Sunday, September 26, 2010

Verbal Definition

A definition of "Busyness" as written in the, "Buried by Busy" Relevant magazine article:

Get up early. Go to bed late. Attack the inbox. Make lists. Relate. Send texts. Keep up with friends. Don't miss opportunities. Make it to the end. Accomplish. Plan. Go fast. Work it. Shoot for the moon. Don't be last. Run. God. Don't eat that. Lead the meeting. Cover the shift. Go to class. Mish-mash. "Gotta tweet that, share that, digg that."

Forget that.

Busyness is a modern status symbol, the currency of social capital. We lament this situation and yet still brag about it--even while it overwhelms us.

This definition and explanation is successful because it goes beyond telling the literal definition of busy and offers a personal understanding of what busy actually feels like. It lists several unrelated tasks with no space and game plan in between to recreate that familiar overwhelming feeling. The last two sentences also go a bit farther (as a transition into the article) to explain the plight of the hate and love relationship of busyness.

Visual Definition

This photograph, the opening image to a Relevant magazine article, is a literal visual of being buried by busy. This image translates each of the many sticky-notes without needing to be read because their positioning shows them taking over the man.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Is anyone else as nervous as I am with the new UB website? ( After three years, I am finally getting a handle on this one. The links are more concerning than anything else. Navigation is huge, especially for those like myself who manage a department's website and have to be knee deep in it's quarks all week. While it's not complete yet, the main interface seems very vague and, since first level links are on the top and left-hand side, I worry that the link locations won't remain consistently placed with each click. But perhaps I am worrying too much. I have confidence that UB's web architecture designers will surprise and delight us all.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free Exchange

I awoke in a cold sweat when I realized I was yet to blog. Shaken and full of thoughts, I approached my computer, and began to type. Then I stopped to think:

Why am I giving away ideas for free anyway?

There was a time when ideas were precious and valued. Ideas collected in books, conversations converted to plays, and emotions captured as poetry could be printed, sold, and (more or less) capitalized on as a source of income. Images painted, photographed, sketched, and digitized used to be swiftly protected. Now images are being shared freely and without much concern to for who has that image and what they use it for. In the same way, blogs are delivering not only information, but pure patentable ideas.

How many books could have been written, rather than page by page of blog. How many artists wouldn't be struggling (as much) if there wasn't already a massive pile of accessible free-for-all images? The downside to this free sharing of images, writing, and ideas is that a lot of wonderful and interesting things may be lost in a sea of websites; things that might otherwise have been documented and distributed more visibly. Also, less attention may be given to blogs and online images since people click to the next web page faster than they will run to switch books.

On the other hand, blogs and image sharing allow for an online communication between writer/artist and viewer; communication that wasn't as possible, if at all, in the past. I do worry that there is not as much social impact from a blog and image sharing than there is from a book signing, a published book, or an exhibition.

All of these things aside, the hope is that blogs and image sharing compliment published books and exhibited art, and never to attempt replace it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Forks & Food Photography

Never-mind the burnt end of the fry and the rancid quality of the meat. This fork has been positioned to resemble a pitchfork. Since when does food that says, "I've been hanging out in the barn" been appetizing?

This smooth and flawless fork takes a back seat in it's visibility to the primary topic: the veggies! This fork serves bright salad greens, a detailed yellow pepper, and a juicy ripe tomato to the viewer, saying, "your fresh perfected salad is served."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Faded

There is a difference between good food photography, bad food photography and faded food photography. Each sends out a different message.

This burger photo, for example, is poor photography not because it is revolting, but because it is faded and dated. This faded burger image says, "I was doused with sauce about 60 years ago and I belong in a old dinner menu on the side of route 66."

This burger is in vivid color, but that is no matter because the burger itself sends a negative message. This burger says, "My bread was run over by a truck, and my meat and cheese were up-choked by the last unsuspecting person to order me". This burger, while it may taste wonderfully, looks like it was thrown together in an unappealing manor.

This is a great example of good food photography. Sure it could benefit from a bit more depth and contrast, but overall it is neatly constructed with care, and is in vivid color. This burger says, "My maker spent quality time constructing me and grilling me to perfection. I am a burger worthy of your five dollar bill. And if you think my looks are amazing, wait until you taste me!"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bad food photo for this and any article

This apple looks obscenely fake and the person in the photo is cropprd at an akward location just above a nasty mole which should have been cropped out. The other inages in the photo are out of focus and don't even allude to any object in particular. Though this photo was intended to illustrate the potential danger of razers in halloween trick or treating snacks with its shiney non-suspicious apple and the dark ominous background, but it is simply too vague to send this or any direct message other than pure indecision.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Power of Design

Consider this: visual communication has the power to persuade thoughts, desires, actions, and over time, shape society. What effect has it already had? TV commercials make our mouths water for a burger as the slow motion of sizzle makes cholesterol the last thought in our minds. A billboard of the latest Lexus or BMW gives us a yearning for luxury and adventure. Even the enhanced sound of an ice cold Cola fizzing open and pouring into a glass will make us forget that beverage can also be used as drain cleaner. Why are these visual and audio messages so enticing? Well, often times they are selling more than food or cars. More than likely, they are selling a lifestyle, a feeling, or a dream. Of course, much of this power lies in the hands of designers. (No pressure or anything.) How will your design influence the world?