AFAIK #1: Subject to change

I'm going to be writing weekly now (see explainer post). Why is this called AFAIK? To come up with a catchy name for this series I looked up a pdf of internet acronyms (like a n00b), and one of the first on the list was AFAIK: As Far As I Know. It's 100% not an acronym anyone on this planet has used ever, so obvi it's perfect for my purposes.  I'm a 20-something, so all of these loud mouth blog posts can all be prefaced with "as far as I know".  Kinda dumb, but that's kind of my brand by now, right?

If you’ve ever met me in person, you know I have a lot of things to talk about at any given time. You can probably imagine, then, how difficult it is to come up with a weekly post about a single thing. Probably a good discipline for me to learn. Let us begin!

a picture of...uh...me looking back

a picture of...uh...me looking back

I could apply a similar strategy to this website that I apply to my Twitter: Rant and rave about things I know next to nothing about. Instead, maybe I can begin to rebuild this blog by posting some insightful (ha) and more substantive writings that 140 characters will allow.

Instead of maybe going into political opinions, I’ll stick to something I know something about for the time being (Until such a case will appear that needs a healthy dose of my non-expertise). 

Let’s talk photography for a moment.

Why now? “It’s a week before the election, let’s talk about that instead.” 

“No!” *slaps own face* “Quiet, you!”

Speaking of Twitter, I was scrolling through Twitter and landed on a tweet that started a whole domino effect of thoughts on photography, life, and how no one and nothing is safe.

For reference, Jeremy Cowart is a pretty big photographer these days. You’ve probably seen his work before; he’s shot photos of Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, etc. Anyway, he’s great. Has an incredible artistic eye, and is just a regular family man.  For the past few months, Jeremy has been promoting his next project: a hotel. I still have to splash water on my face when I hear that because it sounds insane: a photographer building a hotel. 

Go look it up, it’s a cool idea and it will probably work out well for him. His concept behind his hotel is golden and works perfectly in this cultural moment we are in.

Here’s the part I want to hone in on: He’s backing off from photography a bit. 

He’s not the first big photographer to shift their focus (no pun intended): Chase Jarvis did this a little while with his company Creative Live, an online workshop company. It’s a genius idea: take all of those photography and new-creative wannabes and get them to pay you to teach them how to make stuff. So perfect for today since everyone wants to be an artist of some kind.

As someone who works in the photography/videography/art industry, I’ve seen other successful photographers also taking this step back.  

The photography world is evolving, like most worlds right now. No one is safe.

Back in, I don’t know, 2011 maybe, someone asked me what I was going to do after college. I said, “I’m gonna be a photographer, people will always need pictures.” I, like a lot of people for some reason right now, saw photography as an emerging market. One that will always exist, and one that has a chance of making me any money whatsoever. 

I would say the one sector of photography that will probably last a little while longer as a career is wedding photography, but I’m already seeing iPhone 7 Portrait mode becoming a threat to that. Why pay $2000 for a person with a DSLR when your dad has one in his pocket?

That’s of course a little crazy, obviously dads aren’t going to suddenly weed photographers out of the job by jumping in with their iPhones.  It’s, rather, what iPhone 7 portrait mode stand for. Before, you needed to spend $400+ to buy a camera to play the game. Soon, you won’t need to drop extra money for a ticket to ride the photography train, you’ll already be paying AT&T monthly and you’re good to go.

It’s all changed super fast as it is. I remember the day in 2007 when Steve Jobs announced an iPod, an internet device, and a new phone. SPOILER: it was just one device. Apps didn’t exist yet, and the camera on the device was a foggy mess.  Now, it’s 2016 and an iPhone can almost completely simulate a DSLR. How much longer until the iPhone (or a competitor) comes out with a phone that IS a DSLR? 

Who would have thought the taxi industry would be under fire from technological innovation with Uber and Lyft? 

Who would have thought America would be voting between an egotistical orange and a criminal for president?

Everything is subject to change.

What we’re seeing now is photographers evolving their photography skills into tools for bigger and greater things. With so many photographers out there, it’s become grunt work, something almost anyone can do.  Technology has made it easy, so of course, a lot of people are getting into it. A career that doesn’t seem to take much work? Great, sign me up.

“People will always need pictures” They just may not be paying for you to take them. 

While living in the present we must be looking ahead. We don’t have time to look back.

Bloggin Fridays

Posting every day has lead me towards the unfortunately all too common habit of oversharing. Every time I have a feeling or bowel movement, I could impulsively share it because that's the name of the game.  

Thought my sister's Halloween costume was cool

Thought my sister's Halloween costume was cool

I want to take time and pull back from constantly yelling and filling the internet with my garbage. 

That's why I'm going to do something new.

I'm going to fill the internet with my garbage once a week.

This will give me a chance tweak a post all week long instead of 15 minutes when I'm raging about something. Maybe I can make something worthwhile and readable for once. 

I'm planning on posting something every Friday. I'll take the week to come up with a catchy name for this segment.

Also, Happy Halloween!

Disappointments, Surprises, Stuff I wasn't into, and The Best

2016 is a bad year for politics, the future of America, and movies.

I believe I've concentrated on politics enough so let's talk movies (and tv, because let's be honest, tv is better than most movies these days)

And yes, there are still two months to go, but there's really nothing big left other than Doctor Strange, Star Wars, and that sexy space movie with Chris Pratt (which I'm sure will be great). I can amend these lists at the end of year, but there's already so much to put in here I'm starting now.

Let's get the negatives out of the way first:

Biggest Disappointments (aka stuff I was really looking forward to and they were bad):

Batman v. Superman - why? why did this have to be bad? Ben Affleck as Batman was so cool but then Superman comes in and takes a steaming bummer crap on every scene. ugh.

Jason Bourne - expected an intelligent film like the last 3 and got the dumbest and most condescending-to-the-audience film we could have gotten. 

Ghostbusters - it was a bad movie. Just really bad.

Independence Day - Now, I knew this wouldn't be a good movie, I thought at the very least it would be fun.  This movie needed Will Smith.

Luke Cage - The acting and the writing was awkward and the pacing was weird. Like all the other Marvel shows it should have been 8 episodes long. I just couldn't get into it, and I really wanted to.

Black Mirror Season 3 - Ok so I still have 2 episodes left, but I've watched all of the ones that people raved about and I just wasn't into it. Nothing grabbed me like the previous seasons.  "Nosedive" was just a commentary on a boring, tired conversation about self-worth and the internet. "Playtest" is probably the only really good episode I've seen so far.  That 80s episode was meh to me, but I think ultimately because I'm over this year's fascination with re-hashing the 80s (which I will get to later)

Based on the next few weeks, I may be adding Westworld to this list, we'll see.

Biggest Surprises (aka stuff I didn't know or care about and ended up being really great) 

Swiss Army Man - One of my favorite movies I've seen. It's so weird and out there and totally un-ashamed of it. I can't recommend it to anyone because of how weird it is, but I assure you, it's great.

Hell or High Water - Didn't know anything about this movie until the week I saw it. It's a modern western (which I'm a sucker for), it's beautifully shot, and just a clean storyline. My favorite movie this year.

Weiner - Why would I have expected a documentary about Anthony Weiner to be good? Well it was great and I highly recommend it. Can't stop thinking about this one.

Westworld - A scifi western with Anthony Hopkins in it. There's even a Hemsworth in here! So far, each episode has been stunning and well-paced. Kind of getting a Lost-y vibe from it which scares me. This show could end up amazing or like Lost. We'll have to see.

Atlanta - I wasn't surprised that this show was good tbh because Donald Glover was at the helm. It's tonally unlike anything I've ever watched; the overall vibe of the show did surprise me.  It's so funny, kind of dark, and just out-there. I love everything Donald Glover makes, so again, I was hooked before I even saw it.

Stuff I Just Wasn't Into:

Stranger Things - I get why people like it, it's a fine show. It didn't stick with me, I didn't think the acting was that great, and I was tired of being constantly slapped in the face by the 80s. I thought the ending was "meh" and I really wish there wasn't going to be another season. Should have been an anthology show.

Bloodline - Liked how it's basically dark Parenthood, but the second season just didn't grab me like the first. It was fine.

All shows about New York hipsters

 

The best stuff: 

Game of Thrones: obvi

Better Call Saul - Bummed that no one talks about this show. It's delightful, fun, and part of the Breaking Bad universe. I feel like only my mom and I watch this show. It keeps getting renewed so whatever I guess. If you've seen Breaking Bad, watch this show.

Halt and Catch Fire - Ok ok, it's an 80s period piece. The first season is "meh" but everything that follows it is a masterpiece. The show is set in the 80s but doesn't feel the need to remind you that constantly. The final season comes out next year.

Captain America: Civil War - I'm a sucker for Avengers movies and this was the best one yet. No surprise there

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping - It's like Spinal Tap in 2016. It's hilarious. Literally no one saw this movie and that's kinda sad, because it was a glimmer of light in the dark summer movie season.

So I realized after making this list how it appears that I watch stuff every second of the day. What's funny is that I watched significantly less this year than ever.  This list is probably 95% of what I've watched this year, and most of it just happened over the past few months. Oh well, I'm ok with being seen as a nerd with no life. I can handle your insults. Come at me. 

 

#tbt: 365 IV

I took portraits every day for a year. 

Probably my hardest challenge at the time, and I'm actually really proud of this series. It took a lot of work and I feel like I really found a niche in photography I truly enjoyed. Probably my favorite project I've done yet.

#tbt: 365 Reloaded

In this project, I graduated college, got married, went to Miami for the first time, went to Hawaii again, and Anna and I moved into our first apartment. 

#tbt: My first 365

As promised, here is a slideshow looking back at my very first 365 project:

That was a busy year. I met Anna in the last week of that project. The day after I ended it, I fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked my car. Wild times.

Putting away The 365

This morning, I uploaded my final vlog:

Like I said in the video, my life just can't sustain the "daily publishing" requirement of the my series of projects. That's ok. 

To be honest, I'm not upset. It was very taxing and took a crazy amount of work to keep this going for 5 years.  The fact that I made 300+ videos this year is a miracle.

"The 365" as we know it today is over. That's a big deal for me.

In fact, I don't think it really hit me how big of a deal it is until writing this.

"The 365" was my first big project. It helped me grow in an uncountable amount of ways. When it started, I wasn't making any money from photo or video, I wasn't good at photography, I didn't have a college degree, I wasn't married, I didn't even really know who I was. I just started posting crappy photos in hopes it would get me somewhere.

While doing a daily project, you don't feel the growth. You only feel it when you look back at 300 days and think about what all has changed over that period. It still shocks me. 

I owe "The 365", I owe it a proper send off. I did it a little in the above video, but I need to do it right. I need to give each year the spotlight it deserves.

I'll be posting a retrospective, on Youtube and Instagram of each of the 5 years of this project. Then finally, I can put it to bed and start something new.

 

polaroidz

Yesterday, I mentioned how I was going to deal with my polaroids. Normally, when I make such a promise online, it usually isn't mentioned or fulfilled for weeks or months after. Today was an exception. I finished it 24 hours after saying I would do it.

Everyone needs a polaroid wall right? (There's no telling how expensive all of this film was all together) 

 

 

 

I realized that I accidentally documented a whole phase of life that's pretty much over. I have a niece now, a totally different job, and a whole other set of relationships with people. 

I suppose that means I need to stock up on polaroid film and start a new round of documentation.  

Better start saving.

De-cluttering floors, Cluttering the walls

I'm a pretty weird guy, but my house doesn't reflect it.

Maybe it's because I'm a military kid, so I always have one foot out the door. I've moved every year for 5 years. This is actually the first year that I just stayed put. (Not that I have a deep love of my current apartment, I'm just tired of moving so it wasn't worth it)

I've kind of just lived out of a suitcase for a while.  That's kind of why my house reflects that of the blandest human you've ever met.

My house could be described as a place where a guy named Larry would come home from his cubicle to a hot, fresh Lean Cuisine waiting for him every night. "Apartment Yellow" walls, old carpet, an $8 Target lamp, and nothing on the walls other than a Dilbert calendar that gives Larry a little chuckle once a month.

Out of the 1,825+ photos I've taken over the past five years, zero of them have hung on my walls. More of my photos have ended up on my mom's, grandparents', and in-laws' wall than mine.  

I suppose it could laziness, a lack of commitment, indecision, or rebellion against the carefully curated "white wall" hipster lifestyle. 

Whatever I've been suffering from, I've gotten over it and have entered an obsessive frenzy of making my apartment great again.  Pics and video (obvi) coming soon when I finish climbing to the peak of this personal Everest.

(Let's just say I'm going to make a polaroid wall. It's going to be the best polaroid wall you've ever seen, and YOU'RE going to pay for it!)