fact, I am.)
I also met Miki Hasegawa that night. (Two women with different spellings of the same name?) Miki had a series of images that she photographed from the vantage point of her young daughter.
As we all know, life is lived at eye level. We grownups make the world in our image, but our offspring are always looking up at a reality they must grow into. Terrific color palette as well, and the prints managed to capture the wonder and curiosity of childhood. I loved them immediately.
I had a long, rambling, roving review with the Denver-based photographer Benjamin Rasmussen, who’s originally from the Faroe Islands. (They’re in-between Norway and Iceland, so you don’t have to Google it.) He’s interested in issues of identity and displacement, and his project “By the Olive Trees” focuses on both.
He photographed Syrian refugees in Jordan. And he was apparently in Ferguson, MO, last week, so you can check his website to see what’s going on in America’s homegrown war-zone. (Hands up, Don’t shoot.)
According to Twitter, Russia invaded Ukraine today. Is that news? Haven’t they invaded several times already, including when they swiped Crimea? Hard to imagine a more topical project than one which examines the cross-cultural divide between the two countries. (Soon to be re-united?)
Sasha Rudensky was born in Russia, and studied in the famed Yale program. With her project, “Brightness, she has given us some seriously strange pictures that do just that. She photographed in both places, and the image of the thugs holding a giant snake was my favorite single picture at RSF. (Unfortunately, she isn’t ready to publish it yet.)
Finally, I got to see the work of Jeanine Michna-Bales, who was one of Center’s Prize winners. I’d seen a couple of her prints on the wall of the Center for Contemporary Arts, and was transfixed. You won’t believe the premise.
Ms. Bales was interested in understanding the reality of the underground railroad, that patchwork network that led escaped slaves to freedom. A beacon of light in America’s bleak past.
So, she recreated it herself.
She stopped every 20 miles or so, between Louisiana and Canada, which was the supposed average distance an escaped slave could have covered. Then, she made pictures at night. It was so sketchy that she had to hire bodyguards to protect her, out in the middle of nowhere, under black skies.
Obviously, the premise is terrific. But the pictures are every bit as good.
L’Officiel Hommes Italia packs in the star power for its Fall 2014 issue More...
“A Psychic Figure,” from a series of lantern slides on “Psychic Photography From A New Angle” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
On May 15, 1934, a man named Mr. C.P. MacCarthy of Sheffield sent a letter confirming a meeting where he would “demonstrate under test conditions Fake Psychic Photography.” Decades later, his lantern slides of “supposedly paranormal and unknown forces caught on camera” turned up in the collections of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, which recently uploaded the profoundly strange photographs to their Flickr Commons.
A scan of the letter is included, where MacCarthy writes his “Psychic Photography From A New Angle” discussion will “indicate the increasing scope for fraud with the advancement of science — though not to disprove the probability of genuine Spirit Photography.” That last comment showing he was something of a believer. Tyne & Wear explains that not much “is currently known of the Psychic demonstration. Who sat on the invited committee? Who was Mr MacCarthy? Why was he investigating Psychic Photography?”
All we have to go on are the lantern slides, yet standing alone they are an unsettling, surreal assortment. Even out of context, each implies the intervention of something supernatural, whether it’s a shawl hovering against darkness, or text reading “Kate Fox,” a likely reference to Kate of the famous Fox Sisters mediums. As a commenter points out, one of the slides reproduces William Henry Fox Talbot’s 1835 shot of a window at Lacock Abbey, known as the oldest surviving photographic negative. It’s possible others might be culled from sources lost to time.
MacCarthy wasn’t alone in demonstrating against psychic photography. Harry Houdini created a debunking spirit photograph of himself with Abraham Lincoln, and publicly warred with believers like Arthur Conan Doyle, who got taken in by the “Cottingley Fairies” photos supposedly showing two girls with the mythical sprites. MacCarthy would have been right on the edge of this fad for psychic photography, but in the growing shadow of imaging technology, new possibilities may very well have implied the opening of portals to the unknown.
“Psychic Photography From A New Angle” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“A Psychic Apparition” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“A Psychic Portrait” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“Broken Glass” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“Ectoplasm” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“Ectoplasm” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“A Psychic Apparition” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“A Psychic Message” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“A Psychic Message” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“Technical Psychic Photography” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
“Psychic Causes” (via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
View more of the “Psychic Photography From A New Angle” lantern slides on the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Flickr Commons.
Фотограф Фрэнк Шрамм (р.1957 г.) любил самолеты с самого детства. В 1989 году во время обеда в аэропорту в Париже, он увидел как взлетает Concorde. Невероятная машина проплыла над ним ниоткуда взявшись и в никуда. Фрэнк чуть не подавился куском пирога. С тех пор вооруженный Hasselblad он по всему миру еще долго охотился за этими металлическими птицами. Выставки Френка проходят по всему миру. Отпечаток 48x48 стоит от $ 3000.
Зеркало всегда привлекало к себе художников и фотографов в основном из-за его зазеркальной сущности. Изображая зеркало они всегда имели в виду не столько прямое отражение, сколько возникновение самостоятельной параллельной реальности.
Немецкий фотограф Thomas Herbrich провел последние три месяца за съемкой струй дыма. Его голова кружилась и мозг раздражали разные специфические образы.Он сделал 100 000 фотографий дымовых шлейфов, пытаясь поймать идеальный момент, когда она образует неясные знакомые очертания.
Hermosa Beach, CA, 1948
Photo by John Florea
I don't dress even for the weather :(
Oh little one, you’re growing up
You’ll soon be writing C
You’ll treat your ints as pointers
You’ll nest the ternary
You’ll cut and paste from github
And try cryptography
But even in your darkest hour
Do not use ECB
CBC’s BEASTly when padding’s abused
And CTR’s fine til a nonce is reused
Some say it’s a CRIME to compress then encrypt
Diffie Hellman will collapse if hackers choose your g
And RSA is full of traps when e is set to 3
Whiten! Blind! In constant time! Don’t write an RNG!
But failing all, and listen well: Do not use ECB
They’ll say “It’s like a one-time-pad!
The data’s short, it’s not so bad
the keys are long—they’re iron clad
I have a PhD!”
And then you’re front page Hacker News
Your passwords cracked—Adobe Blues.
Don’t leave your penguin showing through,
Do not use ECB
In 1874, Stepan Andreevich Bers published The Cookbook and gave it as a gift to his sister, countess Sophia Andreevna Tolstaya, the wife of the great Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy. The book contained a collection of Tolstoy family recipes, the dishes they served to their family and friends, those fortunate souls who belonged to the aristocratic ruling class of late czarist Russia. Almost 150 years later, this cookbook has been translated and republished by Sergei Beltyukov. Available in an inexpensive Kindle format ($3.99), Leo Tolstoy’s family recipe book features dozens of recipes, everything from Tartar Sauce and Spiced Mushrooms (what’s a Russian kitchen without mushrooms?), to Stuffed Dumplings and Green Beans à la Maître d’Hôtel, to Coffee Cake and Viennese Pie. The text comes with a translation, too, of Russian weights and measures used during the period. One recipe Mr. Beltyukov provided to us (which I didn’t see in the book) is for the Tolstoy’s good ole Mac ‘N’ Cheese dish. It goes something like this:
Bring water to a boil, add salt, then add macaroni and leave boiling on light fire until half tender; drain water through a colander, add butter and start putting macaroni back into the pot in layers – layer of macaroni, some grated Parmesan and some vegetable sauce, macaroni again and so on until you run out of macaroni. Put the pot on the edge of the stove, cover with a lid and let it rest in light fire until the macaroni are soft and tender. Shake the pot occasionally to prevent them from burning.
We’ll leave you with bon appétit! — an expression almost certainly heard in the homes of those French-speaking Russian aristocrats.
Works by Tolstoy can be found in our collections, 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices and 550 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free
Leo Tolstoy’s Family Recipe for Macaroni and Cheese is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
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Update: A few months after this piece was published, I was invited by Harvard's Berkman Center to speak about this topic in more detail. Though the final talk is an hour long, it offers much more insight into the topic, and I hope you'll give it a look.
The tech industry and its press have treated the rise of billion-scale social networks and ubiquitous smartphone apps as an unadulterated win for regular people, a triumph of usability and empowerment. They seldom talk about what we've lost along the way in this transition, and I find that younger folks may not even know how the web used to be.
So here's a few glimpses of a web that's mostly faded away:
[Y]ou could, in theory, write software to examine the source code of a few hundred thousand weblogs, and create a database of the links between these weblogs. If your software was clever enough, it could refresh its information every few hours, adding new links to the database nearly in real time. This is, in fact, exactly what Dave Sifry has created with his amazing Technorati. At this writing, Technorati is watching over 375,000 weblogs, and has tracked over 38 million links. If you haven’t played with Technorati, you’re missing out.
This isn't our web today. We've lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we've abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they've certainly made a small number of people rich.
But they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be.
When you see interesting data mash-ups today, they are often still using Flickr photos because Instagram's meager metadata sucks, and the app is only reluctantly on the web at all. We get excuses about why we can't search for old tweets or our own relevant Facebook content, though we got more comprehensive results from a Technorati search that was cobbled together on the feeble software platforms of its era. We get bullshit turf battles like Tumblr not being able to find your Twitter friends or Facebook not letting Instagram photos show up on Twitter because of giant companies pursuing their agendas instead of collaborating in a way that would serve users. And we get a generation of entrepreneurs encouraged to make more narrow-minded, web-hostile products like these because it continues to make a small number of wealthy people even more wealthy, instead of letting lots of people build innovative new opportunities for themselves on top of the web itself.
We'll fix these things; I don't worry about that. The technology industry, like all industries, follows cycles, and the pendulum is swinging back to the broad, empowering philosophies that underpinned the early social web. But we're going to face a big challenge with re-educating a billion people about what the web means, akin to the years we spent as everyone moved off of AOL a decade ago, teaching them that there was so much more to the experience of the Internet than what they know.
This isn't some standard polemic about "those stupid walled-garden networks are bad!" I know that Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and the rest are great sites, and they give their users a lot of value. They're amazing achievements, from a pure software perspective. But they're based on a few assumptions that aren't necessarily correct. The primary fallacy that underpins many of their mistakes is that user flexibility and control necessarily lead to a user experience complexity that hurts growth. And the second, more grave fallacy, is the thinking that exerting extreme control over users is the best way to maximize the profitability and sustainability of their networks.
The first step to disabusing them of this notion is for the people creating the next generation of social applications to learn a little bit of history, to know your shit, whether that's about Twitter's business model or Google's social features or anything else. We have to know what's been tried and failed, what good ideas were simply ahead of their time, and what opportunities have been lost in the current generation of dominant social networks.
So what did I miss? What else have we lost on the social web?
A follow-up: How we rebuild the web we lost.
Favorite Banksy of the last few years. Downtown, Los Angeles.
Heidi: I know you started the project with just 3 photos, is that all you had pitched to the NYT for the story and then it developed from there?
Damon: Yes. I was marketing myself for a NYC editorial meetings trip for the following week and I had emailed Amy Kellner at the NYT about a week before going, letting her know I would be coming to town and would love to meet her and show my work. Towards the end of the email, I had one sentence telling her about the project and I attached 2 out of the 3 photos. That’s how this all started.
Who did you address to the pitch to and what was your presentation?
The pitch was to Amy Kellner at the NYT. It was super basic, along the lines of “Here is a new project I’m working on about Boomerang kids, young adults who’ve had to move back home after college.” I got a response within the hour, asking if the photos had been published anywhere. We had a phone call shortly after that and she let me know that she would be pitching it to the editorial team and to not show anyone else the photos for now. The next day I received an email saying that it went over great with the team and they wanted me to continue it across the country as a photo essay. It was a dream come true.
Did you send it to anyone else besides the NYT?
I did, I sent it out to about 4 other news based magazines that I thought it would be a great fit for. I didn’t receive any other responses and stopped pitching it.
Was this your first big national news story?
Yes, this was my first national feature story and first cover, of course. I shoot a lot for Los Angeles Magazine, have shot a couple profiles for Bloomberg Businessweek and have had a couple of photos in Pacific Standard Magazine. I assist half time and shoot half time for my income as I’m starting out.
Were you concerned about rejection or did you have enough positive reinforcement prior to reaching out to them?
I’ve learned over the last couple of years after graduating and trying to get my name out in the photo world that rejection is a big part of marketing. You have to have thick skin when you are starting out and no one has heard of you. After making the 1st photo (Jacqueline Boubion,) I knew that the project had potential. Also, after trying to find people on craigslist, I had more responses from writers and photographers who wanted to jump on the project with me. I even got a call from some Hollywood book agent who wanted me to think about making the project into a book or sitcom, since it’s such a relevant topic. I took it down shortly after, ha.
Were you in despair when you decided to to this project, thus it was cathartic?
Yes and no. I had to move back home after having a rough summer where assisting work and shooting work was extremely slow and I had no savings because my overhead was so high with student loans, rent, insurance, etc. Moving back home was my last resort and I felt like a failure for a bit. After beginning the project and realizing how many others were out there like me, it was clear that I needed to bring this story to light and share the experience of the “Boomerang Kids,” including my own story.
What advice would you give to young photo college students?
I would tell students that you have to prepare yourself as much as you can in college. A lot of students don’t and have no idea what they will do after art school and begin trying to figure it out, and then the loans start coming. I had two amazing internships and a few mentors in college and I always tried to meet with other LA photographers, show them my work and get feedback and ask all kinds of questions. I first interned with Maren Levinson, owner of Redeye Reps photo agency, where I learned the business side and marketing side of photography. Next, I interned with Amy Feitelberg, who is photo editor at Los Angeles Magazine. I was able to see how the magazine was run and witness stories from their beginning to it being published. I’m still good friends with both Maren and Amy and constantly ask them for advice and feedback on new work, which is another reason why you should intern.
How receptive has your former school been about this body of work?
My school was extremely receptive. They were very happy to hear the news and hopefully will have me speak there soon! I learned so much on this job and have a lot of insight I could share with students.
How did you decide who you would shoot and how did you go about finding them? Did the magazine get involved?
I found most of the people through a mix of craigslist, and friends of friends. I used Facebook to have my friends reach out to their network of friends and so on. I also found one person, Jessica Meyer, on instagram, by searching hashtags. When I had a potential subject, I would have a long phone conversation with them to see if they were a good fit for the project, then we would talk about their home life so I could get a better idea how I would photograph them. From that point, I would send a brief about each person to the photo editor and we would figure out together if they were right for the story. There were a lot of factors involved for choosing the people, such as what was their major, age, if they had loans, what they were doing now and when they moved back home.
James Ensor, Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring