Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Philosophy of Documentary-Style Photography

Documenting an Event (no matter how trivial) helps to mark it's fleeting existence in time and human memory. Even the smallest Event, with a supposedly minute significance to outside observers, is, by definition, the Here And Now for it's immediate participants. This gives this Event a meaning and significance far surpassing any prior Event, therefore deeming it worthy of Documentation. A Documentation of this sort allows one to acknowledge this meaning and significance, recognize its place as a Moment in Time for it's participants and preserve its existence in the collective memory of society. Then there's the whole "A picture is worth a thousand words" thing coupled with my passion for the photographic medium and you've got the basic philosophy behind the seemingly mundane and everyday pictures found here on the blog.

It is interesting to note that throughout our travels overseas, what's mostly sparked my curiosity and attention is exactly those everyday, normal activities of the inhabitants of whatever foreign culture I found myself. The posts throughout our time in the Philippines, Australia and Costa Rica are chock full of detailed descriptions and photographs of locations and activities that the local population would find completely unworthy of attention, but which have allowed me to learn, grow and experience so much more than I could possibly have spending time seeking out shots that others might find more Interesting or Beautiful.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, known as the Father of Modern Photojournalism has this to say: "To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression. I believe, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif."

Whether it's on the other side of the planet or in our own kitchen, I guess we're always in Discovery mode- of what's inside and outside of ourselves- through the the uses of letters, words and sentences as well as shapes, lines and color. Hopefully, our blog has been a vehicle for sharing some of that discovery to our readers, as well as a catharctic activity for Kendra and I...even if not all of the pictures rank up in the category of Fine Art.

Ansel Adams
says: "Do not depreciate the importance of a snapshot. While to many it is the symbol of thoughtlessness and chance, it is a flash of recognition. It represents something of value in the world, which -for many reasons- we wish to perpetuate. It represents something seen, it may have real human and historic value. The more we look, the more we see... the more we see the more we respond. When we begin visualizing our response to world in terms of images we become photographers in the most rewarding sense of the word."

Teethbrushing. We (and this girl) do it everyday.
Mundane & Everyday event for the immediate participants? Yes.
Content worthy of Documentation: Maybe not
But a Rewarding capture of a moment in the photographer's existence? Absolutely

Whole Foods, I Loved You Once

So, we've had a little trouble getting it together lately; and we kind of, sort of have not been going to the grocery store. When we have picked up the occasional vegetable, I only end up remembering much later when it is half rotting in the drawer. All of this has been great for order-in establishments near our house, which we have used when we have gotten around to it.

But holidays do not wait for fickle, indecisive people to get moving. They come regardless. This year we are invited to a combination New Year's Eve/Send Off to India Party hosted by one of Tim's co-workers and his wife. I can't wait to see them again, and I'm very excited for the party.

However, this did pose a bit of a dilemma: Do I actually remember how to cook? And I think Whole Foods is on 10th and South... right? This was not something I could go at half-cocked. Indian food has about a bazillions steps and often requires significant prep work. And the invitation clearly stated: Bring an Indian Food dish. Oh boy...

So, this morning, after our coffee, off we go to Whole Foods. The walk was nice. We even remembered our eco-friendly canvas bags, and I had my list. Walking into the store was funny. I used to go shopping every week. I haven't been in months and months. It was like a new world!

Oh - let's get some crackers here instead of paying $5.50 for them at the corner store! Maybe I can cook for New Year's Day! What do you want!?

So, after some dazed walks up and down aisles, a lighter wallet, and encumbered with our groceries, we headed home. However, my enthusiasm waned as soon as the stuff was spread out on the counter. But, I have to work tomorrow, which means I need to prep as much as possible today and finish it when I get home.

[Hands on hips. Stares at cauliflower.]
K1: Kendra. Pick up the knife and get a friggin' move on.
K2: You know I'm reading a really good book -
K1: NOW!
K2: OK. Yes, Ma'am.

So, I did, and all is well, and if it isn't the best Goanese Vegetable Curry tomorow those cats have ever had, I hope no one tells me! :-)

[If you try your best, but you don't succeed (or think the murder rate in Philly has a better chance of going down first, before you finish)...]

[... use your blender and grind the hell out of it.]

Tim even joined in on the action to purchase and cook a bratwurst for himself.

[Yes, I took the photo; and yes, it is blurry. And yes, that's a bottle of Yuengling Porter being used as a marinade. It's supposed to be good.]

You may wonder why on earth we end up with pictures like this for the blog.
1) Tim.
2) Tim gets excited when I take out the mortar and pestle, and ran over with the camera right away. He likes seeing me pound things to a pulp.
3.) Tim's Note on the Philosophy of his photography.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Making Use of Our Storage Unit... FINALLY!

Sometime in April, Tim and I started packing up parts of the house in boxes for what we thought was going to be a relatively quick decision making process and a move. There were several reasons for this:
- We both have long commutes out of the city to work.
- Our place is pretty small - 804 square feet.
- Our condo fees keep going up, and the wage tax in Philly just isn't going away.
- We thought Tim might move to Costa Rica for awhile.

So, despite the fact that we love living here and we love being in Old City, it just seemed that things were not going our way to stay.

So, Tim rented a storage unit for us.

And we packed up a lot of stuff.

And then we waited.

And then we decided nothing.

And then we got busy.

And the piles of boxes were in my already small living room forever.

And we continued paying for our storage unit.

And I got increasingly more annoyed.

And winter hit and we had nothing warm to wear.

And actually had to start unpacking boxes.

And by this time I was almost livid.

So, you will be happy to hear that today, we drug our a**es out of bed at 6:30AM (despite having had a great dinner and drinks - more accurately drinks and dinner - with our friend Liz the night before, and feeling like we probably could have used more sleep), and we headed to the UHaul place. We brought the truck back and loaded up as much of the stuff as we could and headed over to the storage unit.

See here the (lack of) evidence of our labors!

[Who can see her floor? I can see my floor!]

[Oh yeah... Yello... anyone?]
[So, we didn't actually have boxes in the ceiling, but once Tim starts taking photos, it is hard to contain...and I guess this does provide a nice view of our propeller-like ceiling fan and melting clock.*]

[My little squatty liquor cabinet back in its proper accessible place by the window... And if I fail to mention the HDTV, Tim might divorce me. :-)]

[And by this point, I guess we are just showing off...]

[A close-up of the stitching. From the frame on the far left in the above picture.]

[Yes, it is a plant. Yes, it is alive. It is from my boss, Mary Lou. She specifically told me it is hearty. I believe she correctly made the mental association that the inability to bake and the tendency to kill plants were linked. Through the window you see the Ben Franklin Bridge.]

So, we finally have that out of the way. On to the next question - should we stay or should we go?

*I am obsessed with clocks - huge, artsy clocks. We have two clocks that are over a 3 feet in diameter and many other creative time keeping devices. As I type this, it does make me wonder why I don't wear a watch. Well, I guess it is because I check the time on my cell phone, and I always have my cell phone. I am one of those people who thinks she hears her cell phone ring and beep even when it isn't ringing or beeping. And I blame my previous employer for that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It Must Be Christmas Time...

Christmas, '07 was a relatively low drama, low hassle time for Tim and I. This was a very welcome break from too many years rushing around from place to place and not enjoying any of them as much as we should of as a result. Nonetheless, there were a few predictable activities that told us it was Christmas time.

[Kendra can't believe she's actually a part of her crazy family sometimes !!!]

1. Attending church multiple times in a 12 hour period.
We did the family thing the weekend before Christmas this year. As both of our families are full of good, church-going people, and both of our fathers are still pastors, it stands to reason that they all would invite us to attend their church. We chose two this year - the Saturday evening service at my sister's church, and the Sunday morning service at Tim's sister's church. We should be pretty set now until next year. :-)

2. Seeing both of our families.
We don't see our families nearly as much as we should - especially not all of them together. This year we saw most of my immediate family (Jason was not feeling well), and all of Tim's immediate family (plus Sam). We had a good time in both cases and had some good times of talking and playing games. I highly recommend Uno Attack! for your next family gathering.

[Kendra and Chris]

[Kendra and Jen]

3. Donkeys in the middle of the city.
I always look forward to the live nativity at 4th and Arch. It is a nice place to walk past on your way to do other errands, even if I do worry that the animals get too cold. All the dogs in the neighborhood seem to enjoy coming to say hello to the cow, donkey, sheep, goat, etc..

4. Tim and I celebrating Christmas with completely non-Christmas activities.
Since we are the couple that ordered a pizza and watched Carrie on TV on our wedding night, it really should surprise no one that we celebrated Christmas Day together by going to brunch at Tavern 17 in the Rittenhouse area (complete with mimosas) then walking over to The Bridge Theater to watch Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. We walked a lot that day - over 80 blocks total. The movie was very interesting and it was a nice day for a walk. My calves are still a bit sore, because (also predictably) I did not wear appropriate shoes for such a walk.

[Kendra sending out Christmas greetings to friends and family via text messaging]

So, that was our Christmas! I hope all of you had a great holiday!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

First Publication!!!

I'm pleased to announce the release of the first volume of my photography: "Documenting Life: 100 Images of Humanity and Nature; Captured by Timothy Wingert".

Thanks to online publisher Blurb, I've chosen 100 one of my favorite images from the Philippines, Australia, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, San Francisco, Philadelphia and some other odd locations around the globe and crafted them into a beautifully bound 10x8 book, available online in softcover or hardcover with full-color dust jacket.

It took a long while to pick out my favorite 100 images (I had about 150 chosen and I almost couldn't bear to cut it down any further, but I managed to in the end!) I'm quite pleased with the results, though...the 100 pictures really do capture the wide range of cultures, adventures and natural beauty that I've seen in the past few years. I was debating whether or not to put detailed descriptions of each shot, but decided to just list the title of the photograph and the location where it was taken. Maybe in the next book I'll write the backstory and circumstances behind the photographs and all the technical info for each, but for now it's just a collection of really pretty pictures that would look great on your coffee table!!

The book is now available for sale online through Blurb (get one now while I'm still unknown and my stuff is cheap!) through the link below.

100 Images of Huma...
By Captured by Timoth...

Monday, December 17, 2007

2 Years of Blog!!

Well, once again I'm back setting up audio and video for a certain year-end company broadcast- the same place in northern New Jersey where I was where the first post our blog was published and again at the one-year anniversary. Now another fabulous year has passed (we've been back from our overseas Philippines experience for over 16 months), and a whole new chapter of adventures and drama have been written and (most) have made it onto this wonderful electronic medium.

We hope that all of you have enjoyed reading our posts - and we know who you are - the web traffic trackers have let us in on some surprising, interesting, humorous and downright scary details about who visits our site (and when and why and for how long and etc, etc).

Kendra's been doing the majority of the posting lately (she's gotten the Blogger's Bug of thinking in blog-post-mode as things happen- this happened to me when we were in Manila alot.) I plan to take up some of my slack soon and share some of my inner thoughts as well.

So here I am again waiting for my co-workers in other venues around the country to get their gear operating and tested so I can get to my hotel and get some sleep (I've got one of the simpler sets for this one).

Kendra and I both send a big "Hello!" out to all our blog readers online and to our friends and family who we'll be seeing over the holidays and thereafter. You know where to find us or contact us, so don't be strangers.

Here's to another year!! -Tim

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Value Your Good Vision... Unless You Are Like Me...

... and have really horrible eyesight.

Eyesight which is normally corrected by my contacts or glasses, without which I can't see much more than 5 feet in front of me.

So, it only stands to reason that today on my walk, just as it was beginning to get dark, one of my contacts disappeared. To add insult to injury, it was the contact for my left eye, which is approximately twice as bad as my right eye. When I say "disappeared", what I hope I mean is that it simply fell out onto my clothes or the ground. What I fear I mean is that it rolled back in my head where it will break down in some fashion that results in a tumor 5 years down the road.

So, there was really nothing to do but complete my errands looking for all the world (I'm sure) like a half drugged slightly swaying fool. It is very hard to dodge human traffic when you can't really see them until they are almost on you. It also gets very confusing when you realize that, when blurry, a lot of people look like someone you know. I'm sure it is a little demoralizing for people who see me "walking" towards them with a huge smile on my face only to have it disappear when I get within 5 feet. There's no telling how many cases of paranoia I caused today.

Regardless, I'm back now, having trampled no people or small dogs, and I'm wearing my glasses.

So, if you are like Tim, and still have 20/20 vision, don't take it for granted.

[These are my real eyes... until lasiks]

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Gotta Peaceful, Easy Feeling

Feeling mostly all better and therefore released from my captivity, my luck is beginning to change.

I got home late tonight because I had a dentist appointment after work. It was just a cleaning, and I have no new cavities - just 2 teeth on the watch list for old work that might need redone. (Yay)!

When I got home, I walked down to South Street again, which is a walk of a bit over a mile each way. I needed to return my movies, check if Season 2 was in yet, and get a gift for my person for the Compass Secret Santa party tomorrow.

It started snowing as I walked. It seemed I hadn't seen the snow for a long time, but I'm sure that can't be the case. Most likely I saw the snow but didn't really experience it. It was nice to watch it drift down in the street lamps.

My walk was very nice and peaceful. I didn't notice the cold as much as I usually do.

When I got to South Street, Season 2 was in. (What luck)! The store I wanted to get my present at was open and they were even having a sale! (Can it get any better)?!

On the way home, I stopped at Mulberry Market to get a 6-pack and some bread and cheese, and I am making a small dinner now.

So, things are looking up tonight. :-)

Note: Tim is in Florida. He informs me it is 80 degrees there!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Malcontent (noun) - a person who is discontented or disgusted

I am so discontented today that I could literally carve my heart out with a butter knife just to have something else to focus on. This would actually serve two ends:

1) With no heart, my aching throat and perpetually runny nose would be of absolutely no consequence to me. It also would mean nothing to me at all that I am currently too sick to call one of my friends to head out into the cold night and actually have some fun.

2) I would get some use from the fact that all of our knives are clean, as I am trapped in an 804 square foot space all weekend with little else to do but clean, unpack from our trip, do laundry, do the bills, and try not to worry about the 50 other things hanging over my head that I can do exactly nothing about right now.

So, as I have tried to shake this feeling for the better part of the day without success, I will list some of the things I'd rather be doing just to see if that helps:

  • Last night I ventured to South Street to get a movie (without which my mood would be even worse now), and I stopped to get some fun nylons. I would much rather be at a nice dinner wearing an outfit which incorporates a pair of said fun new nylons.
  • My sister and mother spent all day hanging out and shopping. If feeling better, I would have even rather done that. (Despite the fact that "Christmas Shopping" combines two things I rather detest, the presence of my mom and sister makes up for it).
  • I would also like to see the movie Beowulf, and was hoping to have seen it this weekend.
  • I also would love to be getting my hair done again. It has been awhile, and I'm starting to feel oh-so-conservative with my single length, getting longer, almost 2 or 3 colors only hair.
  • This reminds me that I need to get my eyebrows waxed again. But I might just have to try to touch them up myself. This would actually be rebellious in a fun sort of way, since both my sister and my waxing lady have more or less issued a restraining order for me from my tweasers. Something about "I don't know when to stop".... suuuure.
Well, I guess I'll stop there. I'm feeling a bit better already... now if only I didn't have to actually log on and pay all these bills stacked up before me...