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Longtime Boing Boing friend Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds turned me on to Jonathan Wilson a couple years ago, and I became an instant fan. He slipped me a copy of Wilson's new album, "Fanfare," before its release date--I am obsessed with it.

I agree with Metzger: best rock and roll album of the year. "No competition, nothing else even comes close," he rightly writes. Everyone else, put down your guitars and mothball your drums, it's over.

Metzger can write about music better than anyone I know, so I'm just going to share a little of his Dangerous Minds review here:

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Matt Blum

The Nu Project

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Matt Blum started “The Nu Project” with the idea that women of all shapes and sizes deserve to be photographed beautifully as fine art nudes. His subjects were volunteers through word-of-mouth or Craigslist–they came with their stories, their successes and failures, their scars, their survival of abusive relationships, their tales of triumph over body image–and he photographed them. These days the collection continues to grow; over 150 women (some with their partners) have participated, most in their own homes.

What: Nude Fine Art Photography–we hope to make a book of the work we’ve done so far, crowd-funded through Kickstarter (here’s the link to our Kickstarter).

Who: Any woman over the age of 21. Matt Blum does the photography and post processing. Matt’s wife, Katy, does editing and art direction.

What: Nude photography in the homes of the participants.

When: Ongoing since 2006.

Where: Minneapolis-based, but whenever we travel we try to set up shoots. In Novemeber we went to Brazil with the purpose of photographing for the Nu Project. It was two weeks and full of amazing participation by the women of Brazil. This fall we’ll head to Spain and Portugal for a couple of weeks to do some project shoots there.

Why: Because before this project it seemed like everyone who was photographing women in the nude was using either beautiful models and doing it beautifully or using non-model women and making them look extremely average. Matt figured there was a way to treat non-models like models and photograph them beautifully. We continue it because it is fun work and the response from the women who participate is overwhelmingly positive. As an added bonus, we hear from people (especially women) that it is changing the way they see themselves.

 

Bio

Matt Blum (born 1982) is a photographer based in Minneapolis, MN, USA. Matt is a self-taught photographer and entrepreneur. He and his wife, Katy, own and operate a photography studio where they specialize in lifestyle images and luxury domestic and international weddings.

 

Related links

Matt Blum

The Nu Project

 

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It's been six years since I wrote Discussions: Flat or Threaded? and, despite a bunch of evolution on the web since then, my opinion on this has not fundamentally changed.

If anything, my opinion has strengthened based on the observed data: precious few threaded discussion models survive on the web. Putting aside Usenet as a relic and artifact of the past, it is rare to find threaded discussions of any kind on the web today; for web discussion communities that are more than ten years old, the vast majority are flat as a pancake.

I'm game for trying anything new, I mean, I even tried Google Wave. But the more I've used threaded discussions of any variety, the less I like them. I find precious few redeeming qualities, while threading tends to break crucial parts of discussion like reading and replying in deep, fundamental, unfixable ways. I have yet to discover a threaded discussion design that doesn't eventually make me hate it, and myself.

A part of me says this is software Darwinism in action: threaded discussion is ultimately too complex to survive on the public Internet.

Hacker-news-threading

Before threaded discussion fans bring out their pitchforks and torches, I fully acknowledge that aspects of threading can be useful in certain specific situations. I will get to that. I know I'm probably wasting my time even attempting to say this, but please: keep reading before commenting. Ideally, read the whole article before commenting. Like Parappa, I gotta believe!

Before I defend threaded discussion, let's enumerate the many problems it brings to the table:

  1. It's a tree.

    Poems about trees are indeed lovely, as Joyce Kilmer promised us, but data of any kind represented as a tree … isn't. Rigid hierarchy is generally not how the human mind works, and the strict parent-child relationship it enforces is particularly terrible for fluid human group discussion. Browsing a tree is complicated, because you have to constantly think about what level you're at, what's expanded, what's collapsed … there's always this looming existential crisis of where the heck am I? Discussion trees force me to spend too much time mentally managing that two-dimensional tree more than the underlying discussion.

  2. Where did that reply go?

    In a threaded discussion, replies can arrive any place in the tree at any time. How do you know if there are new replies? Where do you find them? Only if you happen to be browsing the tree at the right place at the right time. It's annoying to follow discussions over time when new posts keep popping up anywhere in the middle of the big reply tree. And God help you if you accidentally reply at the wrong level of the tree; then you're suddenly talking to the wrong person, or maybe nobody at all. For that matter, it absolutely kills me that there might be amazing, insightful responses buried somewhere in the middle of a reply chain that I will never be able to find. Most of all, it just makes me want to leave and never come back.

  3. It pushes discussion off your screen.

    So the first reply is indented under the post. Fair enough; how else would you know that one post is a reply to another post? But this indentation game doesn't ever end. Reply long and hard enough and you've either made the content column impossibly narrow, or you've pushed the content to exit, stage right. That's how endless pedantic responses-to-responses ruin the discussion for everyone. I find that in the "indent everything to the right" game, there are no winners, only losers. It is natural to scroll down on the web, but it is utterly unnatural to scroll right. Indentation takes the discussion in the wrong direction.

  4. You're talking to everyone.

    You think because you clicked "reply" and your post is indented under the person you're replying to, that your post is talking only to that person? That's so romantic. Maybe the two of you should get a room. A special, private room at the far, far, far, far, far right of that threaded discussion. This illusion that you are talking to one other person ends up harming the discussion for everyone by polluting the tree with these massive narrow branches that are constantly in the way.

    At an absolute minimum you're addressing everyone else in that discussion, but in reality, you're talking to anyone who will listen, for all time. Composing your reply as if it is a reply to just one person is a quaint artifact of a world that doesn't exist any more. Every public post you make on the Internet, reply or not, is actually talking to everyone who will ever read it. It'd be helpful if the systems we used for discussion made that clear, rather than maintaining this harmful pretense of private conversations in a public space.

  5. I just want to scroll down.

    Reddit (and to a lesser extent, Hacker News) are probably the best known examples of threaded comments applied to a large audience. While I find Reddit so much more tolerable than the bad old days of Digg, I can still barely force myself to wade through the discussions there, because it's so much darn work. As a lazy reader, I feel I've already done my part by deciding to enter the thread; after that all I should need to do is scroll or swipe down.

    Take what's on the top of reddit right now. It's a cool picture; who wouldn't want to meet Steve Martin and Morgan Freeman? But what's the context? Who is this kid? How did he get so lucky? To find out, I need to collapse and suppress dozens of random meaningless tangents, and the replies-to-tangents, by clicking the little minus symbol next to each one. So that's what I'm doing: reading a little, deciding that tangent is not useful or interesting, and clicking it to get rid of it. Then I arrive at the end and find out that information wasn't even in the topic, or at least I couldn't find it. I'm OK with scrolling down to find information and/or entertainment, to a point. What I object to is the menial labor of collapsing and expanding threaded portions of the topic as I read. Despite what the people posting them might think, those tangents aren't so terribly important that they're worth making me, and every other reader, act on them.

Full bore, no-holds-barred threading is an unmitigated usability disaster for discussion, everywhere I've encountered it. But what if we didn't commit to this idea of threaded discussion quite so wholeheartedly?

The most important guidance for non-destructive use of threading is to put a hard cap on the level of replies that you allow. Although Stack Exchange is not a discussion system – it's actually the opposite of a discussion system, which we have to explain to people all the time – we did allow, in essence, one level of threading. There are questions and answers, yes, but underneath each of those, in smaller type, are the comments.

Stack-exchange-threading

Now there's a bunch of hard-core discussion sociology here that I don't want to get into, like different rules for comments, special limitations for comments, only showing the top n of comments by default, and so forth. What matters is that we allow one level of replies and that's it. Want to reply to a comment? You can, but it'll be at the same level. You can go no deeper. This is by design, but remember: Stack Exchange is not a discussion system. It's a question and answer system. If you build your Q&A system like a discussion system, it will devolve into Yahoo Answers, or even worse, Quora. Just kidding Quora. You're great.

Would Hacker News be a better place for discussion if they capped reply level? Would Reddit? From my perspective as a poor, harried reader and very occasional participant, absolutely. There are many chronic problems with threaded discussion, but capping reply depth is the easiest way to take a giant step in the right direction.

Another idea is to let posts bring their context with them. This is one of the things that Twitter, the company that always does everything wrong and succeeds anyway, gets … shockingly right out of the gate. When I view one of my tweets, it can stand alone, as it should. But it can also bring some context along with it on demand:

Twitter-threading

Here you can see how my tweet can be expanded with a direct link or click to show the necessary context for the conversation. But it'll only show three levels: the post, my reply to the post, and replies to my post. This idea that tweets – and thus, conversations – should be mostly standalone is not well understood, but it illustrates how Twitter got the original concept so fundamentally right. I guess that's why they can get away with the terrible execution.

I believe selective and judicious use of threading is the only way it can work for discussion. You should be wary of threading as a general purpose solution for human discussions. Always favor simple, flat discussions instead.

[advertisement] How are you showing off your awesome? Create a Stack Overflow Careers profile and show off all of your hard work from Stack Overflow, Github, and virtually every other coding site. Who knows, you might even get recruited for a great new position!

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We’ve all heard about the painful transition newspapers and magazines are going through. Two decades after the arrival of the web, the search for durable, profitable business models that make sense in the digital age goes on. And it isn’t going well. Advertising, subscriptions, and data-as-service have failed. Now is the time for web developers, designers, and digital strategists of all stripes to lead experiments with making (and saving) money from the things technology and the web are good at.

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paul offline 1020

My sister helps take care of a 7-year-old, who recently asked "what is the internet?" It's a good question. She (the 7-year-old) thought it meant computers and phones. I remember chuckling at the expense of elders who thought the Internet Explorer icon on their desktop was the internet. Will a future generation chuckle at me while I maintain a concept of the internet that was conceived in the dial-up era? Back then, the internet was something you'd "connect" to, and then "disconnect" from when your session was over and your parents wanted you to free up the phone line and go outside for once in my life. How simple and carefree we were.

Continue reading…

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Interested by the idea that America no longer has a sense of community, 29-year-old Joseph Garner set out into the world with only a laptop, a mobile phone (with no contacts), a toothbrush and the clothes on his back (as well as a hope that community has not gone, but has simply shifted) to see if he could survive for 31 days purely using Craigslist. "From transportation to food, from shelter to companionship, Joe would depend on the generosity of people who had never seen him and whose sole connection to him was a giant virtual swap meet. Would America help Joe? Could he survive with nothing, apart from the goodwill of others?"

Produced by actor Zach Galifianakis, the film is due out in the US from 3 August, 2012.


www.craigslistjoe.com

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Before we take a look at the Royal Wedding coverage, just let you know, that I have kept updating the ‘Tim Hetherington/ Chris Hondros In Memoriam’ post with related links…Below a couple of the more recent links… the first three below I found via @LucasJacksonRTR

Articles – Max Hastings: Death or Glory (FT: April 2011)

Articles - Régis Le Sommier: My Footsteps in Your Footsteps (Paris Match: April 2011)

Articles – Washington Post: Style writer Dan Zak reflects on collaborating with photographers (WP: April 2011)

Four more…

Olivier Laurent: Remembering Chris Hondros (BJP: April 2011)

Donald R. Winslow: Chris Hondros Remembered As A “Prophetic Humanist” (NPPA: April 2011)

NPPA: London Funeral For Tim Hetherington In May

Getty Images: Fiancée of Getty Images Photographer Chris Hondros Announces Fund to Aid Photojournalists

Features…

Features and Essays - Balazs Gardi: On the Rough Edge of Rio (Newsweek: April 2011)  Police and Drug Lords Battle for the Streets of Rio

photo: Bryan Denton

New York Times: Battle for Libya photo gallery (NYT: May 2011)

Jonas Bendiksen’s most recent NatGeo work featured on NPR PictureShow… Worth another look for sure…Compelling, not-overly-stylised, image-making in context with important subject matter…photojournalism at its best, really.

Features and Essays - Jonas Bendiksen: Bangladesh: A Present-Day Water World (NPR: May 2011)

Peter diCampo‘s Life Without Lights was featured on PDN’s Photo of the Day…

Features and Essays – Peter diCampo: Life Without Lights (PDN: April 2011)

Features and Essays – Pier Casotti: Arctic Spleen (Photographer’s website: 2011)

Features and Essays - Abbas: Children of the Lotus (Magnum in Motion: April 2011)

Features and Essays - Platon: Champions to End Malaria (New Yorker: April 2011)

Features and Essays – Sean Gallagher: China’s Wetland Revolution (NatGeo: April 2011)

Features and Essays – Greg Funnell: Rwanda (Guardian: April 2011)

Features and Essays – Melanie Burford: The Monster Under the Water (Prime Collective: April 2011)

Now to the wedding…

TIME magazine had assigned VII photographers Christopher Morris and Joachim Ladefoged for the royal wedding… Really enjoyed these Chris Morris frames from the day before wedding…haven’t yet seen his big day coverage other than this tilt-and-shift baby

Features and Essays – Christopher Morris: Royal Anticipation (TIME LB: April 2011)

Features and Essays – Joachim Ladefoged: The Royal Kiss (TIME LB: April 2011)

Martin Parr continues his love-affair with cakes in his Royal Wedding coverage…He seems to have had two assignments for the day, as both TIME and Guardian have his work up on their websites… Not bad, if you can get such gigs for one shoot! Neither of the two slideshows share any shots exactly the same, but there are several of same scenes…three comparisons below.. Guardian shots on the left, TIME Lightbox on the right…I don’t know if it’s just me, but I thought it was surprising that the slideshows do not share a single frame since it’s basically the same shoot/assignment…It’s almost like both clients were promised certain images exclusively…Otherwise I would have expected Parr to make a strongest possible edit and file that to both…Obviously picture editors at TIME and Guardian have chosen their faves for their slideshows, but I doubt very much that if they were doing their selection from the same original Parr edit, that there wouldn’t be overlap…I’m just curious, why would anybody file two frames almost exactly the same (the cakes in the middle below) instead of just one…unless of course you file tons or have promised a certain kind of exclusivity…Although, my thinking is flawed in the sense that it’s difficult to see much exclusivity in having certain frames, if there are other around elsewhere very much like it…who knows…I don’t…Just wondering…

I hope he remembered not to charge the expenses twice;)

Features and Essays – Martin Parr: Bunting and Bonding: Martin Parr’s Wedding Parties (TIME LB: May 2011)

Features and Essays – Martin Parr: Walsall Celebrates the royal wedding (Guardian: April 2011)

Veronica was out and about too…

Features and Essays – Veronica Sanchis: Royal Wedding (Photographer’s website: April 2011)

By the way, if anyone needs an assistant on occational basis in London – for instance on location, in studio, or for scanning/ spotting/retouching – do get in touch with Veronica. She is already assisting a couple of photographers in the capital, but would have time for more. You can find Veronica’s contact details on her website.

Features and Essays – Tiffany Jones: A Royal Picnic (Photographer’s website: April 2011) via @drinckx 

Always love David Burnett’s blog posts…

Blogs – David Burnett: Of Big Events and Such (Photographer’s blog: April 2011)

A lot of Twitter chatter on Saturday regarding which of the UK papers had the best royal wedding cover…Seems a lot of them went for the safe bet, the kiss on the balcony.  The Times, however, did something different… and based on the examples, they stole the show…

Congrats to @Wiggys and @jonhilldesign are in order…

Articles - The Media Blog: Times takes Royal Wedding cover crow (Media Blog: April 2011)

A lot of talk online in the recent days also about Steve McCurry’s Craigslist ad for an intern… It turned out Vincent Laforet is also looking for someone – well actually three people – to help him around the studio…The opportunities offered by the two photographers couldn’t be much different…

Articles – A Photo Editor: Photographers Steve McCurry and Vincent Laforet Hiring Help – New vs. Old (school) (APE: April 2011)

Speaking of Steve McCurry…I ended up reading a blog post (found via @duckrabbitblog) by Arif Iqball, a participant of one of McCurry’s workshops…Not a glowing endorsement to attend one to put it mildly…I was hesitating whether to post the link,  but then I thought that to shy away from sharing it would be a disservice to any people reading this blog who might consider attending one of his workshops… Obviously, the below is just one person’s view…Although, you might also want to read the comments, as there seems to be others with similar experiences…

Arif Iqball: Reflections on Steve McCurry Myanmar Workshop (Photographer’s blog: March 2011)

Articles – Slate: War -Zone Insurance (Slate: Apri 2011) Getting covered for war- and terrorism-related accidents

Awards - Overseas Press Club Awards (Poynter: April 2011)

AwardsMagenta Foundation Flash Forward 2011 winners

AwardsSony World Photography Awards 2011, L’Iris D’Or and winners announced (Professional Photographer: April 2011)

Awards – BJP: David Goldblatt wins Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award (BJP: April 2011)

Articles – PDN: Agnes Dherbeys Wins OPC Robert Capa Medal

InterviewsAgnes Dherbeys : Thai Protest Photos Earn the Robert Capa Award. Agnes Dherbeys Is interviewed on Lens (NYT Lens: April 2011)

There’s been a lot of media interest in the sale of some of John G Morris’ collections… I remember linking to both Guardian’s and Newsweek’s pieces already…just in case you missed those, here’s two more…

Articles – NYT Lens: John Morris auctions collection of Capa, Lange, Cartier-Bresson,Gene Smith and John Morris (NYT Lens: April 2011)

Articles – BBC: Photo pioneer Morris’s collection goes under the hammer (BBC: April 2011)

Tips for creatives by Greg Benson

Tips and Tutorials –  Greg Benson: Tips for creatives  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 (Photographer’s blog: April 2011)

JobsAP are looking for a Full-time Chief Photographer based out of Kenya (Associated Press) via @gallagher_photo

WebsitesFirecracker May 2011

Articles – Poynter: Emphas.is builds community of support for quality photojournalism (Poynter: April 2011)

Articles - Teru Kuwayama: Which of Us Dies First? (Gizmodo: April 2011)

Articles – Michael Kamber: Kamber response to Teru’s attacks (LS: April 2011)

CrowfundingBesieged :  4 photojournalists in Congo (Emphas.is)

InterviewsChristoph Bangert : A Personal Story From Japan (NYT Lens: April 2011)

InterviewsBrian Ulrich :  Show Us Your Studio (Lightwork: April 2011)

photo: Brian Ulrich

Articles – Viz.: Dead Malls, Dead Stores – Toward a New American Gothic (Viz: April 2011)

InterviewsElizabeth Biondi (NYPH: April 2011)

InterviewsLarry Towell (Magnum Foundation: April 2011)

InterviewsMatt Slaby (APE: April 2011)

InterviewsRachel Smith (NYPH: April 2011)

Ernie Pyle was killed 66 years ago… They found this in his pocket….  (via @jimsheeler)

Articles – Ernie Pyle: On Victory in Europe(journalism.indiana.edu: 2011) “This column was never completed. A draft of it was found in Pyle’s pocket, April 18, 1945, the day he was killed by a Japanese machine-gunner on the island of Ie Shima.”

Articles – CNN: ‘Bang Bang Club’: Demands of film distort truth (CNN: April 2011)

To finish with….Something funky for Sunday..Not PJ related at all…‘Motion stills’ from From Me To You blog

Still looking forward to this… Somewhere to Disappear..a road trip adventure across America with Alec Soth.

And remember kids…”All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.” –Elliot Erwitt via @melisslyttle

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