Book Talk: “Why it does not have to be in focus”

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Warhol is on the cover, what could go wrong?

Nothing in this case. “Why It Does Not Have to Be in Focus: Modern Photography Explained” by Jackie Higgins is as interesting to read as it is to look at, and there is plenty of delights to view for any person’s cup of tea.

True to its title, the book is a focused look on why photography does not always have to be razor-sharp either technically or conceptually. As one would hope for a photography book, rather than just pontificate, Higgins serves up one critically acclaimed photo after another to back it all up. It’s a visual Socratic method and you’re left to examine further and think on your own.

Separated into different genres with each photo study being a concise yet impacting two pages, Higgins and the people at Prestel publishing manage to share, inform, and educate without being overbearing or overblown. It’s the sort of book I wish was available more often in photography. Not a coffee table hog but still professionally presented, it doesn’t require chronological reading and you can come back to it again and again.

As for the photography selected, each reader will react differently to the individual photos and photographers. Standouts to me are “Picture for Women” by Jeff Wall, “Strip” by Jemima Stehli, “99 Cent” by Andreas Gursky, “The Museum of Modern Art, New York (9.8.2001 – 7.6.2004)” by Michael Wesely, and “Galleria Dell’ Accademia #1, Venice” by Thomas Struth.

One apprehension going into reading this was the snobbery that often goes with fine art photography and the gallery scene, “photography with a P” as I like to call it. And while there is some of that here and there, there also isn’t. As expected with modern art, there are a lot of questions such as “what is art?”, “what is a real artist (or photographer)?”, and then some photographers who perhaps don’t care either way. In other words, it’s not too pretentious… but sometimes is… and that is what makes fine art so cute, and really worth being open to.

Why I Broke Up with Twitter


Some of you are probably on Twitter. Some of you may enjoy Twitter. For me, it was simple. It was not helping me. It wasn’t necessarily hurting me either. It was just there. There were few real social moments or sharing of ideas. My local photographer following is on Instagram, not Twitter. My one local follower on Twitter can text or call me whenever she wants (ironically I met her on Twitter, but she is an exception). There was no tangible community incentive to stick around.

What there is a lot of – based on my photography sample, anyway – is self-promotion, “here I am!” photos, offers of eBooks I don’t want, robotic invitations to like someone on Facebook, retweets of classic pics (very worthwhile but accessible elsewhere), and way too many #FF mentions. Artistically, it provided some decent viewing pleasure. Conversationally, it’s a bore. Socially, it’s faux.

Again, this applies to artists and photographers but based on my overall experience with it that can be extended to general users too. “Lulz”, snark, and I’m smarter than you cleverness is not a good social experience for me. Nor is using it as a social weapon.

Twitter, like its sister Facebook, is just big, but not meaningful. It might be the sometimes fun urban downtown to FB’s gated suburb, but it’s not going to usher in some new era of enlightenment. Quite the contrary, actually. You could have thousands of followers, and still be lonely. You could be retweeted a bunch, and still eat alone. It’s fleeting.

In practical business terms, it’s non-essential. Yes, Twitter can be used for amazing things but the amazing applies to perhaps 1% of its use (that’s a guess folks, based solely on my Americanized experience). And, quite frankly, anyone who judges a person based only on Twitter numbers – high or low – is not someone I’m interested in. The same principle applies to someone who judges based only on a tweet without any context, unless the tweets are consistently over-the-top awful. Communication and thought is truncated enough these days, I don’t need anymore of that sad trend than necessary.

Now before you call me a luddite know that I have an iPad, iPod, and iPhone. I have a laptop computer. I blog here, I was on Facebook, and once upon a time I MySpaced. I have other websites. My Boxee Box is still used! If our Net and mobile experience is a mosaic of self-selected personalization then my deactivation of Twitter is really no different than wiping one paint away from the easel, with the intention of adding a new one.

Why would any of you here in the WordPress community care about this? Hell if I know. But where else can I vent about my breakup with Twitter?

The Power of Quiet

Short but to the point. I enjoyed reading this.



From CristinaSkyBox

Have you ever being embarrassed of your quietness or shyness? Have you ever being envious of more outspoken charismatic people?

In spite of zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas, often too much of a premium is put on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking. As Susan Cain points out, “Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness – is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living in the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform…”.

However don’t despair if you are quiet and introverted by nature. Be yourself and share…

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