Five associated things, list one

  • Feb. 25th, 2009 at 12:41 PM
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
Five things [ profile] inlaterdays associates with me:

I started "seriously" taking photos in March of 2005, when I visited Seattle for the first time and brought Mr. Daroga's 80's Minolta with me. The photos in the daffodil fields in Skagit county were sort of a revelation; I realized I loved how they looked, and that I had taken them. (That particular lens, too, has a quality I fear I cannot match with my digital.) I joined DeviantArt, and started taking more photos, and spent a lot of money on film and developing.

Sometimes I think of "doing something" with photography, only I don't know what. I haven't made a disciplined study of it, and I'm not sure what direction I'd want to go. I love candid shots, street scenes, taking photos of little things no one notices. I haven't delved much into studio or portrait work, because I guess my documentary impulse is stronger. I'd love to find some direction here, and really learn what works and what doesn't.

Phantom of the Opera
Ah,imagine my not-surprise that this came up. But what to elaborate upon?

I guess what comes to mind most strongly is how I've attempted to "reclaim" POTO fandom--I don't mean externally, from someone else, but for myself. To have a fandom I can operate in. The source itself seems to matter less, aside from the fact that I feel comfortable within it because I know it very well (I love Buffy, too, for example, but feel ill-equipped memory-wise to write or participate). Also, Phantom fandom is small enough to make a little splash in, which (as you know) I have tried to do. It's less, maybe, that I'm still obsessed with the story/characters and more that I still find them useful/interesting enough to build that interaction around. It's something consistent I can go back to and mine. That said, I don't actually feel that any given version of it (even Leroux) is a masterpiece. Which is probably why it's allowed for so much expression over the years. You can't do much with perfection; it's the flawed that can stand to be tinkered with.

I have always loved dogs, for as long as I can remember. When I was a baby, we had an Old English named Tuppence who (I am told) guarded me while I slept and cleaned my face off after I ate. We had to give her away when I was 6 months old and we moved to Saudi Arabia, but I romantically half-believe that experience set me up for life. (As a side note, I also romantically think my un-remembered year in Arabia set me up for Lawrence.) I am far more likely to notice dogs than people on the street. I remember specific dogs at the dog park, but never their owners. I suppose love of dogs is fairly common because they have been engineered to be perfect companions: at their best, they are obedient, respectful, true, multi-purpose, and aesthetically pleasing. I like cats, too--in fact, I like all animals--and I love having both for different reasons. But I will always put dogs first, if given the choice.

As to what I like in dogs, specifically, I especially appreciate functionality. I don't mean I need a dog to pull a sled or flush game or keep my sheep, but that it bothers me very much that we've bred dogs who cannot survive on their own. All the bulldogs, pugs, dachshunds, etc into whom we've intentionally bred health problems seems, to me, to be abuse, plain and simple. Maybe you think they're cute, and maybe the fact that they're pets means survival isn't an issue, but it bothers me that we've twisted these creatures for no other end than we think it's adorable that their faces are squished so they can't breath and their bodies are deformed so they can't run properly or give birth naturally.

As to my more personal preferences, they tend towards the working/herding group, the sheepdogs and such. I find those qualities to be more advantageous for home life (sticking around, guarding, etc) than the prey-driven and running-off breeds. Overall, though, I love the mutt, and I think that given the fact I've been successful in rehabilitating a problem dog, it's my duty to do so whenever I can.

As you may have noticed, writing and I have a bit of a troubled relationship. I love it when it goes well, because it's easy. I hardly ever edit anything, and I've been rewarded fine (both academically and fandom-wise) for not being terribly careful. I don't mean I'm sloppy, or that I'm not working at it, but most of what I put out there has been tweaked very little between my brain and your eyes. So I've learned some fairly bad habits, and haven't learned the value of careful editing and plotting and all that.

That's probably why most of my stuff is short. I don't let you see the longer stuff, because it would take more work, and I haven't gotten my head wrapped around, say, rewriting my Phantom novella.

I'm always of two minds about what I want to write, as well. I know full well I've no aspirations to greatness, to literary merit. Most of my favorite books aren't "literary classics," they're whatever moves me. If I could affect someone the same way, I'd be happy. But at the same time, part of me doesn't seem to want to accept this. It's not exactly conscious, but I'm blocked a lot of the time from just going wild and writing what I'd probably want to, if I thought about it.

Orson Welles
I think the thing that draws me to Orson Welles is the complexity and contradiction of him. He was multi-talented, an actor, writer, director, artist, everything. He was an attractive man who is "not my type." And he's at the center of controversy, even today, about what he means to his field(s) and no two books you read about him will paint the same picture. In fact, there are opposing camps of Welles scholars, some of whom seem to want to deny him any agency in his work at all, and some of whom want to excuse his every indulgence. His "failure" is either entirely his fault, or entirely the world's. Of course, most are somewhere in the middle.

In this, he reminds me of the last historical individual I was obsessed with, T.E. Lawrence. Multi-talented, a little (or very) odd, and ultimately disappointed by life, leaving an uncertain legacy that will be argued over for generations. I wonder if that quality is what attracts me, and what it is about that that does. It's true that on my bookshelf, these two men are the only people who take up a comparable amount of space, though in personality/interest/scope they're nothing alike.

What I've read about Welles really makes me like him. I don't think he was perfect, or blameless, or any of that. But he's delightful, even sometimes in his arrogance (and who's to say some of it wasn't earned). And while some consider his acting "hammy," I think he's one of the most charming people I've ever seen on screen, even when the movies are bad. Dirty little secret: my current affair with him actually began as a result of my using his image (this icon, in fact) as the avatar for a male Carlotta-figure for an rp. That character has taken on a life of his own, but he sparked a re-examination of Welles' work for me which prompted... well, what you see.

I could go on for days on any of these! So feel free to discuss, if I said anything interesting.

Mama don't take my Kodachrome...

  • May. 10th, 2008 at 7:53 AM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (self)
It has come to my attention that it may be prudent to make the switch from my 1985 Minolta X-700 SLR film camera to a semi-pro digital format. I've been holding on for some time now, because I love my camera. But film and developing costs, the time it takes to get developing done, and the lack of control I have over said developing are getting harder to deal with. I can't "compete" with people whose shots are instantly available, so some of it's probably jealousy. Yesterday I did a photo shoot of a dog I'm to do a portrait for, and was forced to use my SLR because the little digital one doesn't shoot fast enough--but this means that I have to go get three rolls of film developed to get the one shot I want to use.

I should confess that some of what's been holding me back is pure snobbery. For instance, for me to get a nice macro shot, it means screwing magnifying lenses onto my camera and taking numerous shots to get something in focus--with that magnification, breathing can throw it off. I assume that people using a macro setting on a digital SLR camera don't have that problem. I'm assuming there's autofocus involved. Therefore, when I do get something, I feel proud that it was "all me" or whatever. But who's to know that anyway, when there are so few people using film cameras anymore? No, it's not a pretty reason, but it is a factor. Another is, well, I love the way my photos look. Will they look like that when I switch?

I don't know. I still have mixed feelings about it. Which is why I bring it to you. How do you feel about your digital camera? Did you make a switch from a film camera you really liked? What was involved in that decision? And what do you have to say about the cameras that are out there now?

x-posted to DevArt

DeviantArt Feature!

  • Apr. 7th, 2008 at 7:34 AM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (self)

children at play by ~l-aurens on deviantART

Featured in ProjectSeattle, Volume 1, Issue 1. What amuses me is that it's in amongst a bunch of pretty landscapes and things.

Also featured in Phantoms Siren's journal. Check out her stuff!

Photography Experiement - Full Frame Photos

  • Mar. 11th, 2008 at 6:48 AM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (self)
For some time, it's been annoying me that the aspect ratio for standard photo sizes has nothing to do with the actual film. To get a 4x6 or 5x7, you're cropping a significant portion of the image. Not really internalizing this, I've always composed "in camera" and am frustrated when my carefully-aligned images get cut off.

So here's what I'm doing.

I'm choosing 12 or so negatives at a time from my "best work" to get 8x12 prints done. Some of these you've probably seen before. But I want to try to find a "next level" for my photography, and at the moment this is my best next step. I'm not sure what to do with these now, but take a look and tell me what you think. Is this a quality I should pursue? To set me apart, just a little?


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my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (Default)
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