June 14, 2009
'only a single figure is visible...'
"... only a single figure is visible: a man apparently having his boots shined. He is standing still while all of the pedestrian and street traffic moving around him fails to register on the plate because of the lengthy exposure time." — Robert Silberman, from the opening paragraph of his essay "Between Heaven and Earth: The Impact Photographs of Stan Gaz" (in Gaz's extraordinary new book, "Sites of Impact: Meteorite Craters Around the World"; Princeton Architectural Press; New York; 2009).
As I thought about the sentence above — a description of one of Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre's (1787–1851) earliest extant photographs (top), showing a Parisian boulevard as viewed from an elevated vantage point — it occurred to me that the absence of other figures due to the necessarily prolonged exposure time doesn't mean others weren't in the frame at the same time as the single man who, having his boots shined, was therefore relatively stationary but, rather, that their presence simply didn't register on the photograph.
If sufficient computer power were brought to bear on this photograph, along with software capable of "rewinding" what's there, it seems to me it should be possible to extract from this picture a movie that, in real time, would last as long as the exposure did.
Watching that film, "... all of the pedestrian and street traffic moving around him..." would as if by magic appear as it was seen through the lens a century and a half ago.
The past can — and will — be recaptured, not just in words but in sight and sound, once the static recorded scenes of the past submit to the algorithms and subroutines of the future.
The 1838 photograph up top is Daguerre's "Boulevard du Temple, Paris," featuring possibly the first person ever photographed (detail
Call for assistance: Gray Cat's eye ointment — and my inability to apply it
Gray Cat (above, in her — and my — favorite place, rendering assistance as only she can as I create bookofjoe) has had something going on around her left eye for about six weeks.
Long story short: The upper and lower lids intermittently get swollen and clear fluid sometimes drips down the fur alongside her nose. Sometimes the eye is completely shut. Nothing in the eyeball itself — no redness, discoloration, etc. The swelling comes and goes, sometimes from not there at all to severe in the course of a couple hours.
She's otherwise well: chasing (and catching) frogs, running around the house, eating, sleeping, purring, playing, napping and just generally being the perfect companion, as always.
I've been meaning to take her to the vet but each time I call to make an appointment, by the time the appointment comes the eye looks normal so I cancel it.
Last Thursday I got lucky and got an appointment for an hour from my call, the result of a cancellation.
I took her in for an examination with the excellent Dr. Fietz — who knows her and in fact saw her when I initially took her in earlier this year after deciding to formally adopt her, putting paid to her status as a neighborhood stray cat — and his diagnosis was: infection v allergy.
Jeez, I knew that.
I was reminded of how we viewed the specialty of dermatology back when I was in med school, to wit: "Wet on the dry, dry on the wet, and if that doesn't work use steroids."
But I digress.
The vet gave me a little tube of Vetropolycin HC ointment (bacitracin-neomycin-polymixin with hydrocortisone acetate 1%) and said put a dab on the corner of the eyeball toward the lateral canthus three times a day for a week to 10 days.
If the problem resolved, it was infection; if not, it's an allergy, and so live with it and use the medication whenever there's eye swelling.
That's all well and good when I'm at the vet's office and I'm holding Gray Cat in an all-enveloping body hug embracing all four legs while the vet shows me how and where to apply the ointment.
But let me tell you something: as of this afternoon, some 72 hours (and 8 attempts at putting the medicine where it's supposed to go) after that initial assisted event:
1. I've got scratches all over my right hand and arm,
2. the result of Gray Cat's unhappiness with my futile attempts to restrain her while I attempt to put the stuff in her eye, and
3. I know there has to be a better way.
Portable Photo Studio
"Makes the difference between sold and unsold on eBay."
I can see how that could happen.
'The Simple Things' – by Pharrell Williams and Takashi Murakami
Pictured above, the whimsical sculpture sold for $2 million dollars after furious bidding by four prospective buyers 30 minutes after it went on sale at this year's Art Basel.
"These particular things — a miniature ketchup bottle, a can of Pepsi, a pair of sneakers, a cupcake, a condom, a bag of Doritos and a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby lotion — were impeccably made in various types of gold and encrusted with 26,000 inlaid diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds," wrote Carol Vogel in her front page Arts section story in Friday's New York Times.
"'The taste of a cupcake is worth more than diamonds,'" said Williams.
Submariner's DVD Player
Think about it.
"AV1 and V2 Aux Input * Audio & Video Output * High Resolution & Definition 8.5" Diagonal 16:9 Screen * On Screen Display Menu * IR Transmitter * Brightness, Contrast, Color & Tint Control * FM Transmitter * DVD/VCD/SVCD/CD/CDR/RW Player * MP3/MP4/AVI/WAV/JPEG Files Reader * Built-In Speakers * Real Clock Time * Dual Dome Lamps * Full Function Remote Control * NTSC/PAL System Compatible."
Dive, dive, dive.
'I am not a photographer' — Italian experimental artist Naomi Vona had me at her home page
And that name, straight out of Man Ray Land....
"Emulates a keyboard and mouse and periodically makes random mouse movements, toggles cap-lock and types out odd garbage text and phrases."
Hard to see how that differs from my usual output.
Wait a minute, joe — it's a high-tech prank.
Can you spot it below?