28 January 2011

Number 200 and No More deviantART for Me

Art [ahrt] –noun - the quality, production, expression, or realm, according toaesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. - Dictionary.com

Current scar, center of palm
A milestone! This is my 200th blog post for Photo Anthems Blog. I don't really have anything special that I had planned out to commemorate this feat. I didn't even realize it til I was getting ready to do another post. So, no fan-fare. No pomp and circumstance. No fireworks, sparkles, confetti, or song. I do give you more images of Dominique and that's better than all of that stuff.

The hand is getting better. (Somebody tell me the left pointing chevron scar looks cool). I've still got rehab, but at least the bandages are off. I keep something on it to protect it just because if I don't, I'll forget about it and do something stupid. I have a history of re-injuring recently injured ailments. Sometimes, its just because I push my recovery. Well, most times, actually. For this time around, I hadn't had the bandage off and sutures out for an hour before I forgot about it and...well, lets just say it was a painful rest of the day. The meds weren't giving me ANY relief, if  that gives you a further clue. So now, I figure something preventative on it to remind me of the consequences of forgetting might be an exercise in wisdom.

I've recently deactivated my account at deviantART. So in case you're looking for me over there, I'm out for several reasons, but mainly it simply wasn't a good fit for me anymore (if it really ever was, that is). I can't say the site has done much in terms of promotion for me. And for me, it really wasn't about all that. I liked that it was a good place to look at new art of talents I came to admire. I've made some friends there as well. Virtual though they may be, there was mutual respect and admiration. The main kicker for me was that I was REALLY getting tired of looking at lewd, crude, nude art that was nothing of the sort, whatsoever. Yes, I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and art, by definition is a subjective term that has yet to be defined universally. I know for fact, that there are some people who disagree with my own artwork. I understand and respect that. For me, dA was just getting beyond my personal tolerance and appreciation. In that world, you have to take the good with the bad and to me, the bad was outweighing the good. 32 to 1.

There was also too much stolen art. I found myself getting riled up every time I was able to discern who was presenting their own work and who was just copying web images and including them in their own profiles. The assumption is that you create your own profile and share your own work. Often you'd read some of the comments where other's recognized the stolen work and the profile owner admitted to it, but didn't call it stealing because he never put his own copyright notice on it. He was just "sharing", but also never crediting the owner. All too often these would be pornographic images or women spreading themselves. One user in particular justified his actions as such. " When I post my own work, nobody visited my page or left comments. I posted these shots I found on the web and I've gotten a thousand hits in a few hours."

I don't thing the dA moderators or administrator do enough to protect artist's work and they certainly don't police the site for violators of their own rules quickly enough. I'd see lewdness on display for days on end before or IF its ever taken down. I think it was maybe about a year or so ago that I began to notice more pornography businesses creating profiles and promoting their websites to get you to click over for MORE porn. It was quickly becoming an environment that was no longer conducive to my own interests, entertainment, or appreciation. Several true artists I will miss and I actually hope I am missed as well. I can still be followed on my blog, however. I can't say being a member on deviantART was worth the time I spent on it over the last 3 years. Maybe I'll change my mind after I check back in a year or so to observe any changes. For right now, I'm moving on. To those of you who followed me, I'd really appreciate you following me on this blog. Keep in touch. Drop me a line

19 January 2011

Dominique in the Cold

Model, Dominique Jan 2011

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."
 - Martin Luther King, Jr.

With Matching Bandage
One of the reasons I went camping the other week was because I knew I'd be somewhat limited this week. Last Wednesday I had surgery on my left hand to remove a small metallic ball that was lodged in my palm from my service time in Korea back around '95. At the time, I didn't notice a whole lot of pain in my palm, per se. My middle finger and wrist is another story, but I just never made the connection. Last year it began to get pretty bad. There were several times the pain almost brought me to tears. It got to a point where I absolutely could not stand it, but it took a very long process to get me to this point today.

Test after test, the waiting game continued. I often hated being around friends because I knew my pain could make them uncomfortable and it was definitely a feat for me to keep a smile on my face and act like nothing was wrong. I remember visiting my kids in TN when I got to see my grandchild for the first time. My mother and I got a hotel room for the week. The pain was unbearable and I had to take special care when holding my then one-month old grandkid. I didn't want to take away from everybody's moment of welcoming a new addition to the family for worrying over me, especially when nothing could be done at he time. I had a similar moment like that at my friend Felix's house. Hopefully, this will be an improvement.

Model, Dominique Jan 2011

The day after my camping trip, I got to photograph Dominique, the model exhibited in this post. As challenging as this shoot was, we got several great shot while she visited Vegas. The main challenge was the cold. It was in the low 40's when we started, but she really wanted to do it...that is, til the wind started howling on her naked butt! She was a real trooper, though and I did my best to keep her reasonably protected. The car was left running nearby and she kept a blanket on til right before I released the shutter. We're already making plans for her next visit.

Model, Dominique Jan 2011

Model, Dominique Jan 2011
I thought this was sort of interesting. I came across this news article by Liz Goodwin for The Lookout, a Yahoo news blog: "New Yorker searches for owner of remarkable blizzard photos". Sometimes its sort of odd to see the different crusades or causes that motivate people to act. In this case, New Yorker Todd Bieber spots a roll of undeveloped film in the snow. He develops it and is fancied by the snow and blizzard scenes of his own city. Then he's struck with this idea for a mission-quest thing to find the original owners of the film. The guy makes a video that he posts on YouTube and it goes viral. He gets very introspective as he narrates a story about his life and how his search for meaning leads him to the roll of film, critiques the images, and relates them to the owners. Its not a bad video, really. People from all over are trying to help. Even Time Magazine got in on the coverage. Personally, I like the idea. But subjectively, I have to wonder... Was this guy simply primed for a new cause in his life? Homelessness, politics, environmental save-the-planet stuff just never quite moved him, but a lost roll of film became his call to action? And I wonder how many marketing gurus have researched what concepts have the highest propensity to go viral. What's the quantitative figure that defines virality anyway? I guess the most surprising thing about the whole affair is that tourists are still using film.

12 January 2011

First Post 2011

"I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday's misfortunes, yesterday's defeats, yesterday's aches of the heart, for why should I throw good after bad?" 
--- Og Mandino

The view outside my tent, Valley of Fire State Park, NV
So this is my first post of the year. So how about it? Who's already broken those New Year's resolutions? Me... I want to post more this year. Bad start, I know. The month is half way over and I'm just getting on the boards. I'll get there. You just keep following, reading, and commenting. Feedback helps.

Another view out my tent

My tent!
Moving on. Something that I was wondering about today was what can you tell about a person by looking at their favorites and likes ...whether on dA, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. It sort of threw me off guard once when I was perusing the galleries of some of my fave people on dA. I decided to take a look at their Favorites gallery and was surprised to see that many in their collection was nothing like what they might do themselves. Now I look at everybody's Fav when I visit their profiles. I unconsciously began to think about what kind of person he or she is. Am I making judgements, maybe so, but I don't think its any different than what we normally do anytime we meet somebody. We check 'em out from head to toe. How are they groomed? What's their style of fashion? Do they have all of their teeth...whatever. The point is that we do this all the time. Even when we read about someone or hear about them. We try to imagine what they are like and sometimes fill in the blanks whether they are accurate or not. How many among you began to dislike an actor/actress because they play some sort of sick, deviant role in a movie. You start to associate what you see on film as their real lives. And you can flip that scenario to a person who plays the perfect angel in a role, but in real life, they're butt-heads.


Fire Canyon Overlook, Valley of Fire State Park, NV
But I also wonder if we're giving out too much info about ourselves on these social networks. Well, let me re-say that... I mean to say, I KNOW we are giving out too much information about ourselves. So the statement begs the answer to the question of why do we do it. In our own realities, we are much more private. We keep the drapes pulled at night. The doors are triple-locked. We have locks inside the house for our bedrooms and bathrooms. The car is not left with the key and we don't write the PIN number on our debit cards. So why do we choose to divulge so much info on social sites? Marketing companies such as Amazon encodes cookies on your computer that reports on stuff you often look at. Facebook captures information about music, movies, and products you "like". Yeah, they do it so well, they have increased their worth to $50 billion. So why did Goldman Sachs and friends, just jump on the bandwagon to the tune of $500 million in stock purchases? Obviously they all feel like they are going to make big bucks on this. Since FB is free to you and me, where does it make its money? Advertisers, who pay to know what you are likely to buy and are willing to dish out the big bucks to a company who gives them lots of accurate and timely data on YOU.

Looks like I'm starting the new year out on a rant. No worries. These will be few and far between. Oh, I started out my new year camping...what'd you do?