Runcible Blog

James Nachtwey

I have greater respect for James Nachtwey after seeing War Photographer. I was familiar with his work, but I didn't know much about his approach or character. He's one of those "Concerned Photographers" in the same vein as Don McCullin (whom I mention often), Eugene Richards, and many more (including, I suppose, Cornell Capa, who coined the term).

If I had $100 for Nachtwey's Inferno, I think it's definitely worth owning.

Check out an interview with him from a few years ago.

no fur

Although it seemed promising at first glance, maybe I won't see Fur after all:

While Kidman is as exquisite as ever, her alabaster complexion and statuesque carriage are the opposite of Arbus’s dark features and small frame. Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was so good in ‘‘Secretary,’’ might have made more sense. But the mania for Kidman continues — Hollywood will put her in anything. I await the possibility of seeing her as Frederick Douglass.

From the Globe's review.

the modern holga?

This photographer, Michal Daniel, has an excellent site,, of street photography taken with a camera attachment on an old PDA. Some of the photos are really great (but some are a little too sneaky for my tastes). It's cool to see someone using "obsolete" technology to make serious art (I can't think of a synonym...), and it proves the brain behind the the camera [or PDA!] is more important in many ways than the light-tight box capturing the image.

The gallery could use some editing, but it's impressive to see so many good moments that he's caught over the course of a few years. Well worth paging through the thumbnails.

Nerve Ends Hanging Out

From my hero, Don McCullin:

Every time I went to war, I came back a little more damaged. I'm quite a resilient person, and I've got a lot of hardness in me when called upon. But there's another side of me — not actually soft, but as if my nerve ends are hanging out. I met the photographer Eugene Smith once. When someone asked me what he was like, I replied that he was a man whose nerve ends were hanging out. I discovered later that I had become the same.

There are times when I wish my nerve ends were not hanging out. I realize it's a blessing and a curse, but lately I've felt only the curse.

Is it odd that hearing Aleck Karis play Philip Glass brings me close to tears? Or is it universally moving?

I am alone in my head. As I always am. As we all are.

perception of happiness

When people assess a past experience, they pay attention above all to two things: how it felt at the peak and whether it got better or worse at the end. A mild improvement—even if it's an improvement from "intolerable" to "pretty bad"—makes the whole experience seem better, and a bad ending makes everything seem worse.

From a recent New Yorker article on the economy.