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The Bookshelf

Doug's bookshelf: read

AntwerpWarsaw BikiniIcelandHow the Soldier Repairs the GramophoneThe Original of LauraBrief Interviews with Hideous Men

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Time Since Reboot

  • 1177 days, 23 hours, 43 minutes, 53 seconds ago

On Remembering Those Who Have Fallen

I was, admittedly, going to post an angry piece about how Memorial Day has been dumbed down for the unthinking masses – how it has been shaped and corrupted by the nation’s rich and powerful as a tool to reinforce the insidious notion of the state as sacred and infallible.  I still believe those things, but spewing that into the internet aether on a day when many are remembering and mourning loved ones seemed unnecessarily uncaring.  

Our servicemen and servicewomen who have perished – who have sacrificed their only possession that matters, their lives – deserve to mourned and remembered.  

But I do not buy into the empty platitude that they have “given their lives for our ‘Freedom'”.  Our soldiers in the Middle East and in past conflicts are not and did not die protecting our freedom.  (Freedom to what, by the way?  Watch reality television?  Buy more useless trinkets?  Practice hate, bigotry, cruelty against those citizens who don’t conform to our standard of what is ‘right’?)  They died protecting our nation’s interests.  Are our nation’s interests (i.e., the interests of the rich, the powerful, the corporations, the paranoid religious right, the misinformed ideologues, etc.) the same as the best interest of its citizens?  That’s for each individual to decide.

Sadly, I’m afraid there is no longer an educated majority of individuals who either have the capacity or introspection for making that decision.  So they’ll hoist and wave their American flags, they’ll listen and venerate politicians and priests who recite the catechisms that placate the vacuous congregations, and today will be all Beer and Bald Eagles and Guns and God.  So be it, if that makes you feel better.  

But this is reality:

These are the Bedrooms of the Fallen – a photo series by Ashley Gilbertson of the bedrooms our deceased soldiers left behind.  These are the objects they cherished.  These are the sheets where they once slept and will never sleep again.  These are the comfortable homes these young men and women left to die in agony, separated from loved ones, in unfamiliar and hostile areas of the globe.  Remember them on this Memorial Day.  And ask yourself if the snuffing out of those lights forever was worth it.

Week(s) In Review: May 5 – 18, 2014

Portfolio Additions

  

May Eleven 1 | ISO 100, 1/2000, f/2.2, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Cypress Point, Lake Martin, AL USA | May 10, 2014 10:57 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

May Eleven 2 | ISO 100, 1/2500, f/2.2, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Cypress Point, Lake Martin, AL USA | May 10, 2014 10:57 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

In The Woods | ISO 1600, 1/160, f/4.0, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Ruffner Mountain, Birmingham, AL USA | May 4, 2014 15:03 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Leslie, Illuminated | ISO 280, 1/160, f/4.0, 85mm | Nikon D800, New Petzval Lomography x Zenit Art Lens | Ruffner Mountain, Birmingham, AL USA | May 4, 2014 15:12 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

.     .     .

Still testing out the Petzval – highlights being shots taken at Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain Park and featuring my favorite subject: my lovely and patient wife.  The two “May Eleven” photographs (which, you’ll notice, were actually taken on May 10… my bad) are not anything special.  I chose to upload them because I was kind of proud of my technique.  That’s no post-processing faded-out filter effect.  Taken on a misty Saturday morning, I enhanced the two images of Lake Martin with the fancy, complicated method of fogging up the lens by breathing on it before snapping the picture.  Wizardry!

Lots of contemplation and self-reflection over the past two weeks, which deserves a post of its own soon.  Otherwise there’s been a lot of office work during the week and a lot of sitting, unshaved and unbathed, lakeside in a bathrobe on the weekends.  I am okay with that trend continuing for a while.  

A Sense of Place; A Sense of Self

You want to get a good look at yourself. You stand before a mirror, you take off your jacket, unbutton your shirt, open your belt, unzip your fly. The outer clothing falls from you. You take off your shoes and socks, baring your feet. You remove your underwear. At a loss, you examine the mirror. There you are. You are not there.

~ Mark Strand

As always, mouse over the picture for the artist’s name and click to check out their portfolios or other source/presence on the web.  Enjoy.

         

 

Week(s) In Review: Apr 21 - May 4, 2014

Portfolio Additions

None.  Instead, I have taken some time to kill my darlings (paring away some of the shots I’m not as proud of).  This was done largely in response to having a link to my portfolio site posted on an honest-to-goodness photography website as a supporter, and thinking to myself “holy shit, some actual photographers and/or people who appreciate fine art photography could potentially click on that link and inadvertently wade into my private sea of mediocrity.”  The site, by the way, is The Quiet Front – a blog, curated by the personable and passionate Lawrence van Niekerk, dedicated mostly to sharing beautiful, natural, minimally post-processed celebrations of the female form.  I find the works collected there extremely inspirational – and if I weren’t such an introvert I would love to produce images in the same vein, if only because I am very much a believer in the “anti-airbrushing” movement i.e., photographing the world as it is rather than digitally creating some impossible ideal (applicable not just to nudes or portraits but to all photographs in general).  At any rate, Lawrence is currently crowdsourcing funding for the publication of the project’s first book, which will showcase work from 11 photographers from across the globe.  Here is the link to the Indiegogo campaign if you are inclined to lend your support, which I would encourage you to do:

.     .     .

Other Goings-On

So last week there was no week-in-review update, for no reason other than I was lazy and didn’t have too much to write about anyway.  The week of April 21 was largely spent in Plano, Texas – which has a cute little downtown area with fun restaurants and whatnot.  If you find yourself near Plano you should check it out.  I remain fairly anti-Texas due to the ultra-conservatism emanating from there (of course, it isn’t like they’ve cornered the market on embarrassingly backward, right-wing bullshit), but that preference aside it looks like I’m going to be spending another week in the Lone Star State come September – though it will be in Austin, which by all accounts is a rational, progressive stronghold in the otherwise closed-minded state.

We did some in-law family things that weekend, which was awkward (also, it was for a funeral, so it’s not like it was going to be a fun-filled occasion anyway).  But I did get to meet or be reintroduced to some of my wife’s more pleasant family members.  Her cousins from New Mexico are always wonderful to hang out with, and I may have the world’s hippest sister-in-law.

I had an idea for a side-business.

I do love traveling, whether it’s for business or pleasure… so I am sort of bummed that the month of May does not contain any trips.  Hard to complain too much, though, since this Mother’s Day weekend will likely be spent on the shores of Lake Martin.  After that it’s only a couple of weeks before I’m off to the Mayan Riviera for my best friend’s wedding, then westward for my first post-public-accounting visit to the beautiful Salt Lake City area.

The Petzval lens remains attached to my camera, and despite not having posted any images lately I am still shooting and having fun figuring out its intricacies and limitations.

More next week, people.  Have a lovely one.

15 Inspi-F*cking-Rational Tips

I think I’ve shared a quote or two from The Fucking Homepage before, but here’s a list dedicated to the best “tips of the fucking day” of 2014.  The daily posts in their entirety are a great way to start off each and every morning.  Essential reading.  To the life tips!

NEVER BE THE SAME PERSON YOU WERE YESTERDAY.  (1/6/14)

TIME IS THE ONLY CURRENCY THAT MATTERS.  (1/19/14)

IMAGINE EACH PERSON YOU MEET IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND.  (1/27/14)

DO TODAY WHAT OTHERS WON’T SO YOU CAN DO TOMORROW WHAT OTHERS CAN’T.  (2/24/14)

DON’T PRACTICE UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT. PRACTICE UNTIL YOU CAN’T GET IT WRONG.  (3/11/14)

ALWAYS WALK AS IF YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE YOU HAVE TO BE.  (3/19/14)

PEOPLE WHO TRY TO BRING YOU DOWN ARE ALREADY BELOW YOU.  (3/24/14)

THERE IS NEVER A PERFECT TIME FOR ANYTHING. IF YOU WANT SOMETHING AND HAVE THE MEANS, DO IT.  (3/26/14)

FAKE CONFIDENCE AND REAL CONFIDENCE ARE THE SAME THING.  (4/1/14)

AVOID “ZERO” DAYS. DO AT LEAST ONE THING PRODUCTIVE EVERY DAY.  (4/6/14)

JUST SAYING HELLO CAN LEAD TO A MILLION THINGS.  (4/8/14)

BE SOMEONE WHO OTHERS LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING TOMORROW.  (4/11/14)

THOSE TEN EXTRA MINUTES IN BED NEVER MAKE YOU LESS TIRED. THEY JUST MAKE YOU LATE.  (4/12/14)

YOU HAVE TO SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITH YOURSELF, SO YOU BETTER MAKE YOURSELF AS INTERESTING AS POSSIBLE.  (4/30/14)

DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY ANYONE. EVERYONE IS FILLING A ROLE AND WEARING A MASK.  (5/2/14)

I heartily recommend following the blog feed… but, NSFW language, obviously.

Market Research

As this year’s income tax season came and went (you did remember to file your income taxes, didn’t you?), and I fielded the annual 3-5 questions friends and family ask me regarding various subjects, I began pondering whether I could use the knowledge I have accumulated over my years in public accounting, business, and continuing education in a way that would benefit the artistic, innovative and philanthropic communities I have always identified with but, in reality, am on the outside looking into.  My personality is an oddly even split between the free-spirited, creative, “right-brained” me and the organized, businessman, “left-brained” me.  Lately I’ve come to realize that the conflict between those two Dougs may be having the detrimental effect of my never feeling like I am being true to myself.  A project that would combine those worlds in a way that is advantageous to the creative community and to myself could potentially be a great thing for everyone.

And so, I brainstormed the idea of a secure, cloud-based accounting office that would be able to provide the same personalized tax, accounting and business advisory services to the idealistic visionaries striving to make a difference in the world – at reduced rates compared to accounting firms but still a huge step up from slogging through questions (e.g., should I treat my folk art sales as business or hobby income, how do I track and separate my deductible community organization expenses, what percentage of utilities can I claim as home office deductions, is it time to hire an assistant and worry about payroll taxes, etc. etc. etc.) themselves or going to H&R accountant-in-a-box type establishments.

This is not something I have decided on doing, but it is an idea I’m curious about.  It would definitely work – I have the free time, the resources, and the technical know-how to set it up – but I wonder if there would be enough interest in it to justify expending that time and effort.  Thus, I have created a little online poll (below).  I’ve always enjoyed a good polling (nyuk, nyuk) – but this will only be helpful if the idea gets posed to the right people.  So, readers, if you know anyone who might know anyone who might know anyone who might benefit from this type of service, please share either the poll or at least the idea with others so I can gauge how much interest there actually is in such a project.  It can be anonymous if you want it to be, and I promise I am not collecting “business-leads”… you will not be harassed for business if you click that you would be interested in tax services.  This isn’t a marketing ploy, and I’m not an asshole.  (That wording quite possibly would be in the mission statement for any business I decide to start.)

[socialpoll id=”2199400”]