Eat The Darkness

by matthew ratajczak

Archive for August 2008

Uncertainty

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More depressing, but valid commentary on the state of journalism and newspapers in the United States at Truthout.org. Never heard of this site until today when I saw a post by my friend Cecelia on Facebook. I now have an alternative resource for online news.

Here is an excerpt from the article they posted back in July, “Bad Days for Newsrooms – and Democracy” by Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com

“The decline of newspapers is not about the replacement of the antiquated technology of news print with the lightning speed of the Internet. It does not signal an inevitable and salutary change. It is not a form of progress. The decline of newspapers is about the rise of the corporate state, the loss of civic and public responsibility on the part of much of our entrepreneurial class and the intellectual poverty of our post-literate world, a world where information is conveyed primarily through rapidly moving images rather than print.”

I’m not really sure where newspapers, magazines and journalism overall are headed, but I don’t feel extremely optimistic about it. I wish I could. It’s difficult to grasp what the future of news will be as these changes unfold. Maybe it’s just my uncertainty in the inevitable and radical change that is upon us. Maybe it’s the direction news publications and television news have gone over the years. Shit, maybe it’s just the economy that is driving all of this. It definitely has a role. What I do know is that I feel very strongly about the role of journalism and the need for a free press in a successful democracy. Without it, I’m afraid we’re doomed. Despite these changes and the much talked about downfall of newspapers and other traditional news outlets, I am optimistic that a new age of truthful, accurate, responsible, hard-hitting, meaningful, insightful, informative, and fair reporting and publishing of the news in either print or on the internet will be birthed. I hope.

“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786

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August 26, 2008 at 7:11 PM

Kool Thing(s)

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1. tinytinygroupshow by photographer and blogger Kevin Miyazaki. A great idea to bring various photographers together from all over the globe to collaborate on a single theme. Here is Kevin’s description of the ongoing project:

“tinytinygroupshow is a mini electroexhibit of photographs based around a basic theme. There are no gallery hours, price lists, commissions, lengthy wall texts or attractive gallery attendants. tinytinygroupshow is a place to have a brief look at some photography, by photographers known and unknown, in a manner that hopefully provokes a little thought.”

2. A new video project by Chase Jarvis was recently posted on his blog. It’s called “Songs for Eating and Drinking.” I think this is a cool idea that I hope continues to develop and becomes an ongoing feature. I haven’t looked through everything, but I hope there are some candid conversations between the different artists. That would be incredible and elevate the project to a new level for me. Check it out here at the official site as well. Wish I could be there for one for the dinners. Here is Chase’s description of the project:

“Okay, here’s the concept: Get a bunch of insanely talented musicians together, and let them share songs, food, and drink. Many a musical career starts with small audiences, impromptu performances, late night mutterings; and then the lucky end up on large stages and tucked deep inside recording studios – often vastly disconnected from those that love their music. My friends in the music industry have bellyached that industry folk hardly ever share food in a meaningful way – or rarely just get together and effin chill. So my good friend Michael, who has been putting amazing people at big dinner tables for a several years now, reached out to me after he’d concepted this thing… We connected and decided to take this to the next level, creating these evenings for our musician friends built around long tables, remarkable locations, sturdy drinking food, and bottles of wine and whiskey – with the hope that throughout each night songs would rise up from the table…and with the hope that we could share that music with the world.

This project is a collaboration between my buddy, table guru and all around genius, Michael Hebb, and yours truly. Hatched from Michael’s underground one-pot dinners, and documented in my personal still photo and video style, Songs For Eating and Drinking is the bringing together of the world’s most talented musicians and letting them share songs, food, and drink. Many a musical career starts with small audiences, impromptu performances, and late night mutterings. These cozy and soulful evenings are a return to those days.” 

3. I love TV on the Radio! This is an older song off of Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, but I think the video is new. Reminds me of the Radiohead video for House of Cards. Same technology? Can’t wait to hear TV’s new material.

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August 26, 2008 at 5:10 PM

Tuckahoe

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These are from a recent gig at The Mansion at Tuckahoe (a Native American phrase for “welcome”), a historic building built on a 4,000-year-old Ais Indian midden on the Indian River Lagoon that is undergoing massive restoration and preservation. I love old buildings.

 

Photographs Copyright © Matthew Ratajczak/Scripps Newspapers. All Rights Reserved.

Written by eatthedarkness

August 26, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Posted in Journalism, Photography

Farewell Fay

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I’m finally dried out from Tropical Storm Fay. Although my truck still smells like cat piss and Febreeze thanks to all the moisture, mildew and sweat that built up over several days in my seats, and the wet towels, clothes and musty-ass boots I left in there. We got full power back a few days ago after a couple days of half power that kept the lights dimming, the fridge barely running and no air conditioning. It was worse years ago after Hurrican’e Wilma, Jeanne and Francis, but sucked none the less. I didn’t make a lot of photos that I really liked. A lot of cliche ones though, kids in rafts floating down their flooded street, vehicles stuck in flooded roads, etc… They were all needed to show what was happening, however they were simply records of the day. Solid, but didn’t get to the next level or do a whole lot for me. But these two I kind of like. One is moody, dark, ominous and reminds me of an old oil painting (the New York Times, and other publications, used this one in their paper and on their website, here and here). The other is just odd and very sad. The family made the unfortunate discovery of a family member’s casket lifted out of the ground in a flooded area of a cemetery. She was buried just weeks ago.

 Photographs Copyright © Matthew Ratajczak/Scripps Newspapers. All Rights Reserved.

Written by eatthedarkness

August 25, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Posted in Journalism, Photography

Soaked

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I’m bracing for a wet and windy evening tonight and all day Tuesday as Tropical Storm Fay makes her way across south Florida. This kind of storm just annoys me. It’s not a bad-ass hurricane that will keep me busy shooting for a week or two with tons of overtime, earning crazy hurricane hazard pay from my employer. I was able to finance a two week trip to Italy in 2004 thanks to Hurricane’s Frances and Jeanne. (Let me clarify something though, I would never wish a hurricane or any sort of natural disaster on anyone so I can benefit financially or professionally. They truly are a pain in the ass and can obviously affect people’s lives in a very severe and devastating way). 

As of right now, late Monday afternoon, it looks like Fay is just going to be an obnoxious soaker, dumping tons of much needed rain, and producing 40 mph winds, max, for us on the east coast. So Tuesday morning I’ll be out on the streets at 7 a.m., thanks Kelly, looking for storm related photos, getting soaked and steaming in my rain gear since it will still probably be in the 80’s or 90’s. I LOVE Florida!!!

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August 18, 2008 at 4:37 PM

Posted in About Me, Miscellaneous

Kool Thing(s)

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If you’re interested in photo books, catalogs, zines, prints and other forms of published or printed photography, you’ll want to know about the blog Buffet by Andrew Phelps that I stumbled upon today thanks to the new online photo-eye Magazine and their blogs.

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August 13, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Kool Thing(s)

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The first installment of postings about things I’ve been looking at, reading, listening to or otherwise wasting my time on that I think are worth a damn.

1. The Selby by Todd Selby.

2. Martin Parr interview at PDNonline.

3. William Lobdell’s “42 Things I Know.” If You work at a newspaper, are thinking about leaving, don’t want to leave or have already left, this is a must read. I wish the people in power would pay attention to these and other observations and take action to save one of the most important institutions in the free world! It kills me to see what’s happening to the industry. Here’s another good conversation to check out from NPR’s Democracy Now program (thanks for the link Romain). 

4. NPR on YouTube.

5. “The Girl in the Window” by Melissa Lyttle and Lane DeGregory. 

6. Vincent Laforet started a new blog. Some nice nuggets of technical wisdom mixed in with everything else about his photographic life. He’s one of three photographers hired by Newsweek to blog about and photograph the Olympic games in Beijing. Check out these photos showing what he brought to the games and how he packed it.

Written by eatthedarkness

August 8, 2008 at 1:16 PM