Categories
Photography

Why Photograph?

Ferdy Christant, in a superb piece about Flickr, suggests that people who photograph for the joy of it should focus less on external validation such as likes or faves and more on what brings them joy:

For amateurs and enthusiasts, . . . first and foremost . . . enjoy your hobby. Enjoy photography itself as well as your topics, be they a landscape, a model or a freaky insect. Or even a Snowy Owl. This is your hobby and you should learn to enjoy it even if not a single other human being notices. Start with this. Your joy and self worth should not depend on others.

I’m serious. Look at people having other hobbies. Reading, hiking, tennis, wood crafts, brewing beer, collecting stamps, watching movies or playing Tetris…none of these people spend hours per day seeking validation as to whether their hobby is worthwhile or has meaning. It has meaning because it is your time and you enjoy doing it. None of them determine meaning based on others as if they are monitoring a stock market of self worth.

Very sound advice.

I like it when people appreciate the result of my hobby. I prefer 100 likes over 0 likes. But I do not require it.

Ferdy Christant
Categories
Photography

Flickr Explore

I enjoy sharing photos on Flickr. So far I’ve had one photo featured on Flickr Explore. It is my most viewed image with over 5,000 views and more than 100 faves.

I wondered how photos are selected. In a recent blog post, Flickr explains that Explore uses an algorithm to display a rotating array of about 500 images from Flickr members every day. Flickr also explained what really matters in the selection process “is the amount of authentic, organic interactions in the form of comments, faves, and views your photo gets after being posted, regardless of how many followers you have.”

This is an interesting peek behind the Flickr Explore curtain. Flickr inspires me daily.

Turmoil
A Sample of Flickr Explore
Categories
Photography

Om on Instagram

Om explains why he no longer posts on Instagram:

And then there is Instagram, which I have given up for Lent. I must say, it is quite a relief to not be looking at all those other photos and perfect lives. It is great to not think about where I could be, and instead be grateful for where I am. I have been walking around town looking for images and then sharing them on my own blog or with friends over iMessage. There have been discussions on the relative merits and demerits of certain photos. It is incredibly refreshing to actually get a conversation instead of a “heart.”

But the best part of not being on IG is the absence of influencers and ads selling me substandard shit. I’ll admit that I have fallen prey to ads promising gold (actually, no-show socks and joggers) that turned out to be utter crap. I have ended up ordering USB cables that are just horrible. But I’ve learned my lesson: I don’t trust anything being advertised on Instagram and peddled by influencers. And I’m glad to be rid of them.

Om still has an Instagram account but explained on June 1, 2020 that he is “out” of Instagram.

Categories
History

Switzerland’s Relationship With Dachau

Germany’s National Socialist (Nazi) government and Switzerland had substantial ties. Switzerland’s contribution to the construction of the Dachau concentration camp near Munich is not well known.

Before WWII, Extroc, SA, a Swiss state-subsidized timber company built the Dachau concentration camp, under a contract for 13 million Swiss francs. The contract was negotiated by Colonel Henri Guisan, the son of the later Swiss Commander-in-Chief Henri Guisan (1874–1960) and a Swiss national hero.The Swiss Colonel was in turn connected to Hans Wilhelm Eggen, an SS captain who bought timber in Switzerland for the Waffen SS. This was the wood used to construct Dachau. Dachau was the first regular concentration camp established by the Nazi government.

According to a now declassified CIA report, Eggen often went to “Switzerland under cover of a delivery agent for wooden barracks.” Eggen was a friend of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS. In Nazi Germany, the SS controlled the German police forces and the concentration camp system.

See, Roberts, Andrew, The Storm of War (p. 113). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition; Goñi, Uki, The Real Odessa: How Perón Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina (p. 170). Granta Books. Kindle Edition.

Categories
Travel

Exploring Paris By Foot Along the Seine

I have loved for over 40 years. About six years ago, I stumbled across Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light. The author, David Downie, is an American who has lived in Paris since 1986. He loves Paris deeply and knows it far better than I do.

Downie likes to walk. His book is divided into “Paris People”, “Paris Places” and “Paris Phenomena.” It is the places that interested me the most. For example, Downie describes a long walk along the Seine that I decided to replicate. It transformed my view of Paris because I learned how much of the city revolves around the river. I also learned just how small the city is geographically and how it seems that almost every centimeter of the city has been lovingly cultivated.

The walk begins at France’s gigantic national library — Bibliothèque nationale de France. This is the largest library I have ever seen; it houses more than 15 million books and journals. It is located near the Métro station Bibliothèque François Mitterrand right along the Seine. But not much else is nearby. The location feels desolate, modern and suburban, although the library remains within Paris’s Périphérique or beltway.

Paris, © David H. Enzel, 2014

However, it was unclear to me from reading the book where the walk ended so I emailed the author who cheerfully responded with the details and even suggested a nice, reasonably priced restaurant for lunch right along the walk. The restaurant is La Fregate and is at the only spot on the walk where you have to go up to the sidewalk from the river.

I watched the city transform from stark, modern suburbs and eventually came upon Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower and on to its terminus at the Pont Mirabeau. I will never forget Le Pont Mirabeau after reading Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem in high school breathing life and love into the bridge. Seeing Le Pont Mirabeau at the end of this day-long walk was special.

The entire walk was about 10 km or 6.2 miles. The transformations within that short distance speak volumes about Paris.

At Downie’s suggestion, I also visited Buttes-Chaumont park which is even more impressive than Mr. Downie describes. He knows Place des Voges like the back of his hand so that chapter is exceptional.

On top of the wonderful details that make Paris come to life, Downie’s prose shows a love and mastery of the English language that I appreciate. This gem of a book will teach you so much about Paris and make you want to return again and again or just to go to Paris and remain as Downie has.

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Et nos amours

Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne

La joie venait toujours après la peine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure

Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face

Tandis que sous

Le pont de nos bras passe

Des éternels regards l’onde si lasse

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure

Les jours s’en vont je demeure

L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante

L’amour s’en va

Comme la vie est lente

Et comme l’Espérance est violente

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure

Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines

Ni temps passé

Ni les amours reviennent

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure

Les jours s’en vont je demeure

LE PONT MIRABEAU, Guillaume Apollinaire
Categories
Podcasts

Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and Son of Holocaust Survivor

Daniel Lubetzky, the CEO of KIND, is the son of a Holocaust survivor and a Mexican Jew. KIND makes popular fruit and nut bars. He was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States as a teenager. He’s also a Stanford-educated lawyer.

Lubetzky’s father was liberated from the Dachau Concentration Camp. When Lubetzsky was just nine years old, his father started describing his experiences during the Holocaust. His father felt that if he lived through the Holocaust, his son could hear about it even at an early age.

Lubetzky explains in his book entitled Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately:

Being the son of a Holocaust survivor marks you and makes you acutely conscious of our human frailty. My burning com­mitment to build bridges stems from a survival instinct: to pre­vent what happened to my dad from happening again to other human beings. Part of the reason I exist today is that my grandfather and my father were always kind to people.

KIND is privately owned and has nearly five hundred employees.

Portrait Of: The Founder and CEO of KIND – Latino USA