In the interest of keeping track of things…

I hadn’t written a haiku post on the artist Anne Noble, but I did have a lovely time corresponding with her — mostly about her Antarctica work, but also about her new project on the decline of the honeybee — for an interview we published in, which is published by the University of Arizona Institute of the Environment. We called it In Search of an Ecological Sublime.

Her Whiteout series is wonderfully impossible to reproduce:


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Posts with legs

I’m struck, looking back over these not-so-many posts, how many of them became articles, essays, and book chapters. So much for keeping my thoughts to (relative) haiku length.

• I gathered some of my thoughts on Penelope Umbrico in my essay for Exposure, “Abundant Images and the Collective Sublime” (pdf here)  published in their Fall 2013 issue. Pretty sure I have quite a bit more to say about her work — probably in my next book.

• I modified the “Abundant Images” essay for a talk at the Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Sweden, which was published in Broken: Environmental Photography earlier this year — and in that I began thinking more about Nate Larson & Marni Shindelman’s Geolocations series.

• In a bit of a fluke, I wrote an article about the gigapixel AWARE camera (pdf here), published in Photographies in April 2014. The article ended up circling back — maybe not surprisingly — to the “abundant” question.

• And I devoted a chapter to Joel Sternfeld’s On This Site series in my book Uncertain Histories: Doubt, Accumulation, and Inaccessibility in Contemporary Photography which will be published in 2015 by University of California Press.

Since my dad just retired from 48 (that’s right, forty-eight!) years working for NASA at Ames Research Center, maybe I should consider writing an article about that NASA logo design history.

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Just wandering through the vault…


George Eastman House may just have become the first museum to put their vault on Google Street View. Does their technology collection include any Leicas? Why, yes, it does:


How about examples of historic film projectors? Check!


Cluttered workspaces and shop vacs? Yes, and yes:


It’s not enough to have Google Street Views of all the actual streets in the world; for some time now the GSV camera has been going places like down the Grand Canyon with a back pack. Art tours are also prevalent on Google’s Art Project.

But this is something different — a relatively unvarnished behind the scenes tour to the kind of place that is typically accessible only to insiders. I took just a few minutes to visit virtually, walking up and down the aisles and taking note of the feel of the place — though one can’t (yet) open boxes or cabinets to rifle through the collections.

GEH has a reliably interesting blog, and must be the rare photography institution with a Manager of Online Engagement, who authored the blog post on their work with Google.

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Suns, suns, suns

"The Distance of a Day”, a 2013 installation by David Horvitz

David Horvitz, The Distance of a Day, 2013

I gave a talk and am publishing an essay on abundance in photography by way of suns by Gerhard Richter, Penelope Umbrico, and Mark Klett & Byron Wolfe (with the latter two suns as mediated through Flickr), so I was happy to see a new iPhone suns piece by David Horvitz, who I’ve been a little bit fascinated by since my husband introduced me to his work — which was evidently right about the time Horvitz made this piece.

As Blake Gopnik writes on the Daily Beast, Last February, Horvitz got his mom to record a video of the sunset over the sea near Los Angeles, where he was born and grew up. At the same moment that she was taping, he was at a point almost opposite her on the globe, in the Maldives, taping the same sun as it rose.

It’s nice that Horvitz preserved the physical connection to the actual people and the moment/experience of making the linked videos by displaying them on his and his mom’s iPhones. This seems important lately — honing in on the nexus of the human and the digital.
Horvitz has this to say on his website: Phones were chosen to make (and display) the video because they are devices that orient us spatially and temporally. They are like contemporary pocket-watches (and calendars) and compasses that we carry with us. They coordinate and synchronize us, as well as subject us. They broadcast moments instantaneously across distances. Or, what seems to be instantaneously. There is always some delay.

This, of course, I love — and better yet it is followed by a few words on distance, visibility, and impossibility. On his site the above text is crossed out. I don’t know why that is, but finding myself a little bit puzzled is in keeping with every other time I’ve looked up Horvitz’s work or projects.

I was sorry to see, though, that what used to be one of the best and strangest Wikipedia pages on an artist has now been cleaned up and is on its way to conformity with a more traditional biography.

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We Love Photography

Too bad the grammar isn’t right on this but I do like the sentiment (and I wish I could remember where I saw this. It’s a poster for sale somewhere).


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A terabyte hard drive in 2 seconds…

I’ve been thinking again about the 50-gigapixel AWARE camera in development by a Duke University-led team (a UA researcher is also working on it). The camera uses 98 separate 14-megapixel microcameras and then the images are stitched together, in the latest update to 19th century composite printing.

When it’s not surveilling you from 15,000 feet (the research was funded by DARPA), the camera takes pictures like this:  gigapixel3_mini

This graphic from a Wall Street Journal article is good, too:



The camera is not as cute a the Google Street View camera mounted on a car, trike, or backpack…aware2cam

….but it captures an incredible/absurd amount of visual information, and the team is aiming for more: We want to be able to record images at 10 frames per second, which is near video rate,” Gehm explained. “The 50-gigapixel camera would generate a half a terabyte of data every second. You’d fill a terabyte hard drive in two seconds, you’d fill a data center in about a day, and you’d fill all of the data centers on the planet in about a year to a year and a half.”

It’s so much data that there is an interesting snag: currently no display exists that is capable of showing the camera’s pictures.

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Times Haiku

While we’re on the topic of haiku, the New York Times has a blog for “serendipitous poetry” found in the newspaper.

“How does our algorithm work? It periodically checks the New York Times home page for newly published articles. Then it scans each sentence looking for potential haikus by using an electronic dictionary containing syllable counts.”

Here’s an example:

You may not always
like what the algorithm
does to your photos.

They’re pretty much uniformly not good haikus, but I do appreciate the impulse.

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