Shit, I’ve been busy. I’ll explain, but first part of my excuse is:

Brett Beyer

Got assigned to profile a New York photographer who mashes up prints and exposures. Didn’t really know how to deal with the obtuse, approach but I tried to represent the guy as fairly as possible– my editor really likes to trim quotes down. I’ve never seen anyone get savaged by Wired readers like this guy and I do feel bad for him. (more…)

Assignment: Sell Out

During a tranquil evening of domestic bliss I first broached the subject of getting into writing. It wasn’t easy for me to discuss, in part because I’m squeamish when it comes to talking about creative projects and in part because this particular project was going to require more help than I’ve ever asked of anyone. Around bites of veggie chili dogs and salad, which Jeni and I both insisted he take, Keith openly shared everything he knew about the wonderful world of online publishing. Then he gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

The Raw File blog was taking its fledgling steps into the family of Wired columns and it would be the perfect venue to wear my water wings. I could gain experience while learning the ropes and get credit for my accomplishments in a nationally known and respected publication. People spend years in school just to have the credentials to apply for an internship of this caliber and I had someone holding the backdoor open. The plan was to build up my clippings to prepare me for the future as a freelance hack; this trial by fire would have me ready to seek assignments within a couple of months.

My concerns had been learning how to pitch stories and then write them according to commonly observed standards. The idea of requesting assignments was a foreign, but possibly more beneficial concept. After several pitches of my own devising, which have alternately found their way onto the site, been abandoned or are languishing in purgatory, I’ve now performed my first piece of assigned writing. (more…)

The Real Sell Out

Once again the kind people at Wired allowed themselves to be victimized by multiple drafts, lazily checked facts and unfortunate attachment to complex sentences. This piece is about the 25th anniversary of a Russian automatic camera that has grown into a cult fascination with the young and hip, the Lomo LC-A. Sorry it took me over a month to repeat publication but it’s been a bumpy several weeks.

The biggest problem remains that I know fuck all about photography. I chased one thing that turned into a sprawling mess with lots of potential but more than I can handle right now. My editor Keith wants it fast and hard and I was milking a possible feature; back-burner it and move on. Caught wind of another interesting topic, this one about an African news agency that uses cellphones and folding keyboards to record and upload stories. The appeal was their program to train young journalists in the field but the photographic angle didn’t hold up– the kids all record videos on their cell phones. After a rousing defeat I sniffed around Indymedia hoping for a similar idea but walked away with nothing. My friend and former conspirator Pete suggested I interview a local photographer which I have done but the transcript is pretty mind-boggling and I’ve been staring at it with no clues for quite some time. (more…)