March 13, 2011
2011 TED Prize Winner: Changing the World One Photograph at a Time - #TED
Being a passionate photographer myself and having lived and traveled to some of the pockets where JR shot hundreds of images for a 'wish' he had for the world, I couldn't help but be a little more than intrigued by his project which just won the TED Prize last week in Long Beach, CA.
So, who's JR? He is a photographer whose career began when he found a camera in the Paris subway. In his first major project, in 2001 and 2002, JR toured and photographed street art around Europe, tracking the people who communicate their messages to the world on walls. His first large-format postings began appearing on walls in Paris and Rome in 2003. His first book, Carnet de rue par JR, about street artists, appeared in 2005.
In 2006, he launched “Portrait of a Generation,” huge-format portraits of suburban “thugs” from Paris’ notorious banlieues, posted on the walls of the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became official when Paris City Hall wrapped its own building in his photos.
His wish for the world? I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we'll turn the world...INSIDE OUT."
Here's the idea: to participate.create a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Everyone will be challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. These digitally uploaded images will be made into posters and sent back to the project’s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities.
People can participate as an individual or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually. Visit www.insideoutproject.net to participate.
Below is an exhibit of some of his work held at a gallery in Long Beach, the weekend after the TED Conference finished.
In the gallery, which was free to all attendees, you could have your photo taken and within minutes, you were given a larger than yourself piece of paper with your mug shot, replicating what he has been doing in developing countries. It's symbollic of his project and the idea is to plaster your image somewhere to expand his idea and he hopes, to change the world.
The TED Prize is designed to leverage the TED community’s exceptional array of talent and resources and is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, “One Wish to Change the World.”
March 13, 2011 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Conference Highlights, Europe, On Africa, On Australia, On China, On East Africa, On Education, On France, On Germany, On Innovation, Photography, South America, United Kingdom, WBTW | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 14, 2011
The Zappos Tour: Join Me on a Very Wild & Visual Journey
If you live in the U.S., I'd be shocked if you've never heard of Zappos, a unique online store that started with shoes but then moved into other products even before it was acquired by Amazon.
CEO Tony Hsieh is a well known entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and social media circles, and is on the speaking circuit promoting his latest book Delivering Happiness, which is a must read if you haven't read it yet. There's even a Happiness Bus that is touring around the country, which I've had the pleasure to see in a few different cities. Check out a blog post I wrote summarizing a talk he gave in San Francisco last year, which includes a video clip. "If you get your corporate culture right," says Tony, "branding and customer service will naturally happen on its own. Customer service shouldn't be about a department, it should translate to the whole company."
This attitude and methodology has most definitely paid off as he points out in his book - it leads to a sustainable business and to profits. It leads to happy employees and customers. And, it leads to a corporate culture that is fun, memorable and inspiring, one that you want to stay with for a long time.
"Don't chase the paper," says Tony. "Chase the vision, chase your dream....and money will naturally follow. There's a big difference between motivation and inspiration. Make sure you have a higher purpose." He says that his only regret if he had to do it all over again was not having a core set of values in place for the company earlier. If you have passion, you're following your vision and your dream AND your company has alignment with those core values, all of it will extend to your employees, your partners and your customers. And, it shows up when you interact with Zappos employees - from the receptionist and customer service rep to the marketing and blogging team.
I finally had the opportunity to go on the official Zappos corporate tour during a recent trip to Las Vegas. It's more than a corporate tour - you feel as if you're on a ride with Disney, Tony Robbins and Pixar all at the same time, except that the tour includes shoes of course.....lots of them.
The creativity is a mish mash that changes as you migrate from department to department - it's as if you're on a discovery with each floor having its own energy and style, including the Blogging Bus which houses the 'blogging and social media' team. Check out a video interview I did with their social media team in January.
Since Zappos' color and energy was so eclectic and so visual, I thought I'd share my Zappos journey with you through photos. I also had an opportunity to attend their annual holiday party which had a 1920s theme this year and I most definitely dressed up - how could you not? While you'll notice a lot of funky shoes throughout including massive ones that were half my size, there was also a department that looked like a jungle, an official New York New York conference room and quite a few 'retro moments.' They also seem to really love Dr. Seuss.
Join me on my journey. Doesn't it look like a place you'd like to work?
The Wow Wall
November 24, 2010
Celebrity Portraitist Brian Smith Shares Fabulous Insights
Based in Miami, he came to the event to share some of the things he has learned from photographing celebrities, CEOs and models over the past thirty years.
A few things I took away from his style, which is very different from my own, yet he makes it work so well, you can't help but admire his work in the same way you'd admire a Salvador Dali but may not want to hang it on your wall.
There's a fabulous shot that doesn't look like much when you first look at it, but note the careful selection of white against white yet his shoes nearly match the floor; natural earth tone next to natural earth tone. And....it just works.
Use contrasts. If you're shooting a boring subject - a traditional conservative CEO for example versus a Las Vegas singer, set him in a dramatic environment or change his / her clothing dramatically, i.e., outside the office and against a large gold pillar background or his example of putting Bill Gates in a black turtleneck.
OR combine the look of deep rich contrasting colors with contrasting images that don't appear to go together -- on the surface, such as what Brian did below. I LOVE THIS PHOTO btw.
You can also put celebs or other subjects you're shooting in different clothing, different backdrops (tennis player in a suit on the top of a large building or an athlete in a graveyard showing their strength/that the rest of the industry should fear them because they're so good). He made some really interesting points about getting creative with 'how you depict' something.
For example, there are several ways outside of traditional thinking you could visually represent wealth or academia or entrepreneurship or design or glitz or fashion or beauty or health. You get the idea.
Other tips on speed....he says, "you don't always need to shoot 10 frames a second or more, you can do it one shot at a time with a strobe."
Apparently he uses strobes frequently and on touching photos up in the post shooting process, he had this to say, "I like to touch people up so that they still look real, but perhaps just left a really fabulous spa treatment - in other words, it's not so dramatic that someone wouldn't look at the subject and say it's an unrealistic representation of them." I thought it was great advice.
The keep it simple message kept coming up, which frankly is a message that works for most things in life. He also suggested not skimping on production or background since the environment (next to lighting) could make or break your shot.
I found him inspiring and down-to-earth, not to mention an easy listen. What I loved about his "show-and-tell" approach was the human part of the shot, i.e., not just what light or lens he used for the shot, but what the environment was like, the situation and occasionally adding funny add-ons throughout. Below is some video that I shot during the session.
Check out his work over at www.briansmith.com, where you can see countless images, ranging from travel, lifestyle and celebrity portraits to fine art and athletes.
October 18, 2010
A Recap of the 2010 Tudou Video Festival
Tudou.com (which means “couch potato” in Chinese) is China’s first, and now one of the country’s largest (aside from rival Youku.com), video sharing portals. Launched in 2005, Tudou follows a similar model to Google Inc.’s video Web site, YouTube.
Tudou also hosts videos that push the boundaries of sensitivity on the country’s censored Internet. It was the first portal, for example, to show the “War of Internet Addiction,” a 64-minute computer animation film on government Web controls, Tudou co-founder Gary Wang said. The film, produced by a network engineer who goes by the name “Sexy Corn,” won the top award at this year's festival.
Aspiring filmmakers, actresses and actors, animators and amateur videographers from around China (all mostly in their mid- to late-20s) showcased their work at the festival held at an art complex in Beijing, with aorund one thousand people in attendance.
Of the more than 5,000 entries, 94 made it to the final round of nominations.
“Two to three years ago, the works were really amateur,” Wang said. “Now people are taking it much more seriously.”
Now, traditional media along with advertisers are starting to take the content on Tudou much more seriously, too. Hung Huang, a blogge experiences working as a journalist in China won the “Golden Camera Award," and Hitch-hike Diary won the documentary category. The film, by a video blogger who goes by the name Tomato-Han Da Ka, is the story of a hiking trip on the border regions of Sichuan province and Tibet.
He is the producer of the “War of Internet Addiction,” an animated film shot entirely within the video game, World of Warcraft (it is a filming technique known as machinima, which involves making animated movies using real-time images recorded from video games). The movie won the top award at the Tudou festival.
The film centers on World of Warcraft gamers who are frustrated that a new version of the game was banned in China. However it also contains deeper themes about Internet freedom in the country. It has been viewed millions of times.
Video Link: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/8w0z0Q_TAQI/
Cai Chen-Shu (Video Blogger Name: Love Vacation)
“It Seems to Rain” centers on a high school boy and his struggles to accept himself as a homosexual. “I have always wanted to make a movie about same sex relationships and how a teenager becomes comfortable with his own identity.
Cai said the film received a lot of criticism when it was first posted online in China because “the movie is from Taiwan and those kinds of things.” He now works for a film production company in Taipei. “I don’t consider myself a movie producer at all,” he said. “It was just an assignment.” However Cai says one day he does hope to become a famous director of a disaster film.
Video Link: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/O_GQhEIvCsA/
Zhou ended up pursuing his filmmaking dream. He is now studying at the Beijing Film Academy. And his 22-minute film, “Lost in Paradise,” was nominated for best drama at the Tudou awards ceremony. The film is about a driver who loses 10 patients he is taking to a mental institution when he stops to see a prostitute along the way.
Zhou says his next film will center on love between parents and their son in honor of the support his family eventually gave him to pursue his dream. “Crying is not weak,” he said. “”Crying is because we are moved by each other.”
Read more: 2010 Tudou Video Festival awards: The best of China's online films | CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/none/chinese-video-portal-tudoucom-holds-annual-awards-beijing-706382#ixzz12mBMxeHL
October 18, 2010 in Entertainment/Media, Events, On Blogging, On Branding, On China, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Video, Photography, Social Media, Travel, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 01, 2010
MC Hammer & Dancers HOT on Stage
Imagine you're into rap, hip hop and dance. Imagine you're into creativity, fabulous footwork and high energy. Imagine being able to move, jam and jive among a group who live and breathe this? I recently had an opportunity -- together with a few dozen others from the Silicon Valley technology community -- to jam with MC Hammer and his rivoting dancers on stage. (and I mean rivoting on top of being beautiful and perfectly sculpted!)
MC Hammer took the stage at the Google-sponsored Techcrunch Disrupt after party this past week in San Francisco. The shindig was partly to celebrate the AOL acquisition of Techcrunch (congrats to Mike, Heather & TC team) and partly, just to have fun and perhaps prove that techies know how to jam and more importantly like to. As a lover of dance and dancer myself, there is no better joy than to be what I refer to as "in-zone" -- on or off-stage.
When the music and energy takes over, nothing else exists except you and the music.....you and the beat. I was so caught up in the beat at one point that I didn't even realize MC Hammer was rapping and dancing right next to me until I saw video clips of it later.
MC Hammer hasn't lost his edge and both his female and male dancers are so impressive, so engaging and so passionate about their art, that you can't help but tap, move, clap and shout. You'll see what I mean by taking a look at the random shots of MC and group in action I took from front-row center below:
September 18, 2010
Industry Mug Shots From This Year's DEMOfall
Ann Revell-Pechar, Walter Bachtiger, CEO of VoiceBase, Renee Blodgett
DEMO God Winners:
Twitter and Square's Jack Dorsey
Neal Silverman and Matt Marshall
DEMO Late Night
VentureBeat's Owen Thomas
VoiceBase presents on the DEMOfall stage:
Francois Rocaboy of Pearltrees and Michelle Kraus
Renee Blodgett, VentureBeat's Matthew Linley and Carol Tran of Chic Meets Geek
On-stage DEMO God Award winners:
Matt Marshall on the DEMOfall stage:
Ice Cream Man:
Dynamics takes the $1 million prize from IDG:
Late night networking:
The VoiceBase team on the show floor:
Janet Rae Dupree had a birthday during DEMO (Happy Happy Janet!!!)
Ed Baig, USA Today, Renee Blodgett, Steve Wildstrom
August 13, 2010
New Photo Books Now Out: Faces of London and Post Apartheid KidsI've been working on a series of Photo Books of various eclectic and wonderful places around the world - from American cities and cafes to people, places, designs and architecture in Europe, Africa and Central America. The first two are now out: Faces of London and Post Apartheid Kids. Below is a little background and a sneak peak of each.
Faces of London shows the surprises you get from walking through the streets of London. If you spend enough time people watching, you'll notice a wide range diversity of cultures who now call themselves Londoners -- from countless countries around the world.
Did you know that at the time of the Roman Invasion, London was called Londinium? In Saxon times, it was referred to as Lundenwic, and during the Kingdom of Alfred the Great, the city was known as Lundenberg? It is a city rich in history, diversity and miraculous transitions.
Today, London represents countless cultures from around the world. Regardless of what part of the city you're in, the experience is always breathtaking, energizing and stimulating. Ask someone a question and be challenge and inspired at the same time -- again and again. Faces of London shows these transitions. It shows London's diversity through beautiful, colorful shots of its people in a wide range of neighborhoods throughout the city. From east to west and north to south, join us on this colorful and artistic journey.
Below, you can get a sneak preview of Faces of London:
Post Apartheid Kids takes you on a journey through various parts of South Africa - both rural and urban - capturing wonderful and surprising moments of children in a post-Apartheid world.
Take a journey through a post-Apartheid South Africa and see it in the eyes of its children. It's a visual story of one child's face after another -- their smiles, their eyes, and their energy. Because of deeply-rooted pains of South Africa's complex past, we don't ask to forget, but we do ask for a harmonious life for the next generation.
We meander from Johannesburg, the Transvaal and Venda in the north through to Natal, Swaziland, the Orange Free State, the Highlands, the Cape and the beautiful and desolate Karoo.
Below, you can get a sneak preview of Post Apartheid Kids:
July 03, 2010
Fillmore Jazz FestivalFillmore's Jazz Festival is in full play this weekend in San Francisco. A few random shots below including a bunch of swing dancers who showed up to dance up a storm to The Lost Cats.
Also performing was Dave Rocha Quintet, Art Khu, Marcus Shelby Orchestra, Calvin Keys Trio, Brent Kimbrough Band, Pamela Joy Quintet, Bobbie Webb, Native Elements, Bartron Tyler Group and more.
June 20, 2010
"Dad is Awesome" Talking PhotoBelow is an adorable and compelling use of Fotobabble's very simple and easy-to-use technology. For Father's Day, Mom and kids create a 'talking photo' for their dad using a poem to share how much they love him and what makes him so special. People can get set up in minutes. Also check out the Ballpark All Stars Moms Contest using Fotobabble.
June 08, 2010
Snapily for Photos for Flip-Book & 3D EffectsVered Levy Ron, CEO of Snapily, an Israel-based company, spoke to me this past week at the Israel Conference in Los Angeles. Snapily prints customized photo gifts with 3D and Flip-book style effects.
In a few simple steps, anyone can create LivingPrints, which Snapily converts into greeting cards, scrapbook pages, business cards, personal fun cards, invitations, thank you cards, and notebooks. Their software is based on interlacing images so they fit under a substrate called Lenticular, which is a type of plastic that is produced with many small lenses.