Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rambling: Photography and street photography and ethics

The intermittently collapsing hobby balloon:

So, for several days I've been obsessed with the photography idea--reading websites and books, figuring out the controls on the camera, and so on and so on, and suddenly today I've hit a "Meh...why was I interested again?" wall. This happens to me periodically. I don't know why. Tomorrow I'll make a point of figuring out the latest few puzzlements with the camera, and taking pictures of something, in the hope of re-sparking. Maybe I'll walk downtown and take some random photos.

Street photography:

The area of photography that interests me most is street photography, which is a difficulty, because a fair bit of street photography is taking pictures of strangers. Usually without asking their permission. There really aren't any legal issues--at least, there's a broad range of spaces where I can take pictures without there being legal issues--but I'm still debating my comfort level with the ethics.

What ethics?

The ethics of photographing, and publishing the photographs of, strangers, without their permission.

There are some clear edges. I'm  completely comfortable with photographs of people actually performing in public--street performers, people marching in parades,  people giving speeches, and so on.  The two costumed women in the photo in the previous post are, IMO, pretty close to this category--though they may or may not have been actually marching in the parade, the whole parade is pretty much an exercise in performance art for costumed observers as well as marchers.

I'm absolutely not comfortable with photographing sleeping or otherwise nesting--is nesting a word that works?--homeless folks. While they may not have a legal expectation of privacy, it's a fundamental injustice that they don't have that privacy. It might be different if I were photographing with a coherent purpose or message, but I'm at the very beginning of amateurness, so there are no ends with which to justify the means.

What about people who have no expectation of privacy, but clearly would really like to be private? I watched a woman with a head covered in metallic bits of paper, obviously in the middle of some sort of hair treatment, rush from the salon to put money in the meter for her car, and then rush back. I decided that people who clearly want privacy in the moment would also be off limits.

OK, but...

That still leaves most of the world--the people who are out and about and clearly content to be seen. But who may or may not be content to be photographed.

Do I go with the law, which pretty much says that anything happening in plain view in a public place is fair game? If you Google "street photography" and click "images", it looks pretty clear that most photographers aren't asking for permission.

And for that matter, most people taking pictures don't ask permission of the people in the photo before they share those photos--if you take a picture at Disneyland, you're not going to run around to the sixty people visible in the frame and get their permission.

But those sixty people aren't the subject of the photo. In street photography, a stranger is quite likely to be the subject of a photo.

On the other hand, countless folks brandishing smartphones photograph whatever they please and upload it to wherever they please. On the other other hand, is that OK?

It's a thicket.

Meanwhile, another shop-window photograph. Which runs me into another ethical quandary, which is whether it's fine and dandy to photograph a window dresser's work and share that photo?

Too many thickets.

(And another you'll-never-pick-me-out-in-a-lineup selfie!)

Image: Mine.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Random Ashland Photo: Collision

The Photo:
I'm playing with old photos. This is, from the image information, from the Ashland Halloween parade of 2009.

The Rambling:

Also, um.

See, I want to write something, since I've been doing so more regularly than usual, but nothing is immediately coming to mind. Chicken thoughts, chocolate thoughts...

Nope, the brain is empty. Maybe later.

Image: Mine. Copyright me, all rights reserved, and that sort of thing.

Random Portland Photo: Living Threads Vintage

The photographic experimentation continues.

I fell in love with this window at Living Threads Vintage (I link to them because they're a dandy store, in addition to creating a dandy window), photographed it, and filtered and tweaked the photo to within an inch of its life, or at least of iPhoto's capabilities.

I'm still not sure why I'm doing the photography thing. I think it's the craving to do something visual. We'll see where it leads.

Image: Mine. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Random Portland Photo: St. Cupcake


That's all, really. I just wanted to post a thing.

Image: Mine.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Rambling: Journaling and Photography and My Almost-First Selfie and Stuff

The Journaling:

So, I keep thinking about "journaling". Now, this blog is thoroughly journal-like; what else could you call a forum where I babble about dieting, the shoes I wear, and my issues with my mother? (When I first typed that, I mistyped it as "issue." Suggesting that there was only one issue. Funny, huh? OK, moving on...)

But the blog doesn't quite entirely fill the journal gap, because (1) there's a limit to just how foolish I'm willing to sound in public and (2) I someday want to publish a book or books, and if I write every thought that I think, and publish every word that I write, why would anyone ever publish any of that between covers?

What's Your Point?:

I mention this because I'm taking up photography, as the latest addition to my already overstuffed mental storeroom of hobbies. I've occasionally wished that I had written more during the starting-up process of other hobbies and interests, because I quickly forget what I was thinking during the times when I didn't know what I knew later. (Yes, there's an incoherent breathlessness about that sentence. I'm going to leave it right there anyway.) When I go back to re-read what my blog has to say about, for example, my recent forays into kinda-fashion, there's a lot of "Oh, yeah..." about my own past thoughts, and I know that the blog posts represent just a tiny fraction of the thoughts and experiences.

I don't really think that I'll be all that interested in my thoughts and experiences as I start with this photography thing, and I think that it would be even less interesting in a book. But I've thought that about other things. So I'm going to write about photography, here, and also probably in a journal somewhere. I'm not sure what "somewhere" is. I prefer to do all my writing in bbEdit, of all things, but I'm a lousy organizer of files. So maybe Scrivener, because it has built-in organization.

Yes, Scrivener. I just ran off and created a "Fiction, with sub-heads" project and called it Journal. So there.

But, anyway, moving on to photography.

So You're Using Those Section Titles Again, Huh?:



No idea.


So. I have no eye for visual arts. None. Not a scrap. I never have. At least, I've always assumed that I never have, though now and then I have a faint hope that I'll find that I was wrong. So I'm not interested in photography for the purpose of creating Beautiful Things. But I am under the belief that I have something of an eye for character and the absurd and the weird. Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps. It could happen. So that's the focus.

But right now, the focus is, well, things like focus. And light. And aperture versus shutter priority and all those things that I only barely understand. I'm using a point-and-shoot camera, the Sony RX100 III, but point-and-shoot or not, it has features that I don't understand yet. Well, and sometimes I'm just using my phone, as in the image above. I'm not sure why I'm finally offering an image where you can kinda sorta almost see my face, or at least you could if it weren't for the hat and the phone. You might be able to pick my nose out of a lineup, anyway.

Um. Where was I? Yes, why the selfie? I think it's partly because if I'm going to occasionally blog photographs, they will probably contain people, and if I'm going to post photos of people who aren't me, it seems wrong to be too cowardly to post photos of me. See? And it's partly about the ongoing fashion and learning-not-to-hate-my-appearance process.

That Almost Rates A Digression Heading, Doesn't It?:

No. Shush.

Photography, Still:

So I've been reading about photography, but I want more of what I call munchy books. I discuss munchy books here. I want a book that talks about photography in a story-telling, philosophizing, anecdote-studded kind of way. I want the photography book equivalent of Henry Mitchell's On Gardening and The Essential Earthman.

But while I'm searching for that, I'm downloading Kindle previews for various photography books (which I will probably order through my Local Book Store when I narrow them down) and looking for photography blogs and forums and stuff. And I keep looking at Vivian Maier's photographs. Looking through them, it occurs to me that I've put Vivian Maier (photographer) and Rumer Godden (author) in the same category in my mental filing cabinet. I'm not sure what the label on that folder is, but they're sorted together.

I just converted the selfie of me from a regular color picture to the "Tonal" filter in iPhoto, because...I think out of sheer pretentiousness, because doesn't black and white photography seem more...more of all those things you want to be when you're being pretentious? I see that the resolution was also drastically reduced. I don't know what caused that and if I have any control over it.

I have things to learn.

I'm noticing that the above few paragraphs are an extra rambling dull catalog of thoughts, and that I'm tempted to cut most of them out. That's another reason for journaling--I want to record some thoughts that I don't edit, not even a little bit, for their readability or entertainment value.


Time For Another Subject Heading?:

No. Shush.


OK, I think that is all.

Image: Mine.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sewing: SWAP 2016, and travel, and stuff.

I should be writing. But I'm not. I am sewing. So I thought I'd write about it.

Blogging Digression:
Now, that makes me think about the fact that my blog doesn't know what it wants to be--perfume, writing, sewing, fashion, gardening, griping, diary, blah blah blah. And that I should really give it a purpose. And there's the other blog, where I haven't written about chicken lately.

But then I flap my hand dismissively at myself and write about the SWAP.

What's With The Section Titles:
I don't know.

SWAP stands for Sewing With A Plan. Here, I'm talking about the annual SWAP contest run out of a website called Artisan's Square. The general idea is to create a wardrobe of eleven garments, following the rules of the year. This year's rules are here, but as a really quick summary, the structure of this year's SWAP is:

1 "3 pack" of Color(s) A (3 garments)
1 "3 pack" of Color(s) B (3 garments)
1 "Combo Pack" of Colors A & B (2 garments)
1 "3 pack" of Wild Cards

We can include two already-sewn items and one purchased item, so a minimum of eight items have to be sewn. The sewing period started on December 26, and ends on April 30.

Travel Digression:
My goal is a travel wardrobe. Himself likes to travel, and I'm sometimes rather iffy about it, and part of that is what I refer to as the galumphiness of traveling--lumbering along with suitcases and bags and purses and stuff stuff stuff and more stuff.

And also the absence of systems--at home, I know how everything works, but when I travel everything feels impromptu. I've started building systems--for example, I have the "magic bag". It's a little leather toiletry kit bag that contains...hang on, let me find the list...

A toothbrush, tooth pellets, dental floss, folding hairbrush, deodorant wipes, Advil, Aspirin, Excedrin, Zantac, Band-Aids, a hand salve bar, acne wipes, a coverup crayon, a shampoo bar, a lightning cable for my phone and iPad, a charger brick, a barrette for hair restraint while showering, needles and thread, a nail clipper, what we refer to as "chick supplies" for that monthly thing, a pencil, several pairs of disposable earplugs, antiseptic wipes, vitamins, a bottle opener, safety pins, Kleenex, salt, a tiny notebook, stamps, a spork, cough drops, two trash bags, a shaver with some refill blades, emergency cash, a flashlight, a "lunch skin" bag for snacks, and a pair of earbud headphones.

So I'm prepared.

I also found that whenever we're in a hotel room, I miss my slippers. So I got another pair for travel. They take up a non-trivial chunk of space, but I want 'em. They also look like sheep. What more could you want?

There are other things. Maybe I'll write about them in another post.

The SWAP Again:
But turning back to the SWAP, I want a travel wardrobe. I want very, very low-volume garments--the phrase I keep using is that I want a garment that could be "crushed into a teacup!" That may be overoptimistic, especially for the skirts, but it sounds prettier than "crushed into a quart Ziplock!"

A good uniform for traveling would be gored skirt, simple top that hangs outside the skirt to avoid that tucking annoyance, leggings, short flat-heeled boots (tall enough to make the leggings visually indistinguishable from tights), and optionally some sweater/coat/jacket thing.

An issue with this plan is a lack of visual structure--the top pattern that I'm currently fitting is loose and comfy, so I may look as if I have no waist whatsoever. I'll consider the extent of the problem after I get the shirt fitted. Maybe an obi belt?

My summary plan for the SWAP is:

Skirt/top/top in brown/cream.
Skirt/top/top in black/white.
Jacket/sweater in brown/black.
Skirt/top/top in...colors. Some kind of colors, given all the neutrals.

I'm hoping to do the whole thing out of fabrics that I already have. I have plenty of fabric for the skirts--brown and cream wool, brown and cream cotton, gray wool, some creamy yellow stuff,  some oatmeal natural and white stuff, and so on and so on. But it'll take some digging to find fabrics for really lightweight tops that fit the color plan.


OK, this post seems like background for possible future posts, as I find fabrics. And if I don't hit Publish, odds are that it will end up in my extensive heap of unpublished Draft posts.


Image: Mine. No, it has nothing to do with the post. We noticed how the Space Needle reflects into the glassy things in the Chihuly garden, so I took a picture.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rambling: Priorities

I should be writing. A regular word quota every day.

Also, the farm is waiting for me to start the upcoming year's crops.

And I have a lot of sewing plans.

So, naturally, I'm taking up photography.


The beginner's photography book that I bought has exercises in it. One of them is to use the camera's "macro mode", by photographing a flower, closeup.

Nah. I like photographing things with faces.

My brother gave me the sock monkey. (Thanks, Pete!) The alien's a longer story.

That is all.

Image: Mine.

Rambling: Rambling

Well, that was a long pause.

As I sit down to write another "it's been long enough" post, I find myself wondering what stops me from writing a post. It's not perfectionism--at least, not the normal brand of perfectionism. It's not that I actually demand that I have something to say, or that I say it in an artistic or even workmanlike manner.

Sometimes it's that I don't have time to find a cat picture.

Sometimes it's that I feel stupid having a subject line of "Rambling: Rambling" yet again.

Sometimes it's that I feel that I have an actual topic, but I don't quiiite have enough brain power to write that topic, but it's like it's in the queue so I can't write random rambling.

Sometimes it's that I feel that I should be writing fiction instead. I don't write the fiction--I'm more likely to wander off and eat chicken--but I don't write the post anyway.

Sometimes it's that I feel silly writing what is essentially a diary of nonsense. That one, I suppose, is perfectionism.

OK, I suppose they're all perfectionism, in thin disguises.

So, anyway, here I am.

Except I wrote all this about a week ago. And still no posting.

So I'm just gonna hit Publish.