Sunday, March 28, 2010

Digital Decay, etc...

I was going to post a second scanograph thing today, to follow the first one (below), but I read & collect so many interesting/amusing stories on the web, I had such a bunch of 'em, I didn't want to let the links get stale, and maybe moved or deleted.
So here's a 'thought collage', of sorts...

I started working w/ computers during the El Nino winter of 1997, it rained cats, dogs, and other small to medium sized mammals, and rained so hard, it set off car alarms. I got so mad during the learning process, there were times when I wanted to carry the computer to my 4th floor apt. window and heave it out onto the street below. Obviously, I have gotten past that.
I still do traditional photography, and darkroom montage, and I wonder about the claims of the new digital world, especially vis a vis 'archival' qualities. I don't buy this crap, for a minute. In the last decade or so a number of digital storage formats/systems have come... and are now gone.
Floppies? Bernoulli's? Syquest(sic?)? Zip discs?
ALL ARE HISTORY!!! And it's only been a decade or so.
I still have a box of 35mm B&W negatives I made in 1974-1976.
They still look fine, easily printable.
I can ask - 'will anything made digitally be useable after that much time'?
But The NYT has stolen my thunder! (no problem w/ that!)

Fending Off Digital Decay, Bit by Bit
Published: March 15, 2010, The New York Times

'Among the archival material from Salman Rushdie currently on display at Emory University in Atlanta are inked book covers, handwritten journals and four Apple computers (one ruined by a spilled Coke). The 18 gigabytes of data they contain seemed to promise future biographers and literary scholars a digital wonderland: comprehensive, organized and searchable files, quickly accessible with a few clicks.
But like most Rushdian paradises, this digital idyll has its own set of problems. As research libraries and archives are discovering, “born-digital” materials — those initially created in electronic form — are much more complicated and costly to preserve than anticipated.'

"Electronically produced drafts, correspondence and editorial comments, sweated over by contemporary poets, novelists and nonfiction authors, are ultimately just a series of digits — 0’s and 1’s — written on floppy disks, CDs and hard drives, all of which degrade much faster than old-fashioned acid-free paper. Even if those storage media do survive, the relentless march of technology can mean that the older equipment and software that can make sense of all those 0’s and 1’s simply don’t exist anymore.

Imagine having a record but no record player."

This story is focused on archiving writer's old materials, I don't see any reason why the same concerns wouldn't apply to image work. It's all just 1's and 0's anyway.
One thing I know for sure, if a fire breaks out in my apt building, and I only have a few moments to grab what I can carry out of my apt.?...I'm gonna grab the suitcase full of film I've shot over the last 18+ years, to hell w/ the 1's and 0's.

On another note, "how much of the old traditional stuff is dead?"
Put yer goddam shovel away, it ain't dead yet!

Polaroid instant film is back ... sort of
Fans of tech nostalgia, it's time to rejoice.
Film for Polaroid's old-school instant cameras went out of production in 2008, but a European company has started reproducing certain types of the film again.'

A lot of B&W Darkroom montage people would credit Jerry Uellsman with 'writing the book' on montage.
I beg to differ, check these guys out, I saw their work even before I saw Jerry's.

Oscar Gustave Rejlander:

Yeah, I know, many people criticize wikipedia, but at least it a place to get started,
don't take it (or anything else, for that matter) too seriously.

Next up.... there's no limit to the crazy things people will try, is there?

A Supersonic Jump, From 23 Miles in the Air
Published: March 15, 2010, in The New York Times.

"(But) Now Fearless Felix, as his fans call him, has something more difficult on the agenda: jumping from a helium balloon in the stratosphere at least 120,000 feet above Earth. Within about half a minute, he figures, he would be going 690 miles per hour and become the first skydiver to break the speed of sound. After a free fall lasting five and a half minutes, his parachute would open and land him about 23 miles below the balloon.
At least, that’s the plan...."

Where a Meal Can Cost a Fortune, 99¢ Pizza Catches On
'Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, New Yorkers stand at the outdoor counter of 99¢ Fresh Pizza and pay as much for a plain slice as they did for a subway fare in 1986. At $1.50, the fee to use the sidewalk A.T.M. nearby is more expensive.'

Have you ever been to New York City?
If you haven't, you should, for just once in your life, for a few days.
I spent some time there, in the early 70's, thanks to a few friends who had a place there.
There ain't no other city like it, on this planet, period, end of discussion.
I got a few slices and a beer at 3 or 4 AM in Manhattan, too. Great memories!

Fearless to the end: Remembering Margaret Moth
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
March 21, 2010 2:45 p.m. EDT
"Fearless to the end" is a very appropriate title. We should be so lucky one person like this graced our presence.
We should hope for more, we need them to kick our lazy sorry asses to see the world as it is.
Coyotes? In Manhattan??? WTF???

Wiley Coyote cartoon - just tooo fucking funny!

The Coyote surely is Wiley, isn’t he?

Here's a couple of my encounters w/ coyotes, one is in Joshua Tree, where they seem to step out into the road, and block your way, I guess hoping for a handout. You should NOT feed them, that only encourages them to 'beg' more often, and seek out humans as source of food.
The second shot is of a coyote in Marin Headlands ( it's in the hi-lighted square at top right) - this guy and a accomplice not in this picture were a few feet off the road, when traffic died down, they scampered down to the road to work on some roadkill, of one sort or another.
I also did a camping trip in Death Valley a decade or so ago. I got up early to watch the sunrise, climbed a short hill overlooking the campsite, and watched a coyote scavenge all the trash cans, very methodically. It had the route down pat, and trotted right past my travel companion, who was still snoring loudly. It could have ripped her throat out no problem, but didn't bother, found something nice in the next trash can, and dragged it out into the desert. From 50 yards away, I could hear it crunching bones.

Until next time, take in a few Road Runner/Wiley Coyote cartoons. :-)