Breaking Bald


So no, I'm not shaving my head because I'm going bald. I'm doing it because the boss lady likes it, and it saves me from even the pretence of a hairstyle I'd been sporting for the last two decades.
That cut, ideally executed every three weeks, was an even, no fuss trim with clippers.
For all the reasons offered here, that came to an end.

This photo was taken after seven razor-free days in Tobago, which now tells me how long it takes to go from freshly shaven to my old cut.
Basically, I have to shave to make myself presentable before every public engagement, which works out to about three times a week.

If you think stubble looks grimy on a face, it's about ten times as scrappy on my head.
After getting some great advice on my last post about my earlier experiences, I've settled on a regime of shaving gel for regular shaves, gel for major assaults on the hirsutism of laziness and the five blade is razor as my preferred instruments of follicle harvesting.

The only catch in all this was the staggering cost of replacement blades.
These razors may be affordable if you have lovely soft hair, but my stubble is brutal, particularly on my head. After a few shaving sessions, I'd start getting the telltale snagging of a razor past its prime.

Fortunately the boss lady sent me this important tip from Instructables,  which has extended the life of my blades from just over a week to months.


The Carnival photo goldmine

Two calls in one week looking for stock photography freeness? That deserves a blog post, doesn't it?

Remembering Suzanne

A short note and a photo in remembrance of Suzanne Salandy.

Tech News TT

Been slow to post website updates here for new BitDepth postings. Sorry about that. Been busy with a new technology website that you might want to pay some attention to. It's Tech News TT and its a collection of news briefs, curated press releases and original reporting from me about technology in Trinidad and Tobago.
Moving forward, that website will be the focus of all my BitDepth postings, though the archive here will remain the definitive collection of the column for anyone trying to find past installments.
Have a look at it to see what I've been up to, particularly if you have a serious interest in technology developments in Trinidad and Tobago.
It's early days yet and many changes will come over time as I develop the project.

New Sunday Arts Magazine reviews

My reviews of R'Kardo St'Von's concert of jazz flavored reinterpretations of calypso classics is posted here,
A review of Anthony Joseph's powerful spoken word album, Time,
is posted here.

Carnival commentary checklist

A complete listing of my writing about Carnival 2014...
Mas Colloqium Talk: One. Then five to fifteen.
Video: Carnival Stakeholder Conversations
BitDepth#929: A Carnival Coda
BitDepth#927: Lessons from the Socadrome
Guardian Editorial for March 10: More transparency in Carnival
PhotoBlog: Why I have nothing to say about your Facebook Carnival gallery
BitDepth#926: Carnival's stuttering progress
Guardian Editorial for March 02: The Geography of Carnival
BitDepth#925: How I would fix Carnival
Guardian Editorial for February 26: Elitism or Entrepreneurship?
BitDepth#924: Carnival Copyright Redux
Suggestions to the NCC for accreditation improvements.
Narend Sooknarine's experience with the NCC accreditation team.

Local Lives #17, a look at the production process of the band Tribe on the occasion of their 10th anniversary,
is posted here.

BitDepth#924 posted

BitDepth#924, a consideration of the resurgence of copyright woes in Carnival accreditation, is posted here. Also relevant are posts archiving my suggestions to the NCC in their deliberations on accreditation and the account of Narend Sooknarine of Zorce when he tried to pay for passes last week.

BitDepth#923 posted

BitDepth#923, a look at recent Facebook changes that affect marketers using the service, is posted here...

BitDepth#921 posted

BitDepth#921, a contemplation of the last thirty years of Macintosh and the last 24 years I've spent with them, is posted here...

BitDepth#920 posted

BitDepth#920 considers Microsoft's CityNext project, which it would like the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to embrace,

BitDepth#919 posted

BitDepth#919, a contemplation of the career and work of Therese Mills, is posted here...

Elize Rostant interview

My interview with young jeweler Elize Rostant for the Guardian's Sunday Arts Magazine is posted here. A photoblog post about my experiences photographing her in close quarters is here...

Bitter Seeds Review

My review of Bitter Seeds, a film about genetically modified agriculture is posted here...

Return to the Singh's Divali celebration

While I've visited the Singh's Divali celebration several times as a photographer investigating deyas and as a guest enjoying their generous hospitality since I shot Local Lives 05 in October 2006, this was the first time I've returned to the family's celebration as a photojournalist.
The gallery has been expanded with the new images and the stories that accompanied the photos are to be found here and here. It wasn't designed as a Local Lives installment, but the layout of the images was good and a PDF of the published pages can be found here.

Photography portfolio updated

Shoemaker fixing shoe business. Finally got around to fixing broken links and revamping the content of all the galleries in my photography portfolio, which you can find here. The Womanwise gallery is gone, the best of those images folded into the updated Editorial Portraits section and I've added new galleries to show my work with Panoramics and Architecture.

Copyright Conversation

Online discussions about copyright are rarely useful and almost never result in a satisfactory outcome for the copyright owner.
Here's an example of how that tends to go...

BitDepth#906 posted

BitDepth#906, a report from a talk by film set photographer Rafy about the business, is posted here...

Mail from Google

Here's my very first piece of mail from Google. Oddly enough, the all-digital company insists on sending a hard copy card to a physical address to verify a business listing on its service.
Naturally, that document doesn't have the savvy of Google search, so it quickly ran afoul of the expertise of TTPost, who sent it off on a tour of El Socorro before finally bringing it home.

Samsung roundup

My stories from Samsung's Berlin launch of the Samsung Note and Gear are all online. My news report on the new Note and Gear, a BitDepth look at the new Gear smart watch and a consideration of Samsung's business profile and plans for the Caribbean done for the Business Guardian..

Chutney Soca portfolio

My portrait series on local Chutney Soca singers is in the current issue of Caribbean Beat and available for viewing online here. The photographs are also on the home page slideshow of this website where they can be viewed much larger.

Photography talk posted

I've posted streaming and downloadable versions of a talk I gave last Wednesday at Antony Scully's Studio 30 about photography career issues. You can view the video, a rehearsal recording of the talk, here
A Trinidad Guardian review of the live talk is posted here
Juma Bannister's photo gallery from the talk is posted here. I particularly like his photograph of Guardian reporter Josh Surtees and myself, which makes us look like real tough guys looking for action.

Photography career talk

View this and many other intriguing slides on Wednesday August 14.

On Wednesday I'll be giving a talk about my career experiences in photography and with all the related engagements I've had along the way at Antony Scully's new photography space, Studio 30.
There will be a vidcast of the presentation, as with all my other talks, but you don't get to ask me difficult questions in person that way.

You'll find the space here…
Studio 30
30A Warren St., Woodbrook
(Opposite St. Theresa's Church - Cor. De Verteuil & Warren Sts)
Contribution: $30
Time: 7:00pm
Refreshments after the session.

On Jeffrey Chock

Photographer Jeffrey Chock passed away on Thursday, some thoughts on the photographer are here...

Judiciary's loss

The Judiciary lost one of its finer members last week, some background on my involvement with that sad process is here...

Conversations 3

A review of the third installment of the Conversation with the Elders 3 event at the Art Society’s headquarters last week is posted here...

It's July 27, do you know where our terrorists are?

Oh, I know, they are engaging in a peaceful protest march on the streets of the city they almost brought to ruin 23 years ago, that's where they are.

As someone who personally had a Muslimeen gun pointed at his head on July 27, 1990 while in pursuit of my duties as the first Picture Editor of the Guardian, I've got to say that watching Yasin Abu Bakr and his cronies stroll along the streets of Port of Spain escorted by the police, I felt a real annoyance and resentment.

But then, that's what we fought for back then. Whether it was manning a large gun in response to the insurrection or publishing a newspaper from a building frequently peppered by gunfire, the only civil response to terrorism is ultimately the practice of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, which include those that allow us to gather and represent our points of view, as unwelcome as they may be.

So Yasin Abu Bakr applies to the Police Commissioner for permission to march in the city, not only gets permission, but a protective escort. You may see affront. I see a success for democracy and free speech. We win.

Some other words on the subject...
A story for the Guardian in 2010 looking back on the coup attempt on its 20th anniversary.
A blog note from 2008, recalling the insurrection.
An editorial leader I wrote for the Guardian that year.
My review of Raoul Pantin's book on the coup attempt, Days of Wrath, written for the May 2008 edition of the Caribbean Review of Books.

Sugarfingers records again

Felix Roach, the popular Hilton pianist, has a second professional life as a choir coach and pianist in church. Read more here

Mr Clean

A note about a recent still life product shoot is here...

Guiness' brew

My "Click Here" story for the Sunday Arts Magazine of June 09 about Christopher Guiness' new short film Captain T&T is posted here. You'll find my interview with him about the film here.


A scene from the Differentology video directed by Nigel Thompson

I know now that I'm not the only person to declare themselves disappointed with the Black Ice Studios video for Differentology, Bunji Garlin's defining song for Carnival 2013.
It isn't just that it looks so much like this old 3 Canal video for Mud Madness, it's that it aspires to become something as mighty and evocative as the song and fails so dramatically.

I kept looking at it and thinking that it looked like one of this dreadfully ordinary photographs that people think get ennobled by dramatic Instagram filters.
Of course, that might be because so much of the video is layered with pointless color grading and hokey directing decisions.

Even a potentially powerful shot, of Bunji staring square at the camera, intense despite the goofy helmet and the mud people suddenly appearing to spring out of his body like a kind of exploding centipede doesn't have the impact that it should. They kind of sputter out from behind him, unsure of where to go next.

It's kind of weird looking at it. All the elements to create a good video are there. A dramatic location, costumes from K2K and Tribe, people willing to wallow in mud and get buried in earth, an attractive local MMA fighter in a loin cloth, swords and axes and a blasted horse, for goodness' sake.
It's a grocer's list of funky stuff that seems to have gotten stuck in a bad episode of Will it blend only to defy the whirling blades of in Nigel Thompson's edit suite.

I don't have any illusions that a music video should make sense. I have no problem with warriors from two entirely different centuries clashing in battle (though they mostly circle each other, waving swords about). Nobody makes videos that make less linear sense than Tool and their work is consistently fascinating and involving. Nothing about this video is any of those things,
I'm a big fan of Bunji, writing one of the first major evaluations of him as an artist in 2000 when I became thoroughly smitten with his five releases that year.

His work with Nigel Rojas on Differentology wasn't particularly surprising to me, though it pleased me as much as it did everyone else. I'd seen this side of young Mr Alvarez ever since that break-out year in his dramatically under appreciated collaboration with Walker, Woman. That was the first time I'd heard rock merged with rapso and I really liked it even if virtually nobody noticed it in the year of Bad Man and Gimme the Brass.

I submit that the backlash, growing quietly by the second, apparently, against the Differentology video isn't that it's a bad video, it's that it's the wrong class of video entirely for the song. For virtually any other song this season, the video would actually be just fine, maybe even a little ambitious. But Differentology demands the absolute best we have to offer in visuals, because for most of us who loved the song, it stirred our jaded souls and encouraged the very best in us.
Far from different, it's just too damned ordinary and that probably what grates on our collective nerve.
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