Pekko Käppi and the Jouhikko (Finnish Bowed Lyre)

"It used to be the instrument of kings, and in the turn of the twentieth century, it was the instrument of crippled beggars. And now, slowly, in this century it has become... well, I don't know what it has become... something in the between, but I'm quite sure that kings don't play it."
Additional listening on the jouhikko: a good video of the Jouhiorkesteri (Horse-Hair Orchestra)


Two Slices

Well, I don't know how he did it, but Anthony Clark has managed to sum up my entire college career in four monochrome panels. After school, I wouldn't mind not eating pizza for a long time... but sometimes when it's a choice between cafeteria broccoli pizza or strange-roast mystery-bird with tough-corn (or perhaps some Cincinnati-style chili-water on meat-style hot dogs with crunch-buns), I have to choose broccoli pizza.


Wanna Read About Contemporary Culture Trends?

In the order I came across them, here are three interesting articles I've "collected" while traversing the fruited knolls of the internet over the past couple months. They're all discussing the same thing, but focusing on different aspects of our modern life.

The Artisanal Movement, And 10 Things That Define It

The Faux-Vintage Photo

You Say You Want A Devolution?



Portrait of a Bassoonist

While at the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra performance last night, I was delighted to find a blank page at the back of the program and my favorite pen in my pocket. I thought it would be good fun to sketch a portrait of Abi with her bassoon––here she is playing Berlioz.



An early Honda Goldwing is my dream motorcycle. OK, maybe one of my dream motorcycles.
I'd ride this one into the desert sunset after saying something like, "Sorry babe, only got one seat."



I hung 31 of the 32 prints tonight. Seems I forgot to print the 32nd... somehow. The other five artists have some amazing work up, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished gallery. Five of use went out for lunch yesterday after the preliminary install work, and it was excellent to get to know them; since we usually work in different buildings I hadn't really spoken with any of them until the show. I still feel odd about being the only photographer/2D-artist... I really wish there was a paintist or drawist in the show! Anyway, I'm tired and rambly. I should be able to put the final touches on the show tomorrow. P.S. As of today, I own two pairs of jeans!


One More Night

I've decided that this will be my last night to relax and enjoy myself until the senior show opens on Thursday. I have a lot to do, but I'm more worried about what I'm going to wear and all of the small talk I'll need to make. I really don't want to talk about my work... My statement is now in its fifth or sixth iteration, and I still don't love it, so I think I'll pare it down; it's hard to write "the series is about such and such" when the series isn't finished. I'm tempted to write

Human Nature is an ongoing series of photographs of places I've been.

and leave it at that. Time to drink some tea.



Over the past several weeks, I've become aware of a strong and inexplicable impulse churning beneath the surface of my psyche. Every time I get on Craigslist.org, the first place I go is to the "free" section to look for pianos. There is always a piano.

I do not need a piano, I do not particularly like pianos, I have nowhere to put a piano. And yet every time I think about free pianos, my mind salivates. What will happen when I have my own place? I am terrified that I will fill it with dozens of partially operational spinets, and studios, and consoles, and uprights,  and players, each with a unique scale and timbre suited to a particular crazy-man composition. I'll probably also have cats.


Holy Sonnet XII

Why are we by all creatures waited on?
Why do the prodigal elements supply
Life and food to me, being more pure than I,
Simple, and further from corruption?
Why brook'st thou, ignorant horse, subjection?
Why dost thou, bull and bear, so sillily
Dissemble weakness, and by one man's stroke die,
Whose whole kind you might swallow and feed upon?
Weaker I am, woe is me, and worse than you,
You have not sinned, nor need be timorous.
But wonder at a greater wonder, for to us
Created nature doth these things subdue,
But their Creator, whom sin nor nature tied,
For us, His creatures, and his foes, hath died.

––John Donne


It Was A Good Night For Listening To The Radio.

Home Cookin' by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross                                              I Get The Neck Of The Chicken by Bob Dorough


Jaan Pahechaan Ho

I don't want to say this is the best thing we've watched in my Music of World Cultures class, but it's by far the most fun. Ted Lyons and His Cubs are the band, Mohammed Rafi is the singer, and apparently Herman Benjamin is the actor portraying the singer. Anywho, it's from the 1965 bollywood film Gumnaam, and it's fantastical.


Space Dominion

"Once we dreamed of flying saucers from Mars; 
   now perhaps Mars dreams of visits from us."

Does the fact that God grants us dominion over all the earth imply by omission that we do not have dominion over (or even the right to visit) the rest of the universe? What does that mean for space exploration? The moon landings?


100 Cent Coffee

I should have known by the pixelated mold (AKA photoshopped bubbles) growing on the coffee in the photo. I should have seen the grotesque packaging, and smelled the weird non-coffee scent. I should never have picked it up off the Dollar General shelf. Why didn't I think it through, and how did they get coffee to taste so bad? I've choked down two cups so far. Forty-eight more! I need to break my own rules and add some sugar or milk, although that would be a perfect waste of sugar or milk. Slainte!


Soyuzmultfilm's Winnie the Pooh

Soyuzmultfilm, the company responsible for this version of Winnie the Pooh, Hedgehog in the Fog, and many other fantastic films, has done some of my favorite mid-20th century Russian animations for children, hands down.

Eeyore here seems far more authentic and intellectual than in the Disney version. Owl is just as obnoxious but far more female.


First Annual Top Five Smells Awards

TFSA 2011! All the best smells are in attendance tonight, and boy, is Vanilla Bean turning heads in that shimmering off-white dress! Rumor has it that this year's judge totally made this up on the spot, and hasn't even considered many of the smells out there today. Notably absent are popular choices like Baking Cookies, Freshly-Cut Grapefruit, and Ocean Breezes, but the judge refuses to stand down.

1. Old Books. By extension, most good libraries and independently-owned bookstores. Careful though, some books don't age as well as others.

2. Damp Forest Floors. Any time of the year! This suite of smells is best enjoyed quietly and alone; it is meditative and ancient.

3. Coffee. Roasted beans > while brewing > while pouring, but all are great. A true classic, and best at sunrise or at breakfast with friends.

4. The Cold Wind That Leads A Stormfront. Actually, this one is my favorite, I think. Even better than night air through a bedroom window.

5. A Properly Maintained Barnyard. This is a great compound smell: animals, wood, gasoline, hay, leather, poop, mystery.


Hosea 6:6

I want you to show love,
      not offer sacrifices.

I want you to know me
      more than I want burnt offerings.


The Greatest Music Video

essence de voyage sur la route, la nostalgie, l'amour montage


NKU - 1980 to 2011

I must say, old NKU looks like a better time. Top photo is undated, but I'll place it pretty confidently in late spring or early fall of 1980, as BEP was finished in '79, and ST (building on left) groundbreaking was in '81. Still working on what the event was, though.

Pella Crossing


Another Available-light Portrait

Rob Kerby, Technical Director of the NKU Department of Theater and Dance.
I went to Paris with Erich Kerby, a history student, who recommended that I photograph his father for my project. The theater prop shop always looks amazing when I walk by, so I had planned on photographing Rob there on the floor. This morning as I peered around the shop for a good angle, Rob suggested we also try the stage, which is currently set for their production of Little Women.




A Portrait in the Elevator

As part of my architectural photography class, I took this photograph of a student overseeing a late-night STEM study session. I'd shot his environmental portait earlier in the day, and while we were talking he mentioned that he would be in the building until midnight, helping some younger students cram for their big tests tomorrow. Pleased by his geniality and eagerness to sit for me, I forgot that I needed to get a headshot, too. Much later, I realized my terrible mistake and ran over with my 50mm f/1.4, asking him apologetically for three more minutes of time. He happily agreed, but by that time it was entirely dark outside and the only good lighting was in the elevator. While we were just beginning another student got on with the intent of using the elevator for its proper purpose, so down we went. We all enjoyed the strangeness of the situation. I shot this between the third and second floors, got off on the first, and my subject went back up to the fourth. In a more perfect world, I would have worn a white shirt to lighten his eyes and neck, but overall I'm happy with the photo.

Nikon D200, 50mm f/1.4, 1/30" @ f/4 @ ISO 400


Super Swift 2.0

Puch front suspension fork and Puch front drum hub, laced 1X to a vintage 26" single-wall rim. New Michelin PiLOT Sport tires. It is incredible how much work it took me to lace up the front wheel and get the fork to fit that frame. Puch mopeds don't run 26" wheels, and bicycles don't run such large hubs, so I had to source some very unusually sized spokes and build it myself, hence the non-boxed valve stem. The steerer on the fork is too long for the Monark head tube, and the triple-tree style meant I couldn't simply extend the threading to fit.... I spent several hours grinding and filing various bits of metal to rework the top race. Goodness. Somehow throughout all this the carb autonomously developed a slow leak, I had to rebuild the rear wheel and I found no suitable headlight... Evan and I have bounced some ideas around for the light, ranging from using a mammalian skull to a customized coconut. I'm leaning toward the coconut. All the work and jury rigging has paid off––the ride is actually tolerable now thanks to the fork and road slicks, although I do need to retrue the front wheel.

Earth from a satellite

Go HD and fullscreen with this one, and give it time to load. Slow connection?
Go make coffee or finish that paper you've been writing. It's worth the relatively short wait.


References or Copies?

Nothing new under the sun... This happens all the time with art, and with photography especially. Sometimes it's hard to draw the line between intelligently referencing another photographer and either ripping off or unintentionally copying them. I sure hope Noel Camardo was thinking of Daido Moriyama's photograph she made this photo, because I really like both of them. Moriyama's photo is one of those images that produces an uncomfortably visceral reaction in me, and is seared into my memory. Interesting, also, how the similarities highlight the differences.



  Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!

I wish I could read this in Hebrew; I know it is almost infinitely more beautiful as an acrostic. Since it has already lost all of its formal qualities in translation, I see no need to retain the visual format of the original.


Surfing the Human Heart

Photoshop is the most fun.


The greatest commentators.



The more I think about it, the more I love droning instruments, and basically any non-western instrument. A harmonium is next on my list after getting the banjo down. Still can't circular breath, though...

Easy, right? Notice the guy in the top video picks a key in tune with the digderidoo and locks it down for the entire piece––no worries!


Geekhouse Polo Bike

I missed this bike when it was brand-new and shiny at the NAHBS, but it's got some fantastic details. Made for the writer of Urban Velo, it's got track geometry, 26" wheels (135mm front and back), S&S couplers, a bent seat tube for a tighter wheelbase, and something I'd never seen before––disc brakes with recycled discs for guards! Pretty darn brilliant, and a great reuse of what would normally be pitched in the garbage. That one feature, combined with the fact that I'd love to play bike polo someday, makes this a favorite. Geekhouse has some fine bikes, every single one out of my price range.


Muyu Muyari Warmigu

Muyu muyari warmigu,                  Please return, dear woman,
Muyu muyari payagu.                     Please return, dear "old lady."

Kambaj shayashka puistuka,          The place in which you've stood,
Sisagullami vinashka.                     Just a dear flower has grown.

Kambaj shayashka puistuka,          The place in which you've stood,
Sisagullami vinashka.                     Just a dear flower has grown.

Llakiwanguichu warmigu,             Will you be sad to me, dear woman,
Juyawanguichu warmigu?             Or will you be loving to me, dear woman?

Kambaj shayashka puistuka,          The place in which you've stood,
Sisagullami vinashka.                     Just a dear flower has grown.

A Cotacachi Quichua sanjuan by Rafael and Efrain.
World Music might turn out to be the best gen-ed yet.


Le Tour

Shot these on my Moskva 5 loaded with Adox CHS 25 pushed to 50 ISO.
Jessica and Cassie, two photographers from NKU, are in the top photo. I don't remember ever seeing that huge bottle Jess is holding, but there it is. Looking at the bottom photo, it's hard to believe I lived there and walked those streets. If there hadn't been 200 people on the tiny little platform, I could have stayed all day atop the Eiffel Tower, watching the cloud shadows crawl across Paris.

Finally, I would like to say: Hipstamatic ain't got nothin' on me!

Something's wrong here...

No class until three on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I was up early to shoot in dawn light, but after the sun was up I had nothing to do but kill time. I got some tips on two possible trails for the mountain bike within 10 minutes of campus, and decided to check them both out.

Trail one: steep downhills, but not very technical for the most part. Dusty ground with dry leaves over the top = one long skid all the way down. My back wheel was locked for 90% of the runs, and when it wasn't I was going so fast I couldn't even tell what I was riding over. Awesome. I hit a creek at the bottom, pulled an endo, and over the bars I went. Great fun, but the back wheel hit a rock on the way back down and I had to retrue it to get it to spin again.

Trail two: What trail? I rode for 30 minutes on wide gravel paths through the woods, wondering what the person meant by, "I don't know how people ride on those trails." I saw a little offshoot, took it, and there I was in the scariest riding I've ever done. Narrow, steep hills with sharp turns at the bottom, super sharp and pointy rocks waiting for skulls, and some downhills I almost couldn't even push the bike up. I walked all but the easiest parts (gnarly roots running across an almost-cliff), and won't ride the harder stuff until I have a riding buddy with me.

So, all of this exploring without any injuring except to the bike. I get back to the dorm, riding with a tripod in one hand, and lock the brakes while on the sidewalk 20 feet from my door. All my weight shifts forward, and since I only have one hand on the bars, they turn 90 degrees. Down I go: bar end to the bicep, eggbeater to the shin bone. Both are nicely bruised, and my shin is pretty swollen.



Hot Pepper Sauce

Chopped peppers + vinegar. I'm going to let it set for a few days and see if it's hot enough.  


As the Teacher's Assistant

Kylie: I didn't get a job yet or a Latin name. What's my strength?
Mr. Fox:  Listen, you're Kylie. You're an unbelievably nice guy. Your job is really just to... be available, I think. I don't know your Latin name. 

So I just watched Fantastic Mr. Fox recently, so excuse me mentioning that movie twice in the past couple days. The above quote just about sums up my role as the Photo One TA. I more or less talk to students about things like shutter speed, auto-focus modes and matrix metering, or engage in witty banter with Chris. In the classic subservient assistant manner, I also bring him his Starbucks. Grande iced coffee, black. It's an easy order.

The perks so far are incredible: three credit hours for talking about photography with people fresh enough not to be cynical, and with technical problems that require 30 seconds with the manual to fix. Chris has already given me a stack of PDN magazines to keep, the rare Cartier-Bresson's France to borrow ("You were in Paris? Here, take this book!"). Today Toni, an older student, gave me her Nikon N90, because she isn't going to shoot film and didn't want it to collect dust. I put on a nice prime lens, grabbed an old roll of Fuji Superia 800, and ran it through the camera during class. Its place in Nikon's 1990s lineup is pretty close to where my D200 was in Nikon's 2000s lineup. I now own two generations of obsolete Nikons! Here are some shots from my first roll.