In her memoir Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs“>Hold Still, Sally Mann writes about the thrill she gets from photography.
There is nothing better than the thrill of holding a great negative, wet with fixer, up to the light. And here’s the important thing: it doesn’t even have to be a great negative. You get the same thrill with any negative, with art, as someone once said, most of what you have to do is show up. The hardest part is setting the camera on the tripod, or making the decision to bring the camera out of the car, or just raising the camera to your face, believing, by those actions, that whatever you find before you, whatever you find there, is going to be good.
And, when you get whatever you get, even if it’s a fluky product of that slipping-glimpser vision that de Konning celebrated, you have made something. Maybe you’ve made something mediocre–there’s plenty of that in any artist’s cabinets–but something mediocre is better than nothing, and often the near misses, as I call them, are the beckoning hands that bring you to perfection just around the blind corner.
Juxtapoz features Korean artist U-Ram Choe, who creates extraordinary kinetic sculptures, “charting a path between art, science and cybernetic technologies. Finely engineered stainless steel, aluminium, and acrylic ‘bones’ provide the skeletal scaffolding for the ‘brains and muscles’ – CPUs and motors – which are assembled into captivating forms reminiscent of otherworldly flora and fauna.” (Hat tip: Gizmodo.)
Masha Gessen reviews two new translations of Leo Tolstoy’s literary classic Anna Karenina for The New York Times Book Review.
This is an exercise millions of native Russian readers of the novel perform several times in a lifetime. Teenage girls read the novel as melodramatic; adult readers of both genders begin to perceive irony — its amount seems to vary from reading to reading. The author’s sympathies, too, invariably appear to shift between characters with every reading; this, combined with ironic distance that is always contracting and expanding, makes the book endlessly rich — and endlessly difficult for the translator, who can never hope to keep pace with the author. How earnest, ironic, condescending, moralistic and simply funny a Tolstoy should the translator inhabit? Perhaps the only way to render Tolstoy’s variable voice is to continue producing ever-varying translations.
The New York Times asked fashion photographer Mario Testino what camera he uses for personal shots when he travels.
NYT: What advice do you have for travelers who want to make sure they get the best pictures from their trip? Are good shots about having the right camera?
Mario Testino: You don’t need a fancy camera to be able to capture anything. The one on your phone is good enough; that’s what I use when I’m not working. Getting the right pictures is about opening your eyes to see what’s magical about a place. I just photographed the city from a window on this floor and saw all these buildings lit in a beautiful way, which is so New York. But the magic is different depending on where you are. It could be the people, the landscape, the animals or even the candle in the room. You just have to be curious, and you’ll find it.
Alice Rawsthorn talks about the “art of repair” in her review of the Tokyo exhibit Fab Mind.
As odd as it is to see an exquisite 17th-century Japanese bowl in a contemporary design exhibition, it seems odder still to discover that it is there not because of the finesse with which it was originally made, but the skill with which it was repaired during the late 1800s.
Tsukuroi, or the art of repair, is so revered in Japan that it is believed to create a new form of beauty, as the bowl demonstrates. In “The Fab Mind: Hints of the Future in a Shifting World,” an exhibition here, the bowl acts as a prelude to a display of work by the Fixperts. This international network of contemporary designers and makers experiments with recently developed digital tools and ancient craft techniques to customize new objects and repair damaged ones, just as the artisan who fixed the broken bowl did so deftly over a century ago.
Dominque Browning says she was late to fall in love with photography.
That’s why people take their own pictures when they travel. But I never did — I was intimidated by the equipment — and now it is one of my life’s regrets. Then, a couple of years ago, a friend stuck a camera in my hands, and told me to lose my fear. Today, I cannot leave my house without my simple, no-nonsense Canon point-and-shoot, small enough to fit in an evening bag. And I cannot begin to count the ways in which this little miracle of memory has changed the way I travel.
A.O. Scott wonders how video convergence is impacting film’s distinctiveness from TV and other video media.
Equally hard to refute is the idea that we are approaching a horizon of video convergence, in which all those screens will be equal and interchangeable and the distinctions between the stuff that’s shown on each one won’t seem as consequential as it does now. We still tend to take for granted that a cable drama, a network sitcom, a feature film, a web video and a first-person combat game are fundamentally different creatures, but they might really be diverse species within a single genus, their variations ultimately less important than what they have in common. They are all moving pictures, after all, and as our means of access to them proliferate and recombine, those old categories are likely to feel increasingly arbitrary and obsolete. The infrastructure of a multiplatform future is before us, and resistance to it can look like an especially tiresome kind of sentimentality. Cinephilia is nostalgia. We might keep going to the movies out of habit, or because it’s sometimes nice to leave the house, but we are losing the old, sustaining belief that this is a special and exalted cultural activity, the supreme mode of participation in the popular arts.