Predicting the past is easy. The future, less so.

I had an interesting lunch with a friend today at Maudie's Mexican Food Restaurant on Lake Shore Blvd. today.  It was an interesting lunch because my  friend, whom I'll call Bob, works at a mid sized public relations agency.  He actually owns his own creative company providing art direction, creative direction and ad design to the surrounding firm.  I love having lunch with Bob because he works with top clients from as far away as Japan and, while he's closer to my age, he is surrounded by 20, 30 and 40 year olds every single day.  We talked about family and hobbies and funny stuff that happens and then we got down to the meat of the meeting:  What's going to happen next year?  Where is the ad business going?  What will the trends be?

Here's something interesting.  Bob was a very early iPad adapter.  His justification for purchasing it was as a presentation device.  Now he admits that the screen is too small and, given a choice, all (regardless of age) of his clients prefer to see presentations and portfolios as PRINTS.  So last century.....but that's the way things go.  Big prints.  It's the wave of the future.   Also, little prints.

We've both been watching magazines come back strong.  We agreed that perhaps all the marketers overshot the whole "everything will end up on the web" pitch.  Seems that clients really do want audited results, tangible proof of circulation,  direct feedback and so much more.  While magazines folding up their tents make the most splash in the gossip forums the reality is that there are more titles than ever before and the ad revenues to the standing players are recovering quickly.  Amazing.  Two years ago we were ready to leave them for dead.  Prediction?  A lot more paid placement in print and direct mail, supported by the web.  That means designers need to dust off their "print chops" and remember how to manage color for paper and all that other stuff.  But now clients want to measure all this stuff.  And remember, you'll need better technique for print.  The file are much bigger and the details and faults are ten times as obvious.

And, who ever guessed that this would happen? Holiday parties are back with a vengence.  Wheeeeeeeee.  And they're actually buying nice wine and good food.

So, what the heck does that have to do with the photo above?  And why is all out of focus?  And why is everything blurry?

I was walking around the train station in Rome with my Mamiya 6 camera.  I'd been taking photos all over the place all day long and I was getting ready to meander back to my hotel.  I noticed how Italian business guys fell into two strata when crossing the station.  If they were in groups of two or more they'd walk slowly and chat and gesture.  When they were alone they would do this brisk walk.  I like the brisk walk so I waited around until a likely candidate emerged from the crowds and headed by me.  I wasn't paying attention to exposure like I usually do.  I'd set the camera to auto exposure.  I lifted it up to my eye and waited for the right moment and then shot.  I could tell as I heard the slightly extended action of the shutter that I was down in the 1/8th to 1/15th second exposure zone.  Yep.  I screwed up.  I think.

But much later I printed this negative and I started to like the feeling of motion.  I started to like the way all of the background mushed together.  I liked the way Tri-X handled the grey tones and the highlights. But I like most of all the energy of the man heading home.  It's okay to do things wrong.  It's okay if you're the only one who likes them.  But it all goes into the learning mix.


Damen Stephens said...

What I like is that the partial sign in the background displays the word "tempo", reflecting this pace !

Brandon Burnham said...

I like that the word in the background is the Italian word for time. It seems fitting.

Andrew Karre said...

"Tempo" in the background makes that image work well for me.

Mel said...

Love my Mamiya 6. Thanks for sharing some of your MF images. Square is sooooo cool!

Marino Mannarini said...

Photo is just so lively, Kirk. A great one!

About the blog, i will just say: THANK GOD!!! paper, prints, proofs, all the old nice stuff, that will help bring back experience and technique, and will (hopefully) get rid of the improvised web-forum originated crappy competition, like, with digital we can all be photographers!