Stanley Kubrick's cameras:
One of the few films among the works of art I've "engaged" with over my lifetime was Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. The film was based on the novel Memoirs of Barry Lyndon Esq. by William Makepeace Thackeray, the first true occurrence of the "antihero" in English literature. It was and is a ravishing visual feast and a particularly effective conjuring of the past in a modern work of art.
If you're interested in the psychological basis of the story, I highly recommend Mark Crispin Miller's essential critical essay "Barry Lyndon Reconsidered" from The Georgia Review Vol. XXX Number 4, but read it just after seeing the movie, not before. (If you've seen it before, note Miller's remark: "All of Kubrick's films demand repeated viewings.")
Cameras Cameras Cameras: A great number of TOP readers have contacted me over the weekend (a weekend lost to work, as my girlfriend was visiting, and I don't think I've ever known anyone whose mere company is more delicious) excitedly pointing me to an auction of a camera museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, which is up the road from me and down by the lake. But easy does it, fellas, this collection has been up for auction before and I linked to it back then.
One friend o' TOP advised, "C'mon Mike, you gotta go visit this guy. Only a one and a half hour drive...I think it's your duty to TOP readers to report on this story :-) ." If we had a reporter, okay. But here's the thing: My ankle is chained to the leg of the desk. Anything I do that isn't writing is bad for the site, my exchequer, and, I might add, the interests of readers, i.e., thou. Alas and alack, but 'tis what 'tis.
(I think that will be my new buzzword, now that "I'm just sayin'" has been forcibly retired due to protest. I have an unaccountable attraction to dopey catchphrases: as my teaching colleagues were learning ever-deepening Artspeak, I went around claiming that my highest term of critical approbation, and thus the keystone of my personal critical apparatus, was "that's really neat!")
Back to that mini-camera-museum: I once wrote a letter to the city fathers of Milwaukee proposing, in the vicinity of the Harley-Davidson Museum, a "Museum of Cool Stuff." It would feature all sorts of the things conventional museums don't collect: cameras, models, stereo equipment, guns, games, a working model railroad, sports gear, on and on. I never got a response, but I thought a museum like that, well done, would draw boys of all ages from all over the country. My reasoning is that we'd have to be totally different to stand a chance of drawing tourists. What, are tourists going to come to see our art museum? Every city has an art museum, and half of them are better than ours. Every city has a concert hall, too, but there's only one Branson Missouri. A Museum of Cool Stuff would have made a perfect home for a really neat collection like this one.
What Ansel meant :
"The negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways."
Here's an example of what he was using as an analogy:
(The video presents eight different pianists playing the opening bars of Mozart's Fantasia in D minor, K.397, in very different ways. I always think of myself as a gentle guy, but I quite like Friedrich Gulda's "rude, aggressive" approach.) Fascinating.
Here's a nice window into Ansel "performing," from Marc Silber's "Advancing Your Photography" series:
Camera non camera:
Michael Perini says of his iPhone 6+, "It is simultaneously not a camera, and one of the most sophisticated cameras I have ever used." Here's a link to a nice portfolio of iPhone photos, courtesy of the cameramaker.
By the way I haven't replaced my iPhone yet. I have choice paralysis: can't decide between the 6 and 6+.
The Littlest Pentaxian: Meet Emma. Her grandfather Ned says, "She's actually pretty good at taking pictures though she prefers my DA35 Macro versus her mom's 18–250mm. Lighter and easier for her to handle." What do you think, would little and cute be good for special access when you're trying to scoop the pack?
(Thanks to Eolake Stobblehouse, Henry Heerschap, José Luis Galache a.k.a. Miserere, David Lobato, Michael Perini, and Ned Bunnell)
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Featured Comments from:
Elisabeth Spector: "Your Museum of Cool Stuff sounds pretty interesting to me. I'm sure I'm not the only girl who would enjoy a visit, alongside all the boys. Just sayin'! (I still like that catch-phrase, by the way. I hope you don't drop it altogether.)"