Apr 23, ’12 1:34 PM
Apr 18, ’12 6:16 PM
For a few weeks now I’ve been enjoying taking photos with my iPod. I use two pieces of software to make taking them more fun. Photosynth stitches photos together to create extreme wide angle collages. If you move the camera too much when you capture one of these panoramas the software struggles to put the image together just right and the results are sometimes surprising. I’ve been playing with Instagram too, that’s the photo sharing web-service that Facebook just bought for a billion dollars.
I added a feed to these photos I’m making to the column on the right.
Kottke.org had a post of intelligent comments on the closed economies that websites like Facebook and Instagram strive to create, he likens them to company towns:
Like all good producers, the workers are also consumers. They immediately spend their entire wage, and their wages is only good in Instagram-town. What they buy is the likes and comments of the photos they produce (what? You think it’s free? Of course it’s not free, it feels good so you have to pay for it. And you did, by being a producer), and access to the public spaces of Instagram-town to communicate with other consumers. It’s not the first time that factory workers have been housed in factory homes and spent their money in factory stores.
I may have sold out to these big companies by giving them real estate on this little site, cross linking, posing photos I’ve taken to them and all that, but damn it, they make it so compelling.
Mar 25, ’12 12:57 AM
Mary Lee called me at nine on Saturday morning with an idea. Why don’t I come for a visit in Verona for the night? She and Doug visit Italy every year and at Christmas time we had talked about meeting here in Florence, but when it came right down to it it made more sense for me to head north to visit them and stay at the apartment they rent there. I’m glad I did!
As we were walking up a narrow street from their apartment to the Castel San Pietro it stuck me that I was already familiar with the color and mood of the city, I remembered from seeing so many of Doug’s paintings. I saw scraps of them all over. Arches, scrolls, columns, vines, washes of rich color; nothing is hidden but it all exists behind a diffused veil of light that makes it impossible to grab hold of.
Mar 14, ’12 7:39 PM
This Sunday a few of us went to a performance in the small Tuscan town Bucine. My friend Casey took us. He knew the guy who was performing and operated the lights. The performance was OK, what I really enjoyed was the countryside. Gene and I played Durak on the train ride there, te stars were out in full force, and the aperitivo in Montevarchi was glorious.
Jan 30, ’12 6:37 PM
In bed too late on Sunday morning I thought to myself, “get up now and get on the train otherwise you’ll never do it.” I threw off the covers and threw on my clothes and took myself on a day trip to the Picasso exhibit in Pisa.
After printing a train ticket to Pisa Centrale from one of the big green automatic ticket machines I took a few steps and validated it in the small yellow ticket stamper machine and stepped up into the second class train car. A group of four Gabriel García Márquez reading German girls dressed in Renaissance costumes rode across the aisle from me for the ninety minute journey.
Pisa is charming. I walked north in a straight line out of the train station doors to the river, stopping once to check a map taped-up in a cafe window to be sure I was heading in the right direction. When I turned around to set off again I was standing right in front of a huge and beautiful Keith Herring mural. I don’t think I have ever seen a piece of his in person. The mural in Pisa is huge, vibrant and delightful, but be careful, it’ll sneak up on you.
There were no celebrity paintings among the prints and pots in the temporary exhibit. Maybe paintings don’t travel as well or they were afraid of being stolen à la Mona, but what they had on display was impressive. I was inspired by the levels of detail and gray-scale in the essential bull lithographs and the curatorial wallop of a long hallway of vivid book illustrations dead-ending with this goat’s head. There were a huge series of beautiful copperplate etchings of minotaurs, bull fighters, Bacchanalias, and loungey women that were overwhelming in their number and variety and gave me the sense his balance of skill and production. It was definitely worth the trip.
By the time I was out of the museum it was getting dark and chilly. I headed right to the train a little ashamed that I’d return without getting a picture kicking the the tipping tower. But I’d let go of that by the time I rolled into Florence, happy at least that I’d gotten my lazy bones up and out.
Jan 26, ’12 2:19 PM
Postcards aren’t what they used to be, but they’re still a lot of fun to make. Thanks to his mom, Bannack and I have traded a few videos like this one in the past few days. It’s such a treat to be able to have a little album of videos to carry around with me too. It means that if anyone is halfway interested I get to perform my proud uncle ritual of pulling out my iPod and showing off Bannack’s cuteness.
Jan 25, ’12 2:02 PM
Jan 10, ’12 2:10 PM
Something I learned after leaving Florence for the Christmas break was that I haven’t really seen much of the touristy stuff in the city. Now that I’m back I’m committed to seeing more of what’s available here.
Gene invited me to the photography museum that houses the Fratelli Alinari collection, apparently the oldest photographic archive in the world. Along with some very beautiful old daguerreotypes and albumen prints from around the world there was a room lined in back-lit negatives and a wild collection of photographic albums, some of them huge sculptural assemblages with metal hinges, gemstone covers and painted edges.
Dec 21, ’11 11:02 AM
With school on holiday I’m on my way home. First stop San Francisco, and the Italian consulate general to apply for my student visa for the rest of the term. The process was a lot smoother here and—knock wood—I’ll have my passport returned to me just in time to get back to Florence in the first few days of 2012.
While here I stayed with my friend Nikolas, a gracious host and one of the resident artists at the very cool Main Street Theater, a space that he’s been working on and building up together with three other friends. I’ll be back through this way for New Year’s Eve, hopefully then I’ll have the presence of mind to take some photo’s of the place, but first I’m Montana-bound.