25 February 2011

Grudin on digital photography

 Robert Grudin: view from a Maui deck

The humanist Robert Grudin recently gave a talk on "Digital Technology and the Imagination," identifying five major forms of meaning applicable to digital photography:
  • Analytical: concentrating on visual details that form part of a larger whole
  • Graphic: Capturing a vivid experience in a single moment in time
  • Elemental: Expressing what's distinctive about an object or living thing
  • Narrative: Implying that the subject is involved in a story
  • Allusive: Conveying a sense of the symbolic that refers to other topics.
A photograph can have more than one of these attributes, he added. Grudin helpfully put an illustrated summary of his lecture on the web. It includes some practical suggestions about how to realize them with a digital camera. (He uses what he called a "bridge" camera that is in between a point-and-shoot and an SLR in cost and features.)

17 February 2011

Book received

Two copies of New Airports by Giulio De Carli arrived from their publisher, 24 ORE Cultura of Milan. The book was published in record time just before the holidays. Gensler has four projects in it. The quality is better than I anticipated. Given what we were receiving by email in late November, I wasn't expecting much. Knowing how hard it is to assemble consistent metrics, etc., though, I'm impressed by how much they accomplished. The texts are simple - these aren't really case studies - and the image quality varies, but this reflects what they got from the participating firms. Given the short burn, a pretty good effort!

05 February 2011


I've been working on Dialogue 19, an issue focused on Gensler's design research program. Number 19 continues the collaborative editing approach that we began with Gensler's 2011 Annual Report. Vernon Mays developed the issue's outline and identified the outside respondents to be interviewed for the "roundtable." He and Matthew Richardson also oversaw several articles by other writers. Their own contributions were collaborative, too. Vernon used a second interviewer and Matt based his on a white paper that Vernon originally edited from a draft by a Gensler practice leader. We call this process the "editorial scrum." Of course, the gods weigh in, shaping the issue as they respond to it - first as text, then as an evolving design. As it neared its print date, coordination became crucial. With two designers and lots of moving parts, keeping it all straight was a challenge. We're looking at software to help ensure that the layout file stays current - it sometimes got away from us. Despite this, collaboration is the way to go - it keeps the project moving and leverages a virtual team that has other things to do.