Archive for August, 2008


Heading north on I-95 through South Carolina, Emily and I started spotting these strange advertisements.  They were for a place called ‘South of the Border’ and had an interesting mascot plastered on the front.  Each one was basically different, and there was a billboard about every 2-3 miles.  The first advertisement we saw was about 40 miles from the shared Carolina border.  40 miles of advertisements.  Each one different.  Each one strange.


So I started a collection.


This one was definitely one of the weirdest, so I decided to lead off with that.  Obviously my implication is that there will be more.


Oh yes.  There will be more.


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This shot sucks.


I took alot of photos that day, and this one I took as an experiment, wondering how it would look.  I hated it.  It lacks depth, composition, any kind of emotional reason for taking it.  The one and only redeeming feature is that I captured the water’s motion by leaving the shutter open for a second or two.  It’s the kind of picture you’d find on a motel wall.  It’s nondescript, and has absolutely zero impact.  Which makes this next exchange interesting:


“Wow, some of these photos aren’t very good – well, that one of the dog is pretty cool,” Em’s friend Clint says as we browse the ‘Arts and Crafts’ building at the Cuyahoga County Fair; looking specifically at the photography competition (who knew at a fair?).


“Well, the problem with the kid photos are that they’re hoping the cuteness of the kid will make up for the lack of anything to grasp your eye,” I say, mostly mumbling to myself as I look at old newspapers that people had saved.  Hitler’s coffee was confiscated en-route to Berlin in 1943.  Made the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer – below the fold.  Interesting.


“Hey cutie?” Em says, tapping my shoulder.  “Didn’t you take a shot just like that?”


“Which one?” I reply, looking up and gazing at the photos – they were all matted and taped up on the wall.


“Third from the left on the top set,” She says, pointing me toward the one.


“Wait, didn’t I…”


“Yeah, you too a shot like that when we went to Quarry Park with Hershey.”


“Wow, that’s like, the exact same spot and everything.  Woah, that made 2nd honors?”


I’m unsure about the judging specifically, but most likely it was divided into categories which were then judged by different people for each category.  The top, say, 10 were then promoted to another category, which were then judged by a different group.  The top, oh 5 were then promoted to another category, where they were judged by another group, with the winner being selected by all.  I can’t guarantee that’s how it worked, but that’s how a few competitions I’ve seen in the past went.


Some of the photos were good – really good, actually.  But some of these were just….bleh.  They just didn’t have any impact to them.  They seemed amateurish.  But the one that really bothered me recreated Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo in 1945 where the sailor kissed the nurse at Time’s Square.  They did it on a dock or something near a park.  It took first place along with another photo (this one was black and white, the other was color) – I can’t believe someone staged that photo, called it art, and then it wins 1st place?


The reason why the original is such an icon is that it perfectly captured what the nation – and the world – felt at the time.  You can’t recreate that and still maintain the reason the first was so great.


I hope to submit some stuff next year.  See how I do.

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Went to the beach

Left the umbrella at home.


As an aside; it’s extremely difficult to get a shot without people in those circumstances.

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