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Not the Red Baron

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

“Think I got the message figured…another pilot down…”

Pandora

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Is the coolest thing in years. Raelyn deserves hugs, scritches and uber thanks for exposing me to the site.

I don’t listen to the radio at all…so having an internet radio site that I can personally customize with the artists of my choice (which their music recognition program then mixes with similar music) is a goldmine. Plus…on the off chance that some craptastic song ends up on the playlist, I can *flyswat motion* veto it into oblivion. I’ve learned of at least 4 different artists I would have never been exposed to that I’m quite fond of now.

So go peek: Pandora.com

And in case you find yourself even remotely interested in the type of music I’d plug into this thing, you can take a listen to the “Radio Station” I created which I dubbed:

Halcyon Radio

MM

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

I’d noticed a few commentaries recently concerning my personal (well-being) status, particularly as it applied to my normal ModelMayhem account being deactivated (the concern, in addition to finding out some unexpected people actually read the crazy things I write here, brought a nice smile to my face).

Although one major factor in my stepping away from the site has since been mended, there were a few facets to my willing self-removal. It’s a hard topic to address because I do feel like I have a certain sense of gratitude I owe the site. 3 years ago I was a complete noob shooting website content, getting lucky on free personals sites at approaching ladies to shoot. It only took till my second shoot before I started feeling like I could embrace the creative process as my ‘baby’…it meant something. It’s actually the medium I’m drawn to by default now when I need to release emotion.

I’ve had the amazing pleasure of having models whom I’d thought were head and shoulders above my quality of work (and would never have dreamed of approaching) actually message me via that site, leading to some incredible experiences.

It perhaps came to a culmination a month or so ago when I had the honor of shooting with one of (in my mind) the top 3 fetish models on the planet: Angela Ryan. She, as well, had actually initiated contact with me (tangent: her interest was actually directed at The Tori Project, but time constraints and things led to us not being able to get the shot I wanted with her. We had enough time to shoot just a quick two mini-sets [backgrounds/setups really as there was no time for a wardrobe change]. The experience went well enough that we both agreed we’d finally get down to finishing the Tori shot later on at some point).

It’s been a great ride. Perhaps it’s the artistic snob in me (at least part of it…the other part is probably the misanthrope in me) that feels almost like a fish out of water there anymore. When I first got on the site (August of 2005, if I recall) I adored it. There were less that 50,000 total members. It had the feel of an awkward gathering of eccentric artists. There were your slightly aloof “pros” and your superficial members, who seemed to get into it for the same reason so many women today like pretending to be bisexual (just in public, usually)…but there was a core of artistry and you could sense how, to each in their own way, it impacted their presence (I’m speaking mainly of the forum regulars, with whom one could develop a personal interaction with). The forums, even then, had the expected gamut of maladies: trolls, GWCs, forum whores….but mind you, this is back when it wasn’t chic to be one of these things.

Over time the community that felt so much like walking into a Nashville coffeehouse full of vibrant, alternative geeks, musicians, philosophers, artists…started turning into the highschool after-class mall food-court chill-out gathering.

It reminded me of this coffeehouse I used to frequent back on Long Island. It’s called the Witch’s Brew (I know, it seems a bit clichĂ©). I was there the first day it opened. This rinky-dink coffee shop decorated in pseudo goth stuff (dried roses, velvet hanging from the walls and ceilings, furniture carefully selected from the Salvation Army and GoodWill) was an unexpectedly nifty find. Admittedly, this was back when I adhered to more neopagan views…but that’s neither here nor there.

It had such a wonderfully snug, candlelit (even when it wasn’t candlelit), dark feel. You could feel the normal clientele felt at least some connection to the store name (after all, what preppy sort of people would try out a clearly gothed out coffeehouse?). I would order, almost exclusively, ‘Black Cat’s: an espresso/cappuccino hot drink mixed with chocolate and peanut butter. I’d switch up the dessert to try different ones…but inevitably nearly all of them were wonderful.

During the mid to late 90s I moved to northwestern Virginia for college, so I only occasionally would get around to going back to NY to be with the folks. Perhaps it was a year or two…but I remember a visit where I had a friend along with me and I decided I would introduce them to the place. I can’t remember completely clearly (my memory is poor like that) if it was a weekend evening or not…perhaps it was…but (and I should have been more alerted to this upon realizing parking involved being a tad further down the street than I’d previously remembered) it had changed. It wasn’t just the line out the door that brought a wrinkle to my brow. Your stereotypical high school kids saturated the place (at least then they were at least that iffy newfangled hybrid of punk/grunge/emo-goths…now they’re just your regular HS crowd). Perhaps I’m giving away my snobbery too much…but the sort of people whose superficiality you can smell like a cheap cologne (used in lieu of bathing, no less).

I stomached the wait then to get in (as I did yet again when I visited this last winter) but there’s a certain charm gone from it now. I can’t say I’m unhappy for the owners, as it must be a wondrous boon to their profit…perhaps ultimately that’s the justification of such things (and who knows if the blame should be truly on the mundanity of the greater portion of the human populace or on my disproportionate expectations of our species…).

But that’s how I feel now about MM. A lot of certain instances that have irked me about the site really lie in my incredulity as to how the human animal thinks so often…the cheap mechanisms by which we function (often times subconsciously). It’s not just that so much of the site has become one mass orgy of emotional desperation thinly veiled as humorous verbal suggestiveness (for, it is, after all, a common human trait to be lonely). It’s not that connections between people of similar interests don’t invariably happen. However…there was a time when you could read the words “MM is not a dating site” and feel it was a view espoused in the artistic best interest of the community, even in the way most of the site members acted publicly. Perhaps MM has bloomed into its puberty, because the greater portion of the site seems to scoff at the phrase now…as an adolescent would snicker under his/her breath at a parent warning them about smoking and drinking. I won’t even get into how hormonal explosion makes the analogy even more to the point…

And even if all that were palatable…there are the hypocritical, twisted mentations that, in truth, are present in any sufficiently large sampling of humans. Perhaps I’ve been enough of a hermit in my life that I’m not used to soap-opera quality melodrama and gossip working its way back to me and my personal affairs…and being part of that community simply keeps me at greater risk to be further exposed to it (and, to be fair, to exposing myself to others).

I take a peek every so often at the fora…and for every positive commentary I see I run into two that hit the gag reflex on my artistically snobbish palate. In truth, it’s a bit disheartening because I know there are many wonderful reasons/members that remain there…almost a lure. People whose craft (and the fire they breathe into it) almost makes my heart skip a beat. Good friends I’ve connected with. This should not be simply a story of total disenchantment.

For now, however, I think I’m best served being “offline”. I’ve kept my alternate profile up as I intend to focus nearly exclusively on The Tori Project, although I may cut back substantially on shooting period, except for those with whom I’m close. It’s been a while since I’ve shot the inanimate.

So…that is my story. For now. We shall see where it leads.

Lethargy

Friday, May 16th, 2008

I’m behind again. There never seems to be enough time…or motivation. I can’t honestly say that there’s a lack of inspiration, considering the recent shooting company I’ve had, though…it’s just been one of those spans of time where I feel like being a hermit.

Speaking of my recent shooting company, I do owe thanks to the lovely models that made the afore mentioned  Toledo/Detroit trip so wonderful: Orixx, Charity, Kaydence, Alison, Minxy, Jesslyn, Alex, Lola, Alkemie and Katie.

And now, I’ve yet another update to make…

Karma

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

As an existential nihilist, I hold no concept of karma other than that which I would effect by my own hand. Circumstance, however, tastes fortuitously sweet right now.

So much for those glass houses of yours.

Banner

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Over the last few weeks, Tyler, the owner of ModelMayhem.com has been recruiting submissions for a new header image. I submitted mine on 1/20/08 and I was rather gladly surprised to see it attract a decent bit of praise.

Yesterday (or the day before? I need to stop losing track of days…) I received a message from Tyler, confirming that it was indeed going live. So…I’m, quite happy! The model in the image, Jessalyn, is an absolute doll. I wrote about her on the site:

She’s one of a handful of models on here that deserve the spotlight. She’s proof you can make this site into something incredible for yourself.

Inspiration that says you can be a little girl in the middle of Kansas, shorter than 5′8″ with tattoos and still make your way towards agency representation while working with some of the most amazing photographic talent there is.

On a slight sidenote, one Toronto-based photographer was so “enamored” with the shot, he took the time to send me a private message suggesting he felt like quitting the site because of it.

I really wanted to reply on the verge of “tears”, begging him not to leave *snicker*…but friends suggested I just leave the silliness in solitary confinement.

Funny thing is…that message (along with other things) actually put me in a good mood. Maybe I’ll put “Professional Hack Photographer” back into my profile on there so I don’t mislead people into having unrealistically lofty expectations anymore!

Tarnish

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Maybe I’ve just become too old and jaded. It’s started to bug me that a good portion of my recent additions here are some form of negativity, reaction to it or not. Perhaps my expectations of others are unrealistic…but the list of people with whom I can share artistry and feel completely free is growing thinner.

I view myself as an artist. I don’t have a “rate”…I don’t even know that I want one. I don’t really want to pimp my name out ad nauseam so that I can garner enough exposure to start listing payment fees that I can be bought at. What will that make me? A “professional”? Meh.

The word only describes how your financial income pie-chart is divided and how much of it is fractioned off to photography. It says nothing about the motivations of the “professional”…the depth of their art…how personal it is to them. There are “professionals” who have a clear, pure vision and genuine life to their work and then there are “professionals” who clearly just whored their name and work out for enough exposure to be able to say they’re limiting their TFP and can be paid for their time according to X number(s). I don’t want to be that person. I learned a while back how to discern people for whom the art is primary on the other side of the lens…perhaps it’s starting to fall into place the type of people to whom it applies on this side.

I don’t want to be purchased. I want to be inspired. Pay me that way.

And, yet again…I feel like I’m succumbing to negativity. Or maybe I’m trying to convince myself I’m not quite as much the misanthrope I really am. Granted, finding out that certain people feel motivated to turn personal/private issues in my life into public crusades of their own does kind of fuel my propensity for ire…but that really shouldn’t be what this all is about.

On the bright side, these experiences are probably going to launch a project I have in mind. Now, to get it rolling, I’ll just need to transcend another idiosyncrasy of mine…

procrastination.

Stop

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I torment myself enough about the mistakes I make without you irrelevant snots playing pseudo-chivalry and 6th grade gossip games in an attempt to compromise my person. Keep your lust for one-sided misinformation away from me. I don’t need that filth in my life.

Fuck off. Really.

Pulse

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Recent events have made many things unexpectedly difficult in numerous facets of my life. Through this, there have been voices that strike at me in the figurative dark…the way defibrillators would strike a dying body…and, through their words, has a faint spark remained.

I don’t know how to adequately express my gratitude for those voices…but I suspect refusing to permanently disappear may be the first step.

Thank you.

Descent

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

This morning, I awoke to my town getting its first official snowfall of the year.

There’s something painfully ironic about it.