Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pictures at a funeral


"Oh no," says my brother, "taking pictures at a funeral is a bit, well, brash."

I go ahead anyway. Roy, if he were still here, would have said "Go ahead." And after all, there's an outfit videotaping the ceremony. And small digicams start popping out of handbags. Lucky I brought the 70-200mm.

All this PC about taking pictures. Soon as you ask permission, you've lost the spontaneity, the subject stiffens up and the shot is lost. How
would Cartier-Bresson have got all his shots if he had to ask permission!
Sombre as the funeral may be, the children and their curiosity about the coffin being down in the grave, and running around amongst the diggers lighten up the event.


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

New directions

Inspired by Galleria d'Arte de Kimiyo, this blog goes in a new direction.

o2jottings becomes the column addressing such questions as, "Why take photographs?" ... "What is this photo trying to tell us?" ..."Is the photograph succeeding in informing us, or making us feel something?"

wh5 takes over as the blog dedicated to conversation analysis.

Today, out on Mount Takao, after I'd taken a picture of sakura in full bloom with only the sakura in focus, one of the party asked me to take a picture of a branch of  sakura but to include maple leaves hanging behind it.

Picture 1: taken at f4, sakura in clear focus, with a maple leaf bokeh behind it.
Picture2: taken at f22, both sakura and maple in clear focus because of deep depth of field (DOF).

Picture 1 separates the sakura from the maple leaf background and draws our attention to the sakura.

Picture 2 has an abundant green background but loses the sakura.


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jeans vs skirts

Erica ribs Sue about wearing a skirt.


Erica: I mean, wearing a skirt is so 1990s.


Sue: MY dress? I mean, okay, so it's a little anti-fashion, but it's not embarrassingly butch. Unlike your jeans.


Erica: They’re comfortable. I’m comfortable.


Sue: Those are wild-west horseback wear.


Erica: It's a revolution!


Sue: It's ridiculous. If you were into rodeos or something, OK. But you live in a city. You do NOT live in a teepee.


Erica: That bad?


Sue: Honey, they take away your womanness.



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Translation out of key

In crusty academia…


Bertram: This translation smacks of prefabricated expressions.

Piers: Prefabricated?

Bertram: Listen to these… “That’s how I see it.” “That’s the kind of person I am.” “I ran 41 kilometers on the nose.” “Don’t misunderstand me.” “As far as I’m concerned...” “All in all…” “As I mentioned before…” “Forgive me for stating the obvious…” “Let me be more specific.” “But that’s another story.”

Piers: They sound natural enough.

Bertram: It’s a book of thoughts on running. Translated from the Japanese. The author describes what he thinks about when he goes jogging. The genre could be called reflective essays.

Piers: So?

Bertram: But on almost every page you have these corny “engaging the reader” type phrases.

Piers: Well maybe that was the intention of the writer. Surely the translator was just trying to capture the essence of the original.

Bertram: It’s just that those expressions don’t sound so stilted in Japanese, but when you put them into English they sound too formulaic for a great writer. A good writer in English would be simplifying the expressions or twisting the cliches from time to time. Like “I covered exactly 41 kilometers.” Or “It may be self-evident…” Or “What I mean is…” He may have translated the words of the original writer but sure missed getting the voice right. It's out of key.