Fresh Air: Nicholas LaClair

I know it’s been two months since the last update — with work and ministry increasing by the bucketload, this site got left by the wayside. No excuses there.

The evolution of photography has been nothing short of miraculous, considering how technological advancements and downward-spiralling costs of entry-level DSLRs have effectively levelled the playing field for amateurs. Therefore it should come as no surprise that with the hyperconnectivity of the internet, a plethora of digital photos, good and bad alike, have also pervaded all known social media spaces. Ideas no longer remain new or unique, but have instead evolved or devolved, assimilated into the digital consciousness, regurgitated, transformed, sometimes no longer carrying even a vestige of its original self.

Photography, for example, and like design, has undergone similar change. Techniques that took hours in the darkroom and years of experience to properly execute can now be easily simulated by your average adolescent armed with a smattering of Photoshop skills and ninja Googling; what remains somewhat resistant to that sort of digital tweaking, however, is that innate knack to compose and craft more than a photo, but a story: a photo by itself may be visually appealing, made possible by any number of elements (clothes/pose/location/etcetera), but storytelling itself is a skill, a gift honed through discipline, unrestricted by its medium, be it photography, film, or prose.

Maybe I’ve been jaded or worn down by the cynics that permeate every strata of our modern society, but a photo has to be more than just good-looking; a photo, like a story, has to say something. A girl in her knickers taking a self-portrait with a vintage camera is all well and good to the throngs looking through tumblr and whatnot, but where is the story in that? Where is the magic, the  finesse, the silent gasps of awe?

All images by Nicholas LaClair.

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Massively Multiplayer Offline Gaming: Dragon Quest IX

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Outside the giant Yodobashi-Akiba department store in the Akihabara district, hundreds of gamers gather each day, crowdsourcing the hunt for rare creatures and virtual treasure.
They stand, packed together in a cordoned-off area reserved for them, as store employees attempt to keep the sidewalk clear, ushering the players behind safety barriers. Everyone is holding a Nintendo DS and playing this year’s hottest new game: Dragon Quest IX.
It’s a cartoony, easy-to-master role-playing game about grand adventures, but these players aren’t off slaying dragons. They’re swapping character data to meet other avatars and quite possibly collect valuable treasures.
Call it a massively multiplayer offline game

Outside the giant Yodobashi-Akiba department store in the Akihabara district, hundreds of gamers gather each day, crowdsourcing the hunt for rare creatures and virtual treasure.

They stand, packed together in a cordoned-off area reserved for them, as store employees attempt to keep the sidewalk clear, ushering the players behind safety barriers. Everyone is holding a Nintendo DS and playing this year’s hottest new game: Dragon Quest IX.

It’s a cartoony, easy-to-master role-playing game about grand adventures, but these players aren’t off slaying dragons. They’re swapping character data to meet other avatars and quite possibly collect valuable treasures.

Call it a massively multiplayer offline game.

From Why Tokyo Crowds Can’t Stop Playing Dragon Quest IX.

Another brilliant article from WIRED, which is incisive, informative and compelling. I love the term ‘crowdsourcing’ — which is decidedly old hat in the social media sphere — as the notions of harnessing the power of the collective presents the limitless potential in any endeavour, whether it’s finding a solution or creative brainstorming, with Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency being one such example.

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Fishbulb

fishbulb

Looking at this makes me wonder if I can do the same thing.. won’t the fish have to be really tiny?

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Lego Ceramics

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Vinicius Zarpelon’s Lego Ceramics. If only we could buy them.

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When Things Are Good Enough

goodenough1all photos by Kenji Aoki. Lego sculptures by Nathan Sawaya & Michael Psiaski

Well, in short, technology happened. The world has sped up, become more connected and a whole lot busier. As a result, what consumers want from the products and services they buy is fundamentally changing. We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect. These changes run so deep and wide, they’re actually altering what we mean when we describe a product as “high-quality.”

And it’s happening everywhere. As more sectors connect to the digital world, from medicine to the military, they too are seeing the rise of Good Enough tools like the Flip. Suddenly what seemed perfect is anything but, and products that appear mediocre at first glance are often the perfect fit.

The good news is that this trend is ideally suited to the times. As the worst recession in 75 years rolls on, it’s the light and nimble products that are having all the impact—exactly the type of thing that lean startups and small-scale enterprises are best at.

Another great piece from WIRED about the Good Enough Revolution. Which I think is completely true. I have to say the Lego sculptures are amazing and a brilliant idea.

Read the full article here. Via nic.


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Archaeologists of the Impossible: Planetary

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Finally, Planetary #27 is out in October. Planetary is a comic unlike most: it’s about explorers and adventures and the secret mysteries of the world. It’s about the drawing a common thread linking pulp fiction, comics, novels and the fantastical, larger than life characters in their pages and fuelling them with imagination and the sense of wonder we increasingly seem to lack.

These stories draw you right in. They breathe something marvellous in you — and you can’t help but be taken up along with it.

Check out the preview pages here.

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rockstar by soon lee

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We love shoes. And we love casual footwear of the plimsole or sneaker variety. There’s simply something liberating and magical about throwing on a favourite dress and sneakers for your weekend adventures. Pretty and ready for anything. After all, there are places to go and things to see.

And we found the idea wrapped around our heads obstinately. Because sometimes we envy the boys and their sneaker wonderlands – they step into a shop and it’s filled with canvas and rubber that they might like.

We’d like that too, we find our inner voice saying. But we want it different. There’d be casual footwear and there’d be pretty clothes to match them with. There’d be books, magazines and our favourite music. Knickknacks to fiddle with, people to observe and things to discover. A place our canvas-shod selves would be glad to hang around in every weekend.

And then we wondered, why not?

– the proprietors @ rockstar

Sharon & Wei Loong of Haji Lane cult fave soon lee have expanded their burgeoning fashion empire with rockstar, located at the 3rd floor in Cineleisure. I was asked by Sharon to take photos of their new store before it opened earlier this month, but due to some unexpected scheduling difficulties I wasn’t able to. Not that I would’ve made that much of a difference — I think these photos she posted look more than gorgeous enough!

I haven’t been to the store yet — which I attribute to my aversion of crowds and Orchard Road in general — but I do think the concept is a breath of fresh air. Forget gladiator sandals that look like Russell Crowe’s hand-me-downs, the Louboutins or the Jimmy Choos, or the ungainly wedge (I have a preternatural bias against them — do not attempt to dissuade me of my opinion. You will fail); sneakers are sexy. Give me a socially responsible TOMS-wearing girl, anytime.

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