Above and below are some of his amazing iPhone images that he shares on Instagram and on his portfolio site. Whether it is his editorial work for publications including WIRED, The New York Times, and Fast Company; his personal work that includes Instagram images and Vines; or advertising work for clients Harley Davidson and Subaru, his sense of humor and spot on execution always bring a smile to my face.
I’m not a photography purist. It would be hard to be these days with all of the choices to process, manipulate, and transform images. Actually, I started teaching myself Photoshop over 15 years ago (!) and I’ve been an Instagram user since the beginning. I’ve grown as a smartphone photographer as the app has grown and I’m about to take it a step further with the Photojojo University course that my mother-in-law gifted me for the holidays. Yes, I am just getting around to it now!
My latest photo-related obsession: Printstagram! You can print your Instagram images in a number of ways from 4″ x 4″ prints to albums, posters, stickers, calendars, greeting cards, and minibooks. I think I know what I am making for holiday presents this year! I’ve made my first order and I have a feeling that I’ll be ordering again real soon.
Looking into the company behind the app: Social Print Studio, I see that they are based in California and are hiring for jobs that would be perfect for me and Paul. Maybe they’ll still be looking when we’re ready to make our next move! Until then, we’ll have to admire them from afar and keep sending new images their way. Here are a few that I’m printing as 4″ x 4″ squares that should arrive soon. Yay!
Photography love, Mari
I’m currently reading Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and his main point so far is that what motivates human beings is no longer carrots or sticks. Rather, what people are seeking most are intrinsic motivators like the need for self direction, the need to learn and to create, and the need to do and be better.
Three documentary films that I have recently watched touch on some of these topics. Each film profiles individuals who are striving to be their best – the best young chess player in the case of Brooklyn Castle, the best video game player in the case of Free to Play, and emulating one of the best painters from history in the case of Tim’s Vermeer.
Each film explores the lengths that each person will go to in order to be at the top of their game. The time, dedication, and sheer talent shown in each of these examples is inspiring. I recommend watching any of these films if you need a little extra motivation.
Free to Play
I learned about artist Ellen Heck on Blurb. Her book, Forty Fridas is currently featured in the Blurb Bookstore. I’m a huge fan of contemporary portraits as well as Frida Kahlo. This touching series is striking not just for its subject matter but also the technique. From Ellen Heck’s website:
Forty Fridas is a series of forty woodcut etchings depicting women and girls dressed up as painter/icon, Frida Kahlo. This project, while in some respects a very intimate collection of personal portraits, touches more broadly on themes of identity, the multiple, individuality and variation. With this portfolio, as with much of my current body of work, I am using the printmaking process to highlight these concepts, which are referenced both in the subject matter and the medium.
Above is one of my favorite images from this project. The subject is named Alice but somehow I see a bit of Brooklyn in her face, don’t you?
It’s hard to miss the ubiquitous pink toys marketed to girls and blue toys marketed to boys. Go to any big box store and peruse the toy aisles and you’ll find a very clear message: pink = for girls, blue = for boys. As the mom of a baby girl, it’s been particularly difficult to find newborn items that are not color coded in this way. We’ve been very fortunate to receive many gifts and hand-me-downs; yet, many of them are pink.
A picture is worth a thousand words. South Korean artist JeongMee Yoon demonstrates this very real divide in “The Pink and Blue Project.” Two images from that project are above and show youngsters surrounded by their monochromatic clothing and toys, showing off their “favorite” colors. She was prompted to start the project when her daughter would only wear or play with pink items. Read the full article and see more images on FastCoExist here.
I’ve never been very fond of the color pink and I didn’t grow up with an all-pink wardrobe or only playing with Barbie dolls. Yes, I played with Barbie dolls (mostly because the majority of what I played with were hand-me-downs) but my favorite things to play with were Legos.
The way I see it, it’s not the fault of children who are socialized to see pink associated with girls and blue with boys. While it is frustrating to hear my nephew say that “pink is for girls,” he is just reflecting back what our culture is teaching him. Yet, there is hope. 13 year-old McKenna Pope struck a chord with her petition on Change.org for Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven that she could give as a gift to her younger brother. Endorsements from celebrities like Bobby Flay and over 40,000 signatures later, Hasbro not only made a black and silver version (they had already been working on it) but they also invited her to their factory to preview the new model. Read the full article on Huffington Post here.
Another promising development is the emerging trend of toys that are marketed towards girls but with positive messages that incorporate qualities once seen as masculine only. I’ve featured two such toys on Partners for Peace: Goldie Blox (science and engineering) and I Am Elemental Action Figures (strength and power). While both companies do incorporate a more “girly” color scheme than I’d like, they are important examples of toys that can bridge the gap while our culture works towards gender-neutrality.
But, what does it mean to be gender-neutral? A truly gender-neutral culture would mean that boys wouldn’t mind playing with pink Easy-Bake Ovens. While things seem to be getting a bit better for girls, what it means to be a boy or a man appears to follow stricter guidelines. From my experience, it seems more acceptable (to both the kids and their families) for girls to play sports than for boys to take ballet. It is now accepted in mainstream US society for girls and women to wear pants yet ask my nephew if he would ever wear a skirt and see what happens.
I understand where this comes from. It’s easier to play by the rules than to make new ones. Sometimes, if Brooklyn is wearing a gender neutral outfit (or if she’s actually wearing blue) I will take along a pink blanket or toy on our outings to give a clue to her gender. When she’s not wearing pink, most people who stop us ask how old our baby boy is.
NPR’s All Things Considered recently ran a special series, “Men in America,” to “explore what it means to be a man in America today.” From stories about growing up in a single mother household to shopping for extra small clothes and admitting to crying at movies, the definition of what it means to be a man is changing but at a seemingly slower rate than for girls in our culture who have more opportunities than ever.
I can only hope that the predominate culture can take steps towards accepting that all human beings are complex and diverse and that our differences should be celebrated – not ignored or forced into conformity. A true equality of the sexes means creating a world where both boys and girls can love or hate pink or blue.