Friday, March 29, 2002
» The Poetics of Security: Skateboarding, Urban Design, and the New Public Space is one of the great pieces of skateboard writing that I've read. The hostility of anti-skate devices is touched upon, and has been an issue that always bothered me. In Washington, DC, the IMF building installed iron clamps on the marble ledges that surrounded the building. These clamps (one of which I happen to have in my possession, for no apparent reason), made the space less hospitable to people sitting, and obviously to skateboarders, too. What's also so nice about this article is that it wasn't written by some boring academic, but by by Ocean Howell, a great Birdhouse Projects skateboarder from the early 90s who now writes for Slap.
10:23 PM PST
Monday, March 25, 2002
I've added some images to the /documentary part of my business site. Most have had a previous life here on WDC, and after some deliberation, I thought they might do well on sv.com.
08:59 PM PST
Sunday, March 24, 2002
» I just came back from a panel discussion hosted by the Red Rose School about the current state of homelessness. Now, with a lead-in sentence like that, one might not be tempted to read much further, but this meeting was far from a dry academic talk about homelessness. Firstly, everyone who talked had experienced or was experiencing homelessness right now. That alone was enough to bring the talk to a very basic level, free of the academic BS that would have been put forth if this talk had happened at a university.
The most moving story of the night came from a woman who was asked to speak about halfway through the meeting when one of the speakers hadn't showed up. The woman and her husband, who she sat by, had a lived a solid middle class life in California, where he worked as an electrician. His income was steady and good for a long time, until he had an accident where he fell off of a ladder, 25 feet to the ground. His injuries prevented him from working, and not long after, the workman's compensation money stopped.
Within a very short period of time, they went from living in a 5 bedroom house with 4 children, to sending their children to live with their mother, and living in a van. They traveled around quite a bit, and ended up in Portland. Not long after, they moved into Dignity Village.
The woman's voice wavered as she talked about her past 3 months living at the village. Her middle class background, and moreso, her living relatively comfortably for the first 50 years of her life made her unprepared for homelessness. The people at Dignity welcomed her and her husband, listened to their worries, and invite them to be part of the family of Dignity.
She is now part of the outreach committee at the village, spending some time talking to various neighborhood association meetings as Dignity continues to look for a new site for the village. At the meetings, she is often treated badly, as residents of the neighborhood express their strong feelings against having Dignity within their neighborhood.
She paused after she recounted this, then said, "These people treat me so poorly, and I think to myself... you'd better be careful.... you'd better be careful of how you treat homeless people like me, because you are not invulnerable to this... one day you may be sharing a tent with me... you're not invulnerable."
10:04 PM PST
» A new documentary, warphotographer is being released this month in Switzerland. The documentary focuses on James Nachtwey, an American photojournalist. Anyone who has read this site for awhile will know that he is a huge influence on the photos I take. His book of photos, Inferno, is one of the most important documents of war and genocide that has ever existed. What's so unique about this documentary is that the director rigged Nachtwey's camera with a tiny video camera, so that we see what he sees (more or less) as he looks for photos to make. My only hope is that the film makes it to the US.
Also on the web site, is an eloquent statement that Nachtwey wrote on his mission as a war photographer, entitled Why photograph war?
11:31 AM PST
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Sunrise, looking up
11:37 AM PST
» An article I wrote about digital photography just was published here. It's my natural inclination to see a lot of things wrong when I read through it, but it turned out ok.
10:55 AM PST
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
» We all live these strange lives, with behavior that's both unique and typical. I've had three days of sitting here, not completing a lot of work, and generally not using my time how I'd like. This time has been frustrating, and unproductive, and I'm anxious to get outside, get soaked in a quick rainstorm, step in some mud, and try hard to make photos that are original.
In my boredom, I did a search on one of my old professors, who I'm fortunate enough to keep in touch with, and found these beautiful words about an experience he had while observing chimpanzees.
It reminded me of a few things. First, that we still have a lot to learn from animals, and that humankind's destruction of their habitat in the pursuit of wealth bodes very poorly for future generations. And secondly, that there are larger problems to worry about than my stressing about work and money.
09:00 PM PST
Saturday, March 16, 2002
» I'd be really intrigued to run some 50 year old film through my camera and see what kind of results I'd get.
03:42 PM PST
Thursday, March 14, 2002
Moon and Shorehouse
What's unique about the Crystal Ballroom is the floor. Sure, it's hardwood, not so clean, and hardly noticed by the hundreds of people who see shows there every night. But, it bounces. The best time to feel the effects of the bouncy floor are during live, energetic shows with a couple of hundred people jumping around to fine, fine dance music (Le Tigre perhaps?). It's uneasy at first, since as a rule, wooden floors aren't so bouncy. This feeling passes once you realize that the floor is not about to collapse, but rather will augment your silly dance moves and generally add to rockingness of the show.
10:15 PM PST
Kathleen Hanna! Le Tigre! Dancing to disco songs with radical feminist lyrics!
Voice feels funny, like I was yelling the whole time.
12:22 AM PST
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
» That famous Steve McCurry photo of the Afghan girl with those blazing eyes has become sort of iconic. But, until now, no one knew what became of her.
04:21 PM PST
Monday, March 11, 2002
» One day, a long time ago, I found a skate spot, hidden down a trail behind a large white building. It was a drainage ditch that featured a really fun little bank, that I knew would be even better with some additions. So, I set to work building it up with concrete and parking blocks. It took a lot of long summer days, hauling 50 lb. bags of concrete down the path, and using water from the little stream nearby to mix it. I remember coming home covered in cement dust that slowly hardened as I sweated. In the end, the spot was pretty gnarly, with the transition being uneven and rough, but it was a lot more fun than it used to be. Last December when I was home, I spent an hour one cold afternoon skating it, falling on the sandpaperish cement, and lamenting that the coping I had put in the cement was ripped out and nowhere to be seen.
But what I find so neat about it all is that this kid wrote about the bank, ("features a hidden quarter pipe"), and has skated it. Even though it's been almost 5 years since I built it, and I now live about 2500 miles away, it's good to know the spot's still being sessioned.
09:01 PM PST
» World Press Photo recently announced their winners for the 45th annual World Press Photo contest. The winners link is at the top, and the photos are excellent throughout. I was especially taken with all three of the photos in the Arts-Singles section. Each of them is stunning, and completely different from the next.
07:58 PM PST
» Charlene says everything right about photography. Take the time to listen to the Joel Meyerowitz interview, his idea for a giant forest with a tree for each victim of September 11th in place of where the towers stood is absolutely beautiful.
Today looks to be an entire year without my web cam being updated. On September 11th and afterwards, the camera site got almost 2000 hits a day, and its inactivity is yet another reason why this site desperately needs a redesign.
WDC v2.0 coming soon.
02:14 PM PST
Saturday, March 9, 2002
» There's this girl named Charlene who is amazing and wonderful and ever so supportive of me and my crazy ideas. Even better, she now has her own blog, have a look.
08:40 PM PST
Thursday, March 7, 2002
Today went from blue skies, to snowy hurricane, back to blue skies, in about 45 minutes. The man walking by in his red coat stood out against the near-black & white scene we saw from the window (rendered as seen in photoshop).
03:22 PM PST
Wednesday, March 6, 2002
"I wandered through the forests and bogs and alder thickets from dawn to dark, day after day and summer after summer, listening, searching, tense as a taut wire for the slightest vibration and flick of movement. Unaware of time, I moved through the day without plan or design, following the trails and random leads laid out by nature. At sunrise I waded through dew-laden redtop grass that soaked my sneakers and legs and crept through bushy thickets from which drops showered down on my face, neck, and back. Often I was drenched before the warming sun had dried the leaves. I went out in fog and ran all day and returned late in the afternoon, without a dry spot on my body, but neither cold nor uncomfortable." -Eliot Porter
09:47 PM PST
» People should know by now that Paul Ford, over at Ftrain is an amazing writer, but if not, do take a look, I'd recommend starting with one of my favorite stories of his, Cleaning My Room.
09:31 PM PST
Tuesday, March 5, 2002
A web site needed a photo to accompany an article on digital photography that I'm writing for them. This first idea, of me standing in front of a wall, with one of my slides being projected onto me was neat, or at least I thought it was. What killed the idea (after it had been carried out) was that the photo needed to be black and white, and only about 130 pixels square.
The other interesting thing that happened today was that I got a snotty rejection e-mail from the editor at Popular Photography for an article I proposed to them. I thought it was a rather creative, interesting topic, whereas the guy who wrote me did a figurative waving of his hand and blowing me off. The sad thing is that PP is a terrible photography magazine that recycles the same articles year after year, and I've yet to read any sort of negative review of any equipment they look at. Just a bunch of sniveling industry kiss-asses.
On the other hand, one might make a strong connection between my being rejected by them, and my newfound dislike of the magazine.
11:34 PM PST
Friday, March 1, 2002
» Dignity Village is quickly making history as a self-sustainable encampment of homeless people making homes for themselves. Vera Katz, Portland's mayor, seems to be
ignoring the situation, hoping it will go away.
10:09 PM PST