A Japanese Photographer’s View of Life in His Family’s One-Room Home
Meoko Fujii at The New Yorker has posted an incredible collection of the photographs of the Japanese photographer Masaki Yamamoto that are part of his new photo book: Guts.
Guts documents his seven-person family’s life in a one-room apartment in Kobe, Japan. This is a gritty but fascinating glimpse of a kind of life that few of us will ever experience but it’s not so foreign that we can’t imagine it. This is amazing work and once the book is in wider circulation I hope to get it.
Sara Berman’s Closet from NewYorker on Vimeo.
This is a brilliant short film about the life of Sara Berman and how her closet ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The film is by Bianca Giaever and Elori Kramer for The New Yorker, narrated by Maira Kalman (Sara Berman’s daughter) and written by Alex Kalman and Maira Kalman.
[via The Kid Should See This]
Patricia Marx at has done an incredible piece for The New Yorker on why South Korea is the world’s plastic-surgery capital.
We all want to look our best, but not since seventh grade had I been in the company of people for whom appearance mattered so much. In search of a clearer understanding of why South Koreans are such lookists, I stopped by the book-cluttered office of Eunkook Suh, a psychology professor at Yonsei University, in Seoul. “One factor is that, in contrast to Western cultures, the external aspects of self (your social status, clothes, gestures, and appearance) versus the inner aspects (thoughts and feelings) matter more here,” he explained.
I was in New York yesterday and it was loaded with tourists. As I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge I couldn’t help notice:
1. The number of people taking selfies
2. The number of vendors selling selfie sticks
I guess if you’re going to plaster selfies all over Instagram and Facebook you’d better have plastic-surgery first.
David Remnick Looks Back On Tough Decisions As ‘The New Yorker’ Turns 90
Terry Gross interviews David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. I love Fresh Air. I love The New Yorker. Remnick is a brilliant editor and a pleasure to listen to.
I listened to this live a week ago and just listened again via the Fresh Air podcast while I was having my truck worked on and it was just as good on second listen.
The Shape of Things to Come
Ian Parker of The New Yorker profiles Jony Ive, Apple’s lead designer.
Back in the main room, Ive noted that he’d been watching “Moon Machines,” an old Discovery Channel series about the Apollo program. “There was the realization we needed to develop a spacesuit, but it was hard to even know what the goals should be,” he said. And then he linked the studio’s work to NASA’s: like the Apollo program, the creation of Apple products required “invention after invention after invention that you would never be conscious of, but that was necessary to do something that was new.” It was a tic that I came to recognize: self-promotion driven by fear that one’s self-effacement might be taken too literally. Even as Apple objects strive for effortlessness, there’s clearly a hope that the effort required—the “huge degree of care,” the years of investigations into new materials, the months spent enforcing cutting paths in Asian factories—will be acknowledged.
This is brilliant: that tension between wanting to show off the depth of your design process and caring vs. burying that stuff under a beautifully-simple surface appearance.
I’m again reminded of Robert Pirsig’s epic rant about fixing loose handlebars… Apple needs to slow down: surface appearance vs. underlying form.
[via 9to5 Mac]
I’m not into Chicago pizza but this review of Emmett’s by Shauna Lyon is why I read The New Yorker (among other reasons).
Pizza has a fierce tradition in New York. Regional styles have long been kept at bay, but the big floppy slice and the Lombardi’s and John’s coal-fired* pies have lately had to compete with a wave of puffball Neapolitan darlings and their topnotch mozzarella. Now there’s a new game in town: Chicago deep dish. Last year, Emmett Burke, who grew up in the Chicago suburb Lake Forest and went to college at Fordham, opened the first New York restaurant to ardently concentrate on the notoriously over-the-top stuffed pizza.
Crowds swarmed. Yelpers judged (“tasted worse than Play-Doh”). Threatened New Yorkers made fun: Jon Stewart dedicated long swear-filled rants on “The Daily Show” to upbraiding Chicago’s “casserole” passing for pizza. Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, sent Stewart a deep-dish pie, which he fed to a dog, who sniffed it and turned away. The extended bit ended in a truce, when Stewart tasted a slice of the Chicago restaurant Lou Malnati’s deep dish on air, and admitted it was delicious. New York pride aside, the reaction to Emmett’s was split: (1) You call this Chicago pizza? and (2) Thank God you have arrived (because Uno franchises do not count).
There’s more but I mean wow, reading a review of a pizza place is fun when Shauna Lyon writes it. Made me laugh out loud. I still have no desire to go to Emmett’s (I like Keste’s) but I sure like reading about it.
Experience and memory in the age of GoPro
Nick Paumgarten has written a great piece for The New Yorker on the history and significance of the GoPro camera. This is really worth reading, whether you have or use a GoPro camera or not.
Woodman had the good fortune to invent a product that was well suited to a world he had not yet imagined. The ripening of the technology in his camera, after a half decade of tinkering, coincided with the fruition of broadband and the emergence of YouTube, Facebook, and other social-media platforms for the wide distribution of video. GoPro rode the wave. What might have been just another camcorder became a leading connector between what goes on in the real world and what goes out in the virtual one—a perfect instrument for the look-at-me age. Its charm lies perhaps in its sublimated conveyance of self, its sneaky tolerable narcissism. GoPro footage is related to the selfie, in its “Here I am” (or “was”) ethos, and its wide view and variety of mounts often allow the filmmaker to include himself, or some part of himself, in the shot. But because it primarily points outward it’s a record of what an experience looks like, rather than what the person who had the experience looked like when he stopped afterward and arranged his features into his pretested photo face. The result is not as much a selfie as a worldie. It’s more like the story you’d tell about an adventure than the photo that would accompany it.
The Book Refuge
The New Yorker is making all of their content available (finally) for a period of time*. This was an excellent piece by Janet Malcolm I read recently on Argosy Bookshop in New York.
*A Note to New Yorker Readers.
The New Yorker has an excerpt of a new autobiographical graphic memoir by illustrator/cartoonist Roz Chast in the March 10, 2014 edition. It’s about her experience with aging parents, something Anne and I are going through right now. It’s full of humor and insight and compassion and its brilliant.
Here’s a link to the excerpt in The New Yorker: Sketchbook by Roz Chast
Here’s the book at Amazon (I pre-ordered it, it’s coming out in May): Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir.
This story is not unlike pieces of the award-winning graphic novel Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman which is a classic.
The Power of the Hoodie-Wearing C.E.O.
Silvia Bellezza, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School, and Francesca Gino and Anat Keinan, two professors there, first studied the link between accomplishment and informality. They found that scholars who dressed down at an academic conference, eschewing blazers for T-shirts, had stronger research records, even controlling for age and gender. Then, they explored why and when this sartorial tactic for announcing status—if that’s what it is—succeeds.
This is a brilliant piece in The New Yorker by Matthew Huston on how status affects how people treat social norms and how the rest of us look at status and norms. Very worthwhile read.