Madame Secretary…Madeleine Albright

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A few weeks ago…just before the entire World was locked down because of the Corona Virus…I was scheduled to shoot Madeleine Albright, the first female United States Secretary of State. She would be in New York on the first leg of a book tour and we were supposed to get a few minutes with her in a midtown hotel room for a WSJ ‘Weekend Confidential’ feature. But the day before the shoot, we got the call…

“To be cautious because of the virus, the Secretary will not be traveling to New York…could you shoot her in her office in DC?!!”

I really didn’t wanna give up the chance to shoot Secretary Albright, so at 6:00AM on March 10th, Kaz and I loaded up the van and took off for Washington…

Upon arriving in DC, we were led to a small sitting room next to her office…

Pretty tiny…but after saying goodbye to the furniture, we had just enough room to set up a couple of backdrops…

For our first portrait, we did a simple, classic, two-light setup with a 20″ Beauty Dish main light and a 5′ umbrella for fill…

When Secretary Albright looked at the laptop screen, she said, “Oh, I can do that!”…..

For my second shot, I had brought along a low-texture grey Gravity Backdrop. I had an idea to do a strongly side-lit portrait that would evoke a slightly darker mood. For our main light, we used a single 3′ strip light placed behind and to the left of where she was sitting and another 5′ umbrella for fill…

Here is the progression of how the lighting evolved…

Our first test was fine, but a little too grey and dull…

We added some warming gels to the strip light, which when white-balanced added an overall blue tint…

That helped, but we then added a couple of masks in Capture One Pro to the upper corners to create a sort of ‘reverse’ vignette effect that lightened things up…

I decided to desaturate the blue and add some more shadow detail, but we were ready.

Madame Secretary…please sit on this apple box…..

The story appeared in last weekends Wall Street Journal

9+ hour round-trip drive…25 minute shoot…done!

Big Dogs On Staten Island

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I’ve been working with Uber-Designer Patrick Mitchell and Nicole Dyer from NYU Langone Medical Center for quite a while and when I get the call to photograph one of their patients, I can usually be sure the day will be something we haven’t had to tackle before. This was the case when Nicole asked me to shoot Artie Zuckerman, a retired NYC Cop who was treated for prostate cancer at the Perlmutter Cancer Center. So Kaz and I loaded up the van and headed over the Verrazzano Bridge to Staten Island…..

I immediately fell in love with the suburban image of Artie’s front porch…let’s get to work!

But what really got me excited about the steps was I knew I wanted to shoot Artie with his puppies…his three really, really big puppies!

Now if you think wrangling three rambunctious Great Danes is easy, lemme burst your bubble and assure you it is not. After more than half an hour of trying for one frame where everything came together, I’m happy to report that we got just ONE…

With the pooch portrait in the bag, we needed to get another setup for the story. At 68, Artie has a 31-inch waist, a 46-inch chest, and can knock out 20 chin-ups…so we wanted to show how fit he was after his successful treatment. He suggested going to the beach where he does his daily run with the dogs…

You can read Artie’s story here on the NYU Langone site.

The Village Voice, Over & Out…

After 62 wonderful years, the final print edition of The Village Voice got dropped into the familiar red boxes on the streets of New York this morning.

Besides looking back at six decades of Voice history, the issue features a photo essay by Celeste Sloman of some the people who have worked for the paper over the years. She shot everyone at a final party that was held a week ago at the Downtown Community Television Center in TriBeCa. Portraits of Robert Christgau, Sylvia Plachy, Michael Musto, Lucian Truscott IV, Peter Noel, Robert Newman, Amy Taubin, Jerry Saltz, Joe Conason, Joe Levy, Guy Trebay, James Hamiltom, Susan Brownmiller, original publisher Ed Fancher and many, many, many more graced 50 pages of the issue. It payed respect to these people in a way never before seen at the end of a publications lifespan. It was gorgeous.

I’ve only been contributing to the collective history of the paper for the past couple of years. My pal Andrew Horton got me in shortly after he became Design Director. It wasn’t a lot, but it was honestly some of the best work I’ve ever done.

I am going to miss The Voice. Terribly…

Screaming At Adobe May Actually Have Helped…!!!

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As any of the regular viewers of the Damn Ugly Channel can attest (and by regular, I mean those who have stuck with me through this past Summers marked lack of action in here!), I have been a rather vocal opponent to Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription scheme. I made my feelings about their plans to charge $20/month to use Photoshop (and Lightroom, Behance, and have access to a 20GB Cloud Storage account) very well known, as I saw it for what it was…a blatant money grab! The smart kids in class realized very early on that moving to a subscription-based pricing scheme wasn’t about innovation and the seamless transfer of upgrades to its end-users, as Adobe claimed…no, the writing was on the wall that in order to keep their business going, Adobe had to do something to lock in a steady cash flow since it was obvious they weren’t gonna stay profitable forever relying on periodic upgrade fees alone. There are only so many new gizmos and filters they could add to any piece of software before the end user wouldn’t care and bail on paying for upgrades. Now comes word that all that screaming from the mountaintop by those of us in the Photo Community may have have a positive outcome as Adobe just announced a “New” Photoshop Photography Program…only $10/month…forever…if you’re already a Photoshop user (minimum CS3) and you sign up buy the end of the year.

Now by lowering the subscription price to $120/year, it kinda brings the cost down to what have been historically what users paid if they were fastidious about sticking to the Adobe upgrade path. But as good a move in the right direction as this might be, I’m not exactly ‘rejoicing’ at the news, as the PetaPixel Photo Blog suggests all photographers should be doing just yet. At ten bucks a month even I can’t come up with too many arguments for not joining…except one…why isn’t Adobe addressing the biggest issue with their plan for an ongoing subscription model…the lack of any viable exit strategy for loyal users once they get off the subscription track?!! I mean, I’m not planning my retirement party just yet, but there will come a day when I won’t wanna fork over even $10/month for occasional access to a program I will use sparingly at best! All Adobe would have to do to win over the entire Photo Community would be to say that after you’ve paid into “The Cloud” for a period of time…say three, four or even five years…the end user can end their subscription and their software will be locked in at that level of upgrade. This would ensure the user could still have full working access to their work and Adobe will have made a healthy profit over the subscription time frame. And best of all for Adobe, should that user decide at a later date that it is once again necessary to get back on “The Cloud”, then they would have to pay whatever the going rate was at that time to re-subscribe and build time credits towards the next allowed jumping off point.

See…very simple…why can’t everyone just listen to Damn Ugly Photography?!! But let me know…what do you think of Adobe’s price drop?

R.I.P. Bert Stern

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Bert Stern was one of the first photographers whose work turned me on to photography. His ‘Last Sitting’ of Marilyn Monroe made him famous, but even as a kid, I can remember being drawn to his images in magazines. Advertising and editorial pages in the 60’s and 70’s were plastered with his work. His portfolio could be used to illustrate just about everything you see on “Mad Men”. Later, when I become more and more involved in photography, I learned who he was. I bought a book of his early work that I have to this day. Looking at the photographs in that book brought back all those memories of my early childhood and like a lightbulb going off over my head, it was then I knew I was meant to be a photographer. For me, he defined what a photographer was all about. He was single-minded in his passion for creating memorable imagery. His work transcended commercial photography…he was seen as a cultural hero…a straight-up Rock Star. And for more than a decade he was the most sought-out guy in the business. But the excess, copious amounts of drugs, alcohol and failed relationships took its toll and he quite literally burned out and disappeared from the business. He resurfaced in the late 80’s as a kinder, gentler, Bert, but the World had changed and the days of jetting off to Egypt to shoot a martini glass in the sand were long gone…

Bert died Tuesday. He was 83.

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Adobe & Goldman Sachs – A Match Made In Heaven?!!

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It’s Friday afternoon, and to close out my week-long rant against the proposed Adobe Creative Cloud, just in case there are any of you out there who still don’t believe that what Adobe is doing amounts to a straight-up money grab, I offer you this to chew on…

Quoted from a Goldman Sachs research report on the subject:

With the announced update of Adobe’s flagship content authoring tools Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign the company rebranded them Creative Cloud instead of Creative Suite and stated that the new editions would only be available on a subscription basis. Further, the company stated that going forward all new features for these apps would also only be available with the subscription offering. Adobe will continue to sell and support CS6. While our conversations with Max attendees indicate that most found the timing of the move surprising, we view it as likely accelerating adoption of Adobe’s subscription offering…….We believe the lack of VIABLE ALTERNATIVES to the Creative Cloud apps along with the productivity enhancements in the new editions will drive the majority of CS users that are ready to upgrade to migrate to Creative Cloud despite what will likely be a vocal but small backlash.

That was followed with this little nugget:

In a report published Thursday, Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini upgraded the rating on Adobe Systems from Sell to Neutral, and raised the price target from $34.00 to $48.00.

In the report, Bellini noted, “We upgrade ADBE from Sell to Neutral with a 12-month $48 price target. Since we added ADBE to the Sell List on 7/12/11, the stock is up 47% vs. the S&P up 21% (LTM ADBE is up 37% vs. the S&P up 17%). The stock’s relative outperformance comes as investors have given the stock credit for a more normalized operating model post the transition. At around $44 the stock currently trades on 30X consensus’ NTM EPS forecast vs. the three year historic average of 14X on compressed earnings (consensus is at $1.45 for FY13 vs. $2.36 in FY12).”

Adobe Systems closed on Wednesday at $44.70.

So…knowing they have the creative community by the balls because of the lack of “viable alternatives” to their applications, Adobe moves forward with the subscription only pricing scheme…and the biggest investment bank in the game upgrades their stock outlook by more than 40% on the news. And yet there are still those who think Adobe has OUR best interests at heart. If this isn’t a wakeup call, then what is?!!

He’s No Hitler, But This Guy Has A Bone To Pick With Adobe, Too!!!

Yet another unhappy Creative Suite user, Charles Reilly of Lime Productions, posted some very well thought-out observations about The Cloud on his YouTube Channel…

Remember…make sure to head on over to www.change.org and sign the petition to get Adobe to offer us users a choice…they only need a couple hundred more names to hit the magic 15,000 mark!!!

Do People REALLY Buy Broncolor?!!

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So this morning, Broncolor just sent me an email titled, “10 Things You Should Know About the Broncolor Move 1200L Outdoor Para Kit”, and I hafta say, I’ve been fascinated with this spendy bit of kit since they announced it last year, so I wasted a little time and clicked the link. Here’s what you get:

The Super-Dooper-Fast Move 1200 L power pack…

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One MobiLED lamphead…

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A Para 88 reflector with mounting adaptor…

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And a nifty Outdoor Trolley Backpack…

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…but after reading the 10 things Broncolor feels we need to know about this light, I came up with the only thing I needed to know…THE DAMN THING COSTS OVER $10 GRAND!!!!!

Actually, to be fair to Broncolor, it’s only $9,354.10…but toss in the tax in New York, and that’ll set you back $10160.89, and that is a stunning amount of cash for a battery powered light and an umbrella!!!

But before you all pile on to tell me how great the thing is and how fast it’s flash duration might be and how it has NO competition out there (How about an Einstein, a PLM and a Vagabond for about $800 bucks?!!), believe me, I know it’s kinda cool, but $10 Grand worth of cool?!!

I dunno…unless I had a winning Powerball ticket in my pocket, it simply seems like a tremendous mis-allocation of funds to me…

Hitler Hates Adobe’s Creative Cloud Too!!!

OK…OK……we’ve all seen at least a thousand of these Hitler memes, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t pass on when Hitler learned about Adobe’s new Creative Cloud model…

…85,000 hits and counting!!!

DIGLLOYD Takes On The Adobe Creative Cloud…

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The past 24 hours at Damn Ugly have been pretty damned busy. We’ve gotten more hits from that Adobe post than just about anything I’ve written about in years! And as I continued scanning the interwebs to see what far smarter folks than me are saying about the entire mess, a came across a treasure trove of information posted by Lloyd Chambers, the Capo di tutti capi of making your Mac computer Ferarri-fast. Lloyd is also known as DIGLLOYD…the driving force behind MacPerformanceGuide.com…and he devoted a few days going over the fine print of the new Creative Cloud scheme, and he’s none too happy about any of it. He breaks down…with a whole lotta very funny & sarcastic asides…a whole mess of stuff I hadn’t even thought of, not the least of which is the particularly heinous contract Adobe expects you to sign prior to joining their Big, Happy Cloud Community. I loved the part where he said that since he actually took the time to READ the contract, when it came to the point at the end where he had to click the ‘ACCEPT’ button, the page had timed out!!! Apparently Adobe never intended ANYONE to actually read what they were gonna give away before signing the thing!

Now a warning…as with my post yesterday, reading through this requires a certain investment in time, but trust me, it’s well worth it! As a public service to all my Damn Ugly groupies, I’m linking to all of what Lloyd dropped over at MacPerformanceGuide.com regarding the cloud. Enjoy!

Adobe Clouds Software Choice (Adobe Creative Cloud Only Going Forward)

Adobe Creative Cloud: Date of Birth Mandatory, Lopsided Legal Agreement

Adobe Creative Cloud: Lopsided Legal Agreement

Adobe Creative Cloud: A Time-Wasting Chat

Adobe Creative Cloud: No Fair Warning Given for Upgrades

Adobe Creative Cloud: Why no ‘Buyout’ or Read-Only Option?

Adobe Creative Cloud: Reader Comments

Adobe Creative Cloud: The Main Point

Adobe Creative Cloud: Summary View

Adobe Creative Cloud: The “Toaster”

Adobe Creative Cloud: Activate/Deactivate and “Phone Home” License Check

And please…if you haven’t done so already, head on over to www.change.org and sign the petition to get Adobe to offer us users a choice!!!

Why We All MUST Fight Adobe And Stop The Creative Cloud!!!

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IF YOU HAVE ANY CONNECTION WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHY, DESIGN, ADVERTISING OR PUBLISHING BUSINESS, I ASK THAT YOU TAKE THE TIME TO READ THROUGH THIS MAGNUM OPUS OF MINE AS I TRULY FEEL IT IS ONE OF THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS I’VE POSTED SINCE I’VE BEGUN DOING THE BLOG…BRAD TRENT

Last week Adobe announced that, going forward, all of its software products will only be available on a subscription basis. No more perpetual licenses for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, or any of the applications that make up the Adobe Creative Suite…from now on, users will have to pay a monthly subscription fee forever if they want to use any of these products!

But before I set off on what might get interpreted as a narcissistic rant, let me make my opinion on Adobe’s decision to move to what they are calling a ‘cloud-based’ subscription only licensing model up front and crystal clear…

As a professional photographer who relies on Photoshop just as much as I rely on the digital cameras that produce my RAW files, I believe having to pay an ongoing monthly fee to use the application is an incredibly shortsighted decision by a company that essentially has the monopoly on digital asset management, and if I may quote David Hobby…the Strobist…”feels like the biggest money grab in the history of software”.

I will also say that the majority of what I’ll be talking about relates to Photoshop, since that’s the World I live in. Whether or not users of Adobe Muse, Dreamweaver, After Effects or any of the other applications in the Adobe Creative Suite find added value in paying the new $50.00 monthly subscription scheme, I have no idea. I’m gonna focus on the concept on what an ongoing $20.00 per month subscription means for photographers…

Adobe announced that by moving to cloud-based subscriptions they will have a better handle on software piracy, be able to better update the application as needed, and cut their development and distribution overhead. I can’t speak to their development costs, but as for software pirates, I’m not so dumb to think that if there is a will, there is a way. You can bet there is already a kid in a basement somewhere with a pretty good idea on how to distribute free “Cloud Copies” of piracy-proof software!

With the “Creative Cloud” being the really big news, it came as almost as an afterthought (perhaps to take your mind off the whole subscription thing???) when Adobe mentioned some new features they’ve added to Photoshop…like the Camera Shake Reduction tool, Smart Sharpen, and that you can now apply Camera Raw edits as filters. But let’s forget about any new features, since new features are why you would have paid for an old-school upgrade to Photoshop anyway. New features are a given. The real controversy is that from now on, you won’t have the ability to move forward incrementally as you see fit. In the past, if Adobe trotted out an upgrade to Photoshop that didn’t fit your workflow, you could just keep using the version you had and wait for the next version before you kicked in your money to be up to date. Adobe obviously didn’t like this. They saw it as a money-losing proposition if users didn’t slavishly continue along the upgrade ladder, paying for the privilege, of course. To counter this trend, they even changed their long-standing upgrade policy so that if you didn’t have Photoshop CS5, you wouldn’t be able to move up to CS6. That pissed off a lot of Photoshop users, but I understood it. I’m not against Adobe being able to charge for upgrades to their software, that’s their right. But apparently that wasn’t enough for Adobe. They have obviously decided that a perpetual subscription licensing model is the only way to continue bringing in a substantial cash flow. Assuming that hobbyists and ‘occasional’ photographers make up the vast majority of Adobe’s customer base, do they really expect these people to happily pay a $20.00 per month licensing fee to continue to use Photoshop? And if you can also assume that they will lose a pretty good percentage of that customer base…the casual Photoshop users, or those who decide to switch to Lightroom or Aperture…what are their plans to recover that lost income? Or maybe they’ve already got that figured out, and that is how they came up with the $20/month pricing plan for the Photoshop-only side to their cloud strategy. Maybe the actuaries have figured that since everyone who uses Photoshop doesn’t march over the upgrade cliff every two years, if they were to install a mandatory payment schedule it would ensure their income stream and they could claim the new plan, while more expensive, is actually better because it ensures a much more up to date Photoshop experience (even if the user doesn’t need the new features).

But let’s look at what they are really proposing…

Adobe claims the new “Creative Cloud” strategy “includes everything you need to experiment like never before”, and will allow you to “track comments posted to shared files, keep tabs on your work and your followers on Behance…”, and they drop buzz words like “Collaborate”, “Grow” and “Change” as though they are candies to be gobbled up by sugar-hungry children. I read this and couldn’t help but wonder if they have lost track of what a professional photographers work flow is REALLY like?!! Professional photographers aren’t looking to pay a $50/month license fee to ‘experiment’ with Illustrator, Premiere Pro or Dreamweaver! Professional photographers don’t use Photoshop as a social media tool. We don’t finish off an assignment by hitting the ‘Send’ button so our work posts in real-time on ‘Behance’ (which, in case you missed that press release, is owned by Adobe!). Professional photographers shoot, process, archive and retouch images in Photoshop. We send those images to our clients. And then it’s on to the next gig where we do it all again. I dare say that the overwhelming majority of professional photographers don’t waste too much time worrying about how Photoshop might aid them in ‘sharing’ their assignments on social media sites.

As for the “Creative Cloud” itself, it’s not actually a typical cloud service either. It’s simply an electronic distribution method of getting software to the end user. OK…there are some very minimal cloud services included…cloud file storage, syncing of settings, etc…but electronic distribution of software is hardly a new concept for Adobe. They’ve been selling upgrades for years using this technology. You will still have an actual application on your hard drive, but it will have to ‘call home’ to Adobe every month (or every 99 days for those who pay up front for a yearly subscription) in order to continue to function. What Adobe seems to think makes their cloud more desirable is their ability to issue more frequent updates and patches. In the past they have made patches available as needed and the version upgrades available every 1 to 2 years. With the cloud these feature upgrades can theoretically be added as they are developed. I suppose that is a plus, but again, there are huge chunks of Photoshop I don’t use or need now, so dropping even more features on most users isn’t going to be a make or break decision for most people anyway.

But let’s get to the two awfully huge elephants in the room…the pricing and what happens if you stop paying! After reading Adobe’s claims that the new pricing scheme has an arguably lower annual cost, I guess we’re supposed to all join hands and sing the Adobe Theme Song and be happy for the windfall that has been bestowed upon us. Personally, I don’t believe that paying $240.00 annually to rent a software program adds any value to my business model, but that would be narcissistic, and I’m trying hard not to make this all about me. Adobe is making it abundantly clear that they intend to employ this model to increase a revenue stream they feel they have lost because of those users who don’t upgrade on a regular schedule. We can’t keep going back and forth on that point. However, there is no mention from Adobe what happens after you lose the use of the software once you stop paying. How does a long-time user of an Adobe product access their files if they have stopped paying for a use license? And alternatively, what about your clients who may not have a subscription to Adobe? I guess they will not be able to view your work, unless of course, they decide to pay Adobe for the privilege. I have no issue with a company wanting to profit from their product. Adobe deserves to be paid for their marketing and R&D when it comes to all of their software, but under the old model if you stopped paying for upgrades to the new version, Adobe didn’t take away your software license on your old version! Stopping an upgrade cycle didn’t mean you couldn’t open a file you processed fifteen years ago! And believe me, if you get on the Adobe subscription licensing model train, if you get off that’s exactly what will happen with all of your work. It will become useless digital trash. The only way to continue to access your work is to keep paying the subscription license. And that is just wrong.

With this new decision to implement a subscription only licensing model, Adobe is in fact trying to change they way software licenses as we know it work. But is there something so totally broken with the idea of paying an initial fee for the license and then paying a scheduled upgrade/maintenance charge? As long as the user pays the maintenance charge, you continue to get the upgrades. If you stop paying the maintenance, you lose access to NEW upgrades, but your software will still function as you expected it would when you signed on. And I have nothing wrong with the idea that if the user stops paying the maintenance fee for a certain period, the user would then have to start over and re-purchase the base license if they want to continue along the upgrade path. I just had to do this when I moved from FileMaker version 5 up to version 12. I hadn’t the need or the want to pay for annual upgrade over the years, since I saw no added value…FOR MY PURPOSES…but when version 12 came out that changed. Since I had long since fallen out of the scheduled upgrade track, I had to repurchase a full version of the new software. That is a business decision best left to the consumer. What the vast majority of Photoshop users have been complaining about over the past few days is that Adobe has removed ALL choice in the software buying process, while reducing the value of the software for certain segments of their customer base…and increasing it for others. They seem willing to lose a large portion of their base clients…those hobbyists and ‘occasional’ photographers who don’t regularly stay on the upgrade path…and to make up that lost income it appears that the rest of the users will now and forever have to pay an ongoing fee to rent their product.

But perhaps the real reason Adobe is so hot to lock in a subscription-based scheme is because even they know there are only so many filters and gizmos they can add to ANY program before the end user reaches a saturation point and doesn’t see a cost benefit to upgrade! A new sharpening widget here or layering tool there every year isn’t gonna be enough to make most users feel the need to push $200.00 Adobe’s way, so before they ran out of ideas of ways to improve the software, they might have figured out this entire plan. And they don’t really have a compelling incentive to continue developing new tricks if their users are forced to pay FOREVER for a subscription just to ensure continued access to the files they’ve created with their software, do they?!!

These are only a few of the things that I really think need to be talked about. Adobe is, of course, making their “Creative Cloud” strategy sound like a wonderfully happy place and we should all bow down and thank them for thinking of us, the end-user, when they came up with this solution. But I’m sorry, but I can’t help but see this as a solution to a nonexistent problem! And I’m hardly the only person saying this. The outcry online has been thunderous. Just about every techie geek board on the interwebs has been filled with mostly negative comments. And these are aren’t the typical, “This Sucks, Man!” stuff…no, instead, thousands upon thousands of regular users of Adobe software are voicing their outrage in very clear terms. And if you’ve made it all the way through my own diatribe, I urge you to also make your voice heard. An online petition is sitting on www.change.org that demands Adobe to kill this ridiculous scheme and offer it’s customers what we expect…choice!!! Please check it out and add your name. There is also a new petition over at www.petitions.whitehouse.gov calling for a DOJ investigation on the legality of Adobe’s move, and it can’t hurt to put your name on that one, too. And if you have the ear of your Adobe rep, or even the guys at your local camera store, digital outlet or rental shop, make your opinion known. This is not going to go away without a significant groundswell that will be heard in the boardroom at Adobe.

Please sign these petitions I’ve linked to below in an effort to stop Adobe from moving forward with their new scheme for Subscription-only access to their software:

www.change.org

www.petitions.whitehouse.gov

Where in the Hell is Damn Ugly?!!

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I got an email today from the 22 year-old son of a photographer who follows Damn Ugly Photography. It seems that while his Dad hangs out in here for the photo-related stuff that dribbles outta my brain, he turned the son on to the music that I (ever more infrequently) post here. He was wondering what the Hell I had been doing that’s so important to be keeping me from my duties of distributing free new music to the masses! He told me that once he spent some time here, he’d gotten hooked on the Song of the Day and had gone back to the beginning of the blog and downloaded every song I put up, but now he was going through serious withdrawal waiting for me to start up again.

I’m sorry….I’ve been busy.

Well, more correctly, I’ve been busy and distracted and homeless. The busy part is great, actually. We here at Damn Ugly haven’t been working this much in a long time, and trust me, we ain’t complaining, but that bit about being distracted and homeless has meant that devoting time to devote to the old blog has been tough. Some of you know that I sold the Damn Ugly World Headquarters last September. The plan was to move into new digs shortly after, but a few wrenches got tossed in the works and I had to scramble to figure out a new plan. Still…contracts were signed on a new location October 1st, with assurances that we would be moved in by, “December 1st…the 15th at the absolute latest!”…today is May 12th and I’m still couch surfing! The excuses as to why it’s taken so long don’t even matter to me any more, but the lack of a Manhattan base of operations has really been kicking my ass. All that work we’ve been doing is fine, but it means that I typically have to finish the gig, then head up to the Damn Ugly Northern Command…where the bears are…to work on the processing and such. So between the work we’ve been doing, the travel time to and from the gigs and all the other minor details that make up my life, the posting frequency at Damn Ugly Photography has certainly suffered.

But I’ll try to do better. I promise! I’ve got months of stuff I gotta catch up on…starting tomorrow!!!

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Where Has Damn Ugly Gone?!!

Relax…relax…I know I’ve been incognito!

The ongoing project of moving the Damn Ugly World Headquarters has proven to be a much more daunting task than we ever could have imagined and with that, updating the old blog has certainly suffered. But never fear, we’ll be back with a vengeance come Monday morning!!!

Where is Damn Ugly Photography?!!

Thanks for all the cards & letters expressing concern for my health and well-being, but yes…I know…I haven’t exactly been burning up the interwebs with pithy comments lately! That’s ‘cuz there has been a lot going on here at Damn Ugly, not the least of which involves an impending move of the World Headquarters. But we’ll be getting back on the horse…PRONTO!!! In fact, I will prolly drop something later today…

WTF is Wrong with Hasselblad?!!

Hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that Leica plans to market a camera directly at Hedge Fund Managers…the All-White, $32,000 M9-P…the guys at Hasselblad must have figured that the market for ridiculously overpriced (and stupid) cameras is probably gaining traction again, cuz in my email box this morning was an announcement heralding a new “dedicated online site for the H4D Ferrari Limited Edition”, where prospective idiots buyers can, “…put themselves behind the wheel and to have a virtual test drive of a model that will only ever be owned by 499 photographers worldwide…”

What. The. Fuck.

OK…..I’m figuring that since this tarted-up whore of an HD4-40 was announced back in 2010, the branding geniuses who hatched this debacle are probably still up to their necks in the majority of the 499 HD4’s they ruined by slapping some glossy red paint and a Prancing Horse Logo onto the thing, but now they’re thinking, if Leica can sell a $9000.00 camera for $32 Grand, then we sure as Hell can charge $10 Grand for a Pimp-My-Ride-Style paint job on a $20,000 camera! So they put up a couple of new pages on their website, send out some emails to ‘re-introduce’ us all to this truly special bit of fluff, and hope for the best…’cuz if they don’t sell all 499 of these white red elephants (499 x $30K = $15 million) then it’s their ass!!!

Now, to be fair, the H4D Ferrari Limited Edition does come in an exclusive hand-made, carbon-fibery looking, glass topped case…surely to mimic same feeling you get when gazing upon the 562 Horses beneath the glass engine cover on your Ferrari 458 Italia…and Dr. Larry Hansen, the Chairman and CEO of Hasselblad, even slips in a hand-signed personal ‘Welcome Letter’, and that undoubtedly will make you feel extra-special important…

But I have to wonder…will the H4D Ferrari Limited Edition share any of the other traits and foibles Ferrari owners have a love/hate relationship with?!! Like the constant and expensive need of regular tune-ups, and will parts for the Limited Edition be equally overpriced, befitting a camera of such vaulted status??? Or, like the Ferrari which will only run on the finest hi-test fuel money can buy, will this Limited Edition H4D only take photos of ‘special’ subjects?!! You wanna shoot Supermodels and Arab Sheiks, okie-dokie, but try to use the thing for a day of High School Senior photos and it’ll seize up like you put sugar in its tank!!!

But maybe I’m wrong…maybe just knowing you own something only 498 other morons cloud-dwellers will possess will push your photography to previously unknown heights of excellence! I dunno…but one thing is for sure…I really would like that fancy velvet marble bag to keep my camera in…