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You are reading Georg Simmel’s “The Adventurer,” to be handed out in class. Your reading responses are due by email to me at 4pm on Jan 31.

Quesitons:

-Cite one idea or sentence from the text that you find useful, clarifying, or inspiring and say a bit about why.

-Cite one idea or sentence from the text that you find confusing or disagree with and say a bit about why.

I really identified with this reading. I feel this way because I just came back from a 5 month backpacking trip through Central and South America. Well, I say I “just” came back, but it was March-August of 2011. His definition of an adventure really made me think about how much of an adventure my trip actually was. I felt like I didn’t have any time to absorb what my 5 month trip actually was, since I had to come straight to my first semester of grad school at ITP. “More precisely, the most general form of adventure is its dropping out of the continuity of life.” I felt like that really was exactly describing what I did — I quit my job of 5-6 years and gave up everything to go on this grand, once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully not) trip. It was perfect timing for me to be reading this. It clarified a lot about what it actually could be seen as: an adventure in my life.

I had to disagree, though on the quote, “The obscurities of fate are certainly no more transparent to him (the adventurer) than to others; but he proceeds as if they were.”  I don’t think that, if I were to be this adventurer, I would proceed so boldly and conceitedly as if I knew the obscurities of fate at all… I maybe just don’t understand what he is trying to say, here.

[UPDATED 2/14:]

The Barthes reading “Camera  Lucida” was a bit hard for me to understand without rereading every paragraph at least once or twice. But once I understood, I appreciated his very in-depth thought process, however difficult for me it was to follow it. I thought that this writing was very subjective, with so much use of “I”, and rightly so.

When he decides to name this interest in a photograph in general, as studium, and what disturbs his studium as punctum, I identified with what he was saying, since finding that punctum in a photograph was what I did for a living, editing for 5+ years at Magnum. That’s why, when I read further on the the crossed-out part of the hand-out that he did not find, what I believe to be one of Meiselas’ famous Nicaraguan photographs, to have punctum, I was very taken aback because it is widely recognized (the whole body of that work, that is) as some of the best photojournalism from that decade. It won Meiselas a Robert Capa Gold Medal Award… So I found it very familiar to encounter this kind of subjectivity regarding what draws people to a photograph/how powerful a photograph is, but at the same time, very surprising that he in particular did not find any punctum in it. I found myself asking, how could he not? But later on, the last point about punctum he raises, is what quells my suspicions of his “taste”. He says, “whether or not it is triggered, it is an addition: it is what I add to the photograph and what is nonetheless already there.” The punctum we find in photographs is enhanced because of its pensive quality, and therefore requires introspection, and I appreciated his take on this very concept. It made me think of my favorite Sontag writing On Photography and the quote within “to collect photographs is to collect the world.”

UPDATE:

I will now focus primarily on the photography aspect of my website since I got input that my proposal was a bit too large/complicated.

I could bring in photo data like location, type of camera, subjects, content, aperture/shutter speed, scan size available, format… I could input the photos through my Flickr account and use the Flickr API for my database.

___________________________

(Not sure about this, yet.)

From the class site, our assignment:

2. Post your project idea Write out what type of project you are interested in working on, it can be an existing project, something for another class or a brand new idea. Explain what it will do, who will be the user and what type of information will you be managing.

For my project, I would like to create a website that is (this sounds pretty conceited) all about me. I have shied away from having too much of a web presence, especially after my name appeared daily on the byline for the Magnum Photos-based slideshow I produced/photo-edited on Slate.com. (todayspictures.slate.com) I did that for about 5-6 years and hated the occasional scrutiny/hatred/vitriol I’d get on the site’s comment section because I am a very sensitive soul. To diminish any chance of anyone looking at my own photography/life and opening up myself to more scrutiny, I took my website down immediately after I read the first mean comment. Previously, it had a small click-through slideshow of my personal best work (photography), and not much else but some caption information. If someone Googled me and found my website “zenakoo.com”, they’d just see “Hello World” on a blank white background. I loved that. I didn’t do it myself, of course, because otherwise, I wouldn’t be trying to take this class, but it was a friend’s idea. Later I realized that “Hello World” was a common thing in the world of web-dev learning.

Anyway, I would like to make a site that will inform anyone trying to look up information about me — in the way that I have designed. So much on the web is ugly, scattered, or chaotic, so I’d like to have a concise, sleek, and efficient site that lets me show who I am in the way that is really more personal and reflects me more than what “Mirror Me” presents. The site will ultimately include (at least I think so, right now) my work history (CV/portfolio with screenshots), my own personal photography throughout the years through a slideshow function with a shop/log-in function that will let them buy my work, my current work at ITP (linking and/or transferring this wordpress blog onto my site), a current/news portion that will let people who want to, subscribe to my rss feed and notify them of new posts, a section that tells people when and where I am showing my photography or other ITP-related works, and perhaps later on, when looking for a job, a blurb/bio about myself and what my professional goals are.

Potential users will hopefully be customers who want to buy prints of my photography or future ITP-related projects, web- or app-based, or physical.  I would be managing a storefront with the customer’s relevant paypal or other financial information, log-in, perhaps, session tracking data (what projects/photographs they look at the longest), and if they found out about me from some other site.