I’ve read some remarkable articles in the German (online-version) magazine “Die Zeit” recently. One of them was “Das rote Sommermärchen”, and it’s about Sahra Wagenknecht’s new “Aufstehen” movement, which is some kind of a think tank for us lefties if you so wish. Interesting, and if you understand German, it’s a recommended reading.
Another article, also in German and in the same publication, is called “In einer Welt der Verbote”, and it’s about freedom in art, which seems to be in danger from the sides of some (even left) mobsters who are loud enough to get others scared enough to think about public displaying of “difficult” stuff.
And that got me thinking about an image I made myself a few days ago. That was a photo of a colleague who changed from smoking tobacco to inhaling fumes from one of these new pocket steam devices, into which you fill some kind of oil to inhale the fumes of it. That gives a whole lot more clouds than tobacco smoking ever did, and it’s also not yet clear if that is any less dangerous than inhaling burnt tobacco leaves.
Anyway, I had asked that colleague to wait with his next inhalation, got ready with my camera, and took a photo of him exhaling.
And he looked like a monster in that photo. Steam coming out of his mouth, his nostrils, totally unreal. Which reminded me of Freak shows, and led me to the question to myself if I would want to participate in something like it (which I don’t, obviously).
So like always, there’s a fine line between what *can* be done, and what *should* be done, and judgements never come easy – at least they shouldn’t. To question yourself is always a good beginning in my opinion, and should you be interested in a bit of self-reflection, it makes all of the articles mentioned above recommended readings.
That headline is basically what I wrote as a comment on someone’s (very nice, thank you!) Youtube video. Background: Mitchie is looking for a replacement for her notebook. And some sites (like the very good golem.de) even test new hardware with Linux – leaving me once more with the impression that some vendors (like Lenovo for instance) don’t even test their machines with Linux, while others (like Dell for instance) do very much to being able to offer some of their machines with a Linux distribution instead of the usual Windows “tax”.
Which means for me: if we want to run Linux, and the vendors don’t care, then I/we won’t care for them as well – they certainly have more time, money, and resources for such tests than I would/could do.
So no Lenovo, no HP, Asus or whatever nice machines might be around. There are others who simply care more about the rest of us, thank you very much. Time for us to be more consequent, and to vote with our wallets – supporting those who actually care about us.
Let me use a short quote of the English Wikipedia article about something else related to truths:
“The phrase “alternative facts” was claimed to be similar to a phrase used in Trump’s 1987 book, Trump: The Art of the Deal. In that book, “truthful hyperbole” was described as “an innocent form of exaggeration—and … a very effective form of promotion”.”
Lately someone wrote a book with that title. It’s about a sad (and bad) joke figure playing a president of a whole nation. But “the fire and the fury” reminds me of the devil in Tom Waits’ “Way down in the hole” (which is where we should keep him). Listen:
Funny that “The Wire”, where this is played as the title melody, is the favourite TV series of some former president named Barack Obama…
“Vanitas vanitatum, dixit Ecclesiastes ; vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas.”
Thinking about photography, especially about portaiture, I came to the above finding. And starting this year, I had asked Mitchie to take my photograph while I was on the phone with my aunt Geno, exchanging best wishes for the new year:
I have taken one portrait so far:
So why do I quote that line from the bible above?
Because all photography, and especially portraiture, is vanity. Or is it? Definitely yes if you follow all those tips on improving your photography with the usual 10 simple tips and tricks, with using the liquify and other tools to create fake beauty, overriding and overruling even god who made us like we are, should we accept that or not.
“Just outside the Valley of the Shadow of Death he meets Faithful, also a former resident of the City of Destruction, who accompanies him to Vanity Fair, a place built by Beelzebub where every thing to a human’s tastes, delights, and lusts are sold daily, where both are arrested and detained because of their disdain for the wares and business of the Fair. Faithful is put on trial, and executed by burning at the stake as a martyr. A celestial chariot then takes Faithful to the Celestial City, martyrdom being a shortcut there. Hopeful, a resident of Vanity Fair, takes Faithful’s place to be Christian’s companion for the rest of the way.”
“Christ und Getreu treffen wieder auf Evangelist, der zur Treue mahnt und vor dem Markt der Eitelkeiten warnt.
So kommen sie zum Markt der Eitelkeiten.
Die Teufel und Dämonen Beelzebub, Apollyon und Legion hatten diesen Markt in der Stadt Eitelkeit errichtet. Hier gibt es: Häuser, Ländereien, Gewerbe, Ämter, Würden, Beförderungen, Titel, Länder, Königreiche, Lustbarkeiten, Vergnügungen und Genüsse aller Art, wie Huren, Weiber, Ehefrauen, Ehemänner, Kinder, Herren, Diener, Leben, Blut, Leiber, Seelen, Silber, Gold, Perlen, Edelsteine usw.; weiter: Jongleure, Betrüger, Spieler, Narren, Affen, Schelme und Schurken aller Art zu besichtigen, kostenlos dazu: Diebstähle, Morde, Unzucht, Meineide, alles in Blutrot. Es gibt einen Aufruhr wegen der anderen Kleidung der Pilger und deren anderer Sprache, der Sprache Kanaans.
Die Pilger kommen vor Gericht, werden verhört, geschlagen, mit Dreck beschmiert, und in einem Käfig zur Schau gestellt.
Vor Gericht werden sie angeklagt von Richter Hassgut; die Anklage lautet: Störung des Handels, Aufruhr und Streit, Missachtung der Gesetze, Verleitung anderer zu höchst gefährlichen Anschauungen.
Anklagezeugen sind: Neid, Aberglaube und Schmeichler.
Schmeichler klagt an: Die Pilger haben Fürst Beelzebub beschimpft, und verächtlich von seinen Freunden gesprochen, nämlich Herrn Alter Mensch, Fleischeslust, Üppig, Ruhmsucht, Unzucht, Geizhals usw.
Getreu sagt dagegen: Der Fürst dieser Stadt und alle seine Anhänger gehören in die Hölle. Geschworene beim Gericht sind: Blindmann, Übelgesinnt, Boshaft, Lüstling, Schlüpfrig, Hitzkopf, Hochmut, Feindselig, Lügner, Grausam, Finsterling und Unversöhnlich. Getreu wird zum Tod verurteilt.
Getreu wird grausam gequält und hingerichtet, aber mit einem Wagen unter Posaunenschall durch die Wolken auf schnellstem Wege zum Himmelstor gebracht. Christ muss im Gefängnis bleiben, entkommt aber nach einer Weile daraus.”
“Christian and faithful again meet the evangelist, who warns to be faithful and warns against the market of vanities.
So they come to the market of vanities.
The devils and demons Beelzebub, Apollyon and Legion had built this market in the city vanity. Here there are: houses, lands, trades, offices, dignities, promotions, titles, lands, kingdoms, pleasures, pleasures and pleasures of all kinds, such as whores, wives, wives, husbands, children, lords, servants, lives, blood, bodies , Souls, silver, gold, pearls, gemstones, etc .; Further: Jugglers, cheaters, players, fools, monkeys, rogues and villains of all kinds to visit, free of charge: Thefts, murders, fornication, perjury, all in blood red. There is a rebellion because of the other clothing of the pilgrims and their other language, the language of Canaan.
The pilgrims come to court, are interrogated, beaten, smeared with filth, and showcased in a cage.
In court they are charged by Judge Hassgut; the charge is: disturbance of trade, turmoil and strife, disregard of laws, enticement of others to highly dangerous views.
Charges are: envy, superstition and flatterer.
Flatterer accuses: The pilgrims have insulted Prince Beelzebub, and spoken contemptuously of his friends, namely Mr. old man, lust for meat, luscious, gluttony, fornication, miser, etc.
Faithful, on the other hand, says: The prince of this city and all its followers belong in hell. Jurors in the court are: Blind man, Evil-minded, Mischievous, Lustful, Slippery, Hothead, Arrogance, Hostile, Liar, Cruel, Sinister and unforgiving. Faithful is sentenced to death.
Faithfully, cruelty is cruelly tortured and executed, but with a cart, accompanied by a trumpet sound, it is brought through the clouds on the quickest way to the Himmelstor. Christ has to stay in prison, but escapes from it after a while.”
No, I won’t write a philosophical discourse about vanity in portraiture – you’d have to possibly go back through the whole history of mankind to even start thinking about it. But how to avoid it? Maybe by starting with not posing your subjects?
There could be a problem even with an attempt like that, and it was described so nicely in a famous movie ending:
The problem with vanity, after all, is that while you probably think you’re better than that – that thought is very vain by itself. As is my Latin headline for this post. Just like the devil says: “Aaahh, vanity – my favourite of all sins!”