Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Geeks Take the Streets

Via the inimitable Tony Pierce...

this photo from the streets of New York.

Who said geeks didn't have a sense of humor?

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I stand at the forefront of the digital revolution in my professional life and my artistic endeavors. But I also embrace the traditional techniques of photography and see their place as a specialty niche into the future. Economics, however often dictate other necessities and hard times have hit a number of companies that are specialized in film photography.

Recently there have been reports of Kodak stopping production of reusable film cameras and their film division has also been hard hit. Now it looks as if Ilford, the venerable maker of Black and White film and photographic papers will likely have to close their film division, though their Swiss division which produces inkjet papers appears viable and will survive the restructuring.

I have long been a fan of Ilford products and am particularly fond of some of their Black and White emulsions, particularly the FP4 and HP5 films. But this was inevitable. The digital revolution is here and more and more photographers, both professional and amateur are making the switch to a 100% digital workflow. I hope that traditional materials will continue to be produced, but I can't see any one company that can build their entire business around them. Before too many years it will be a niche market, providing materials to students, traditionalists, experimental artists and a few Luddites.

It is with a sense of inevitability and sadness that I write this, seeing as how I do my fair share to promote digital photography, but the magic of mixing up chemicals and seeing an image appear under the safe lights as they swirl around in the developer bath is a wondrous thing that budding photographers of the future may never know.

Read the UK Guardian:
Digital revolution threatens Ilford jobs.
The Passion of the Clerks

Kevin Smith is planning a Clerks sequel. Original cast is signed on. Jay and Silent Bob live!!!
Late to the (Surrealist's) Party

I am reminded by a certain Fool that August 27 was the birthday of one of our patron saints in the Futurballa pantheon of photographic and artistic heroes.

Happy Birthday Man Ray!

wood s lot has some fine images, a few quotes and a useful link or two. Take a gander.

Back in August of 2003, when we were but a newly minted blog, Futurballa had a short biography of the artist.

Violin d'ingres

Friday, August 27, 2004

"More human than human" is our motto

I would have to concur. They are after all Scientists.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Mind of it's own

This article from the New York Times raises an interesting question. Does your iPod have a brain, and does it express personal preferences.

Most of the day, either on my iPod or on my iBook, I have the Party Shuffle randomly playing songs from my music library in the background. With a mere 2000 or so songs in my library, from artists wide ranging, I seem to hear an inordinate amount of Patti Smith and Brian Eno. Could be worse.

The writer also mentions the hazard of shuffle,when a long forgotten, inappropiate, Mothers of Invention tune might come on in mixed company. Naming that tune in 3 notes followed by a quick finger to the next button can be your only hope.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Facts of Life

Under the heading Fast Facts: Swift Boat Ads Fox News has reproduced, not a fact checker on the mis-truths of the Swift Boat ads, not even an attack on any Kerry misstatements, but instead, their idea of "facts" is to reproduce a transcript of the ads.

I guess in a perverted way, if the fact you wanted to check was "what is the content of the ad," then this is factual.

Meanwhile back here on (Non-Bizzaro) Earth...


In the category of "First kill all the lawyers..." Wired news reports that This Land really does belong to you and me.

Rob Galbraith has an in depth review of the Canon 20D. If you hadn't guessed, that is my next camera. Rob notes that the 20D is more camera than first glance might indicate.
While the initial selling price of the 20D will be roughly the same as the EOS 10D when it first shipped in 2003 (about US$1500 in the US), and the 20D sure looks like the 10D too, in almost every other way the specifications of Canon's latest digital SLR suggest it's targeted at newspaper photographers in smaller markets, up-and-coming wedding shooters and others who need both a responsive, versatile camera and a high-quality, high-resolution image file. It looks like Canon set out to build the EOS-1D Mark II's little brother.
George of Fool in the Forest commented yesterday on the theft of The Scream. George is overly fond of wordplay, but the Daily Show took the prize for the best pun on this subject. Their report was entitled, Felonious Munch. We also shared this take on The Scream.

Sounds and Fury offer two posts on photography. First Adam's Remembered is well worth your time. And secondly, ACD picks up the subject of Color Landscape Photography not passing the Jabberwocky Test. AC and I had a brief exchange on this subject some time back. I maintained that Color Landscape photography could be art, but when we managed to clarify our terminology to include the word "straight", I relented. The point being that Black and White is by nature abstract, while Color requires some intentional manipulation to achieve abstraction.

Caption contest. Winner gets a signed print by your's truly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Sidewalk Chalk Guy

Some fun with chalk, an airbrush and perspective.

Take a look at some cool Sidewalk Chalk Art.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Canon Announces the EOS 20D

Canon announced today the release of the 20D digital SLR camera. The early review is in over at DPReview.com, and it looks very nice.

Read Phil Askey's first look review of the Canon EOS 20D.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Thought a new look was in order. Also moved over to Blogger's commenting tool, so the old comments are lost to posterity. Poor, poor, pitiful posterity.

Futurballa Blog!

And don't forget to visit Futurballa Photography.
Here, There and Everywhere

A few good posts to be found in the political blogosphere this morning that are setting the record straight on a couple of issues.

First of All, Kevin Drum explains MOE (Margin of Error) and debunks the myth of Statistical Tie. He even provides the Excel spreadsheet to prove it.

A worthwhile debate on the Swift Boat Veteran's ad, between Will Saletan and Jacob Weisberg over at Slate.

And finally, Josh Marshall deconstructs said debate in excellent fashion.
Canon 20D

For months DPReview.com's forums have been rampant with rumors of Canon's expected replacement for their midrange digital SLR, the 10D. Well it is semi-official. Pictures from Canon's website have leaked and an announcement is expected by end of week.

It appears that it will be more of an incremental upgrade to the existing 10D, not a revolutionary jump forward. The 1.6 crop factor will be retained but augmented by a couple of new EF-S lenses that will allow better wide angle coverage with the smaller sized sensor.

Also expect 8.2 megapixels (up from 6), faster startup, bigger buffer and frame rate and more focusing points. It should be slightly lighter in weight as well.

Bob Atkins has kindly collected the rumors and known specs into a single article at his website. Read it here.
Great Moments in Technology

The invention of Photoshop.

[Courtesty of George]

Monday, August 16, 2004

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

If I'd only read this a month ago... Oh the headaches I could have avoided.

Slate.com reports on the fact that "Realty Bites". Explaining why the model for real estate transactions and agent's commissions is sadly outdated.

A worthwhile read and a valid reminder of the axiom, caveat emptor.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bush Turns Corner on Turning the Corner

CNN reports that amid Democratic criticism and accusations of sounding "Hooverian", President Bush will stop using the phrase, "we have turned a corner" in his stump speeches.

With news like this, who needs the Daily Show?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Think Different

Via BoingBoing and Heeb Magazine...
The Guilt Pod.

Be sure to download the latest guiltTunes including, Who Told You to Paint it Black? and Let It Be (See If I Care)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Futurballa Goes to Hell

Via AC Douglas at Sounds & Fury, the Dante's Inferno test. We here at Futurballa are pretty darn virtuous for an agnostic Jew, and are merely sentenced to a prolonged stay in Limbo. How low can you go?

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell - Limbo!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Moderate
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Over at Wired.com, Professor Lawrence Lessig has an interesting piece on Fair Use of the President.

Two Terabytes of storage, I don't think even HAL had that kind of memory.

To lovers of Zombie movies, and you know who you are, this was inevitable.

Kevin Drum has a good roundup of the reporters who (may) have been subpoenaed in the Plame case. Kevin's hypothesis, the dark lord squealed like a baby. Only time will tell.

Monday, August 09, 2004


In the DVD player last night... Hitchcock's Vertigo. Watching again after several years, I was struck by how leisurely movies were paced back then and could still be called a "thriller". The San Juan Bautista and San Francisco scenery is beautiful and surprisingly much of it unchanged in almost 50 years, with the exception of the tower at the mission that plays such a pivotal roll, but that didn't even exist in Hitchcock's day. He added it. I was also struck by the fact that Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak seem to never have left the studio in Hollywood. The scenery all seems to be projected behind them.

As Hitch saw it

As I see it

More of my stuff

One more from me

Hitchcock and Novak


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson 1908-2004

One of the greats of 20th century photography has passed away, and the BBC online has some very good links in the righthand sidebar. I'm afraid to say that upon reading of his passing I was surprised to find out that he was still alive.

Bresson pioneered what today would be termed street photography and is said to have coined the phrase decisive moment. He was among the first photographers to be called a photojournalist.

Read:Cartier-Bresson dies at 95.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I'm George W. Bush and I approved this message...

Watch the video, featuring the always funny, Will Ferrell.

[Link via Josh Marshall]
Noir and Noir Again

Michael Blowhard offers up a primer in Film Noir, or as he calls it Film Noir 101. If you are unfamiliar with the genre or in need of a short refresher course, it is well worth your time.

I would only differ from him in his dismissal of Polanski's Chinatown, which is in a completely different league from the rest of the "neo noir" knockoffs that he mentions, such as L.A. Confidential and Body Heat. And in the category of neo noir, I will admit a soft spot for The Big Easy. But that is mainly for the fantastic soundtrack.

His acknowledgement of Cyber Punk and Graphic Novels by the likes of Frank Miller as being offshoots of Noir is a well taken point, though he glosses over the Noir influences on many of the Nouvelle Vague films of the sixties. And I must bring into question the ordering of his list of notable Noirs. Putting Kubrick's The Killing above Out of the Past, well that seems plain old contrarian to me. And I must also fault him slightly for the sin of omission. While it can be categorized as the first Neo Noir, in that it is a self conscious Noir styling, Orson Welles' Noir, A Touch of Evil is certainly worth a mention (along with Lady From Shanghai). And I might have given an honorable mention to Robert Aldrich's filming of Mickey Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly.

Warner Home Video's Film Noir Boxset can be purchased here.

Monday, August 02, 2004

The Dead

Filling out the disclosures on our condo last night I was struck by an odd question. After the usual list of questions about earthquake, flood, and hurricane. After disclosing every water stain, chipped tile and crack in the walls. And after informing the prospective buyer of chirping birds, traffic noise, and cat feces. Near the end of the document the question was posed, "has anyone ever died on the premises, to the best of your knowledge".

Now I can get behind asking, has anyone ever died and not been discovered for more than a week on the premises. Or if someone died of a highly contagious disease. But the fact that someone has died by itself should be something that one needs to disclose seems odd to me. Has anyone given birth on the premises? I don't see that question anywhere. Seems like both are normal events that happen to us at least once in each lifetime (depending on your beliefs about reincarnation or being born again, etc.).

I lived in Holland for 11 years, and saw that in other countries it is fairly normal that both birth and death occur in the home. In America we have made an effort to hide both events behind the doors of hospitals. And now, that someone might have peacefully passed away in their sleep, while residing at your address, must be disclosed to warn the unsuspecting purchaser that, wait, don't buy this house, it has been visited by the grim reaper himself, is disturbing to me.