the wind whistles spirited songs

Photos that tell stories (and make me say, how DID they do that?!) are great inspiration!

I love the emotion, the whimsy and the treatment here.


Why you shouldn’t give too much weight to anonymous online critics

I found this posting on a photography-related social experiment very interesting:

Back in 2006, Flickr user André Rabelo submitted the above photograph to the group pool of DeleteMe!, a group whose members vote on photos to weed out any photos that aren’t “incredible pictures, amazing, astonishing, perfect”. Sadly, the photograph was very quickly removed by popular vote.

Click through for the punch and to read the comments on this experiment. I’ve included my favorite comments from the post below.

This little “social experiment” reveals a few things:
1) There are people who consider themselves photographers who have no sense of history, no sense of what came before them. This is a rapidly changing business and because of the internet so many people “look” at a bunch of photos and then consider themselves “educated” about photography without ever really studying the details and really understanding it.
2) As someone already pointed out, since there is no historical knowledge, there is little historical context, therefore they can’t understand or appreciate it – or even speak intelligently about it.
3) There are those that only look at images through a strictly mechanical/technical prism – “it’s not sharp”, “the focus is off”, etc. While those are definitely important aspects of appraising photographs, they aren’t the only criteria – composition, moments, emotions, color, light, etc are also important.
4) Those of you who think this is a “crap picture” – it’s not great because of who took it. It’s a wonderful moment – a ‘decisive moment” as HCB called them. And if a “bulk” think a picture is “great” despite the fact that it’s really crap, what does that make it? Look at popular music, popular television, movies, etc – just because a large number of people “like” something does not mean it’s really any good. The converse is also true.
5) I just think it’s hilarious that individuals who have the time to pontificate about the quality of this image didn’t recognize/know it – regardless of what they thought about it!

and my favorite– the moral of the story, I think:

Why let any critic – seemingly schooled or otherwise – dictate the way you shoot.

Art is subjective. Photographers, continue to be inspired by the work you see! Feedback is important, but one person’s opinion is just that. I’ve read that one should critically look at at least 100 photographs a day by other photographers, examining all the elements. Understand how it was created, consider how you might have done it differently, but judgement is not your job. Rather, use it to educate yourself. Then, Scott Bourne tells us to shoot every day, even when– especially when, we’re uninspired. Get out there, try those techniques and grow your own.

Keep shooting. Haters to the left.

Lollapalooza: I survived (but estimate that 75k+ pairs of shoes did not)

For the fourth year in a row, I spent the weekend in Chicago for Lollapalooza. I wouldn’t miss it. In fact, I ended up frantically scouring the internet for tickets to this year’s sold out 20th Anniversary celebration because I didn’t anticipate it selling out. Thankfully, someone from Facebook Marketplace came through with a three day pass for the weekend at a reasonable price.

The weather was gorgeous all weekend until about 5pm on Sunday when all one hundred thousand of us or so were drenched in a summer thunderstorm/torrential downpour. The park became a sloppy, muddy mess. Click on the images to the right to browse those on my flickr. While the rain put a damper on our comfort, it made for some amazing people watching.

I couldn’t take my Nikon into the park, so I managed to get by with my camera phone. My Samsung Vibrant does a surprisingly decent job, for a phone. One of these years, my Nikon will go with me or I’ll pick up one of the great new DSLRs sans removable lens. There are plenty of great spots that don’t allow professional cameras but do allow those! Some of those cameras do a pretty good job, to be honest. If I have to be without my beloved Nikon, I’d gladly settle for one of those.

Did you attend Lollapalooza or any other festivals this year? If so, what was your favorite place to people watch? Mine was the DJ tent, as I’m sure you can tell from my photos!

Also, I have mad respect for those left behind to clean up the park. On the bright side, I bet anyone going through there with a metal detector will make a fortune!

Through the viewfinder

I’m looking for antique cameras. Why?

Because I want to try fun things like this!

Haven’t you wanted to know…

What New York City Looks Like From The Belly of a Skateboard?

Filmed using a GoPro camera.

Why I like Empire Avenue

Empire Avenue is a new, worldwide social network that I joined about two weeks ago. At first glance, it looks like a stock market. It kind of is. But, the stock is in you and the work that you do. I’m going to highlight the things I like best about it, but there really is a lot about this site that I don’t have the space to go over– and will make more sense as you dig in and try it out.

Empire Avenue is very networking-centric, so it works best for those who are driven to connect with new people on about professional or personal hobbies or topics. This is not another site to share what you had for breakfast.

You may already know that I have lots of social media profiles; I have a personal and a business facebook & the same situation on twitter as well as blogs for each, plus Flickr and LinkedIn– in fact, you might think that the last thing I need is yet another social media profile!

But Empire Avenue is a great combination of analytics, professional and social networking– and it feels like a game. So, I keep coming back every day to check my stock price and invest in people who invest in me- if they’re a good fit for my “portfolio”.

From the analytic perspective, Empire Avenue provides a numeric representation of how I’m performing on each of my social media profiles. Without EA, it may occur to me that I haven’t tweeted lately on my professional Twitter account, but it’s not IN MY FACE every day if I don’t do it. Using EA, it’s easy for me to identify what I’m neglecting and it gives me a measure of improvement. There’s a dashboard when I log in on my profile as well as lots of charts and graphs to assist me with my contributions to each platform. Improving these scores means my stock price goes up, as does having others invest in me.

In fact, networking has been the most fun for me. Empire Avenue makes networking with people in any geographic area who share professional or personal interests easy and fun. Finding new people to invest in feels like a game. Adding them to your portfolio is essentially choosing who you want to be part of your network, and I choose wisely. You can seek them out through searches, though it also recommends individuals based on your interests and network, or you can join communities that make networking even easier. The more you interact, the more your score EA improves. EA aggregates your posts and publishes links to them in your profile stream, so when people review your posts, they nearly always go to the original sites, and they don’t store content (such as photos, etc) on their site, so you don’t have to have concerns about privacy such as those that have recently come up with Facebook, Google+, Twitpic and the like.

There are achievements you can earn, including improving the status within your chosen index (you begin as an “employee” and progress through the ranks up to “President”).

Yes, it’s another social network and it does require more work. But, I believe that this network gives back so much– not only does it provide great networking opportunities (with lots of other early adopters in the US and around the world), but it provides analytics about the other networks that you’re active on. Sure, you could find that information within each network, but this puts it all in one place.

I will still use LinkedIn for professional networking, but Empire Avenue really is a great mix of professional and personal networking and the charts and graphs I might easily pay for elsewhere. LinkedIn puts some borders on networking outside of your existing circle, and Empire Avenue encourages you to explore everywhere.

Check it out. If you decide to join, leave me a comment here or there with your ticker symbol (mine is COBLE) and I’ll happily be your first investor!

William Beckett at Reggie’s, Chicago

This past Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of attending an acoustic set with William Beckett of The Academy Is… at Reggie’s in the south loop. I’ve seen a few other Academy shows over the years (such as the one I reviewed for Muruch last year) and several others to a frenetic hometown crowd, but Sunday’s crowd was the perfect combination of enthusiasm and respect (for the artist and for personal space).

I snapped a few shots and a few videos, but mostly, I just enjoyed the set. William says that despite actively writing and recording new music, it’s still possible this could be his last set of the year. He said at the start of the set how much he’d missed performing and he certainly was as charming as ever– all smiles and playing off the crowd, so something tells me he’ll find a way to find his way back on stage sooner than that. I hope that I’m right. The William Beckett Hour (including the atmosphere created with his decorative touches) has been greatly missed.

More photos from the performance can be found on INK Toronto.

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