Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My top ten favourite bookmarks from 2011

I browse the internet almost every day (revolutionary, I know).

And when you spend that much time on the internet, your bookmarks folder tends to accumulate a ton of links that you thought were interesting but "didn't have time" (at the time) to read or watch.

So to continue a tradition from last year, I decided to go through my bookmarks folder of 1331 items to write up another year-end blog.

I intended on spending only a few hours on this, but then I quickly noticed about 20 tabs opened in my browser within minutes. That's when I decided to make a shortlist (which you can see at the end of this post), which then took a few more hours of reading. So the lesson here is to read when you come across interesting content!

It's like the end of the year and I just have to find something to procrastinate about. But nonetheless, here are my top ten favourite bookmarks from this year:

10) taxisnyc

For those who want to one day live in New York City, here’s a cool collection of photos taken of probably one of the most iconic colours you’ll see swivelling through the grids at any given time.

It'll keep you going for now.

9) Joe McNally Presents: A 9/11 Rememberance, In Pictures

I remember being in my grade 7 math class when the attacks on 9/11 happened. It was during the morning, and I remember my teacher turning on the radio and trying to put in perspective for us what was going on. The only words I remember her coming up with was "this is going into history books..."

Ten years later, here we are.

This is a wonderful collection of photos related to the World Trade Center by world renowned photographer, Joe McNally.

8) Come on skinny love, what happened here?

I'm not sure if I need to write anything for this one.

7) The anatomy of an agency

For me, there is an overload of infographics out there these days, most of which I find too cluttered to present information well. But here’s a good one:

Click here to view the full infograph

6) The Entrepreneur's Dilemma

Satish is an entrepreneur from Toronto. He's the Partner of Jet Cooper, and is involved with a bunch of other really cool things. I've gotten to know him a bit over the past year through things like rec. basketball, an assignment for my entrepreneurship class, and TEDx.

Earlier this year, I attended freelancecampTO where Satish put on his professor hat and gave a presentation on his experience as an entrepreneur. These are his slides:

5) The secret to being happy is to be thankful

In my marketing consumer behaviour class this past summer, my awesome prof - @kasibruno (who by the way loves to show TED Talks and CBC's Q interviews during lectures) - showed us this segment from the Conan O'Brien Show.

What Louis C.K. says is funny, but true. Maybe we should take a step back.

4) Straight Outta Compton? An interview with Gwyneth Paltrow... by Jay-Z

Earlier this year, I listened to an interview on Q with Gwyneth Paltrow (skip to 19:47), talking about her new cookbook, My Father's Daughter. I never knew much about her prior, but thought she was pretty cool afterwards. Later on that week, I came across this post by Jay-Z on his blog, Life and Times. Apparently, the two thought it would be cool to interview each other.

I agree with Mr. Carter. is fresh.

Check out Paltrow's interview with Jay-Z, too. Definitely worth a read.

3) What can cat videos do for your business? - Catvertising by john st.

john st. is an advertising agency based out of Toronto, focusing on making brands unignorable.

When I came across their other video in the spring (Pink Ponies: A Case Study), what I really enjoyed was their ability to take everything lightly. With all of the focus in the industry on ROI, social media strategies, engagement with the audience, discovering the next big trend, etc., john st. showed that we should all just take a step back and not try to be slick, but just be ourselves. And instead of just saying that their work is about, for example, creating content that is, well, unignorable, they just did it, and in a way that was natural.

With over a million views, here is their video that mocks the popularity of cat videos on YouTube. (See, they can even make viral videos for fun!)

"Nobody wants to see ads anymore. They want cat videos."

2) The Sartorialist - Documentary

I had been following The Sartorialist here and there in the past year or so, and when I came across this documentary around March, for some reason I found it really captivating.

There was something about his work and the way he carried out his work that made me think that fashion could interpret for you a place, a time, an era, a person – a story. This instantly became my main inspiration for the idea of Ryerson Folio.

1) A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs

A beautiful piece by Mona Simpson in the New York Times on the person who helped changed the way we lived – whether it was through innovative products or helping us believe that creating our own world is possible. Thank you, and farewell, Steve Jobs.


- New York Times: If My Dad Could Tweet
- Emily Haines on writing in Buenos Aires (Video)
- The Walrus: The Meaning of Hockey
- A collection of Andy Bernard's a capella escapades on The Office
- The Atlantic: Working best at coffee shops
- The New Yorker: Sheryl Sandberg & Male-Dominated Silicon Valley
- Emily Haines - Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (Video)
- Spinner Canada: In House With Lights: 'Siberia,' Dirty Pop and Going on 'World of Warcraft' Raids
- Ray Allen Breaks 3 Point NBA Record vs. Lakers 2/10/2011 (Video)
- Comic Sans fights back with famous brands
- The Washington Post: Did the Iraq War have an iconic ending?
- The Business of Blogging with The Sartorialist
- Seth Godin's Blog: Your SXSW agenda (or any conference, for that matter)
- London covering Lights' The Listening (Video)
- The greatest craigslist room rental ad ever
- How to put a stapler in jello
- Louis C.K. Hates Twitter, on Conan O'Brien (Video)
- Each time you hit snooze, this Japanese alarm app posts embarrassing tweets
- 70 creative advertisements that makes you look twice
- Manhattan in Motion (video)
- The Wolowitz Coefficient (The Big Bang Theory)
- Twitpic of the Japan earthquake
- Kris Humphries tweet after the divorce (parody account)
- Current Location (Taken with Instagram at Google)

Honourable mention: What Would Don Draper Do?

Click here to see the rest.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Energizer's new tagline might be a bit weak

It keeps going. And going. And going.

The tag line with the pink-Terminator-isqe Energizer bunny has stuck with us for as long as we can remember. From Darth Vader, to Elvis, to alien abductions, these spots all ended with the pink bunny and the famous tag line, "It keeps going.". I even remember being teased by friends in middle school because I ran longer on the track than most kids in gym class, "Does he eat Energizer batteries for breakfast? He keeps going!". (Outrunning Counter-Strike playing gurus wasn't difficult, I should add.)

"Nothing outlasts the Energizer battery", proclaims the 1994 Energizer/Darth Vader spot. Well, except for the tag line, I guess. After twenty years, Energizer Battery Co. (with the help of TBWA Canada) has changed its tag line from "Keep going" to "Now that's positivenergy", which is part of a new initiative including "pay it forward" - an online pledge that encourages consumers to perform random acts of kindness ("Do something little. Help something big."). Ever since Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" went Hollywood in 2006, companies from across all industries have been trying to re-brand themselves as "green". You see, branding yourself as environmentally friendly becomes more than just reducing carbon dioxide emissions, so we won't all die in xyz years. It's a message to us that we can change the world, but more importantly - we can become better people by doing these things. And isn't saving the world so much more sexier than just surviving?

However, with so many brands claiming to be "green" and claiming that you can do good for the planet by using their products, this "green" aspect is becoming a commodity amongst every company, and the message is getting a bit old (much like how a company can't get excited about having a website now... who doesn't?).

Although the consumer attention on global warming has faded a little with time, I don't believe that we don't care about "saving the planet" anymore. A lot of decisions we make do consider the environment (for example, we've stepped away from gas guzzling vehicles and turned off our computers overnight). A more effective campaign that encouraged social action is of course the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project. For the first time 23 years, Pepsi took a pass on a Superbowl spot in 2010, and instead, used their $20 million dollar Superbowl budget as grants ($5,000 to $250,000 per grant) for consumer initiated ideas that impact the world in a positive way. This accomplished a couple of things. In an interview with Rob Schwartz (CCO at TBWA\Chiat Day\L.A.) by Teressa Iezzi (former editor of Creativity Magazine), Schwartz stated, "The original idea was kept intact: Every Pepsi Refreshes The World, not just a slogan, but as real action. Oh, and give people a concrete reason to choose Pepsi over Coke." It was about real action. And it worked. (Just a small example, this past semester, my Entrepreneurship professor even spent time pitching some of his former student's product to the class so we would go to and vote. Talk about a project that scales...)

Is Energizer's new tag line just another brand jumping on to the "green" bandwagon, that's quite frankly getting a bit full? Is the message a bit weak? In Friday's article by the Financial Post, Alan Middleton of York University stated, "'positive energy' is a much softer, mushier message...This is a more abstract, cerebral concept. And those don't usually work in advertising -they either get dramatically misunderstood or ignored."

I think it's a little too early to tell what type of response and buzz that Energizer's call to action will create, and if the message will stick with consumers. Who knows, maybe mushy works now. Let's give it more time. Let's keep going.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sloan: 20th Anniversary

Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson, and Andrew Scott of Sloan perform at Sonic Boom on May 14th, 2011.

Twenty years ago, Brian Mulroney was the Prime Minister of Canada, James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgement Day was the highest grossing film, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won their first NBA Championship, the GST was introduced in Canada, and the price of gas was about 29 cents per litre. Twenty years was a long time ago, but don't tell that to Canadian rock band, Sloan.

Starting in an era where Nirvana was taking the world by storm with grunge music (along with Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains), Sloan has since "survived" many musical eras and have made their mark in the Canadian music scene as Canada's rock band. Their music never went mainstream, and they never really tried to break into America's music scene either, but perhaps they never needed to. With twenty years in the music industry, the Halifax-based band (now re-located to Toronto) has produced twelve studio albums (two EPs), including Juno award winning album One Chord to Another (Best Alternative Album in 1997). Sloan's popular hits include Everything You've Done Wrong, Money City Maniacs, The Good in Everyone, Underwhelmed, and Coax Me - among many others.

As part of their 20th anniversary celebration and the release of their new album, The Double Cross, Sloan played a free live show at Sonic Boom, in front of a packed basement. Tres sweaty, but it was definitely fun. They played many songs from their new album, as well as some classics. (They also played three songs for their encore!)

In a recent interview on CBC Radio Q, Sloan discussed their comments in a magazine stating, "Twenty years was notable for a band barely making a living". Patrick Pentland commented, "We could be touring more, potentially bringing in a lot more money... three of us have young kids, we have other priorities as well." And Chris Murphy added, "All of my friends and peers are broke. None of the people came up making music with us are making any money, not much... but we hung together." Also asked if they see themselves around in ten years, for a 30th anniversary - and in short, affirmative.

Twenty years. All possible only because of the love for music.

A few songs I filmed while balancing and dancing on one leg on the staircase. Good times.

I first caught Sloan live at CBC Culture Days last September, and I'm glad I did.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Q Live: A morning of arts and culture

CBC Q host, Jian Ghomeshi, talks to the audience before going on air.

Well hi there. And happy Sunday.

The suspenseful sound effect leading into the opening essay, the background music during the opening essay, and the opening essay itself, has become an addicting piece that I will never get tired of. Oh, and how can I forget the Q Theme song? These features of CBC's radio program, Q, have become a bit of a symbol to my daily fix for arts and culture, and this past Friday, I (finally) saw it live - in front row seats style. It was a very interesting experience to see what happens behind the scenes, and the live show itself is a bit of a different concept than the regular in-studio program. I'll talk briefly about the highlights of the show for me, and some behind-the-scenes things (including Q&A) but there's a link at the end of this post to hear the episode in its entirety.

Note: I wasn't sure how strict they were with recording devices, so I only had the camera on my mobile device to use.

Live Music

Israeli singer-songwriter, Yael Naim, performs live off her new album, "She was a Boy", at Q Live at Glenn Gould Studio on May 6, 2011.

I absolutely enjoyed guest, Yael Naim (picture above). Born in Paris and raised in Israel, her debut album, In a Man's Womb, was released in 2001, followed by her self-titled album in 2007 which went on to win "Best World Music Album" at Victoires de la Musique (France's top music award). To this point, I've actually never come across her or her music, but I'm glad I did on Friday - it's a very up-beat/relaxing and acoustic sound. If I had to compare her to other arists, it would probably be a bit of Feist, Regina Spektor, and Corinne Bailey Rae. You may have also heard her music in 2008, in Apple's MacBook Air commercial:

Her music and interview on Q starts at the 52:43 minute mark.

Of course, there was Sam Roberts Band, who debuted many of their singles off their new album, Collider, to be released next week.

Sam Roberts Band performs at Q Live at Glenn Gould Studio on May 6, 2011.

Discussion on world issues and politics
I won't spoil the show for you, but I thought the Q media panel brought up some really interesting points on both the Canadian election and the death of Osama bin Laden.

First, on the Canadian election, they talked about how the media has focused a lot of their attention on the collapse of the Liberals, the surge of the NDP, the stories in Quebec - but there hasn't been much attention on what the future implications of a Conservative Majority would be.

On Osama bin Laden, Margaret Wente discussed how many Canadians felt uneasy watching the triumphant celebration in the streets of the United States, because "we don't do that, that's not our way. Except for hockey games... We don't understand the profound wounds that were inflicted by 9/11...", she goes on to say, "Can anybody really doubt that the world is better off without this guy? Can you? But that's not the question, the world would be better off without a lot of people, but that doesn't justify killing them. Extrajudicial assassinations like this used to be something the Americans did covertly, which they tried to get Castro, who they also vilified in the same way that they vilify bin Laden now... they should have captured him and have a trial, and then there would be justice."

The Comedy
Friday's live comedy was brought to you by Mio Adilman and Elvira Kurt, and both guests entered the stage busting some wicked dance moves (pre-requisites to being humorous, I'm guessing). Two topics of discussion: Mio Adilman analyzes the art of the beard (and specifically, Monkey Tail) and the Elvira Kurt discusses her pick for this week's "Hall of Shame": Badminton World Federation. I'll leave it at that. (Elvira Kurt is wicked cool, by the way.)

Other Guests
Other guests included Stephen Silver (director of "Big Bang Club") and Anthony Baxter (of "You've Been Trumped").

So that was my first experience of watching Q Live, and it was definitely a great live production. A morning packed with incredible live music, discussion on politics/world issues, discussion on arts and culture, and comedy - can we do this every Friday?

Bad photo, but awesome at the same time.

P.S. Of course, I asked him after the show if he would ever interview Lights on the program (he's her manager as well).

Listen to the full episode of Q Live at Glenn Gould Studio - May 6, 2011:

CBC Q is broadcasted every weekday, 10am and 10pm, and is also available on iTunes (free) and on their website.

Behind the scenes
During the breaks, and after the recorded show was over, Ghomeshi did Q&A's with the audience, and there were a lot of interesting things that were discussed:

- The Donald Trump Interview: On the March 21st show, Q did an in-person interview with Donald Trump on the 26th floor boardroom of Trump Tower (yes, that boardroom - as Ghomeshi would say), and here are some of the behind the scenes information on how that meeting went: first of all, the CBC Q team went through three levels of security, and were accompanied by body guards during the interview. There was a few seconds of technical difficulties at first, and Donald Trump said, "I don't have time for this" and left - Ghomeshi had to run after him to ask him to come back. During the interview, Trump would use his hand to signal a "next question" kind of gesture when he didn't like the question. At one point, if you listen to the interview, you'll hear him say, "we could have done this over the phone". Finally, after the interview, Trump asked for statistics regarding the show and found out that Q reached millions of people all over North America through live broadcasts and podcast. He was all of a sudden friendlier and took interest in Ghomeshi and the program. Like Seth Meyers said, "Donald Trump has been saying he will run for President as a Republican, which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke". Zing!

- Opening essay and podcast: To those who do listen regularly to the program on podcast, know that the opening essays are seldom included. The reason behind this, he explains, are the copyright music that can be played on the radio, but not redistributed through outlets such as iTunes (the same with the portions of the show where Kanye West's "Heard em Say" music is used). He said that they recognize that so many people are listening to the podcast now, that they are working on a way to solve this problem.

- Who writes the introduction pieces of interviewees: The Q team does a ton of research and writes all of the introduction pieces to the guests. They then pass it on to Jian Ghomeshi, who then "Jianizes" it. Their introductions are purposely detailed and long, as they feel it gives the impression to guests that this is a serious program. Opening essays are written by Ghomeshi.

- Direction of Q: It was interesting when I heard Ghomeshi mention that Q aims to be similar to The New Yorker, but with Canadian content. In addition, when asked about whether or not Q will steer away from Canadian content because of an increasing audience in the United States, he said the content will always be what it has been and that the United States don't get enough credit for being interested in what happens outside of their country (I'm paraphrasing here).

- Will there be more live shows? This is new to the Q team, and they're still learning everything. He mentioned that the the Q team is already small as it is, and having a live show just makes it crazier as they do everything themselves. In addition, live shows are different from the regular in-studio ones as it doesn't allow them to do things they usually do. For example, having guests over the phone, having long and in-depth conversations with guests, and the list of available guests shrinks because of their availability. However, they are looking to definitely have more.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Random Sunday Blog #2

Queen Street has always been my favourite street in Toronto. Maybe it's because I grew up (and still live in) the Queen Street East area, but there's just so much going on all the time, and so many different types of things to do and places to enjoy. This Random Sunday Blog is dedicated to this wonderful stretch in Toronto.

Queen Street East (click for larger view):

This is probably where I've spent the most time, and loved every second of it.
-Jonathan Ashbridge Park: Absolutely love it here when the weather is nice. A nice park with a tennis court, and a lot of green around, (and a McDonald's across the street - although I never eat there after a tennis match!). The small grass hills and trees surround the area enough so you're not a fishbowl for everyone to watch, but at the same time it's not secluded from the surrounding area either.
-Rugby Field: Just south across the street from the park is a huge rugby field. It's perfect for running, soccer, football, playing with your dog, or cutting across to the beach. It's usually empty during the day.
-Woodbine Park: If you're not in a hurry to get to the beach, Woodbine Park is a nice oasis to take a walk through. There's a nice pond east of the park, and also a huge gazebo - nice place to play your guitar in the outdoors.
-Woodbine Beach: Of course, this place is my favourite. There are so many things you can do here. Beach volleyball, walking, running, reading... it's a great place to clear your mind as well. There's a small boat house midway through the beach, and if you go behind it, there's an awesome place to just hang out in peace. I could go on about this place, but I'll leave it for now.
-The rest of Queen St. on this map: Even when the Jazz Festival isn't on, the beaches neighborhood is just awesome. Walk through it on a summer evening and visit some of the small businesses there. Some good places to dine as well.
-Altitude Bakery: Although not on the map above, this small bakery store is awesome. The Eclair there is pretty off the charts. I need to come here more often!
-Leslie Spit: If you got a few blocks west, then south and Leslie St., the Leslie Spit is an incredible escape into nature in the city, biking or jogging (rollerblading not recommended!...). The 5km headland is apparently man-made. It's also where I got a chance to snap this photo the last time I went:

One advice: Make sure you head back before the sun sets, or there will be wild rabbits running everywhere, which sort of freaked me out as I also didn't have any flash lights (there are no lamps, etc.). In short, go here at your own risk!

Queen Street ... midway (click for larger view):

I went to elementary and middle school in this area, so a lot of good childhood memories live in the Queen Street (midway... I made this name up) neighborhood, but it wasn't until the recent years that I've really gotten to really like the different places around this area.

-Jimmie Simpson Park: This park is incredibly spacious and the people around here are pretty awesome as well. Tennis court, huge field for anything (soccer, football, guitar under the trees, and there's also a baseball field), hockey rink/rollerblading rink, and a basketball court. Seriously, what's there not to like at Jimmie Simpson on a warm, sunny day?
-Joy Bistro: Right across the street from Jimmie Simpson is this wonderful restaurant that I've yet to try out! I pass by it almost everyday, and everything about it looks great. It screams fancy but casual at the same time, and they seem to always have a basketball game on the television screens every time I pass!
-Dark Horse Expresso Bar: Another place I pass by everyday, but haven't tried yet. It's on the to-do list for spring!
-Lucky Star: An honourable mention to the Chinese restaurant that we went to often as middle-schoolers for lunch!

Queen Street West (click for larger view):

Moving on to the last part of Queen Street that I love, Queen Street West (East of Spadina Avenue). I've only started trekking through this neighborhood in the past couple of years, but I've walked between Yonge and Spadina more times than I can imagine, and it's new to me every time. My favourite store on in this area is obviously Steve's Music Store - heaven on earth. Like the other two Queen Street areas above, there's just so much to do in this area.

Overall, Queen Street between Spadina and the Beaches is the best street in Toronto. I wouldn't live anywhere else in this city! (Even the 501 Streetcar is the best streetcar service and route!)

Well, that's my random (and poorly written) escapade for this Sunday. By the way, remember my last (and first) Random Sunday Blog in January? Good to see you again, Spring. Either you got here quicker than I thought, or time is still speeding up as we grow old.

Queen Subway Station art captured this morning:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bosh's return to Toronto, and who the fans were really booing

As Chris Bosh was set to leave the floor after a victory over his former team, he made his way to centre court, and the booes that started in the first quarter began to surface again. He faced the Union Station side of the Air Canada Centre, and thanked the fans by waving his hands and blowing kisses. Most of the booes turned to cheers as he continued to thank the crowd.

“One bad move doesn’t erase seven years” proclaimed Bosh in his post-game interview.

Drafted in 2003, Bosh soon absorbed the team that the once beloved Vince Carter had abandoned, with nothing but positive energy. After three years of a losing record and not making the post-season, Bosh committed to the future of the franchise by re-signing with the Raptors for a three year deal (with a fourth year option). During that season, Bosh led the team to the third best record in the eastern conference, and gave the Raptors fans a playoff berth for the first time in five years – restoring pride into the Toronto sports community. It was an exciting time for Toronto fans as the sea of red had their chance to watch the team that Bosh had given them, battle against no other than Vince Carter. The Raptors lost a heart-breaking game six by one point to end their playoff run. After losing the series 4-1 the following year to the Orlando Magic, the Raptors were never the same again. The team tried to scramble by bringing in former stars, including Jermaine O’Neal and Shawn Marion, and tried different coaches in Sam Mitchell and Jay Triano, but there were no solid pieces to surround the star player that Bosh had developed into. During Bosh’s time in Toronto, he made sure to give back to the community as he developed the Chris Bosh Foundation, donated $1 million dollars to a Toronto charity, known as Community Legacy Programs, and pledged $75,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Canada.

Chris Bosh, like Roy Halladay, left at the end of his contract to begin a new career on a contending team. Despite all that he gave to the franchise, the franchise didn’t give much back in return. Perhaps Bosh's interviews and choice of words weren't always the best, but does that really change what he did for the franchise and for the city?

Seven years of unproductivity by a team overall, he deserved to move on – just like Roy Halladay.

It’s safe to say that the fans were booing because they were frustrated, and Bosh was the perfect outlet. Frustrated by the fact that in Bosh’s tenure as a Raptor, the team had a losing record of 254-320 and made the playoffs in only two of his seven years, frustrated that he departed for a team that the Raptors could have been, and most of all, they were frustrated that the only player on the team in the past seven years that actually made a difference, had left them with a team that now has no direction. In the end, it wasn’t Chris Bosh that the fans were really booing. It was Bryan Colangelo.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A look into the life of paparazzi

Film review: Teenage Paparazzo [Documentary, 2010] by Adrian Grenier

It's everywhere. You turn on the television set after work, and you have at least three different celebrity-type shows airing. You lineup at the express lane at the grocery store (waiting for the person in front who clearly doesn't understand "1-8 items") and it's there. There's even an entire show that shows behind the scenes of TMZ. Although I have never had a real interest in celebrity gossip and news, I can't say that I've never payed attention to it. Angelina, Brangelina, Natalie Portman is pregnant, Mila Kunis just broke up, "Britney's Back, Bitch!", Mel Gibson was arrested, and it goes on. No matter how much some of us hate to acknowledge it (while it's a daily conversation for others), we all have some interest in celebrity gossip at some level.

One of the most interesting insights of Adrian Grenier's Teenage Paparazzo was when he sat down with MIT Comparative Media Studies Professor - Dr. Henry Jenkins, to dissect why ("normal") people love to gossip about celebrity. "In the era of the internet, who do we choose to talk about? We can't talk about our aunt and our uncle or the guy down the street, because we don't share that in common. But we share you (Adrian Grenier, other celebrities) in common... I would say that one of your jobs as a celebrity is to be the subject of gossip." Dr. Jenkins goes on to say, "When we gossip, the person we gossip about is actually less important than the exchange that takes place between us... We're using that other person - the celebrity as a vehicle for us to sort of share values with each other."

Photo from Mongrel Media

The next question: is paparazzi fair to celebrities? They're just human beings with basic rights, right? If you're walking down the street and someone starts snapping photos of you, you'd feel the right to say "stop taking pictures of me". On the other hand, how many of these celebrities relied on a PR agency to get their name out in the first place? The fans and the mass are what drives people to be famous, and to turn your back on all of this once you've reached fame - is that fair to the fans?

Red carpet pictures, studio photo shoots - they have their purposes but most fans would consider them boring. In fact, it's the paparazzi type photos - the grocery shopping, the sun bathing, the on the way to the gym photos, the night out on the town photos, those are the ones that stimulate the interest of fans and really dance to the beat that they've been playing all along - celebrities are "just like us". The issue of paparazzi from a photographer's standpoint and from the subject's standpoint isn't black and white, and it's hard to draw a line that's "fair" for both sides.

Grenier's documentary of then thirteen year old, Austin
Visschedyk, really gave insight on to why photographers choose being a paparazzo/paparazza as a career. The rush, the excitement, and the money. Competition is fierce amongst photographers, and the scene isn't too civil, but the satisfaction of snapping that thousand-dollar photo, makes them long for the rush even more. In fact, a lot of the times, photographers have to have their laptops out on the spot to submit pictures to magazine agencies - by the time celebrities get home from an event, the photos are already up. In terms of income, according to Austin Visschedyk's experience, paparazzi photos can make anywhere between $500-2000 on average per photo. Crazy, eh?

Adrian Grenier really does a great job on exploring the world of paparazzi by turning the cameras on them. One of my favorite parts of the film, was when Grenier himself went out to buy a Canon (5D Mark II I believe), and started joining the paparazzi frenzy around Brooke Shields - however, it wasn't long before everyone identified him, "Hey Brooke, you have a fellow star mate out here today!".

It turns out we all have paparazzi in us. It's only human.

Rating: 7.7/10


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Random Sunday Blog #1

Sundays are perhaps the most random day of the week for me, and maybe that's why it's my favorite day. Well, at least Sunday mornings are my favorite. It's too much to explain, so perhaps I'll do a "Random Sunday" blog every week. By the end of the year these posts will explain themselves!

Here are two random things today:

1) While reading the National Post Arts section this morning, I came across this picture of Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher taken from the new film No Strings Attached:

Photo Source: Paramount

This photo instantly made me yearn for spring. The green leaves, the light and classic trench coat (which looks amazing on Portman I should add), and maybe the carrots - all make me long for those fresh spring mornings!

2) Looking at The Sartorialist's new posts before breakfast, I noticed how awesome these shoes looked. Which then made me want spring even more.

Photo Source: Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist)

While typing this post, someone walked by my house as she was walking her dog. That made me want to go out for a photo walk along the beach.

This is a fairly random morning, but you haven't seen anything yet. Just wait until spring.