This is a video shot by my friend and fellow photographer, Amos Nachoum. It’s so amazing… I just wish I could have been there, too!
I rented a wood-splitter earlier this August, and as I was splitting the wood, I noticed how the structure of the wood was very different when it is split under pressure as opposed to being cut. I’m always on the lookout for patterns and structures that are different than the normal things we see every day. So I have started a series of images with “torn” wood as a landscape.
The images were photographed with a Canon 50d and a 100mm f2.8 macro lens. I was originally thinking that I would get closer, using my bellows or thimble lens, but as I photographed, I got stuck in the 1:2 or 1:1 magnification range. Maybe some of my newer images that I hope to do soon will be in the 2x-5x range. Hopefully I can shoot some of those soon and post them before the middle of December.
I hope you like what you see, because so far I like what I’ve been experimenting with, and I hope to keep going… So tell me, which one is your favorite?
I saw this video on CNN today – and thought that it was very funny, but also a bit scary: A wedding is a constantly moving event. There are so many things that you just can’t control, and even the best photographer is going to miss something, every once in a while. Now, hopefully, a good photographer will know that they have missed something, and if I ever do, for whatever reason, I always try and re-create the moment that same night.
For instance, at a recent wedding I photographed, I could not get a good shot of the kiss or the exchanging of the rings. This was because there were two pastors at the event, and both of them were standing right in front of everything! And yet, I had also been asked not to go behind the bride and groom so that I wouldn’t be distracting. I had a choice to make: I could ignore my instructions and walk behind everyone and just shoot away, being rather distracting, or I could, in good faith, shoot within the constraints I had been given, and then figure things out later. So I shot what I could, and then made sure I grabbed the bride and groom a little bit later, explained the issue to them, and we took 5 minutes and re-created several important shots that I missed. They understood completely, and there was no issue at all later on, and I think that they were very happy with the photographs.
However, I consider myself very blessed, because I have never had an issue with a couple like this, or had anyone come back to me with unreasonable requests. Especially years later, as in this case. Frankly, this guy’s actions are very suspect, and I hope that he doesn’t win his lawsuit of a breach of contract. But if his photographer really did miss some important shots, then maybe he is entitled to something, but with all of his other requests, and the timing of his requests, I think that this lawsuit is, like Anderson Cooper states in the video, rather ridiculous. And more than anything else, I feel for the photographer in this case, too. I just hope he can laugh at this like we are, and I hope he doesn’t lose too much sleep over it all.
One of the reasons why I think, as a culture, we are in love with movies (whether we admit it or not), is because they do feel like magic, especially at a young age. I remember watching E.T. in a movie theater on the Outer Banks when I was 7 years old. I remember the terror, and then the elation as the movie raced towards its conclusion. The magic as Elliot and E.T. flew over the road block… I felt like I was flying with them… I think about that now as I have grown older – and more cynical (or critical, if you please): It’s nice to remember that sometimes a great work of art can be more than the sum of its parts. The marriage of lights, sounds, and story come together to create a visceral experience that is, for lack of a better word, magic.
I can go back through the movie and try to pick it apart, talk about camera angles, dialogue, that sort of thing. But you know, to a certain degree, those things only matter to the critics. The end judgement of a movie is, well, did you feel like you could fly? And that’s what E.T. did for me, and so many of my generation. It was greater than the sum of its parts.
I write about this today because I came upon this YouTube video today, thanks to /Film. As I watched this little girl’s face as she experienced that magic, I found myself grinning like an idiot. I was reveling in her discovery of the magic of film in that moment. I was almost back in the theater in 1982, and I could almost feel my heart leap in my chest like it did at that moment when the bike wheels left the ground. What a great memory to have…
Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching the concern and fright in her face turn to pure joy right in front of you. I hope it reminds you of the power of art, and the magic of something that is, by it’s very existence, far more than just the sum of its parts!
I was browsing through Vimeo the other day, just checking out a few different things, when I happened to actually look at the featured films on the front page. And, to be honest, I don’t know why this film caught my eye, but it did. I clicked on it and immediately knew that something was different about it. First off, it had a voice-over quoting the Old Testament, and secondly, the style was something very different from what I expected. Needless to say, I loved it! My only issue with the whole thing is right at the end, where the scripture is talking about an army, and only one guy stands up. I would liked to have seen a whole bunch of guys stand up. But beyond that, I thought it awesome. Well, and I actually don’t like the title screen. Which is why I almost didn’t click on it: It looks like some kind of western or something like that. Oh well. I clicked anyway, and was the better for it!
So you can watch it below, or I would also encourage you to follow the link to the artist’s Vimeo page and check out his other work. He’s quite good!
This is a documentary film done by a student of mine who graduated a few years ago. It’s a neat story about some people in Rochester who are trying to change things for the better in our city through art. Enjoy!
As I have been teaching for a long time, I have seen several approaches to “success” by students. Some may have a strict schedule. Others may find that sports help them focus and use their time better. Some have to have a study hall to get extra work done. But whatever it is, when I see very successful students, usually (although not every time), they have at least one very involved parent or guardian behind them. Not that there aren’t students who come from horrible family situations who do well in school, but let’s just say that parents are just as much a key ingredient to a student’s success as a good teacher.
This article, which appeared today on cnn.com, is an excellent article that vocalizes so many of the feelings that I hear said often, by teachers, counselors, and administrators, both from the school I work in as well as from many other different districts. I hear it from teachers across the boards, both in core curriculum as well as in the arts, and in music, etc. This is not a simple, localized issue. I personally believe that what we are seeing is the same issue that is plaguing so many places of our life these days – a lack of general ethics. You can see it everywhere in the news, from the students on up to the politicians who take “bribes”, er, I mean, campaign contributions, and care not a whit for their constituencies.
In reality, to many people, it seems that life has become more about only the end result, not how you got that result. If you win the election, or get an “A” on the test, it doesn’t matter how you got there, does it?!
Of course it does.
So, I’ve spent WAY too much time doing this, but I wanted Darren Aronofsky’s commentary on his movie “The Fountain” remixed with the actual audio from the movie, so I could re-burn my DVD withe the director’s commentary as an extra audio track, like it should have been done from the studio.
But before we get to the download, let me just say that I’ve never been one to be too much of a “fanboy”, but in this case, I’ll admit it readily. I loved The Fountain. I honestly consider it one of the bravest and most astounding movies ever made. Aronofsky is a director who communicates visually as much as he does through dialogue, and that is pretty rare. He packs his movies full of symbolism and visual meaning like no other director of his generation.
Anyway, I have a lot of opinions about The Fountain, and some of its meaning, and I know that I am probably in the minority when I say that I believe that the only “fictional” part of the movie is the Conquistador portion of the movie. I believe that Tommy the doctor and Tom the space traveler are the same person. I believe that Tommy really does find the cure for death, and spends a lonely eternity searching for his wife’s soul, until he realizes that death is not the evil thing that he thinks is it. He finally stops being afraid of death, and realizes that the end of all his searching is the very thing he has been running away from: Death itself.
I could go on, but that is not the purpose of this entry in my blog. Maybe I’ll write more about my reasons for those ideas sometime later. But what we’re talking about here is me being a fanboy, and the fact that I decided to re-work Darren Aronofsky’s Director’s Commentary of The Fountain, and make it available for you to download…
One of my students asked me today, “What kind of person would do that?” It was a question that stopped me in my tracks.
We were talking about the killings that have been happening in Chinese elementary schools, and it was a seemingly innocent and understandable question, and maybe even one that seems a bit trivial or naive. But it bit deep into a real issue that I think really does bother most people when we read something like this.
So I thought for a moment, trying to answer this student, and was shocked at my own incomprehension. What would make a person do that to anyone, let alone 5 year old children who have never done anything to harm him? As I struggled, it dawned on me that the answer was that no human really would. It makes me think of Frank Herbert’s classic novel Dune, and the test of the Gom Jabbar, where the point of the test is to make sure our young hero, Paul, is really human. Herbert suggests that some people are not really human, and the test is one of the greatest parts of that book, and it dives into a huge realm of psychology about the “nature” of human beings and how they react to fear.
Well, for once I wish I lived on the West Coast! As a boy who fell in love with the magic of film and special effects at a young age, I vividly remember the 1981 Clash of the Titans. And make no mistake, it may not look as impressive as the newest version, with all of its computer technology, but it was as much – if not more – of a masterpiece in visual effects. And Harryhausen was the man who brought all of that to life. And unfortunately enough, I think his name may not be remembered by a majority of this current generation of movie-goers. True, we all know the likes of Lucas, Cameron, and maybe even John Gaeta, but I’m afraid that masters like Harryhausen may not be written down in history as they should. So, at my urging, go see this exhibition, or at least, do a google search on Ray Harryhausen, just to understand how magic used to be made.