Tuesday, May 11, 2010
As both of you know (both being you two who RSS this blog), the frequency with which I've been posting has been low. I think that has had a lot to do with my personal plateau of transmission and digestion of social media and my need to have a voice. Well, my need for a voice has always moved forward, but my need to express that, in this way, has always been conflicted. I think the best gift I could give as a "blogger" is to be more committed to posting genuine, inspired content rather than content for activity's sake. I stand by that. In fact, it points to the rewards of following a site or blog in an automated way, because I don't use up the currency of your interest in my content.
I have no plans to increase my posting regularity, though I am hoping that more posting will come out organically and feel somewhat necessary. Or worth while.
I also think I've felt a dull pressure to subscribe or revolt against photography blog paradigms, and in the end chose to abstain from following forces in any direction. After all, no answer, is, still an answer.
But there are new catalysts in my creative flow, and I think they will help generate more content. They are video, and gaming. These two things have been captivating my attention for a while now, and I'm beginning to find my sea-legs. More than other things I've pursued, I feel less self-conscious about how rudimentary my current efforts are. I've always wanted to present a finished, perfect result. And now I'm not so committed to that, as it's felt like a handicap, rather than a positive trait.
That being said, I'd like to share some interviews I did at the WCG Ultimate Gamer, Season 2, open casting call in NYC. They are limited. Or succinct. I guess that is to say I'd like to go a whole lot further. But what I do feel I accomplished is the beginning of a broader conversation. One that not only affords these pro gamers a space to speak and express beyond sound bytes and stereotypes. But also a space that makes them actually think through the answers. And maybe even change their minds or consider points of view they'd not previously stood behind.
How often do you get to hear a celebrity athlete talk about things that are personal or personally interesting to him? And how many of those are NOT publicity tripe, bootstrap struggles or apologies?
These people want to talk. And I want to nurture that while they're still allowed.
Here are three randomly chosen entries from that day. There are more in the Gamers Album on my Vimeo page that you can click to.
Trevor Housten gives a little background on how and why he plays games. I'm sure if you look in the Birthday book, whatever his birthday is matches the description exactly. I found him to be a fascinating guy, and a complex thinker. I'm looking forward to watching him play and hearing him talk about gameplay in detail.
Shidosha Hodges proves the case for celebrity being about character. Yes, to a degree you're born with it. And very clearly he's adopted the tropes of hyping oneself up without bragging. But there's an evenness in his timber that feels like he believes every bit of way he's laying down for his audience.
Trevor Scanlon makes a reasonable, though contestable argument. There are holes in it, but for the most part, I agree with his take on the magnitude of the audience to narrative ratio.
At this point, I am taking all kinds of notes about what you think is successful or unsuccessful about these pieces. Though I've likely criticized the unsuccessful parts already. I'd love to hear what you would like to see, or see more of in this type of content. This goes doubly for those who are not already interested or familiar with gaming or competitive gaming.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I have a lot to say about competitive gamers, gaming culture and the gaming industry. Perceptions of what is real, what is valuable and what is sellable are obviously subjective. But this weekend, I got a strong confirmation that my perceptions and beliefs are not only valid and evident, but also that they are shared.
World Cyber Games held open call auditions for their second season of Ultimate Gamer this weekend, and I went to shoot some portraits. I was excited to see so many people I already knew. And thrilled to meet even more for the first time. Different than a tournament, this gathering was more like a convention. Many people knew each other already, or had a friend in common. Some even met people they'd only watched, heard about, played against or talked to online. And there was a genuine sweetness to the thrill they got from actually getting to wait around in the same room as someone with in-circuit notoriety.
And yet, these connections were totally accessible. There was no autograph signing. No crowds. Just like minded individuals hanging out. In fact, the great equalizer, is that they all were trying, hoping (some with better chances than others) to make it onto this show. A show that, with all it's debatable shortcomings, or canny networkiness, has the best chance of pinning its thumb down on the beginning of a new era for pro gaming and the gamer-as-celebrity-athlete.
That chance rests less in big name sponsorships and high-profile brand exclusivity than it does in the fostering and presentation of gamers as a community. Not a union, yet. Not a demographic. And certainly not a stereotype. But an intelligent, fun loving and semi-serious group of diverse human beings. Relatable and with personal drive and feelings beneath the base coat of "ass kicking". There are interesting stories there.
Okay, I could go on and on. Please look for upcoming video vignettes that I also shot this weekend. I think they can speak better than I can.
Many thanks to all the excellent people who sat for portraits and interviews this weekend. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The Yes Men are hard to explain. If you don't already know them, you can check out some of their exploits here. But when I heard they were staging another event, I decided to get involved. And I figured, if I was going to get involved, I'd go whole hog, and show up at my designated meet up point at 4am, rather than waiting it out till later in the morning.
Our task was to hand out newspapers that had compelling information about global warming. The papers happened to look a lot like The New York Post. We ran into a little bit of resistance in front of the Time Warner building. But with a little classic passive resistance and conscientious objection one of my new "delivery buddies", Dakin Hart, gave me a good lesson in a type of activism that I felt like I had missed by decades. That, if nothing else, made the whole day worth it.
And also the fat cat with the pipe who threw away the paper, and then proceeded to try to talk shop with me about my camera.
We explained that this was different than the Post he was already carrying. A supplement.
After my boys Children of the Night qualified at Brooklyn Bodega's "Show and Prove" to perform at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, I decided to join them to document their experience. I saw some of my favorite artists, and made a few new ones as well.
A brother seamus?
Versa and Remy of Children of the Night
Black Thought of the Roots
I named one of my hard drives after him
Simon Says, "Get the fuck up!"