Inspired by New Eyes

 

01Learning new things can be part of the joy of going to a museum. I was familiar with the responsibilities of the audio person credited as the Folley Artist but never knew it was in recognition of an individual. At the Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY I learned a little bit about this man that made a very significant contribution to many forms of entertainment. Why did none of the great audio engineers I worked with never tell me that? Naturally there is a “boom shadow” in my frame. A few will understand.

02Anybody that knows me is aware I’m not a big fan of comedy. I only saw Blazing Saddles after it was listed in the top 100 films of last century. I do however understand & appreciate the role of comedy in entertainment, culture & history so going to the new Comedy Center was something I was looking forward to. A significant foundation of this museum is the contribution of George Carlin’s archive given by his daughter Kelly. The advisory board is represented by both well know active comedians as well as “seasoned” multi-disciplined performers & their families.

03All aspects of comedy from stand-up to cartoon strips & every media in between is well represented. As a child of the 60’s the TV room was one of my favorite displays. As with many of the exhibits your “personalized chip” on your wristband helps create a customized presentation to genre or comedian. Most multi-screen programs I have seen are filled with visual clutter. At the Comedy Center it is very well programed. Dave Taylor…you need to see this. The only disappointment was in the holographic presentation. With refinements it may become better. For now it seems to be a presentation medium in it’s infancy.

04I know & respect that Chautauqua County, where this is located, has a conservative population. I was curious as to how they would handle the profanity component of comedy. They choose a simple but effective solution called the “Blue Room”. If you are offended by words don’t go in. I learned of a connection between Carlin & Lenny Bruce I wasn’t aware of. In a photo of Bruce being arrested you see Carlin in the background also being arrested. In this photo from the Blue Room, notice the speaker in the parabolic dome hanging from the ceiling. It is focusing the audio for the viewers in front of the screen while reducing the “audio clutter”. VERY WELL done! The attention to visual & audio details throughout the center is some of the best I’ve ever seen.

05It is amazing that one individual can have such a significant impact in a way few could ever imagine. The seed of an idea to honor a local celebrity has grown into a world-class memorial to her craft. It began with a collection of memorabilia of one of the most significant & powerful entertainment couples in television at the Lucy & Desi Museum. Now, at the National Comedy Center a few blocks away, are archived some of the most influential, & funny, materials from generations of “A List” comedians that make us laugh by looking at our world thru different glasses.

06The ARTECHOUSE in DC was showing an “Immersive, Interactive Installation” which blended projected digital art with motion sensors. The lighting environment was superb for the primary room while the dominate images of Cherry Blossoms by Sukura Yume floated on the walls. The sensitivity of the sensors allowed visitors to interact with the floating flowers causing mostly subtle changes in the displays. The centered calligraphy display by Aoi Yamaguchi, was an intriguing component that provided a static dimension to the flowing relaxing space. The soundtrack of the room was done by Debrina.

07This young lady was demonstration the most effective way to interact with the artwork. In a position where the motion sensors could easily detect her she was slowly moving using broad gestures that resembled a yoga routine. Her connection to the art was in a very personal space. To describe the room to people of my generation it was like taking a journey on The Yellow Submarine thru a bowl of cereal made by Peter Max while listening to an 8 Track of Ravi Shankar.

08The Koi Pie 3D sculpture by Nathan Solomon & Karan Parikh was created using computer controlled machines then primed & painted with special video screen paint to display detailed projections. The real time interaction with this smaller dynamic sculpture with fine detail brought art into a more intimate space.

09Bloom by Story Lab was my favorite piece. It did not have any pre-developed background. The table was a clean canvas where only the movements of the people were used to create splashes of color. With no disrespect to the artists it was like finger painting without any of the mess. Here at ARTECHOUSE & at The National Comedy Center I found examples of why I love digital. The interaction of storytelling, technology & art can inspire even an old-school visitor.

Inspired by Quality

01Each of us has unique skills, knowledge, interests & experiences that define what we like. For Dave Taylor, diverse & broad are two adjectives I would use to describe the artistic influences of his life & his home. We share an appreciation for Frank Lloyd Wright as well as interests in perspectives of mass communication. I am glad to call him a friend.

02I first met Dave working on HBO Boxing sometime in the mid 90’s. He was one of the first “next-gens” that understood the mechanics of Remote Live TV. He had recently graduated from the ASU/Walter Cronkite school. Years later I found out he indeed met “Uncle Wally” He also had the digital perspective to quickly utilize a new tool called EVS. This Hard Drive Replay device would rapidly change the formatting of Live TV Remotes. The device picked up the nickname of ELVIS. Dave could make it sing.

03Unlike many mid-life singles, he has a keen sense for integrating style with function in his home. By his own admission, he’s an UberGeek. He is designing & building a programmable home theater. As an example, ifyou want to watch Kubrick’s film 2001 Space Odyssey…he likes Stanley as I do…he has programed a 20-minute mix of music from that era.  Monitors, mounted vertically, show posters of other films from 1968.  All of this is to set the mood while enjoying a cocktail. The Prairie style columns with Frank Lloyd Wright inspired inserts are a design touch that can’t be ignored.

04 copyThe sound system is tuned for the back 2 seats & the distance from the 102-inch screen is set for immersive panoramic viewing. As music from the era fades the lighting dips & the movie begins. If you want he can also program previews from other films from that year. It is still a work in progress because he realizes it takes time to achieve quality. His vision blends technology & style creating a unique media experience.

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His antique electronic toys are classic home Audio Video. The Philco Predicta Pedestal set is wired to show DVD’s so we watched an episode of the Twilight Zone. Since Dave is about a generation younger than me I asked him what influenced his style. He quickly replied that Mad Med influenced his appreciation for an old school perspective. He also appreciates any endeavor where people create quality.

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With more forethought than many, he decided to set himself up to be energy independent. He did his research & installed a solar farm to meet his needs. The land between the house & the panels has recently been planted with fruit trees that will soon block the view of the panels. Fluent with technology, he likes his toys & he knows how to plan for his future with an overall style. It’s easy for me to respect a person like that.

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This is a look inside the type of office he works in. Dave doesn’t sit at the helm of the WWE Star-ship but he and the other EVS operators keep the wheels turning while keeping the engines from falling off. I have tremendous respect for ALL the WWE crew! They create one of the most sophisticated Live TV Remotes I’ve ever experienced! And they do it over 100 times a year. Dave easily fits into this very talented crew.

08In his spare time while traveling, he edited a 52 episode series of music Mash-Ups under the moniker of the Forensic Editor on YouTube. Our musical tastes differ but I can easily follow his storytelling approach to music, which on Jumping Jack Flash spans 45 years & 15 performances. These “for-fun” productions are video time capsules weaving music into a different dimension. If you enjoy music check out his work with this link.

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I believe one of the roots of Dave’s many talents is music. He understands how all of the components come together in a way that tiny details become important to the story or the event. In my mind, he is a digital wizard with the understanding that every tale is analog with a beginning, a middle & an end. Oh yea…he has that left-handed creative thing happening. The places I visited on my road-trip were enjoyable. However, spending a day with a friend I don’t get to see often enough really added inspiration to my journey.

Inspired by a Road Trip

02 copy I’m a photographer motivated by subjects & stories. I’m not the type to have my camera over my shoulder always ready to capture something that catches my eye. So I planned a road trip with 4 primary photography destinations as my focus.

03 copyAs a low-no-budget project, I really didn’t want or need anything more than a place to sleep. I like the idea of supporting local businesses over chains so I stayed mostly in motels. None were absolutely terrible; all were under $100 a night. Since this was a solo trip I didn’t need to worry about Lori’s objections.

04 copyAs I took off along the Southern Tier of NY I didn’t have a tight schedule but hadn’t planned on side stops. Then, from the highway, I spotted people fly-fishing. There was a convenient exit & I pulled off. The light was good & the background was great but the deep pools with fish were near the opposite bank so I never saw faces. I was close to the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum so I made a note for possible future subject locations.

05 copyMy 1st destination was Mystic Seaport & Museum, the largest maritime museum in the US. The shipyard where Mayflower II was undergoing restoration for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims arrival was busy. Seeing workers using hand tools to shape the lumber precisely was inspiring to this wanna-be wood-worker. I strolled & explored the place for an entire day thoroughly enjoying myself.

06 copyFrom Mystic I spent a day with a talented, creative & inspiring friend I made during my career. I have known & respected Dave Taylor for well over 2 decades. He has a very media centered collection of antique electric toys as well as cutting-edge technology in his Mission Style influenced home.

07Although it wasn’t my main motivation for going to New England, Newport,  RI was the photography highlight of my Road-Trip. The Volvo Round the World Sailboat Race had a stopover in this historically significant sailing center of the US. The 2 days of sailing by the Volvo boats had very poor weather for photography. However, anytime I can snap a shot of a 12 Meter it is a very good day. Currently owned by Ted Turner American Eagle is for sale.

08Gatsby & ostentatious wealth are synonymous with Newport of a century ago. Touring the Vandergrift Mansion, I learned the term Gilded Age came from the title of a novel co-authored by Mark Twain. The themes of corruption & greed in the book came to represent a lifestyle & period of time that was unsustainable. By the 1930’s owners of this mansion couldn’t afford the upkeep. They stand as empty homes representing a brief period of history.  I believe that Andy Carnegie’s gift of libraries has had a more long-lasting impact demonstrating the value of philanthropy.

09The weather during the In-Harbor Race was rainy. Fortunately, I was prepared with an inexpensive but good rain cover for my camera. I had made a connection with John Lincourt a Sailboat Photographer & he said my 100-400 lens was the right tool. I purchased a seat onboard a ferry giving me an elevated position that worked out well. During this 9 month race, each of the 7 boats has an on-board photo journalist seen in yellow. Some of their work is absolutely spectacular. It is what inspired me to travel to Newport.

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The day after the Volvo boats took off across the Atlantic to Whales I did an afternoon cruise on Narragansett Bay under a clear blue sky. I realized that I would have preferred the good weather when I was shooting the race over my enjoyment on the beautiful schooner Adirondack II.

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The real motivation in New England was my daughter’s graduation. I arrived a few days before & went to her work-out to try & grab a few shots as she trained for the first USATF sanctioned Women’s Decathlon. I found a position where the background wasn’t too bad but there was very little light. ISO 5000 at 2.8 just isn’t going to give nice clear images.
12The moment of the trip was when we made eye contact just before she received her diploma. Her smile is as genuine as any face I’ve ever photographed. I just stood in the balcony waiting for her to notice me. No texting was necessary for us to connect.

13Her 4 years as a freshman proctor are over & we packed some of her stuff to bring back to Pittsburgh. She got a pass allowing me to “Pawk my Caw in Hawvawd Yawd.”

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I’m a photog that looks for subjects & stories. However, having a camera handy when you see something unique does have value. Maybe this will become part of a story on foiling sailboats. Upcoming blogs will go into more detail about my road-trip. Look for new postings on the 1st & 15th of each month.