Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's a Cold, Cold Day


SilverRoseNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

No, there's not going to be pictures posted from Georgetown. In fact, I didn't go. Wasn't that I was too lazy, no, in fact, I came down with a rotten cold and have been stuck up in the house trying to get better. Lucky for me, I have some tomato soup to munch on, and Chase is here to keep me warm.

It's supposed to be record cold in Austin today too. It's something like a high in the 30's. Yipes.

In "it's gone and we don't really miss it" news, this picture was taken from the cenizo bush that grew at the end of my driveway. Maybe because of the recent cold, or maybe for other reasons, the neighbors saw fit to dig it out. Yes, you read that right. Cenizo plant is now no more, replaced by some very ordinary looking pansies. (Don't worry, I won't bother to photograph them-you'll just have to take my word.)

Can't say as I blame them, I mean, the silly bush was taking over the entire driveway.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Driving Miss Sunflower


Sunflower, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Now, I know this is a still life and I know that you are anxiously awaiting the announcement of my new book, Drive which doesn't actually have anything to do with sunflowers or, for that matter, still life photography either, but I thought I would lay it on you.

This image was taken with my SX-70 camera a long time ago-it's actually one of the earliest Polaroid prints that I did when I first started doing Polaroids. My how times have changed. Even if time and film (or lack of film) has changed, the sentiment has not-it's a happy day photo and today, I have declared, is a happy day.

Why is it happy? Well, for starters, I have gotten my book finished or, at least, "done enough" for you to take a look see. Today is cloudy and cool, with a strong wind and tomorrow hopefully brings a bit warmer temps along with a location shoot of sorts. I'm happy whenever I get to go out shooting and, lately anyway, it seems that's not a lot. Between doing the book, gallery shows, marketing "who-ha" and all of that goodness and light, it's sometimes hard to find the time to go out and do some new work. I really hate that because, well, I actually like to go out and take pictures. But, sadness no more! Tomorrow, we go out and see the world. (The best thing about photography is that you have an excuse to go out and see the world. Not only do you get to see the world, but if you're lucky a few hours later, when you upload the compact flash, you get to visit it all over again. Now, that's what I call sunny goodness.)

Finally, it more happy news, one of my favorite local photographers, Dennis Darling, is going to give a photojournalism discussion at AMOA Downtown on Thursday, February 5th at 7 pm. I leave you with a favorite, sunny happy quote from him:

"I am seldom on familiar terms with the people I photograph. Most inhabit the vastness beyond the horizon line. This is what I prefer, for photography satisfies me the most when used in the pursuit of the unfamiliar. I have often been categorized as a travel photographer—an understandable, but somewhat inaccurate label. I prefer to think of myself as a portraitist who simply makes house calls.”

--Dennis Darling “Desperate Pleasures”

Until next time...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Iconic


DoorwayView, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is my entry for iconic.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quick Hits


BlueHeadlampAndGrill, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Some quick hits for today....

The media in the UK recently revealed that The Stig drives a #15,000 car, which isn't that surprising in and of itself but, come to think of it, it's probably the most brave act the man could commit. I mean, sure, maybe he drove a 007-style James Bond mobile down a snowy cliff in Switzerland but, think about it. If you worked with those three idiots would you drive a car to work at all? Heck, if it were me, I'd take the bus or walk. Drive a car? A reasonably priced car? To the set of Top Gear? That's really bravery right there, man. Go, Stiggy, Go!

No comments from me yet about the new Doctor Who, I know, I know. While I absolutely loved David Tennant (he's almost as cute as The Stig without his helmet on!) jury is still out on the new guy. I mean, for starters, what's up with the 80's style hair? What? Because Tennant had ruffles 'round his noggin, you gotta make the new guy do that too? Who knew bad '80's 'do's were so popular once again? Geesh, it's like a "Flock of Doctor Who's" or something. "I Ran (So Far Away)" in my little blue box. What's next? Are you going to make the poor kid look like a weasel? (Nevermind, don't answer that.)

TiVo hasn't been acting up. I had to endure Idol yet again last night, though it did manage to unboop an especially gory episode of Criminal Minds just as I was about to sit down and eat my dinner. (Who knew that fake Hollywood blood spatter on the ceiling looked so real from 15 feet away? Not me, that's for sure.)

Scriber's got a new 'baby coming in the parcel post and I just got an updated copy of the book. I'll post a link here as soon as Drive is finalized. Still, that's a lot of packages flying around the universe, don't you think? (And me without my Stig or a little blue box that flies.)

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hey, That's Not Top Gear - Oh Crap What's TiVo Done This Time?


CrispAutumnGlowNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Yesterday, I had these big plans. I was going to come home, work on my house a bit, maybe finish moving the last of the bookcases back into the new reading room (finally!) In case you haven't been following along (or maybe I just forgot to tell you) I am still in the process of putting my house back together after the great flood, getting new floors, redecorating, and all of that who-ha. Anyway, so back to these big plans...I had this unexplained hankering, a craving really, for a special dinner last night. Last night too was another episode of American Idol, so there you have my dilemma....what to do...what to do...work on the house? Eat? Watch TV? Do all 3 and collapse after midnight?

I decided to make dinner and watch Idol, so I had a very nice dinner and plunked myself in front of the TV. After Idol had finished, and just after Idol had finished mind you, I browsed down the list of other odd assorted crap-o-la that TiVo had graciously ordered up for me. (Speaking of "ordering up" did you know that you can now order a pizza directly from TiVo? Oh, God, will I not want to try out that new feature. After the Nicolas Cage fiasco and the murder spree, one can only imagine what might wind up delivered to my door in 30 minutes or less) That's when it happened. I noticed there was no Top Gear and TiVo had gone off on some odd tangent, recording nothing I had picked out to record, but all stuff it (presumably) wants me to watch. You know the usual stuff here-cooking shows, Snapped, old CSI episodes, and some show from the history channel about the war.

I tried to delete one of those cooking shows that TiVo keeps recording but, get this, it wouldn't let me. Yes, you read that right. The cursing chef guy wouldn't be booped off my TiVo. My poor helpless TiVo sort of just "locked up" and wouldn't do anything at all! It was stuck on the "Do you really want to delete Kitchen Nightmares?" prompt for a good long time (long enough for me to shut off the TV, go to bed, wake up again, and notice it still there.) What, like you really want a souffle?

Wow. What can I say about this? This is a whole new development in TiVo land. Before, it would just record odd random crazy ass stuff, now it's not letting me deleting things and recording odd random crazy ass stuff. It does not take a genius to figure out how this is going to end and, it goes without saying really, but this does not bode well for my TV viewing experience. (In fact, this really falls under the category of, "Damn it, TiVo, what have you done to me now!?!?" in more ways than I can count.)

At this point, I won't even bother to tell you how mad I was that it made me miss Top Gear (my favorite show!) and Doctor Who again this week. I'm still reeling from this new "sorry, you can't delete that-I think you really do need to learn how to cook" development. Now that we all know who The Stig is, maybe I should give up watching Top Gear anyway and like, rent a movie or something.

Nah, come to think of it, I'd have just as rotten luck down at the video store.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't Rain on Me


RainOnWindshSandsS, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ok, so here's the deal. I want to go out. I need to go out. I really have to get out some and take some pictures. I'm getting cabin fever. It's not that I want to start a whole new body of work, it's not that I want to change course, pick-up a new direction, or any of that. No, I just want an excuse to walk around a bit on a nice, sunny day.

Yesterday, Kathy emails me about a new photo group in town. It's sort of like a giant camera club that meets every once in a while. (The Austin, Texas area, for some unknown reason, has a disproportionate number of camera clubs. Don't ask me to explain it, and it's maybe not even a point worth noting, but, there you go.) This new camera club (mob really-well, maybe mob without the flaming torches and all, but mob none the less) has plans. I'm sure they actually have big plans to rule the world, take over the entire known universe or, at least, you know, buy Kodak-but those are not their immediate plans. No, their immediate plans are actually to go to Georgetown this weekend. I like that. I like Georgetown. And I want to go, really I do, so I'm IM-ed Scriber's Web and told her that I'm going to Georgetown this weekend, to take some pictures.

"It's supposed to rain on Sunday," she tells me.

So, now I'm pissed because the one day I can get away, the one day I really, really want to go out and shoot, it's supposed to rain.

Damn. The universe has conspired against me once again. I hate rain. I really don't want to shoot in the rain (again.) At this point in time, I think that all you rain loving people can go wank off-I want it to be sunny on Sunday but, knowing my luck, it won't be. Or, you know, maybe it will be but right at 2:59 when we are supposed to meet up there at 3 pm, that sort of a thing.

Great, so now I feel like that kid from Snoopy who's always got a cloud over his head. Oh, and, in case you could not guess, it goes without saying really but, at this point in time, I'm also hopelessly out of compact flash too.

Until next time...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh Happy Day - Oh Happy Day


GlassMojoHandP, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Polaroids might be coming back and The Telegraph has published a photo of the man I love (all together now: "Oh, Stiggy!") naked. Well, you know, not naked, really just, kind of, without his helmet on, which, come to think of it is naked for him but....oh, crap, just follow the damn link already.

Here Stiggy, Stiggy, Stiggy, Stiggy [Jingles car keys.]. Let me take a Polaroid of you quick, before they stop making the film (again) and before you Zoom Zoom away.

Oh, be still my heart.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Was there a Patron Saint of Polaroids?


VoodooMadonna, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

There's a movement afoot to re-invent instant film, film of the Polaroid variety. Some information about it is here.

Please spread the word. Even if you didn't do Polaroids, even if you don't like Polaroids, wouldn't it be a shame if we had to put an end to instant film? Somebody out there wants it, is willing to pay for it, and can use it to make something beautiful. Please help and show your support for the new breed of instant film and spread the word to any photographers you might know who used (or once used) this kind of film.

Thank you.

Well Isn't That Just Spiffy


GoldenFerrisNo3, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

There's a fellow I know, out in the great wild blue yonder of the intertubes, named SpiffyTumbleWeed. An interesting thing about Spiffy is that, well, I never actually met him-not until yesterday anyway.

I know, I know, you were probably expecting me to talk about my show, how it went, how it's going, and all of that, but I wanted to talk about Spiffy instead.

You see, a while back I was in another show, one that Spiffy actually attended. But, I didn't see him there, not at the opening. Oh, don't get me wrong, he was there and I was there, I just didn't see him. The show was too crowded, and some lady named Liz Smith (columnist for one of the papers in New York) was there. It was a hard show. I couldn't really talk to a lot of people because, well, because I had to talk to a lot of people.

[Now, that might not make any sense, if you've never been to a show before but, you'll just have to trust me on this one, that's how it works. The artists get pushed around, poked, dragged over to meet this person or chat with that person. At a really crowded show, we hardly have time to take a drink. Sometimes, it just works out that way, not that I'm complaining, mind you, that's just how it is. We're sort of obligated to talk to the curator, the press, the media, the local art critic, and whoever else might happen to grab our elbows and not let go. Sometimes, we don't even get a moment to smile and nod at our friends. That's all part of doing a show, and I accept that, but it makes it really hard to meet people like Spiffy, or, you know, somebody I actually want to talk to, there.]

Fast forward a few more gallery shows. I had work in a small gallery in central Austin, I think it might have even been last Valentine's day. I thought Spiffy was going to show up. I was sure Spiffy was going to show up. I thought, "yes! This is it. This is the moment I've been waiting for! I'm finally going to meet Spiffy." I didn't. Spiffy didn't show up. Or, you know, if he did, I didn't see him there. Then, I was supposed to go to a meeting of another photo group, one in which Spiffy is a member, but I got sick and didn't go, so, once again, no Spiffy. As time went on, I kind of forgot about Spiffy. I gave up on the idea of ever meeting Spiffy in person. I thought he would become, like so many of my other Flickr friends, somebody who only existed within the realms of cyberspace. I accepted my Spiffy-free world, and lived a Spiffy-free existence.

Until last night, that is. Last night, I left the dog with the neighbor's, drove down to south Austin, parked the car, got out, and walked into the gallery show. I had no intention of meeting Spiffy, or anybody else, really for that matter. I was going to just go and check out the work, which I did. As I started to check out the work, I saw a few other artists I knew and recognized, some I had even done some shows with in the past. I smiled and nodded and drank a small bit of wine. This show wasn't as crowded as the last one, so I could actually move my elbows and, even better, walk around to look at (and enjoy!) the work. Sure, there were enough people there, I mean, it was still full, but it was a nice crowd and I got to talk to people.

Then, without warning, an odd thing happened. This nice fellow walked right up to me and said, "Hi, are you Carol?"

"Yes, I'm Carol," I said.

"Hi, I'm SpiffyTumbleWeed and I know your work from flickr..." I was a bit shocked. I wasn't expecting to meet Spiffy. Just when I had given up, started to think maybe there really wasn't a Spiffy, that he was kind of like some mythical figure, like some odd photographer's version of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, *poof* there he was!

All-in-all, it was that kind of a night. I also talked to the Cupcake Lady, though I didn't know, at the time, who she was. (She makes cupcakes out of cement. It's an odd thing to describe, really, but she does beautiful work. They really are excellent cupcakes, you'll just have to trust me on that one.) I started talking to her. She was very nice and we were really chatting away before I realized who she was. It's kind of fun to go to a show like that. It's kind of fun to meet people you're supposed to meet-people who are kindred spirits-that way.

Sure, I could tell you how great the work was, or how nice an evening it happened to be (it was warm and mild, even though all predictions were for a cold, chilly, damp evening, we actually had to put the a/c on at the gallery.) I could tell you all about the artwork, the people, the gallery itself, the odd folks who show up to these things with blue hair (I love blue hair actually.) But, you probably could have guessed all of that, without me telling you a thing.

The thing that made it special, the thing that really made it special, was meeting all the kindred spirits. Meeting the people I was supposed to meet at that time, in that place. All of the people like Spiffy, the Cupcake Lady, the people with blue hair, the people I thought about before, maybe saw bits and pieces of them, their artwork and such-people who I had met before only in bits of spirit, now standing before me, shaking my hand, speaking with me for the first time, though I felt I've known them for years. I guess it was just destiny that one day I would actually come to meet Spiffy, the Cupcake Lady, and the blue haired people, but it still feels kind of fun to actually enjoy a bit of an evening in their company.

So, yes, I could tell you about the show but, instead, allow me to introduce you to Spiffy, the Cupcake Lady, and all of the people with blue hair. It's people like that who make a show special and fun. The artwork is just sort of a decoration, a backdrop, if you will, for the interesting encounter.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Love's Writ

I've been asked to post my work for the upcoming show, Love's Writ, here it is. Those of you who read my blog regularly will probably recognize this piece, it's text I wrote for our first Pixel Fiction experiment, combined with an image from my "Drive" series.

The combination of text and imagery is actually harder to do than it looks. I found it a bit easier to conceptualize than to actually lay out the text with the work. Once you start putting words onto everything, it made it a bit harder for me-harder to see, harder to work with, harder to frame. But, you know, that's just part of working with a new media. As far as the actual combination of text and image, I'm still fascinated by this and think it's something I would like to continue to explore. I love to write and I love original content, so it just seems like a natural combination I need to attempt.

One of the great things about being an artist is that we get to experiment. We get to try new things. Sometimes, they work, sometimes, maybe not, but, each and every time, it's like a whole new world. We get to open new doors, try out new things, and enjoy the fun of the chase.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Poor Little Buddy's On the Mend


ChaseFaceNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Poor curly sweet Chase. Yesterday, on the way to get his haircut, Chase started bleeding. We got Austin and Chase over to the groomers but we didn't want to leave poor curly sweet Chase there with all the blood he had lost, so we dropped Austin off and took poor Chase to the vet.

The vet had to keep him all day. They ran some tests on him and everything looks normal. The consensus is that he has polyps. Not life threatening, at least no so far, but he's on a restricted diet and they've given him antibiotics. The vet says he appears to be otherwise healthy. We were quite afraid for poor Chase, so I took it easy with him last night. He's a bit groggy from his day out at the vet. It's been mostly rest and easy petting for him, not his usually romping through the garden fighting with the weeds or chewing on Austin's ears.

The vet says he was very good while there. They all thought he was "very cute" took him for walks and played with him all day. He probably enjoyed himself while we worried.

In typical "doggie" fashion, as soon as he got to the vet, he started feeling better. Let's just hope he stays that way. Still no haircut either. Dang. That dog will do anything to get himself out of getting a new 'do.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chase on a Sunday Afternoon


ChaseInTheGrass, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This is Chase. It's been a while since I've photographed him, so I thought I would do that today. He's very hard, almost impossible to photograph, actually. He never sits still, always running full speed through the garden, and, when he does finally seem to calm down a bit, he never looks at me-he's almost afraid of the camera. That, plus the fact that he's mostly all black makes for a very unhappy photographer. He really is a darling dog though-such a cutie. I wish I could convey just how cute he is in pictures but it's so difficult to do. At least he reminds me how much I have to learn as a photographer, that's for sure.

Tomorrow is a special day for him too, though he may not know it yet. He's getting a bath and haircut tomorrow. Yes, once again, it's time for Chase's trip to the groomers. Oh, he's not going to like that. Last time, he tried to back up instead of going into the place. Backed right up and gave me that look, that frigid, "I'm so afraid. Please don't make me go in there" look. So sorry, little buddy, but you really need a bath and a haircut, so we can find your eyes again.

In other news, I found out this week that I have work accepted into a show at the Studio2Gallery in South Austin. Called Love's Writ, the show focuses on the nexus of art and text. It promises to be a good one too, I can hardly wait.

If you are in Austin, won't you consider joining me for the opening? It will be January 17th from 6:30-9:30 pm at the gallery on South Larmar.

Until next time...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Alex In a Warm Coat with Branches

I just couldn't stand it anymore. I had, just had to, go outside for a little bit. Woods it is, I guess.

Lucky for me, Alex was willing to let us take some snaps yesterday. I can't say I got anything as good as her "parking spot" shot (that was great, really it was) but I did get a few shots off. I really like what the branches are doing in this one off to the right, I just don't know about the left side. It's a little too "crisp" for my liking. I could try to blur it up a bit more to see if I like it better.

It's that time of year-bear branches, empty trees, warm woolen coats. Welcome to winter. I hope it lasts long enough for us to enjoy it. It will be 100 degrees again all too soon, all too soon, my friends.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Photo Friday: Disorder


DashboardLights, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I figure I had better celebrate Photo Friday before it cycles out once again. This is my entry for "disorder." I hope you enjoy it and have a great Friday everyone!

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Inside Looking Outside


BritishLeylandLogo, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I really want to go out into the woods, to take more pictures. Really, really, really, really now.

But, for various reasons, I cannot.

So, what to do? What to do? What to do with myself? I'm getting antsy. Been too long since I went out shooting...I need to do something (anything!)

All this talk of camera "foo" has me thinking...I have yet to really do a "camera porn" shoot...you know...shoot some of my old (antique) equipment. And, Lord knows, I have a lot of crappy old (antique) equipment. It might just make for some interesting pictures that. It just might make for some interesting pictures. [Watch as little puffs of smoke come out of Carol's ears.] Even though, you know, I do feel the world has more than it's fair share of logos running around in the wilds these days...it just might make for some interesting pictures.

So, woods? Camera "porn?" Something else? We'll see....we'll just have to wait and see now, won't we?

Until "what?" next time...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Explore Factor


SpeedLimit45, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

A few days ago, back when I was on holiday, I posted a very long-winded diatribe slamming the type of photographers I like to call "gear heads" in one of the on-line forums I frequent. You know these people, actually, they are the people who show up at camera clubs and make disparaging remarks about your equipment. Instead of introducing themselves and being nice, they walk right up to you and say things like, "oh, it's too bad you can't afford a BlahBlahBlah lens." These are the type of people who memorize sharpness charts. I don't memorize sharpness charts. I'm not that kind of photographer. I have *working* equipment, you know, the kind that actually takes pictures. I don't care if it gets dinged or dented, and I don't wear it around my neck to show it off like some kind of photographic "bling;" I just use it to take pictures.

Well, long story short, I've always been, and probably always will be, more of a "visual artist" than a photographer. I'm not into the gear, I could care less about which camera brand you prefer or what "series" your lenses are, I'm just into the images. I like to make pictures, take pictures, look at pictures, and the like, and that's basically what I posted in this on-line forum.

The response has been sort of overwhelming. For starters, the thread I started, which I half expected to be completely ignored, now has over 100 responses. From the looks of things, there are a lot of photographers (ok, "visual artists" if you prefer) out there who feel the same way I do (and some use even cheaper equipment...I bet these people get into more shows than I do. :~) I have gotten private email responses from people in far reaches of the globe telling me not to listen to such snobbery and to just "do my own thing." And, horror of horrors, some people actually started looking at my work.

An interesting "side effect" of this is that, since I have been cleaning (painting) my house a bit and busy with some exhibition "foo" I have not had time to take (actually upload) many new pictures. Bottom line? The picture that's sitting on top of my flickr queue has been sitting there for more than a few days now. Since my posting in this forum, and in light of the response I received, my image has now made the ranks of Flickr's Explore.

Those of you who read my blog probably know how I feel about Flickr's Explore already, but just in case, here's a brief summary. There are some nice pictures in Explore, really there are. But, my "goal" if you will, has never been and will never be making it to the pages of "Explore." It's just not my thing. At the end of the day, at the time I sit down and push that little "Upload Now" button on each image, I really could give a rat's bottom about the ranking a computer algorithm is going to assign to my soon-to-be-uploaded image. Though the pictures in Explore are often nice to sort of "flip through," I just don't give a bugger about making Explore. I've done it before, I'll probably (somehow) do it again and I really could care less when it happens.

But, there's an interesting thing that happens to an image once it makes Explore. People start looking at it. If it's a good image, more people look at it. The more people that look at it, the more its "interestingness factor" (Flickr's term) goes up, The more interesting it is according to Flickr, the higher it ranks in Explore, and so on. You can probably guess what's happening here. It starts to become more popular just because, well, because it was popular to start with (an enigma I know, but that's how Flickr works.) The image in question is now my fourth or fifth most popular according to the Flickr "interestingness algorithm" (or, you know, the Magic Donkey's secret sauce.)

So now, I've posted an image showing how you don't need the latest in gear, fancy series lenses, or camera "foo" to take a picture, and it's made Explore and I'm getting all of these comments, from people I don't know, looking at my picture. It's odd that, really it is. I mean, at the end of the day, I do feel it's all about the pictures but, man, it feels a bit weird to be thrust into the spotlight a bit like this (especially with something that was, sort of, well, quite honestly, "average" by all accounts, to begin with.)

It goes without saying really but the image is not really worthy of Explore. It only made it there because of the post. And the post wasn't anything all that earth shattering, it was just a rant from me, because I was a bit fed up and put off by some snobbery. But, somehow, in some little way, I guess it struck a cord and just sort of snowballed into "all that and more." It's a bit odd to think that "Carol's Little Rant" made the ranks of Explore, really it is, but there you have it. (The Magic Donkey has smiled upon the likes of me.)

I guess what I first said about the image in question still holds true. Cameras and gear and, now too, "interestingness algorithms" don't matter, people do. Having expensive gear, fancy lenses or making Explore is nice, but it's just that, nice. It's not inspiring. If you want inspiration, you have to work for it. That's not something the silly old Magic Donkey is going to cough up on your shirt. That's something you get when you go out into the field (or back into the studio) and "click away at" each and every day. (That's the "blood, sweat, and tears" that go into making the images, not the gloss that's on the surface for everybody to fawn over.)

At the end of the day, when we lay the camera's down to rest in their bags, recharge our batteries, and decide what to upload, it's all about the emotional response-the reaction you get from seeing the image. If it moves somebody, if somebody looks at it enough to favorite it, or comment it, feed the Magic Donkey a carrot somehow, or even send you a private email, then the image has touched somebody and that's really what photography is all about, I guess. Explore factor or not, if it moves you, if you like it, favorite it, and enjoy it, it can't be all that bad.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

You're No Meme Until Some Meme Plants Petunias


SururbanFog, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

A lot of blogs, and bloggers, out there love the pass around the meme torch. They love to "tag" you with all kinds of prompts to get you to post more often. You know these things, they are suggestions like "list 7 interesting things about yourself" or "describe your favorite food" that sort of a thing.

Those of you who know me, know that I hate doing these things. It's not that I don't mind naming other blogs (I do that in my links section anyway.) It's not that I wouldn't know what to say (I can yap about almost anything.) It's not that I think I'm "above" all of that (I actually would like to respond to some of these memes, really I would.) It's just that, well, frankly, my answers aren't all that normal. I would scare people. I would scare people away from the "world wide" web and then they would have to take up some other hobby, you know, like full-contact knitting, speed racing matchbox cars, or gardening. (I don't want to make anybody take up gardening if they don't do it already. Imagine throngs of people hurling small pots, spilling seeds, whipping around bag loads of potting soil, all the while muttering things like, "that damn Carol!" That's not a pretty picture, if you catch my drift. And I really don't want to be held responsible for any dead petunias. Really, I don't.)

Consider, for example, the very innocent looking "3 things" meme. It asks you to post 3 things about...and lists some random topics. It asks you to post 3 things you like, 3 things you hate, 3 things on your desk right now (that are not computer-related.) Sure, that looks innocent enough and, I suspect, for most people, it is innocent enough. But, not me. No, not my desk. No way. There's nothing "innocent" or "normal" about my desk, nothing at all. In fact, I'd say my desk is about as far from "normal" as you can get and still retain the "desk" quality. Really, I would.

To give you an example, here are 3 things on my desk right now: spent compact flash, an invitation to a black-tie fine art gala, a working voodoo doll. See what I mean? There's nothing "normal" about that. "Normal" people don't have these things. Not all 3 of them, and certainly not together, all on the same desk. (They just don't belong. It's like a "Where's Waldo?" nightmare, with no Waldo in sight.)

And that's just what's within arm's length of my chair. You don't even want to get me started on what you might find should I open a drawer or move an immediate object or two. It's a scary, scary place, my desk is, and, no, as a matter of fact, I don't believe it (or the contents within) belongs in a meme. There are young children on the intertubes these days and people surf sometimes late at night. (I may be a bit mean but, what? You think I'm completely heartless?) It's just not all that normal around here for me to go around answering these questions and revealing these sort of "factoids." Trust me. You don't want to know.

And that's just the "innocent" enough 3 things meme, could you imagine if I did some of the more "interesting" ones? You know, the ones like "tell me about your sex life," "what's in your cupboard?" or "all about your spiritual belief system?" Sure, I'll put that in a meme. I think that's a great idea....

(Hope you have a lot of potting soil in your shed because I sure as hell don't.)

Until next time...

Friday, January 02, 2009

One Less Come Monday


CupAndPapers, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Got an email this morning that was quite shocking. Well, ok, maybe shocking isn't exactly the right word. Unexpected, perhaps, would be a better choice.

JPG Magazine and it's parent company, 8020 Media, are shutting down, citing "extraordinary economic times." The site and publication will close up shop on Monday, January 5th, 2009.

I kind of don't know what to say about this. At first I actually thought it was some kind of a joke, or like a bizarre new topic announcement. The subject of the email read, "JPG Magazine Says Goodbye" and I was thinking that it was just another automated email from them announcing that the next topic would be something related to farewell. You know, like "say goodbye to 2008! Upload your shots now!" or some such thing. But, sadly, it wasn't. It's no more JPG, at least not as we know it now.

The current economic climate is doing strange things to photography. For one thing, most galleries still have not come out of the "first big bubble." Sure, we all denied there was a sort of "recession" going on for the past few years but, when you really look at the facts, a lot of people I know are either out of work or sort of "underemployed." Yes, a lot of folks have (or had) jobs but they weren't doing what they wanted to be doing, they were just getting a paycheck. And galleries? Galleries were hardest hit by this, in a way, since they had to also face the additional battle of going on-line and all of the new technology hitting them at about the same time. Sure, computers can save money, cut costs and all, but that's only once you have them and they are in place and you're comfortable using them. There's a bit of a "learning curve" they sort of neglect to mention at your local computer super center.

But, there's also another odd thing going on. In some ways, it's better now for photography than it ever has been. Equipment is affordable and easy to obtain, retail prices of historic prints are continually breaking and setting new records, travel workshops are full (or filling up fast.) On some fronts, photography and the sort of art market for it is going full steam ahead. It's hard to figure out what, really, if anything, is actually happening out there. More like it's changing, the "dinosaur" is being re-defined, re-shaped, re-landscaped in new ways, almost like the nature of the media itself is changing.

It's a strange climate this one is, but I do believe that it's a good time to start or, you know, continue to do, your own thing. Feels like, to me anyway, it's a great time to be either really established or, you know, just starting out with only one way to go from here.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on all of it. Please drop me a line, if you are so inclined.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's Always Midnight in New York Somewhere


LoneCow, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's tomorrow. It's yesterday. It's last year. Oh wait, no, it's still 2008. I think. Um. Does anybody really know what time it is? I think there's a cow in this photo. It's midnight in New York somewhere in the world. It's always midnight in New York City, isn't it?

Let me explain. Yesterday, it was New Year's Eve here in River City. Ah yes, New Year's. That time of year when everybody celebrates at the stroke of midnight, the passing of the old year into the new. But, here in River City, we have a slight problem with this. Our TV, you see, is all "east coast" time-ish, while our time zone is central, but we celebrate daylight savings time. It's very confusing that, especially come this time of year.

This time of year, you see, we put the TV on and try to watch the ball drop. And, drop the ball does-promptly at 11 pm eastern standard time. Then, exactly one hour later, they play the ball, that same ball, dropping again, only this time, it's in central standard time. But, like, it's not. I mean, it isn't really-it's just brought to us via the magic that is the "great" tape delay. So, we watch the ball drop again and we all get up and shout "Happy New Year!" again. But, something odd happens. We see the same people on TV. We watch the same confetti fall, see the same cheery hats and watch the same midnight kisses. It's a little...sort of...creepy that. Really, it is. But we do it anyway because, well, because it's New Year's Eve and what could we possibly have that's better to do than that? It's not like we'd rather be out fishing-crap, it's midnight and who goes fishing at midnight?

This year, what did I do? I feel asleep. Nothing unusual in that, I do that a lot actually. I'm getting old and grumpy and tired, so snooze away I do. But, this year, this year was a bit different. Why? You might ask.

Well, for starters, I watched some TV early on in the night. And, I had planned to stay awake-really I did. I planned to stay up, all through the night and celebrate that big glowing ball dropping from that big neon infested New York square. Really I did. Right up until the point where I feel asleep. Sometime, around maybe 10 o'clock (central time. I think.)

I didn't sleep all night though. I woke up, with the TV still on, at 3 o'clock in the morning. And what might be on at 3 am you might be wondering? Glad you asked. Yup. You guessed it. It was midnight in New York all over again. I watched the ball drop (again.) I watched my favorite band (as of late) O-A-R play again. I saw some country singers I didn't recognize and lots of odd tourists in my hometown celebrating the dropping of the ball. But, the ball wasn't really dropping now, was it? No, I'm guessing it wasn't. It didn't. I mean, it did, but not right then. Right then, all the sanitation crews were probably already cleaning up all the confetti, the lost tourists had gone home, the City getting back to normal after a long midnight holiday celebration.

So, there you have it. Sometime, probably the same time as people in places, odd places, you know, places like Guam or Bora Bora, I celebrated my own private little "New Year's Eve." Just me and Chase and that silly ball from hometown which, it would appear, keeps dropping without rising yet again. (It goes down, it goes down, it goes down in every time zone, but it somehow never appears to go back up again. Imagine that.)

Now I say to you, my great snowflakes one and all, I wish you the happiest of Happy New Year, really I do. Where ever you are, whatever you might be doing, I really do wish you a happy 2009. And I hope that you got to see your own private "dropping of the ball" in your own special way because, I must admit, though it was 3 am, it was quite fun to celebrate that passage of time.

Well? What are you waiting for? Yes, that's a cow and hurry, quick, go celebrate! It's always midnight in New York somewhere in the world. Isn't it?

Until next, um, year maybe? I guess...