Saturday, August 16, 2008

Andrea Joseph art

Andrea Joseph art.
Very inspiring stuff.
Thanks to Amy.


"Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it."
-- Seth Godin

TTL said:
This topic seems to be a recurring theme here, but it is a central question to every artist so it deserves to be.

If I had to choose between self-expression + small income, and letting other people dictate my expression + high income, the choice would be very easy. You can only enjoy life when your actions align with your higher self. Money, in comparison, is of little significance.

It is possible to get both. But only if you make self-expression the highest priority. It is a slower route but a much more satisfying one. Doing it backwards can result in a lock-up were you find it difficult to let go of the income in order to start anew the right way. I speak from experience, I made this very mistake years ago and learned a painful lesson.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fear and Loathing in the Galleries

Lum-Land has an article about how the fine art print may disappear in favor of wall screen art.

Funny enough I wrote just the same thing nine years ago.

Miroslav Tichý and bohemianism

Miroslav Tichý. Must be the ultimate bohemian.

Dictionary: bohemian (bō-hē'mē-ən)
A person with artistic or literary interests who disregards conventional standards of behavior.

I'm reminded: I had a dear friend (sadly we separated over religious differences), who considered himself a bohemian and considered it an important ideal to be a bohemian.
He was a odd sort of behemian, though. He liked Hong Kong because he'd heard that there it is punishable to litter or spit on the street. And he actually walked around with a shoe horn in his coat. And folded his clothes before sex. (The last one is second-hand knowledge.)

I was also proud to consider myself a bohemian. (I guess I still am one, but I don't care so much anymore.) And when both of us started earning good money, the question became: can you be a proper bohemian and be well off? I think that despite most bohemians traditionally being poor, it's not actually part of the definition, so I don't see why not.

Though actually I think that pride in being bohemian is probably just rooted in separation. You disrespect the bourgeoisie, so it's important to you to separate yourself from them and elevate yourself above them.

Of course that's no difference from the basic human condition. We are different, and therefore better. "I'm Danish, so I'm better." "I'm an American, and damn proud of it." "I'm black and I flaunt it." "I'm a man who works with my hands!" "I'm a Harvard man."

DreamingWolf said...
Bohemian = a native or inhabitant of Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
... and Miroslav Tichý IS a Czech photographer ;-)
So, he is Bohemian: as both the person with the Czech origins and the nonconformist artist who lives an unconventional life...

Yes, very good point! I knew that and I didn't even think about it.
So he is doubly the ultimate bohemian!

Though he'll have to fight it out for the title with Jana Pope (/KRATOCHVÍLOVÁ/Uriel). Her album Bohemian is one of my all time favorites, and I'm sure it was called that for all those reasons. She is also Czech. And if anybody is unconventional... she's never met a convention she could not tear down.

I remember in the late eighties I was so enthusiastic about Bohemian that I even tried promoting it in a couple of record stores. No interest. In one of them the girl showed it to another girl, who said with sarcasm and disdain: "yeahhh. I'll bet there'll be one every year too..." Never have I seen anything understood more poorly. Jana never did anything twice, I'm sure. Which is the reason she is not a household name. (The lyrics to Bohemian are not even found online.)

Jewish Girl Prank Calls Her Parents

Jewish Girl Prank Calls Her Parents. Pretends to be dating a gentile.
"He's Italian, he could be a murderer, he could be anything!"

War! Huh! What is it good for?

A Georgian journalist was apparently shot (grazed her arm) by a Russian sniper.

They say that over one hundred and twenty journalists have been killed in the war in Iraq.
For a moment I thought that this might teach people that something like this does not only happen to small brown people or to soldiers. In other words, that war is counterproductive.
But then you look at human history, and nothing has yet taught humans that war is counterproductive. The best they've learned so far is that the people dying should preferably be those you don't know personally. Then it's all right.

Update: article.
" has become an article of faith on the political right that grisly images of the Vietnam war - including the famous pictures of a street-side execution and of a naked young girl running from a napalm attack - undermined public support and led to the American defeat. Subsequent administrations have made it increasingly difficult for journalists to cover war in all its horror."


And you thought you lived life dangerously. (Video, loud sound.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Finepix camera

New Fujifilm camera.
A few years ago I'd hardly have imagined we'd have a ten-megapixel camera with image stabilization and a 15x wideangle zoom for $300. My first camera cost about that, was a basic one, and then we haven't even taken 30 years of inflation into account!

Demented sex

"Care home practitioners and old age psychiatrists have been warned that they could face long jail sentences if they allow a patient with dementia to have sex even with a long-term partner."

Wow. Talk about a rats' nest of problems.

Another illustration of the intense fear we seem to have of sex. We would throw caretakers in jail for years if they allow a demented person to have sex with their spouse, on the grounds that it's a judgement call if the person is enjoying it or not.

Communication software for the deaf

From Pogue's blog.
"My wife and I discovered Dragon NaturallySpeaking about 8 years ago, and have been using it successfully ever since-- not for dictation, but as a communication aid. My wife is deaf; her hearing loss began about 25 years ago (we are in our late 60's) and she has become a skillful lip reader to compensate. That works pretty well in face-to-face communication, but is not helpful in many other situations, such as when we are driving; when I drive, I give her a side view, which isn't clear enough.

"I've made brackets to hold a laptop both in our car and motor home. I use a lapel mike to speak; NaturallySpeaking transcribes what I say. She reads what I'm saying, and then responds by voice. When we got this working, it was the first time in 15 years that we could converse on the road."

Blue Man Group

I heard about the Blue Man Group in Arrested Development, and I finally got curious.
Pretty cool!

Unnatural acts

Maybe nutritional experts have changed their tune again as they do all the time, but last I remember, they said that you should "eat like a king in the morning, like a duke at noon, and like a pauper at night".

They said that if you're not hungry in the morning, that's just an admission that you have eaten too much at night. But many years ago I tried to follow the advice of not eating in the hours before bed time, and that's when I developed stomach pains which haunted me for years.

I just don't feel like eating much in the morning, it does not come natural to me. And I don't like to force unnatural acts upon myself or others. Except, you know, in the right circumstances.


This from Quotes Of The Day:

Nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself.
-- Liberace

Liberace? We're quote Liberace now?

Anyway, I read many years ago, I read that Liberace had sued an English newspaper for implying that he was gay. Their use of adjectives could be read that way, he claimed. I dunno, I think with the way he dressed, maybe he should have expected sometimes to be taken for gay.

He could friggin' play though.

Aha, it seems that law suit is famous. I thought it was later, though, when I read about it in a Danish paper in the seventies, it sounded like it was recent. From Wiki:
"Liberace's fame in the U.S. was matched for a time in the UK. In 1957, an article in The Daily Mirror by veteran columnist Cassandra (William Connor) mentioned that Liberace was "...the summit of sex--the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Everything that he, she, and it can ever want... a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love," a description which did everything it could to imply he was homosexual without saying so. Liberace sued the newspaper for libel, testifying in a London court that he was not a homosexual, and had never taken part in homosexual acts. He won the suit on the basis of the term fruit-flavoured which was held to impute homosexuality."

Liberace once earned $138,000 for one performance in NYC... in 1954! (That's like five million today.) Damn, good gig if you can get it! Small wonder that people like that get a big ego.
It did not occur to me much to wonder if he actually was gay, I don't give a flying frig, but there are claims he was from his young companion Scott Thorson. What an incredibly sordid story. What's most interesting to me is what a perfect illustration it is of the willingness most of us have to playing the victim. They did it to me, they ruined my life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

6400 ISO

This is a 6400 ISO picture from the Nikon D700. Goddamn!
That shows the advantage of the light-gathering power of a large sensor. This is about as good as you'll get from a pocket camera at 400 ISO. That's a four-stop difference.
(In good light it's another thing, you can get amazing quality from a pocket camera at low ISO settings.)

I was hoping Canon would match the D700 performance with their upcoming 5D replacement (seemingly called 9D), but apparently they chose to instead up the resolution to 16MP and limit the ISO to 3200. A pity.

Update: It's odd, though, Cameralabs are getting more noisy results.

Taking on number one

Michael Reichman writes:
"... In addition to being a fun perspective on a group of pros at work it's also a sign of the times to note the number of Nikons (black) vs. the number of Canons (white) in the shot. For the past 10 years or so at almost any major sporting event the number of white lenses would almost always outnumber the number of black lenses by a huge margin. So much so that Canon has run magazine ads showing this disparity. But that was then, and this is 2008. At this year's Olympics the number of Nikons in use by pros seems to equal if not surpass the number of Canons. A definite sign of the times."

Yes, indeed. In the seventies and eighties, Nikon was king of the professional camera market. But Canon started making excellent telephoto lenses with fast autofocus and image stabilization, and they won 95% of the market. And now it seems Nikon may be winning it back due to the D3.

I was once at a business seminar, where a marketing guru told us that you "don't take on number one", because you can't win. This shows that it's bullshit. If you can't win against number one, every company which had ever been number one would still be it.

By the way, it also shows that even the most healthy sounding business tactic is not bullet proof. One of the big draws of the Nikon label has always been their backwards compatibility. Your old lenses would fit all new cameras, Nikon promised. But Canon went the other way, and about 20 years ago they made a completely new lens mount, which fitted nothing old. Obviously that was a huge risk, but the technology of the new mount allowed them to make must faster improvement in things like focus speed, compared to Nikon, and they won the market.

And for that matter, in recent years Canon has been betting heavily on the highest resolution of any professional DSLR camera, and it was a great strategy... until Nikon dared to buck that trend, and launched the D3, which with 12 megapixels has a modest resolution, but for the same reason has a wonderful low-light capability, and all the pros really wanted that, it seems. Surprise, surprise. And I'll bet Canon was very surprised, because a year ago, the ten-megapixel Canon 1D III was the low-light king, and I don't think they had counted on being beaten quite so soon. (Also it may have been a factor that this camera has had problems with autofocus in some situations.) But you hear what I'm saying, you're only king so long as you have a head to hold up the crown. :-)

Update: is on the same track, and posts this picture. Indeed the black lenses are in a clear majority. (I count about 46 to 36, but I'm sure a bigger geek than I will have a more accurate count.)

Man, Canon must hate these pictures!

Fish and thongs

Care home grants grandmother, 90, lifelong wish to be served fish supper by a man in a thong. Article.

Seriously, shame on anybody who sees anything wrong with this.

Update: Aha, I see I had missed something. I had read about this in an emailed article, which I could not find on the web, so I linked to this one without reading it first. The one I had read omitted the essential datum that the serving happened in the communal dining room, not in private. In that case I can understand somebody complaining.

Pascal commented:
Of course, those who don't like it are forbidden from NOT watching, so they have no other option but to call the police for help? ):-P
I mean, puh-leeze! An elderly lady dreaming of a young man in a THONG? (Notice how the article title put the word in subtle subliminal CAPITALS.) So WHAT? When did we cease looking at Dirty Old Women (or Men) with an understanding indulgence?
For once, Eolake, I don't understand you understanding some sourpisser complaining.

eolake said...
Well, a near-nude man in your dining room is hard to overlook, and I've learned that nudity simply makes some people very uncomfortable, whatever the reason.

It's disrespectful to sensor others because of your own discomfort, but it's also disrespectful to shove things in the faces of others which they are uncomfortable about, for no good reason.

No need to call the police (and I don't think anybody did), but this should have been done in private for the lady.

Cover bike

The cover of British Journal Of Photography this week.

What a frame. Tough, but sleek. Strong, but fragile. Powerful, but beautiful. Utilitarian but sexy.

(And if you think you know which one I'm talking about, you know me better than I do. I really like both the girl and the bike a lot.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Secure wrapping

I just received the most securely wrapped box of DVDs ever. It was wrapped in about seven layers of thick bubblewrap, and then the paper was also totally covered in sticky tape. That parcel could survive a drop from an airplane!
And to top it, I got it the day after I ordered it, quite unusual.

It was an eight-movie Marx Brothers DVD box, bought via Amazon UK from Radar Records, apparently a mom and pop store.

The box has the first eight major MB movies, the Paramount ones (Room Service etc). I am also getting a box containing the last four major ones of their movies, the more lavishly produced MGM movies (A Night At The Opera etc).

blankphotog said...
Just got a couple hundred DVD's in spindles last week. Spindles, bubble wrap, tape, foam peanuts, box. It's overkill, and it makes it hard to believe that the low price I paid actually covers their cost.

eolake said...
Yes, that's another thing. Many things I can buy for a couple of pounds and have them shipped to me. (Used books and such.) It must be a dang hard way to make a living.

I sold a bunch of DVDs to a local guy recent, he sells stuff on ebay, often small cheap items. But he refused to touch my books, because he said it wasn't worth it. And yet I can find almost any book I care on AbeBooks, and often get it for a laughable price.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Depth of field

Compact digital cameras have tiny sensors. This makes for less sensitivity, which creates problems in low light. But: they do have a property which will often be an advantage: great depth of field. This means it's easy to get both the foreground and the background sharp at the same time when you want that.

In portraits you often want a blurred background, and for that a camera with a bigger sensor (a digital SLR) is better. But for landscapes and such, big depth of field is usually good.

Take for instance this picture, taken with the Canon Ixus 960 (called SD950 in the USA). It's a telezoom picture, which usually means it's nearly impossible to get the background and foreground sharp at once. And yet because of the small sensor, in this case they are. The statue in the lower left is pin-sharp, just as the figures in the front.

(This picture also demonstrates the overall superb sharpness and dynamic range of this little camera.)

Update: there's some evidence that you can get the same depth of field with larger cameras without penalty, here's a rather technical article.

Done nothing wrong, but

"You've done nothing wrong, and we'll have to punish you", article.

Clearly they are well on their way to establishing a legal environment in Britain where no nude of a minor, no matter how artistic or innocent, is legal. Well, that ought to do it, if nothing else will sexualize children, this will.


An interesting product for art and craft: Hydrospan.
The Robot Chicken TV show used it for their Star Wars special, they saved sculpting work by using existing merchandise, and if it was the wrong size, they could scale it up simply and accurately thusly.

New promotion deal type sort

Just got this comment on the Nursing Homes post:

Hi we've recently established a new website which is a ratings and review website for carehomes- hopefully over time, people will be able to get a good idea of which homes in their area do provide good care, so if you have anyone who has experience of care homes, we would really appreciate their input!

Since this is not exactly the biggest blog in the world, and since this is just the newest of such personally posted comments from people who want to promote something relevant to a post, it seems to me that there is a new type of promotion roaming the planet. I think they have google trawl the blogosphere continually looking for relevant keywords and when they find them, they swoop in and post a comment. I'm guessing it's usually not all that helpful to the blog itself, but it's a hell of a lot better than spamming.

A photo shoot

A fun story about a professional photo shoot.
"Actually for years I've ridden with Mr. Bizos. He is one of my very best friends. Actually he's more than a friend, he's family, and riding in a vehicle with Didier is unique. Picture a multitasking Frenchman driving with his knees and talking on two cell phones at once, while I yell out, turn here on Rue de Rivoli, and Didier says, uh no I think we do San Germain, and I go no no it's the other way, and of course we miss the next six exits. "Didier is going to take exception to this, but for the first year of riding with him I thought Paris was the size of LA, NY and London combined until I realized that every trip was just Didier's way of going south, then west, then east, just to get north. Don't get me wrong, Didier knows Paris like the back of his hand, but he is has a lot going on in his life, family, business, studios, and in this instance me."
"The Phase people are nice, but really Danish, which means polite and reserved. In fact so polite and reserved I keep waiting for the craziness to pop out. You know – like those kids I grew up with in Texas that on Sunday were all quiet and humble in Church, but on Saturday night burned down half the city and partied like Keith Richards."

Wow, it's like he's been to my home town on a Saturday.

"I think it is important to note what a company like Phase* is all about. They're not 4,000 people with stock options, corner offices and Google-like cafeterias. They are engineers and inventors first and marketing is somewhere way down the line."

* His nick name for Danish high-end camera back producer Phase One. He is not the only one calling it "Phase", I am not sure what's up with that, to me it's like calling Microsoft "Micro". Confusing, that is.

Foot guitar

Bert found this armless guitar player. Good singer too.

New Datamancer computer

New Datamancer computer.
Datamancer is the guy who made my steampunk keyboard.

Alex said:
I'm wondering where HorsePunk will come in, you know where Steam failed and we reverted to horse power. Be interesting one to bandy about a bit. Or maybe OxPunk where a virulent disease wiped out all horses and cattle became the mainstay of power.

Or Dog Punk?
Back in the nineties, I had this one on a tee-shirt "Poodle With A Mohawk":

I've written a song about him, in the style of Ministry.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Neil Gaiman's superbly creepy children's book Coraline is coming next year as a movie. Apparently in 3D, filmed with two cameras in stop-motion. I wonder if it will be a red/green glasses deal, which I don't find all that great.
The trailer looks like CG. I can't see how they would make those thin mechanical hands in reality. I could be wrong, maybe I'm just too used to seeing things as CG.

I wasn't a big fan of Nightmare Before Christmas or Corpse Bride, but I think that was because they were musicals. Puppets standing around singing? Seems like a mistake to me.

Apropos 3D, TTL mentioned Avatar, an upcoming James Cameron movie.
"In December 2006, Cameron explained that the delay in producing the film since the 1990s had been to wait until the technology necessary to create his project was advanced enough. The director planned to create photo-realistic computer-generated characters by using motion capture animation technology, on which he had been doing work for the past 14 months. Unlike previous performance capture systems, where the digital environment is added after the actors' motions have been captured, Cameron's new virtual camera allows him to directly observe on a monitor how the actors' virtual counterparts interacts with the movie's digital world in real time and adjust and direct the scenes just as if shooting live action..."

Johann Sebastian

I listened to some classical music as a kid, but something happened to my temper as a grew up, and since then it's been rock mainly.

But very slowly, these thirty years later, classical is creeping back in. Here is one (Christmas Oratorio: Jauchzet, frohlocket) I enjoy, by Bach. (I don't know what happens if you click that link and don't have iTunes installed. But if you don't it takes you to the iTunes store. Double-click the song for a sample.)

Bach was scary brilliant.

Nursing homes

Again it may just be a warped cliché I'm getting from movies and TV, but it seems many old people greatly resent being "sent to a home".

I wonder why. I've worked in a nursing home, and it seemed to me like you could do a hell of lot worse in your old age. Free room and board, protection and care 24/7, all the company you could want or not as the case may be. Frankly I can't think of many better options for a place to wind up if and when you can't take care of yourself anymore. Think of the burden you'd be to your family if they had to take care of you.

Pascal, MD, said:
It's true that there are good places and there are positively horrible ones. Just like orphanages, actually.
But the instinctive fear (or reluctance) toward retirement homes is near systematic in the elderly. Because typically, the elderly are stubborn, and they swear they'd rather die than have to leave their house and habits and "independence".
But some utterly DEPENDANT old folks can make life a daily hell for years for those they claim to love. I've seen grandparents make their children literally slave over them, over more than a decade, in the name of love. And in these parts, where flaunting family love is a social obligation and moral imperative, some capricious elders can become insanely demanding, well intending to fully cash in on the years of unconditional(!) love they gave. Like that diabetic woman who "just HAD" to be carried/dragged to the bathroom like a dead weight every hour at night, to pee just a few drops, because of course diapers were out of the question. Same woman constantly demanded (and got) meals that were completely contrary to the strict diet she should have followed. I still haven't figured out where Stupidium radiation ended and where senile dementia started. In crass uneducated Lebanese, the difference can be very subtle.
Naturally, in a nursing home, the staff only tends to your needs, they don't chew your food for you like sparrow parents for a cuckoo chick.
My last living grandmother, bless her soul, has made her children swear to place her in a home the day she becomes unable to care for herself. Her, she'd rather die than poison the lives of her children. Because she's had to care for her invalid husband for several years, and she would find it indignant to impose something like that herself.
Some elderly have a high sense of dignity. You gotta love that.
After I've learned that most human fault comes from Fear, open or suppressed, many more things are explained. Like great fear of moving out of your home-for-decades. It may not be realized. Fear is so much more powerful when it's suppressed to the point of being wholly invisible.

Image finding

Ray, who was once famous as "the world's oldest blogger", but who is now too old for such competitive nonsense, helps me out regarding my quest for a better image search. So far I've tried Google Image Ripper, which seems really helpful, instead of all the dang thumbnails and full pages etc, you get for instance instant Dakota.

Little Red Riding Hood (The Politically Correct Version)

Here's a classic, Little Red Riding Hood (The Politically Correct Version).
"Other people avoided the woods for fear of thieves and deviants, but Red Riding Hood felt that in a truly classless society all marginalized peoples would be able to “come out” of the woods and be accepted as valid lifestyle role models."