Category: Product

STICK TO THY LAST

Posted by – January 25, 2012

According to legend, the old idiom, “Stick to your last,” originated with Apelles, a painter in Ancient Greece.  As the story goes, a shoemaker found fault with one of Apelles’ works, saying the shoe was incorrectly portrayed.  When Apelles rectified the mistake, the cobbler then pointed out an error in the leg, thus elliciting from Apelles this-now-infamous admonishment: “Shoemaker, do not go above your last.”

Usually, “sticking to what you do best” is sage advice, however every business has a life cycle — birth, growth and maturity — often followed by “death” in companies that fail to adapt to change.  Nothing epitomizes this more than the demise of Eastman Kodak.  “Big Yellow,” the once-revered photographic giant, has fallen into chapter 11 bankruptcy.  By the way, a “last” is by definition, rigid and inflexible.  Draw your own conclusions.

No person or company wants to be considered “over the hill,” but when you do come to a hill, you either go over it, around it or backwards, or you stop altogether.  Conquering a hill often involves substantial investments in time and financial resources; in fact, just moving forward requires continuing to learn and grow.  Some people and some companies just don’t have that in them, and Darwin’s theory eventually rules the day.

Awhile back, I originally created the accompanying image for Texas Boot Co.  It was intended to epitomize and glorify hand-made craftsmanship.  I shot it on the large-format color transparency film, Kodak EPP.  I later “re-purposed” it with advanced contemporary techniques, employing a hi-res drum scan, multiple layers of textures and Photoshop CS 5.

Ever onward, over the next hill.

BRIGHT IDEA

Posted by – July 18, 2011

This montage shot pays tribute to “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” Thomas Alva Edison, the third-most-prolific inventor in history. (Geek Alert: the montage was accomplished using five view cameras set up in the studio, moving the film holder from set to set, layering the exposures.  I also utilized in-camera-masking, gaff tape, gobos and incantations to the gods of benevolent serendipity.

Edison’s many inventions, such as the phonograph, the motion picture camera and, most notable to me, the incandescent light bulb, continue to influence life around the world.

Light is essential to how I make a living (“photography” actually means “writing with light”). It is my master and I am its willing servant. So I’m acutely aware that familiar tungsten light bulb is due to be phased out in the US by 2014, making way for more energy-efficient alternatives.  In addition to saving money the new “bulbs” are supposed to lower greenhouse gasses.

What was once considered to be a stroke of genius now seems destined for the scrap heap of history.  They tell me this is a good thing and it probably is, but have you ever tried to snuggle down with a good book in the glow of a florescent tube that resembles an ice cream cone?  The cyan transmission does drive the darkness away, but it seems to chase the romance out of the room, as well.

What would Edison think?  History gives us a clue: he would have re-invented the light bulb decades ago, using the same perseverance and ingenuity that enabled him to invent the light bulb in the first place.

Fear not the future.

DON’T FENCE ME IN

Posted by – February 8, 2011

Cole Porter’s nostalgic lament refers to a bygone era: the time before the widespread use of barbed wire. Prior to that, the open range was the unrestricted province of the cowboy. Livestock competed freely for resources, and cattle drives crossed vast expanses uninhibited.

This advancement in technology dramatically changed the face of the Great Plains forever. Land that once was available to all was sectioned off, sparking fierce range wars. public land was overgrazed, and Native Americans were disenfranchised by “the devil’s rope.”

This photo (entirely executed ”in camera,” for you techno geeks) symbolizes the dichotomy of consequences often resulting from such ”progress.”

“It’s a Celebration!”  It sure was.

Posted by – September 2, 2010

Through the years, I’ve shot series of posters promoting the products of Anheuser-Busch (remember them?) by commemorating various sporting championships such as The Super Bowl, The Stanley Cup, The NBA Championship, etc.

For the 1982 World Series, when the St. Louis Cardinals fought their way back from a crushing first-game defeat to a nail-biting seventh-game victory against that OTHER beer town (Oh, come on!  You remember, don’t you?), we created a “congratulatory poster” for each of the teams.  The minute the final game was over, the ink was drying on the presses and the St. Louis version of the poster was in-market within 24 hours.  All of the St. Louis region was “pleased as punch!” as Ol’ Gussie Busch used to say, and this visual became an icon of the era throughout Cardinal Nation.

To “Mr. Baseball,” August Busch Junior: For all you did, this memory’s for you.