Today: Met Charles Traub, Chair of the MFA Photography and Related Media Department of the School of Visual Arts. He’s a very nice man and a very good photographer. It is looking like I will need to find some way to afford going to graduate school soon.
Monday: Working on a poster for Magdalena Baczewska, a piano virtuoso I was lucky to be able to listen to and photograph at the Italian Academy, where she will be playing November 18th.
It’s not a good photograph without good composition. Originally I’m an aeronautical engineer. Why do airplanes fly? Because there is balance.
A good photograph speaks to many different people for different reasons. It depends on what people have been through and how they react.
The other sign of good photography for me is to ask, “What am I going to remember?” It happens very, very rarely that you see something that you can’t forget, and this is the good photograph.
A drawing to celebrate a surreal day where things that give me energy — design, technology and photography — intertwined.
Met Milton, Sue, and Dan in their studio in the morning. Then bemused Chelsea gallery receptionists with inquiries regarding work submissions, and visited Google in the afternoon (thanks, Gino!). Photographed in Union Square then spent time with other photography aficionados at Professor Thom’s (thanks Mike, Theo and Marie!) in the evening.
This sense of quickness, of being alive on this earth, of simple orgasmic sense perception, is the point at which great photographs are made. Photographs come from that moment in the process of cognition before the mind has analyzed meaning or the eyes design and at which the experience and the person experiencing are fully, intuitively, existentially there. Such images look like photographs, not paintings: there is a tremendous sense of stopped time, of the blinking shutter, of being alive and still there, of discovery (rather than analysis), of chance, not design, of quick emotion from an uncertain cause.
Taken by the Draper Lab photographer in 1969 (during Apollo 11). Here, Margaret is shown standing beside listings of the software developed by the team she was in charge of, the LM and CM on-board flight software team
Though I use other cameras (currently Fuji X100S and Ricoh GRD), I like rangefinder cameras. The Leica M is — unfortunately — the only digital rangefinder camera that is made at this point in time.1
The great advantage of a rangefinder is this: With some practice and experience you can reliably focus the camera without putting it to your eye or pointing it at the subject. You can do this because the lens rotation stops at both far and close focus points and you can judge the focus distance by feeling the relative position of the finger tab on the lens, or, if you’re less experienced, by looking at the distance markings on the lens.
Living with the memory of hardship, Vishniac was, “an absolute optimist filled with tragedy. His humanism is not just for Jews, but for every living thing.” He probably believed in God or some similar concept, but he was non-denominational and did not adhere strictly to the principles of any religion. He even clashed with Orthodox Jews in one well-known instance: The religious Jews he met on his trek around Europe would not let themselves be photographed, quoting the Bible and its prohibition of making of graven images.