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Clean air mural

As part of Bologna's Frontier project, Italian artist Andreco has created a 59-foot mural which he hopes will clean up the city's air. Representing a huge "Tree of Knowledge," the artwork is made of photocatalytic paint, a special substance which, according to manufacturers, breaks down mono-nitrogen oxides, harmful chemicals produced by cars and other motor vehicles. One company claims that "every square meter painted is like taking eight cars off the road."

But do these claims stand up to scrutiny? According to a 2010 advisory note issued by the UK's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the jury is still out on whether photocatalytic paint actually has a significant effect on air pollution. While studies in...

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I used to build my first base in Antarctica. That wasn't very clever of me.

In this next chunk of a mammoth chat with XCOM: Enemy Unknown‘s lead designer at Firaxis Jake Solomon, we talk Chrysalids, the death and critical wounding of your soldiers, the fanbase, why min-maxing X-COM’s not all it’s cracked up to be, the base, the geoscape and which of the original game’s aliens didn’t make the cut…

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Seven weeks ago, a labor dispute threatened to push the NFL season to the sidelines. Instead, the goliaths of gridiron made a glorious return this past week, from the last-second goalstand by the Super Bowl champs Green Bay Packers to Tom Brady’s second-to-no-other-Patriot’s 517 yards passing. The games also paused to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks. Though the season is just one week old, fans across the globe are hoping their teams will play in the grand finale next Feb. 5, held for the first time in Indianapolis. -- Lloyd Young
(34 photos total)
Miami Dolphins Brandon Marshall (19) dives over New England Patriots Devin McCourty after catching a pass during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Miami Sept. 12. Hans Deryk/Reuters)

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The gates were up, training facilities were open and NFL players went back to work.

Now, they need to get ready for the season in a hurry.

After a lockout that lasted 4½ months ended Monday July 25, 2011 with an agreement between the NFL and its players, teams’ facilities were buzzing with activity. Players all around the league were allowed back in to meet with coaches, work out, take physicals and receive playbooks.

Teams were also allowed to sign their drafted players and undrafted free agents, and negotiate with free agents in what will likely be a flurry of activity unlike what the league has ever seen.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen​ issued a statement Monday afternoon thanking fans for their patience throughout the duration of the lockout. “Although the offseason was unsettling for everyone, this agreement will ensure the continued growth and prosperity of this league well into the future,” said Bowlen, co-chair of the league’s Management Council Executive Committee. “I am thrilled that it is finally time to turn our attention back to the game that all of us love.”

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Cincinnati Bengals safety Rico Murray puts on his helmet at the start of their second practice at NFL football training camp, Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Georgetown, Ky. (AP Photo/Al Behrman) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Employees and volunteers for the Miami Dolphins, including one dressed as former coach Don Shula, stand on a downtown Miami street corner Monday, July 25, 2011. NFL players voted to OK a final deal Monday, days after the owners approved a tentative agreement, and the sides finally managed to put an end to the 4Ë -month lockout, the longest work stoppage in league history. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Philadelphia Eagles running back Noel Devine puts his hands up to catch the ball during NFL football training camp at Lehigh University, Friday, July 29, 2011, in Bethlehem, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Detroit Lions punter Nick Harris kicks during practice at NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Gwynne Chapin, foreground right, hands an ice cream cone to Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Bryan Hall (68) from her truck as his teammates wait in line for their orders following NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Houston Texans' Mario Williams cools off during the first day of NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler looks to a throw during NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Tennessee Titans wide receiver O. J. Murdock reaches for a pass around a goal post pad during a drill at NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton's gloves cover his eyes while catching a pass during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


An unidentified Miami Dolphins fan waits for the start of NFL football training camp in Miami, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Green Bay Packers' Chastin West (11) and Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson catch balls during NFL football training camp Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) throws during training camp at the Denver Broncos football training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011.(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Buffalo Bills fan Joe Hart dressed as "Superfan" walks to an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/David Duprey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jorrick Calvin holds on to four balls that he caught as he watches for the next one to during a catching drill at the NFL football team's training camp at Lehigh University on Thursday, July 28, 2011, in Bethlehem, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez wipes his brow while signing autographs after an NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald hangs on to the football during drills during afternoon practice at Cardinals NFL football training camp Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Denver Broncos Knowshon Moreno (27) gets in extra work catching passes from the jugs machine after the morning session at camp August 1, 2011 at Dove Valley. John Leyba, The Denver Post #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Tennessee Titans guard Ryan Durand knocks down a blocking dummy during NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. Watching at right is wide receiver Nate Washington (85). (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Unrestricted free agent Nick Barnett wears his Superbowl ring while talking with Buffalo Bills coaches during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/David Duprey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Mary Steinkraus, from Germantown, Wis., watches the Cleveland Browns practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Berea, Ohio, Sunday, July 31, 2011. Steinkraus is the aunt of Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Oakland Raiders defensive tackle John Henderson, left, has his helmet adjusted during NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Saturday, July 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn, left, and tackle Derek Hardman, right, work out for the first day in pads during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Kansas City Chiefs fan Natalie Canon, 9, poses for a photograph by a Chiefs mannequin during the team's NFL football training camp in St Joseph, Mo., Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton is all smiles as he stretches with the team during practice. The first day of Bronco's Training camp took place today July 28, 2011 at the team's headquarters at Dove Valley. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Detroit Lions receiver Rashied Davis (82) watches as teammate Stefan Logan, left, walks on his hands during a break in practice at NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Keenan Clayton, left, gets a head butt and an ear full from defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, right, during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. on Monday, August 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) catches a pass during training camp at the Denver Broncos football training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011.(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow is mobbed by media after practice. The first day of Bronco's Training camp took place today July 28, 2011 at the team's headquarters at Dove Valley. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt works out during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton signs autographs after practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


St. Louis Rams full back Brit Miller participates in a drill during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at the team's training facility in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley removes his cleats after the NFL football team's training camp practice on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Houston Texans wide receiver Jeff Maehl, left, is tripped up by cornerback Antwaun Molden (28) after catching a pass during the first day of their NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Tennessee Titans quarterback Paul Ratliff plays with his son Johnny, 21 months, and Elle, 2, back right, after NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

NFL Back To Work After Lockout


Houston Texans players run to a practice field during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Prick Trailer

This sort of subverts your expectations a bit.

Colin Berry’s short film looks like it’s going to dwell on the gentle moments we always remember about finding that special someone and the nexus point at which you knew it was something more than finding a friend but the trailer flips the script on all that and gives us something else entirely.

What’s here isn’t really readily identifiable when we open in on things, there isn’t any narration or guide to inform what’s happening, but the sense of romance is easily understood as this little vignette plays on. It’s not that we don’t get what this yuppie is yearning for as he looks at this girl who just seems like she’s right out of central casting as your typical luscious, but extremely shy, woman who also doesn’t mind flashing you a come hither grin (I’ve never seen one in the wild), but when these two share a brief moment, the odd pairing of imagery that shows this Doctor Frankenstein in his lab, is a bit confusing. However, you can’t help but feel something nefarious is going on. I like that what we have here, essentially, is an extended moment that juxtapositions lecherousness and innocence.

We just stay within the moment as these two kids pass with nary a word spoken, the music in the background is perfectly chosen and only heightens the experience, until about the fifty five second mark. This is where the money is and why you’re seeing it lead things off this week. I certainly wasn’t expecting what we’re given but it pulled together everything we were shown up until that moment. I get it.

And, in case you didn’t “get it”  the scene we’re shown that almost seems like a epilogue after the shocker is a real nice touch, a bookend. Further, the shadowy figure who furiously pops in at the very last moment is not only strange but supernaturally curious. What the hell is going on here? No clue, but the trailer has me hooked for sure. [Twitch]

The Salesman Trailer

Quick, tell me any film Sèbastien Pilote has done.

One of the real nice treats of this position is stumbling upon gems like this. There is such a feeling of age, of experience, as we come upon a world where a man has built his career getting people to buy cars. He seems really good at it, a story that could have been Jerry Lundegaard at old age if we had followed that man’s life trajectory, and the opening feels like a welcoming into a man’s world that feels well lived in and comfortable.

What makes this a compelling beginning is its focus on a place, the thin plastic awards, the painted white cinder blocks, the flags flapping in a cold wind.  I don’t know what it is about the presentation but this man’s life seems awfully lonely yet wholly compelling once we learn that old man river is a granddad who is pulling babysitting duties. Dad doesn’t seem to be around, there doesn’t appear to be grandma anywhere, but instead of going through a story of how some crotchety old guy finds solace in his grandson the narration goes in a different direction.

We don’t really know what’s at issue with this guy but ruling out emotional rigidity at least opens up the possibility that what we’re going to get is one man’s deep introspection as he understands that what he’s ended up becoming is wholly dependent on what he does for a living. He seems to have a positive relationship with his daughter and her child so that doesn’t seem to be an issue. What is, though, is his psyche.

I could be wrong, I could be right, but there is a sadness that permeates the tail end of this trailer and makes me feel bad for this guy. The piano suite that plays beneath it all makes everything feel empty and I know what’s here isn’t the feel-good tale of the year; it looks like an unhappy descent, a meditation on what’s it like to be older and alone. I’m giddy at the prospect.

Beneath Contempt Trailer

Benjamin Brewer has made something worth talking about.

The narrative here is sparse on details but the emotional content is very rich. Whereas it could be easy to slide into a maudlin state of hysterics when you have to show what it’s like when you’re dealing with the aftermath of a horrible car accident where it seems a kid is one of the victims, the choice here is to bag it all. The trailer doesn’t let it go down that route and, instead, simply focuses on a moment between the harbinger of pain and his reflection. Misery is oozing out of every scene and it’s so much better than letting your actors and actresses’ emotional breakdowns get in the way of the true narrative.

It’s hard to make a trailer that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be one long weep session but what’s here completely stops that from happening by letting no one talk throughout the entire duration of its run time. It’s a bold choice to go down this route as one of the things you want a preview do is to grab the attention of an audience through the performances of the players but it still does that by just letting our protagonist be the anchor for almost every scene. The guy’s presence is an enigma and I want to know more.

Superseeds Trailer

For all those in the audience looking to get a little bit of that Harold and Kumar humor back into your life it seems like writer/director Kholi Hicks has made something worthy of your attention. At the very least it’s worthy of a couple of minutes of your time.

What I liked about this trailer isn’t so much it’s novel narrative approach, you can see simply by looking at the trailers above there are a lot of people looking for unique ways to present a film’s storyline, but that it keeps your attention. So often we see comedic trailers that just don’t connect for the simple reason that there isn’t enough oomph with the delivery but this one keeps things moving.

We hit the high points about who these guys are, what kind of situation they’re in, and what the crux is of why we’re all here in the first place. You can see how this is really an independent film with the corners it shaves here and there with the production values but as soon as we get to the effects and the superpower presentation I’m wholly on board. I like that what’s here seems to be a mash-up between your usual stoner film with an homage to every superpower flick currently tearing up the box office.

The story goes from haplessly predictable to completely vague which I am a huge fan of for no other reason than I appreciate having a taste of the story but not knowing where things are going. The comedic bits work for me on a real basic level, the Nintendo Power Glove is a real nice accessory/flourish for one of the guys, and there seems to be more than just powers and violence afoot here. It’s a hybrid of a low-budget indie and a low-grade special effects bonanza. It may seem like a backhanded compliment but I love what they’re doing here.

Lord of the Dance 3D Trailer

This exists. I hope all you 3D enthusiasts are happy with yourselves.

Note bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • Apollo 18 Trailer #2 -I don’t know. What’s here seems kind of ridiculous. It wants me to buy into its story but it seems too far fetched for even me to suspend my disbelief.
  • Immortals Trailer #2 - I’ll be more excited for this once they call this for what it is: 300 Part 2.
  • Brave Teaser Trailer - This will be the film that will wash the taste of Cars 2 out of our collective mouths. Be thankful.
  • Horrible Bosses Red Band Trailer - I’ll consider this for a rental. The trailer seems awfully obsessed with trying to cram as many foul words as it can within its running time. Comes off as desperate.
  • 11-11-11 Trailer #2 - Didn’t Jim Carrey star in this once? Echoes of that film permeate every scene of this trailer.
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Trailer - I’m always up for a film this broadly presented. It’s not daring, original, but it has a certain mass market quality I can see myself giving into.
  • War Horse Trailer - This trailer was painful to get through. Between Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Dreamer, and Hot to Trot I couldn’t care less about one more cinematic story about a horse. Seriously, I can’t get excited about slo-mo galloping any more than I could get jazzed at the prospect of seeing grass grow.
  • The Three Musketeers Trailer - What is up with Orlando Bloom’s coif? Seriously. The trailer is pretty peppy and I might check this one out when it hits the secondary market.
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy TrailerThis feels old fashioned in the best way possible.

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The rotating gallery features the work of an emerging photographer as well as an interview with him/her, and will change every Wednesday. The gallery is based off ‘collective curatorship’, where the photographer from week 1 chooses and interviews a photographer for week 2, week 2 chooses/interviews week 3, etc. There is only one stipulation to the process: Next weeks photographer has to be someone he/she has not had direct contact with yet. Ideally, this will take the gallery on a linked tour around the Internet, and exploring and unearthing new photographers as it goes.

This week, Margaret Durow interviews Katherine Squier.

Margaret Durow: Your photos always have a very natural feeling to them. Can you tell us about your creative process.. It appears that none are set up, and are almost always moments that occurred naturally around you, that required you to be ready at just that one moment.. Do you ever set them up?

Katherine Squier: Well probably 99% of my photos are a result of seeing something around me while living my life that I feel like I want to capture. I rarely seek out a photo. What happens most often is I end up frenziedly pulling my camera out of my purse when I see someone do something and ask them immediately to freeze or I walk past something at a certain angle that catches my eye and then retrace my step. Other times it may be that I see beautiful light appear and ask whoever is with me to stand in it for a second. In those cases I am “setting” the photo up but it only happens in the first place because of what’s surrounding me at the moment.


MD: This natural feeling in your photos makes them appear as very real pieces from your life, yet there is also a dreamy look throughout your work, with warm magical light and light hearts. What inspires you to take photos this way / have them look this way?

KS: Haha, first off, that heart made of light in my one photo was totally magic! I never saw the heart until the photo was developed. I think it’s a sign that I’m on good terms with the light-gods at the moment… I’ve heard this “dreamy” thing before—but really I never mean to make it that way! I honestly don’t know what I do that makes my photos have the feel they have. I think maybe it’s the light in a lot of my photos that creates a dreamy feel? I’ve come to realize that it often happens that I see something and photograph it because I think it’s beautiful, and then later someone points out how great the light is. I notice really strikingly beautiful light—both other than that I’m often unconscious of how much light affects my photos.


MD: Do you always have a camera with you? How does this affect your everyday experiences.. do you ever find yourself thinking about the way things around you could fit into a photo? How do you feel if you forget to bring your camera with you?

When taking photos, do you compose the photo in your mind before the photo, or compose it while taking the photo?

KS: I laughed when I read this question because I often joke about how agonizing it is to see something incredibly special or breathtaking and not be able to capture it. In other words, I have my camera more often than not (it’s always in my purse). I’ve also shared with non-photographer friends how I sometimes wish I could turn my hyper-consciousness/ sensitivity to things around me off, because it becomes exhausting having to constantly have that I-see-something-beautiful alarm go off in your head. And then even if just for a millisecond you have to make that decision about whether or not you’re going to take a photo. I think other photographers can empathize with that little voice you come to love-hate. It’s a blessing because I see so much beauty in everything but a curse because it can interfere with my life. Most of the time the interference is very short & means me appreciating something that would have otherwise gone unappreciated. Sometimes though it can take over my interactions. For example, my youngest brother is very vocal about how much I “ruin his life.” So often when I’m with him or somewhere beautiful with friends I constantly want to take a photo, which translates to me asking a few times for them to stay still for a few seconds. In these cases I do feel regretful of not living in the moment completely.

As far as how I compose photos, let me preface this by explaining that I push the shutter button once I feel like what I see through the viewfinder feels good (visually). I also often stare through the viewfinder for a few seconds with my dominant right eye and then switch, usually a few times, back and forth with my left eye before I take a photo. People who haven’t watched me take photos before always ask if one of my eyes is worse. I do this because somehow mentally it helps me decide whether or not I’m happy with the image—it’s like, maybe my one eye finds it pleasing—but does my other eye? I’m a strange bird, I know. I’m sure I look reeeeeal professional. I don’t try composing a photo in my mind because to me what your eyes take in is different than what the image becomes in the viewfinder—so I do everything straight through the viewfinder.


MD: The interaction between you/your camera and your subjects seems very comfortable and close. Even when the subject is looking at the camera, it appears they only stopped a moment to look at you, not the camera. Are most people you know comfortable with you taking their picture often?

Can you tell us more about the people in your photos? What is your relationship like with the people you take photos of? Are you closest with the people you take photos of most often, or are you equally inspired to take photos of someone you may have just met?

KS: Yes, almost all of the people I photograph are comfortable with me photographing them because the majority of them are either family or close friends and if they aren’t comfortable I don’t do it in the first place. I hate the thought of making someone uncomfortable which in retrospect I think has greatly shaped the evolution of my style. I say this because one of my first main subjects was my twin sister, Jill. Jill, understandably so, would often get annoyed and/or was not okay with me wanting to take a photo of her while she was doing her own thing at home. I was allowed to take photos of the back of her head though—as silly as that sounds—so hey, you take what you can get! I’ve also always been aware of how vulnerable staring straight into a camera’s lens makes someone so in never wanting to risk making someone uncomfortable and/or losing them as a willing subject, I would always tell them they could face away. I’ve maaaaybe had a handful of situations where I have photographed someone I just met—more often than not if I photograph a stranger it’s me doing it without warning them so they don’t become uncomfortable. I think I probably am just as equally inspired to photograph someone I just met seeing as I objectively want to photograph anything that catches my eye.


MD: I know you shoot film all the time.. Which can definitely get expensive. Does this make you more selective of when to take a photo? How do you decide which moments are most important? How else does film affect the way you take photos? What makes you keep shooting film?

KS: Film absolutely makes me more selective, but honestly it still doesn’t make me as selective as I wish I were. Hah! It’s very expensive, yet I can’t seem to master resisting the urge to capture everything. It’s my life I’m living—so somewhere deep down it seems ‘justified’ in a way it probably shouldn’t be, since it can be thoughtless and a waste of money. It scares me a bit to think of how much film I’ve shot. It’s neat to think I have a photo diary of my life though and I have surprised myself in how much I’ve come to love that I now remember an event or memory by the photos I took in it. Not that that’s all I remember—but thinking of the photo(s) brings back the whole memory. Almost like when you listen to a song over and over during a certain point in your life and then years later listening to that one song brings back all those emotions. It’s kind of like that with the events and photos in my life. And I think that’s pretty special. I’m getting better at being more selective and I think the longer I continue to shoot the more I will have no choice but to be very selective because of money. Hands down I shoot with film because of how it feels visually in comparison to digital.


MD: When I look through your photos, it reminds me of looking through family photo albums, where all the photos just happen to be beautifully composed. What role has photography had in your life? Did your parents take a lot of photos? When do you first remember taking photos?

KS: Photography has become part of my life and I think I’ve addressed above the good and bad that has come with it. My parents didn’t really take photos any more than the average person. I first started taking photos after I randomly decided one day to take up photography as a hobby. That was not quite three years ago, when I started casually taking photos of practically everything with a digital. I didn’t shoot 24/7, I just did it sometimes when I was bored. Then two summers ago my dad cleaned out our attic and brought his canon AE-1 down. Things escalated from there, really taking off at the end of 2008 when I moved into an old west-campus apartment with my friends. I’ve read interviews with great photographers who first started taking photos when they were very young—and it makes me curious about how that would have affected my life and the style and experience I have with it today. I feel like things that you take on as part of your life early on can greatly shape who you become and your experience, so people who grew up taking photos intrigue me.


MD: I understand you recently graduated. Where were you going to school, and what were you studying? Have you had any photography or other art classes throughout school?

KS: I just graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I have never taken an art or photography class and I never plan on it, at least in the near future, because I’m afraid that I would start really thinking about what I was doing and it would mess with my head.


MD: A lot of your photos have a small town feeling to me, partly because they seem very personal to your life. Can you tell us what it was like where you grew up and went to college? Do you think living there might create that feeling in your photos, or is it more the relationship with your subjects?

KS: I’ve grown up and gone to college in the same place—Austin, Texas. It’s near and dear to my heart. My school is actually on-and-off tied with another college as the #1 largest university in the nation and Austin is one of the most rapidly growing cities in the United States. These facts seem strange though and I’m definitely one to gravitate towards the quieter and softer aspects of things, and a dense & populated city and campus life is something that has never really inspired me. More than anything I think it’s my relationship with my subjects that gives my photos that feel. I’m learning through how other people describe my photos that my photography feels more personal. This really struck me when a man commented that a photo of mine made sense to him after I told him it was of my twin sister. He said that most of my photos felt like someone “looking caringly at their younger sister.” I liked that.


MD: Now that you are graduated, what are your future plans? You are taking some time to travel, I believe? That sounds very exciting, Can you tell us a little about where you’ll be going? Do you have future career plans? Where does photography fit into them?

KS: My future plans are as follows: Go to Europe for six weeks, come back, and then figure things out from there and hope for the best. My trip to Europe is very, very exciting—I’m going with a childhood friend and we’re traveling Western Europe for over a month. It’s really difficult right now because to be realistic we’re cutting out a lot of cities we initially were planning on visiting but won’t now because of time restrictions. I have to keep telling myself that there is never enough time to see everything and a rushed trip wouldn’t be an enjoyable one. I have no idea what my future career plans are and it’s frightening but exciting. I’m the live-your-life-to-be-happy-so-you-can-make-other-people-be-happy type of person, and then you do what you have to to stay in that place. So we’ll see if I’m lucky enough to find something that makes me happy while paying the bills, but for now I’m not counting on that happening any time soon at least. As far as photography I don’t think it’s realistic for me to think I can make a living off of it—because commercial work like graduation photos & wedding portraits are what makes money, not photos that feel like a photo diary. In April I really enjoyed getting to shoot this up and coming band Local Natives because I was being paid to photograph them like I would photograph anything else. In other words I was paid to meet an amazing band and do what I would have done anyways: take photos. I’m a big people-person so if I had the opportunity to do my thing while meeting neat people, I guess that would be as close to a dream job as I can think of at this point in my life. I’m not sure about the long-run career plans…but one thing is for sure: I will always keep shooting because I can’t imagine not!



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