August 31, 2007

"Most of your pictures suck"

I tend to get in my own head about photography.  Maybe because it can be praticed with fairly little physical skill (compared, say, to sketching, which came rather naturally to me), photography seems to put more emphasis on one’s "eye," one’s taste.  That can be nerve-wracking, making it seem like a failure to take a good shot* is a comment not only on your technical chops, but on your worth as an aesthetic being.  See, I told you I get in my head about it.

Maybe that’s why I found this comment from experienced photographer Mike Johnston refreshing:

To be honest, most of my pictures suck. The saving grace of that admission is that most of your pictures suck, too. How could I possibly know such a thing? Because most of everybody’s pictures suck, that’s how. I’ve seen Cartier-Bresson’s contact sheets, and most of his pictures sucked. One of my teachers said that it was an epiphany for him when he took a class from Garry Winogrand and learned that most of Winogrand’s exposures sucked. It’s the way it is.

Whew.  It’s nice to know that bad photos happen to all guys sometimes, so to speak.  And as Mike reminds his sometimes gear-obsessed readers, "Cameras don’t take good pictures, photographers do."  Just not all the time.

*There’s also the whole angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin question of what good is.  In Ireland I’d joke, "Look, honey, I set the camera to ‘Trite‘…"

12:41 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

Superheroic typography

  • Sam Potts sets cool type (“All projects 100% Times Roman-free,” he promises).  Check out his designs for pal John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise; the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.; and more.  Sam was kind enough to let me pick his brain at his studio in NY last week.  While we were talking, a shipment of Gmund paper (made in Germany from recycled beer bottle labels) arrived. “I’ll sleep with this paper,” he said, “if it’ll have me…” [Via Maria Brenny]
  • Giant typography as high school prank: The students of Davidson punk rivals Darby via sabotaged flip cards. The stunt echoes the Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961.
  • Take care when you rotate type, or you might end up with something like the WTF Mac Store. [Via].  Elsewhere in the Dept. of Signs Begging to be Misread, my wife remembers two signs in stairwell in Seattle right next to one another: one for “Gary’s Den” (the words stacked) and the other for “Rage” (some sort of boutique). With no distinction in background color it read as “Gary’s Rage Den”.
    Every single time I stood in line at the Neptune,” she says, “I replayed the same line of questioning in my head about angry, angry Gary and his need for a Rage Den.”
  • A bit of historical fun: the NYT features an image of the Women’s Typographical Union aboard a float in 1908.
  • FontShop’s magazine devoted to all things typographic has a new issue, Font 006, cruising through the snail mail system.  Previous issues are online on the site. [Via]
  • Steve Patterson has produced a nice, approachable tutorial on creating faux 3D text in Photoshop.  The cheese factor is refreshingly low.
  • Typographica list their Favorite Fonts of 2006. [Via]
8:52 AM | Permalink | No Comments
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