Archive for May, 2009

Snap Judgment: Harvey Pekar’s version of Studs Terkel’s Working

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Note: This isn’t photographic, but I think it’s sufficiently relevant since some of the problems are problems familiar to photography.

I came across this today while browsing at Moe’s. I was immediately intrigued, because I love Terkel, and I’ve been reading more and more comics lately. I’m always in favor of combining things I like, even when it results in what can only be called questionable meal choices.

However, in this case, I think it’s a mistake. Images should never have been added to these words. Terkel’s peculiar magic is to present us with peoples’ stories in such a way that we feel part of this intimate discussion. When reading Terkel, it’s hard not to lean in closer to listen and not miss anything.

The artwork — while not necessarily objectionable in itself — breaks the spell. It prevents us from imaginatively reconstructing these slices of history, it intrudes, it breaks the dialogue by introducing a third party, a third wheel.

It rather reminds me of the reading The Maltese Falcon after first seeing the Bogart film. I love the movie, and the book, but the incredibly vivid black and white experience of the film totally prevented me from experiencing Hammett’s sometimes vivid color descriptions. And that was years later; I wasn’t contending with illustrations grafted onto the prose itself.

ThinkTank Streetwalker Pro

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Normally, I prefer Domke-style bags. My F3X is almost perfect. However, for SoFoBoMo, I’m going to be carrying my RB67 with both my lenses and my 055XPROB pretty much all the time, and carrying the 055 as well as the RB67 is a bit of a stretch using the F3X and a tripod bag.

Streetwalker

So, I went the other direction and got a modern camera backpack. I looked at a bunch of different models, and unlike previous times I shopped for a backpack, I was able to immediately discard the models that were designed to carry a laptop or designed for quick access. (This is mainly for the RB67 and tripod work — not impromptu shooting.)

I settled on the ThinkTank Streetwalker Pro. In addition to its excellent name, I’ve been wanting a ThinkTank product for a while (to see if the hype is justified), and I liked some of the design aspects. It’s not intended for air travel or hiking in the country, but for carrying a bunch of crap around in an urban setting all day — which is what I need.

Streetwalker

First thoughts:

* The outgassing from this bag has an interesting smell. Sort of durian-like
* The bag has a cute little corporate folder with pictures of photographers and their job descriptions all over it and the instructions inside (yes, the backpack needs instructions)
* Build quality is extremely high. Better than Lowepro and similar bags, not that there’s anything wrong with Lowepro’s build quality
* There are a lot of nice design nuances, particularly with the straps and whatnot
* Lots of pockets and loops and d-rings and dinguses
* The tripod holder works fairly well, even with a bulk tripod like my 055.
* The interior space is a good shape for all and only photography gear, which is what I wanted

Streetwalker

If you click through to flickr, I’ve got some notes on these images providing additional commentary.