Somewhat different than a straight dark field setup in that these were lit from the side with a pair of strobes in front of a dark background, rather than with a single strobe from behind the background. The exposure on the right has an additional small spotlight on the front of the mug in order to define the etching on the glass surface.
Interestingly, the exposure for the image on the left was an ordinary flash timing of 1/100 second @ f/14, whereas the image on the right was 13 seconds @ f/14. Because the light on the front of the mug was so insignificant in comparison to the flash, the subject is illuminated by the modelling lamps + the spot on the front of the mug.
Tellingly there are no Pop Psychology titles in the lot. DIY should not be confused with Self Help. I can't find a breakdown in the categories, but the Educational Book Publishing market in North America is worth something like $4-5 billion a year, most of that in secondary and university textbooks.
DIY is probably only a small fraction of that, but it seems I'm doing my part to keep publishers busy with new titles all the time. This work with "bright-field" strobe photography is from the inappropriately titled Light: Science & Magic - An Introduction to Photographic Lighting.
There's only so much abuse one can take. I gave it a chance, really. But she hung herself. Or me.
Who would have thought someone who could write seven Potter books, full of such imagination (and many explanations of what had happened) and whimsy, generating an immense fortune in the process, would compose such a leaden work as The Casual Vacancy? Rowling no doubt knows how to tell a story, but in it's telling here, it moves at an almost glacial pace, nearly in real time, amongst a large cast that it takes some time to sort out.
But once that's done, we're left to hear them drone on and on. They're a fairly boring lot for a 503 page novel, despite all the back stabbing and sneaking around in the bushes. With not a one of real interest, other than possibly 15 year old Krystal, a truant who lives with her heroine addicted mother in a trashed public housing apartment. Several of the male characters are such extreme examples of type -one a foul mouthed, abusive father; another a bleeding heart liberal despised by his own Raskolnikov like son - that they crash into absurdity, their puppet strings all too clearly visible. The women are small minded and always loyal to their men. The teens are grubby grifters who have nothing but sex on their minds.
After a while the pretty little borough of Pagford becomes a claustrophobic caldron. As it's meant to be. The residents may not have an option to leave. But I got the hell out, and bailed before the end of the line. Not a common experience, after investing 10+ hours. I've got to cut my losses though.
Not sure that I will actually use this material if it becomes commercially available, but it's great to see that people are working on resurrecting - and improving - a film emulsion that's been gone for at least ten years. Best wishes to the New55 Film effort, who are developing an updated version of Polaroid 55 that fits in 4x5 film holders and can be used with view cameras. I shot a little of it when I first got my Sinar F2, but I know it was a favorite with many photographers because it would yield either an instant print or a wonderful b&w negative. The plan with the New55 is to have both.
Read more about it in a recent Washington Post article.
A posthumously published (on April 14, 2011) collection of writing fragments that revolve around an assortment of characters who work at the Peoria, Illinois IRS Regional Examination Center, The Pale King is hardly a novel in any traditional sense. While there are recurring characters in multiple situations, D.F. Wallace was far from ready to release this material to the world. No doubt he would be aghast to find that we have it available in published form. Which is not to say that there is no enjoyment to be found in his writing. Far from it. Many of the pieces are astounding bits, hilarious, intense, descents into weird gibberish, maddeningly opaque, clever word pictures, but never boring. It is boredom in fact that the book is ostensibly about:
...I discovered, in the only way that a man ever really learns anything important, the real skill that is required to succeed in a bureaucracy...
The underlying bureaucratic key is the ability to deal with boredom. To function effectively in an environment that precludes everything vital and human. To breathe, so to speak, without air.
The key is the ability, whether innate or conditioned, to find the other side of the rote, the picayune, the meaningless, the repetitive, the pointlessly complex. To be, in a word, unborable. I met, in the years 1984 and '85, two such men.
It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.
But don't be looking for a plot.
Not very rigorous, but I think this pretty effectively demonstrates the usefulness of the Mosaic Engineering Anti-Alias filter in the Canon 7D. Watch this fascinating video to see the difference between using the filter and NOT using the filter, with ordinary household objects.
Last week's shoot involved some Time Travel. Much thanks to Ralph Williams for helping to construct the Machine, and Sallah Baloch for consulting on the design. See the Vimeo page for complete credits.
No one cares how much effort was involved. But I'm here to report that creating moving images hasn't gotten any easier or less time consuming now that we're firmly into the digital age. It might happen on a more accelerated schedule, but the total hours haven't really changed much from the dark ages of film.
Time to kick this shit out the door. This one followed the opposite of the schedule utilized for the previous production.
oh my dayum. What a trip. I've finally joined the Darkstone Entertainment crew of rotating video workers. Here's John Johnson's latest creation, an attempt at viral video that is his take on a video that has already gone viral. We shot last night from 7 - 11pm, with me behind the camera, he edited until 6am and had it posted this morning.
That would be the Hermitage, one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, the collection consists of nearly three million items. This astounding and revolutionary film is the first to employ no edits, as the camera - piloted by Steadicam operator extraordinaire Tilman Büttner - travels two kilometers through the complex of the museum and the Winter Palace, traversing 300 years of Russian history, observing a cast of hundreds along with thousands of extras. The point is, that this incredible institution is an ark of culture floating on a sea of turmoil and constant change.
Astounding because Mr Büttner carried 77 pounds of Steadicam and camera for about 90 minutes and traversed some 30 rooms that needed to be lit. Revolutionary because it is an entire film in a single take, but the narrative takes place over such a broad period of time. Despite these aspects, and the impressive size of the production in general, non Russians are not likely to be engaged on anything other than a visual level. Snippets of dialogue with historical characters are heard throughout, but engagement does not occur. The camera is too anxious to continue on its tour of this remarkable location.
Alexander Sokurov - dir.
Tilman Büttner - dp/Steadicam; is Steadicam op for Béla Tarr's last film The Turin Horse
primarily a Russian/German co-production
Despite the pasel of images of the newly completed handrail - constructed at the insistance of insurance officials - here's what I've got to show.
Soon enough we'll get to project before & afters. It reminds me that I read, once upon a time when Andreas Gursky visited Brasilia, he took a picture of the carpet. The buildings didn't excite him much.
While the carpentry projects continue, linger, advancing oh so slowly, but steadily, there are others that present themselves. This guy, Spathiphyllum floribundum,
blossoms only every other year or so, and you don't see the spadix unless you lie on the floor and look up at the plant. The latest idea is a time lapse of one of these blossoms opening. I don't know when it happens, perhaps even during the night. So it's set up in the studio with a one second interval. Tomorrow morning, when I have to clear out the room, should tell whether anything has transpired. Then it's back to the deck, to the final missing component.
Carpentry time, once again. It's something I know how to do. But inevitably there's going to be some maintenance involved. It's no longer a piano - or the box it came in - but might be approaching a boat.
It was a tough day Friday: went to exchange some 5/4 mahogany for lengths that will work much better for the top of the handrail, which required yet another drive to Zion Crossroads. But at least Cody worked out an $8.92 refund.
My layout drawing for the convex curve made me fairly confident that I could get the four required pieces out of the expected 1'-1" x 15'-1" board. This did not take into account the inevitable cracks and gouges created by careless lift truck drivers spearing the material with their forks as they move it around the yard. And as inevitable as these defects are, it goes without saying that they always appear at the center of the piece of material, usually in a location that cannot be cut out. In this case I had two curved pieces laid out along the length of the board, so naturally one of the apexes of the curves had to hit on the defect. Nor had I expected that one end of the material would be 13 inches wide and the other would be only 12-1/2. All of this to explain that three of the four pieces were indeed cut to the required size. But the fourth falls off the edge of the board and so may be something like six inches short of the desired length. Oh well, there are only so many things one can take into account, without making an offering to Murphy. I've got enough material to make the complete curve, but the joints may not fall where I wanted them, on support posts.
The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art - Don Thompson, 2008, Palgrave Macmillan
An informative, and ultimately depressing book about art in the 21st century.
How does a work then come to be worth $12 million, or $140 million? This has more to do with the way the contemporary art market has become a competitive high-stakes game, fuelled by great amounts of money and ego. The value of art often has more to do with artist, dealer, or auction-house branding, and with collector ego, than it does with art. The value of one work of art compared to another is in no way related to the time or skill that went into producing it, or even whether anyone else considers it to be great art. The market is driven by high-status auctions and art fairs that become events in their own right, entertainment and public display for the ultra-rich.
Branding has become the most important element in any work's provenance - whether through a collector, a dealer, an auction house, or a museum.
Auction houses have nearly taken over the market for high end art work.
"80% of the art bought from local dealers and local art fairs will never resell for as much as the original purchase price. Never, not a decade later, not ever."
At the end of the book, Thompson, who has lectured on economics at the London School of Economics, offers a few rules:
With the work of western artists, what kind of painting will appreciate most? There are general rules. A portrait of an attractive woman or child will do better than that of an older woman or an unattractive man. An Andy Warhol Orange Marilyn brings twenty times the price of an equal-sized Richard Nixon.
Bright colors do better than pale colors. Horizontal canvases do better than vertical ones. Nudity sells for more than modesty, and female nudes for much more than male...
Purebred dogs are worth more than mongrels, and racehorses more than cart horses. For paintings that include game birds, the more expensive it is to hunt the bird, the more the bird adds to the value of the painting... There is an even more specific rule, offered by New York dealer David Nash: paintings with cows never do well. Never.
A final rule was contributed by Sotheby's auctioneer Tobias Meyer. Meyer was auctioning a 1972 Bruce Nauman neon work, Run from Fear/Fun from Rear, which referred to an erotic act. When the work was brought in, a voice from the back of the room complained, "Obscenity." Meyer, not known for his use of humor on the rostrum, responded, "Obscenity sells." Often it does not, but for a superstar artist like Jeff Koons or Bruce Nauman, it does. It did.