Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keith Carter on Equipment

I think the equipment you use has a real, visible influence on the character of your photography. You're going to work differently, and make different kinds of pictures, if you have set up a view camera on a tripod than if you're Lee Friedlander with a handheld 35mm rangefinder. But fundamentally, vision is not about which camera or how many megapixels you have, its about what you find important. It's all about Ideas.

Taken from an interview with Keith Carter n the January 2009 issue of American Photo.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Frozen Angels and the thoughts it provoked

I went to watch a play called Frozen Angels by the Necessary Stage. It was a play exploring people's lives and the impact of medical technology, stem cell research in particular. In one story a couple lives for 200 years with the new technology. And although the wife fondly remembers the first meeting and is still in love, she is tired after living 200 years.

This illusion of control we are taught. If there is a good government, if we have the knowledge, if we work together... if there is a will there is a way. Look at the middle east, after centuries, the Jews and Muslims killing one another. Look at the way cholera is killing people in Zimbabwe. Look at people dying of lung cancer in Singapore.

It is true that centuries of civilization search of knowledge, has improved our lives on this earth. It is less brutal than it used to be, we have more tools to help us tame our surroundings. But we still have global warming. The bees are having a major epidemic. Pelicans are dying on the shores of America. But the power we have gained is not wisely wielded. Whether it is caused by global warming or not, the hurricanes devastating America, the drought in Australia, the depletion of fish stock, are all much bigger than we are.

I used to think that together, we the citizens of the world, can work it out. Surely, we can fight for our own survival, the survival of the very planet that sustains us. But the idiosyncrasies of the imperfect human mind. We cannot even understand what is good for us. We hold onto to our habits, our prejudices, our bad frames of reference, even though it is killing us. Just like people who know that smoking will kill them, but they keep on smoking. If you can comprehend the scale of that intellectual flaw, you can see how flawed the human brain is.

And in all this, the idea that if we have all the knowledge we need, then we can change things for the better. We will never have all the knowledge that we need, or be able to process it in a way that lets us act wisely... act in self preservation.

Human vanity. As Shakespeare wrote,

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

I begin to realise how futile our struggles are, how forgotten we will all be. People in the future will see photographs of our time, but they will not be able to comprehend what we are. I am at a lost as to what one should do in this insane world we live in. I am not even sure if one should try to be sane in this world, but I think the most important thing right now is for me to make peace with living. We are all but ants on this planet, which is only a spec in the universe. I used to think that if we do good and were reasonable, that things would turn out well. Nope, there is no logic to life. Deal with it.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Poolga. iPhone and iPod Touch wallpapers for the rest of us.

Poolga. iPhone and iPod Touch wallpapers for the rest of us.

I just have to share this. This is a web site for iPhone wallpaper. But the talent of the contributors is simply AMAZING!!!!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009