Tuesday, May 28, 2019

SEXY MACHINES (from the new book "Nobody Cares about your Stupid Pictures"

                Just when I thought I’d acquired every kind of camera I’d ever need, photography changed so fundamentally that my cameras became obsolete nearly overnight.  Suddenly the dozens of film cameras I owned metamorphosed into expensive metal paperweights and had to be replaced with digital cameras.  Although I was not an early adopter of the digital camera I bought one when it was becoming clear that film’s lifespan was becoming limited.  I really didn’t have a choice if I were to continue working as a professional photographer, the industry was going digital.
                My first digital camera was a little 3.3 megapixel Canon G1.  It was a little silver box and clearly un-sexy; I’ve got another old box of a camera in my collection, a 1948 Argus C3.  Back in the day the Argus C3 was nicknamed ‘the brick,’ my year 2000 Canon G1 is also a brick, a lightweight and even less sexy brick.  Both cameras are ugly, utilitarian devices but the half-century old Argus is slightly sexier! 
                What exactly is a ‘sexy’ camera?
             In my view, a ‘sexy’ machine is a device that’s well designed and engineered.  A sexy machine has some heft, some weight, because it’s made to last.  Sexy machines are complex with many gears and other mechanical parts that fit together and move smoothly.  Some examples of ‘sexy’ machines are: steam locomotives, mechanical clocks and watches, Ducati motorcycles, old typewriters, hand-operated printing presses, telescopes, record-players, analog synthesizers, the enlargers (which I no longer use) in my darkroom, and pretty much all old mechanical cameras, especially those from Germany.  Simply put, sexy machines are those with clever engineering and have a ‘solid’ feel to them.
                Digital cameras are decidedly not sexy!
             There’s very little going on mechanically inside a digital camera.  Although cameras still look like what we expect cameras to look like, they’ve become little more than processors with lenses. 
                Converting light into a silver-halide latent image on film was a very different process than converting light to ones and zeros that can only be expressed after processing with firmware.  All that camera-back space that used to be filled with film, motors and film transport gears is now taken up by batteries and processors, tiny computers that ‘do math.’  They’re little more than black boxes inside a larger black box shaped like what we expect a camera to look like.  Digital cameras are certainly amazing devices, but ‘sexy’ they’re not!
                Good industrial design is what makes cameras ‘sexy.’  There is something about the human interaction with a well-designed machine that’s natural, pleasant or even exciting which is wholly missing from interacting with strictly utilitarian devices. 
                Steampunk art is today’s ultimate expression of ‘sexy’ machinery.

Friday, May 24, 2019

NOW THAT I AM OFFICIALLY OLD A rant on aging (WARNING: Contains adult language)

I have just had my 60th birthday --note that I did not write celebrated my 60th because it’s no cause for celebration.  Urgh!  Shit!  The aging process happens so fast! 

Now that I am officially old there’s gonna be some ‘lifestyle changes.’  Oh yeah.  Now I really am too old for some of this shit.  I hear the clock ticking louder and louder, there are more days behind me than ahead, there are some things that need to be changed now.  Time is no longer on my side and there are things I simply DO NOT have time for any longer.  Maybe it’s time for me to BE the asshole some people think I am already!?

Now that I am officially old I don’t have time for:
Ninnies, pinheads & feebs.
Robbers, bandits, bastards & thieves.
Stupid people – either willfully or naturally.  Dunning-Kruger victims.  Morons of all flavors.
Authority figures – Especially cops who murder dark-skinned people and then get a two-week paid vacation for killing, fuck you racist assholes!  You corporate sycophants can all fuck off too.  Remember ‘BOSS’ is just Stupid Son Of a Bitch backwards. 

Now that I am officially old I don’t have time for:
Telemarketers.  No, I will no longer even try to be nice to you.  ‘No thanks’ will be replaced with ‘fuck off!”
Spammers/scammers.  If you put HALF the energy you spend lying and scamming into something honest and productive you’d accomplish so much more.

“Evangelical” Christians.  Fuck off!   As far as I’m concerned you’re the worst; hypocritical, stupid, and you don’t even follow the teachings of your own religion!  You’ve weaponized your religion and know nothing about spiritual enlightenment.  You’re haters.

And speaking of other racist assholes, a giant fuck you to republicans (no, you don’t get a capital ‘R’).  You’re full of shit and full of hate.  You’re racist, misogynist, liars every one of you.  Your policies have never worked and you’ve fucked-up just about everything you’ve touched.  You’re barely politicians, you’re certainly not leaders, and you don’t represent me.  If you support Donald Trump you need to stay far, far away from me because you’re all turbo-charged dipshits of the worst possible kind, you work hard to be aggressively stupid.  And for the Democrats, well, fuck you too for having better ideas and better people yet failing nonetheless.  I’m tired of watching Democrats, year after year, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Now that I am officially old I don’t have time for:
Art critics.
Art scams.
Car salesmen.
Real Estate agents.
Everyone in any kind of ‘insurance’ business.  You have no skills or talent whatsoever!
Tech support.  Especially those with Indian accents named ‘Mike.’
Customer ‘service.’
Accounts ‘payable.’
Most Texans. 
Fake friends.
Two-Faced people.
‘Askholes’ – you’re the ones who ask for advice, never take it, and then complain when you’ve made a bad choice.

Now that I am officially old I don’t have time for:
Smalltalk, chit-chat, networking, reunions with people I never liked in the first place.
Games, drama, manipulation.  Bullshit of any kind.
Gun-nuts, 2nd amendment wackos, trophy hunters.  All hunters except for subsistence hunting.  (‘Hunting’ is just a nice word for ‘killing animals for fun.’)

I should have taken Helen Mirren’s advice and used the words ‘Fuck Off’ more frequently and enthusiastically in my youth.  It’s like the harder I tried to be nice, less I was liked.  Somehow along the way I created enemies, though none were ever worthy adversaries. 

Now that I am officially old I don’t have time for a lot of the shit I put up with in my youth in an effort to ‘be nice.’  Actually, I probably did you a disservice by being nice to you because that was dishonest.  I should have been ‘brutally honest,’ but that would have made you mad.  I didn’t want to hurt your feelings so I kept my disrespect for you to myself.  Now I’m too old to care.

Now that I am officially old I can let you know that I really did hear and understand all your subtle little insults when you said that shit in the past.  I understood what you meant.  You were subtly insulting and belittling but you thought I didn’t catch it.  I let that slide then because I was being ‘nice.’  I don’t have to be nice now so when you do it again I’ll let you know.  Let me send out a belated ‘fuck you’ especially to those Southern Women with your shitty little remarks like, “Isn’t that interesting?” or “Well bless your heart.”  And to all you businessmen, middle-managers, and others I heard every one of your damned insults.  You thought I either didn’t hear it or get it, you assumed I was stupid.  Well I wasn’t stupid and I remembered.  Fuck you NOW for what you said THEN.

Conversely, there are some things I need to make time for or appreciate more.  Things like:

Teachers.  An honorable job with terrible pay.

Waiters and waitresses.  I’m already nice.  I say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and I tip well.  I should still do more.

Artists.  I know your sacrifice and I won’t belittle it.  I also will not criticize you in any way.  I’m happy for you.  I’m impressed that you –got your book published or did it yourself, got your CD recorded & distributed, got your paintings shown or photography published or whatever.  The fact that you completed your art/song/dance/whatever is impressive enough!  NO criticism from me!  Good for all of you!!

Engineers, mechanics, craftsmen of all kinds.  I respect those who create and make things with their hands.

Scientists, Physicists, Doctors, except for those (mainly a small sub-group of medical doctors) who do it just for the money.

Thinkers, introverts, and the ‘quiet ones.’  You know who you are, and I do too!

Nurses.  Caregivers. 

Anyone who works with/rescues animals.

All dogs.

Certain individual cats.

I appreciate professionalism –notice I didn’t write ‘professionals’ which most aren’t.  But professionalism is an ACT, something you DO.  Professionalism is returning calls or emails, answering questions clearly and concisely.  It’s doing what you say you’ll do.  I appreciate follow-through.  And good communication.

It is not necessary to admire or even like your family unless they’ve acted in an admirable or likeable way.  You didn’t choose them and genetics doesn’t mean shit.  My family are boring conformists.  I don’t specifically dislike them, but I don’t need to see them either.  One of you is toxic. 

I suppose after six decades I’m just tired of the bullshit and I’m now too old to take it anymore.  Now I’m just a Cranky Old Artist…. If you can relate, let’s meet for a drink sometime & chat.  If that’s a problem for you well… then… Fuck Off!