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So I haven’t posted in some time, both on this blog and Seeking North.
It’s mostly because of the apprenticeship I’ve taken up at a film studio, but also because I haven’t been taking any photographs lately. And I know it’s not the way it should be, but it is.
I want to change that though. I want to have my camera on person wherever I go, I want to capture the things I see. Seeking North began with that idea, but became more of a portfolio website - and I hated that. So back to it’s roots.
This blog though should be a place where everything I love or find interesting on the web is posted.
Hopefully the things that interest me, interest others too.
Yesterday I spent the day doing nothing. It’s not as easy as it looks. Because the idea of doing anything may very easily lead to doing something, which would cut into doing nothing, changing everything.
“ The most personal things in life, whether they’re personal or professional, are based on intuition.”
On the software side, Apple has — dare I say finally — become a company that can walk and chew gum at the same time. Remember back in 2007 when Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) was delayed six months because, Apple flat-out admitted, they had to pull engineering talent from Mac OS X to work on iOS 3? They don’t seem to have that problem any more.
Today, Apple has two OSes that are both in active concurrent development. Year-over-year, it’s hard to say which OS has seen the most improvement.
The new “next-generation” MacBook Pro with Retina Display is, in short, “Back to the Mac” for hardware. This is an iOS-inspired appliance — battery, RAM, solid state storage — all of it is sealed in a magnificent enclosure. Consider too that it no longer even says “MacBook Pro” on the front of the display. It’s just like an iOS device — a brilliant display surrounded by black glass.
I have a review unit from Apple, and after just 15 minutes or so trying it out, it’s damn impressive. Much like with the iPhone and iPad, it’s not so much that the retina display looks good as that, after you’ve used it for even just a few minutes, non-retina display MacBooks look bad. It’s not just pixel size, either — color, brightness, viewing angles — everything about it is amazing. Best display I’ve ever seen, period.
The catch is that it’s expensive. That’s why it debuted alongside a brand-new update to the 15-inch non-retina MacBook Pro, rather than replacing it. If you can afford it (and don’t need the optical drive or spinning hard disk), you want the new one. And surely we’re going to see displays of this caliber roll out across the MacBook line, one by one, as soon as it becomes economically feasible. (And, I presume, the iMac and Cinema Displays, too. It’s just a matter of time.)
Best to compare it to the original MacBook Air from 2008. The first Air was expensive and not for everyone, but it showed the future of Apple’s (and, really, the industry’s) portables. That’s what the new 15-inch MacBook Pro is: the future of portable Macs.
Starting with the opening gag with Siri doing stand-up comedy and continuing through to Apple’s new maps and Siri’s new features, there was an unmistakeable “Fuck you, Google” undertone to the whole keynote. Apple is forcing Google out of iOS. Even the Facebook integration feels like a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” alliance.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: Google made a mistake by deciding to oppose rather than ally with Apple on mobile.
As photographers and creatives, with the world we currently live in, we constantly are putting our work and lives out there for all to see. While there are so many positives to this, people sometimes fail to realize how vulnerable it makes all of us. It leaves room for any individual to trash-talk, belittle, criticize and even make personal judgements on us as individuals. Yes, we have chosen to put our work and lives out to the public which leaves us open to these things, however it doesn’t make it easy to swallow all the time. How often do you see someone hating on a postman, or a waiter, or even a dog walker on the internet in public forums using their full names…. not often, if at all. If you don’t like what an artist is putting out there, and don’t have anything constructive or informative to say, why say it at all. It’s something I’ve never understood. Personally, I’m beyond grateful for the people and clients that support me and what I do. Just being able to inspire one person is completely humbling, and for that, I am thankful. It makes the other stuff drift away. I make a living out of doing what I love, and in the end, that’s all that matters.
“Whatever you do, don’t be bored. This is the most exciting time you could have possibly hoped to be alive. And things are just getting started.”
My first glimpse into the art was through a handheld, which I used to borrow from my father while on holiday. There came a point where I was given my very own handheld, and it’s then that I attempted to fulfill my fascination for the art. A few years later, as I dug deeper to find the perfect picture, I was gifted a DSLR.
This was only two years ago.
I began as most do, on the “Automatic” preset. Slowly as time passed, I figured out what terms like “Shutter Speed” and “Aperture” meant. It was then I moved from the now amateurish “Automatic” to “Shutter Priority”. And slowly as I saw the options the camera chose for me under given lighting conditions, I adapted and used these as inputs for the “Manual Mode”.
Photography was at this point completely self taught. I did take inspiration from films, but suprisingly not so much well known photography. The more photographs I took, the better the outcomes were. Framing a photograph came almost instictively, and I could see a good photograph before I put my eye to the viewfinder.
My photography at the time could be characterised as street photography, except I was shooting within the confines of a boarding school. I captured what caught my attention, but could never ask someone to pose while I did so. It was there that I grew to love people, the way they walk, hand gestures, expressions, emotions and details that made them individuals. I began to have a fondness for portrait photography, but it must be kept in mind that I was within the confines of a boarding school so whoever I photographed, I knew and was comfortable with.
A year later, as my interest grew so did my needs.
I moved up a few tiers within the Nikon range and have found myself pleasantly pleased with what I could achieve with the camera.
Right about that time I graduated from high school, and had to decide what I wanted to do with regards to my education. The dream was always to be a filmmaker, rather still is. But photography excited me, I had grown to have a passion for it, slinging my camera onto my shoulder wherever I went. I knew I wanted to apply to an arts college, but all the courses available forced me into having to try my hand at all the possible art forms in a foundation course. Two years of doing it had made me realise that I’d rather do something I wish to pursue, and so I applied to the ABC Diploma at LCC. I was sure it would be give me an upperhand as I made my way to study film in the near future.
Almost a year has passed since I made that decision, and it’s turned out to be one of the better decisions of my life.
As the months passed, I was educated on the techinical aspects of photography, which being an amateur and self taught in the art I would have never paid heed to. It also gave me a background into past photographers who had left behind a legacy. The likes of Robert Capa, Henri-Cartier Bresson and Irving Penn were unknown to me and it’s probably why I chose them as the photographers to write an essay about.
It’s also the first time I embraced analog photography and put my time in at the darkroom, making sure I don’t miss a lecture so as to miss out on procedure and skill.
I was also weak when it came to my Photoshop skills, where I simply got by, by using native presets rather than making manual adjustments and learnt about destructive and non-destructive editing, layers, masks, and so forth. This gave me an opportunity to use these skills in other software such as Lightroom and Adobe Bridge.
Before taking up this course I had only heard of a photography studio, but this gave me the chance to actually photograph people in it! It was a revelation as a possible genre of photography I could get into, although it’s besides the point that it thrill me enough.
What did thrill me was the photojournalism course that was offered. I enjoy photographing real things, and as biased an opinion this is, I don’t consider fashion to be that. Real people, in real situations thrill me. This elective gave the chance to do just that.
As an individual, I’m very shy. I have always found it hard to speak with people I don’t know well enough, so walking up to a stranger and asking if I could photograph them was more than just a step up. This course, i.e. the photojournalism course forced me into doing just that. I was able to garner up the courage, when my mind was telling me to run far away.
It was only after the photojournalism course finished that I realised how the confidence was making my pictures better. The skills were taught to me by the educators, and the confidence parted to me via the photojournalism course. Together, I felt invincible (although that’s probably saying too much).
More to come.
If you’re reading this it means I actually worked up the courage to mail it, so good for me. You don’t know me very well but if you get me started I have a tendency to go on and on about how hard the writing is for me. But this, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write.
There’s no easy way to say this so I’ll just say it, I met someone. It was an accident, I wasn’t looking for it, it wasn’t on the make, it was a perfect storm. She said one thing, I said another, next thing I knew, I wanted to spend the rest of my life in the middle of that conversation. Now there’s this feeling in my gut she might be the one. She’s completely nuts in a way that makes me smile, highly neurotic with a great deal of maintenance required, she is you, Karen. That’s the good news.
The bad is I don’t know how to be with you right now. And that scares the shit out of me. Because if I’m not with you right now, I have this feeling that we’ll get lost out there. It’s a big, bad world full of twists and turns. And people have a way of blinking and missing the moment. The moment that could have changed everything. I don’t know what’s going on with us, and I can’t tell you why you should waste the leap of faith on the likes of me, but damn you smell good. Like home. And you make excellent coffee. That’s got to count for something right?
Other photographers can’t tell you what equipment you should use, what’s the best lens, what film to use, what you do in photoshop, what’s the best camera, how far away you should be from a subject, what time of day to shoot or what kind of diet you should have to be a better photographer (ok, i made the last one up). Experiment people! Try new things out, rent from a local rental house before you purchase something. Use different kinds of film under different lighting conditions. Find out what works for you. It’s funny that even with digital photography being so prevalent, people still get so nervous to try new things out. The best advice I can give any aspiring photographer who asks any of the above questions, is to try it out. I’m always forcing myself to take that exact advice, solely because being complacent is never a good thing.
“I have to ask you something,” Ron Wayne begins, as we stand to leave his office, signaling the close of our day-long conversation. He takes a slightly dramatic pause, adding, “compared to other people, is my life really that interesting?” This isn’t modesty; it’s earnestness. Wayne is genuinely curious about what makes his 77 years on earth so fascinating to have warranted my traveling across the country in order to spend a few days in his presence. I answer, honestly, that it’s his time with Apple that has made him such a figure of interest. “Oh,” he responds. “So it’s my brushes with famous people. I’m a footnote in someone else’s story.”