See It! W. Eugene Smith and the Sound of New York Jazz

You don’t know W. Eugene Smith…but he is generally considered to be the greatest American photojournalist. From 1957-1965, he opened his New York city loft to the jazz musicians of the era and shot stills pictures, 40,000 of them!

Plus, he recorded 4000 hours of audio (not all of it is music). It was just released as a documentary movie called The Jazz Loft According To W. Eugene Smith.

Back when I was in photojournalism school in the late 1980s, my instructor at San Jose State University, Jim McNay, had me read a book about Smith.  McNay’s contention was that many of our greatest artists are essentially crazy. Smith could certainly be seen in that light. Continue reading

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Watch It! How Records Are (Were) Made!

MotherLike many of you, I’d heard about masters and mothers, even biscuits. But this video, produced by RCA in 1942, goes into great detail about the entire process, even the shipping of the records after they’ve pressed. I didn’t realize how involved the pressing of LPs really was. And you have to wonder how noxious the chemicals were to the workers, who clearly don’t know or care.

More wonderous is that the process works at all. Who could have come up with such a convoluted process to transfer a signal from a mic, to the final vinyl product? Must have taken much experimentation and error over the years.

OK, it’s a 19 minute vid, but if you’ve got the time, you won’t regret watching this, in standard def. Don’t be put off by the guy in the clown suit… Continue reading