Tag Archives | Island

…It’s Website Wednesday: The Manhattan Street Corners?

The Manhattan Street Corners

Richard Howe is a dedicated man.

His project, called The Manhattan Street Corners, involves him creating “a comprehensive photographic portrait of everyday life at street level in daytime Manhattan”.

The Manhattan Street Corners 2

To do this, he “systematically photographed each and every one of the island’s roughly 11,000 street corners (the exact number is a matter of definition and, in some ambiguous instances, even a matter of judgment).”

One of my intentions in undertaking The Manhattan Street Corners project was to catch the island at a single, if necessarily extended, moment in its history, which meant taking the photographs in the shortest time possible for me working alone.

I began photographing in mid-March, 2006, and finished in mid-November of that year. A total of 82 shooting days were required. About a third of the days in this eight-month period were either unsuitable, weather-wise, for shooting, or were pre-empted by other obligations. The initial post-production work (downloading, backing up, provisional editing, etc.) following each shoot typically took up another whole day.

Afterwards, in 2007, I caught a handful of corners I found I had missed along the way and also did some necessary reshooting. I still, occasionally, discover another missed corner or decide to reshoot one. These post-2006 photographs amount to perhaps 2% of the total.

I photographed each corner just as I found it, almost always as seen from its diagonally opposite corner. Some of the photographs have no people and no traffic, others are completely dominated by people or even, in some instances, by traffic; the majority are somewhere in between. Most of the photographs simply show what people were doing on the corner when I got there: crossing the street or waiting to cross it, shopping, hanging out, riding a bicycle, and so on — in short, doing what people do at almost any street corner anywhere in Manhattan.

I composed the photographs fairly uniformly, but not obsessively so, across the whole set, with eye-level more or less centered vertically and the corners themselves more or less centered horizontally, though the variance in both is large, especially in the placement of the corner horizontally. The field of view varies considerably, ranging from wide-angle to fairly close-up, in accord with my sense of the corner at the time. I settled on the 1 x 3 panoramic aspect ratio in order to concentrate the images on the human, sidewalk level of the streets.

Besides cropping, the images have been processed to correct perspective, to ameliorate lens and camera distortions, and to adjust exposure, white balance, saturation, and other general image parameters. I have not retouched any of the photographs.

If that’s not impressive art, then I don’t know what is! If you’d like to see more, then be sure to check out his site, because he’s archived more than half of the photos that he took, and will be adding more as he can process and post them.

[The Manhattan Street Corners]

[Via: Kottke]

…It’s TGI Friday: Shore Siege?

Shore Siege

Yarrr!

In Shore Siege, ye be shipwrecked on an island full ‘o’ monsters. You must defend your ship against countless hordes of vile beast and repair the ship to the point where ye can escape!

Thankfully, ye old pirate engineers are able to develop specific weapons to defeat the monsters ‘o’ the isle, and you must use these weapons to strategically defeat ye enemy while saving up enough doubloons to patch yer ship.

Are you ready to set sail?

Good luck, matey!

[Shore Siege]

…It’s Movie Monday: I Am Legend?

I Am Legend PosterI Am Legend felt like a good idea that no one knew what to do with.

There were a few shining stars:

Will Smith’s acting was superb, in a Tom Hanks on an island sort of way, and you really feel for him as he navigates the empty streets of New York with Sam, his devoted dog, and his slowly fading sanity as he tries his best to cure the zombied world around him.

The CGI work was also superb, and you will easily believe that New York was stripped bare and left to sit for a few years to give it that true, hasn’t seen humans in a while look and feel.

However, there were also a few disappointments:

The story was…less than superb. It starts out slow, which is fine, since Will is, after all, alone, except for his dog, so he doesn’t exactly have a lot to do. He spends his time driving around the emptied streets in abandoned sports cars, hunting for deer that now roam those streets, teeing off on the back of an aircraft carrier, and, when he has a few spare moments, trying to cure the zombie disease that has killed off the rest of the world. And hiding from darkness. This takes up most of his time, and most of the first half of the movie is spent setting this groundwork for the story that you think will come.

Unfortunately, the second half of the film doesn’t do much better. There are a few moments when the pace picks up, and you begin to feel as if something is actually going to happen, but they’re few and far between, and you’re soon lulled into a sedated state as you begin to simply watch Will live. Then, the end of the film arrives, and it comes so abruptly that you hardly have time to comprehend what’s going on. Just as quickly as it began, the lights flick back and on you’re left sitting in your chair with a strong feeling of “Meh.”

The story also suffers from the problem of “Well, isn’t that convenient.” Every time something needs to happen, it does, and every time you see a movie cliché building, it doesn’t fail to disappoint. I can only think of one twist that I didn’t see coming, but even that twist seemed forced and didn’t make much sense when you consider what was discussed during the preceding parts of the movie. The ending basically rounded out the whole film, as it managed to be both conveniently timed and cliché filled.

I Am Legend just feels like a film that relied on a lot of CGI and Will Smith to cover up a thin plot and poor, cliché details. It lacked the scare that it needed to be a good horror film, the emotion that it needed to be a good ‘man on an island’ film, and the twists and turns it needed to be a good action/adventure film. Instead, it forces its way through a butchering of Richard Matheson’s story, and avoids anything that could have made this a great film.

[I Am Legend]

[Rotten Tomatoes – I Am Legend]

[IMDb – I Am Legend]

[Wikipedia – I Am Legend]

…Nauru does billion-dollar laundry?

Nauru Flag

What does a billion-dollar bank look like?

If you said a shack on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, you would unfortunately be correct.

This shack, located on the eight square miles of the island nation of Nauru (a tiny island of 13,500 people located 1,200 miles east of New Guinea) has seen billions of dollars flushed through its system recently, as those that are working with less than legal tender are looking to the island for its money laundering services.

It wasn’t always this way though, as Nauru used to be a prosperous phosphate mine, until the bird dropping based wealth was sucked form the land, leaving little more than a crater and a distant memory of prosperous times.

Recently, Jack Hitt of The New York Times had a chance to tour this highly unlikely bank, and his resulting report is a great read about a country that can’t find its way, and the things that they do to survive.

Care to make a deposit?

[The New York Times – The Billion-Dollar Shack]

[Wikipedia – Nauru]

…Some news stories don’t need many words?

Here are two pictures that tell quite a tale:

Gibson And Boo Boo

The first is Gibson and Boo Boo, the world’s tallest and the world’s smallest dog, meeting for the first time in Sacramento, California for Guinness World Records Day, 2007. On his hind legs, Gibson stands at over 7 feet tall, while Boo Boo checks in at just 4.9 inches.

Banana Shoreline

The second is the shoreline of two Dutch North Sea islands after six containers of bananas fell off of a cargo ship during a storm and washed ashore. After the spill, the shoreline was bananas, B.A.N.A.N.A.S.

[Dogs Via: Spluch]

[Bananas Via: Yahoo!]