April 22, 2013

The coast of Passamaquoddy Bay in Perry, Maine.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have enjoyed playing with rocks for as long as I can remember.  In fact, I have vivid memories of this old cardboard potato chip canister in which I had stored my rock collection.  Each new treasure found its way there to be periodically removed for some key element of play.  Unfortunately, that collection was left behind during an un-planned move many, many years ago.

Rocky beach in Perry, Maine.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The fascination with rocks continues, though, to this day.  When out and about I am constantly scanning the ground for interesting shapes, colours, and textures-some of whom will find their way into my new collection.  It is the sensory experience that draws me to rocks, and it is entirely possible that with quite a bit more thought, I might have become a geologist.  When younger, I was a bit of a rock climber.  I now tend to live this life in two different ways:  vicariously through reading John McPhee, a writer who appeals to my sensibilities-curiosity and desire to know without becoming overwhelmed with the scientific technicalities of geologic formations; and through filling my pockets with pebbles and my SDHC cards with photographs.

Large rock on beach in Perry, Maine.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

And so it was an unexpected pleasure to have had the opportunity to walk along a beach on a recent trip to Maine.  This rocky beach was exactly my idea of what a beach should be-sand need not apply.  Interspersed with the smaller, smoother stones were these much larger, not quite boulder-sized rocks.

Cracked rock, Perry Maine.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Each of these must have had a fascinating tale to tell of the forces that shaped and, for some, broke them.

Rock, barnacles, and seaweed on beach.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

In other cases, several elements came together to suggest something primordial.

Rusted bolt on beach.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Not surprisingly, included was a reminder that even the strongest elements of humankind must eventually, inexorably, bend to the will of the elements.  As a result nothing is really permanent, including rock collections and experiences such as these.

I want to go back.

Take care.


April 17, 2013

Despite my railings about electronic devices and social media, they are critical tools for life in the 21st century.  As with most things, it is in how the technology is used that is critical (and can be criticized).

In this case, the FBI and Boston Police have requested the images and video shot during the marathon with the idea that someone, perhaps inadvertently, recorded a key piece of evidence.  Let us hope so.

Thoughts and condolences to all who have suffered in this event.

Take care.

UPDATE:  This would appear to be an example of both the good and bad of social media and image-making.  NPR did a story about an article in Slate magazine concerning the social-news site Reddit-the article is entitled “Reddit Thinks It Can Solve the Boston Bombings“.  Please read the article as this story appears to encapsulate the power and the danger of social media and technology.  Richard Jewell indeed.  We do live in a culture where forensic and police procedural shows dominate television.  However, being a fan and watching such shows does not make one an expert at crime scene analysis.  As is often said, a little knowledge can be dangerous as folks can easily draw conclusions without additional supporting evidence.  Given the sensitivity surrounding such an investigation, and the issue of terrorism in general, one would need to be especially careful and diligent before identifying suspects.  This is after all, NOT a game or a television show.

It is also important to note that there is a mechanism by which social media can monitor itself-user comments.  The very same process that generates such behaviour of concern, can, ideally, hopefully, check the runaway process that characterizes posts going viral.  The last paragraph of the article fortunately advises just such caution.  Of course, being preemptive can be better than being reactive.  Do not jump to conclusions in the first place.


Passamaquoddy Bay

April 16, 2013

The moon over Passamaquoddy Bay in Perry, Maine.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I had the opportunity to travel to Perry, Maine and work at the Sipayik Boys and Girls Club, which is part of the Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point Reservation.  These are two images of Passamaquoddy Bay of which the Club overlooks.  It was a wonderful service project and a beautiful part of the country.  Throughout the days while working we were able to watch the tide come and go, which was made all the more pleasant by the sun and moon rising over Passamaquoddy Bay.  

The sun rising over Passamaquoddy Bay.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

More to come about this work.

Take care.

“Too Long”

April 12, 2013

Thrown away text book blowing in the wind.

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Students  in my Psychology 101 classes were assigned to read an article having to do with the sleep deprivation experienced by students-this was part of an on-going discussion of the states of consciousness.  The article was from a national magazine and totaled four pages of text.  In both sections the discussion began with the standard, open-ended,  “What did you think of the article?” question.  Many students gave the same initial response-“It was too long.” When asked, many more who had not verbalized this raised their hands in agreement.

Four pages.

At first I was surprised and then dismayed by this response.  After all, this was not like reading an entire book.  However, relatively quickly I understood their answers.  “Too long” simply confirmed, at least anecdotally, one of the issues of living in a post-modern, information-technology, society:  we are conditioning our brains to demand immediate gratification and activities requiring more than a few seconds or minutes of attention are tuned out.  And there are some interesting points to consider when discussing this topic.

Jack Dorsey, the inventor of Twitter, was interviewed on 60 Minutes (see here).  Truth in disclosure:  I am not a member of Twitter and have never tweeted in my life.  I do absolutely recognize the contributions social media have made to culture and to the sharing of information.  Wael Ghonim is an example of the force social networking can be (see here and here).  Mr. Dorsey described how listening to the chatter on scanners informed his view of human communication.  As he listened, Mr. Dorsey came to a conclusion about what he considered essential in the process of communicating and that the ability to immediately share one’s view could be made possible via social media.  Hence the 140-character limit imposed by Twitter.  Please listen to the 60 Minutes interview contained in the first link above so as to hear Mr. Dorsey speak for himself.

Broken grey cell phone

Copyright 2010 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Can such forms of communication be an asset?  Absolutely, Mr. Ghonim is a case in point.  At the same time, I am concerned that this brevity of communication can lead to redacted thinking and a shortening of attention spans, as explained in this article published in the New York Times.  Other articles discuss the benefits extended reading has had on brain development and in the understanding of others’ behaviour and emotions, a concept known as empathy (here and here).  Given that so many children and young adults are using social media during some of the most critical periods of brain development (adolescence), it will be interesting to see the long-term effects on our society.  One hundred years from now, will sociologists look back and say, “What were we thinking?”

Take care.