Going Home

   I haven't always had a good relationship with my parents. I haven't been the good son. They haven't always been understanding. Growing up an Asian American I didn't quite feel at home anywhere - not quite Asian, and not quite American. My parents couldn't understand my need to want to be "more American" insisting instead that I behavior by traditional cultural Asian norms. Predictably, it led to a lot of conflict between us. I became increasing distant and inaccessible. Not surprising, I found trouble to get into and for a period of time I moved away, joined the military and we lost touch. I was sad they couldn't accept me for whom I wanted to be but I felt the need to find my way, as if my very existence depended on it.

     Over a long period of time apart we all changed. My parents became more understanding, more tolerant, more accepting. I began to understand the importance of having a cultural identity. So where am I going with all this? Since the beginning of photography, there have been seemingly unending discussions of what it is and what it is not. Is photography art, is it not? Is it merely a mechanical reproductive process? What sort of value does it hold and how is it measured? Perhaps photography’s most noble characteristic is how it evokes memory and by extension, a different line of consciousness and awareness. It is the case for me. Photography as a process changed the way I thought about my subjects, which changed the way I thought about most things. A simple photograph of my dad, my sister, and myself, seemingly common in its aesthetic, the value it holds for me is in what it represents – a memory of a relationship I once had and have missed. I was too young in the photograph to truly have any recollection of the day it was taken, but it’s not about that day. It’s a representation of a memory and it’s ability to evoke the longing of a relationship I wished I had with my family. It is this that I credit for bringing me back home and for reconnecting me with my family. Certainly, photography’s ability to animate something in us, even in a singular instance, can never be overvalued and should never be overlooked.

family 2.png

Demarcation

      This body of work reflects upon the intersection of mankind and nature. It is a look at how we live our lives within our local and global environmental perspective, the commoditization of nature, the impacts as the result of development and industrialization, and our efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and its catastrophic and destructive potential. In this series, I am focusing on section of Louisiana, stretching from Baton Rouge, to Venice, Louisiana’s southern-most community. This portion of Louisiana is an example of irony. This area has one of the highest concentrations of mineral extraction and petroleum refining activities in the country, and yet, stands to be a community that is at most risk. State agencies literally build walls to hold back the rising seas. On an individual level, it appears, all that can be done is people to raise their homes, or in some cases abandon them, due to the inability to sell them. For these communities and others, it is not a question of if they will have to face these effects of climate change but when, and at what cost.

Uploading Images and Dealing with Compression

After a recent shoot I experience a lot of problems uploading to various social media sites. In this era of mobile devices many of these sites are aggressively compressing images in an effort to streamline bandwidth. By now you’re thinking exactly what I’ve been all along… “Why don’t they use hardware to handle the bandwidth?”

…The simple answer? Money…

Here’s a quick “How To:” for minimizing or preventing the problems all together associated with aggressive compression. If you want to know how it works I’ve also included some background info. at the end of the post.

1.    Open Hi Res Image Tiff (300dpi minimum)

2.    Flatten Image

3.    Select File>Save for Web>

4.     Select PNG-24 (PNG Lossless Compression with 24-bit (large color depth)

5.    Check off Interlaced

6.    Convert to sRGB

7.     Select Preview: Use Document Profile: Doesn’t do anything to the image rendering but it’s nice to see what your image will look like.

8.     Specify Image Size: 2048x2048 max or 2048px longest edge (Facebook’s maximum allowed image size dimensions for album photos)

9.     Select Quality: Bicubic

Now I can get into the technical details but let’s face the facts. We just want to be able to upload quality images but a little bit of information goes a long way so here are the basics to why this way works.

Converting hi-res images to low-res(72dpi) jpgs is the standard method of preparing files for the internet. That’s worked till now but sites are adding even more compression to images that have already been compress when we create jpegs. As you all know adding compression to an already compress image is one of the worse things to do if you want to retain image quality. PNG however employs “lossless compression." Lossless compression allows the exact original data in the image to be reconstructed in it's original form. Since social media sites add compression to the images during the upload process, by using PNG we can prep our files for the internet yet minimize the loss of quality through compression. But this is only part of the story. Because the compression that is being employed is becoming increasingly aggressive this alone is not enough. Here is the important step…

Using 24bit PNG (PNG-24) instead of 8-bit PNG increase the information that is available for images and choosing Bicubic interpolation we will have the best results with transitions between colors such as in gradients skies.

Well… there you have it! Happy posting!

Interesting Links:

Social Media Images Size Requirements/Guidelines:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/12/complete-image-size-chart-for-facebook-twitter-pinterest-youtube-other-social-networks.html

PNG history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Network_Graphics

Bicubic vs Bilinear, Bicubic Smoother or Sharper

http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/bicubic-smoother-vs-bicubic-sharper.html

 


Kemachat Photography