Print Story I wish the bastards dead
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 06:47:47 AM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The Photograph as Contemporary Art". Watching: "Crank 2: High Voltage", "Richard III". Web.


What I'm Reading
Finished The Photograph As Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton. Small format paperback, but with lots of photographs. Written a little bit dryly, in the kind of repetitive style you normally only see in gallery descriptions. So-and-so (born 19**), subclause something about him, subclause does something something, in a jargon-adjectivey way. Still, you're mostly looking at the pictures.

After reading the Tom Ang "Digital Photography Masterclass" book, was interesting to see the contrast between magazine-photography and gallery-art-photography. The art side more often than not embraces the popular style of casual snapshots, wedding photography and so on. The exceptions often use large-format photography (films much bigger than 35mm) and often lightboxes for display, so they get very detailed images. So, there's very little of the elaborately composed DSLR shots that get uprated on Flickr and passed round the blogs as great photography.

Still, refreshing to be able to page through hundreds of photographs without seeing a single one with half the fucking depth of field out of fucking focus you fucking wanker.

It's loosely categorized by groups, some of which make sense. Not in chronological order so you don't get much sense of any trends or progressions in art.

Overall, moderately interesting, but not essential reading.

What I'm Watching
Saw Jason Statham action sequel Crank 2: High Voltage on DVD. Has some entertainment value, but not as good as the first.

I think the original did a good job of been just over-the-top enough. In trying to amp things up for the sequel, they went over-over-the-top.

Also some of the humour seemed a bit half-arsed. I'm sure the Carry On writers could have come up with a funnier name than Poon Dong. Ti Ni Dong? Poon Fo Mi? Maybe I'm just missing the reference, since Poon Dong seems like just two somewhat rude terms randomly strung together.

WP.

What I'm Watching 2
Watched the Ian McKellan Richard III. Excellent adaptation, very cinematic, with tanks, planes and practically every Thirties-built landmark crammed into shot somewhere.

Very ruthlessly cut: even the opening speech skips over many lines. Gets rid of the awkward same-word rhyme of "To entertain these fair well-spoken days" and "And hate the idle pleasures of these days" though.

Thought one of Ian McKellan's observations was particularly interesting, that Richard III never actually kills anyone in the play: just gives the orders. One of the things that keeps the character tolerable enough to keep watching.

Well worth a look if you haven't seen it.

Web
Economics. Battle of the letters: 60 economists reject the spending cuts 20 called for. (I tend to side with Krugman: if the original 20 economists had actual models backing them up I'd take them more seriously, but I don't see why they should have a psychic ability to predict the animal spirits of the markets).

No financial exodus from City to Switzerland. Bar chart of social mobility by country: interesting that the Italians are up there with the Anglo-Saxons. Kaletsky: little differences between Lab/Con on deficit.

Articles. Dubious ego epidemic article (via). How diverse is opinion within the Tories? (Wondering if Cameron's open primaries are because he distrusts his local activists). Channel 4's turn to represent a far-right organizer as an average supporter. (Next: average housewife Harriet Harman reveals why she's voting Labour).

Random. Gun ads aimed at minorities. Self-shocking socket.

Video. Live Avatar Role Playing.

< I learned two things tonight. | WFC X - The Story of Danny Cobb >
I wish the bastards dead | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Vilcus by hulver (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 07:21:20 AM EST
WTF?

Enough people enjoy sticking their fingers in electrical sockets that ThinkGeek actually sell something to help you do it?

My Gob is Smacked.

--
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
I assume it's a sexual fetish by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 07:24:17 AM EST
But I'm unwilling to Google and find out for sure.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Ear worm. by hulver (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 07:48:51 AM EST
I've got "Danger! High Voltage" by Electric Six stuck in my head now.
--
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
as you should! /nt by R343L (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 11:13:53 AM EST


"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
I wonder if it's a voltage* thing by Herring (4.00 / 1) #36 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 05:11:38 PM EST
I've had a few shocks off UKian 240V and it's certainly not something I would want to experience again. I suspect that it would be less of a belt off USian 110V.

*The first person to mention "it's not the voltage it's the current" gets Ohm's Law branded into their face.

Herring - Official HuSi diarist of the 2016 European Korfball Championship (October 22nd, Dordrecht, Netherlands)

[ Parent ]
It's not the voltage by gmd (2.00 / 0) #40 Wed Sep 14, 2016 at 08:35:23 AM EST
It's the current... 

--
gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
When I want the sensation of by johnny (4.00 / 2) #3 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 07:30:59 AM EST
putting a finger in a socket, I just write a snarky little self-important essay about helping to extinguish a fatal fire and post it on my website.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
[ Parent ]
"Availability: Maybe" by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 08:15:20 AM EST
I suspect that they've not actually made one.

[ Parent ]
They often advertise gag gifts. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #32 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 01:38:02 PM EST
Although the tauntaun sleeping bag did get made because of the interest created with their April Fools day ad.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]
I'm betting that this is a 'troll'. by dmg (2.00 / 0) #33 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 02:27:48 PM EST
 Years of exposure to the Internet has led me to the belief that certain individuals post stuff with the sole aim of getting a reaction...
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
blur in photos by johnny (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 07:33:15 AM EST
Are you ever in favor of same? (I thought your commentary (". . . you fucking wanker") perfect.)

Also, any opinion of Susan Sontag's high-falultin' idears about picture-taking?

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

You don't like bokeh?? by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 07:44:13 AM EST
Really don't get that. Apart from just looking nice it isolates a subject matter from irrelevent surroundings and gives an impression of depth. It's not always appropriate of course, but quite often is.

I had an awful, awful time after watching Crank 2 with a Chinese female friend who found the bit with the Chinese prostitute highly offensive even as I laughed all the way through. Arguments about post-modernism and self-reference just didn't cut it and I have to admit, it's just crude and awful and the fact we find it funny is a bit of a bad reflection on us...

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It's political correctness gone mad!

(Comment Deleted) by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:01:21 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by TheophileEscargot



[ Parent ]
Going to get back to you on this by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:24:16 AM EST
There's a lot to say and it's an interesting argument. Watch your comments...

Good points though. It's often used to jazz up an uninspiring photo, which I'd imagine the cakes one is though the link doesn't seem to work.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Broken link by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:41:46 AM EST
I think should be http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com

Transferring to the phone seems to have inserted a space in the original.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Images taking an age to load by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 11:57:55 AM EST
But yeah, seems to be a case of making a dull photo look interesting. Is that bad though?

Just had a quick glance through my photos and seen that I don't really use it. There's background blur but I wouldn't really call it bokeh.

Couple of points - working in low light you sometimes have no choice but to use a narrow aperture, especially if your lens has a long focal length, for example in portrait lenses which allow you to get close without being in people's faces.

All well and good about classical paintings, but if you're taking photos you rarely have the chance to stage everything. Take this photo of my nephew

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doilum/4238266414/

He was moving around and it was tricky to get a good shot. Without a shallow depth of field the rocking horse in the background would have ruined the photo.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #27 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 12:59:11 PM EST
It might be a necessary compromise in that case. But I'm not sure the rocking horse would have ruined the photo. It might have added to the photo. But a lot of the bokeh-fans don't seem to even think about that, they just reflexively blur everything that's outside one narrow plane.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Yes by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 01:10:58 PM EST
Just posted another comment about the technical differences between an SLR and a compact and why it's often unavoidable when you're using an SLR...

But anyway, yes, it is used for artistic effect. Gonna use my photos here not to blow my own trumpet but because they're easy examples to find.

Trying to get a delicate look that picks out the quality of the stone -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doilum/2418497140/

Trying to capture the atmosphere of a summer evening -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doilum/2274723623/

Maybe you don't like them though :)

Of course it can be used badly, but I wouldn't dismiss using bokeh altogether.

There's a comment in this diary about people using it to show off a lens, and yes, unfortunately I think that happens a hell of a lot. People do get quite geeky about the technical aspect, I can be a bit like that myself.

Interesting that the Great Photos of the C20th are generally as you say, with the whole in focus and a concentration on composition. But then that's subject matter as well - it's usually street or war photography or landscapes that are great, close-ups are just too everyday and easy.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Also by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 01:01:06 PM EST
There's a big technical difference between a compact and an SLR - focal length.

Because the sensor is larger on an SLR the lens needs to be further away. So the focal length on my shortest SLR lens is 18mm, whereas on my Canon Ixus it's 5mm.

The further the distance between the lens and the sensor, the more likely you are to get blur. So an SLR lens has to let in more light to get a faster shutter speed, hence a larger aperture and more background blur.

Not arguing that bokeh isn't used for artistic effect, but it's also unavoidable in a lot of cases - it's more a technical limitation that people have embraced.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Bokeh [corrected] by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 12:55:43 PM EST
Sometimes blur can be good. But mostly when I see it it's on things like this. All he's doing is taking photographs of cakes, but on practically all of them there's massive blobs of blur. It's not just taking out the background: half of the cake is out of focus too.

And what's so great about taking out the background anyway? A lot of classical paintings have massively detailed backgrounds, packed with atmosphere and complex symbolism. Or look at the classic Rider-Waite Tarot cards, where the background conveys essential information, as when a calm ocean tells the viewer that the foreground emotion is just superficial. But "bokeh" has led to photographers reflexively, automatically stripping atmosphere and detail out of their photos.

A fundamental point of art is that the experience of an artwork depends on the dialogue between the experiencer and the artwork. If it's good art, you can look at it on five different days and get five different things out it. By removing "irrelevant" details the "bokeh" photographers are trying to turn a dialogue into a monologue, and actively prevent the viewer from taking his own meaning from it.

Not sure if you're old enough to remember, but in the Eighties you could buy expensive pre-ripped stonewashed jeans from shops, with carefully-aligned parallel rips, and uniform fading without any awkward knee-spots. Wearing actual faded-by-use and ripped-by-wear jeans would have been pointless, even counterproductive, because it didn't demonstrate that you could afford to buy expensive jeans.

These days, hard-sweated miracles of technological development have finally achieved cheap cameras that can effortless keep most things in focus. The natural reaction is to prove you can afford expensive lenses and cameras by degrading the image in a highly conventional way.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Not sure about control at all by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 01:35:47 PM EST
Every single aspect, every last brushstroke of a painting is controlled. They are much more complicated but that's the time that goes into imagining and creating them. A photo is a split-second snapshot of real life, it's much more difficult to get that dialogue going.

By messing with the lens settings you're trying to get some meaning out of something that's quite random. It's a step towards painting, not away.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
The american snowboarders by garlic (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 07:58:06 AM EST
winter olympic uniform takes from this school, and makes their gortex snowpants looked like old ratty ripped jeans.


[ Parent ]
Ooof! by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 07:49:06 AM EST
Not a big fan of bokeh then?

Economists - best write up I have read is here.

Not good news from January tax receipts though.


Social Mobility Chart by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 08:41:48 AM EST
You realize that "up there" is bad, right?
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

Of course by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:05:38 AM EST
I mentioned the UK's "top" rank in my last diary too, but didn't have a graph.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
What about the gun ads caught your eye? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 08:47:01 AM EST
The message, or the medium?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

The guns by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #20 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:45:37 AM EST
Especially the shiny ones.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Chrome, or nickel? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #34 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 04:33:13 PM EST
I'm a nickel man, myself. Chrome's too flashy.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Ian McKellan Richard III. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:05:31 AM EST
One of the first DVDs I bought. Awesome.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Is that the one by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #21 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:54:23 AM EST
in the sort of modern (30s) setting with the nazi overtones and cameos by everyone who's anyone?

That was awesome.
--

[ Parent ]
Yes. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 11:03:05 AM EST


Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
It even has a small part by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 11:05:22 AM EST
For Dominic West (McNulty from The Wire).
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
bokeh, eh ? by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:14:41 AM EST
Oddly, I wonder if it's also used by camera snobs to show off that they
  1. understand aperture
  2. don't have a point and click camera
For a long time, the dead give-away of point and click was that everything beyond the focal length was in focus.

I never heard no fancy pants name for it when I was taking classes. Rather, you purposefully crank the shutter speed and open the aperture so the picture shows only the important part, as it makes the important part stand out. (eg a single headstone in a sea of graves, etc)

The majority of gallery art photography... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:30:34 AM EST
(in my experience) is cliched crap... different cliches to flickr, but art curators (particularly the ones at the Tate and NPG) are much like flickr voters... they know what they "like" and they vote for it, time after time after time...


Present cliche seems to be by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:34:38 AM EST
Totally flat rather than bokeh though.

I get really annoyed by the amount of art gallery photos that are of people standing in out of context places. I hate gimmickery in photography in general, I think photographers go for it because it's a pretty hard medium to be original in.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Dead on... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #35 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 04:53:46 PM EST
Innovative photgraphy is really hard to do and even harder to exhibit in an interesting way after about 5 years because take up of a new style is so high it quickly becomes a cliche.

About a month ago I went to this:

http://www.rocketgallery.com/in_ce.html

I don't think it was a great way to display all the pics, but what was really striking is that Parr's style, which was new to art-galleries at a certain point now is another cliche. It's really hard to be all that engaged with it, except in the ways it triggers sociological discussion about the subject matter...



[ Parent ]
More subtle racism in the gun ads... by atreides (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:36:35 AM EST
Notice that the women (even the lesbians) have AK-47s, .45s, Glocks and pink M16s, but the black folk have Mosin-Nagants and antique pepperboxes? Seriously! In that one "Freedom-Slavery ad! That's a Martini-Henry, right? Where'd they get theirs? Goodwill? At least give a Brother a Baretta or something! No wonder black folk don't buy guns! If they advertised guns like they did cars, TVs or fast food, black people would be swimming in them!

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

What's wrong with a nice bit of Bokeh? by dmg (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 01:27:32 PM EST
Why do you hate art? 
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
Crank review by lm (2.00 / 0) #37 Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 06:15:47 PM EST
I felt that way about the Transporter movies. The first one was just over the top enough enough to keep my interest and be very amusing. The second one was just ridiculous.

I thought the first Crank movie looked interesting but I never got around to seeing it. I rolled my eyes when I saw the trailer for the second.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
the first is fun. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 08:00:09 AM EST


[ Parent ]
I wish the bastards dead | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback