Saturday, September 13, 2008

Show & Tell: Inspiration

I love wine. I love wine labels. Here are some samples of the variety of labels. From left to right: Spain, Australia, France (bottom). And here's a plug for Molly Dooker because I think all their designs for the different wines are fabulous (they have three "sets"), and there web site is great so check them out: Molly Dooker wines

What I like about wine labels so much is how important they are in the wine world and how they work on so many different levels. For some wine houses, they haven't changed their label in decades and it's how consumers distinguish their product from others. 90% of people walk into a wine shop and buy based on labels. They are works of art. They are government regulated to display certain information. A label can signify the location of origin, from Italy to Australia, or Burgundy to Cotes du Rhone. Labels compel the audience to feel a certain way about the wine--humorous, modest, elegant--regardless of reputation.

I think creating something that is so multifaceted in function is good design and that's inspiring.

Week 1 Reading: Afterthoughts

Two things from this week's readings that I didn't get to say in class that I thought were worth noting:

1. Sternfeld's photograph, "Warren Avenue," page 24-5. I realized that the more I spent looking at every detail and trying to place what exactly everything was, I realized that the layers of the photograph create a history for the place. First there was a building, that looks like some sort of store front (the way the windows are set up), or gathering place. Then something bad happened around that building (the building got boarded up). Then people created a memorial (flowers, mural). Then people had hope for change (the graffiti words, "Do the Right Thing"). I was very impressed that this linear time existed in the photograph. Suddenly, this place existed beyond just the moment in which the photograph was taken.

2. Pinkhassov, photos from Moment of Silence collection, page 74-84. I'm curious as to how/why the photographs were arranged in the order that they were--I'm assuming that because it's only a select few from the collection that it was the editors of the book who chose the order. I'm curious about it because I think the order was very effective in telling the story that Pinkhassov is attempting to tell. I saw the baseball players and connected with it because I play sports, I watch sports, I understand the photograph. But then I was jolted by the Muslim students in the library, because it's unfamiliar to me--not just personally, but the media and such, it's not how Muslims prayers are depicted when they seldom are. Likewise with the two brothers (?) on page 78. As a result of this jolt, I'm looking into these pictures and trying to get a read on them. I'm no longer passively scanning them. Now what's great about how these photographs were set up is that when I reach the image of the little girl and her parents praying on the bedside, I look at it and am still actively searching and reading it, even though it is a completely familiar image. I think that if that image of the girl and her family was placed after the baseball players, I would have skipped over this collection because I would have thought there was nothing new to be gained. But because of the chosen order, I found myself intrigued and spending a lot of time with the photographs. The context of the content carries equal weight in creating the desired impact.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week 1 Reading

It's no lie. The chapters in Seeing &Writing 3 are long. I made it through a fair amount, and here are some of the pieces I really enjoyed (in case you haven't read it yet, and just want to skip to everything cool, because I am the final say on cool, ha).
  • Manipulations of Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" photograph, p. 23
  • "The Pencil" by Henry Petroski and corresponding photograph, p. 38
  • Richard Estes painting on p. 72
  • "Joyas Volardores" by Brian Doyle, p.87
  • Photographs: Wigan's "Man v. Ant" on p. 120 and his bio on p. 135; "Voyager 1" on p. 125, Harold Edgerton's apple on p. 126
  • Carl Sagan's excerpt "Reflections on a Mote of Dust"
Reading Highlight:
The multiple pieces on Pepon Osorio, p. 94-103

One of the over arching themes from Chapter 1: Observing the Ordinary seems to be that we will not be alive forever. "We come from a planet that is very good at promoting life but even better at extinguishing it." -Bill Bryson, p. 122. Why does this theme creep up? My guess is because in learning to appreciate the ordinary, every day, taken for granted things in life, we become better at our appreciating ourselves, because we have to admit, and sometimes choose to overlook, the fact that we, as individual human beings, are rather ordinary.

Also the piece entitled, "Re: Searching the Web" provoked a lot of questions that I have been asking myself recently. For my sanity, I hope I get around to responding to them. There's nothing worse than an idea that won't leave you alone.

If any of you have read the above and also found them interesting... please, discuss.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Project 1, Brainstorming

I'm planning on profiling a local jazz musician. Possibilities for the two extra pieces of information:
  • the CityPaper short list of calendar events
  • spotlight on a venue (The Windup Space?)
  • spotlight on a track/song/cd
  • review of a book on music (jazz/experimental theme)
  • special tidbit on jazz history
  • other artists to watch (same genre?)
Is the theme of the page, location--local, Baltimore, or the genre of music--jazz, experimental,?... The genre might be hard to work with since it's not easily defined... It might be easier to wrap everything together under a Baltimore spotlight, but if he's trying to move to the NYC scene, is writing about him in Baltimore, like false pretense...?

I haven't done the interview yet, so I don't know the story or angle. I'm framing the questions around this guy being up and coming... but what's special about that? The fact that he is a good musician is special, special enough to get a profile... but still, what's interesting about that? I'm going to have to think this through more. Will post again after the interview to brainstorm some more.

Found this link for jazz profiles that was helpful. I kept getting biographies that were long and boring. But this site profiles big-name, jazz musicians in a way that is brief and interesting.
Jazz Artist Profiles from

Another look at jazz interviews. Although these are written in Q&A format and are pretty lengthy and biography heavy.
Jazz Interviews from Screwgun Records.

Oh and a plug for him: Adam Hopkins Bass.