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Wednesday, 27 August 2014


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Alexander Black's words coincide entirely with my viewpoints. Can't say the same about Henri Matisse's, though.
It is true that the amateur enjoys more freedom than a professional: he (or she) can shoot whatever he wants, whenever he feels like, whichever way he wants to. He can even refrain from photographing a certain subject and end his photographic sessions earlier if he doesn't want to photograph anymore. This is what I call 'freedom.' The border is somewhat attenuated when the employer allows free rein to the photographers' creativity, but these cases are scarce.
Matisse's statement raises other kinds of thoughts: it looks like he wanted to draw a very clear line between two visual arts: on one side there'd be painting, in which the highest levels of abstraction are allowed, on the other photography, tethered to reality and doomed to be a description of actual subjects that might eventually resemble something vaguely looking like a work of art. Fortunately, history showed him wrong. A photograph can be as abstract as a painting, even if it is anchored to reality. And photography is abstract by nature: a photograph expresses the way someone saw something. All claims to objectivity are thus damned to fail. (Of course, at this level we're putting aside 'selfies' and the snapshots of their meals some people like to share on Facebook, which are irrelevant to this debate.)

If you are like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory you also need to consider drafts and glare on your screen as well as the acoustics before you zero in on "your Spot".

[There are many people I'm like but I would guess Sheldon is not one of them! LOL --Mike]

......Mike....you want a lovely beautiful recording to go with your
morning joe? Check out "Someday My Prince Will Come" by
the Stanley Clark Trio.

[Own it! Digitally and also on vinyl. Actually that's a favorite album. Good choice.

I heard somewhere that that was the first time Stanley ever went on a record playing acoustic bass. Can't remember where I heard it, though. --Mike]

Mike Johnston said: "I have a few antiques from my grandparents' and great-grandparents' houses, and I’ve always tended to place them prominently in places I've lived, thinking visitors would like to see them."

What? No Wampum from the Plymouth Colony?? ;-)

Knowing you I suspect that besides deciding on where to place the speakers you will also strategically modifiy the sound characteristics of the room by strategically placing furniture to act as sound reflectors and absorbers. Be careful when someone visits and unknowingly moves a chair...it will mess it all up!

[I know you mean this jokingly Steve, but actually I'm not a very "anal" (the common term--I think "obsessive-compulsive" is better) about my stereo rigs. I'm more Rube-Goldberg in my approach--keep tinkering till it sounds right and whatever the heck it looks like, go with it—and once it sounds right, leave it alone for a while. So my stereos tend not to be showpieces or anything that would impress fellow audiophiles.

And as my brother Scott used to say, I kind of look forward to moving into a new room, because it'll let me get to know my speakers all over again. (Unfortunately this often leads to new [old] speakers, since the room and the speakers work symbiotically. But that's a gradual process as you get to know the room.) --Mike]

Mike, what a luxury it is to listen to what you like while you work!
I'm retired, but when I did work, my partner (business) and I used to listen to "blah" radio! Neither one of us would ever admit to what our taste in music was, assuming we had one! And when Al would hum something, he was alway way off key!
When he was occasionally out for the day, I'd put on talk radio,- NPR, and that didn't work as I couldn't concentrate.
And I am enjoying this morning coffee thing! I hope you keep it going.

[I'd like to Fred but I need to get into a better habit. Too often I find myself late at night with nothing done, and too tired to think. I need to write them first thing in the morning or something. I'll keep trying. --Mike]

I'm a big fan of David Sylvian's work, I often listen to Rain Tree Crow and was pleased that you know it.

Noo! Death to "he or she"! Long live "singular they"!

Sounds like Matisse thought of photographs as "documents with charm." I dunno about you, but that sounds like a big fat paycheck to me. :)

Like Bob above your post made me think of Sheldon; e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zIY6DQSlbY

FWIW I found Matisse's comment quite generous, and suggestive of someone truly zen with the creative process. Normally people are not so clear sighted about competing fields. Then again, he's a personal hero, so I've got rose-colored lenses on.

(and finally, belatedly, sincerest congratulations regarding the new homestead. I'm pleased for you and echo those few people who want to figure out token natural light in your man-cave.)

[That Sheldon video IS very funny. I'd never seen it. --Mike]

Don't worry about the acoustics Mike, you can just stick carpet covered with egg cartons on the walls...

Rain Tree Crow! I haven't listened to that since... well, since whenever it came out. Blackwater is the one song I remember. I'll have to dig it out and give it a listen because I was just looking for reference tracks...

Sorry for being off-topic, but I stumbled upon this from view mixed and I thought these were so entertaining that I just had to share.

If you publish this I would warn the readers not to take a sip of coffee before viewing these.

29 Prom pictures that well, um....:


Desk first, stereo second, if you're going to print photographs as well as write. Gotta keep reflections off the screen.

"Amateur" as a description has certainly become an insulting characterization over the years.

So foolish question, but I yam what I yam. What are you listening for with your clapping test? I'm a bit of a headphone addict, mostly in the office, and then not wanting to bother the wife at home. She's supportive of trying to assemble a decent audiophilish setup though, and I'll take all the help I can get. ;)

I think I agree with Matisse, god save us from photoshopped to death amateur photographers.

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