Monday, May 30, 2011

Dianthus

It's really very hard to get a nice photo of a tiny flower when it's really, really windy, at least if you don't have a really good camera. I finally got the little dianthus to cooperate, though, so here are a few photos of it.




Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sink

And so we continue my soiree into black and white photography.

I have half a mind to not have forks or Western spoons when I have my own place and instead have chopsticks and Eastern-style spoons. Just saying.



Friday, May 27, 2011

Kitchen windowsill

Part of a kitchen windowsill. Edited.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tron clock: edited photos

Today I decided to give editing photos a shot. Here are the four edits (more to come, maybe) of the previous Tron Clock.

Tomorrow I'll put up the edits of my kitchen windowsill shot. ...and eventually the sketches. I keep forgetting, or more correctly getting shy.






Tron time

Greetings, Programs.

I snapped a photo of my false-neon clock the other day, and looking at it now it reminds me of Tron. Seeing the new Tron filled me with a nerdy glee, and after returning home I was promptly plopped in front of our TV to watch the original for the first time. Truly, it was an evening of nerdy joy, enhanced by the knowledge that my university studies inherently allow me to use I fight for the Users whenever I please.



I think I may actually fiddle with this one and see what I can do with it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crass bottle

Photos today, sketches sometime this week, more writing at the end of the week. Probably.

Today we have a Crass bottle-- an old soda water bottle made by Coca-Cola back in the day.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Writing and photography

I've been wanting to write more lately. It's not like I haven't been writing frequently; I have in fact been writing nearly constantly for the past five years. The only problem with that is the narrow scope of writing: user manuals, more manuals, literature reviews, a thesis, geologic reports, etc. I have, of course, had the pleasure of writing about philosophy now and then, but I have primarily written the aforementioned.

Needless to say, while I can and still will write technical user-centered material without much problem, I have grown weary of this; I have been writing too much of one thing. I'm thinking of writing reviews of things, but this is broad. Reviews of what? Tea? Beer? Music, new or old? The latest thing I read? Perhaps all of these. Regardless, you can expect more writing.

Briefly, here's a list of what I am/will be reading (and about which you can expect reviews):

  • How to Read a Photograph: Lessons from Master Photographers, by Jeffrey
  • The Texts of Taoism, published by Dover
  • Looking at Photographs, by Baldwin and Juergens
  • re-reading Also Sprach Zarathustra, by Nietzsche
  • re-reading Beowulf
  • The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, ed./trans. Mitchell

I may also re-read Candide and give The Silmarillion another shot. I hated it when I was 16.

So, to start, I will review/kvetch briefly on what I have read so far of Ian Jeffrey's How to Read a Photograph: Lessons from Master Photographers.

I am, perhaps inconveniently, half artist and half scientist, and have always loved photography and history. Photography and history compliment each other well; one of my favorite ways to learn about history is to (at least in a very small way) see it. Something I have always vehemently disliked are the droll and detached "this is how you take a photograph" sorts of books, as if photography is a static art. How silly! Those things in photos had a life in them, and thus should photography be treated: as a lively thing.

I was and am delighted to be gifted How to Read a Photograph: Lessons from Master Photographers, because it is a walk-through of the history of photography and the use of photographs from the ostensible perspective of the photographers. It's very interesting so far! A delightful way to learn various histories and why these photos were taken.

There is something however that frustrates me very much, something I've heard time and again from "art teachers" and authors: the incessant need to tack deep, profound meaning to everything. This is not to say that photographs (and art in general) have no meaning: you can't seriously look at art in general and think that. What bothers me is something slightly different; that is attaching meaning to something that may not have any meaning at all. For example:

William Henry Fox Talbot's photograph The Open Door is a photograph of just this, an open door, with various objects (a broom, harness, lamp) in the photograph. The book's author adds an extraordinary amount of meaning to the broom, harness and lamp, claiming them to reference The Sermon on the Mount (Light of the World), Diogenes the Cynic (lantern), the general principle of self control, and Jonathan Swift's A Meditation upon a Broomstick.

To this I say, seriously? Did the photographer really intend for these objects to carry these meanings? Or did he, perhaps, simply take a photograph of a normal scene? Historical meaning is one thing, and should be thought about and derived from photographs, but this sort of thing is another. It seems silly, and I wish people would stop attaching false meanings to things. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Face

Here, have a photo of a face.

Scans of sketches will be up tomorrow or the day after, we'll see.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Free at last, free at last

And quite suddenly it's over and done with, just like that. Poof, bang, gone. The past five years have been quite interesting and good, and are suddenly and simply done.

It's a really weird feeling.

One of the best things is the ability to remember everything and everyone. Of course, I still have friends I will be visiting now and then, so that encroaches on any really solid sense of finality I was expecting. Then again, that might be due largely in part to the fact that the first three days of graduated life were devoted to busily cleaning a house and yard, sometimes til 2400.

Anyways, I have a perhaps-obligatory "What I Learned in College" sort of blagh today. It's short. It may sound jaded and cynical, and I make no apologies.



-I'll be honest: the only reason I went to college was because I had no idea what else I would do with myself. It was, in fact, the best decision I think I could have made, and I'm overall very pleased with the past few years of life.

-After one semester, I found I had little to no patience for kids in high school. After doing my time at Tech, I've realized I have little to no patience for childishness in anyone, especially in people whose birth certificates claim them to be adults. I can no longer abide foolishness. As an aside, foolishness and being silly aren't necessarily equivalent. This realization has also pointed out to me that I can be a royal ass to people I'm not especially fond of. This is unfortunate.

-I learned what "flip cup" is, and that I have no particular interest in it whatsoever. Similarly, I learned what Johnny Walker and Wild Turkey are, and that they make for fantastic sipping drinks when accompanied by friends, a porch, and a cigar.

-On that note, friends are invaluable (see the last item in this list).

-"Know thyself." You must honestly evaluate and know yourself, know what you're like and not. Sometimes that involves killing your pride and getting over the pretense you've made of yourself, and that's good. Hard, yes, but good.

-Living in a house off campus can be a pain, but living on campus is worse. The responsibilities of house/yard maintenance and bill-paying are nothing compared to mandatory quiet hours, the inability to properly have guests or burn incense, and mandatory hall meetings. Plus: living off campus, you can escape the Swine Flu and the sororities (Two-Minutes Hate ENGAGE), and you can cook your own food. Living off campus will also teach you, if you have housemates, how to deal with the occasional crazy person.

-The world is both a good and a bad place. Fight accordingly.

-I learned to ask "Oh really?" A lot of things in life are fictions (thanks, Snake). We make stuff up and say it's important, like "You must go to college," "You have to do college in four years," "If you're not an engineer and you aren't in these organizations, aren't on the honor roll and don't do all these things, you're worthless and dumb," "Gotta make a lot of money," etc. GPA is meaningless. Doing college in four years? Also meaningless. Mocking people who transfer to other schools because they don't fit academically? New Mexico Tech, you're so arrogant. I thought the point was learning, not showing off.

-Drunk people are funny until they're in your house.

-I still have no idea what I'm "supposed to do with my life." I don't think we have to know that, because I think the notion that there's one thing you are supposed to do is very boring.

-The most important thing I learned was this: people are more important than academia. I fully encourage and emphasize learning and thinking, but none of that can replace people. Whether you like it or not (I don't entirely), you need people: the physical/emotional/financial/spiritual/mental support and encouragement; the help with homework; learning new things and understanding things better, the list goes on. People are really dumb and hateful, yes, but are also brilliant and wonderful. There is much to learn from people.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bromeliad

Bright and lively bromeliade from Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Masked tree frog

I like frogs, if you couldn't tell! So awesome/cute/just plain froggish.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bug on a leaf

I don't know what kind of bug this is, but I like bugs.



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chirp, succulents

I found this bird-shaped flower pot for my mom, and she planted succulents in it.




Monday, May 2, 2011

Wedding photos

It's been a long week! My last set of finals have commenced.

This past Saturday, two of my friends got married. It was a lovely wedding, and I'm so happy for them! Following are a few photos I took during the reception; no, I'm not putting up photos of the couple since they would be very shy about me doing so.

Bubbles were provided, ostensibly for the purpose of letting the guests menace each other, as you will see.