Photography

Last Vacay Photos

29 November 2017

Mrs. PG and PG spent a few days with their daughter and her family in the Central Valley of California. For those unfamiliar with the Central Valley, it lies between some coastal mountain ranges on the west and the Sierra Nevada mountain range on the east. The valley is 40-60 miles wide from east to west and about 450 miles long from north to south and has a hot Mediterranean climate.

The Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world and provides more than half of the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States. More than 230 crops are grown there, including oranges, olives, peaches, pomegranates, figs, kiwifruit, lemons, strawberries, tomatoes, almonds, grapes, cotton, apricots, and asparagus. The Valley also grows a wide variety of Asian vegetables, primarily for export markets.

The PG’s stayed in a lovely b&b during the visit. It is an old farm house, built in the late 1800’s and owned by the same family every since. Large groves of Valencia orange trees surround the farm buildings, houses and b&b.

The owners have included a lot of lovely touches inside and outside of the old farmhouse. Photos of a few follow:

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Posterity

26 November 2017

PG has been visiting family over the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are a couple of delightful female descendants of PG and Mrs. PG. The first image is a granddaughter.

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The granddaughter in the following photo never walks when running is possible and produces extraordinarily loud sounds when any of her older brothers infringe upon what she considers her domain. Her motto might be Maximum Speed/Maximum Volume.

Taking Photographs in Instanbul

14 November 2017

From The Literary Hub:

In 1962, my father bought me a camera. My brother had been given one already, two years before. His was like a camera obscura, a black, metallic, perfectly square box, with a lens on one side and a glass screen on the other, on which you could see projected the image inside. When my brother was ready to transfer that murky image onto the film inside the box, he would push on the lever—click!—and as if by magic, a photograph would be taken.

Taking a photograph was always a special occasion. It called for preparation and ceremony. In the first place, film was expensive. It was important to know how many exposures would fit on a roll, and the camera kept a running tally of photographs taken. We spoke of rolls and exposure counts as if we were soldiers in some ragtag army running out of ammunition; we chose our shots carefully, and still wondered whether our photos were any good. Every photograph required a degree of thought and deliberation: “Does this look right?” It was around this time that I began to think about the significance of the photographs I took—and why I took them at all.

We took photographs so as to have something to remember the moment by. As subjects, we faced the camera and posed for others—mostly our friends and families but also our future selves—who would be looking back at this image months and years later. So really, we were having our photographs taken in anticipation of our own gaze back. When we faced the camera, we were “posing” for the future.

. . . .

In 1949, my father returned from a trip to America with a camera. On this trip, he’d also acquired a fervent belief in the importance of smiling for photographs. If we didn’t feel like smiling, all we had to do was say “cheese” (which we pronounced çiyz and which, we learned, was the English equivalent of what we called peynir), and it would look close enough to genuine smiling. It must have been then that I first began to reflect on the relationship between photography and reality, between representation and authenticity. A photograph supposedly taken to record the truth was in fact no more than a device with which to deceive a pair of eyes in the future.

. . . .

“Smile, Orhan; move to the right, Şevket; now all of you, stop fidgeting!” and I’d begin to despair of the photograph’s ever being taken. Sometimes, when we could no longer stand all the contrived solemnity, one of us would stick his fingers up behind his neighbor’s head to furnish him with horns, and soon, despite my father’s admonitions, we would all start prodding and poking one another. Much like the rest of Turkish society, which was self-consciously striving to become more westernized, our family found that our every effort to appear modern and happy seemed to end in frustrating affectedness and hollow ritual. The camera was both a symptom of this problem and one of its triggers.

. . . .

Even after all this hard work, we still had to get our photographs developed at a photo studio before we could actually see them. This too could take quite some time: Once the current roll of film was used up, someone had to drop it off at the studio, and return a week later to collect the prints.

. . . .

Every time I picked up a new batch of photos, I would feel momentarily disoriented. There were often long intervals between visits to the studio, and to be confronted all at once with memories of Bosphorus cruises, birthday parties, and holiday get-togethers that had actually taken place weeks or months apart, always left me with an eerie sense of recurrence. The clothes we wore and the places we posed in may have differed slightly, but the beaming optimism on our faces was always the same. When I compared the prints to the negatives, I discovered that some frames had been left out, perhaps because the image was deemed too blurry, too dark, or too faint. Thus I came to see that the joy of taking photographs must always be at odds with our yearning for authenticity.

. . . .

All those trips, weddings, parties, and gatherings we had so looked forward to and then relished had already come and gone, belonging now to the past. We were left with our memories, and the erratic record of these photographs. Like our other memories, everything we had experienced, seen, and felt would one day be forgotten.

. . . .

By the time I had turned 20, no one in my family was taking souvenir photos anymore. Perhaps this was because the family—no longer a happy one—had long since disbanded; gone were those childhood days when we would pile into the car for a drive along the Bosphorus, and neither did we have much happiness or familial joy left to display.

Link to the rest at The Literary Hub which includes several interesting photos of Istanbul a half-century ago. The author is Orhan Pamuk and you can find his books here.

What a change from film to digital photos.

PG remembers the first time he saw a professional photographer using a 35 mm camera with a motor drive.

In contrast with PG’s childhood experience with photography, which was similar to that of the author of the OP, the studio photographer with the motor drive was taking photo after photo very rapidly while giving the model instructions on how to move.

When the camera ran out of film, an assistant handed the photographer a new camera, fully loaded and ready to shoot and the photographer continued his work while the assistant reloaded the original camera with film so he could hand it back to the photographer a couple of minutes later.

In addition to the 35mm cameras, a couple of expensive Hasselblad cameras sat on a table, loaded with larger format film so they would be instantly available if needed.

PG was working in a large advertising agency during this time and examined the contact sheets from the photography session a few hours later. Unlike the photos from PG’s childhood, each of which was distinctly different, the many of the photos on the contact sheet were very similar, sometimes appearing identical. The photographer had circled the photos he recommended with a black grease pencil, but there were sometimes (for PG) no discernible differences between the selected photo and the ones before and after it.

PG can’t remember the specific number, but he remembers reading that, thanks to ubiquitous cell phones,  more photos are taken in a single day than were taken during multiple decades in earlier times. Instead of the small slices of earlier lives, this generation and those that follow will experience fully-documented lives.

PG admits to being very happy that many parts of his college life and a few years that followed were not recorded in any way. He thinks it makes reform and repentance easier.

Here’s a mundane photo PG took with his phone a few days ago. He’s post-processed it a little to reflect . . . something deep and meaningful. Or not. Perhaps it should be titled, The Fully-Documented Life – With Cinnamon Roll.

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Autumn

3 October 2017

PG can’t permit the season to pass without sharing a photo.

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Shucking Oysters in Louisiana

4 September 2017

Before the enforcement of child labor laws in the United States. Photos from the Library of Congress with captions included. Click on the photos for a larger image:

 

Johnnie, a nine-year-old oyster shucker. Man with pipe is a padrone who had brought these people from Baltimore for four years. He said, “I tell you I have to lie to ’em. Ther’re never satisfied. Hard work to get them.” He is boss of the shucking shed. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana.

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Four-year-old Mary, who shucks two pots of oysters a day at Dunbar. Tends the baby when not working. The boss said that next year Mary will work steady as the rest of them. The mother is the fastest shucker in the place. Earns $1.50 a day. Works part of the time with her sick baby in her arms. Father works on the dock. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana.

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All these boys are cutters in the Seacoast Canning Co., Factory #7. Ages range from 7 to 12. They live near the factory. Seven year old boy in front, Byron Hamilton, has a badly cut finger, but helps his brother regularly. Behind him is his brother, George, 11 years. He cut his finger half off while working. They and many other youngsters said they were always cutting their fingers. George earns $1.00 some days, $.75 usually. Some of the others said they earn $1.00 when they work all day. At times they start at 7 a.m., work all day and until midnight, but the work is very irregular.

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In center of the picture is Phoebe Thomas, 8 year old Syrian girl, running home from the factory all alone, her hand and arm bathed with blood, crying at the top of her voice. She had cut the end of her thumb nearly off, cutting sardines in the factory, and was sent home alone, her mother being busy. The loss of blood was considerable, and might have been serious. Location: Eastport, Maine.

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Young cotton mill worker. A piece of the machine fell on his foot mashing his toe. This caused him to fall on to a spinning machine and his hand went into the unprotected gearing, crushing and tearing out two fingers. Location: [Bessemer City, North Carolina]

Instagram Is Eating Dining

14 August 2017

In comparison with the post that follows this one about rural poverty in the US, here’s a distinctly first-world commentary about promotion via social media.

From Fast Company:

Increasingly, the stylish places that serve you food are being designed to cater to your feed.

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There are two lines at Cha Cha Matcha, a small cafe on a busy corner of NoLita in Manhattan. The first one is where you wait to buy matcha, a whipped green tea drink that is de rigeur among food-trend fetishizing millennials, in the manifold formats the cafe has on offer. (Latte, cappuccino, lemonade, splashed with coconut milk if that’s your thing, for about five bucks a cup.)

The other line is a little harder to describe, but is something akin to those groups of kids at Disneyland waiting to take a picture with their favorite animated character, except a lot more fashionable and marginally better behaved. They’re all waiting in front of a neon sign that hangs in back of the store, the words “Matchas Gracias” glowing in bright pink cursive. One by one they crane their hands just so, grasshopper-green drink backlit by the sign, trying to get the perfect photograph.

If you live in New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco—or, increasingly, London, Paris, and any other self-styled stylish city—you’ve seen similar people strike similar poses outside similarly unique restaurants, cafes, and bars over the last few years. “Influencer” is the catch-all term, a descriptor that is either highly covetable or dripping with irony, depending on who you talk to. But most of the people snapping away outside places like Cha Cha are only aspiring to that label, or maybe they’re just heavy Instagrammers, like any one of us —which means they’re not getting paid to shoot, filter, edit, tag, geotag, share, and like. What they represent to Cha Cha—and, really, what any customer with a smartphone and half an Instagram habit represent—is free advertising.

Link to the rest at Fast Company

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWqKX4lARXJ/?taken-by=chachamatcha
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https://www.instagram.com/p/BTrKhccAdaU/?taken-by=chachamatcha
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Boom Bam Boom

A post shared by Cha Cha Matcha (@chachamatcha) on


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Here’s a link to all the chachamatcha hashtags

Posterity

6 August 2017

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This is Astrid. She has three older brothers, so she knows how to be assertive. She has a big smile, but nobody pushes her around. She’s a lot like her mother that way.

Astrid likes to wear lavender fairy wings. That’s her current look.

 

We Shopped at Amazon’s Chicago Bookstore: Here’s What It Was Like

22 July 2017

From Nasdaq:

Many have lauded the recent opening of Amazon.com’s eight brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. as a death blow to independent bookstores. Since its launch in 1995 as an online retailer of books, Amazon has been blamed for the closing of bookstores nationwide because thanks to its wide-selection and low prices.

In an act of irony, the online retail giant has decided that its next step in its massive growth is to open brick-and-mortar bookstores where consumers can buy products in person. Amazon opened its first physical bookstore in 2015 in Seattle and has since opened seven more, including one in Chicago’s Southport Corridor this past March.

As an avid book reader, and a lover of independent bookstores, I had my trepidations about visiting the new Amazon Books in Chicago. To see what kind of competition Amazon Books poses for bookstores in the Second City, I decided to head up to the Lakeview neighborhood and witness this new phenomenon for myself.

. . . .

As the first Amazon Books in the Midwest, the Amazon Bookstore is a blend of a bookstore, electronics store, and a coffee shop. The bookstore was sleek and modern, but it felt impersonal-like an airport gift shop. In some ways, the store felt like the Amazon website had come to life.

Jennifer Cast, a vice president at Amazon Books, said that Amazon wanted to embrace its roots as a bookseller with these new stores. “We also realized we had an opportunity to create a new kind of store and create a different experience in a physical world. Our special sauce is knowing the reading habits and passions of a city through our Amazon.com data,” Cast said.

. . . .

The books are organized by the common literature genres, but the store also has special categories meant to appeal to Amazon customers. One of my favorite shelves was “Page Turners: Books Kindle Readers Finish in 3 Days or Less.”

. . . .

The most important feature about Amazon Books wasn’t the books, but the company’s Prime membership.

The store clearly made the shopping experience worthwhile for anyone that currently subscribes to a Prime membership for $99-a-year. Throughout the store, price check machines stood ready. When I tried one book, it showed me the difference in price based on whether I had a Prime account or not.

A Prime member could also obtain exclusive Amazon Prime Day deals at store locations. This year, Amazon had its most successful Prime Day yet. At its eight bookstores, it offered special deals on Microsoft MSFT Xbox Ones, Joule Sous Vide Precision Cookers, Osmo Genius Kits, and Philips Smart LED bulbs.

. . . .

Many people go to Apple stores and Best Buy in order to test out new technology before making expensive purchases. With this new testing site, Amazon is clearly trying to encourage consumers to commit to its voice-activated, Alexa-enabled devices that can play music, control home devices, make phone calls, and more.

A few workers constantly roamed the store and offered to help me try out the devices as I looked at them. The store also offers “Flash Course,” 5-7 minute tutorials on how to use the technology, every Friday through Sunday.

. . . .

And if anyone should be worried about new Amazon bookstore, it won’t be indie booksellers.

Readers who are willing and able to pay for the price and experience of independent bookstores will continue to do so. Chicago favorites, like Women and Children First in Andersonville and Myopic Books in Wicker Park, won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. At least, not because of Amazon’s physical bookstores.

Link to the rest at Nasdaq 

PG predicts that if the author visits a B&M bookstore in a year, she’ll have about the same experience as she would today, but a visit to an Amazon bookstore next year will result in some new and innovative experiences.

PG is certain he’s not alone in his enjoyment of visiting and revisiting museums, but he tends to seek out new experiences more frequently.

Speaking of museums, PG took the following photo when he visited a museum with his posterity a few days ago. He processed it so it looked a bit more ominous than the original and showed it to selected older progeny, who thought it was wonderful.

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Venice

13 July 2017

For PG, Italy is always a great idea.

His very most favorite city is Florence, but if he could have two most favorites, the second would be Venice.

PG took the photo below when he was on an early-morning walk in Venice.

For those who haven’t visited, Venice sits above 118 small islands, but the city is mostly constructed upon millions of wooden pilings, each about 60 feet long, that have been driven into the islands or the floor of the shallow Venetian lagoon over the centuries.

You either walk or ride on a boat to move around Venice. Instead of streets, there are 150 canals with 400 bridges connecting various parts of the city. If you don’t cross a bridge, you can’t get too lost because you haven’t left the artificial island you started on.

It’s not cheap to build a city on pilings, so, once you exit any of the main pedestrian areas, the sidewalks become narrower and narrower and wind between various buildings instead of going in a straight line for very long. Sometimes, they’ll simply end in a courtyard.

Some of the sidewalks become so narrow that, when two people meet, either one steps into a doorway to allow the other to pass or they both turn sideways to squeeze past each other.

You’ll see an off-the-beaten-path sidewalk that winds through a residential area in the photo below. This isn’t one of the turn sideways versions, but you’ll get the idea.

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And here is is a courtyard where the sidewalk ended.

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Nothing to Do with Books

12 July 2017

PG has been reviewing social media strategy for himself and his alter egos.

Since kind-hearted visitors to TPV have said some nice things about his photos in the past, he’s going to provide a link to his Instagram account which is mostly about landscape and travel photography.

PG’s Instagram

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