Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Why I don’t Twitter/Linkedin/MySpace/Facebook/Whatever


I just finished reading the paper (yes, the paper paper, as opposed to the online paper), and in it was an article talking about how many people these days don’t check their voicemail, because of all the alternatives they have – text messaging, e-mail, Twitter, etc. One guy even said that it was too much trouble for him to check his voicemail, because doing so took 7-10 steps versus 1-3 steps for e-mail. Now, I realize that I am way in the minority, but you don’t have time? Um, what exactly are you doing that pushing a button 7 times is keeping you from some super-critical task? Are you working on a super-top-secret plan to save the Antarctic ice shelf from crashing into the ocean, or advising Obama on his foreign policy initiatives, or what? I don’t get it, but that’s OK, I’m not sure I want to get it.

While I will accept the fact that all the people who spend all their time on their cell phone, talking/texting/e-mailing are probably all talking to each other, I can’t help but wonder what the heck they are talking about? I write this not because I think it’s amazing that people are so consumed by communication, but because those who seem so consumed by communication are way too often the last people I’d want to talk to!

I guess this struck a nerve with me because in the last several weeks I have received invitations from a surprisingly large number of my friends to be their “buddy” or whatever on whatever social-networking site they are involved in. Before I go on I want to say that some of my friends are readers of my blog, so before you think I am talking about you specifically please be aware that I am talking about society in general and that any resemblance to real persons, people or places, fictional or otherwise, is purely coincidental and not intended to be personally directed, defamatory or insulting in any way. Whew!

Of course, of all the invitations I’ve received, none of my friends are using the same social-networking service, so in order for me to participate, I would have to join them all. As interested as I am in what all my current friends are doing, and while I’m sure it would be interesting to find out what some of my old high school friends and college buddies are up to, and as much as I know that a lot of these sites are good for networking that could lead to a new job and all that, it just doesn’t seem to be a prudent use of my time and would just introduce a whole lot of distractions that I’d just as soon do without. The irony is that several of the invitations came from people that already have way too many distractions, and the last thing they need is some new thing to worry about keeping track of and never being able to keep up with. That’s why I stopped watching TV several years ago, and if my cable stopped working it might take me weeks to realize it. Sorry, but it’s just not for me. I won’t say never, but not today.

What does all this have to do with photography you ask? Well, it doesn’t, except that over the last several weeks I’ve been prioritizing the things I need to do to make myself useful around the house since I am no longer earning a paycheck. Between looking for work, trying to use the time to catch up on developing my photography business, getting some overdue projects done around the house and doing all the things that are really important, I’ve decided that more communication is the last thing I need. I close e-mail during the day to minimize distractions, I have a To-Do list that I have been working diligently on, and I’ve made some impressive progress over the last several weeks to the point that I feel really good about the direction things are going. I’m really excited about some of the things I’ve done – such as doing my first copyright registration last week – and I’ll try to write about them in greater detail over the next several weeks. I’ve even taken some pictures!

Somehow I think it’s OK that long-lost classmates stay that way. There might be a reason for that! And my current friends – sorry, but you’ll just have to settle for seeing and talking to me face-to-face or at meetings. I hope that’s OK.

Another Quote


I guess I’m into quotes lately. Maybe it’s because of all this time I have for deep thinking. Yikes.

Don McGowan is a nature photographer, best known for his work in the Smokies. He’s also one of my ‘heros.’ He’s a deep-thinking, passionately creative photographer. Don publishes a sometimes-monthly newsletter called “A Song For The Asking,” and in his February 2009 newsletter spends a lot of time discussing principals from Eric Maisel’s Coaching the Artist Within. There are 12 skills in all, and I think I just need to get the book and read it, but it is in Don’s discussion of the second skill which he refers to as “passionately making meaning” that hit me like another brick between the eyes:

““Regardless of whether or not the universe is meaningful, of whether my odds of succeeding are long or short, of everything at both the existential level and at the practical level, I am going to intentionally make meaning.” What this amounts to is saying to yourself that you’re not going to wait on the universe to announce to you what you should do; you are going to decide, based on your own best understanding of truth and reality, how you will matter.”

Hmmm?

Personal Style


I got into a discussion with some of my photo buddies this past weekend about “developing a personal style” and got to thinking about it on my own. A lot of photographers (and other artists) have a recognizable, identifiable personal style, to the point where you can pick out their work among a group of images or prints. I don’t think this is something you can “do” as much as it is something that “happens.” You can’t for example put on your To Do list: “Develop personal style today” or something similar. And it doesn’t happen with a certain camera, lens or Photoshop plug in. I think it must come from hard work, from taking a lot of pictures, using whatever influences and inspiration you have in you, editing your photos into some kind of organized structure, and showing them to others.

Everyone has a personal style, but not everyone’s personal style is individual or unique enough to be recognizable. But some people’s personal style definitely stands out as their own.

Art & Photography

(1) I went to a meeting of an artist’s group last night. Several of the painters talked about having worked from a photograph to do their paintings. I couldn’t help but think that if they would just learn to take better photographs they wouldn’t have to bother with the paint.

(2) Photographers who like to get all righteous about their work being art and say it is more dependent on their vision than their equipment always say that they get upset when someone asks them what kind of camera they have to get those nice pictures. One of the typical lines is that “painters don’t sit around talking about what kind of brush they used, or their brand of easel or what kind of palette they use….” Well, when someone (not me) showed their photography, one of the painters said “what kind of camera do you have, it must be a good one?” I was tempted but kept my mouth shut. I was a guest, after all.

(3) Most of the painters seemed to be more interested in whether the photographers would photograph their paintings, presumably for free, than they were in what kind of photographs they made.

Clarification


Since I don’t know who-all reads my blog I don’t know who-all read my previous post and wondered what the who-all I was talking about. Most followers know that my day job is with a large financial institution in town. Most people also know that this is not the best of times to be working for a financial institution. Well, this past Friday I got to experience first-hand the way that financial institutions “build shareholder value” by reducing the quantity of what in better times is often referred to as “our greatest resource.” Boogers said “sayonara,” gave me a little severance package and a pat on the head and said “thanks.”

Now the good news is that, within 30 minutes of getting my notice I had applied for a position doing almost exactly the same thing for the same customers in the same market segment but with a different product serviced by an area where they are hiring. Gotta love big business – why they can’t say “we gotta give somebody up, you need somebody, let’s make a deal” is beyond me but that’s bidness. Found out today that I’ve been selected for the interview process, which means they think I’m worth talking to. Best part is that I already know the people I’ll be interviewing with and they know me, they’re great folks that I’d love to work for, and even if I have to take a cut in pay it’s still better than zero. So hopefully things will work out, maybe I end up with a little paid vacation, conveniently the week of the CNPA Annual Meeting here in Charlotte, which I was already planning to be off for. Whatever happens, we’ll be fine.

Update 3/5/09: I didn’t get the job. But we’re still going to be OK. Maybe better than OK!

The photo is something else I borrowed from William Neill. The artsy term is “Triptych” and I think that’s pretty nice so that’s what I call mine. Collection of three (hence the name) images from our recent adventure to Hilton Head.

Random Thoughts

If you walk outside, look at the sky and your first thought is about pulling down the luminance on the blue channel for more contrast, is that a sign you’ve been spending too much time at the computer?

Why a Blog?

I don’t know. Why not?

I have been inspired lately by some of the content others have been posting on blogs and thought, why not me? I have all these crazy thoughts bouncing around in my corporate-culture- suppressed quasi-artistic brain and have been looking for a way to get them organized. We’ll see how this goes. If it sucks, well, there’s always the Delete button!

Watch this space.