A portrait session with a twist

Planting an idea of who someone is in a portrait photographer’s head can influence how they see and shoot the person. Six portrait photographers were asked to shoot one man, each of them told a different story about who he is. This is a fascinating video made by Canon.

Petapixel has deconstructed it in their blog post, so, watch it first, then check out their post: 6 Photographers Asked to Shoot Portraits of 1 Man… With a Twist.

Harper Lee and the cinematic life of To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee and the Cinematic Life of To Kill A Mockingbird

This is a great post on how the just published book, To Kill a Mockingbird got turned into a movie.

When Philadelphia-based publisher J.B. Lippincott Company decided to publish Harper Lee’s debut novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the company requested an initial print run of just 5,000 copies. Nevertheless, upon its release in July 1960, the novel swiftly gained popularity and earned a place on the New York Times bestseller list. Unusual for a promising literary property, the motion picture rights to which were often sold before publication, To Kill a Mockingbird spent six weeks on the list before producer Alan J. Pakula and director Robert Mulligan acquired the rights to the book, which would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961.

Incredible book. Incredible movie. Incredible story.

NUMMI 2015

NUMMI 2015

This is a brilliant segment of This American Life in collaboration with Frank Langfitt and NPR news.

A car plant in Fremont California that might have saved the U.S. car industry. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. Frank Langfitt explains why GM didn’t learn the lessons—until it was too late.

Wikipedia has a nice history of the NUMMI plant.

The NUMMI plant was bought by Tesla and their cars are now made there. Here’s a video of production of the Tesla Model S in the same plant.

John Oliver on food waste

John Oliver discussed food waste in the United States and the politics that makes it happen.

His piece is based partly on one done by a collaboration of PBS and NPR which I’m embedding below. If you care to, watch the PBS/NPR piece first, it will inform the John Oliver rant.

NPR’s Allison Aubrey looks at why good food is being discarded, and what can be done to prevent it.

[via The Verge]

Jimmy Diresta’s Drill Tips

Jimmy Diresta is a character, that’s for sure and he’s a great explainer of all sorts of things. This video is about using electric drills and it may seem uninteresting on the surface but I highly recommend watching it, even if you don’t have or use electric drills, just to enjoy his style and enthusiasm.

He has a great YouTube channel with lots of great stuff on it: Jimmy Diresta.

Spike the cat is his straight man (straight cat?). Great stuff.

[via Core77]

Notes on minimalist travel

Stop packing so much: The minimalist packing list

This piece by James Turner is worth reading just for the fun of it, whether or not you plan to pare down your travel gear to the bare minimum.

I particularly like his section on travel documents and credit cards and logins (how he keeps them all safe on the road).

My friend Jon Moss is a huge fan of Tom Bihn gear so he got hooked on this right away.

I posted this great set of videos on Packing for a trip to Japan a few years back and if you missed them, take a peek, they’re along the same lines.

Making a photo album for my mother

On May 26th my mother will turn 100 and while she has serious macular degeneration and can’t see well anymore, I thought the best way to acknowledge and celebrate her long life would be to scan and put together a book of images from the various eras that her life has spanned. Our family has accumulated boxes of photographs, some from Europe before my grandparents came over here and an increasing flood of them as the years went by.

I decided against using MagCloud or Blurb or other book-making services for this project although will certainly revisit them later. My mother can’t hold a book anymore so for her I made about 50 8×10 prints and put them in sleeves so she can easily hold and look at them.

Images of my mother

For the relatives and friends who will come to her party (the few who are left) I made a small book of 24 4×5″ prints using a simple and inexpensive Pioneer flexible photo album. I pulled the generic covers out and made front and back covers and put an index inside the front cover with dates and captions for the images. I made 20 albums. It was a fun project and being immersed in it is one of the reasons I’ve not been posting to this site in a while.

Photo album for my mother

I could have easily posted all of these images to Flickr (still may) and made a set and pointed people to it but, many of the people who will attend her party are old enough so that posting images online isn’t the most accessible way to share them. And, given the fact that I found most of these images in boxes that we’d saved over many (well over 100) years, the idea of having analog copies of things to preserve them seemed like a good idea. Plus, I like printing and I like making things so this was as much for me as my mother and the folks who will come to her party.

I leave for California tomorrow with a suitcase full of memories. Hopefully United won’t lose it.

Apple is taking Maps in the wrong direction

Apple hopes ‘real-time’ maps will be a Google beater

It won’t.

Simply, Apple is trying to look good without being good. Watching Big Ben and the London Eye turn is a fun party trick but it won’t help you get around London. Click on a London Underground station and you get no information on which lines run through it.

Apple needs to put a lot more energy into deep and accurate metadata in cities rather than eye-candy like this. There are still no subway line listings on subway stops in New York City. That should have been part of Apple Maps from day 1.

Here is a screen shot of Apple Maps around Grand Central Station in New York. Note that Grand Central is listed but not the two MTA subway lines that run under it: The 4, 5, and 6 (green) lines and the Shuttle:


Here is what Apple Maps shows when you click on a subway stop (the only one shown):


If you’re trying to figure out how to get around New York on the subway, Apple Maps is useless.

Here is what Google Maps shows around Grand Central Station when you click on a subway stop:


New York is a major world city. One would think Apple would have this kind of information for the most popular form of transportation but in fact, they don’t. Nothing in London either.

I want Apple to stop putting so much energy into the way things look, a bit more energy into the way things work (or don’t).