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Archive for March, 2012

Brassai: MOMA, New York (Book Review)

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Brassai: MOMA, New York

Brassai (1899-1984) was a Transylvanian painter who arrived in Paris in 1923 under his real name, Gyula Halasz. He was 24 years old and fell in with the “poets and painters of Montmartre and Montparnasse – young men like Picasso and Dali and Braque.” These circles were the centre of the European art world – Man Ray, Rene Clair, Andre Kertesz. It was Kertesz who loaned Brassai a camera to start him on the path to photography master.

Reading the essay introduction to Brassai: Museum of Modern Art, New York, by John Szarkowsi offers an insight into the middle aged Brassai and his approach to making a simple photograph.

Brassai is probably most famous for documenting Paris and it’s seedier culture, particularly at night, through the lens of his Voigtlander Bergheil 6.5 x 9, a camera still in his hands into old age along with a rickety old tripod when this book was made in 1968. “After twenty years you can begin to be sure what a camera will do,” he said. Many of our most enduring images of famous artists in Paris in the early part of the Twentieth Century were taken by Brassai.

His words speak volumes to the modern photographer with the technology in hand to create flawless images at zero cost using a machine gun digital methodology:

Yes, I only take one or two or three pictures of a subject, unless I get carried away; I find it concentrates one more to shoot less. Of course it’s chancy; when you shoot a lot you stand a better chance, but then you are subjecting yourself to the law of accident – if accident has a law. I prefer to try and if necessary fail. When I succeed, however, I am much happier than I would be if I shot a million pictures on the off-chance. I feel that I have really made it myself, that picture, not won it in a lottery.Brassai

Brassai also passionately disbelieved in specialisation in any single medium – he excelled at photography, drawing, painting, writing, sculpting, filmmaking, theatre decor and engraving. At the point of Szarkowski’s book, the subject of this review, Brassai had published an impressive 15 books and made a global impact in numerous creative fields.

My love of Brassai’s photography is his willingness to embrace shadows and darkness along with light and contrast. His eye gives us humour, elegance and a profound understanding of structure that probably comes from his formal training as a young painter.

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Birthday Photograph: Cowboy (Early 70s)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

My older sister originally scanned this negative using a simple piece of white paper and a lamp instead of a scanner so it wasn’t high in quality. I’ve re-scanned the original photograph, but it really isn’t in very good condition. However, this is a classic nortypig portrait taken by my paternal grandmother on (maybe) my 8th birthday… making it (probably) May 1972. Classic double six-guns with the cowboy suit I got for my birthday. My grandmother was a direct descendant of the Watsons of Rockingham Castle, Northamptonshire. As reverends they were first settlers close to where I grew up in Northern Tasmania.

My birthday present was a cowboy suit

Time Value of Money: Time Period to Reach a Sum & Growth Rates

Friday, March 16th, 2012

In Time Value of Money: Present & Future and Time Value of Money: Financial Tables we discussed fixed amounts and moved onto Time Value of Money: Ordinary Annuities, Time Value of Money: Annuities Due and Time Value of Money: Mixed Streams. Then we discussed Time Value of Money: Compound Interest (redux), Time Value of Money: Nominal versus Effective Interest Rates and Time Value of Money: Deposits to Reach a Target Sum & Loan Amortisation. This article explains how to discover the number of time periods to reach a target sum and how to quickly work out growth (or effective interest) rates.

Time Periods to Reach a Target Sum (Single Amount)

Given a need to determine how many years it would take for a $10,000 investment at 7 per cent to grow to $16,000 we could treat n as the number of years and i as the interest rate.

The first step is to divide the first payment (Present Value) by the amount received at the end (Future Value):

$10,000 / $16,000 = 0.6250

The second step is to place that value into the Present Value Interest Factor:

Present Value Interest Factor0.07,n = 0.6250

The final step is to look in the Present Value Interest Factor (for a single amount) Time Value of Money Chart in the column for 7 per cent. Our number (0.6250) falls just short of 7 years with 0.623. Therefore, an initial deposit of $10,000 at 7 per cent will take nearly 7 years to mature into $16,000.

Time Periods to Reach a Target Sum (Annuities)

In a similar fashion it is possible to calculate the unknown term of an annuity. In this case we might want to work out how long it would take to repay a $16,000 loan at 7 per cent with equal end of year payments of $3,000.

The first step is to divide the size of the loan by the size of the payments:

$16,000 / $3,000 = 5.3333

The second step is to place that value into the Present Value Interest Factor of an Ordinary Annuity:

Present Value Interest Factor of an Ordinary Annuity0.07,n = 5.3333

The final step is to look in the Present Value Interest Factor for an Ordinary Annuity Time Value of Money Chart in the column for 7 per cent. Our number (5.3333) is just short of the number corresponding in that chart for 7 years (0.5.389). Therefore, our loan of $16,000 at 7 per cent with payments of $3,000 will take just under 7 years to complete.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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