26 April, 2011



In the presence of a clear night sky,
every man is a scientist.

But returned to our tent, we’re comforted
both by the light of our poor candle
and the conceit that it’s all for us created.

25 April, 2011

Photographing kids

I was at the beach last week.

It was late afternoon and we were walking at the water’s edge. The tide was headed out, so there were broad-flats of silver, reflective water. Alone, in the middle of one mirror-like flat was a little girl busy with her plastic pail and shovel. I did a 360 to see if I could locate a parent for permission; but there was none apparent.

I don’t take pictures of other people’s kids (where the kids are recognisable) without permission. In the photo I had in mind, however, the child wouldn’t have been identifiable; but my zoom was easily long enough to have captured it.

I didn’t take the picture.

I can’t help feeling that this paranoia about photographing kids, that seems to grip us all, is akin to the security procedures at the airports. Overkill.

23 April, 2011


I have no connection with the typeface vendor, MyFonts — except that I’m a customer and I’m impressed.

A couple of days ago I received an email from them to say that I could download a free update of a font that I had purchased a few months ago. The old version isn’t going to crash my machine, but the new version has, “Contextual Alternates for beginning and ending lowercase letters; and Stylistic Alternates for A, F, and T. [Also,] kerning has been refined in a few letter combinations [and the] Uppercase "K" has been redrawn slightly.”

I wish that we could expect that kind of service from all the various vendors on the Internet.

The new Vivian Maier website

Vivian Maier's 1953 New York
I'm very impressed by the new Vivian Maier website. If you enjoy street photography, her work is not to be missed. (As a brief recap for those unfamiliar with her work: Vivian Maier was an American photographer whose work was only discovered after her death in 2009.)

John Maloof, who discovered Vivian Maier’s work (in her possessions recovered from a storage locker), is working to assure Vivian’s place amongst the greatest street photography artists. Both a book and a documentary are coming, but right now there’s a new website that follows on from the earlier blog that highlighted her work.

The new website offers VM’s work in more accessible galleries, that also provides much greater resolution.

Have a look — be impressed and inspired.

13 April, 2011

Whitman, Walt, clerk

Walt Whitman

Michael E. Ruane of the Washington Post reports that Walt Whitman, perhaps the greatest American poet, was shown in Washington’s city directory of the time (1863-1873) as just, “Whitman, Walt, clerk.”

This latest attention to Walt Whitman arises because of the discovery (by Kenneth Price of the University of Nebraska) in the National Archive of around 3000 of the papers with which Whitman worked as a Federal employee.

These papers are a window in the the matters that Whitman was involved with at the time that he wrote some of his most enduring poems.

If you’re a fan of Walt (as I am) you’ll find this interesting stuff. If that level of detail doesn’t seem attractive, then you might still want to know more about the man and his work. The first place to go is the Walt Whitman Archive. They can probably tell you as much as you might want to know, and also provide all of his works. And, if you have an electronic book, the works of Walt Whitman are available (for free) in a variety of formats at Project Gutenberg.

Below is a three-minute video from the National Archives about the newly found papers.