Autumn colors (part 2):
During the first two weeks of December, Elena and I noticed the colors of the trees in our neighborhood was changing rapidly–every time we go out, they’d look different (and absolutely gorgeous). We made a point to observe the weather condition everyday starting around noon. If by 3:30 PM the sun is still visible (instead of behind clouds), we’d grab our cameras and head out for about an hour and shoot all the beautiful trees in our neighborhood. We did it about five times in the span of two weeks, and managed to capture some great photos of the trees in various stages of changing colors.
The heads look like this before the face-up (paint job):
My buddy Emory runs a great place called Junkyspot for anyone who’s interested in BJD (Ball Jointed Dolls).
Elena and I watched Children of Men today, and I really liked it. It’s probably one of the best films I’ve seen in a while, and I was just blown away by the sheer talent of the director and the cinematographer. There were some scenes that had me at the edge of my seat, and there were moments that made me think “That was a great camera move!” or “What a great job on the writing for that scene!” I was very impressed by how Alfonso Cuarón was able to establish the history and intimacy between Clive Owen and Julian Moore’s characters with so few scenes, yet the bond he creates by having that ping-pong ball scene in the car was totally effective and sets up the tragedy immediately later to be very powerful. Some of the chaotic combat sequences were just thrilling, without being overly flashy, yet very meticulously worked out in long takes. If you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out.
I participate in quite a few forums, and anyone who spends time on forums know that at one point or another, you’ll get drawn into a flame-war or two. I typically try to be as diplomatic and civilized as I can force myself to be, because heated discussions spin out of control if everyone just lose their tempers. I love participating in forums because it allows me to get to know people from all around the world, in all walks of life–people I would never bump into under normal circumstances in real life, yet, we all share similar passions and have similar dreams; however, I do hate it when real jerks ruin the fun for everyone by being overtly belligerent. People like that will resort to name-calling, personal attacks, and essentially behaving like angry little children–it’s not pretty when it happens. After being involved with numerous forums over the years, I’ve learned to keep an open mind, try to put myself in the shoes of others, and approach discussions by addressing both sides of opposing views. I still find it hard to be totally neutral and unbiased, simply because I am human and have emotions and opinions, but the older I get, the better I’ve learned to control myself.
In a recent thread at cgtalk.com (where I’m a Forum Leader), the topic of photorealism came up again, and it’s something that generates a lot of heated debates in most art communities. I used to waste a lot of breath arguing for the side of painterly works against photorealism, because I just prefer paintings that look like paintings instead of being indistinguishable from a photograph. Now at this point in my life, I’m learning to be more tolerant and try to be more receptive to things that aren’t necessarily my preference. The reply I made in that thread probably sums up my current mentality the best (the background of the thread is that there was a previous thread of the same topic from a long time ago, where heated debate went on for pages and pages regarding photorealism and airbrushed art):
“Are we doing this again? Wasn’t the last thread about this long enough?
I’m at a point in my life right now where I see things in a very different light, essentially taking a big step back and looking at the world as the big picture, instead of having my nose so close to something where I lose objectivity.
This is my current stance on the matter (and all related matters):
1) The world is gigantic place, and there’s room for all kinds of people and all kinds of tastes. Even if you feel you have better taste/judgement than others, it’s most likely you’re out numbered anyway, as the majority of the human population have uninformed pedestrian tastes, and they really couldn’t care less about the subtleties, politics, struggles, and achievements in your given industry or chosen craft. Does this mean you’re right and they’re wrong? Not really if you go by popularity as the criteria. What about using authority as the criteria? Well, if you’ve been to a lot of museums, particularly modern art museums, you’ll see that just because someone’s a curator or have a masters degree in fine arts does not necessarily mean this person have talent or taste.
2) With the above established, the only thing I care about is if there are other people like me, with similar tastes, and if the things we collectively love have a lifespan in our industry or chosen craft (because it would be a shame if what we loved can’t survive in our world, while the stuff we detest flourishes and become successful). Fortunately, as obscure as some of my favorite artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, photographers..etc are, there will always be some that have “made it” and established themselves as successful creative minds in their chosen craft. That, makes me feel reassured that the guys that represent my personal taste is out there, getting exposure, and thus generating more people who might like the same things I do. This makes me happy, because I love sharing my passions with others with similar tastes.
3) We all have the right to make a living with our passions, talents..etc. It doesn’t matter if you think someone is a hack, or a certain style is wack, or a particular medium is worthless..etc, because there will always be an audience out there for all styles and all levels of talent. Live and let live. Different strokes for different folks. Just be grateful that the stuff you like DO exist in this world, and IS reprented somehow. Maybe the stuff you like doesn’t get nearly as much exposure or success, and you feel there’s an injustice, but guess what? It’s been like that since the beginning of human civilization. The mainstream will always dominate, and the “Rubes” will always be the majority.
4) Even people with good taste and talent are often forced to do things they can take no pride in, for the simple fact that we all need to make a living. Cut everyone some slack.
5) Just surround yourself with the things you love, people you care for, and let everybody else live their own life and have their own taste.
And that’s all I have to say about these types of topics at this point in my life.
The original thread can be seen here.