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Art & Design, Photography

Ghost Signs

I have long had a fascination with hand-painted advertising and signage. I went to design school in the late ’80s to early ’90s, and although the Macintosh had come on the scene in 1984, they were not as ubiquitous on designer’s desks as they are today – even less so on the desks of design students. Consequently, all of our course work was done the ‘old fashioned’ way – using rub-down lettering, markers, technical pens, triangles, t-squares and the like. Continue reading

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Art & Design, Creativity, Productivity

In Praise of the Pocket Notebook

I was a late adopter of the smartphone, and so consequently held on to my paper planner longer than most people. I realize there are some people for whom the paper experience is preferable, and now I am beginning to see why. I have settled on a hybrid paper/digital solution for myself, and for me at least, it is the best of both worlds. Continue reading

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“Sorry Motel”, somewhere in rural southern Illinois.

Art & Design, Photo Friday, Photography

Photo Friday, #2

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Art & Design, Photography

How Ansel Adams Wrote Pictorialism Out of Photography History

From the always excellent PetaPixel blog comes this interesting and informative piece by Andy Romanoff about how Ansel Adams and art historian/photographer Beaumont Newhall conspired to erase Pictorialists like William Mortensen from photographic history.

The Pictorialists (of which Adams was one at the beginning of his career), were a school that tried to portray and elicit emotion by manipulating their photographs in various ways, including painting on the image, toning their prints, using soft focus, etc. In this way, they sought to make an image, rather than just recording one.

Adams was, without question, a master of technique and composition, but I often find his images lacking warmth and soul. Turns out, it could be because the man himself was a little lacking in warmth and soul, at least when it came to the work of Pictorialists like Mortensen, with whom he carried on an especially vicious feud for years.

How Ansel Adams Wrote Pictorialism Out of Photography History

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Music, That's My Jam

That’s My Jam, #2

For some odd reason, I never really got into the Bottle Rockets that much. I am a Wilco superfan, and have a strong appreciation for Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, but nothing I ever heard from the Bottle Rockets really resonated with me. At least until I saw this video for the song “Dog” off their South Broadway Athletic Club album. Because, well, I love my dog.

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Photography

I Was a Better Photographer When I Shot Film

Recently, I was going through some things I had put in storage a while back and happened on a big binder full of 35mm slides I had shot some years ago. I got really excited to rediscover some of my old work, and eagerly laid them out on a light table. I didn’t really expect to see a huge difference between these transparencies and my subsequent digital photography, but to my genuine surprise, my older, analog work was better. Noticeably better. In every way. Better composition, sharper focus, gorgeous color. Technically superior in every way to my recent digital output.
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As a designer, I have a real love and appreciation of typography. And so, as a photographer, much of my work features signage and vernacular typography. I stumbled upon this scene while walking around a near deserted downtown St. Louis early one Sunday morning.

Art & Design, Photo Friday, Photography

Photo Friday, #1

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Art & Design

A Rant on the Illinois License Plate

Being originally from Illinois, and now living in a state that borders it, I see a lot of Illinois license plates every day. The Illinois plates are fairly inoffensive, design-wise, though not really all that exciting (Thrillist.com rated it #24 in their ranking of state license plates). One thing about them that does get me excited, and not in a good way, is the script “Illinois” right at the top of the plate.
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