Rogue lines, a photoset

The square lines represent a movement.

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Sometimes lines appear infinite.

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On different occasions, the lines blur.

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Lines also run diagonally.

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Lines can get squiggly, as in life.

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Lines like to find the holes, blurring their objects.

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All lines are nonetheless imaginary, even arbitrary, a simulation of code drawn from the head.

PS. ‘The map is not the territory‘ and ‘This is not an apple

All photos by Wells Baum


Human rationality and craziness

Human rationality and craziness
via giphy

The most successful people are both rational and crazy.

As much as robots and artificial intelligence threaten our creativity, there will be some people who cultivate the randomness of thought to continue innovating.

Wrote Jean-Luc Godard: “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.”

See the world, not its model

Patterns beg to be synthesized, broken down and encrusted with ingenuity to make something new.

Humans envision the future and work backward, mostly through the freedom of trial and error. They see holes and fill them in with new opportunities.

Folks may never know where they are going, but that is exactly how they get there.

AMERICANS — Indians in American life

Seminoles, Braves, Redskins — Indian culture permeates American life from sports teams to table-top advertising.

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Panorama by Wells Baum

Upon entering the exhibit, there’s a sign titled Indians are everywhere in American life that reads:

 “These images are worth a closer look. What if they are not trivial? What if they are instead symbols of great power? What if the stories they tell reveal a buried history — and a country forever fascinated, conflicted, and shaped by its relationship with American Indians?”

Did you know that Native American Ira Hayes was one of the six Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima?

video via Wikimedia Commons

The many variations of Native American flags.

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All photos by Wells Baum

Stuck in traffic 🚦

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Nowhere to go, a forced patience at the mercy of algorithmic street lights.

No right on red, Big Brother proclaims.

When we’re stuck at the corner, there isn’t more to do than look at the variations of our surroundings.

The city never stops. Why should its people, albeit looking blankly inscrutable?

PS

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”

Winston Churchill

Enjoying the silence of GIFs

giphy-downsized-large-1The mind fills a silent GIF with sound.

The flags flickering in the wind, the lightbulb dancing at a Mexico City bar, to the whistle of leaves swinging outside your window.

Living in the distraction era, noise is ubiquitous. Standing still, the decibels around turn up to match the horizon.

But the calmer it becomes, the more you hear.

Silence deafens the external stimuli. In nature, it rings with the the highest volume.

TuRn it up!

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Walden, water, and wifi

Photo by Wells Baum

One day we’re going to miss the powerful silence of the natural world, the way it smells and begs for an inquisition. That’s because “most people are on the world, not in it,” wrote the father of national parks John Muir.

In putting a “fence around nature,” we lock ourselves into a secluded wall of emotional current.

Nature nurtures, it humbles our deepest desires. Because we can’t control the skies, nor the mercurial blob of ourselves, we must give in to nature’s fickleness and beauty.

We’re going to be shocked when we wake up from digital’s second life and realize that becoming also means embracing the evolving whims of those things around us. We are overpowered by the Earth’s forces.

Perhaps naturalist Bernd Heinrich said it best:

“We all want to be associated with something greater and more beautiful than ourselves, and nature is the ultimate. I just think it is the one thing we can all agree on.”

Weathered or not in New York

The weathered we address: What kind of weathered is it?

It contains multitudes.

Graffitied

Exhausted

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Chipped

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Bruised

Split Tourist

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Weather-ed

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Exposed

Repaved

Rushed

….Retrofitted and restored

Processed with VSCOcam with m4 preset

Weathered rock or stone, broken glass, ruptured pavement, blinding headaches, winters wear down New York but its city dwellers weather in, on, and through in flexible shifts.

All photos by Wells Baum

 

From foam parties to climbing Machu Picchu, my favorite images of the year

Let’s start off with the least significant photo of the year.

I shot the below soap bubble pool party while on vacation in the Dominican Republic.

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Photo by Wells Baum

While it’s my most downloaded photo on Unsplash, the only thing it reminds me of is the period where I was trying to finish up my book. Stuck in writer’s block, I remember walking around the hotel looking for inspiration when I heard party music and noticed large bath bubbles floating through the air. The 90s MTV-esque ‘spring break’ foam party was the perfect distraction from the agony of the unfinished manuscript.

What’s popular isn’t always what matters

However, my most meaningful photo from this year had to be the time my wife I and walked up Machu Picchu mountain. It was a true test of fitness, a devious mountain that tricked you into thinking the top was always closer than it was. It took an hour to go up and another hour to go down. But when you finished, we got to write our names in the logbook.

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Photo by Wells Baum

Here’s a few more…

Ascending Museo Soumaya

I spent a few days in Mexico City last week. One of our stops included The Museo Soumaya building in the upscale Miguel Hidalgo district.

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Photos by Wells Baum

Designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero, the curvy-shaped building contains five floors of European art, including the sculptures of Auguste Rodin.

The above picture shows my older brother ascending the stairs leading to the museum’s main entrance. More images below.

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The cheeky faces of Mexico City

From the masks of Mexico City’s cheeky lucha libra wrestlers to the walls of art in dive bars and parks, to the boyhood fervor of an old man in his special puppet, Mexico City is very much a lived experience. To quote Edward Burnett Tylor:

“Taking it as a whole, Mexico is a grand city, and, as Cortes truly said, its situation is marvellous.”

First stillness, then catastrophe

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Photo by Wells Baum

Transformation can be exciting, but it can also be retrograde.

Change doesn’t mean better. Boredom with the status quo can sometimes beget darkness.

The function of play, a style of art, a kind of government, are meant to be noisy but unrestricted.

The stimulation of calm and collected still leaves space for the unimaginable and disruptive. However, going back seems to be an evil obsession at the present and the unfortunate direction of the future.

Transformation opposes progress?

 

Experiments in pink + orange

What’s interesting about distortion is that ordinary photos or videos can instantly become more interesting. VSCO has some excellent filters for converting your photos into different looks.

While my favorite is still the Nike Sportswear Mars-like filter, I love the pink, blue, and orange effects as part of the VSCO D-series.

All photography is in the edit

When you experiment with visuals in post-production, you never know what you’re going to get.