Connecticut Elementary School Students Interviews & Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo

Saturday, 15 December, 2012

In the wake of Friday tragic Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, the broadcast media (CNN, NBC, etc) were put under the spotlight, challenged, and asked: Should traumatized children have been interviewed on air live (or pre-recorded) in tragedy like this at all?  I’ve read the following four articles and I recommend you take a look too,

1) “Kids at Tragedies: Turn Off the Cameras“, TIME Magazine

2) “Reporters covering school massacre slammed for interviewing children“, Daily Brew

3) “Interviewing the children, cont.“, Politico

4) “Conn. school shooting: When children are witnesses, how should media proceed?“, Washington Post

After reading the above articles carefully, part of me felt inadequate to comment. Who am I to comment as I am neither a professor of journalism ethics nor a psychologist.  But in an age where anyone with a Twitter, Google+, Facebook account can comment freely and sometimes forcefully with expletives, I hope my ramblings/observations may shine some light.

1) Referencing this WaPo report, I agree with NPR’s approach in “advising their journalists to get a parent’s permission in writing or on tape before interviewing a child.” To me, parent’s permission and parent’s ability to stop an interview at any time is a most basic requirement. If an interview is stopped by a parent, then that clip (live or pre-recorded) should not be used again, ever. That interview, by agreement between media outlets should be treated as never happened.

2) I would trust reporters on the ground more and not go as far as ABC News. “ABC News also said Friday that it doesn’t air interviews with children live, but records and reviews them before broadcast.” I want to think media outlets send good reporters to report violent tragedies to begin with. They should believe in their reporters enough that they will do their job ethically. The final editorial decision may not help much if the source materials have been gathered unethically anyway.

3) I cannot and will not tell reporters to simply “Turn Off the Cameras“. As long as the tools and methods used by the media outlets are legal, I see it a danger to “freedom of press” if we (the public) start dictating to the media what is acceptable or unacceptable tool to use or report to air. Ideas of no interview “zone” or no interview “age group” (too young even with parental permission), etc are dangerous precedence to set.

4) Some good points were made in WaPo that I cannot fully agree.

Interviewing children in such circumstances, in essence asking them to relive the experience, can increase later emotional and psychological damage, Rebecca Greenfield said. She cited child psychologist Donna Gaffney, who said children need to be with people who love and support them in the first 24 hours of witness something like the Sandy Hook shooting or Columbine in 1999, the previous worst mass school shooting in the U.S.

I see the point made by the child psychologist. At the same time, I feel I must balance the potential emotional impact of the child with the public good of having an interview done right there when all eyes are on the scene of the tragedy. A professional lit at home/school interview with the affected children with their parents sitting besides them a few days later will not have the same impact.

To me, seeing the children speaking in their own unfiltered voices at the scene right after the tragedy is of critical importance. It is not just the “facts” that I am after. I want to know how the children feel. Seeing the children there was painful and very emotional to me but the reporters on scene are not the ones to blame. The reporters didn’t cause the tragedy. They were there to be our eyes and ears, to find out relevant information to allow us, if we choose to, be informed citizens (world citizens).

A wise blog friend once wrote, “Human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason.” He quoted the neurologist Donald Calne, “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.

5) Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo

Now let me talk about Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo, the second half of my title. Ms Phan Thi Kim Phuc is “a Vietnamese-Canadian best known as the child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972.” To me, the Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo was one of the contributing factor to the end of the Vietnam war.

In June 2012, Kim Phuc told friends and relatives at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the photograph that made her famous, “I never thought that the child who was a famous symbol of war would one day be invited to become a symbol of peace”.

At heart, I am an optimist and see the world is capable of becoming a better place over time (hopefully with a small contributions by me). My hope is the painfully emotional interviews with children right at the scene of the Elementary School shootings may lead to meaningful actions by the American public. What if those interviews with children play a role in turning the American gun culture around? Witness White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday repeating the standard & pointless “today is not the day for a debate on gun control.” To the 180 degree change by President Obama a few hours later, “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics“.

I don’t normally say this but let me say, “God Bless America” and may you make the changes needed to avoid future tragedies.

Concluding thoughts

Because of the controversy resulted from the tragic New York subway death a few days ago, I came across a quote in The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War that I feel may be illuminating here. The Bang-Bang Club is an autobiographical book about a group of four photographers active in South Africa during the Apartheid period and here is the quote I want to share with you,

Tragedy and violence certainly make powerful images. It is what we get paid for. But there is a price extracted with every such frame: some of the emotion, the vulnerability, the empathy that makes us human, is lost every time the shutter is released.

As an independent reporter who has no formal j-school or ethical training, I have to remind myself if I were ever at the scene of tragedy and violence, I will have to be mindful of what am I doing and why. The price I pay for releasing the shutter or pressing the video record button is a piece of my humanity. While I am being paid to do my job, the “public good” must also justify the lost piece of my humanity.

P.S. Based on all the interviews with children I’ve seen, which by no means is exhaustive, none of them have crossed the “ethical line” to me. In case of tragedy, I find comforting to not set fixed rules but lean on the “I know it when I see it” standard.

This article is cross posted to examiner by me.

Dec 16th update: For the record (via THR),

@andersoncooper In answer to your tweets, no, Of course i will not be interviewing children from the school. I do not think that is appropriate at this time

@katiecouric Traveled to CT today, speaking with #SandyHook students http://instagr.am/p/TPXS_vSZMo/

Dec 17 update: I want to add and mention South Carolina TV Anchor Amy Wood did an insightful audio interview with Kelly McCurry, who was in the first grade when a gunman came into her school in Greenwood, SC and killed two classmates and shot some of her favorite teachers. Here is a very relevant set of questions and answers. (emphasis added)

Amy’s Questions (starting at ~5:22): “What do you think of the media interviewing the children? We have lot of comments on Facebook that are just furious children are being interviewed. Yet those faces are what make this reality to us all. These are the people that have been impacted. And in some circumstances it appears that it was willing. No one was chasing people down the street. But what do you think? You were in this position. What do you think about the media interviewing children in this scenario?”

Kelly’s answers -6:24: “I kinda heard that parents gave permission. But I disagree with that. I don’t believe children should be exploited for the media’s profit and to sensationalize it. Everybody understands the magnitude of what happening there. There is no reason to bring kids into that. And make them relive it. Thats something they should do with a counsellor if need be. With their parents. I really disagree with bringing the kids in.”

I agree with with Kelly that children should not be “exploited for the media’s profit and to sensationalize it” but like I try to argue in the article, as long as the interviews are ethically conducted, important public good can be served by these interviews.


Bill Cunningham – Great minds of our time

Sunday, 8 April, 2012

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 01

I’ve only “known” the great photographer Bill Cunningham (1929 – 2016) for a few days from watching the documentary “Bill Cunning New York”. From this one documentary alone and the testimonies from many people in the doc, I believe his visual contributions and the examples he set (ethics as a reporter and his work over the years) has taught me personally a lot. See also NYT “Bill on Bill” and also “The Picture Subjects Talk Back”.

I am delighted to add Bill to my list of Great minds of our time along the likes of Richard FeynmanRonald Coase & Steve CheungBill Buxton, and Warren Buffett.

Have a watch of “Bill Cunning New York” and you will see why. The film is on Netflex (US),  iTune, Amazon, and on DVD. Here is the Bill Cunningham New York Trailer

Additional Links:

March 7, 2012 Guardian, “Bill Cunningham – New York’s king of street style

Check out Bill’s NYT Video “On the Street”

Movie reviews: Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Roger Ebert

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 00

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 02

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 03

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 04

Bill Cunningham New York - Pix 05 Read the rest of this entry »


The White House 2011 Year in Photos

Saturday, 31 December, 2011

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V100611DL-0591

P101011PS-0799

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P101711PS-1056

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For more see The White House 2011 Year in Photos flickr collection.


Eric Bricker interview – Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

Thursday, 22 September, 2011

“Case Study House #22 – Two Girls” by Julius Shulman (1960)“Case Study House #22” by Julius Shulman (1960)

I had a wonderful and insightful 30 minutes Skype video interview with Eric Bricker, director of Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (CIFF info: screening at Globe Sat, Sep 24, 4:15pm and Sun, Sept 25, 12:15pm). The following is my edited interview with Eric. Enjoy.

Eric Bricker (pre-screening) Skype interview – Visual Acoustics, The Modernism of Julius Shulman

update: Eric Bricker (post-screening) CIFF in-person interview

update: CIFF screening Q&A

Check out Visual Acoustics’ trailer if you haven’t seen it. If you can’t see the film in a theatre on a big screen, Visual Acoustics is available in DVD and also in HD via Netflix.

Here are some stunning photos by Julius and film stills.

“Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum” by Julius Shulman (1964)

“Chemosphere House” by Julius Shulman (1960)

“Kaufman House” by Julius Shulman (1947)

“Julius Shulman and Richard Neutra” (1950)

Julius Shulman, from VISUAL ACOUSTICS

Julius Shulman, from VISUAL ACOUSTICS

Here is the film synopsis from CIFF,

“Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Eric Bricker’s multiple award-winning VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman. Long considered to be the world’s greatest architectural photographer, Schulman’s iconic, instantly recognizable images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream.

Shulman captured the work of nearly every modern and progressive architect since the 1930s, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California’s Modernist movement, bringing its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.

Shulman developed a close association with the modernist architects, principally those active in Southern California, and his images played a major role in crafting the image of the Southern California lifestyle to the rest of the world during the 1950s and 1960s. A prolific author, consultant, lecturer, exhibitor and editor of his own vast archive, Shulman remained active up until his passing in July of 2009.”


Interview with Eric Bricker, director of Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman – 2011 Calgary International Film Festival

Tuesday, 20 September, 2011

I had a wonderful and insightful 30 minutes Skype video interview with Eric Bricker, director of Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (CIFF info: screening at Globe Sat, Sep 24, 4:15pm and Sun, Sept 25, 12:15pm). It will take me some time to process the interview video clips. Stay tuned. Here is a link to my interview with Eric. Enjoy.

Check out the film trailer if you haven’t seen it.


Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman – 2011 Calgary International Film Festival

Sunday, 18 September, 2011

I know I will LOVE Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman just from the trailer alone.

Visual Acoustics film synopsis from CIFF,

“Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Eric Bricker’s multiple award-winning VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman. Long considered to be the world’s greatest architectural photographer, Schulman’s iconic, instantly recognizable images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream.

Shulman captured the work of nearly every modern and progressive architect since the 1930s, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California’s Modernist movement, bringing its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.

Shulman developed a close association with the modernist architects, principally those active in Southern California, and his images played a major role in crafting the image of the Southern California lifestyle to the rest of the world during the 1950s and 1960s. A prolific author, consultant, lecturer, exhibitor and editor of his own vast archive, Shulman remained active up until his passing in July of 2009.”

Note: “Director Eric Bricker in Attendance!” So I am hoping to be able to interview Eric!

From Philly.com,

“Frank Lloyd Wright may have birthed the Guggenheim Museum, but it was Shulman – in photographs of rare spatial clarity and transcendence – who delivered Wright’s inspiring helical funnel to the public.

And it was Shulman, in a widely published photograph of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 22, that glass-and-steel aerie perched atop the Hollywood Hills overlooking the twinkling city below, who in one indelible image captured the physics and metaphysics of the Los Angeles lifestyle.”

Review: Visual Acoustics: The Modernism Of Julian Shulman

Love this quote by Julian Shulman, “Let the architects do all the heavy work — we come in and take pictures.”


2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Barbara Davidson

Sunday, 28 August, 2011

Here is a insightful CBC News feature video story of 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Barbara Davidson (Los Angeles Times) for her intimate story of innocent victims trapped in the city’s crossfire of deadly gang violence. Highly recommended.


Lytro Picture Revolution – In its founder and CEO Ren Ng’s words

Friday, 19 August, 2011

Highly recommend you read this dpreview article, “Lytro’s Ren Ng sheds some light on the company’s ambitions“. Here is an excerpt,

“Lytro’s announcement that it will be launching a plenoptic ‘light field’ camera that allows images to be re-focused after they’ve been taken, was met with equal amounts of interest and skepticism. Interested to find out more, we spoke to the company’s founder and CEO, Ren Ng, to hear just what he has planned and how far towards a product the company has got.”

***

Sept 7, 2011 update: Reuters video interview, “California company brings sharper focus to photography

Economist, “Cameras get cleverer – Consumer electronics: New approaches to photography treat it as a branch of computing as well as optics, making possible a range of new tricks


Hello to my long lost 3000+ Flickr Photos!

Wednesday, 3 August, 2011

Hello my 3000+ Flick photos! (thanks to my spending spree in upgrading to Flick Pro) It is nice to be reminded of some great memories I’ve created over the years, check them out here.

Chuck Lorre, Creator, “Two and a Half Men”, with Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy, BBC TV

Antony Thomas, Director of documentaries “Death of a Princess” and “The Tank Man” interviewed by Elizabeth Klinck, Researcher

– Wonderful people I met at 2011 Banff World Media Festival
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-ideas/sets/72157626966019046/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-ideas/sets/72157626847392929/
– Cool interview with the award-winning team 5468796 Architecture
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-ideas/sets/72157625095971443/
– Chinese New Year & V-Day food pix
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-ideas/sets/72157623309689345/
– Calgary Tea Party
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-ideas/sets/72157623521506656/
– Bees & Veronica Spicata
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-ideas/sets/72157622056841188/
– My friend Cam’s Misspent Youth
http://www.flickr.com/photos/k-ideas/sets/72157623527821941/

and more from my Flickr sets.


Reflecting on Marta Blicharz’s Exhibition – Self-Referenced Abstract Art

Wednesday, 20 July, 2011

By chance, I come across Marta Blicharz‘s very cool & interesting MFA exhibition “Breaking The Spell – Exhibition“. Check out the Exhibition if you haven’t seen it yet.

I got more curious about abstract art especially after my 2008 interview with abstract artist Christine Cheung. I try to keep an eye of whats new and exciting. I am happy to say I found something that interested me in Breaking The Spell. Here is how Marta describe an interesting abstract image “A Sultry Blonde in a Red Dress Touching Her Lips Seductively” (emphasis and link added),

“One of the exhibited images included a display of the ASCII symbols from a single JPEG file, 4 by 6 inches in size, and 300dpi in resolution. Of course that JPEG image was not shown, but in it’s place I have put up 5.5 panels, each 4 by 6 feet in size, with a 9.5 point Monaco  typeface. I had to break down these panels into 11 by 17 inch pieces to print them affordably and store them easily. It was titled: ‘A Sultry Blonde in a Red Dress Touching Her Lips Seductively.’”

Sultry Blonde got me into a bit of Matrix-ish thinking. I want to try to extend Marta‘s idea a few steps further and define the new idea (to me anyway) of a “Self-Referenced Abstract Art”.

Here is my preliminary idea of how to create a piece of Self-Referenced Abstract Art.

Step 1) Take a JPEG image “J”  Read the rest of this entry »


United Airlines’ “flight check” out the pilot window – Do you feel more or less safe?

Friday, 15 July, 2011

United visual flight check - by Grant McCracken

I saw the above photo from my Google+/blog friend Grant McCracken where he felt assured of quality control and flew the plane back to NYC (safely of course).

To me, I actually felt not at all safe when I saw the photo. I wrote, “Visual inspection this far away from the wing or engine, etc? Yikes.” Mind you, if I were Grant, I probably would still had flown the plane. Basically, I would be relying on the fact that if anything goes seriously wrong, the pilot and the crew will go down with me! So the pilots should have, since they do this everyday, made sure the flight is safe before take off.

Of course, sometimes, like today looking at the photo, I do wonder if I am trusting the pilots and crews way too much. Hope not. :)

P.S. By the way, I am liking this Google+ thing. Although I don’t like the idea of surrendering even more of my personal information and private data to Google, which is a US company that is subject to US laws which, when push comes to shove, will likely override Google’s obligations re Canadian privacy law. Oh well, thats for another day.


Lessons from Kate’s ‘Marilyn moment’

Thursday, 14 July, 2011

Lessons from Kate's 'Marilyn moment'

Teachable moment sometimes shows up unpredictably and I want to turn Kate’s ‘Marilyn moment’ and Sun News’ discussion video into a lesson, at least for me.

Let me try to derive some lessons by asking four questions,

Q1) Do the Royals, when being photographed at public events, deserve more rights than other Canadian public figures?
Q2) Did the press overstep their role to report?
Q3) Is the photo obscene?
Q4) Was the photo taken in an inappropriate manner?

Q1) Do the Royals, when being photographed at public events, deserve more rights than other Canadian public figures?

A1) No. I believe in equality. If we have no problem publishing a similar photo of a movie/tv star in a public event, we shouldn’t have problem with similar photos of the royals. Period. The Cambridges, when they are in Canada, deserve the same (no more, no less) rights when photographed as other public figures.

Q2) Did the press overstep their role to report?

A2) No. The press weren’t there as part of the propaganda machine of the royals. They were there to report as they see fit, they were there to do their job.

Q3) Is the photo obscene? Read the rest of this entry »


Macleod Sushi & BBQ – Food Review

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 01 - various sushi - visit 1 - order 2

[Dec 21, 2011 Update: See additional somewhat negative remarks in the comment section at the bottom of this post.]

[Feb 16, 2013 Update: Why we stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ? We had been a long time customers even though the food quality sometimes varies. Over Christmas holiday, we went there well before closing (30-40 mins) but were told that they don’t & won’t serve us our favourite all-you-can eat sushi anymore because of a busy day. So we were greatly disappointed. And then later another time, we were told that if we need a pot of hot water (we don’t drink tea, just hot water), we would be charged a $2 per pot fee in the new year of 2013. This disappointed me greatly as it seemed so wrong a way to treat a long time repeat customer. So in 2013, I am glad to say I have stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ. Gave me an excuse to eat a few less all-you-can eat meal, which may be a good thing for me to shred a few kg! :) ]

I love food, especially reasonably priced, reasonably good food. So we were quite happy to discover Macleod Sushi & BBQ (Suite 100, 5211 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary). We went there twice already in two weeks to check out their lunch time $14.95 all-you-can-eat Japanese sushi & cooked food and Korean BBQ. After my first visit, I even spent sometime to chat with the sushi chef Ken about the food (Ken told me he is in charge of food quality).

In the following food review, you will see what I like and don’t like about Macleod Sushi & BBQ.

House Salad

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 03 - House Salad

House Salad:  7/10  It tasted nice, nothing too unexpected.

[Possible improvement: put the same amount of salad dressing on each salad. Of the two house salads we ordered, one had normal amount of dressing and the other one (above photo) had too much dressing.]

Various Nigiri Sushi and Rolls (over two visits and multiple orders)

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 04 - various sushi

General comment: These sushi and rolls were all quite nice, not your typical “all-you-can-eat” stuff. Some years ago, one restaurant used a machine to form the sushi rice, that was horrible. Fortunately, they aren’t in business anymore. And some all-you-can eat places put way too much rice on the sushi, as if to try to stuff you full first. Now the following are my ratings for the Nigiri sushi and rolls.

Tuna: 8/10, Salmon: 8/10, California roll: 7.5/10, Chopped Scallop: 9/10

The chopped scallop got a 9/10 because the scallop was fresh and sauce was nice. And the seaweed was crunchy if I eat it right away. This is nice attention to detail. note: of course, if you leave the Chopped Scallop uneaten for too long, the seaweed will soften and it won’t taste as nice in terms of having a crunchy and smooth taste in your mouth.

Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 01 - various sushi - visit 1 - order 2Macleod Sushi & BBQ (visit 2) - pix 09 - variious sushi

The above pictures of sushi and rolls were taken from our second visit. I want to bring out an important point that the food have to be consistently good. The food’s taste and presentation should be consistent over multiple visits. [July 26 update: We recently had our third visit. And I am happy to say, the food is still consistently good plus they even improved some of the dishes. e.g. I will rate the Shrimp Tempura: 8/10 now.]

You see, there was one restaurant that we visited once, it wasn’t even able to send out consistent dishes from the kitchen on the same day when we ordered the same thing!

As you may notice in the photo on the right, we ordered some rolls to try. We ordered Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll, I think thats their names. Anyway, they are the ones that have BBQ salmon skin in them. When done well, the salmon skin should be crunchy and mixed well with the rest of the roll. In this case, the salmon skin was too hard and tough to chew. I ended up eating the rest of the rolls and picked out the salmon skin (the roll’s main ingredient).

Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll: 2/10 (Macleod needs to fix this asap)

Baked Oysters

Macleod Sushi & BBQ - pix 06 - baked oyster - visit 1 - order 1

The oyster Read the rest of this entry »


Braeside Stampede Breakfast 2011

Saturday, 9 July, 2011

Last year (in 2010) I reported on our community centre’s Stampede Breakfast with Prime Minister Stephen Harper (with photos & video), this year I ended up reporting about a group of concerned Calgarians trying to Save Glenmore Park. Anyway, here are some pictures from Braeside Stampede Breakfast 2011.

By the way, if you are in Calgary during 2011 Stampede (July 8 – 17), make sure you find time to attend one or more of the many free Stampede breakfasts in town.

P.S. While Harper didn’t attend the breakfast this year, the local alderman Brian Pincott and MLA Paul Hinman were there to help out with the breakfast and shake some hands.

Braeside Stampede Breakfast - pix 02

Braeside Stampede Breakfast - pix 01 Read the rest of this entry »


World thanks Calgary for Kate’s ‘Marilyn moment’

Saturday, 9 July, 2011

Will and Kate at Calgary Stampede - pix 33c - Closeup of Will and Kate thanks to my powerful zoom lens

Yes, I admit it, I think Kate is super hot & cute! Warning: If you don’t want to see too much of Kate, you should NOT read/click “Kate’s ‘Marilyn moment’ in Calgary” (fixed to use new link). Also check out this “near Marilyn Monroe” in “Photos: Kate Middleton’s Marilyn Monroe moment at Calgary Airport“. (Sorry Kate, love you, but I had to check out the photos. I confirmed you are hot hot hot! Sorry Will, honest now, if you were me, I bet you would check the photos out too!)

Here are some family-friendly photos of Will and Kate’s final day in Calgary (at press time) assuming you are much more honourable than I am! :)

To be serious for a moment, you are now **required** to check out my reports in the “Will & Kate in Canada Special” series to balance out the naughty photos you just saw! Yes, pick one or more and read! :)

* “Part 8 – Will you hire brand Will and brand Kate as your king and queen?

* “Part 7 – My royals #happy/#cool #sad #fail memories (blue vs purple wristbands)

* “Part 6 – Photos of Beautiful Flowers for the Royals

* “Part 5 – Photos of Royals in Calgary Stampede

* “Part 4 – My Video reports from Royal Tour Calgary overnight wristbands lineup at Max Bell

* “Part 3 – My Priceless 2011 Royal Tour Purple Wristbands are NOT for sale

* “Part 2 – Jian Ghomeshi opening Q essay against Royals coverage overload

* “Part 1 – Defending and Welcoming Will & Kate

P.S. Special thanks to QMI Agency’s chief photographer, Andre Forget. Your quick fingers/camera bought us so much fun this morning! Thanks Andre!


Australian Scott Jones & Canadian Alexandra Thomas – Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

Friday, 17 June, 2011

June 19th update: In our somewhat twisted world, this is absolutely amazing: “Canadian riot kiss couple turn down offer of millions by celebrity agents“.

To me, Alex and Scott are so level-headed that their actions are worth thinking about and possibly learning from. Would you or should you let “money” (even if it is millions) change your life out of the blue? Or will you strive to live the best life you can after working hard and applying the skills/talent/knowledge you have?

June 20th update: Oh well, it was nice to think Scott and Alex won’t try to cash in for a day. “Vancouver riot couple hire PR agency Markson Sparks in Australia“. I remember watching Ricky Gervais at Banff reminding us/warning us, the danger of making money off just “being famous” (having talent or skills are different, I am talking about simply “being famous” or “being a celebrity”).

***

"Kissing Couple" at Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot identified as Australian man Scott Jones and Canadian woman Alex Thomas

If all the facts check out, which I expect they will, then Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas‘ “kissing photo” in the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot (shot by Rich Lam/Getty Images) will totally have my “vote” for photo of the year.

What a wonderful job Rich Lam has done in giving us all a tiny bit of hope out of this totally disgraceful mess. To me, Rich has definitely captured a perfect example of Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s “decisive moment“, good job Rich!

Have a watch of CBC News report (with video news report and Skype video interview of the father of Scott Jones) and CTV News report (with phone interview).

Have a read of TorStar for its excellent reporting and research, (emphasis added)

“How’s that for making love, not war,” astonished dad Brett Jones declared on his Facebook page, telling the world that the famous Romeo in a Vancouver riot picture is his son.

If you haven’t seen it, Scott Jones, 29, is lying on a street locked in an embrace with girlfriend Alexandra Thomas as they’re flanked by riot police Wednesday night.

“She had actually been injured,” Brett Jones told the Star Friday morning from his home in Perth, Australia. “She had been knocked down by a shield” from the riot police.

“He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying and he just kissed her to calm her down.” [Kempton’s note: What a lovely moment.]

Even as a young boy, said Brett Jones, Scott demonstrated his “gentle side for other people. I’m not surprised he would comfort Alex.”

An update from TorStar “‘I can’t believe that’s us,’ says woman in kissing photo“, (emphasis added)

“At first Alexandra Thomas couldn’t believe that was she and her boyfriend on the ground sandwiched in between riot police on a calamitous Vancouver street.

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘No way, that’s not … I can’t believe that’s us,’ ” said Thomas in an interview with the Toronto Star this morning. “Then I looked some more and realized, that is us. That’s a very revealing picture of us.”

[…] Thomas said this morning that everything happened so fast that there was just massive confusion all around.

“I was trying to understand what was going on. The photo was definitely not something we expected to happen,” said Thomas.

The couple is leaving in three days on a trip to California, before Scott heads back to Australia. Thomas said the response from her friends and family has been overwhelming.

“When I saw that picture I couldn’t believe it and then I looked at it more and realize it’s quite artistic and really something beautiful.”

[…] Jones senior can see that the couple’s now-iconic photograph may follow them for the rest of their lives, for good or ill.

“Relationships do buckle under that pressure unless you have the ability to be very centred. Even if it wasn’t Scott, the guy who took the picture captured a moment in time that is iconic.”

Brett Jones has also counselled Scott not to buckle to the doubters, rampant on the skeptical, know-it-all Internet, who say the photograph was staged.

“Tell your story as it happened and there’s nothing you can do about them,” he told his son. “I think it’s amazing.” [Kempton: Wise counsel from a great dad!]

Jun 17, 8:40pm update: CBC has snapped up the Canadian exclusive video interview with Scott & Alex, “EXCLUSIVE: Vancouver riot’s ‘kissing couple’ tell their story“. Enjoy this 13+ minutes interview. What a lovely couple.

Jun 18, 12:02am update: CBC, “‘Kissing couple’ witness rushed to help – Canadian woman hit by rioter, then knocked down by riot police

Finally, I think we humans are an optimistic species. We gravitates towards hope and love even when (may be especially) the world around us seems to be falling apart and failing us. The photo reminds me of the dialogues and images in the opening of the movie “Love Actually”.

Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas - Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

P.S. I am still waiting for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other national political leaders to come out (not just a press release) and deliver an address/speech to try to turn this mess into a teachable moment and share some lessons learned.


Magical Tulips (with video)

Friday, 20 May, 2011

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Tulips are truly magical. They slowly open up in the day (when it gets warmer), and close up in the evening & night (when it gets colder).

鬱金香真的神奇。會在日間(溫暖時)慢慢打開,在晚間(變冷時)閉合。

Tulips after they turn yellow pink. (photo 2/2)

Magical Tulips (see YouTube clip) are even more amazing when they are put directly into water.

D鬱金香直接插入水時會開得好快。頭個43張相係60秒一張的time-lapse相。


Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

Don’t know if or when Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D will be shown in Calgary but have a read of Roger Ebert’s review of the film. Looks like a great film that I will enjoy very much.


Tim Hetherington Remembered by ‘Restrepo’ Co-Director Sebastian Junger

Thursday, 21 April, 2011

From Vanity Fair, “Sebastian Junger Remembers Tim Hetherington” Here is a loving but sad excerpt,

“You and I were always talking about risk because she was the beautiful woman we were both in love with, right? The one who made us feel the most special, the most alive? We were always trying to have one more dance with her without paying the price. All those quiet, huddled conversations we had in Afghanistan: Where to walk on the patrols, what to do if the outpost gets overrun, what kind of body armor to wear. You were so smart about it, too—so smart about it that I would actually tease you about being scared. Of course you were scared—you were terrified. We both were. We were terrified and we were in love, and in the end, you were the one she chose.”

[HT THR]


NYT Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami

Sunday, 13 March, 2011

I turned the NYT Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami (from GeoEye) into a screen captured moving images. Very sad.


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