Procedural Update

I’ve begun migrating Acetylene Eyes to WordPress. (I will post relevant details once things are fully up and running.)

This is a nowhere near ideal stop gap to keep the archive up and publicly available without interruption.

As best as I can tell there is no good option w/r/t keeping the project running long term on any available platform.

At this point, the best option appears to be for me to host images on Mastodon and then link to text posts on WordPress.

I’m still at a loss as to how I’m supposed to continue to find new content to post but that’s not something I can do anything about if the blog doesn’t live on somewhere other than Tumblr first.

I’ll keep everyone posted.

And on an unrelated, more personal note: I finished my first semester of grad school. Unless I’m mistaken, I’ll have earned straight A-s for the first time in my life. I’ve made some of the best work in my life… some of which I’m considering sharing in a more public fashion.

I’m also so far beyond exhausted I can hardly see straight.

Which is all to say: bear with me, please; I’m doing my best to address things in a timely manner but I also have next to nothing left after everything I’ve been juggling in the last 45 days.

The Future (Cont’d)

First–I want to thank everyone who has reached out about how much this project has meant to them. (I’ve only not responded because I am in the midst of finals and am only just barely keeping my head above water with school stuff.)

Second–I have exported all my data from this project. Both via Tumblr and someone I got to know through here was a real mensch and sent me an external (what I presume is a python web archive). So everything prior to the announcement last week is backed up.

Third–I am going to port to another platform. I’m not sure which one just yet. (Of those who have reached out it seems most folks I’ve actually interacted semi-regularly seem to be favoring Ello, most of the smut blogs seem to be favoring Pillowfort–unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to onboard there until after the 17th, due to their setup protocol.)

The 500 character limit with Mastodon is a non-starter for me–though they would be my first choice without it.

The other sites people keep mentioning I’m hearing super problematic things about.

Fourth–at this point my goal is to keep this project open and public. Unfortunately, my content mining strategy is entirely based upon Tumblr’s functionality (the chronological dashboard and the base of folks I follow have made this possible) Without it, the already tremendous amount of work that goes into this project grows exponentially.

Suffice it to say: I’m not ready to be done with this project but after the 17th everything is unknown and even with ideal circumstances things are likely going to be sporadic and messy for the foreseeable future.

SakurawayUntitled from Basic Instinct II series (201X)

Sakuraway is a Chinese image maker based in Shanghai.

He’s a bit like what you’d get if you put equal parts Shae Detar, Ren Hang, Maxime Imbert and Ryan McGinley and shake them vigorously.

He is–quite frankly–trash at editing his own work (far too much work that emphasizes a quantity over quality approach). But there is definitely some great finds amidst the surfeit of dreck and he has a charmingly idiosyncratic eye for color.

Sebastián GherrëBare, Love your-self tattoo (2018)

I really like Gherrë‘s work.

And while I love the closeness and intimacy this exudes… it’s technically a mess.

Whatever he used to edit the scan of this image is incompatible with any photo editing software I have–and I’m running at least three different ones–as far as that goes.

Interestingly: downloading the image and opening it in Photoshop results in an incompatibility error and it tells you it’ll open the file but using existing settings. The result is actually a much less muddy or murky image–but one that is admittedly flatter.

I decided to evaluate it against the zone system and illustrate that with a .gif (I’ve selected all pixels in a given zone and deleted them):


There’s essentially no additional detail after Zone VII.

Thus we’re left with extremely compressed shadow tonalities and mid-tones are hanging out where we’d generally still expect to be dealing with shaded tones.

The walls are effectively where we’d expect skin tones and there’s no highlight detail to speak of.

The original negative is doubtlessly underexposed. But the subsequent editing is actually an especially ill-advised strategy given that analog has greater headroom when it comes to overexposure than digital does. Digital, on the other hand, doesn’t have a true black and is better handling low light situations as a result.

From the standpoint of maximizing output results it would be advisable to compress the highlights here and try to give the shadows a little bit more breathing room.

Still… it’s an intriguing image from someone who is clearly very good at what he does.

Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

The ubiquity of built in flash systems (point and shoot devices, smart phones, prosumer dSLRs, et al.) has fostered an understanding of the flash as a tool to increase illumination in low-light situations.

A clearer way of putting it might be to say that a flash is increasingly treated as a key light thus relegating ambient light to the function of a fill light.

This is in keeping with magnesium flash lamps of the late 19th century and the flashbulbs of the early-to-mid 20th century. Slowly, studio photography appropriated the flash in service of painstakingly orchestrated lighting design. There are and will continue to be outliers–Diane Arbus, for example, used a flash in a great deal of her exterior shots as a means of separating the subject from the background.

But strictly speaking if the purpose of a photograph is to freeze time, then a flash is meant to freeze motion. (Consider that most flashes have a maximum shutter sync (on the slow end) of 1/250th of a second. For those who aren’t die hard shutter bugs: ignoring film speed and aperture, it’s usually only possible to take a picture hand-held–without camera shake–down to about 1/30th of a second with an SLR type system. Rangefinders give you a bit deeper of a basement; I can operate handheld sans noticeable shake with a rangefinder down to about 1/8th of a second.)

I’m being overly persnickety and pedantic on this point because the flash here is not only the key light in this scene. It’s a motivated key light–it’s easy to think that there’s a lamp overhead and that’s the source of the light (even if an overhead lamp would never give off that much or that sharp of a reflected illumination).

The motion that is being frozen is not a sudden, dynamic motion–stretching the languid, perhaps even somewhat tender moment of this pulling of foreskin into the realm of the timeless and infinite.

It also reminds me of William Eggleston’s The Red Ceiling due to the similarities in the way the use of flash interacts with the composition and the way in which how what is seen (it’s aesthetic) is emphasized over what is seen.