Articles Archive for July 2009
Sorry Will, I know one of the tenets of this blog is refusing to post something that is being done everywhere but this is infuriating.
A few weeks ago, photo manipulation in a Times magazine article called “The Second Gilded Age” was discovered by programmer Adam Gurno and proven in this little gif. Edgar Martins, the photographer, had apparently mirrored one side of the image, making the whole photo a bit more ascetically pleasing. Obviously outside the allowed color correction and levels, but the story was not impacted by the photographer’s generous photoshopping. The photos were redacted and NYT apologized. In the grand scheme of things, not a huge deal.
However, instead of stepping up and admitting fault, Martins unloaded this crock of shit on us. Citations in what should be a short apology? Really? I haven’t read the whole thing as it runs at 2600 words, more than triple the length of the article the photos accompanied.
A choice selection:
Symmetry helps to map the parameters of human existence and communication, moreover its inconsistencies, its dialectic impetus.
For me it also highlights that ‘the camera’s rendering of reality must always hide more than it discloses’ 8 and that in the presence of the lens the photographic subject ‘instantaneously adopts another body, transforming itself in advance into an image’. 9
It would have been nice for him to have had someone copy edit this whole mess. It read likes a snobby stream of conscious. Come on Martins, you can do better!
Sorry Will, I know one of the tenets of this blog is refusing to post something that is being done everywhere but this is infuriating. A few weeks ago, photo…
The hardest part of travelling across Europe before and during the Mongol Rally has been the clinging feeling of uncertainty – we don’t know whether our journey will be cut short in a matter of days or stretch for another month. We all still crave the latter, to roll into Ulaan Bataar in late August is still a magnificent dream to us. But as the days have turned into weeks and after a month of seeing the insides of many of Europe’s ancient cathedrals as well as its DMV-equivalents, and watching the rolling countryside through the window of our cramped yellow car, it is harder and harder to say we haven’t accomplished enough. I’m not sure we don’t already have enough stories to tell and that, given some of the difficulties we’ve experienced, we must push ourselves even further to reach some sort of catharsis, to feel like we’ve gone far enough.
I am coming across a boatload of writing and/or photo contest today and I thought it would be nice to share and really drum up some competition (that is, if I can get over this heat induced laziness).
This writing contest has an Oasis theme and was put out by nycgo.com, Jet Blue, Trazzler and AKA. Winning this gig could get you a two week “residency” in NYC working on 10k worth of assignments for Trazzler or a freelance contract worth some loot. I for one am particularly inspired by the poetry of the contest description.
Modern life can often feel like a trek through the desert. For this contest, we want you to write about a place that not only satisfies your thirst for a change of scenery, but goes beyond this, breaking the spell of everyday existence and providing the “refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast” that we all crave, especially in the summer.
You have to sign up for Trazzler, which so far seems pretty innocuous. Deadline: August 17th.
Narrative Magazine is seeking “short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction” for their Spring Contest. Submission fee is $20 per entry, which is very reasonable.
Deadline: July 30th. Eep!
I pretty much love Jen Bekman. Her gallery is lovely, my print from 20×200 is hot shit and becoming a Hey Hot Shot! is a personal goal. HHS! is a semi-annual photo contest that gets your pretty little picture in front of some judge’s eyeballs and potentially in front of even more eyeballs through the gallery and blog if you are so fortunate to win. A win is also the only way to get your photo considered for 20×200, a really cool art project that seeks to make art affordable for the masses. Affordable being 20 bucks for an 8×11 1/2 print! Hot damn! Entry fee is 60 bucks.
Deadline: October 23rd.
Ok, I’m done for now. Time to go enter some shit.
I am coming across a boatload of writing and/or photo contest today and I thought it would be nice to share and really drum up some competition (that is, if…
Latest update from Will came in on Saturday, who knows where he is by now. Team Great Job!’s Twitter is now randomly updated (international texts don’t cost so much, eh?), so make sure to follow that if you are as desperate for new updates as I am. – Jackie
The Polish mechanic’s hoisting a slab of metal underneath our car to protect it from rocks and debris once we get on the dirt roads in Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
Two days ago, we were in Lodz, Poland and on every side of us were miles of dismal Polish highway, two lanes and seemingly the entire stretch under some sort of construction. The city offered respite from the unyielding semi-trucks on the narrow roads, and we were scouring Lodz (pronounced Woodge) in search of a mechanic willing to weld a generic slab of metal underneath our car – a measure greatly endorsed by previous and current Mongol Rally participants to combat the roads in Kazakhstan. Driving aimlessly around Lodz, our first stop was at a Mercedes service station. The youngest of the three men in the small office with a poster of a naked woman on the wall spoke English, and though he couldn’t help us (being a Mercedes operator and all), he was enthusiastic about the project and the Mongol Rally. He prostrated himself on the ground, tapped the bottom of the car and suggested we just tack some thick rubber mud flaps to protect against rocks. He also pointed out that the gear box was leaking oil and gave us half a carton of gear box oil for free.
Our second stop was at a parts store run by a man who spoke absolutely no English. But thanks to a note written in both English and Polish by our generous host, Bolek, a giant of a man, 28 years old with a deep Eastern European accent, we were able to communicate our need to the clerk and after a couple phone calls he pointed us to an auto shop down the road a few kilometers. Down the road at another shop with a naked woman on the wall, the portly mechanic read our translated note, frowning at it for what seemed an interminable amount of time, before gesturing for us to pull our car into his garage. He swooped underneath our car, came back out of his work pit, and shook his head – he could not help us. But he pointed us less then a kilometer down the road to yet another mechanic.
At the next establishment, we found a man in the very back of the garage, and on seeing us he quickly buttoned up a shirt and teetered to us on splotchy red legs. He squinted at our note and told us “thirty minutes.” He made some calls, and some time later he handed the phone to Ryan, and a voice in English said they were going to give it a try with some employees on their way to the shop. Two men showed up, but only one brought a recognizable set of teeth. The other had a warm albeit hollow smile despite being in his twenties or early thirties. With them and us both shuffling around in the pit beneath our car, they held up a piece of metal to the bottom of our car and we knew then that the mission had reached a tipping point.
They worked for about an hour before their boss, the first man we spoke to at the garage, drew a diagram of what they were screwing to the bottom of our car, and wrote a price: 250 zloty, equivalent to maybe 80 bucks. It was a heap by our standards, but we didn’t have enough zloties on us so he wrote down 50 Euro – a bit better deal for us. We nodded and the men continued working. A while later the boss came back out and said, “problem.” He shrugged off any suggestion of severity and pointed out that he miscalculated the Euro conversion and let us know it would be 100 Euros if we so chose to pay in that currency. We offered American dollars, and he agreed to $80 bucks – still a price we were glad to pay.
After four hours of sitting on a bench, getting water at the cooler, watching blankly at the men working on the car, and reading our travel guides to pass the time, the boss came out and said “Five minutes.” I get the impression that the only English this man knows is measurements of time. In a few minutes, he handed the phone to Ryan again, and the same voice in stunted English told him that there was a problem with a fan of some sort – Ryan wasn’t sure to which he was referring – but that it would be another twenty dollars.
The concocted story was so direct it was almost cute to us since we would have gladly paid $100 from the start for what amounted to three men working for four hours on a custom sump guard to protect the front undercarriage of our Nissan Micra. The final step was to spray paint the whole thing black, and after waving goodbye to the mechanics now stained with the grime from our car we were back on the road north across more of Eastern Europe.
Latest update from Will came in on Saturday, who knows where he is by now. Team Great Job!’s Twitter is now randomly updated (international texts don’t cost so much, eh?),…
Will sent a quick update yesterday from a couple’s home, where he and Team Great Job! stayed in Poland. The team was off to see a mechanic to make some upgrades on the Nissan Micra they are driving to Mongolia. From Will:
A quick hello before we go out to find supplies for our journey in the city of Ludz (pronounced oudge), the second-largest city in Poland. We are staying with a super-nice couple who have written in Polish some explanation of what we need and why we need it that we can show to people today. For us, it’s a very welcome respite from camping.
We drove from Munich to Prague and explored the city with one of Ryan’s friends two days ago and put some serious mileage on our feet getting through the city. Then we left our campsite yesterday morning and took some wrong turns out to the city before making it through the forested mountains of the Czech Republic. The resort towns along the way reminded me a bit of California’s national parks, and we stopped for pizza in a Polish town along a large creek or small river. We were chased by an electrical storm for several hours near Ludz, that finally caught up with us for about two hours. The drive took us all day but was not rushed at all, and we had time to chat with our hosts before going to bed.
We look forward to hearing about the next leg of the journey as the Mongol Rally continues.
Will sent a quick update yesterday from a couple’s home, where he and Team Great Job! stayed in Poland. The team was off to see a mechanic to make some…
It is no secret that I am a fan of David Alan Harvey and Burn Magazine, but the photo essay, “States of Identity,” published a few days ago is blowing my mind even more than usual. Guillem Valle documents people without a homeland-Palestinians, Albanians, etcetera etcetera- and made one hell of a beautiful and cohesive photo essay despite covering so many struggles.
His website is worth a look, too.
It is no secret that I am a fan of David Alan Harvey and Burn Magazine, but the photo essay, “States of Identity,” published a few days ago is blowing…
Youtube recently rolled out Reporter’s Center, a selection of videos for journalists on topics such as developing a story and tips for interviewing from some of the biggest players in the game including Katie Couric, Nicholas Kristof and Ariana Huffington.
From the page’s profile:
The YouTube Reporters’ Center is a new resource to help you learn more about how to report the news. It features some of the nation’s top journalists and news organizations sharing instructional videos with tips and advice for better reporting.
While it might be geared to “citizen journalists,” it couldn’t hurt to look around and brush up on how to do investigate journalism by one of the greats, eh?
Youtube recently rolled out Reporter’s Center, a selection of videos for journalists on topics such as developing a story and tips for interviewing from some of the biggest players in…
jackie and i are working, slowly but steadily, on our most ambitious project to date:
a feature-length historical documentary/where are they now?/social investigation about the international phenomenon that was/is FMILLEST.
what’s an FMillest, you say? it was/is our crew from our more formidable years, a group of people brought together by rollerblading. but it turned into much more than a skate crew.
so when jackie was down here a few weeks ago, we decided to:
A) see where everyone was, and what they’re doing
B) see if we can scare up as many old photos/videos/letters/etc. from that time as possible, and
C) put it all together as a documentary
we are now in the interviewing and old-media-gathering phase of the project, which we expect will last a long time. my conservative estimate for completion is one year. each interview, thus far, has been at least an hour. we’re looking at the possibility of acquiring THOUSANDS of stills, and HOURS UPON HOURS of old skate/party video.
Wesside’s interview was done on a rocking chair in his daughter’s (pink) room, with little mya in one hand and a quart of old english in the other.
Ol’School’s interview, if all goes according to plan, will be done via conference call on speakerphone while his buddy does the shooting in nashville (where Ol’School now lives).
while the most apparent reason for attempting this project is, as i will call it, active reminiscence, there’s a much more important mission:
we’re trying to figure out what it was about FMillest that made it so…special.
while it may be easy to say that we were so crazy because we’re skaters, that’s not entirely true. see, rollerbladers from around the country/world—young, old, pro, unknown—all thought we were crazy.
my hypothesis is that FORT MYERS was the base of the insanity, and rollerblading was simply an accelerant.
anyway, i’ll give periodic progress updates, along with maybe some little clips or production photos or whatever. this is going to be fun.
jackie and i are working, slowly but steadily, on our most ambitious project to date: a feature-length historical documentary/where are they now?/social investigation about the international phenomenon that was/is FMILLEST….
In the past few months, I’ve thought a lot about work—working to live as we all do to sustain ourselves but also the concept of working to work. By this I mean the creative pursuit so many artists undergo: to work just enough to meet one’s basic needs but also reserving enough free time to realize one’s true ambitions. In a perfect world, we’d all get paid a living to do what we love, but in case you haven’t noticed, this is not a perfect world and many fields—especially those artistic in nature—require talent and notoriety, which fruit from years of practice and climbing the ranks.
Journalism is not unique in this regard, although we like to victimize ourselves, particularly amid the current economic climate and media transformation. But actors, fine artists, designers, musicians, models as well as creative writers and the like all have to start at the bottom, working random jobs or unpaid internships–living on couches or in closet-sized apartments–until they build up their skills and portfolio enough to get noticed.
A Time article I read a while ago about ways to pay journalists if nothing “saves journalism” got me thinking about all the creative ways journalists—and artists—support their work. The article mentions creative writers often teaching in MFA programs to support themselves. It also references William Carlos Williams, the American poet who primarily worked as a pediatrician, Wallace Stevens, who was a lawyer as well as a poet, and a handful of others who are experts in a particular field and have secondary careers as journalists, like Sanjay Gupta and Jeffrey Toobin.
Of the Meridian crew, I’m currently working retail (sigh) and teaching surf lessons to get by as I intern for Spot.us and try to freelance. Jackie is working for a photo agency that specializes in event photography. She gets paid a descent wage to edit photos and shoot fashion and events, although she wishes she were shooting “the things happening with or without her presence” as she put it, rather than beautiful people posing for the camera.
I give Jackie props, however, for getting paid to edit and shoot, and for still being motivated enough to land gigs with the Village Voice and City Scoops in her free time, pursuing her interests and building her clips in the process. Kudos also go to Will for getting by solely on freelance photography and as a stringer for the La Jolla Light, no matter how frugal he has to be (not to mention the admiration I have for Will’s current adventure across Europe, Russia and Kazakhstan in a Nissan Micra!) And although Doug is getting bored with the regular city council meetings he has to attend, he’s getting paid better than all of us to produce videos and he still finds time for personal projects like his most recent music video.
Plenty of others our age waitress, bartend or do any thing they can get their hands on while they go to school, intern or just practice their art on the side. Of course the problem with this is not being able to focus exclusively on your interest. Investigative journalism, for instance, takes a lot of time and energy to nurture and the quality is threatened when a person doesn’t have time to do the required research. I think this is a valid fear that comes with the changing media landscape, but I’m of the belief that good, community-service journalism will still be supported. It may be that it’s harder to make it, but those who have talent and bust their balls, I’m confident will eventually get paid for their work.
I think the most important thing for us young journalists to focus on now is defining our interests and developing our craft. Too many people who have found paying media jobs wish they were doing something else–something deeper, more creative, more important. Here is my current strategy for effective working:
Obviously the best option would be finding a paying job or internship that allows you to focus on your interests and build relevant skills. The free job boards I most often peruse are journalismjobs.com, Media Bistro, Poynter Institute, The California Newspapers Association site for newspaper jobs in California and the Berkeley Journalism School’s job bank for jobs and internships across the country. Of course there’s also Craigslist, where I’ve recently seen some good paying blogging gigs, but always take these listings with a grain of salt.
Plan B would be a journalism-based unpaid internship and a part time job or freelance work to support it.
If all else fails, do what you have to do to live, but try to freelance and blog as much as possible in your free time to keep strengthening your skills, even if you’re not getting paid. Did I mention that unpaid work often leads to other revenue sources? I just found out today that another former UCSD Guardian colleague Teresa Wu may get a book deal at age 20 based on a blog she writes.
If you have a good idea that just needs help producing, there are also grants and scholarships. I’m starting to think about travel grants myself, which would allow me to live in an exotic places and produce the pieces I’ve been dreaming about…
The bottom line is working just enough to pay the rent but not too much to lose sight of what you really want to do. Maybe that means working a pretty well paying part time job and writing on the side, or working full time for a while to save money for an upcoming hiatus. Also keep in mind that we’re young and still need to explore the world and ourselves before truly knowing what we really want. Whatever the case, produce, produce, produce and have faith in yourself that your passion will eventually pay off some day, some how.
In the past few months, I’ve thought a lot about work—working to live as we all do to sustain ourselves but also the concept of working to work. By this…
Yesterday I smelled like rancid sour dirt, incubating underneath a hot laptop and a rolled up sleeping bag in a 1.0 liter Nissan Micra with a broken ventilation system, windows rolled up to lower drag, a surf board on top, and a loose cigarette-lighter powering my laptop as I edited as many photos as I could on the long drive from Dunquerque, France to Munich, Germany.