Then I lost the love.
Not sure when it happened exactly, but somewhere in amongst the relentless tweaking of Photoshop filters and actions, the lust for faster lenses and sharper images, I lost sight of why I was taking pictures. So I stopped. Goodbye, photoblog.
Except, of course, that wasn’t the end. I kept shooting, on and off - mainly documentary shots for the London Tap Jam. Somehow, I convinced myself that I needed an upgrade and traded my 350D in for a 500D (more megapixels! moving pictures!), took some documentary shots and video for a poetry project in Chicago and slapped a web portfolio together.
But the passion wasn’t there.
Christmas 2009, two things happened that pulled me back. I got an iPhone (3G!), and a Yashica 124G. I’ve spent the early part of this year playing with the 2MP camera on the iPhone and while it’s been fun, over the past few months, the Yashica has overtaken it as my go-to tool for shooting. Sure, I’m more likely to have an iPhone in my pocket than a TLR, and I’m not giving up on “iphoneography” - particularly since there’s an iPhone 4 somewhere in my future. But the time has come to push this site a step forward.
As of today, For Then & Ever More is growing up. No more limits. Anything I shoot with will be fair game. That’s most likely to be the Yashica and the iPhone, but I burned through a range of cameras before settling into these, and it’d be cool to give a few of them the opportunity to shine at some point.
Welcome to my photoblog.
No more exclusive focus on the iPhone, and possibly a bit more writing in between shots. Hope you don’t mind too much…
Dear Singaporean students – if you were at one of my Free Word workshops, we made it into the newsletter… Sign up at http://ow.ly/2pnLZ
Actually, I agree. But while (as a bibliophile) I find it hard to take a pen to any book I’ve bought, one of my most cherished books is a copy of Keats’ collected works. It’s my original school text, complete with notes and questions - a window into the mind of my teen-aged self. Those notes root that book in my personal history; they make that copy unique to me and my experience.
My attitude towards books is changing. It used to be the case that I had to own books I wanted to read, even if I didn’t have time to read them. It was the potential that was important, having that body of ideas sheathed between book covers ready at hand whenever I wanted to dip into it. I have enough unread material to sustain me for a lifetime, and the irony is that it’ll never be “enough”. My reading eyes are always bigger than my stomach. There are always books out there to own. But with the changes in distribution, the rise of Amazon and even the Kindle and iBooks platforms, I don’t have to be so obsessive about the books themselves anymore as physical objects. Amazon, Kindle, iBooks - these have become my alternative my book stores. My wishlists and shopping baskets - these are my “to be read” shelves.
If I’m honest, I don’t spend half as much time in bookshops as I used to. Where I used to love being surrounded by books as much as reading them, I’m now much more intensely focused on engaging with the ideas that those books contain. I used to spend hours browsing in Borders on Charing Cross Road, hanging out in the Starbucks on the first floor with a pile of books and magazines. I passed through that store in its final days - the mostly empty shelves, the half price signage - and it was a sad sight to see.
I’ll never give up on the “old school tech” of the book. And actually, I’m seeing specific texts become even more valuable. While I’m happy to engage with more and more of my reading as disembodied text on a screen (and the iPad is a desirable physical object in itself) there are some books I’ll always want to be able to pull down from the shelves - the real shelves - turn the pages of, and hold in my hand. But the preciousness I used to have? Yes, I often read with a notebook nearby. No, I’d never feel comfortable taking a pen to the margins of a text that I love. But I’m less averse to the idea of pencilling thoughts in whatever space is available - a conversation with the author, anchors for thoughts and questions. Making that book truly mine.
(Having said that, if I ever lend you a book, I want it back in exactly the condition I gave it to you.)
Southbank seeks Global Poetry Systems interns – develop the project and work with poetry online. More info? See http://ow.ly/2pj60
"The slowness of books, the habits of mind they build, Shteyngart suggests, may be a key to knowing…"
Added to reading list. And wait - this is the first book I want to own that exists on the UK Kindle store. Time to feed the iPad…
My pen needs have been serviced exclusively by Muji since 2007, but this concept makes for an easy addition to my WANT list. Take note. Ha.
"read with a pen in hand… both to mark the text you want to remember and to write from where the text leaves you" http://ow.ly/2ptCn
If you’ve been to one of my tech workshops before and heard me mention Virb (or are looking for a new website) – see http://ow.ly/2p3Mx
I’m aware that I haven’t been taking enough time out to reflect on my experiences recently - always moving on to the next thing - and since my schedule has opened up a bit more for August, I’m enjoying the ability to stop, take a step back and review…
BACK TO THE FUTURE…
I grew up as a sci-fi and fantasy kid. These days, I still enjoy a good draw from the ”speculative fiction” aisle, though I tend to lean more toward the sci-fi than the fantasy. Fantasy plots tend to fall back into the “hero’s journey” all too often: underdog discovers secret talent or power, which places him at the centre of a millennia-old prophecy, which he ultimately fulfils and gets the girl/dragon/sword/crown in the bargain. Yeah. I can see why they appealed to the bespectacled teen-aged me.
Of course there’s good and bad in every genre, and often a lot more bad than good. But I’m particularly drawn to visions of possible futures - technology and scenarios that aren’t a million miles away from potential reality. And, as a poet, there’s something about the way good sci-fi writers push language that hooks me in. I just finished reading Chris Moriarty’s Spin State. I won’t review it here - Russ Allbery has already done a pretty good job of that - suffice to say, in spite of it’s flaws, it was a great read.
Summer book pile: one down. An entire shelf to go.
THE BRAND CALLED ME…
Lots of good stuff incoming - I’ll be a little more public for the rest of the year, with a couple of interesting residencies popping up in the next month or two, and a nice little set of performances/gigs planned. Which leads me to think about how I need to tune up my news channels (mailing list, website etc). Time to take a break from being a cobbler and fix my own shoes.
Speaking of connecting with an audience - time to spread some Tumblr love. I don’t often make a habit of hailing out new Tumblr followers (and that’s not because I don’t appreciate every addition to my follower count - anybody say free ego massage?), but every now and then, it’s nice to show some gratitude. There are some Tumblrites (or Tumblreeps? Tumblrers? Whatever we’re calling ourselves these days…) I’ve been following for a while who bring the good stuff to my dashboard, and it’s given me a warm fuzzy feeling to see them following me back (Everything in the Sky, Boyghost, Astroblemes, Lifeserial, Barisowa, PhotonFantastic… I’m looking at you). If every new follower is a slice of cake, you guys are cake and icing. Other recent additions (fire in the dashboard!) include Vanilla Breath, Communicatrix, Brynn Shepherd and Hello Aldrin.
On that note, it’s been said before by others, but the dashboard really does leave a lot to be desired as far as consuming things goes. The “river of Tumblr” effect is cool for burning some down-time between tasks, but there are people I’d like to follow closely, and there’s only so much river you can take in before drowning. And yes, that’s what RSS is for [Or simply be more discerning when pressing that follow button? -ed], but where following is also public statement of letting a fellow member of the Tumblr community know that you dig what they’re doing, it gets messy. Even some simple “list” functionality a la Twitter would be useful (are you listening, o Tumblr gods?)…
Links to podcasts I’d promised.
Right. I’m off to get better at taking a holiday.
Next two drafts of the commission sent off, and it’s confirmed: I don’t know how to take time off. I’ll give it another go next week
If you have any interest in words whatsoever, do yourself a favour and listen to the latest Radiolab… http://ow.ly/2nNnk
Found this on the Southbank. Lovely.