Photos and the Changing Online Landscape

I’ve been on flickr nearly since it first started. It’s been a great community to learn about photography and hook up with others who are really into photography as well. I have 10 700 photos on flickr so I’ve looked on various flickr developments with fear because of how invested I am in the site. I was scared when Microsoft was going to buy them because they haven’t always been as open a company as Yahoo. Frankly, I wasn’t too happy when Yahoo bought flickr because they’ve been so stagnant and development did stall for many years there. I used to listen to a lot of photography podcasts and they were constantly talking about the fall of flickr because the largest photo repository online was now Facebook. There were two reasons I never put photos on Facebook. At first it’s because I wanted to aggregate all the comments and views in one place. Later it was because posting photos to Facebook was a bad deal copyright-wise.

Although, I didn’t think it was perfect, I thought the most recent change was pretty nice in that that photos got a larger screen space and more emphasis. However, when I logged in today, I saw tons of protests for the upcoming view. I don’t know how long it’ll be up so here’s a quote:

Want to know why?
Please read along.

Flickr recently launched the a beta version of there new photo “experience”.
Also known as; the page where you view a picture.

Oké good, so what, no problem right?

Except just a new jacket for the page they silently changed much more.
They try to break up the community Flickr is.
Some small changes can be seen already.
Your contacts have become followers, you follow people now.
They are no contact anymore, you’r supposed to just follow them.
If you can’t acces the new beta you probably still miss the point I make here, so read further with me.

The new layout discourages comments in every way.
Read the problems with it:
– It’s impossible to make goot structured multi lined comments
– Comments are moved to a very tine box at the side.
-No more images possible in comments.
Further failures.
-Tags are replaced by a #. Words with a hashtag infront are tags, you place them in the discription.
-Not possible to have HTML- or Forum links.
-Not able to see who faved your photo.
-A bunch more (See link beneath)

Want to see the new flickr photo page:
www.flickr.com/photos/jord1/10159497355/

conclusion: Flickr wants to become a shoutbox like twitter. Some things were directly stolen form twitter like hastags and “followers”
How will the future Flickr look like:
www.flickr.com/photos/jord1/10171498594/

Photo’s need to be look at, not shout over. There is no place for good discussion on the new Flickr, this is sad. Photo’s have to be discussed, we all can improve our pictures and knowledge by looking and discussing the photo’s of Flickr. The future Flickr removes this place of thoughts, removes the soul of images, the story, the Shot. We’re left with Iphone pictures of people breakfasts and activity’s.

Protest, let call our voice. Post #Twickr .

I enabled the new view again (I’d enabled it a long time ago and I didn’t like it) and, interestingly, it’s similar to Google Plus’ photo view. However, I find Google Plus and flickr to have very different aims – one is for socializing and one is for the photo community.

Well, it has become the perfect time to re-evaluate the photo landscape only and how I’ll use it going forward. Up until now, I was basically using flickr for a dual purpose – sharing photos with the family and posting photos I was proud of. (Maybe a great animal capture or some great technique) Other than that, Danielle and I had decided that for really personal photos of Scarlett that we wanted to share with the family, we’d use Google Plus. I really like Google Plus’ use of Circles for limiting your posts’ visibility and not bombarding strangers with photos of your kids. Your friends and family might still get sick of seeing them, but at least they’re a more targeted audience. It’s one of the reasons I never posted all the photos I took at any particular family function to flickr.

As you know, I recently finally got an Android smart phone. I set it to automatically backup my photos to Google Plus because I don’t feel I should I lose memories just because I lose my phone. And once it’s there, it’s just so easy to share it out.

So from here on out I’m going to do the following. Photos I’m sharing between family and friends will be on Google Plus. That way everyone can look and comment without having to join Yahoo/flickr. The only photos I’m going to post to flickr are photos I’d like to share with the public because they’re clever, funny, or artistic. It should work well for everyone – both audiences will get the best of what works for them. As a plus, it reduces my dependence on flickr without requiring me to host my own solution.

5 Tips for a More Successful 365 Project

One of the biggest trends on flickr is to start a 365 Project. This usually means taking one self-portrait a day for an entire year. This project is often misunderstood by those outside of flickr, especially since they’re used to the selfie-culture of MySpace and Facebook. It’s not a vanity project. A 365 Project is about taking the adage about becoming a better writer through writing every day to photography. It also has a special bonus of teaching the photographer what it’s like to be the subject. Many of us photo-geeks are behind the camera way more often than we’re in front of it. Sometimes we struggle with how to communicate to our subjects how to achieve the vision we have in our head. By being both the photographer and the subject, we learn to appreciate both points of view.

Unfortunately, the 365 Project is also the most often abandoned project on flickr. Lots of people start with a lot of energy and can’t make it past a month or two. So I wanted to put together a few tips to help get you through the process.

1. Don’t Worry if It’s Boring

Some people out there have some pretty incredible 365 images. So it can be discouraging when all you can think of is something like this:
Day Two: Protein Shake
Don’t worry about it. Because it’s when you get fixated on how good or bad the photo is that you miss the point. By making sure you participate every day, you don’t fall out of the project.  It’s very hard to be creative every single day. Don’t get hung up on it. Just shoot. Otherwise you can’t get to better photos like this one:
Day One Hundred Forty-One:  Rockin' OutAlso, sometimes the simplest ones can end up becoming your favorites when you go back and visit the images later.  This is one of my favorite simple images and it’s my current profile photo on Steam:
Day One Hundred Thirty-Nine:  There's a new Gameboy out?

2. Use it to learn Equipment or Techniques

One of the best uses I got out of my 365 Project was learning how to work with lighting. I had a lighting kit and built up some backgrounds and then made some images I really loved as I learned the different lighting techniques:
Day Two Hundred Thirty-Three:  Deep Stare
Day Two Hundred Eighty:  Inspiration from Deep Meditation

 

3. Reenact Famous Scenes

There might be some movies or books that you could try to replicate. I decided to do this with Bible scenes and ended up with one of my most complex images ever, a recreation of The Last Supper:
Day Two Hundred Sixty-Four:  The Last Supper

4. Tell a story or choose a theme

Depending on how good you are on telling stories, you might choose a series of week-long stories or do one story that spans the entire year. I ended my 365 with a story. Here’s the first image and you can follow along on flickr to see how it ends:
Day Three Hundred Fifty-Eight:  Part 1 - Are you Ready to Perform?

Or try out a theme.  One of the most popular is the Seven Deadly Sins.
Day Two Hundred:  Wrath

5. Join a group

One of the ways I was able to keep getting new ideas was to join a few 365 groups. Some of them are generic 365 groups and I could see what others were doing and sometimes that would spur some creativity in me. Other groups are challenge based like Macro Monday or Half-Nekked Thursday. They give you a theme to aim for every day.
Day Two Hundred Seventy-One:  I've Covered Wars, you know!

Hopefully these tips can help keep you motivated. I think completing my 365 was one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve had outside of work and school.  It was hard while I was doing it, but it was great to have finished. In fact, I was so proud of it, that I even had it made into a book. It’s a great documentation of a time in my life when a lot of changes were happening so it’s great for more than one reason and I’d recommend it to everyone who wants to improve their photography.

The Initial Failure and Eventual Triumph of Social Media in my Attempts to Get Tech Support to Help

A little past the end of February I started having problems with my internet connected devices.  In the basement we have a Roku box that the wife uses to watch Netflix.  She reported that it was no longer connecting to Netflix.  We’d had issues before with it needing to be re-registered with Netflix, but that did not seem to be the case.  I’d click on the Netflix channel and it would say “retrieving movies” for a while and then pop back to the main menu.  At first I thought something was wrong with the Roku box, so I tried the Amazon channel, but that worked and I was able to watch my content.  I figured it’d resolve itself.  So she just popped in the latest DVD from Netflix into our DVD player.  Later that night she was in the bedroom and learned that our Samsung BluRay player was no longer connecting to Netflix.  I thought that was weird, but figured maybe it was a Netflix problem.  I checked on my computer and I couldn’t log into the Netflix site.  Neither could Danielle on her computer.  These were Linux boxes (Fedora and Ubuntu respectively) so I tried on my Windows computer.  Strangely, that one could log in.  That’s weird.  I tried on both Firefox and Chrome with no difference.  So then I tried the guest computer – that computer hadn’t been used since December and I knew it was working for Netflix back then.  That would help me eliminate the possibility that I’d installed a distro update that had killed it for me.  (I knew that didn’t totally make sense because of the BluRay Player and Roku) That one could reach it either.  What was going on here?  Was Netflix blocking Linux?  Well, I figured it might go away so I waited until the next day.

 

The next day my wife realized that the American Express site was working strangely on her computer.  I noticed that flickr wasn’t working correctly.  In fact, a bunch of sites that required signing in and HTTPS were not working correctly.  So I fired up wireshark on my Linux computer and I saw this:

 

Wireshark analysis of my Linux computer trying to connect to Linux
Wireshark analysis of my Linux computer trying to connect to Linux

So basically, it was chocking on one packet that it kept asking to be sent over and over and over again.  What was going on here?  And why was this allowing the Windows computer to work?  Well, I know that the Windows network stack is not the same as the Linux network stack, so maybe that had something to do with it.  What to do now?  I don’t make any configuration changes to my modem/router.  I’ve set static IP addresses in all of the computers individually rather than on the modem.  But, just in case, I checked every page of every setting on the modem.  I couldn’t find anything that was different than before or that would be causing this.  I checked each setting at least 2 times and some of them I checked three or more times.  I tried what you’re always supposed to do first if there’s an internet problem:  I unplugged the modem/router for a few minutes and plugged it back in.  I was still having issues.  I asked on identi.ca to see if anyone else was having problems connecting to Netflix via Linux.  No one else was having issues.  I went on Freenode.net’s #Fedora room and someone there worked with me for a few hours, but we couldn’t see anything I was doing wrong.  He wished me luck.  Kopete started acting really strangely because it was having issues connecting to my accounts and it started locking up the computer via sending a non-stop bunch of notifications to kde4-notify.  So I had to refrain from using it during the following two weeks.

 

I wasn’t having any luck.  So I decided to tweet about it.  In the past, when I had issues with Comcast, just tweeting with hashtag #Comcast would get their attention and I’d get help.  In fact, it’s come to the situation nowadays where most companies won’t try and help you until you start tweeting about how things are going wrong.  So I sent out a bunch of tweets tagged with #Verizon and #FIOS.  I got no response.  Well, even though flickr and Amex weren’t working correctly, I decided to call Netflix.  Maybe a bunch of websites had just implemented a new version of TLS that was breaking Linux or something.  After I told him everything I’d done – he was honest with me and told me that if I’d done all that – it was what he was going to have me do anyway, so he couldn’t help me.  I thanked him and he wished me luck.

 

So I posted to LinuxQuestions.org.  I figured they could help me if this was really affecting other people with Linux.  You can read all that and see how unhelpful it was.  I was very grateful that people were trying to help me, but if you look you can see that people weren’t reading what I wrote and were coming up with nonsensical solutions that ignore the way the web works.  So, since that wasn’t going anywhere, I decided to finally turn to Verizon.  Anyone who’s as technical as me knows that 8/10 times, these calls to tech support are pointless.  The people they have working there have to go by a script.  And 99% of the time they don’t know anything except for what’s in the script.  And the 1% of the time they do know, they still need to go through the script first because their calls are being monitored.  I got one of the former people.  I started off with doing it online.  The guy chatted with me and had me reset the modem and type ipconfig /dnsflush and a bunch of other things.  None of that fixed it.  After an hour or so, I got disconnected from him.  He never called me back despite getting a number from me for which to call me back.  So, an hour later, I called tech support.  They also went through the same stupid things – not listening to me about my wireshark or https.  Why?  Because they don’t have a clue what I’m talking about.  It was just some tech support dungeon in India or Bangladesh.  But even if it was in the USA, again, most of the time these guys don’t know anything other than what’s in the script.  He told me he’d put in a support ticket with the technical guys and he’d send me an email with info about the ticket.  He sent me an email, but it was just full of links to the online help on Verizon.

 

So I was stuck again.  But I preferred to think that he did have someone working on it and that he didn’t lie to me.  All this time I kept tweeting, hoping that someone would read my tweets and try and help me out.  No dice.  I was losing my faith in social media to be helpful.  Almost exactly a week after my devices had stopped working, I decided that maybe if I posted in the Verizon forums, someone from Verizon tech support would see it and see what was going on.  So I posted here.  I made a nice, long detailed post of everything I’d tried so I wouldn’t get another “reset your modem” reply.  In fact, here’s what I wrote:

 

Hello,

Starting around 21 Feb a bunch of sites started working really funky.  On Netflix I cannot login.  On flickr I can’t post to group forums and other little functionality is broken.  I can’t sign into Facebook.  I can’t sign into Verizon.com sites (more on how I’m writing this in a second)  The rest of the non-interactive internet works perfectly fine so it’s not a DNS issue.

So, there is one computer on which everything is working fine (that’s how I got here to post) – otherwise I’d just think it was a network issue.  All the rest of my four computers do not work.  Also, my BluRay player and Roku box no longer can connect to Netflix.

Since one computer works fine you might be thinking – “oh, he changed something on those others”.  Actually, nope.  I even tested on a computer I hadn’t used since December and that was working back then, but now cannot access those same sites.  I even booted into a live CD of Fedora Linux – so it’s completely clean, DHCP – can’t log into Netflix.  Also, I’ve tried both Firefox and Chrome – both of which work on the computer that is OK.

I ran wireshark on one of the affected computers – basically it’s dropping packets on TLS sites.  Just over and over and over again – all I see is TCP Retransmission.  Obviously can’t run wireshark on my BluRay player or Roku

First I checked all my settings, rebooted the computers, etc.  Eventually, I called tech support.  Well, first I chatted with tech support.  He had me run ipconfig /flushdns and he had me reset my modem – including pushing the little button on the back with a pen.  Confirmed that everything reset because I lost all my wireless settings.  After the modem reboot I lost him (as I expected would happen, despite him telling me it wouldn’t).  Then I got on phone tech support.  Again, they had me check DNS and crap like that.  I know it can’t be that stuff because how would I even do ipconfig /flushdns on my bluray player?

On my own, I’ve tried using Google’s DNS servers at 8.8.8.8 as well as using the two nameservers I see in my router’s webpage.  (The one at 192.168.1.1)

So what could it possibly be?  A broken router?  I assume if something’d changed at the neighbrhood level, they’d be getting tech suport calls up the wazoo, so it’s probably just me?  I’m really annoyed because of the inconsistency – why does one computer work and none of my other devices?  The PS3 was on the fritz around the same time (kept complaining about DNS issues), but it “got better”.

I doubt it’s something I’ve configured on my router since I rebooted it and cleared the settings.  The working computer is on static IP address, but so is every other device here.  Also, the liveCD of Linux was DHCP.  I know people like to come on forums and swear down and up that they haven’t changed anything and then it turns out they did a system upgrade or changed something they thought was insignificant – but I literally have touched nothing.  I didn’t even realize at first because the wife is the heavy user of the Roku and BluRay player.  And she knows well enough not to touch anything because she hates interruption in service.  (And I double-checked the settings anyway) ANYWAY – the 2 months untouched computer and the liveCD Linux are proof that it’s nothing that’s changed.

Anyway, it’s been a week now since everything broke.  And I when I got off the phone with tech support they said they put in some kind of ticket for me.  I can’t find that on the Verizon website to check the status.

So I was hoping I could get this problem solved somehow by posting on here.  The guys you get when you call tech support are clearly following a script and have no clue what’s going on.  I’ve loved FiOS ever since I moved into my new house (couldn’t get it in my apartment) and I really hate Comcast, but as of right now, my Internet connection is pretty useless.  I can’t use my Netflix streaming devices (save the one PS3), and the reason we have more than one computer is so that we can do stuff no matter what computer we’re on.  So if I want to manage my Netflix queue, I shouldn’t have to go to the one computer in the house that can get to Netflix.

 

Here’s hoping for some help!  Thanks!

 

Unfortunately, it seems that the forums are just for end users.  FORTUNATELY, it helped me find out that there were a bunch of others with the same problem.  In fact, as you read through the pages you can see that it was affecting Mac users AND Linux users.  And other people’s Roku boxes and BluRay players.  Good, so I knew it was something I didn’t do!  OK, this seemed huge.  A bunch of people in Maryland with non-MS OSes couldn’t connect to HTTPS sites with FIOS.  Perfect!  Fine, if Verizon wouldn’t listen to my tweets, perhaps it would listen to the news media!  That’s another thing I’d seen.  People using twitter to get the media’s attention and getting relief from the big companies.  So I tried to contact Farhad Manjoo, the Slate/NPR tech correspondent.  Unfortunately, he has thousands of followers so I didn’t make it in his radar.  Well, one night when I was having some insomnia, I went to check the Verizon forums and saw that Verizon had a twitter page.  So I went to that page and saw that they have a twitter account for support and people seemed to be getting help on there.  So I followed them and tweeted to them about my problem.  They gave me a link for tech support.  I couldn’t find that link anywhere on the site before, but maybe I was looking somewhere else and was blinded to it.  Once I got there it was great.  The next day they investigated and found out that there were a bunch of us in Maryland with the same issue.  That Friday morning I got a call from their network guys saying they were working on the issue and it should be resolved by the end of the day and, indeed it was.

 

So what conclusions can we draw from this?  There are too many people on twitter now.  You can’t just complain to the world and hope to get restitution unless you’re a celeb with thousands of people to retweet for you.  So if you want to use social media to get help, look for the twitter account for the company you have beef with.  Make sure you’re thorough before you contact them so you don’t waste a bunch of time going through the easy stuff.  Or call their tech support to have your butt covered if you think you might miss something easy.  Even techies like myself have felt sheepish because the “non-working” device was not plugged in.  And post to as many relevant forums as you can so you can help figure out if the problem is local or global.

Top 20 Most Interesting Photos (According to flickr)

I haven’t done one of these since last October.  At lot of the same photos are there, but there are a few less panda shots.  A few of the photos have switched spots with each other. And there’s the relatively new photo of Dina and Brian. Interestingly (no pun intended), my most viewed photo is not in the top 20 most interesting. (So people on flickr like uninteresting shots?)

Decision:  Jump In!

Deciding Whether to Jump In

Rugged Manliness

Reflections of Love #1024

Maxwell's Equations

Day Three Hundred Fifty-Nine: Part 2 - Where is the Target?

Quite an Elaborate Costume on the Left

What's This?  My birthday cake?

Day Two Hundred Ninety-Five:  Stretching My Back and Calves

Infinite Winter Fractal Complexity - 05

Kickin' Back, Enjoying some Bamboo

Will This Support My Weight?

Day One Hundred Fifty-Two:  Practicing new McNally Techniques

Follow These Steps for a Successful Flying Kick

Fellow Flickerites

The LEGO City

Swingers of a Different Sort

Man, I didn't know the NYPD Needed Money This bad!

Half-Naked

Kissing in the Rain (Of Balls)

MoMA and Family BBQ

On my Father’s Day Weekend visit to NYC I finally got to see some MoMA exhibits I’d wanted to see for months. First off was a Picasso exhibit called “Variations”. Ever since my parents took me to the Dali Museum in St Petersburg, FL six years ago, I’ve been very interested in painters – especially artists from the 1930s-1950s and the surrealist and associated movements. Also, as a person of Spanish heritage, I’ve had a special interest in artists from the region. So I was very excited to see this Picasso exhibit.

When I first walked into the exhibition space, I was initially disappointed to read that this exhibit was focusing not on his paintings, but rather his pencil and printmaking works. After going through the exhibit I was very happy to have seen this side of his art that I had never experienced before. A good part of one room was dedicated to his series featuring a minotaur representing lust and the id side of sexuality.

Picasso's Minotaur Bacchanal
My favorite photo from the series. I just love the playful style and the audacity of the image.

I found this series to be both playful (because of the art style) and highly symbolic. Unlike the extreme abstract art we sometimes see with post-modern art, Picasso’s symbols were clear. Before I read the caption explaining the series, it was quite obvious to me that the minotaur represented unrestrained sexuality. I enjoyed being able to understand the art pieces without having to first read about what the heck it was I was looking at.

One of the most interesting aspects of this exhibit is that it showcased most of Picasso’s least surreal/cubist/etc artwork. It was often pretty obvious what it was you were looking at. The following sentiment will probably reveal my boorishness when it comes to art, but frankly anyone can create cubist art. It seems to simply require forgetting everything you know about 3D and putting the back and front of an object on display at the same time. Kids often do this when they’re learning how to draw. (this is not to take away from the skill required to properly paint it) But to see this artwork showed that Picasso was a master artist. His drawings reveal that he could draw and paint normally if he wanted to. That is, of course, how I define art – knowing the rules before you break them. So, a kid scribbling on paper is not art. But an artist scribbling on a canvas with a purpose will have the same result as a kid, but it is art. So to know that Picasso was not drawing weird simply because he didn’t know how to properly draw a face made me see him as an even greater artist.

On display were also a bunch of portrait drawings of each of his mistresses. Apparently each woman with whom he became involved sexually also became one of his muses. He made dozens of sketches of each of these women and they also appear in other works of art where they are not the only focus or maybe even not the primary focus. As I observed these, my mind wandered from the art to real life. What would it be like for his wife to have him not only involved with all these women, but sketching them and incorporating them into his art. Would she feel sad that she could not provide him all the inspiration he needed? Did she feel it was so brazen for him to create art from his mistresses?

And what of these other women. When they could no longer provide him with inspiration and he tossed them aside for another, did they feel spurned? Did they feel used as they became part of his art and he earned money from their likenesses? I also wondered how they felt about his portraits. While some of the portraits were drawn in the traditional manner, many of them are cubist or surreal. I know, from the captions at the museum, that at least one of these women was a surrealist artist. She would have appreciated the distortion in his work, but what of the others? Did they find it weird or grotesque to be depicted in this manner?

Above I mentioned the playfulness on display in some of the art from this exhibit. Another series which exemplified that spirit of play (but which I did not photograph) was a series of drawings of a bull. This series is Picasso playing a reductionist game to see how basic he can make a bull with us still recognizing it as a bull. Each successive work has less and less detail. (by analogy, the end result is similar to a stick figure as representative of a person) This is playful on an intellectual level and it tickled my brain to see it. But what I found extra funny was that amongst the details Picasso deemed essential to know it was a bull (horns, almond head, large body) were large testicles and a penis.

As I ascended the stairs to my final destination on the sixth floor, I stopped to see a photographic exhibit consisting entirely of female photographers. The first impression I got while walking around the exhibit was that there appeared to be no inherent difference between having a male or female behind the lens. In other words, there was nothing on the surface that screamed out, “This was taken by a woman!” On closer inspection I found a few threads that ran through the exhibit, but, at least in the way this exhibit was curated, they were only the faintest of threads. One such thread was an examination of the female condition — using the photograph to show others what it means to be a woman. Often this was very subtle, although there was one piece by an artist featuring a series of self-portraits that appeared to document her life in an abusive relationship. The images were brutal without being overly graphic and it made me hope that it was staged and not photodocumentary.
Another thread, again, very faint as it only encompassed a few of the photographs on display, was that of motherhood. The piece that stood out to me here was a series of portraits of the photographer’s daughter — one per year (only a subset of these were on display). Each was taken on a chair by a window. It was interesting to see the expression on the face go from childlike happiness to “ugh, I have to do this again!” to appreciation of the effort as she grew. The most profound was the last photograph chosen for this exhibit in which the daughter is now pregnant — presumably with a daughter of her own.

As expected, there were far fewer images of the female form than in a male photographic exhibit. Although there have been exceptions, throughout photographic history most images of the female form have been by male photographers. (As was the case with painting) Nor were there many images of the male form — it appears to be more off limits — perhaps exposing an undercurrent of sexism in the art world? In my surveys of photographic history and in what I’ve seen of paintings in museums, males have seldom been depicted nude. Far more likely has been the depiction of the nude or semi-nude female form. In fact, masculinity often is masked, as in the case of Picasso above, in the form of a minotaur, centaur, or other mythological half-man create. Part of this appears to be changing — at least from what I can tell on flickr. If females are not taking more portraits of the female form with other models, there is a proliferation of self-portraiture of the female form on flickr. This may, however, simply be a symptom of our narcissistic culture colliding with our voyeuristic culture. The female form will attract a much greater audience to someone’s photostream. Still, it removes at least one layer of exploitation to have the woman photographing the naked woman. But, as in other fields (pornography, music videos, film, etc) a case can be made that the woman is simply still functioning in the same world under the same pressures even if it is for a female master. Suffice to say, it’s a complicated issue and one that will not be explored any further in this post.

My main draw to the museum was a comprehensive exhibit of the work of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. This exhibit occupied all of space on the top floor that was available for public viewing. (Another area was under construction for a new exhibit) This collection of photos was amazingly vast. The space was arranged to take the visitor through Cartier-Bresson’s career in a roughly chronological order. The chronology was broken up a bit in order to divide his photojournalistic work into different categories —mostly on geographical boundaries.

The bulk of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photojournalistic work was accomplished in the 1930s and 1940s. His photographs appeared in all the important photojournalistic magazines of the world at that time. On display were magazine photo essays from American and French magazines. Given that commercial aviation was still a novelty during this time, it is astonishing that Henri travelled to so many places to bring back photographs for his assignments. Photographs on display included locales as diverse as America, England, Communist Russia (one of the first non-communists allowed to photograph there), Shanghai, China before and after the Maoist revolution, and Spain before, during, and after the 1930s civil war. Even today, with all our modern airplanes and relatively cheap flights (especially compared to the 1930s) most people don’t get to visit so many countries. But, back then before the Internet, his photographs (along with other photographers of the time) were all that Americans would get to see and know about places like China. It probably conferred both a great responsibility to properly represent the countries he was photographing and a feeling of great privilege to travel to all these places. In addition to the photojournalism work, he had photographs of some of the most famous people of his time including Jean Paul Sartre. They also had photographs of women and his capture of feminine beauty.

It was interesting to see the photos in a museum setting. For the most part, museums are associated with art (especially when the museum is named the “museum of modern art”). While photojournalism can produce photographs that people would conventionally consider art, I do not believe that 99.9% of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs would fulfill those requirements. They are great photos, often capturing a great moment. Most of the time they also exhibit great technique. To me, this makes them art. But they are not artsy photos. And that is what had my wife feeling a bit disappointed. She was expecting a great art photographer – I had told her nothing about Cartier-Bresson other than that he was a famous and heralded photographer. I guess, when it comes down to it, she found the photos too ordinary. To put it another way, she asked why my similar photographs of NYC life were not on display on the walls at MoMA. What made his photograph of a man in Shanghai haggling at the market different from one a tourist might take today that was of the same technical merits. I could not answer that question. He was, no doubt, a great photographer – as I mentioned, his photographs both capture that special moment and display perfect technique. But in modern times we are inundated with photographers of similar skill on flickr. Who will decide if one of them will end up in MoMA in the future?

That evening I went to dinner at Danielle’s cousin’s house. I was able to get some shots of people interacting with all the kids. They’re all in the 3-6 year range so they make nice, cute subjects. Here are a few photos from the evening.

Kayla and Danielle

Timmy and His Dad

Nam Eating

Finally, we all went to see Toy Story 3 (in 2D) at a 2230 showing. I will discuss this in my next blog post.

365 Graph

Today I worked on a python program to create a graph of the views of all my photos in my 365 Project set. Here’s the result:  (click for full size)

365 Project Views Graph

I was curious how they stacked up and I wanted to see if I could detect any patterns.  Except for a few outliers, they’re mostly below 50 views per photo.  I also expected to see more views after I started adding my photos to more 365 photo groups, but this is not the case.  There do appear to be clusters of views.  In other words, one highly viewed photo seemed to lift the ones by it.  That one huge outlier is my photo making fun of causes of the swine flu. The other big one is my Heroin Chic photo, no surprises there.  It was fun to create this and I learned a new python module.  Also, even though it probably took me a bit more time to program than to do it manually, it will now automatically generate whenever I want, and that’s worth the time it took.

Ten Thousand Views!

Inuyasha Cosplay
Who knew Inuyasha was that popular?

This photos is my most viewed photo on flickr and today it reached 10,000 views!  The pace of views has been insanely quick.  (for one of my photos)   It only had 5,000 views 18 months ago and ever since then I’ve been wondering when it would reach 10,000 views.  Now the next milestone on the flickr views groups is 25,000 views.  It’ll probably take a while to get there.  I know there are some who get 25,000 views in one day, but I’m not one of those, so this is pretty exciting for me.  10,000 pairs of eyeballs have seen this photo and that’s awesome.