Tag Archives: photography

Why I Left Facebook

“I killed my Facebook page years ago because time clicking around is just dead time. Your brain isn’t resting and it isn’t doing. I think people have to get their heads around this thing. All this unmitigated input is hurting folks.” – Louis C.K.

It’s been over 2 years since I deleted (not deactivated, big difference) my Facebook account.

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I had been a loyal and active member since 2006. I had posted thousands of photos, generated twice as many likes, had a business page for my photography, and met many, many incredible people from all over the place, some of whom I had never met in person until they let me crash on their couch when I visited their city. It seems a bit odd, considering all those connections, benefits, and likes, that I would just go ahead and make such a major decision like that.

So, what happened?

Facebook, when it started, was great. It was a simple news feed layout with status updates and the ability to upload and share photos — nothing more. Maybe there was a section where you could show us your favourite shows, music, and sports, but that was about it. It was fun, innocent, and a great way to keep in touch with old friends and family. Over the course of time Facebook began evolving, as most sites do — they began adding features like additional timeline content and games. Harmless stuff, other than those damn invites to join Farmville (I still hate you Farmville and I hope you burn in social media hell!). Even at that point, it was still a place to see what people were up to. Eventually I started spending too much time endlessly browsing my news feed and becoming more and more bothered about what I was reading. It was a sensory overload of everything you could imagine. People were fighting over nothing. Trolls were out spreading incredibly hurtful comments. People were using their high friend count as a way to push their opinions on others. I was seeing some very negative content coming from people who I had thought were genuinely kind. It was coming from all directions and it was too much to take. I tried the Facebook friend cleanse and deleted well into the hundreds. That seemed fine, but eventually I started blocking others who posted annoying posts/shares — I didn’t want to delete them, because well, a few of them were family, but their posts bothered me. It got to the point where logging in just wasn’t fun anymore, so I decided to pull the plug. Continue reading

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This Post Contains Pictures of Dead Children

43 years ago, a picture was taken. It captured the moments after a napalm attack on a Vietnamese village. Against a backdrop of smoke a nine-year-old girl runs towards the camera, naked and screaming.

The shock that image’s managed to elicit is credited as having helped end the war, and that photograph has become perhaps the most powerful pictures of the horrors of war ever taken.

Until last Thursday.

That is the body of Aylan Kurdi, 3 years old.

Refugees from the Syrian civil war, Aylans family’s had attempted to escape to Vancouver, only for their application to be rejected by the Canadian government. With nowhere else to turn, the Kurdi family fled to Europe in a final effort to escape. While the Kurdis found passage on a small boat bound for Greece, the vessel was far overloaded with refugees and tipped a few miles off the Turkish coast. Aylan, his brother Galip, and six other passengers (all but one of them children) fell overboard and drowned, their bodies washed ashore to where this heartbreaking picture was taken.

Once again, there are no words. Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S4E13 “And the Great Unwashed”: A TV Review

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Between the two titular characters [pun never intended] it should be plainly apparent to you all by now that Caroline is my favourite. Even if Max wasn’t as unfunny and abrasive as I personally find her the former heiress to the Channing fortune is still brimming with just the right amount of optimism and grim awareness about the reality of life to charm anyone. That being said she’s hasn’t received a lot of character work this season and I actually believe the show has been poorer for it.

“And the Great Unwashed” is all about Caroline trying to figure out who she is, or rather, who she wants to be. That sounds deep, I realize, especially for an episode of 2 Broke Girls, but stay with me. Is she a waitress? If she is, what does that mean for the one-time rich girl? Continue reading

Rolling Stone and the Boston Bomber

Recently, the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone was revealed, picturing a portrait shot of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, on trial for the Boston marathon bombings that left three dead and nearly 300 wounded. A wave of outrage has erupted against the magazine, with many major chains refusing to carry the issue. Indeed, one Massachusetts police photographer was so incensed that he took it upon himself to leak this photo in response:

Sgt. Sean Murphy is reported have been “relived of duty” since the leaking of this photo to Boston Magazine.

Continue reading

Ai Weiwei and the inevitable human rights movement in China

Ai Weiwei: sunflower seed enthusiast, among other things

So Ai Weiwei has been in the news recently because he spoke for the first time about the details of his 3 month detention. “Who the heck is Ai Weiwei?”, you ask? LET ME TELL YOU.

Arrest
Some background: Ai is sort of a politically active artist (or artistic political activist) who’s famous for speaking against the People’s Republic of China, specifically its inhibition of free speech and cover-ups of police brutality and general nastiness towards anyone who complains about anything the government’s doing. The People’s Republic of China demolished Ai’s studio earlier this year and arrested him on April 3rd (just as he was getting ready to fly to Hong Kong) for the kind of horrifyingly vague reason given that he had “other business” to attend to. One of Ai’s anonymous associates was quoted by the New York Times as saying: “[Ai] told me that when he was taken from the airport, the police told him: ‘You always give us trouble, now it’s time for us to give you trouble.’

Later the People’s Republic of China rather unconvincingly changed the charge on Ai to tax evasion.

Artwork

Ai Weiwei, “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn”

Most everyone else, however, figures that the reason has something more to do with his vocal political activism, both on his Twitter account and in his artwork, like the photo triptych of him breaking a Han Dynasty urn, or Grass Mud Horse Covering the Middle, which doesn’t seem terribly political until you find out that the title, in the original language, sounds something like “F*** your mother, Chinese Communist Party.”

Ai Weiwei, "Grass Mud Horse Covering the Middle", the title of which sounds like "F*** your mother, Chinese Communist Party" in Chinese

The Growing Human Rights Movement in China
Ai Weiwei is just the most media-visible figure in a large network of grass-roots human rights activists in China, one that can only continue to grow. And every effort the People’s Republic of China makes to cover up a situation or detain an inconveniently vocal activist creates a chain reaction of others publicly calling for that person’s release and bringing more, not less, attention to protestors: Zhao Lianhai, who spent time in prison after he organised a group seeking compensation for families of children who died or became ill due to tainted baby formula, was shortly detained after calling for Ai’s release; this drew more attention to Zhao and his claim that he was force-fed through the nose while on a hunger strike. Wang Lihong, an activist who draws attention to and investigates instances of suspected government injustice, was arrested in March and faces prison time for “creating a disturbance“; her case is in turn receiving public attention largely because Ai Weiwei is calling for her release.

It’s kind of nerve-wracking to watch but it seems sort of inevitable that as China becomes more prevalent in the international economy, it will become harder for the Chinese government to censor communication across the internet, and the human rights movement will become something impossible for the government stifle.

Things are going to get serious, is what I’m trying to say, and the human rights movement in China is going to be getting a lot of attention in the next decade.