Speaking through pixels

The facticity of a photo also lies within the pixels themselves, en route to perception. What we see is what we get. #gif #instagram #amwriting
art by Maximillian Piras

We take pictures intending to show someone else — whether it’s our Instagram followers or our family and friends.

But the illusion of infinite shelf space keeps so many pictures on the phone, gone and long forgotten.

Photos should not be stashed away in the closet or hoarded on the hard drive for safekeeping. Even the snap-happy tourist collects a souvenir of the present that few eyeballs witness.

Photography binds us

We communicate in images. And each viewer brings to the picture their interpretation of the truth.

But the facticity of each photo lies within the intensity of the pixels themselves, en route to perception. We can never look close enough.

Just imagine what it’s like when we train the eye to see.

Taste in choice

gif by Emma Darvick

Pick a playlist and let it roll. We leave little of no time for hand-selection or any form of curation because we let the algorithm take over.

Since when did algorithms become the arbiter of taste?

Great art intends to stretch taste rather than follow mathematical formulas. The best music is unpredictable, spontaneously discovered in digging through the crates.

Researching new music, books, etc., is an active and selective process. We remember where we were when we find something new — there’s a story. Like an appreciation for wine, hand selection is subjective and tastes extra good because we found it!

Playing tastemaker is time-consuming. But that’s the point. Better to seek different than sucked into the generic maelstrom of style that pulls from the so-called wisdom of crowds.

Less is best

We achieve breakthroughs because of restraints, not because of profundity.

There’s a reason we feel happy when someone removes the cashews at a party; given a choice, we’d keep chowing down on them.

A surfeit of choice creates self-control problems. When we have a limited offer on what we can use, eat, etc., we’re more careful in our entire approach.

Constriction is a passport to better decision making, a challenge of a challenge, that forces us to innovate or cope with what we already have.

Everything else appears as a pleasant surprise.

Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn

London-based artist Julie Cockburn discovers old prints of primarily faces and landscapes and uses hand embroidery, ink, and paint turn them into neat-looking collages.

Once I have committed to the designed image, the needlework has to be perfect — there is no longer room for play or error. The result is that each embroidered motif is a gesture of integrity that becomes a part of the old, often dilapidated print.

Julie Cockburn (source: FT)

She says her work requires incredible patience as its slow and methodical.

After she photocopies a print, she sketches over it to find an aesthetic that works. She then spends the next five days to two weeks stitching over the template.

Cockburn is proof that any image can be converted into something more interesting and meaningful.

Take a look at some of her glorious pieces below. Follow her on Instagram.

Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn
Embroidering reality: the photographs of artist Julie Cockburn

Tying together the world’s attention triggers

Walking with our steady cam, our eyes scan the world. See enough, we write it down.

The more we get down, the more connections we can make — the more disparate items we can intermix the better.

Should we not lace anything, we wait. We given the brain a night’s rest so it can untangle shaggy shapes into coherent bodies of thought.

All of a sudden the ideas come without asking for them, all by turning off.

Reality is a catalog of attention triggers. It is our job to draw analogies across divergent subjects.

Create your own luck

gif by Sam Taylor

Luck is magic. But magic tricks take preparation.

There’s a lot of work into making it look easy. It’s no surprise that the best things happen to people that are ready to welcome and execute opportunity.

If you’ve been lucky, you know immediately or not whether you deserve it. Even the meek recognize a moment of earned fortune.

Luck is preparedness

Beginner's luck only happens in cards. The practice is non-negotiable. Diligence increases your chances of success.

So the experienced photographer is adept at capturing the key shot. The persistent scientist stumbles upon synchronicities between different compounds. Eureka moments are a myth to the dedicated.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Know when to focus down like a hedgehog and expose yourself to as many diverse experiences as possible like a fox.

Put in the effort and you'll learn how to manufacture your own luck if it doesn't already meet your halfway.

De-essentalizing the response

We’re never safe from the torch of fear and anxiety.

The only thing we can control is our reaction to the current circumstances.

Wrote the poet John Milton in the seventeenth century: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

When we reach the end of our life, our experience will be an accumulation of responses.

What we process and pay attention to is what we become. Distractions are a fungus.

Inculcating calmness helps preempt the of dizziness each stimulus.

Unless we develop the steadiness of thoughts, the world will always find a way to intrude on our ideals.

Best moving on then unpinned from the forced manipulation of other people’s identities.

Bending meaning with Max Ernst

Twists and turns, intended distortions, randomness and the irrational all stitched into a collage.

Abstraction makes it compelling. Becoming interested in its weirdness makes it less strange.

To break the rules is human. Thinking different frees one from the cage of conformity and dumps water over a fire of paralysis.

Max Ernst flirted beyond painting, incorporating bits of catalogs and photos to take them in ‘wonderful directions.' He intended to complicate the rigidness of reality.