Saturday 4 April 2015

The most expensive photo ever, The benefits of workplace diversity & The cinema that turned into a slumber party

Now that we've fully embraced the digital camera en masse, which is due in great part to the cost reduction and inclusion in every smartphone available, it seems quaint to think of a photograph as a printed thing. That occoured to me last week, when I walked into the spare room and knocked over a bag containing negatives and bundles of family snaps going back to the early 1970s'.

It was also echoed when I found out about this :-

The $6.5m canyon: it's the most expensive photograph ever

I wouldn't concur with the scathing reading of the photograph itself; that's a subjective thing. However, I do agree that the value of it is incredibly steep. Perhaps it's far too steep, when I factor other things into play in the name of creating art, but ulitmately the value of something is in the buyer's hands to a large degree. Especially when it comes to artistic merit and worth.

This extends on to music, which in my opinion is currently in a state that it doesn't deserve to be . Yes, the old record industry way of distribution and profit is now in a state of embers, partially due to the magnetic and addictive power of freely available file distribution networks and sharing platforms. But paid downloads have been around for over a decade too, and the issue stems from a whole cluster of consumers  no longer placing bankable value on the artists' work. Streaming services are trying to get deeper into this, but in the process have inadvertantly devalued the currency of recorded and mastered output even further to the floor.

I suspect the paradigm there was that something is better than nothing. But the breaking down of entry barriers, with soundcloud, cd baby et al, all of whom are low-cost self distribution based networks, has increased throughput and brought down the profits to ground level.

In effect, if this carries on at the current pace, then it'll be a place left full of musicians only geared towards generating fast turnaround and quick profits. And this scenario can be echoed to any other creative medium where digital technology has had a knock on effect. Even pictures have been devalued somewhat, as all the social networks allow you to upload and share your efforts.

Ultimately, there is a paradox currently in place, where we're all encouraged to share and put our work up for all to see and hear, but this is creating a glut of content which people aren't necessarily willing to pay for. Whilst the filesharing and download sites are being jack-hammered out of existance by legal pressures, there undeniably needs to be some form of gatekeeping and even quality control, in order to prevent all forms of shareable content becoming devalued to the point of worthlessness.

I suspect that the bigger technology based firms such as Apple are working on something in the soft (and hardware?) domains to facilitate this. Here's hoping there is something in the pipeline, and sooner rather than later.

As in the world of creativity, diversity is something that is essential to the modern workplace :-

The Myriad Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

The evidence is clear to see. Whilst the days of the specialst won't ever be numbered ( I cannot envisage doctors and surgeons being replaced by multi-skilled types or machines in a hurry), the ability to wear many hats at once is something that has tremendous value. I'm blessed that I've never been afraid to roll my sleeves up and pitch in if need be, when the going gets tough. That's more of a 'pragmatic emergency' scenario, which entails all sorts of physical activity in the process.

For example, I wasn't averse to loading vans, packing, checking and sorting garments for size and quality control etc, to get an order to be processed through, in the days when I worked in the family manufacturing business. However, the principles remain the same.

Not everyone can contribute on every level, but if you at least have an UNDERSTANDING of what your colleagues and cohorts in the enterprise are setting out to do, then when deadlines are not being met, you will have a greater level of patience and tolerance, together with the appreciation of why things are taking longer. You can therefore also provide valuable moral support, too.

But all work and no play, makes Jack and Jill exhausted and potentially dull people :-

Ikea Turned A Movie Theater Into A Giant Slumber Party

A brave move and an exciting one. I hope they try something similar in the UK somewhere and in the states.

In effect, we're all striving to achieve more and become more than we think we can be. Our parents' generation were also aspirational, but it seems they had more immediately tangible and ( it could be hence argued) realistic goals to attain. They seemed to be more content with just having a home of their own and a family, with all the 'extra stuff' just being the icing on the cake.

My generation (and younger), seems to either not want all of that as much, or have suddenly become aware that we've ended up switching our ancestral paradigms and ethics, inside out. So whilst we have nicer clothes, more active lifestyles and a lot more experiences under our belts than they had by the time they had reached our age, we're not necessarily any happier.

In fact, I'd be brave enough to say that there is a sense of dissatisfaction that is pervasively driving the consumption of everything else upwards, as a result.  We're hence working harder than ever before, just to support the increased consumption of everything else on a material level, because we're either unable or unwilling to tend to our need to be nurtured and loved. Something somewhere has gone askew, and quite drastically so if the scribes and the people I've met on my travels, are an indicator to go by.

However,  like shakespeare's wheel, everything changes with time. What we can do, is to ensure that we're close to the centre of the wheel, as to not be affected by the peaks and troughs of success and failiure too greatly. That requires an inner peace and stillness that comes from a number of things. Love and support from family and friends is a source. But maintaining your own inner calm is something you are ultimately responsible for. Yoga and meditation help with that.

I'd rather be calmer and happier, than feel like I'm riding a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts on a regular or random basis. You still feel excitement and joy, but the feeling of being 'on the edge' in terms of your nervous system and so on, doesn't come into play so much.

And that's a good thing in both the short and long term, in my opinion.  Your body and mind will thank you for it, more than you can imagine.

I'll drink to that, any day of the week. Except maybe sundays.

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