Taking the work out of work

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“Paul Valéry ws right about the modern tendency to avoid any work that cannot be abbreviated; computers are abbreviation made manifest. They take a lot of the work out of work, which may be fine in some professions or occupations, but for a novelist to try to take the work out of work is profoundly self-defeating: keeping the work in work is all-important. I’m writing this book with a pen, unlike my twenty-two previous books, because I don’t want the sentences to slip by so quickly that I don’t notice them. They need to be the work of hand, eye, and ear.”

— Larry McMurtry, “Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen.”

He’s referring to writing novels, but I think the same can be said of many endeavors, photography in particular.

Daylight savings

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I hate daylight savings time.

It makes no sense. It doesn’t actually change the amount of daylight we have, it only changes when the daylight occurs.

A blogger I read a long time ago said it was like cutting off your head, standing on your head and calling yourself taller.

It really says quite a bit about us as a species though. About our hubris. See the daylight happens whether we’re up or not. But we Americans have decided that we don’t like to be up at 5 a.m. So we change the clocks so the daylight happens when we want it to happen. We change the day to suit ourselves, instead of changing ourselves to suit the day.

Ridiculous.

Travel

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Here’s my travel “bucket list:”

  • Thailand
  • China
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • France
  • Ireland.

Sure, I’d love to see other places as well, and I’m not counting places in the U.S. But these six are my “must see” destinations.

Life is for living

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All what little money I had saved was spent in the move home to Missouri. We’re just now — one year later — to the point where there is a little left in the coffers at the end of the month.

Now the smart person would take the little bit left over and set it aside for a rainy day. Me, on the other hand, will take my Beloved out for a meal. Or I’ll buy a roll of film, or a book.

I was thinking about this recently and came to a conclusion. Life is for living, not for setting aside in anticipation of some future event which may or may not occur.

When I have a little left over, I’m going out to dinner, I’m going to go to the movies. Afterwards if I still have some extra, then I’ll put some in savings.

Field Notes

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WordPress has a neat new feature, let’s see if it works …

http://twitter.com/#!/nickdavidwright/status/663665288159232

Yup, it works! Cool.

Seriously. Had some funny thought pop into my head whilst at the library. And I lost it somewhere on the side of Highway 71. Well, maybe someone walking will find it and get a good laugh.

I’ve always liked to have a pocket notebook and pencil with me, but it is a habit I’ve fallen out of lately. I found the good blog Pencil Revolution a while back and they recently were talking up the Field Notes Brand pencils and notebooks.

The Field Notes appear to be good high quality stuff and made in the USA to boot! Will be placing an order soon.

Portraiture

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Beloved I love making portraits.

But making great portraits requires something extraordinary.

Rapport.

The portraits I make of my Beloved are my favorites.

Not only because I love her and she is the most beautiful woman on the face of the planet.

But because of the relationship we have.

She has — through years of long-suffering patience — become accustomed to my pointing a camera at her.

She is easy in front of the lens. She doesn’t have to force a smile. She doesn’t — usually — feel self-conscious.

Some photographers can build this kind of rapport with people in minutes. It is very difficult for me. I am an introverted person. Making relationships is something that is hard for me to do quickly. I usually have to work at it a while.

Beloved

Some portrait sitters are very comfortable during a session needing little or no coaching.

I always enjoyed being assigned to make portraits of actors. They are usually completely at ease in front of the camera and they know exactly how they want to appear in the photo.

It occurs to me that some photographers probably don’t like that last aspect though. I was always very happy. I could show up, find (or make) the good light and shoot dozens of good portraits in a very short time.

But still I love portraiture. Probably because of the challenge it presents me.

Analog in a digital world

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There’s something special about paper and pencil.

Permanence.

It’s something you can hold. Something you can look at. No further technological input required.

What I wrote earlier tonight — barring catastrophe — could be picked up 100 years hence and read.

It won’t matter what a computer looks like then, or even if they exist at all.

My great-great-grandchildren with their direct neural connections to the net could find the (paper) notebook in which I wrote this post and see what I had to say. This blog will be long gone.

It’s one of the reasons I prefer my photography as prints.

Physical analog copies have a staying power that bits and bytes cannot have unless the keeper of the information has the time and money for the constant upgrading of file formats and storage media.

Five-and-a-quarter inch disks made way for 3.5’s which were replaced by CD-ROMs until Blu-Ray came along. Hard drives are starting to fall to flash-based media. Computers are obsolete the day after you buy them.

My shoebox of prints and negs will also be there 100 years from now.

The upgrade cycle is great for tech company’s bottom lines. I am weary of it.

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