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Thank you for this, Mike. I've been a through a twenty-year run of bad toasters. I'd pretty well given up hope. As a kid in the 1950s, it seems to me that all toasters just plain worked. Now that toasters come from China, I'm wondering whether the Chinese know the first thing about toast? Perhaps someone can tell me.
Ever hear of a rake? You can get really big ones. Good exercise and much faster than a leaf blower. Sorry, Mike, but leaf blowers suck as much as they blow.
Mike, I have a significant number of Camera & Darkroom issues. Let me know if I can fill in some of the gaps. My copies are well thumbed but intact.
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2015 on [Mike Update 1] at The Online Photographer
Following news of her death, I saw Mary Ellen Mark referred to in one article as a "street photographer." To me street photography is characterized by anonymity. Mark's work was always about connection and intimacy...just the opposite. She had few equals.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2015 on Mary Ellen Mark Has Died at The Online Photographer
Jane Corkin (Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto) deserves a significant portion of the credit for the "rediscovery" of Kertész in North America.
Nothing makes me snap my radio off faster than trite lyrics, and my radio seems to be off with increasing frequency these days. I suspect that a 140-character world may be impoverishing us all.
For me the treat on Lens Blog was the photo-essay "Seeing Halloween, as if for the First Time" featuring photographs by the hugely talented young photographer Joey L. I think it's the first time I've encountered digital B&W that had tonality and texture that really got me excited.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2014 on Electric Pumpkin at The Online Photographer
"My congenital and irremediable inability to cook impedes proper eating, no question." I think some gentle chiding is in order. By your own admission, you are a B&W whiz in the darkroom. Recently, you've mastered the art of excellent coffee, including roasting and grinding. Well, cooking uses the same skill set, and it's equally rewarding. You just need someone to point you in the right direction. After a few weeks, you'll wonder why you stood in your own way for so long.
As far as dogs are concerned, I prefer Pentti Sammallahti's Here, Far Away. My guess is that sales figures should be fairly respectable, too.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2014 on Fun Fact About DogDogs at The Online Photographer
They say people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Mike, have you ever consider just how bizarre the Super Bowl is to non-Americans? I had the misfortune of being invited to a Super Bowl party in 2002. There was so much jingoistic imagery one might have thought that an aircraft carrier was parked on the playing field. And the damn broadcast took forever. The recent World Cup final was a model of restraint and brevity in comparison. To each his own I guess. [Here's the thing, guys. I know I'm an American, but I actually have no control over what "Americans" collectively do. I'm not even consulted, if you can believe that. I have no veto power over anything. The Super Bowl was not my idea and I'm not in charge of any part of it (think of it though--the New York Philharmonic playing Beethoven overtures as the halftime show!!! That would be AWESOME. Oh, and the flyover would be a blimp painted with hippie flowers. Maybe I should do a column someday about all the things that would change if I WERE in charge of America. That would be entertaining. Bizarre, but entertaining.). So, really, to assume that critiquing the World Cup Final is the equivalent of defending American practices in any area is a non sequitur. Now, if I were actually in CHARGE of America, I admit you'd have a great point.... --Mike]
As a Canadian I wish there was a way you could affiliate with as well as For the health of the book industry, there must be competition. Chapters currently offers The Decisive Moment for CA$82.50 (CA$78.37 if you sign on to their member program). Considering that the Canadian dollar is currently US$0.9210, that is a bargain. Amazon is selling TDM for CA$107.72. Mike, I've been a loyal reader of your work since the Camera & Darkroom days, but I bought TDM at Chapters.
Yesterday I went outside to discover both our cars' windows covered in sparrow poop front and back and on both sides plus mirrors. I've already got several of the house windows covered with sheets of newspaper. The cars are now under tarps. In 32 years living here (Canadian Maritimes), this is the worst sparrow attack. I'm trying to avoid dark thoughts involving the air rifle that's in the cellar. I applaud Jim Hughes for picking up his camera instead.
Mike, as far as I'm concerned this is the mother of all photo postings, and I thank you for it. You've framed and proposed answers to questions I've been stumbling over for several years. I'm still working my way through the comments...deliberately taking my time. Many are exceptionally thoughtful and well articulated. Some are actually helping me out of the muddle and paralysis. Thank you all.
I think the reluctance concerning digital prints has to do with the perception that once the print has been "worked out" by the maker, it's possible to produce a very large number of identical prints, on the first day or months later. Producing even a modest number of "identical" prints in the darkroom is difficult. This plays into ideas about rarity. In addition, if you examine darkroom prints within an edition closely--and I'm referring to very good ones--there are almost always subtle differences. The hand of the artist is there. There can be a tremendous amount of work in the creation of the digital print, but the machine takes over once the print button has been pushed. I don't diminish the artistry involved in fine digital prints at all. I'm just commenting on perceptions concerning rarity and the hand of the artist. There is a counter argument that I cannot reconcile. A friend of mine who is an accomplished photo-realist painter used to also produce incredibly detailed serigraphic prints. As soon as Iris prints entered the art market, interest in serigraphs and other forms of traditional printmaking plummeted. One would think that traditional prints, with their built-in limitations in numbers (as plates or screens wear out) and their subtle variations from print to print (hand of the artist) would have withstood this new challenge, but they didn't, at least for several years. I don't know where traditional printmaking stands in the art market today. I'd be interested to know.
I've owned three quality digital cameras (DSLR, m43, and a high-end compact). Didn't bond with any of them. The body I would like buried with me is a lowly Canon EOS 630. It never let me down and made me more money than any other camera. I got use to its quirks and foibles, and it still feels like part of me whenever I pick it up.
I'm pretty sure I mentioned Starbucks over-roasting coffee on your blog back when you were just starting to contemplate a path to a better cup of coffee (without sugar). It's only my personal taste, but one I've discovered many others share Living in Canada, we have something far worse: Tim Horton's. Tim Horton's sells itself as being part of our national identity, but the coffee is truly vile. I'll take Starbucks over Tim Horton's anytime.
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2014 on Mike Starts a Fight at The Online Photographer
I see a few recommendations for Sharpies, and I have to respond by saying absolutely do not use a Sharpie. I used Sharpies on C-prints when I first started printing color, and the signatures faded to almost nothing within 10 years. I wouldn't trust them on inkjet or anything else.
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2013 on Need Your Help at The Online Photographer
I know I should be more tolerant of neologisms; however, "impacted" makes me wince (unless one is referring to a molar, in which case a wince is also in order). Thank you for "affected."
I think photo historians might skip over the current era since there will be so few surviving photographs, unlike the 1890's that produced millions of photographs that are still available for consideration.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2013 on Craze-y Days at The Online Photographer
Fig.1 strikes me as a superb example of "flat land" composition. As someone who almost always tries to convey the z-axis in photographs, it's nice to be reminded that there are other strategies in composition. Thanks for this. As to your focal length preferences vis-à-vis IR, I have a different theory. Your short-telephoto, somewhat flattened "normal" compositions are still readable in terms of volume or depth, even if they are not strongly so. However, IR photographs change our visual clues enough that you may intuitively feel the need to supply a sense of depth, and that is more easily done with wide-angle. Just a theory.
Might be an appopriate time for a brief explanation of moral rights and the tradition and application of moral rights in various countries. This happens to be an issue I feel strongly about, i.e., I support artists having unequivocal moral rights over their work.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2013 on Vandalism at The Online Photographer
Jarrett, you're kidding, right? Excepting the f/64 School, most photographers working with large cameras (Sally Mann, Jock Sturges, Joel Meyerowitz, Alec Soth, etc.) can hardly avoid using shallow DOF from time to time, and they often use it to great effect artistically. And that's not to mention the legion of acclaimed photographers who have employed selective focus in medium and small format.
I think Joe Kashi got it right, i.e. that digital technology has sufficiently matured that all the top-tiered cameras can deliver superb files. If we're sensible at all, the gear churn should be slowing down. Which places us more or less where we were when we had a half dozen or more brands of 35mm film SLRs that all delivered comparable results. You chose one that appealed to you and mostly concentrated on the photography rather than the next "upgrade."
As someone who used to shoot transparencies for publication, there was always in my mind a distinct designation for what I was doing, especially since the transparency was my finished product (there being no making afterwards). It was "camera work." I never could find a verb I liked for camera work. Don't like "shoot" at all, though I use it. I prefer the specificity of "camera work" compared to "taking pictures." An art thief could be taking pictures.
Toggle Commented May 30, 2013 on Termin -al -ology at The Online Photographer