The State Of The Web; It’s Not The Medium That’s The Message
The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.--Andrew Brown
Recently Adobe's CEO Bruce Chizen announced that all their applications would move online within 10 years. The same day I saw a headline that "Comcast Blocks Some Internet Traffic," referring to the nation's second largest broadband provider interfering with attempts by its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files. OK, working with Photoshop online may not be file sharing but it's still pumping big files back and forth and if companies like Comcast decide that's too much bandwidth they could resort to tactics described by Peter Svensson in a recent AP story. "The practice of managing the flow of Internet data is known as `traffic shaping,' and is already widespread among Internet service providers. It usually involves slowing down some forms of traffic, like file sharing, while giving others priority." So if your Internet service seems slow today, you may be a victim of traffic shaping or just crappy service. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. I don't want my Photoshop work affected by these practices and prefer to keep my imaging offline and under my control. Are you listening, Mr. Chizen?
The "About" section of Scott Stulberg's website begins with a Proustian quote but before you think he's gonna get all modernist on your nether regions read where he says a photograph is seen with the eye but "is made with the mind," and to quote Russell Crowe, "it's a beautiful mind." The fotos are collected in nine different galleries, including the lush and mostly monochrome images in "Shades of Gray" (nudity warning) that offers a glimpse into a mind refusing to be pigeonholed. His genre-bending image of a baby in a bassinet is so open to interpretation that I'd love to hear yours. Stulberg shifts gears in "Africa 2007," channeling Ernst Haas one moment before shifting to his own accessible style that combines fine art with a friendly smile and bears absolutely no resemblance to any of his monochrome photographs.
"Far Away Places" takes armchair adventurers to locations we can only dream about visiting and are captured with a sense of childlike wonder (it's no wonder Stulberg's images of children seem so connected) that is seldom seen in travel photography. The "Some New Things" gallery contains a series of fashionable portraits that look like they were made by somebody else and include a few urban architectural images that display twisty composition and a flare for the dramatic. Stulberg is a photographer of a thousand faces whose images display a versatility and virtuosity unmatched in contemporary photography.
Brian McCarty photographs toys. Not just pictures of toys but elaborate scenarios in which art toys are placed in weird and wacky surroundings, creating playful images that are as much fun to roll around in as a ball pit. His Portfolio contains eight unnamed sets so start at the front and prepare to be amused. "Set 01" opens with an underwater photograph of a toy giant (an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp?) squid attacking a toy submarine in a swimming pool while a diver in the background looks on. By now, you have a good idea of what kind of images you'll encounter and McCarty never disappoints.
A group of punk rocker figures are photographed inside a tunnel (yes, there is light at the end) and moves on with toy noire images captured inside parking garages--one bad boy hiding a gun behind his back--and under overpasses. There is even a set of prison toys and sexy realistic dolls (toy semi-nudity warning) that make this a site not recommended for the kiddies. McCarty's flawless style and technique elevates these images from mere pictures of yard gnomes in incongruous settings à la Amelie to that of a pop art William Eggleston. I also loved McCarty's funky '60s site design and my only quibble is I wished the images were larger because they are so full of joie de vivre.