Two Watches

A man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.

11 Amazing Black and White Photos

There’s something about old-school black and white photos. Before the day when you could activate the HDR feature on your iPhone and snap away, photographers had to pay a special mind to light, composition, depth of field, etc. to engage the viewer.

Please find enclosed some of my favorite black and white photos.

The Fork by Andre Kerstesz

This was once my profile picture on Facebook because I am an intelligent, provocative person (read: sarcasm), and a friend of mine commented that this was “the sexiest fork” she’d ever seen.

I’m inclined to agree.

The above photo was taken by Andre Kertesz in 1928 during his “French period” because, you know, pretty much every artist of any creative heft needs a French period.

The shadow play and contrast is what makes this one of my favorites. Kertesz once said: “I write with light.” I can’t think of a more apt description for this photo.

Apart from photographing cutlery, Kertesz was well known for his distorted, nude pictures, but I’m not showing any of those. This is a family blog post.

Here’s a few more from Kertesz.

Robert Doisneau

There’s a whole series of these candid gems by French photographer Robert Doisneau. This one is unequivocally the best. It’s almost perfect. The woman’s hand gesture is a well-known tip-off for someone pontificating passionately about the gripping nature of some form of art, while the sideways glance of the top hat with a mustache beneath it shows that, even while grasping the arm of his lady, his eyes are prone to wander.

Doisneau was a master at capturing such moments. He once said “the marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected you find in the street.”

Here are a few more.

Ansel Adams

There’s not much to say about Ansel Adams that already hasn’t been said. He’s a wizard in the dark room and probably had gigantic shoulder muscles from lugging around his full frame, high resolution cameras (during a long trip in 1920, he had a donkey burdened with 100 pounds of equipment and gear, while he carried a backpack with another 30 pounds).

Here’s another of my favorites that showcases Adams’ mastery of burning and dodging in the darkroom.

More great black and white photos to come soon….

Carbonation and the Afterlife

The village of Fresna wasn’t terribly carbonated. It wasn’t surrounded by a moat of bubbles like many other towns in the world of Aluminum Can.

There was a good reason for the town’s increasing lack of bubbles: It wanted to survive.

For you see, the village folk spurned the commonly held belief that they should live with bubbly effervescence until the exalted Ones Who Lived Above decided to take their life with a satisfied swig. It was considered a great honor by most living in the Aluminum Can to be chosen by the mighty guzzlers from beyond to quench Their never-ending thirst.

The village of Fresna wanted no part of an afterlife in the Joyous Stomach of the Ones Who Lived Above. They wanted to live in Aluminum Can for a long time. They sought a glimpse of life after the bubbles.

They wanted to go flat.

It was a revolutionary concept, and soon other villages in the Aluminum Can embraced it. Before long, the entire world of Aluminum Can was flat.

That’s when the Ones Who Lived Above exacted their vengeance. For depriving their parched throats of the bubbly goodness of Fresna and the other villages, the Ones Who Lived Above cast Aluminum Can into the underworld, a place that became known as The Drain.

It was a long terrifying journey, plummeting down the labyrinthine metal tubes of the underworld. The world of Aluminum Can joined a million other souls bound on the same damned journey. The village of Fresna fragmented over the course of the descent. Mother lost daughters and fathers lost sons to the seemingly endless journey down The Drain.

Those who clung together began to understand the blessing of carbonation. They understood that by rejecting their gift, they were cursed with an existence of perpetual descent through the slimy, smelly passageways of the underworld. They began to yearn for the afterlife granted to their bubbly predecessors – a snug existence cocooned in the loving embrace of The Joyous Stomach of the Ones Who Lived Above.

They, of course, didn’t realize that those guzzled by the Ones Who Lived Above shared the same fate.

After a brief stay in The Joyous Stomach of the Ones Who Lived Above, they were expelled from their host and cast into an endless ocean. In the middle of this ocean was an enormous maelstrom that sucked everything into the twisted tubes of the underworld.

For the world of Aluminum Can, there was no escape from The Drain’s fiendish clutches. Regardless of the choices they made while still living in Aluminum Can, they were relegated to the same fate.

Sadly, this could not be known to those still living in Aluminum Cans across the universe. They agonized, bickered and fought over the choice of living in carbonation or flatness. Friends quarreled, lovers parted and families split. They didn’t know, perhaps couldn’t know, that the choices they warred over and argued about were meaningless in the end.

And they never found peace.

This is Our Pyramid

Construction of the Manhattan Bridge

Behold a picture of the construction of the Manhattan Bridge. It’s amazing to me that the process seems so obvious here, but can be so overwhelmingly mysterious when viewing the finished project.

The amount of calculations and connecting pieces that must be precisely oriented are staggering. The only undertaking I can imagine that’s comparable would be making a functioning water balloon out of legos.

What would happen if the concrete slabs in the water weren’t aligned at the proper angle? The giant cord of cable connecting the pillars would then be either too long or too short. Tempers would flare, buckets would be kicked and someones meatball Parmesan sandwich would get thrown into the river.

That’s what precision engineering is really all about: saving someone’s lunch from the rage of a sweaty foreman.

Photo by alfred stieglitz

Photo by alfred stieglitz