Photography Genres & Themes
Genres: I haven't specialized in a particular photography genre, but I'd like to learn about a few in-depth. Nature, macro, B&W, abstract, and still life photography are all intriguing to me. I’ve been a point-and-shoot amateur for many years; I’ll need to re-learn some photography’s basics for any genre I decide to tackle.
Themes: Over the past decade, I’ve favored the themes that follow. They generally reflect where I was when I took the photo. I explain under each theme what prompted me.
On Flickr, I've started to create dedicated albums for specific subjects, such as my Portland Doors album [photos]. I plan to create more albums of that type in the future. I've snapped ~38K (and counting) photos on my walks, so I've got a lot of content to pull from.
Since most of my walks are in the Portland metro region, I like to capture sights that are unique to my hometown of 35 years. These include scenes that show us having fun, being creative, being quirky (weird), being mindful of our natural environment, and demonstrating kindness and compassion.
With few exceptions [photo], I don’t focus on Portland’s negatives. It’s just not my shtick. I’ll leave it to others to garner the hits and money.
Architecture & Urban Planning Themes
I like fine architecture and design patterns. In the early 70s, when I was a teenager in Anchorage, I would read Architectural Record and Architectural Digest at our branch library. I sometimes regret not following my dream to become an architect. The closest I came in my career in IT was working as an enterprise technology architect and a data architect.
I also like urban planning principles and programs, in part because there are strong parallels to IT enterprise architecture. Since Portland has a strong tradition in urban planning, you'll find many examples among my photos that pertain to housing, sustainability, land use planning, and so forth. Over the past few years, however, I think Portland has been lagging behind other metro regions.
An architect, city planner and urban designer who I greatly respect is Jeff Speck. I highly recommend his books and articles. I purchased my copy of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time 10 years ago, after I attended a presentation by Jeff at Powell's Books in Portland.
Active & Public Transportation Themes
As my narrative in my About page on bicycling, hiking, and walking suggests, I’ve always had an interest in active (human-powered) transportation. My interest in getting around on foot started in high school, when I competed as a cross-country runner and a cross-country skier. I was never very fast, but I always finished. I appreciate that the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) supports active transportation projects, particularly those with a Vision Zero focus.
Public transportation is another theme I like. In the early 80s, 90s, and later from 2015 to 2020, I commuted by bus to my workplaces. I enjoyed getting to know some other regular riders on my bus lines. My wife and I rode one line together [photo] the past few years. We can now get front-row seats :)
When needed, I've taken public transit to and/or from all but five of my walks in the Portland metro region in the last decade. Sometimes I take a TriMet bus or a MAX light rail train to the end of the line and walk home.
Finally, my interest in active transportation led me to become involved with several organizations over the years. When I was commuting by bicycle, I supported the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (now The Street Trust). When I was commuting on foot, I did volunteer work for the Lloyd District Transportation Management Association (now Go Lloyd), the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (now Oregon Walks), and the City of Portland (The Ten-Toe Express, Sunday Parkways). In 2019, I helped AARP Oregon with its Community Neighbor Walks program. I'm only doing limited volunteer work currently. I recently helped SOLVE in a massive clean up effort in Portland. That's me holding the paper [photo].
During my urban rambles, I often see signs [photo], murals [photo] and public art [photo] with direct or indirect political messages. When I think these messages represent current views, I sometimes capture them. Occasionally, I also snap yard signs of political candidates. My photos aren't necessarily endorsements; I prefer to let the viewer decide.
I try to stay informed about public interest subjects. I maintain a curated list of international and national sources in Apple News+. My primary local news sources include The Oregonian and Willamette Week. I no longer subscribe to newsletters that track me. I explain my involvement on social media below.
I use DuckDuckGo, and tap into scholarly resources (academic libraries) and not-so-scholarly resources (Wikipedia).
My political views have also been shaped by living in rural and urban communities in Alaska, Louisiana, and Oregon.
I'm currently reading (listening to) Doom: The Politics Of Catastrophe.
I think voting is a right that every citizen who is eligible in the USA deserves. I also think we should exercise this right. To walk my talk, since I cast my first vote in 1974, I've never missed an election and never plan to.
Finally, I don't like generalizations or labels applied to people and I don't like to wear my politics on my sleeve. This might be an introvert trait.
Social Media, Privacy, GDPR
I'm only posting public photos on Flickr and my website now. For many years, I posted photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I enjoyed interacting with family and friends, real and virtual. However, I grew weary of the woke, misinformation, disinformation, data breaches, narcissism, vitriol, generalizations, labeling, doxing, snark, signaling, and performative [insert word]. I've probably missed some terms...
Several years ago, I also became increasingly alarmed by the manipulative practices I saw on many social media platforms. Those that leverage negative emotions, such as anger, fear, jealousy, and shame, are especially troubling. Shame on big tech.
I understand why folks want to be 'Liked' and have many Followers. It's human nature. However, when the person's motives are fueled by dopamine and become the primary reason for being Extremely Online, it can become an addiction. There is a large body of behavioral health research on this subject.
Frankly, I also don't understand how folks with 1000s of Followers, regardless of the social media platform, can genuinely keep up with their engagement.
My professional experience and educational background also led to my decision to unplug from most social media. During my career, data management and information management were my specialized domains. In my UO MS program, information design and information architecture were core focus areas.
In my work and my graduate studies, I saw the coupling of big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) leading to a state now recognized by some scholars as surveillance capitalism. To my knowledge, none of my former employers ever exploited data or metadata of users (customers, consumers, citizens) in this manner.With all that said, in 2019 I decided to limit my active engagement on social media to Flickr and LinkedIn. I have shell (private) accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, WordPress and Nextdoor for reading/viewing-only purposes. I channel Facebook through my wife when I need to catch up on family events.
Finally, while the USA has industry-specific and state-level data privacy and security laws, such as FISMA, HIPAA, SOX, and CCPA, I think we should also enact legislation similar to the European Unions General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Last updated: 8/26/2021