In the morning I'm off to Japan. I stopped at Kinokuniya in San Jose today, to see if there were any interesting recent Japanese art books I could buy here and thus not have to carry around while I'm wandering -- guided by my earlier acquisition of their entire collection of Rinko Kawauchi books.
To my delight, I found a brand-new copy of Farewell Photography, selling for un-marked-up retail. Yatta-w00t!
I'll be back the first week of October, just in time to see Kawauchi in person at SFAI.
The link above is my first crude attempt with the demo, a little recap of Isaac's summer hockey season -- after ten minutes of using the program I promptly sent Joe Weiss a nice PayPal delivery (and ordered myself a new audio recorder (sorry Griffin, my iTalk is cute and tiny but not a general-purpose tool) and some replacements for my main mics, which have seen better days long ago)(more stuff to carry when shooting -- hoorah). I'll replace the prezo some time soon when I get my proper SoundSlides reg code and also re-record the audio with Isaac playing it (or something similar).
Obviously I've got an learning curve ahead of me but I'm excited -- SoundSlides is just far easier and more direct to use for these sort of presentations than anything I've see so far using regular Flash, or Flex, or even Premiere. All good programs, but SoundSlides is directed -- it does one thing and does it well. No wonder it's so popular for news shooters and wedding folks.
I've been squinting through the details of Things As They Are: Photojournalism in Context Since 1955, another of those books I've been procrastinating at cracking. While uncredited to him, in a way this book was one of the last to fall under the shadow of John Szarkowski, who challenged the editors: "I share your hope... that your exhibition and book will be more than one more fat compendium of the pictures that editors expect photographers to make." I think they've had some really admirable success in this book.
While there are plenty of very notable exceptions, such as Raul Corrales, Peter Magubane, and even Gene Smith, I was struck by the fact that so many times strong vision comes from people who are non-natives to what they see -- whether it be Raymond Depardon, Robert Frank, or William Albert Allard. I was having a conversation recently with a friend who was raised in one culture, educated in multiple others, and who lives a quiet life here in the Bay Area today. It's speculation on my part, but we discussed the value of not speaking the language, of not having a set of shared and pre-coded expectations and assumptions. One may be inherently inclined to see only what's there, what's visible -- not to recognize the supposed identity and accepted meanings. It's induced childhood, ignorance that opens your eyes.
Here's hoping, anyway. In three weeks I will be back in Japan, hopefully not getting entirely bogged-down by visits to the bookstore.
An hour after posting this, I ran into this most unlikely newspaper photography.
Rebecca brought home a new cat the other day. And by "brought home" I mean "dropped off" -- I awoke that morning to find (with my naked feet) bits of loose kitty litter scattered in the hallway near her room, and Isaac hiding inside with a little cute varmint. Rebecca, meanwile, was nowhere to be seen, having opted to go out with her friends and leave the kitten-caring to me.
I love all pets but we already have a cat: Sparx. Sparx is incredibly upset now, and won't even come in the house when she suspects the kitten is around. When told about this, Rebecca just shrugs and heads off to the coffee shop.
I have to say I really resent it when people assume that they can abuse my kind nature. Rebecca knows that I would never deliberately let the kitten come to harm, or be neglected -- so she just neglects it knowing that I won't, while assuming that she can enjoy "her" kitten whenever it suits her.
Wrong. It's exactly because I love animals and care about their welfare that I know that this cat deserves a better environment. A kitten is not just a toy, a machine for generating cuteness on demand. She -- and her cuteness, her affection, her (inadvertent) humor -- deserves better. This kitten has got to go, sweet and funny though she is.
If you're in the bay area & interested in cute and litter-trained critters, please drop a line -- we'll be happy to supply her with toys and even some cat furniture.