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The Last Photo | PhotoShelter Blog
"Ever since junior high school, I was the kid with the camera. And many years later, I’m still the guy who shows up to every life event with camera in hand to document the lives of my friends.

I used to carry around a hulking DSLR, but the weight bothers me, and the large size feels too intrusive for the everyday. I don’t want to interrupt life by taking photos, I simply want them to remember the fractions of a second that end up representing curated slices of life.

Within my archive of hundreds of thousands of photos, there are many that represent the last photo I will ever take of someone or some place. Some of these photos are inconsequential. They might capture a blurry stranger in the background, or perhaps a one-time friend forged through a glass of wine in a distant land.

Then there are the ones that matter.

***

There is a strange inflection point in life when more people you know are dying or getting sick than getting married and having kids. Suddenly, the act of taking a photo isn’t about eliciting FOMO and instant nostalgia on social media, but rather a tiny memorial of all the experiences that make up a rich life.

This doesn’t mean the act of taking a photo should be morbid. Perhaps it means that in a world where the avalanche of images has rendered so much photography worthless, there are still photos that are priceless. And for the photographer, not only is the image valuable, but so is the memory of taking the photo.

***

[photo]

The guy in the back with the pencil. That’s B and this is high school trigonometry taken with my Olympus OM-4. I remember the class vividly because Mrs. Field was a great teacher, and the class often felt celebratory. It was math, but we were having a good time.

B was a funny, cool kid. He was a senior when I was a junior, and at the time, the difference seemed interminably large. We were never friends, but there was always a sense of camaraderie in that classroom. After the year ended, B graduated, and he would otherwise be a footnote in my memory except for one thing.

That summer, he died.

People often say that teens feel invincible. I’m not sure this is accurate. I think that they simply don’t think about death because they haven’t encountered it. There is no point of reference. They have a whole life ahead of them. At least they’re supposed to.

B was the first kid I knew who died, and although I remember being floored by such a notion then, it didn’t affect me the way that it does now. Now I think about the tragedy of a life unfulfilled. What would he have become? Something exceptional? Something average? No doubt, something important to someone else, as he was on his last day.

This last photo is nothing. It’s a photobomb before photobombing was a thing. He’s not even supposed to be in the picture. Yet, there he is. The last photo is everything.

***

[photo]

Sara was one of my first hires in the early days of Web 1.0 at HotJobs. Despite an uncertain start, she blossomed, and became a big part of the department. Eventually she married, and she asked me to photograph her wedding. She moved to Seattle with her husband, and started work as a project manager.

People move, life carries on, friendships fade. But one day I got a call from our mutual friend Amanda, who urged me to go visit Sara.

I hadn’t seen her in years, and she somehow found herself with Stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 35. It was the type of dire situation that led us to plan an early Christmas, and the day before we were set to celebrate, we gathered in her bedroom to shoot the breeze.

Sara’s friend, Jennifer, grabbed my camera and shot the last photo. Not even cancer could restrain her booming laugh; her skeletal frame still capable of supporting her huge grin.

The last photo is a happy one. I remember it because John was there. Declan was there. Amanda was there. V was there. Sara smoked a joint to ease the pain before it became legal. It was good to be amongst old friends – even one last time.

***

[photo with caption “My grandfather on his 100th birthday”]

Grandparents are a shield against mortality.

With them, two generations of life stand before you — your parents and their parents — protecting you from the uncertainty of death. Once you lose your grandparents, life feels more precarious.

I am fortunate. All my grandparents lived into their 90s or 100s. My maternal grandmother was the last. For years after her husband died at 100, she lived quietly in a room adjacent to my parents’ in Honolulu. Although she had slowed physically, her mind was still sharp, and I would sometimes find her in the yard doing leg lifts.

In a world of overconsumption, hers was simple. No need for anything, save her television and La-Z-Boy. She tried pizza for the first time around the age of 90, and loved it. But other than that, her life had a predictable rhythm that was rarely interrupted.

Then one day, my father found her straining to breathe. The doctors think she suffered a heart attack. The paramedics took her to the ICU, but we finally brought her home for hospice. What was supposed to only be a week, stretched to several months — she was always resilient.

This isn’t the last photo I took of her. But it’s the one I am willing to share. A wave of wiry, salt and pepper hair of a woman who lived a simple, yet tremendous life. The last photo will not be one of pain and suffering. It will be dignified. What a fabulous head of hair!

[photo]

Fujiko Murabayashi passed away in 2015 at the age of 99.

***

Despite how it sounds, I don’t obsess over the last photo. If anything, these photos simply remind me to live a full life. They have meaning beyond the over hashtagged, hyper-curated lives displayed on social media because these images have little relevance to anyone besides me. Yet, they are most important to me — a personal treasure of pixels representing the lives that graced mine."
photography  memory  loss  allenmurabayashi  nostalgia  death  life  grandparents  friends  relationships  mortality  acquaintances  living  via:markllobrera 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Why Japanese Web Design is NOT so different — Medium
"The Conformity Bias

Such a website is quite unique outside of Japan, and one could find many articles pointing out that this type of web design is behind the curve.

Reasons for this type of web design existing in Japan are often said to be,

1. The complexity of the Japanese Writing System, with scripts of Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

2. Distinctive Japanese behaviors such as consumer behavior and information acquisition behavior.

However, from my own experience living in both Japan and the US, I find that the essential difference is in the “Pressure to Conform”.

Not all, but most Japanese people have a passive attitude. This is because passivity is drilled into them through education from an early age. The mainstream in education in Japan is for the teacher to lecture unilaterally, and for the students to follow the teacher’s instructions. In classrooms outside of Japan, students practice conveying their ideas to teachers and classmates, using examples in an easy-to-understand manner, and thus getting in the habit of expressing their opinions."
2014  japan  webdev  webdesign  design  culture  mariosakata  ux  conformity  language  via:markllobrera 
november 2014 by robertogreco
A Hackathon Where 2G-Era Tech Is King | WIRED
"It’s a different perspective from the typical Silicon Valley mindset, which is all about speed and specs. But if you want to make smartphone applications that work for most people (not just most Americans), you have to think slow. Smartphones and the Internet are booming in the developing world. By the third quarter of last year, smartphones overtook feature phones. The world is going online — wireless Internet service grew by 83 percent in China last year, 84 percent in India, and 68 percent in Nigeria, according to Ericsson, which operates some 40 percent of global cellular traffic. But the mobile Internet in the developing world is a fundamentally different beast than the one we typically talk about. That includes everything from the devices people use to to the plans they purchase, and the networks they run them on."
2014  mathonan  slow  mobile  webdev  nandwidth  2g  internet  web  smartphones  smartphoneonly  via:markllobrera  webdesign 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Typewrite - Simple, Real-time Collaborative Writing Environment
"Like a good pen, the tools you write with should never get in your way. They should allow you to write more efficiently. Typewrite aims to be one of the best writing tools you've ever had."
writing  software  collaboration  collaborative  markdown  editorially  via:markllobrera 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Wendell E. Berry Lecture | National Endowment for the Humanities
[via: https://twitter.com/dirtystylus/status/384660397238026240 ]

"“Because a thing is going strong now, it need not go strong for ever,” [Margaret] said. “This craze for motion has only set in during the last hundred years. It may be followed by a civilization that won’t be a movement, because it will rest upon the earth.
E. M. Forster, Howards End (1910)1"



"The economic hardship of my family and of many others, a century ago, was caused by a monopoly, the American Tobacco Company, which had eliminated all competitors and thus was able to reduce as it pleased the prices it paid to farmers. The American Tobacco Company was the work of James B. Duke of Durham, North Carolina, and New York City, who, disregarding any other consideration, followed a capitalist logic to absolute control of his industry and, incidentally, of the economic fate of thousands of families such as my own.

My effort to make sense of this memory and its encompassing history has depended on a pair of terms used by my teacher, Wallace Stegner. He thought rightly that we Americans, by inclination at least, have been divided into two kinds: “boomers” and “stickers.” Boomers, he said, are “those who pillage and run,” who want “to make a killing and end up on Easy Street,” whereas stickers are “those who settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.”2 “Boomer” names a kind of person and a kind of ambition that is the major theme, so far, of the history of the European races in our country. “Sticker” names a kind of person and also a desire that is, so far, a minor theme of that history, but a theme persistent enough to remain significant and to offer, still, a significant hope.

The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power. James B. Duke was a boomer, if we can extend the definition to include pillage in absentia. He went, or sent, wherever the getting was good, and he got as much as he could take.

Stickers on the contrary are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it. Of my grandfather I need to say only that he shared in the virtues and the faults of his kind and time, one of his virtues being that he was a sticker. He belonged to a family who had come to Kentucky from Virginia, and who intended to go no farther. He was the third in his paternal line to live in the neighborhood of our little town of Port Royal, and he was the second to own the farm where he was born in 1864 and where he died in 1946."



"Because I have never separated myself from my home neighborhood, I cannot identify myself to myself apart from it. I am fairly literally flesh of its flesh. It is present in me, and to me, wherever I go. This undoubtedly accounts for my sense of shock when, on my first visit to Duke University, and by surprise, I came face-to-face with James B. Duke in his dignity, his glory perhaps, as the founder of that university. He stands imperially in bronze in front of a Methodist chapel aspiring to be a cathedral. He holds between two fingers of his left hand a bronze cigar. On one side of his pedestal is the legend: INDUSTRIALIST. On the other side is another single word: PHILANTHROPIST. The man thus commemorated seemed to me terrifyingly ignorant, even terrifyingly innocent, of the connection between his industry and his philanthropy. But I did know the connection. I felt it instantly and physically. The connection was my grandparents and thousands of others more or less like them. If you can appropriate for little or nothing the work and hope of enough such farmers, then you may dispense the grand charity of “philanthropy.”

After my encounter with the statue, the story of my grandfather’s 1906 tobacco crop slowly took on a new dimension and clarity in my mind. I still remembered my grandfather as himself, of course, but I began to think of him also as a kind of man standing in thematic opposition to a man of an entirely different kind. And I could see finally that between these two kinds there was a failure of imagination that was ruinous, that belongs indelibly to our history, and that has continued, growing worse, into our own time."



"It may seem plausible to suppose that the head of the American Tobacco Company would have imagined at least that a dependable supply of raw material to his industry would depend upon a stable, reasonably thriving population of farmers and upon the continuing fertility of their farms. But he imagined no such thing. In this he was like apparently all agribusiness executives. They don’t imagine farms or farmers. They imagine perhaps nothing at all, their minds being filled to capacity by numbers leading to the bottom line. Though the corporations, by law, are counted as persons, they do not have personal minds, if they can be said to have minds. It is a great oddity that a corporation, which properly speaking has no self, is by definition selfish, responsible only to itself. This is an impersonal, abstract selfishness, limitlessly acquisitive, but unable to look so far ahead as to preserve its own sources and supplies. The selfishness of the fossil fuel industries by nature is self-annihilating; but so, always, has been the selfishness of the agribusiness corporations. Land, as Wes Jackson has said, has thus been made as exhaustible as oil or coal."



"In such modest joy in a modest holding is the promise of a stable, democratic society, a promise not to be found in “mobility”: our forlorn modern progress toward something indefinitely, and often unrealizably, better. A principled dissatisfaction with whatever one has promises nothing or worse.

James B. Duke would not necessarily have thought so far of the small growers as even to hold them in contempt. The Duke trust exerted an oppression that was purely economic, involving a mechanical indifference, the indifference of a grinder to what it grinds. It was not, that is to say, a political oppression. It did not intend to victimize its victims. It simply followed its single purpose of the highest possible profit, and ignored the “side effects.” Confronting that purpose, any small farmer is only one, and one lost, among a great multitude of others, whose work can be quickly transformed into a great multitude of dollars."



"Statistical knowledge once was rare. It was a property of the minds of great rulers, conquerors, and generals, people who succeeded or failed by the manipulation of large quantities that remained, to them, unimagined because unimaginable: merely accountable quantities of land, treasure, people, soldiers, and workers. This is the sort of knowledge we now call “data” or “facts” or “information.” Or we call it “objective knowledge,” supposedly untainted by personal attachment, but nonetheless available for industrial and commercial exploitation. By means of such knowledge a category assumes dominion over its parts or members. With the coming of industrialism, the great industrialists, like kings and conquerors, become exploiters of statistical knowledge. And finally virtually all of us, in order to participate and survive in their system, have had to agree to their substitution of statistical knowledge for personal knowledge. Virtually all of us now share with the most powerful industrialists their remoteness from actual experience of the actual world. Like them, we participate in an absentee economy, which makes us effectively absent even from our own dwelling places. Though most of us have little wealth and perhaps no power, we consumer–citizens are more like James B. Duke than we are like my grandfather. By economic proxies thoughtlessly given, by thoughtless consumption of goods ignorantly purchased, now we all are boomers."



"In this age so abstracted and bewildered by technological magnifications of power, people who stray beyond the limits of their mental competence typically find no guide except for the supposed authority of market price. “The market” thus assumes the standing of ultimate reality. But market value is an illusion, as is proven by its frequent changes; it is determined solely by the buyer’s ability and willingness to pay."



"By now all thoughtful people have begun to feel our eligibility to be instructed by ecological disaster and mortal need. But we endangered ourselves first of all by dismissing affection as an honorable and necessary motive. Our decision in the middle of the last century to reduce the farm population, eliminating the allegedly “inefficient” small farmers, was enabled by the discounting of affection. As a result, we now have barely enough farmers to keep the land in production, with the help of increasingly expensive industrial technology and at an increasing ecological and social cost. Far from the plain citizens and members of the land-community, as Aldo Leopold wished them to be, farmers are now too likely to be merely the land’s exploiters."



"In thinking about the importance of affection, and of its increasing importance in our present world, I have been guided most directly by E. M. Forster’s novel, Howards End, published in 1910. By then, Forster was aware of the implications of “rural decay,”10 and in this novel he spoke, with some reason, of his fear that “the literature of the near future will probably ignore the country and seek inspiration from the town. . . . and those who care for the earth with sincerity may wait long ere the pendulum swings back to her again.”"



"“The light within,” I think, means affection, affection as motive and guide. Knowledge without affection leads us astray every time. Affection leads, by way of good work, to authentic hope. The factual knowledge, in which we seem more and more to be placing our trust, leads only to hope of the discovery, endlessly deferrable, of an ultimate fact or smallest particle that at last will explain everything."



"No doubt there always will be some people … [more]
wendellberry  capitalism  corporations  economy  imagination  stickers  boomers  2012  economics  land  place  memory  industrialists  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  culture  art  liberalarts  humanism  humanity  rural  farming  history  debt  affection  knowledge  materialism  howardsend  emforster  ruraldecay  agriculture  aldoleopold  environmentalism  environment  sustainability  destruction  destructiveness  local  scale  mobility  change  adaptability  adaptation  evolution  ecology  technology  machines  alberthoward  wesjackson  johnlukacs  growth  data  quantification  wealth  remoteness  jamesbduke  industialism  power  greed  consumerism  plannedobsolescence  nature  corporatism  allentate  property  ownership  effectiveownership  human  humans  limits  limitations  modesty  democracy  wallacestegner  via:markllobrera  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  babyboomers  control 
september 2013 by robertogreco
DIRTI for iPad, World's first tapioca interface | USER STUDIO
"a 570cm3 dish that contains about 8.600 seeds of dry tapioca grains

Our research led us to wonder if and how we could change the relationship that humans have with tangible controllers: at the time (2011) we were working on trying to control thousands of particles on the screen in the most natural, intuitive fashion possible. We figured there was no better way than by actually controlling real world particles! So when creating this new "DIRTInterface", we set our minds on making something a little less accurate, while a lot more subtle, constantly adapting, almost alive. Tackling the cold, abrupt interaction that traditional controllers impose on us... It was all about interaction design politics ;)

Ok, so what's DIRTI in the first place?

It's the World's first tapioca interface! No really, it enables you to control your computer or your iPad with tapioca or anything else that's semi-transparent and that you can mold, like vanilla ice cream for example. Any non-opaque material that's either granular or liquid will do just fine. It's kind of a real-world interface. And the acronym stands for Dirty Tangible Interface. Tacky? Yeaaaah, we love tacky!

You, the user, interact with your machine by moving the material around in a sand-blasted dish. Anything that you're going to produce from within the Dirty Tangible Interface can not be 100% accurate, but it's infinitely refined, expressive and subtle. And you can't cancel any action or go back to a previous, default position, but you can control any graphics or sounds coming out of your machine with amazing expressivity, just like with real world instruments. Say, a violin. Not even kidding. And who wouldn't like plunging their hands in ice cream?!"
dirti  interface  tactile  touch  ncmideas  particles  texture  software  programming  installation  tangiblecontrollers  controllers  input  via:markllobrera  userstudio  glvo  maisondepetits  centquatre  rolandcahen  diemoschwarz  ircam  raspeberrypi  ios  ipad  destronics  topophonie 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Whitelines | Whitelines Link
"Whitelines® Link is a happy combo of physical and digital notes. You could call it a clever scanner-app that in combination with Whitelines® Link paper makes it super easy to capture, save and share your notes."
notetaking  dropbox  evernote  notebooks  via:markllobrera  digital  analog  whitelines 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Rare Interview With Garry Winogrand - Inside Aperture
[Wayback:
https://web.archive.org/web/20090923110404/http://blogs.oreilly.com/aperture/2007/03/rare-interview-with-gary-winog.html ]

“There’ve been times it’s been just impossible to find a negative or whatever. … I don’t have a filing system that’s worth very much.”

“It’s hopeless. I’ve given up. You just go through a certain kind of drudgery every time you have to look for something. I’ve got certain things grouped by now, but there’s a drudgery in finding them. There’s always stuff missing.”

“Winogrand almost never developed his film immediately. He was in no rush to edit his film, and he makes a strong case for it. He said he deliberately waited a year or two in order to lose the memory of the take.

“If I was in a good mood when I was shooting one day, then developed the film right away, I might choose a picture because I remember how good I felt when I took it.” “Better to let the film ‘age,’ the better to grade slides or contact sheets objectively”.”

[More: http://www.jnevins.com/garywinograndreading.htm AND https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wem927v_kpo ]

[Another interview: http://assets.whileseated.org/mp3/Garry_Winogrand-MIT_1974.mp3 ]

[An exhibit I saw at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego:
http://mopa.org/exhibitions/streetwise-masters-of-60s-photography/ ]
cv  filingsystems  search  objectivity  memory  1981  organization  photography  via:markllobrera  robertfrank  garrywinogrand  dianearbus  ruth-marionbaruch  jerryberndt  brucedavidson  leefriedlander  dannylyon  ernestwithers 
august 2012 by robertogreco

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