This recent New York Times article – What the Mona Lisa Tells Us About Art in the Instagram Era – struck a chord. I’ve definitely spent time wandering galleries in search of the “greatest hits” to photograph. Instead of buying the show catalog, I’ve waited patiently for the view around a painting or sculpture to clear so I could take my very own picture of it. Like the viewers in the article I suppose I’m taking pictures of art as “evidence that ‘I’ve been there’”. I definitely felt that way visiting the Uffizi a couple of summers ago. Standing in front of some of the most iconic work in Western art I had the overwhelming sense I’d never be there again so I had better take a picture to create a keepsake. But, I don’t feel guilty about taking those photos, and I don’t think the Times article was trying to create a sense of guilt either. Although we may sometimes sprint through art galleries as if we’re checking items off of a cultural experience list, I’m certain on a subliminal level just being in the presence of fine art lifts our souls and fills us with a sense of well being.
photo by me!
A blank billboard. Not very impressive. But thereby hangs a tale of how the internet ties us closer together.
A couple of months ago, I heard the Billboard Liberation Front, a local group which alters outdoor advertising to present political commentary, had defaced a billboard in my neighborhood. Since I was going to be out and about with my camera, I thought I’d snap a picture of what those rapscallions had been up to. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived the board had been whitewashed, and, instead of a picture of the clever message the BLF’ers had created, I captured the image above. (Click here, to watch a video of some BLF’ers “improving” the billboard.)
It’s a nice picture, but I didn’t think much of it until I posted it as a Creative Commons image on my Flickr photostream. For some reason, that image has garnered the most page views of any image I’ve posted to my Flickr account (470 so far), and most surprising of all, a company in Charlotte, North Carolina asked my permission to use the picture in a web-based ad they were working on. How cool is that? To compare the original, with the ad, visit the Charlotte Chapter of the American Marketing Association and see how they used it.
I love stories like this because it shows again how online communities can create links between people and groups which never would have existed without the internet. Hopefully, though, this isn’t my 15 minutes of fame!
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Just in case you missed it, this is how the end of March 8 looked like at the edge of the American continent.
Supposedly we were to experience a strong storm with the potential to knock out our power for 72 hours. Fortunately, Mother Nature relented (perhaps she knows this is Oscar night down in LA), and favored us with a cool, sunny day. I took advantage and knocked around the beach to watch the waves pound the shore. You can see from the shots the tide was awfully high, and I had to be nimble to avoid getting wet a couple of times. I also strolled around Sutro Baths, one of my favorite parts of the City. They’re just ruins now, but the baths must have been quite impressive in their heyday. If you go I recommend walking through the tunnel which connects the baths to Lands End. You used to be able to go through the tunnel and continue to hike on the rocks. Today, though, there’s a chain which the Park Service doesn’t want you to pass. With the waves crashing as they were, I had no problem staying on the relatively safe side of the line. The one picture taken of the water inside the tunnel doesn’t do the experience justice; it’s so spooky when the surf comes in making some weird high pitched humming sounds in that enclosed, dark space. And, if you’re really unlucky, they’ll break high enough to soak you, a fate I managed to avoid. To view larger, more detailed versions of these photos, click on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23883605@N06/sets/72157603978762110/.
I can’t tell if trees are blossoming earlier each year, or if it’s all the talk about global warming coloring my perception. Regardless, the trees are starting to strut their stuff even though winter is still hanging around.