post-Paris at night

Latest photographs of Paris

This trip to Paris has been wonderful and inspirational. I began this vacation with a trip to London for the @media conference and came back to Paris with an open mind toward not only web design, but design in general. I have spent the last few days looking at works of art and the city in new ways, evaluating not only how and why things were accomplished but also how I could express my reactions in art and words.

I’ve shot several rolls of film at the Louvre, the Marais, and plan on visiting my favorite cemetery tomorrow. Last night, I photographed the city until around 2 a.m. when the digital camera’ s batteries ran out . These images capture just a small part of the city at night.

post-coffee and friends

A lazy afternoon in Paris

I must have graduated to sigm cum laude of the geek world.

I’m in Paris.
It’s a beautiful day.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop, Coffee and Friends, writing in my blog.

There’s an art market down below, a gathering of starving artists pitching their creations to those who walk by. There’s a reason why many of them are starving. It’s really sad to see the horrible state of contemporary art in Paris. Walking down the aisles, you will see derivatives of everyone and very few original pieces. Those that are original are just bad!

There seems to be a belief in Paris that anything that consists of paint or pencil on paper is worth selling. Sketches are like waffles and children. You should throw away the first one or two. Those are just for warming up. Ok, the first waffle can be eaten, it just may not look pretty.

But in Paris, these somehow end up on sale in markets. And for god sakes, do something with a nude woman and you’ve got a gold mine. I walked by one stand of photographs with close-up shots of women’s parts. There was an enormous, glossy, full color, saturated, shallow-depth-of-field monstrosity of pubic hair. Now, I’m not prude, give me Andres Serano, Sally Mann, or Robert Mapplethorpe, but garbage is garbage. It takes more effort, not less, to create an interesting nude photograph.

French chicken photo by Ben Gamth?

After walking around, I did find a few stands that were interesting. There was a set of very nice charcoal still-lifes and the photographs of Ben Gamth? I can’t read his signature very well, so forgive my destruction of the name. I purchased a small print of a chicken at his friend’s house near Normandy. His use of cross-processing, full-frame negatives, and odd perspectives were right up my alley.

Maybe I should shut up and actually exhibit my work again. Put up or shut up, they say. Feel the wrath of tourists walking by and saying “uggh, red pubic hair, again?!!?”

post-slideshow

Photography gallery by Ted Drake

I’ve finally installed my photography gallery.

This has been a long standing project that seems like it will never be finished. As a photographer, I love the idea of having images on the internet for people to view. It has been years since my last photo exhibition and online seems to be the only avenue I’ve concentrated on.

I looked at Flickr.com but didn’t like putting all of the work into building a database of images and then leave them on someone else’s server. Further, I wanted to work on something that could be translated into a usable format for museums and other artists. Flickr and other community portfolios are simply not acceptable for museum collections.

I’ve looked into various database driven galleries. While they are the best alternative, my brain starts spinning everytime I open SQL or some other database. Little voices begin telling me… I don’t like math… I don’t like databases… This is scary… It makes me feel like a Barbie doll yanked pre-maturely off the shelves for being too stupid.

Todd Dominey put together an xml-driven flash movie for photo slide shows at least a year ago. I can’t remember how long I’ve been using this simple set-up. Recently, he released Slideshow Pro, which is what I’m using now. Although the controls are a bit mysterious, the slide show allows the visitor to wander through various galleries, preview images, and control music when available.

Open Issues

  1. The movie is too large for small screens running 800X600 resolution. For those with the smaller resolutions, I apologize. I have made the decision to support larger screens. I want the content to be king on this site and that includes larger images. There just isn’t enough room on the 800X600 monitor for everything. I realize this will cause some layout issues for about 10% of viewers, but I think it is better for the majority of viewers. Those with smaller screens will still see everything, they will just have to deal with some overlapping. This isn’t perfect and a bit obnoxious, but a decision I’m going to stick with for a bit.
  2. Music is inconsistent. I have to save some of my MP3 files again at a different bit-rate to make them play with this movie. I will add more later
  3. Gallery thumbnails missing
  4. Independent galleries. I need to create individual pages for each gallery. This will give me the opportunity to tell you more about the images.
  5. Make the galleries XHTML compliant. I’m having problems with the WordPress admin user interface. I can’t insert the javascript that would allow me to insert the movie dynamically to make the site compliant. The interface adds extra html to the script. This should be fairly easy to fix. I just need to hit the tutorial files.

So… enjoy the images. Please note the link at the top left of the page that will take you directly to the gallery page instead of this post.

post-ferlinghetti

For the first time, my beginning black and white photography class has put together an exhibition for their final assignment. It will be on view until July 2 at the Bean Bar in San Diego.

The exhibition, Ferlinghetti, is based on a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I have to say, the photographers have done a great job.

Seascape With Sun and Eagle

Freer
than most birds
an eagle flies up
over San Francisco

freer than most places
soars high up
floats and glides high up
in the still
open spaces

flown from the mountains
floated down
far over ocean
where the sunset has begun
a mirror of itself

He sails high over
turning and turning
where seaplanes might turn
where warplanes might burn

He wheels about burning

in the red sun
climbs and glides
and doubles back upon himself
now over ocean
now over land
high over pinwheels suck in sand

where a rollercoaster used to stand
soaring eagle setting sun
All that is left of our wilderness