daphnep: (fashion style)
( Mar. 27th, 2011 01:11 pm)

Christian LaCroix, 1994 (model: Shalom Harlow)

Christian LaCroix, 1994
(model: Shalom Harlow)
daphnep: (eye)
( Mar. 21st, 2011 10:03 am)
Okay, guys. Can anyone explain this to me?

What is the deal with antlers?

I mean, I thought it was just a light visual fad, like those cardboard taxidermy things, but it's been a couple of years now and they don't seem to be going away.

Like in these fabric dress-up dolls (from Etsy), what is the reason for hipster boy and girl to have antlers as part of their outfits?
daphnep: (cutest thing ever)
( Mar. 19th, 2011 01:40 pm)

You're welcome!
daphnep: (cutest thing ever)
( Feb. 26th, 2011 12:46 pm)
This picture came up on pinterest, and I do think it might be the cutest thing I've ever seen:

...just felt like it was my obligation, to share it.
Okay, it's that time of year again, and I see everyone getting all into an uproar over "Black Friday".

And once again I want to hide in a burrow, away from the idiotic behavior of clueless people acting clueless all in the name of "giving".

A few points to remember:

1) Retail is pure democracy, and you vote with your dollars. Businesses (stores) can do nothing without the assent of willing consumers, rewarding them with dollars.

2) "Sales" are not "steals". Sale prices, bargains, deals, discounts, etc. are written into the profit margin of an item before the merchandise even leaves the factory. That means that if an item is marked at some "low low" cost for Black Friday, that is the price it was intended to be sold for. The "Suggested Retail" price and all those numbers that are crossed out before the one you think is a "bargain"? Those are there to make you think you're getting a deal, and to make you feel psychologically comfortable with the price you're paying, which is exactly the price the company wants you to pay. No less.

3) There is no objective business reason that a so-called bargain can or should be offered only at a specific time or date. Limiting the offer is a retailer's attempt to hype their business and get a quick estimate on a season's performance. If nobody shows up on Friday, they'll still have the merchandise on hand and the need to move it, they WILL create new "deals" and schemes to get it out of their stockroom by Dec. 24th.

4) Opening stores for "off" hours, the "Midnight Madness" sales, etc., only combines the false impression of a "discount" (in #2) with the hype of #3. It does not display your consumer savvy, it only demonstrates the sick effectiveness of cheap ploys. Worse, voting with your dollars at midnight the night after a holiday means voting FOR companies that require their lowest-paid employees (the cashiers and stockroom attendants) to work a middle-of-the-night shift. For consumers that buy into the cheap ploys.

So go stand in line at midnight to get your "bargains". But look at everyone working in that store, when you do. See them, at midnight or two a.m.? Those aren't automatons, they're people, and they have families (at home, sleeping, probably) and holiday gift shopping of their own to do. And unlike you, the shopper, they didn't have a choice to be there. Holiday shifts are mandatory for those retailers.

Here's the thing that people have a hard time grokking: If the stores threw a sale, and nobody showed up, they would still run those same discounts later on, during normal business hours. The merchandise has to move for the company to make a profit. An executive would look at the spreadsheets and say "Hmm, people like our widgets, even more than the competition, but the prime buying hours are between 8 and 10 am, and then again between 2 and 3. We're wasting money on all that staff, all night long." And next year, things would be a little different. Instead, each year they come up with even more and more extreme plays, and each year, more and more people, blindly following the advertising, fall for it, and each year it gets worse for everyone.

I have it easy: my shop is stable, and my workers well-cushioned. I can tell you right now how many visitors we'll have and much money we're going to make on Friday, and it's not going to be any chaos at all. But other people don't have it so lucky, and I cringe for them.

I cringe, too, for all the people telling me (like I should be happy for them, since I'm a shopkeeper) that they're looking forward to standing in a line at midnight. I only grimace. You're being played, sucker, and worse: you're hurting other people in the process.

Each dollar you spend is a vote for something. What kind of world are you voting for?
daphnep: (sewing)
( Sep. 21st, 2010 04:13 pm)
Okay, besides a memory chip to insert in my brain to enhance my knowledge base (and learn languages instantly) do you know what else I would like to see invented?

A way to attach a parcel of information to an image file that sticks with that file through uploading and downloading. Like a informational watermark, and I KNOW that there's already a way to do this, because in some programs, images from my digital camera are marked with the type of camera and a time/date stamp on it.

I'd like to have captions of images glued to those images, like what we call in the museum world the "tombstone": Artist, title, date, medium...and a way to edit it to add things like "originally posted at www.whatever.com, found via so-and-so at wherever blogger service, etc." I think that tumblr.com is doing something like this, and probably other sites, but it's not standardized. I try to save image files with some identifying title, but things always get lost in the renaming, and then when I want to post them or refer to them elsewhere, I can't remember where I got them, who the artist is, or why I saved it in the first place.

Then, if I try to upload it to sites like LJ and Ravelry, whatever helpful title I did manage to save it under gets deleted and it gets renamed as something decidedly UNhelpful, like aks900000000000475691212545akdaczcyz.jpg

Like this one. It's a perfectly nice picture of Marilyn Monroe, reading. I think I got it off a home decor site, looking for turquoise rooms. But I also look through vintage movie sites, and might have gotten it there, or looking for pictures of women reading...I'm not really sure. At any rate, I'd like to both know where it's from and credit who took it (and who put it on the internet.) But I saved it with some generic title like "Marilyn Reading". That helps nobody.

Pretty, though. It's a pity. My computers are full of stuff like this, unfiled, unsorted, uncredited.
"It goes without saying."

Well, if it does, you wouldn't be saying it, would you? The phrase automatically cancels itself out. It manages to invalidate both itself and whatever else it gets attached to.

The only way to possibly use it is to say "It should go without saying..."

I read that in an otherwise very amusing book, over breakfast. Conversational use is one thing, but in my opinion, it's a particularly sloppy phrase in writing, because the author creates and controls the entire world, inside that text--writing, the author has every chance to actually design a scenario in which something can "go without saying", and conversely, in which anything can be said.

To say something and negate it in the same line, well, that author needs a better editor.
daphnep: (clean all the things)
( Sep. 15th, 2010 12:48 pm)
My confession:

Poorly-draw web comics are not really my thing. I usually scroll by them in spite of the fact that they are generally posted all over the place, and everyone else seems to love them. XKCD or whatever that is? I can take or leave it. That thing with the dinosaurs? I can't pay attention past the first frame. I don't think I've ever read one to completion.

But "Hyperbole and a Half" always makes me laugh out loud, for real. I love the drawings, how expressive they are in spite of their simplicity. How the stories are always a little bit sad, along with the funny. I know humor is a complicated thing, with a myriad of variables. It's a personal thing, but for me, those track-pad drawings get it right.

Like this one: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/09/party.html
daphnep: (yarn (he)art)
( Aug. 20th, 2010 09:14 pm)
I love it when knitting and art collides, when knitwork gets elevated to fine art, or Art takes a swoop through arts and crafts.

And when I saw this photo, it nearly took my breath away:

by artist Helen Pynor, website here: http://helenpynor.com/

Some people knit socks, and some knit...feet.

I love the way it's photographed, with the toes dangling to just barely touch the floor, with the shadow of the fabric creating phantom twins of feet.

(Plus, for an added twist, it's knit of human hair.)
The Uniform Project, where that artist Sheena Matheiken (http://theuniformproject.com/) wears the same little black dress every day for a year, is winding down to the end of its year.

And now, near the end, she does a fashion homage to Magritte:

How much do I love this?
daphnep: (flirt)
( Apr. 22nd, 2010 04:51 pm)
title or description

Comment to be added.
daphnep: (MmmwaH!)
( Apr. 8th, 2010 12:05 pm)
Jezebel.com commented on both of these things, but I want to draw them together in one place just to contrast them.

First of all, we have the Super-Photoshopped version of Michelle Obama on the cover of Good Housekeeping Magazine.

Then we have Marie Claire Magazine showing Jessica Simpson and bragging about "No makeup, no retouching!" Fascinating that these come out in the very same month. Interesting to see the two side by side.

One more of Jessica, just because I think she looks really good, this way. Of course, this still isn't "nature". It's all art, remember: the photographer, the designer, the editors--these images still came through layers and layers of "image-making process". But they're nice to see.

Discuss amongst yourselves.
You've probably heard about how animal shelters in California have been so completely overrun with Chihuahuas lately, that in some cities there are more homeless chis than there are pit bulls. (One of many articles on the subject here)

Now Boingboing.net reports that Virgin Airlines is undertaking a project to fly Chi-pookies to other shelters around the country to disperse the "overstock", if you will. Virgin has a completely adorable set of photographs of traveling dogs on their Facebook page, here.

Clearly, this is a nice PR move and a great opportunity to advertise their service using adorable pictures of traveling dogs. But as I myself gear up for another cross-country trip with my own frequent-flyer mouse-face, I have to say that I heartily approve. I don't know what specific shelters are receiving "deliveries" of little dogs (that I can refer you to additional adoption resources) but I do think that if your life has been lacking in love or affection and if you have a little room (and just a little room will do) for a furry creature in your world (and under the covers in your bed), you might want to look into it.
A fascinating analysis of the editing done to photographs from Victoria's Secret was linked today from Boingboing:

Part I:

Part II:

When I say "everything that's published in fashion magazines and advertising is edited", this is exactly what I'm talking about. It's not just the clumsily-removed handbag erased out, not just the gently-reshaped limbs and highlighted eyes and teeth and digitally plumped-up breasts, but a key thing that I often see but have a hard time identifying precisely, without the specific "before" photo or actual light set-up in front of me: All surfaces should have similar lighting. If her face is dark on one side and light on the other, then her arms should have the same pattern. However, this isn't what we are seeing. None of her body parts have proper lighting.

The author goes on to point out specific evidence for these alterations using a series of photo analysis tools that I've never seen before, a comparison of the model's skin tone in this and another photo, etc.

(Once again, I reiterate a point from previous conversations: such edited photos are morally neutral. Bad artistry, such as the removed handbag, sure is fun to mock, but I do not support any sort of creative limitations on what photographers and graphic designers may do to their work. I do, however, support educating the public so that we can be visually literate and easily realize the differences between fashion illustration and "real life". Websites such as the "hacker factor" are providing educational tools, and that's why I'm reposting it.)
It just seems like...something that should be posted on livejournal.

Edwige Fenech
Edwige Fenech

John Lennon
John Lennon

Lots more )
On Christmas eve, after church (!), Alex and I sat knitting while Dan read. Mabel fell asleep on top of my knitting book, and Lola fell asleep on top of Mabel.

title or description

gratuitous cuteness )
daphnep: (big butt)
( Dec. 7th, 2009 08:41 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] lxbean made a point in my last "Visual Literacy" post, in a comment she said "maybe we're getting to a point where we can be liberated from the tyranny of these photos as ideal. ...Maybe if we got there, we could just say "ooh, pretty [if unrealistic] picture!" Kind of like we might say about a picture of a unicorn: pretty -- not real, but pretty."

She was referencing another blog entry (over here: http://twobodysolution.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/the-emaciation-proclamation/#more-370)...and I think she and Professor Bean are both right. In fact, it's exactly how I read fashion magazines: as cool illustrations, having little to do with my life or the reality I live in. It's also why I advocate blogs like "Photoshop Disasters" and why I think everyone should know the boundaries of what photo editing software can do--so that everybody can appreciate the pretty unicorns, and stop looking around for horned ponies, or even wasting their time saving up hard-earned money for one of their own.

To me, most photos I see in fashion mags look rather like the old Steve Madden ads:

Maddens chickie

Remember those? They're creepy, because you know they're stretched and distorted but they're still humanoid, and even cute. But you'd never, ever say "Oh, I think I'll diet until my legs look like that!" Would you? It'd be preposterous.

But these ads are different from others only because Madden's ad company was cheeky in the extreme. They didn't use any special tools or techniques, just the same ones we've been looking at for decades, now. But they stretched it far enough that we didn't have to be visually savvy to see through it.

More distorted pictures here, cut for size and quantity. )
daphnep: (coral)
( Dec. 7th, 2009 07:01 pm)
One phrase the French have that I love is the idiomatic phrase "ce n'est pas toujours évident." It sort of means "it's not always as easy as one might think," but the French sprinkle it liberally throughout conversation in a way that works in the privacy of my own brain, too. I use it a lot in my internal dialogue, but I don't usually say it out loud, because it doesn't translate to anything.

But there's something so gracious about it. Sure, it can be used ironically or with sarcasm, but mostly it's like an acceptance of limitation: it's okay if you didn't get that, at first, it's not as easy as it might look. Or, there's time to redo it, we all did it wrong, when we were starting out.

It's neutral, on its own. It reserves judgement. It's a nice way of acknowledging something, and then moving on.

C'est pas toujours évident, quoi. It's a phrase that carries its accompanying shrug, right along with it.
Okay, in spite of being an admitted photoshop junkie, some of the wailing that happens when magazines, advertisers, etc. are "caught" editing their photos makes me roll my eyes and say "Oh, please."

As does the proposal of France passing a law that says images that have been edited need to carry a warning statement to alert their audiences to that fact, like a pack of cigarettes with a cancer warning.

A while back a YouTube video was being posted around wherein people were decrying the use of photo editing software, saying "But we didn't know we weren't looking at actual photos! We didn't know!" (I can't find the one that first got me going, now, because YouTube is so full of videos just like it. Watch a few, if you're so inclined...they're fascinating.)

Well, you are looking at actual photos, I'd say, the thing you didn't know (or try to deny) is that photos are not "real life", photos are art. Ceci n'est pas une pipe, and all that jazz.

And wearing my "art historian" hat, I always have to wonder, whenever I hear this statement, when did people stop knowing?

I look through the history of fashion magazines and advertising, in particular.

title or description

The American fashion consumer in 1933, for example, knew that the fashionable images on the covers of their magazines were artistic illustrations of feminine beauty, produced by the hand of an artist. The images may have been based on actual women, but they were largely a creation from the artist's mind, skillfully rendered in a way that would appeal to women who might buy the magazine (or the perfume, fashion, hosiery, and lipstick sold inside it).

More ahead, cut for lots of pictures )

I was riding home on the trolley the other day when I passed a park, where the trees were dressed in sweaters.

They are mostly cut-up sweaters and sleeves of sweaters, to which buttons have been added to make them fit the tree.

Two lucky trees, however, are wearing hand-knit sweaters, in orange and yellow stripes.

It made me really happy, to live in a neighborhood where someone dresses trees, and sometimes when graffiti happens, it's hand-made, with yarn.



daphnep: (Default)


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