300mm f/8.0 1/400s ISO400
A favorite movie of mine quotes 'Notoriety never benefits the noted, onle the notee...' and this is a profound truth. I can't be certain if it has always been so, but in my lifetime I have noticed fame arise from infamy more often then actual likeability. From Elvis to Lady GaGa and everyone in-between, there are two quick ways to the top: sex and hate, and it seems like those who take the first road wane in popularity once they've reached the top. Those that take the road of hate, however, are propelled TO popularity by being hated. Elvis Presley, Marilyn Manson, Lady GaGa, even The Beatles and The Doors were pushed to greater heights of fame when people started to protest them, ban them from cities, burn their records. When popularity wanes, just do something to piss people off, and you'll instantly be in the spotlight.
It's a sad fact that most people won't be recognized for the good that they do. Most of us will not be patted on the back or praised for our accomplishments, we will not be told 'good job' or have our talents appreciated. We will, however, be criticized and nit-picked about every flaw concievable, and when a critic can't find a flaw, they will make one up. When criticism stops being constructive, it is meant to be destructive.
So, why would anyone want to be destructive to another person? We, as humans, wish to destroy our enemies, and our enemies are those that threaten us. This is a natural and helpful emotion, when based on physical grounds. It's a sad fact that most 'threatening' is merely a threat to the ego, and when the ego is threatened, people will lash out in 'revenge'.
How can you tell if you are being criticized justly or unjustly? If the ctitique helps or adds insight, it is just. If the comments are rude and unhelpful, they are unjust. If someone in your field tells you: 'Your work is really slipping these days.' that is a helpful note. If some random person posts on your facebook wall 'U Suk!!!!' that is obviously not helpful. The first comment deserves your attention, the second does not.
Even though we know what is helpful and what is not, and therefore know what critiques to take to heart, it can still be difficult when being barraged with unhelpful slander. It is in these instances it becomes important to remember that fine line between famous and infamous. If enough people take the time to slander you, you will become a point of interest. You will be remembered because those people who make it their goal to hurt you will make sure they tell everyone how terrible you are. From there you become the hot topic of much conversation and, before you know it, people are googling your name and learning as much about you as they can so the next time they meet with their hostile friends they have some new or unique facts with which to flame you. Eventually this growing fire will catch and you just might achieve some level of notoriety, if you can fan the flames just a bit.
Remember the quote from the beginning of this entry? It is at this point that it becomes relevant. Fame rarely grants benefits to the famous, it merely entertains the spectators. Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe sell billions of dollars worth of merchandise every year. Photographs considered throwaways during Monroe's living years sell for more than a used car today. Her fame didn't help her career, her career helped make her famous. Sure, some sensationalism helped bring her to the top, the same with Mr. Presley, because infamy can bring fame, but fame rarely brings monetary gain, and who wants to be a broke, unsuccessful famous person?
Even more tragic is that fame is so fleeting. The hottest star this week is just that, to be replaced by someone else in the next issue of this or that magazine. Not only does fame not generate money, it comes and goes in the blink of an eye.
We should all hope to be the scapegoat at some point, it will help push our names into the minds of more people, but we should be prepared to continue on our path once the tide has turned.
300mm f/5.6 1/400s ISO250
If you're like me, and spend most of your time working, then you might also be guilty of forgetting how big the world is. There was an eclipse a few days ago, and I totally missed out on photographing it. By the time I got out to make some images the moon was barely in front of the sun, so I ended up with a few awesome photos of what looks like a pac-man. It's easy to lose track of events, but it's a shame to miss out on an experience because of work.
So, instead of some awesome photos of an eclipse that only happens every so often, I am left with this image of a common weed. This weed is a bit different than others, though. This weed is often given to children as a talisman that grants wishes. I'm sure you were at some time given a dandelion and told to blow it's seeds into the wind while thinking a wish. Children are often taught little rituals and rhymes concerning wishing. Blow out the candles on your birthday cake, make a wish. See a star at night and recite 'Wish I may, wish I might, first star I see tonight...' Children are encouraged to wish at the strangest opportunities. It has always amazed me that adults aren't encouraged to wish much at all.
As an adult we are accosted with such phrases as 'Wishful thinking' and a host of other derogatory words when we make a wish. Is it any wonder that our wishes came true more when we were children?
The little poems and strange behaviors we are taught as children were something akin to magic, like spells by which we can attain our dreams. It seems silly when you think about it as an adult, but is it ever a bad idea to instill in anyone the habit of wishing? When we make a wish on our magical dandelions or when we see the first star on a fresh night sky or when we blow out the candles of our birthday cake we are telling ourselves what we want. Making a wish is having a dream, and a dream becomes a goal before it grows into an accomplishment. 'Wishful thinking' it may be, but no great feat happens without first being born as a wish.
I encourage you to remember the magic of your youth and make a wish today. Use a dandelion, a star, or whatever other method you remember from your childhood, and wish for something that you truly desire. If you keep your wish a secret, it just might come true.
34mm f/5.6 1/160s ISO100
Humans have been obsessed with themselves most likely since the dawn of our time. Cave paintings and sculptures of the human figure are by far the most prevalent. Laws have been created and destroyed concerning the creating of images and likenesses, and even today the copyright war rages on, attempting to control the way likenesses are used.
We have laws concerning who can create a likeness, and how it can be created, and how it can be used. Free from the old superstitious fear of witches we are no longer afraid to allow our likenesses to be created, but we are still concerned with how they will be used.
The likeness of a person has been thought to be linked to the one it was fashioned after, and many cultures feared that their likeness could be used for malevolent purposes. Today, images may still be used to defame or slander the subject. Unlike yesteryear when a witch would torture a wax figure of her enemy to cause pain or even death, today vindictive persons may upload embarrassing images of their enemy to nefarious websites, or even send them to the phone of random strangers. The methods of mis-using likenesses have changed, but the results are still very much the same.
The ancient Greeks were probably the best artisans when the human form is concerned. Their statues and carvings have flawless lines, poses, and perfect anatomy. They have remained unmatched, and probably will for a very long time. The ancient Greeks didn't create images and likenesses for nefarious purposes, they did it because they found it beautiful, just as artists of today spend much time re-creating and capturing the beauty inherent in the human form in its natural state.
Advertising agencies have long since known the power of the human form, and will always add some 'sex appeal' into their campaigns, even if the average gazer doesn't recognize it. Artists of all types have always known the shapes of beauty and often employ the composure of the sensual in order to add interest to their works.
Time may pass, the world around us may change drastically, but people are still doing the same things they've done for thousands of years. As much as we have progressed as a species, we have changed so very little.
70mm f/8 1/400s ISO100
"They don't build 'em like they used to." Of course that's not true, people build things in whatever way their patron pays them to. 'They' could easily 'build 'em like they used to' if it was in the budget and requested. It's usually not, though. The opulent mansions of yesterday have given way to the skyrise apartment complexes of today, and I wonder if the change was for our benefit or not. Has man's spacial needs changed, or is it being ignored to cut costs and pack more people into a smaller space?
Of course there are many books and studies on the subject, the answer to those questions is out there for all to see, if one cares to look.
The structure in the image above isn't that old, but I have always loved the ominous look of those pillars.
300mm f/5.6 1/400s ISO4000
I don't say 'good-bye' or even 'bye'. I don't give a farewell or a godspeed, I walk away with a 'see you later' or a 'take care'. I like to leave with an invitation for future meetings. Today I was forced to say good-bye to a friend.
The animals that live in my house have always been more family then pets, and this little girl was no exception. I feel no shame in admitting that I cried this morning as I buried my dog, and my manhood isn't threatened by admitting that I played 'Candle in the wind' in her memory. Jezebelle was a great companion, and my couch will be a bit more lonely without her.
Here's my first blog post stripped of wit, facts, and humor, and also my first blog post with more than one image. It's hard to be a photographer and not have ten thousand photos of your pets. Pets don't yell at you when you spend hours on end photographing them like the people who live in your house do. I will post only three today, two that show the expressiveness of my late friend, and one that shows her natural talent for modeling.
The magic of photography is endless, but one of it's tricks is the ability to take us to the past, to show us things gone, and sometimes forgotton.
Farewell, Jezebelle. You are missed.
70mm f/8.0 1/125s ISO320
240mm f/8.0 1/400s ISO800