A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘social networking

[OBSCURA] On the photographic art of Justin Main, Instagram’s photified

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I was startled to see the above image in my RSS feed, contained within Emily Landau’s Toronto Life feature “This Toronto photographer reimagines the skyline as a post-apocalyptic dystopia”. This image, and many others, is the product of Instagram user Justin Main, known as photified on that platform. His surreal alternate histories are amazing.

Over the past few years, the iconic Toronto skyline has become a creative blank slate for Toronto artists, who are taking familiar elements—the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, waterfront skyscrapers—and transforming them into fantastical cityscapes. One of the most inventive Instagrammers on the scene is Justin Main, a prolific photographer who goes by the handle @photified on Instagram. Main’s shots make the city seem like the world of a video game: he shows the skyline sprouting out of an iPhone screen, envisions giants stomping on the city and reimagines Toronto as a miniature city in a turtle tank. The photos are cheeky, striking and sometimes a bit scary.

The 30-year-old Main grew up in Barrie. When he was 14, he fell in love with Photoshop, spending all his spare time manipulating images. He studied photography at Georgian College, but after he graduated, he found himself weighed down by OSAP loans and decided to give up his photographic aspirations for something more stable. He got a gig at the Honda factory in Alliston, Ontario, and spent the next three years assembling car engines.

About five years ago, Main decided to quit his job, move to Toronto and pursue photography full time. “I was discouraged by most of my family and friends, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” he says. For the first couple of years, he worked in the music industry, creating album covers for hip-hop mixtapes. His ultimate goal was to get into advertising, so in 2013 he embarked on a Project 365, which involves posting one image every day. He never missed a day—even during the 2013 ice storm, when he lost power and had to camp out in Tim Hortons to work on his laptop. Three years later, he’s amassed tens of thousands of Instagram followers, and when he’s not posting on Instagram, he’s creating images for brands like Google, Club Med, Crayola and Timberland.

Main’s shots are complex photo collages: he often spends up to 12 hours a day cropping, lighting and tinting on Photoshop, splicing together anywhere from two to 15 individual images. Many of his images are magical twists on classic Toronto sights, like the Island, the DVP and Brookfield Place.

[. . .]

This vaguely apocalyptic landscape combines the Toronto waterfront with a rocky cliffside, making the city resemble an isolated medieval fortress. “I dreamed this up after a discussion with a friend about lunar tides,” Main explains. “I wanted to exaggerate Toronto, so it kind of looked like the Bay of Fundy.”

I normally don’t follow Instagram photo art accounts, but I followed this one. You may want to do the same.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 7, 2016 at 11:59 pm

[LINK] “Why Facebook Won’t Give Up on China”

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Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter explains Facebook’s desire to still get into China in the context of the mercurial policies of China’s government towards different social networking platforms.

[T]he most revolutionary service was Tencent’s WeChat, released in 2011. At first glance, it looked like just another social network and messaging service. Yet it quickly morphed into something much richer, offering a free video-chat system, a taxi-hailing service, a bill-paying portal and a vast shopping environment. Today it’s possible to bank on the system and send money to anyone. Invoking “The Lord of the Rings,” some users joke that it’s the “one app to rule them all.” It now has more than 700 million users, including nearly everyone with internet access in China — and another 70 million overseas.

Compared to WeChat, Facebook is a desert, with little allure to Chinese users. There aren’t any public statistics on how many mainlanders use Facebook, but in my experience they’re mostly Chinese who have lived or worked in the West, want to maintain friendships overseas, and have access to the technical means to avoid government blockades. For those without such connections, Facebook’s only theoretical appeal is that it provides access to news, posts and videos that are otherwise censored. If and when Facebook is reintroduced, those advantages will disappear — and so will the most obvious argument for joining.

But Facebook still has one thing going for it, which is surely on Zuckerberg’s mind: Technology and social media evolve rapidly in China.

Only two years ago, Sina Weibo was China’s biggest and most popular social-media platform. Then, after a government crackdown, it lost its political edge and many of its most popular users, and was left for dead. Even as the eulogies were being written, however, Weibo was reinventing itself. It soon became a platform for live-streaming bloggers and celebrity self-promotion, and it boomed once again, boosted by an astonishing 10 million live broadcasts between April and June of this year — a 116-fold increase over the previous quarter. Today, Weibo is approaching 300 million users and its most popular live-streamers get multi-million dollar endorsements.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond remembers pioneering electronic musician Jean-Claude Risset.
  • blogTO notes the changes that will save the Toronto Public Library a million dollars.
  • In Media Res’ Russell Arben Fox finds things to be thankful for.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the increasingly large vote margin of Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory.
  • Marginal Revolution notes one challenge to globalization.
  • Torontoist looks at the idea of landlord licensing.
  • Window on Eurasia examines a proposal to Putin to copy Trump’s social networking usage.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at signs of advanced technologies detectable by SETI searches.
  • D-Brief notes evidence of the domestication of turkeys in 4th and 5th century Mexico.
  • Dangerous Minds discusses a legendary 1985 concert by Einstürzende Neubauten.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the banning of Tila Tequila from Twitter.
  • Language Log looks about a Hebrew advertisement that makes use of apostrophes.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money bids farewell to one of its bloggers, Scott Eric Kauffman.
  • The LRB Blog notes that Israel is fine with anti-Semites so long as they are Zionists.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Hillary Clinton won the most economically productive areas of the United States.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer suggests anti-sprawl legislation helped lose the recent election.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes Russia’s banning of LinkedIn.
  • Towleroad notes Ellen Degeneres’ winning of a Presidential honor medal.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Trump could be much less easy to handle than the Kremlin thinks, and looks at claims that small northern peoples are conspiring with foreigners.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Bad Astronomy notes the weird polar hexagonal wind systems of Saturn.
  • blogTO notes that Presto is now in fifty TTC stations.
  • The Broadside Blog talks about ways to be a good guest.
  • Centauri Dreams notes efforts to image planets orbiting Alpha Centauri A and/or B.
  • Crooked Timber takes a first look at the origins of Trumpism.
  • Dangerous Minds notes that the Jesus and Mary Chain are set to release a new studio album.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at the testing of the James Webb Space Telescope mirror.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that HIV is now recognized in the US as a carcinogen.
  • Language Hat looks at principles for naming in different languages.
  • Language Log notes that Trumps’ granddaughter did a good job of reading Tang China poems.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the TPP is dead.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the continued threat of tuberculosis.
  • Steve Munro looks at 504 King travel times.
  • The NYRB Daily notes the likely future degeneration of Turkey.
  • Seriously Science notes that the most one posts comments on Reddit (and other forums?) the worse they become.
  • Transit Toronto looks at TTC bus route changes planned in light of subway expansion.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at ethnic conflict in Archangelsk, in multi-ethnic Stavropol and among Circassians in Krasnodar, even with Belarusian activists in Smolensk.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • Antipope shares a guest essay by an author pointing out how duelling was a social plague.
  • ‘Nathan Smith’s Apostrophen shares an essay noting that being a Donald Trump supporter who reads gay romance is a contradiction.
  • Beyond the Beyond notes new European Union interest in defense integration.
  • blogTO reports that a Torontonian designed the new Starbucks holiday cup.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly wonders how much our parents shape us.
  • D-Brief looks at Semantic Scholar, an AI tool for scholars.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on methane humidity near Titan’s surface and an active drainage system.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the interest of Florida attorney-general Pam Bondi at the interest of serving in the administration of Donald Trump.
  • Language Hat shares a lovely poem translated from the Russian.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the upsurge in hate crimes post-election in the United States.
  • The LRB Blog shares one man’s memories of Leonard Cohen.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the problems of Saudi Arabia.
  • The NYRB Daily notes the largely negative effect of the Internet, and social media, on the election.
  • Savage Minds notes how anthropology teachers can teach the Trump election.
  • Towleroad shares RuPaul’s horror at the election.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues the Gary Johnson candidacy helped Hillary, though by not enough.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that a state ideology would make Russia totalitarian.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • blogTO recommends some Toronto-related Vine clips.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a SETI study of Boyajian’s Star.
  • Crooked Timber criticizes one author’s take in the politics of science fiction.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the auroras of hot Jupiters.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper finding that atmospheric methane did not warm the early Earth.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on how a Scottish hotel owner’s homophobic statements led to his inn’s delisting.
  • Language Log links to a linguist trying to preserve dying languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Nate Silver’s polling and prediction methods.
  • The LRB Blog notes the background behind Wallonia’s near-veto of Canada-EU free trade.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how economic issues do not correlate with support for Trump.
  • The Planetary Society Weblog shares photos of the Schiaparelli crash site.
  • pollotenchegg notes the degree to which economic activity in Ukraine is centralized in Kyiv.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a poll suggesting conservative views are unwelcome at Yale.
  • Both Window on Eurasia and the Russian Demographics Blog note a projection that Chinese will soon become the second-largest nationality in Russia.