What is the barrier between good art and crappy art? In any medium, how do you know if you’re making something worthwhile or if you’re just making something? Ira Glass lays out several different aspects of the human experience in his manifesto piece, “Ira Glass”. Glass begins by bringing up some of his lower points in radio, pointing out personal failures and sharing early projects that seem embarrassing at this point in his radio career. Perhaps Ira does this to humble himself, or perhaps it was to make himself more relatable to the reader. It seems more likely, however, that Ira is setting up his later successes by highlighting that failure is the key to success. As the article goes on, Ira lays out the ways he has found success, and it is strikingly similar to this new psychology research about the science behind willpower. Ira Glass explains, basically, how to grow up. This, I think, is the boundary between good work and poor work. Before you can consistently produce good quality work, you need to learn how to fail and you need to learn how to have the willpower to make that good quality work happen.
As much as this article seemed like a slide show of redundant information, it did cover many different photography skills, the last of which was “break the rules.” For me, this begged the question of whether or not “the rules” had been necessarily useful information or not. The slides explaining aspect ratio and color composition seemed a bit light on information. The slides on the rule of thirds and focus seemed straightforward but also slightly vague. On the fourth slide, in the “Why it works” segment, the first reason just didn’t make sense: “You can crop the shot later if a subject is too tall to shoot – especially now camera’s over high resolution sensors”. I’m not sure what cropping a photo has to do with camera sensors, other than perhaps if you were to crop and zoom in to a photo. In any case, a lot of this article was poorly organized and unclear, although it did explain some useful skills.
Scott Rosenberg’s wordyard article centers around this inaccuracy of a New York Times feature: “The feature noted that photographer Edgar Martins ‘creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation.'” The rest of the article goes on to explain that Edgar Martin in fact did use digital manipulation in his photographs, but under the false pretenses of not having done so. Rosenberg calls into question whether these photos, and any photos, can try to actually capture reality. This is a loaded question– on one hand, photos and articles are a core part of how we communicate our realities to the general population. On the other hand, can anyone really understand what’s going on in a reality they don’t live in? And is creative medium what comes closest to that? Rosenberg brought up artistic integrity, and pointed out the difference between reliable content and reliable content creators, pointing out that we tend to trust the latter more. He also brought up the question of wether edited photos make for inaccurate photos, but that may not necessarily be the case. Sometimes, like it elaborates on in this article, edited photos can communicate more clearly than unedited photos could.
One questing that Matt Hackett’s article, “As We Become Cameras” left me with was the environmental impact of continuously producing cheap wearable cameras. Hackett’s observation in the Infinite Vision section of his post, “The era we are in the midst of, with a profusion of cheap, miniature, wearable, networked cameras and screens, is quite different,” does not stop to consider whether or not this vision is in reality “infinite”. These cameras, mostly being cell phones and iPods as or right now, get replaced sometimes as frequently as each year by owners. An article about ocean pollution from unesco.org states: “Plastics can contribute to reduce our carbon footprint. They provide improved insulation, lighter packaging, are found in phones, computers, medical devices, etc. but appropriate disposal is often not addressed.” This is especially concerning when thinking about wikipedia’s statistics on phone waste in the United states, which states that “Approximately 150 million mobile phones are discarded each year in the USA. Up to 35,000 pounds of copper and 772 pounds of silver can be recovered per 1 milliondevices recycled.” So, although it may seem inevitable to embrace technology and the recording of our wold, it may not be a necessarily good future prospect.
Felix Colgrave’s “Double King” is a short animation from April of 2017 that highlights the self-destructive aspects of greed. The first time viewing it, it may not seem like anything more than a quirky animation series where every next thing that happens in the sequence of events is the least expected thing– and it is that, too. The lunar cycle goes backwards. There’s a kingdom of centipides and a kingdom of pumpkins. Most of these kingdoms don’t seem to actually have subjects. The main character gets carried to the afterlife on a squeaky moon ride, for crying out loud. This video is bizzare. Once you notice, however, that the king character is actually severing his own limbs in pursuit of a crown, it takes on a new and deeper meaning. The visual animation is beautiful and weird and unique, and the audio composition complements this wonderfully. This is why “Double King” is my favorite of Felix Colgrave’s many interesting animation shorts.