Yep, I’m going to sit back and just ... watch. Until someone says something useful. Given the posts flying around, I suspect it’ll be a week or more.
Later: Wrongo. Dave has something very useful to say.
Gear, gear, gear, gear, gear ...
I’m finding myself oversaturated these days when visiting most photography sites. In fact, I’ve blown away most of the former regulars out of my RSS lists. Visit just about any of them these days, and you’ll be buried in articles for latest gear (lenses, cameras, lighting, accessories, software, hardware, anything with a $ tag on it). Everyone’s doing ‘reviews’ now. Everyone’s offering ‘advice’ with recommended gear ‘footnotes’. This, I find, is a not-so-subtle shift from straight blogging about one’s photographic learning and experience. Techniques are predicated upon having the ‘right’ gear. And each time the subject is covered, the gear is always a bit different. I recognize gear is trending to the ‘disposable/obsolescence/impulse-purchase’ philosophy of Western merchandise … yet how often do you need to replace a tripod, really? A C-stand? Someone can have the latest, greatest, sharpest lens … but if they’re not in the right place to catch stunning light, does it matter that the award-winning shot was done on a cheapo ‘nifty 50’? Does great photography require the best gear?
You’d be hard-pressed, in some circles, to find any responsibility resting on the head behind the viewfinder - other than the pull-out-the-wallet reflex. “Buy this gear, watch this video ... voila, you’re a professional.”
Also, as the photography blogs get more lucrative, the prices of the ‘necessary’ gear in instructional articles tend to creep upwards. Audiences strain their wallets to keep up as the photoblog writers strain their virtual waistbelts - getting fat off affiliate links, subscriptions, ebooks, videos and sponsorships.
I’ll bet not a one of you care one jot about the brand, price or currency of your favorite author’s pens, computers, paper as you’re reading their books.
What I’ve come to realize is, the work I aspire to equal or surpass is no longer being done by most of these photographic ‘advisors’ or ‘reviewers.’ I’d forgotten, as the metacosm matured, that great images are the whole point - the journey to get to a great image is rarely documented. There are only a couple of blogs whose work is strong enough that I still listen to their recommends. The rest of folks pushing gear, brands, what-have-you ... tend to be bankrupt in the ‘admirable imagery’ department. Pushing their personal brand to ‘11’ instead of improving their portfolios. Or stuck in the same old rut doing the same thing over and over, just with different gear.
Here’s my recommend. Buy Beamont Newhall’s History of Photography. Read/view it all the way through. Define what a ‘great’ photograph is. I’ll tell you right off the bat, it’s near-impossible. However, while you may not end up being able to define greatness, you’ll sure know it when you see it. And you’ll know clearly what a ‘bad’ photograph is.
In this vein, and on a personal note, I don’t think I’ll bother with a 365 project again. Seems overblown and pretentious now, in a world where everyone documents their daily lives anyway. It served its purpose the first time I did one - this time, I’ve had neither the time nor the opportunity to capitalize on it. I’ll pick monthly or weekly subjects instead, work directly against my perceived weaknesses, next year.
I’m here to learn, not to buy. Some are blind to the difference. I’ll only link recommends from those who take great images, from here on in.
JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project: Roland Tanglao, jump photo of the day.
Roland ... showing every guy out there how it’s done! Catching major air. Great shot by e// - that shadow is stunning.
Envato Market: Serious Vulnerability in WordPress Plugin sold via Envato Market.
“These are highly popular plugins sold both directly on CodeCanyon and also indirectly through inclusion in many popular WordPress themes sold on ThemeForest. As a result, we expect numerous websites to potentially be at risk and are moving to help buyers secure their sites immediately.” Check your WP installs today, esp. if you’re using a commercial theme. Plugins get used by others, not necessarily in this marketplace.
WordPress Version 4.0 released.
Designer News: What do you think about Semplice, the new WordPress based portfolio CMS?
Worthy not for the actual subject of the post, but for the various takedowns of WordPress.
It’s gonna be a busy morning ... a busy week.
I’ll be cranking until the 10th. Links later today (after noon MST).
Busy morning, catching up.
Life/work’s getting in the way of postings.
After 3MST, kids. Until then, tootle along elsewhere.
The Federalist: Feminism or Sexism?
See, this is how the restrictive modern radio/music format and the narrowminded moneymaking music outfits limit young folk to blind consumption. The media’s textual orgasms over these performances are creepy and revisionist.
Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” dominated the charts in late ‘72, became the Equal Rights Amendment anthem [The amendment passed both houses of Congress that year, and moved to the State legislatures for approval], and won the Grammy. Her speech, where she thanked God ... “SHE made it possible” ... resonated in culture for years afterwards. Heard it on the radio lately? Nope. Unknown now, among young people. Arguably bigger than Beyonce at the time and with huge impact on the cultural and political landscape.
Beyonce adopts “Feminist” as a marketing tactic, not as an actual philosophy. Pole dancers in the background? This is the old patriarchal “even if they haven’t got power, women run the world through controlling men’s sexual desire” routine, repackaged as something admirable. There were elderly Congressmen spouting this on Capitol Hill, once upon a time, with a whole lot less subtlety. Women of the time threw it back with beautiful invective, followed by “male chauvinist pig!” And a bit of creative oinking.
You’re being played, fans. Post-ERA, pre-AIDS, with birth control pills freely available ... sexual liberation was well-practiced throughout the ‘70’s. Better than today in some ways. This is not something Beyonce has suddenly gifted the world with.
And the whole Sofia Vergara thing is just not funny.
Stars of the past lived feminism, maintained a largely consistent message throughout those tumultuous years - years when it was threatening to a career to do so. Today, it’s all artless performance to a crowd of young people who will seemingly accept anything with special effects accompaniment.
[As an aside, whenever I think of that song, that era, I can’t help but hear Bella Abzug in my head. Walk the walk instead of just talking the talk, Queen Bey, and I’ll listen.]
Writefully: Turn a Github Repo into a CMS.
Catching up after the weekend.
It’ll take me a while to parse the built-up overage of feeds and get some work done ... unless I perform a “Simmons” and hit ‘Mark All Read’. We’ll see how long I last before I implode.
Posting schedule for the next four days.
Because it’s Indian Market here in Santa Fe, both clients and festivities are going to keep me very busy. Links will be sporadic. Hopefully I’ll have time to post some stunning photos - planning to attend the main event again this year (Saturday’s the big day). So ... as per usual, you’ll see me when you see me. Thanks.
Just in case you don’t recall, here’s my gallery of the Native American Regalia contest from 2009.
Techdirt: Thomson Reuters Thinks Not Responding To Their Email Means You’ve Freely Licensed All Your
“So it’s just bizarre and surprising that media giant Thomson Reuters apparently believes that it can license whatever content it wants by merely sending an email and saying that a refusal to respond will be taken as consent that it can use your content.” !@&^#$$% Bloggers, beware. That puts a whole new exponential spin on ‘big grab’.
euansemple.com: Social tools and the filter problem.
“We expect to meet different people in different physical contexts and manage our expectations of different conversations in this way. The problem at the moment is that in the competition between Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and the others for our time and attention, they are all beginning to look and feel the same!”
Software should be able to solve the problem of high quality/high frequency social. The only obstacle to plucking consistently interesting bits from the firehose of social is the programs themselves. [Tags, FB. Like Tumblr. Yesterday, or sooner.]
The Atlantic: The Joys and Sorrows of Late-Night Email.
“Wake-up-to-power-down is the new 9-to-5.” Yep. Ugh. And we bloggers didn’t help that much, typing our little hearts out deep into the night.
PS Mag: Just Kill All of the Comments Already.
“Our problem was a different one: We primarily deal with science and research, and know that comments can change the perception readers have of not just the stories themselves, but the facts and figures covered in the stories that often shouldn’t be open to interpretation.” If you don’t actively engage your commenters, I see how this can be true. I feel having a comment system requires active participation by the blog- or site-owner. It’s not a set-it-up-and-let-it-run device.
SERoundtable: Google - Low Quality Guest Blogging Considered Content Spam.
Google as arbiter of ‘good blog posts.’ What’s the world coming to?
PhotoShelter Blog: Do Good Stories Trump Good Photos? HONY, Selby and More.
“... as many people have pointed out, you can be a great photographer but a poor businessperson and fail to succeed. Similarly, in today’s hyper-connected but highly decentralized world of ‘publishing,’ good photography is rarely enough to go viral. Storytelling is a vital skill for success, and that’s arguably a good thing for photography and photographers ...” For every photographer, a blog then.
NewMexiKen: Little Sure Shot.
Happy B-day, Annie Oakley.
Kind of creepy, how many folks are trying to boost their brands with Robin Williams’ death.
It’s been bad before, but this is the worst I’ve seen. Too many pious articles with no direct input, branders continuing to try to clamber higher in their scores on the backs of a tragedy.
The actions on Twitter towards his daughter, make me sick inside.
Here’s what I think: I think we all ought to pick a day ... perhaps the day of his funeral. We all go find the tallest thing we can, stand on it, and and take a photo of ourselves with “O Captain, My Captain” as the caption. Flood the social media airwaves.
I invite someone with more followers than I to make the idea popular. Take the idea whole, I don’t care. Something like this needs to be done. Come up with something better! This just rolled out of my head. We, the core of the internet, need to make this right for his memory, for his daughter.
nice marmot: On the brighter side.
“Always carry a camera.” Indeed, Dave captures some beauties.
Later: Speaking of nice marmots ...
Alert.Websecurity.ATT.com, using ScanSafe, thinks my site is malicious.
Simply because, according to the following: “Currently, the site is not categorized by Scansafe and it is HIGHLY LIKELY that it is malicious.”
Since when is ScanSafe categorization a basic requirement for a website?
First, Google. Now third-party spam filters. How do I “get categorized” by ScanSafe? Anyone know?
Thoughts on personal branding, Charo, and Q Scores.
Long story to set this up.
I ran across a version of Malagueña on Spotify, played by María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, a student of Segovia’s. Sounds impressive on its face, right?
Wait. You’ll recognize her more readily under her stage name, Charo. The Segovia link probably surprised you - it surprised me. As did her playing (on this version). And after perusing her Wikipedia entry (the 1970’s), I became acquainted with her Q Score.
This, of course, brought Technorati, Klout, personal branding to mind.
The story for Charo is that because of ill-advised overexposure, her recognition factor is as high as Clint Eastwood’s, but her popularity factor is in the single digits.
Everyone knows you, not many care about what’s going on with you. No ability to generate any buzz, except through sensationalism ... which requires ever-greater levels of personal exposure, allying with strategic larger brands, or creation of false personas.
Personal branders, beware. This is a metric you may not be paying attention to. One can expose themselves quite thoroughly, score well on the social media measurement charts, link all the trending subjects, and have no popularity. Oh, you can have ‘influence’ — you talk to a lot of people — but do you really have ‘likeability’? It’s that polarity thing I keep railing about. I’ve tested Klout over and over, and it has no method for judging a positive thread vs. a negative thread ... the same failing Technorati suffered from. Numbers without context, that blow up into a fantasy.
So, to put it gently — counter to Klout or other measurement services — perhaps less recognition and greater likeability should be the general goal ... ?
My opinion. Take it or leave it. I’ll sign off on a totally ironic note ... sounds like folks should start blogs rather than social media empires.
Neil Young, Sugar Mountain.
The day is turning out ridiculously busy.
Links as I can.