Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blog #4 - The "Other" Affect and A General Introduction to the Photog Culture.

So I was sitting at my desk, contently working on a project for one of my other classes when it dawned on me that I hadn't done my blogging for the week! I guess it was all the confusion I had this week with going home a day early (I have been thinking it is a day before it should be since last Thursday) and then sleeping pretty much all day Saturday because of the just horrible winter weather conditions that we had (for those of you studying abroad, it was not horrible, but bad enough to merit staying inside and doing nothing all day. But anyway, on to the material for this week's blog...(In the nature of the assignment of explaining my culture to another student, I would probably sit him down and just tell him this as that is my favorite way to express my views about things - in long "rants" lol.)

As I mentioned in last week's blog I identify as being in two different cultures - the artist/photographer culture and the gamer-nerd culture. There is not really that much of a "group and 'other'" feeling in the gamer-nerd culture, or at least there isn't in my circle of friends as we are all primarily leisure players and play for the fun of it. Sure some of us are better at some games than others, but we are all pretty much on the same level. However, there is some feeling of an "other" group in my photography circles. I am primarily a sports photographer and as such I get into a lot of games for free. I covered the bowl game this year, and I was at the ACC Championship game covering the action with the other privileged photographers; but even with these impressive and niffty feats under my belt, I still have a sense of awe and wonder when I see a monopod with "Getty Images" or a press vest with "Sports Illustrated." I guess that technically I am a pro (or at least semi-pro) photographer, but when I see them I just get a feeling like, "Wow, today I get to shoot with the real photogs." Another instance of the "other" feeling in the photog culture is the feeling that most (I would be willing to bet all) photogs (or media photos anyway) feel about everyone else (fans, spectators, pretty much anyone who is at an event to see it, without a camera). I will admit that it doesn't make much sense for us to feel how we do, but they just represent a source of great annoyance because they frequently get in the way (not as much at sporting events, but sometimes like in this photo)

while we are trying to make a great shot for them. I think that part of the culture can be traced to the ethnos and identity that we have as "the media" and goes with how we see ourselves not as representatives of "the people" but the group that is there to represent whatever event we are photographing to the people.

Individuality is an interesting thing in the photog culture. While we are all looking out for ourselves and each trying to get the shot, once you are accepted into the culture as "one of the photogs" you gain a sense of belonging where you have earned a place and the respect of others. You find "your spot" at all the events (I have sat in the same spot at the basketball games for the past two years) and people know that is where he sits and this is where I sit and you don't cross those lines. (So while there is a "look out for yourself"-ness to the media side of photography and photojournalism, once you are "part of the family" there is a collectivistic side as well.)

Masculinity and the Uncertainty Avoidance Index are not really factors that are relevant to the photog culture. (I would say that at least most of the photographers I have seen are male, but that has nothing to do with something about the culture itself.)

Sometimes individual people can have impressive stories (mythos) and/or a cool photograph (teche/archon) but there are not really any that define all photographers as a whole. (Though there are some very amazing photographs that do factor into how we (as photographers) present ourselves to, see ourselves as being able to offer to, and how we hope that the "others" (in this case "the general people") see us. (This would be like us praising the work of some of the amazing photogs in the field like Mona Reader, Rod Mar, or another photog with multiple awards in their field.) The Power Distence Index comes into affect some here (with the mention of the "big names" in the field) but there really isn't an unfair distribution of "power" in the photog culture. I think that the biggest reason for that is that for one we are all just employees for someone (at least in the media circle) and as such there is a competitive aspect to the culture, but there is not a hierarchy so much as we respect the photogs who have been around longer and who are more skilled than us.

I hope that this blog post has been helpful to some of you to learn more about the photography culture. Hopefully next week I will be able to include some photos and maybe a video as my mic came in this week and I will hopefully be trying it out some. :)

Until next post,


P.S. for those of you who don't know what the "Other" I refer to in this post are, some short(ish) videos explaining that can be found here ->

and I also used some of the cultural dimensions from

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week #3

So, sorry about the late post. I normally do my post and work on Saturday, but I was tied down with Gameday stuff all yesterday (ESPN Gameday was hosting from Littlejohn for those of you who somehow missed that memo) and while I know it is not an excuse, that is the reason for my late posting. (I thought that I would have time to post but it turned out that I didn't. If you want to see some pictures from it all and from the game you can check out my other blog sometime tomorrow when pictures from that should be up.)

Anyway, on to being culturally literate. I really liked the material in this week's assignment, and thought that those five areas are a pretty good list of areas that one can study to gain an intimate understanding of a different culture. As I was watching the videos I was thinking of things that I already know about the Jewish culture that falls into those categories as well as areas that I need to do more research on. Hopefully starting this coming up Saturday I will be able to start blogging about my experiences with the Jewish culture as I have found the Temple that I am going to be attending for this semester and I will be going to Minyan (which is what the Jewish service is called) this Shabbat (which is what they call the Sabbath) and starting my cultural investigation.

As far as being culturally in the cultures that I am in currently, I would like to think that I am pretty culturally literate. The two main cultures that I identify as being a part of are that of gamer-nerd and photographer/artist. I have had a lot more time being a part of the gamer-nerd culture as that is something that I have identified with since I was in middle school and something that I still enjoy today, while I have only thought of myself as a photographer/artist since I have been in college. However there are a few things that both have in common. The main one being that introduction and reception into each culture is a very individualist based thing. You kinda have to find your own way into the culture and learn how to adapt and survive in the culture and teach yourself until the other members of the culture recognize you as one of their own and accept you. This is very different from the Jewish culture which I am studying because it is a very ethnos and mythos centered culture while the cultures that I am part of are very archon and techne centered. However, I am very eager to learn more about the Jewish culture and see if there are any overlaps in that and the cultures I find myself in now.

Until next week,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Involvement in Online Communities

First I must say - dang! got rick-rolled by our teacher.

In the spirit of online communities, for those of you that didn't quite understand the Rick Rolling and might have gotten a little lost on the term "meme" I recommend watching this quick (and entertaining) video.

Second, my apologies for the bland title to the blog and class posts. But apparently I am not very creative with my post titles as my other blog can testify to. (I like to think that my creativity is shown in my photography and I am more to the point with my blog posts.)

Moving on. I have read most everyone else's posts for this week and I think that I perhaps suffer the most from "online addiction." Well, that is not exactly correct to say. I am not addicted to things online per say, but I probably spend more time on the internet than most people in the class. I frequent most of the social networking sites/services other people have mentioned and a few more.

Skype of course is a great tool to talk with others who you can't see all the time and I do use it as an IM service and as something to keep in touch with close friends. (I find its video chatting service very useful and niffty.)

Of course facebook is something that everyone has (but I still refuse to friend my mother; not that there is anything to hide - all my status updates are about blog posts, flickr updates, and things I am taking pictures of and the only other thing that I seem to do on facebook is cafeworld). I am connected with a lot of people on facebook. Everyone from my study abroad advisor, to my Professors, old high school teachers, friends from summer camps, professional photographers that I shoot with and have listened to lectures from; it is amazing how everyone is on facebook. I do like how facebook allows you to stay in contact with people that you wouldn't be able to normally and is a good way to let a large number of people know what is going on with your life.

This is a screenshot of my cafe in the facebook app "Cafe World" which takes up a good deal of my time on facebook.

Twitter is another way to do that though (and in many ways Twitter is like a simplified facebook, or facebook is like an over glorified twitter) and it is sync-able-ish with facebook (I use a facebook app called "selective twitter updates" or something like that where it will link your facebook with a twitter account and any tweets you tack "#fb" onto will then be used as a status update for your facebook). Really I think that is what this post is all about and this assignment's goal is to show us that all these communities are interconnected. (And not surprisingly facebook is the mode through which they are all connected.)

Not only can you link your twitter to your facebook that way, you can do the same with your blog (and you can link your twitter to your blog as well with a niffty little app - see below, and I think that I will be putting one of those on this blog as well).

This is the twitter feed from my personal blog, which is put there by an application called "Twitter Updates"

Facebook also allows for you to connect to a variety of other services so that when you do something on those things, say watch something on hulu (which is another online service that I love) or make a new blog post, it will tell all your friends that you did this, and it gets word out about what you are doing. (It will actually import your blog posts as facebook notes, but it will still have all your pictures and whatnot.)

You might have to click on the above image to really be able to see anything, but on your home page you can go under setting and see all of the services that facebook will allow you to link to.

Just as a little side note, all of these screenshots were taken with an app called "Littlesnapper" (which is a Mac app, I am not sure if there is a windows version - and for the record I am not a "All in your face" Mac user, it is just what I use. I also have a windows comp and I couldn't care which you use either way ;) so yea.) It is a cool app I think and I know that I get a lot of use out of it. I will be using it some this semester probably to include pictures and I know that next week I will start with pictures I have taken and maybe even some video!

Ok, time to finish up this post. I guess I would just say that I am a good user of online communities, and I don't mind if y'all follow me. I am a photographer, so I am used to making things for people's entertainment and enjoyment, and I really think that y'all would like my other blog (it is mainly sports pictures from Clemson events) and here is just a quick list of all the online pages/services I am involved with:

My Website (It is a little...ok, a lot outdated, but I will be updating it over the next few weeks, but it is still pretty cool I think.)
TAPS (Clemson Yearbook)'s flickr (I am the photography editor for yearbook so most of the photos on this flickr - any with "JSK" in the title - are taken by me.)
And my other blog (also, my blog has a fan page on facebook here)

These are all the social sites that I am involved in, but I feel like my association with online communities does not end there. I read web comics and manga online (I am an art student don't know if I have mentioned that, so I have an interest in such things) and so I recognized the image for this weeks lesson as coming from XKCD. I don't really guess there is much to say about these things except that they are (for the most part) nerdy (which is something I identify with greatly) and I enjoy them lots. If you were curious or wanted to check some of them out here is a list of all the comics I follow (some are story based and other are not):

However, my involvement with online communities does not actually end there. Even though I can't really say much about it (at least the members of the website like to be more anonymous) I will say that I do surf the boards of the infamously "evil" cesspit of the internet (notice I didn't put "cesspit" in "" because that part is not an exaggeration) known as 4chan. I won't say much because a) if you don't know what goes on there then you don't want to know, and b) I really just wanted to mention that I am a lot more involved with the internet than Facebook and YouTube.

So, at the end of a long post I will leave you with this - some Mudkips ;D!!!! (and a kitty for the week ahead!)


Friday, January 8, 2010

Getting Started

I am not really sure what all needs to be included in this first post, but I will do my best lol. Hopefully I will pull some readers over from my regular blog (which can be found here).

At any rate, I am excited about this class because I have a blog already and I am always curious for ways to make it better. Playing off that, being a photographer I want to be able to share with the world what and how I see things, and a blog is a pretty good way to do that. So, anything that I can do to make my blog better/cooler/more attractive is something that I am interested in learning about. I also plan on spending the summer in Europe studying photography and the easiest way to converse with people back home will be through a blog so I want to know how to showcase my experiences to my friends and family back home. That is why I chose this course to help me with all those things and to give me a little more practice before I leave (hopefully) on May 2nd.

I am a philosophy with an emphasis in religion major and part of that is studying different religions and religious cultures. That is why for this class I have picked to study the Jewish culture (because I am also taking a class on Judaism this semester). I have a long time pen pal (or email pal I suppose would be more correct) who is Jewish and I have always been curious about the Jewish faith/lifestyle since I was raised Christian. I feel like this blog/class will be a good opportunity for me to be able to explore this different culture.

I am also looking forward to this blog because it will give me new subject matter for my photography. I am primarily a sports photographer, so this will give me the opportunity to shoot something different.

I think that is it for the first post. I am not really sure about what I am going to call this blog yet, but we shall see as time goes on.

Until next week,