Archives

July 2002

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Jul 30

“Familial Ground is the product of a process that started several years ago when my son was born. I gradually realized that my new role as parent included the responsibility to pass on to my son a familial and cultural inheritance, and that such inheritance would need to be gathered and delivered gradually in a manner appropriate to his age. My attempts at articulating histories, cultural and familial, public and private, made me acutely aware of how much I knew of the former, and how little of the latter…” Following this reasoning, Rafael Goldchain took pictures of himself posing as members of his own family.
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Jul 29

Christophe Argou spent a lot of time in New York subways, taking photos of people. I’m not sure what to think of those. They’re interesting to look at.
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Jul 29

Mike Ware has a nice page about “alternative” photographic processes such as cyanotypes.
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Jul 24

Informationweek has an article about blogging. True to their style, all they care about is that “web journals could have business value.” Needless to say, that is a pretty sad statement. But it follows the general transformation of the internet from a big source of information and human interaction to a gigantic shopping mall with streamlined contents provided by the very same media companies who already control all the other media. Contrary what those Informationweek people think, there’s more to blogging than just being an “independent information entrepreneur.” What’s more, they don’t realize (or want to realize) what the obvious limitations of blogs in terms of journalism are. But when you find snippets like the one about “the left-leaning, biased media” you know where they’re coming from. And you can guess what they’re after. The “independent information” they’re after is the one which exactly serves their sole purpose, namely to make money and only that. Pretty disgusting.
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Jul 24

The Moog Archive has all about Moog synthesizers. Who doesn’t like the sound (and sight) of a good old Moog?
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Jul 23

There are thousands of movies and animations online but, I think, only a few of them are really good. Weebl and Bob are my personal favourites. The most recent one is probably my favourite Weebl and Bob so far. They’re getting more and more sophisticated and it’s amazing to see how you can create interesting and funny animation with just the most basic set-ups.
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Jul 22

I don’t know what the future of Polaroid will be. They filed for bankruptcy a while ago. It’d be a total shame if they disappeared. It’s more obvious, though, what their past looks like. The Land List has pretty much all you’d ever want to know about old Polaroid cameras. Particularly useful if you found an old Polaroid camera at some yard sale or on Ebay and now want to know what film it takes. The good news is that for some of the old models there’s still film around. Karen (my wife) has been using old Polaroid cameras for a while and they’re fun to use. The film is pretty expensive but the results are cool. The peel-apart film’s development time depends on the temperature of your environment.
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Jul 20

Pencam.org is a site with photos taken exclusively with a little digital camera which is about the size of a pen. I actually own that kind of camera and I like it but I never took pretty pictures with it.
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Jul 19

Marcy Merrill got a huge site with what she calls junk store cameras. If you’re interested in toy cameras, old box cameras, just cheap old cameras, and the occasional gem (she dared to put a Rollei 35 on the page!) you should check out that site.
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Jul 19

A few days ago, I posted an entry about Yousuf Karsh’s death. I missed posting the obituary from The Economist which in itself is a very nice piece about photography.
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Jul 17

Under the provocing title “Are Smart People Overrated?” Malcom Gladwell in New Yorker magazine discusses whether smart people are good or bad for companies: “The talent myth assumes that people make organizations smart. More often than not, it’s the other way around.” Given my personal experience, I have to agree with this. It’s an interesting read for everybody - even for people who think they’re smart!
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Jul 15

Take a look at London’s new fancy City Hall, designed by Norman Foster.
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Jul 15

Yousuf Karsh just died. Maybe you read about it. He became famous with his Churchill portrait but I think his other works are much more interesting. His portraits are amazingly telling. You get the impression that Karsh was able to show everything you would want to know about a person. It’s interesting to compare his style of photography with what people do today. Do today’s portrait photographers achieve what Karsh did?
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Jul 12

All you would ever want to know about what’s now officially known as Ilfochrome but is generally still being called Cibachrome - a process to produce long-lasting photographic colour prints.
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Jul 11

When you’re from Germany you’re not supposed to know funny stories about animals. Kangaroos, eagles, bears, elephants, and all those exciting animals don’t live in Germany. So people usually don’t believe me when I tell them that in Germany, hedgehogs (yes, that’s hedgehogs) are responsible for the kind of story which always causes immense interest. Those stories are all based on the fact that hedgehogs produce sounds which are fairly similar to human sounds. I remember when I lived in Munich I once went home after work, in a cold Winter night, and I heard somebody coughing really bad. I looked around but I couldn’t find anybody. Eventually, I found a little coughing hedgehog. He ran away when he saw me. Coughing, of course, is not as interesting to my American friends as sex. And that’s where the hedgehogs enter. Like most animals, hedgehogs have a delicate procedure for mating. As usual, the male has to do an elaborate set of tricks to get laid. Hedgehogs don’t have to buy drinks at a discotheque but the actual affair is pretty noisy nevertheless. The BBC reported today about what happened in Maintal. Luckily for the prudish Brits, those hedgehogs were not already enganged in “the act”. Sometimes, people call the police because there is noisy lovemaking going on and then the police finds copulating hedgehogs.
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Jul 10

There is something weird about Infrared Photography I think. First of all, the photos aren’t that spectacular really. Sure, stones and plants look a little bit different but that seems to be it. Plus, IR is an enormous hassle. Film is very expensive - if I remember correctly, that roll of film I have in my fridge cost me $13 - and extremely tricky to handle: You have to load the camera in total darkness. Exposure is very tricky, the best thing is to shoot an enormous number of bracket exposures. I can’t imagine what a hassle it must be to get the stuff properly developed - given that most (US) labs won’t even cross-process for you. And all that for some red (or white if you use b/w) trees? You can do the same thing using Photoshop in about five minutes. That doesn’t mean that I am an advocate of Photoshop. Quite on the contrary. But I have to admit that Photoshop has its advantages. It’s probably a question of what I’d call the hassle-result ratio: If the amount of hassle for a given result is way too big (IR photography) you might as well use an alternative process (Photoshop) where it’s much smaller.
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Jul 10

James Luckett is an American expat living in Tokyo. His weblog, consumptive.org, is a valuable source for photographic links and for what it is like to live in Tokyo.
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Jul 10

If you’re interested in synthesizers check out the Vintage Synthesizer Museum. And you might also want to have a look at Vintage Synth Explorer. Both sites offer a lot of information about those old classic synthesizers. Of course, these days, you can do it all digital. But who cares about digital when you can get knobs and tubes?
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