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Hefei, Anhui, April 2010 Fuji GA645zi, Ektacolor 160 I'm going through a rough patch in my ongoing love affair with photography. In my own photos I've become all too aware of their limitations, tired of a formulaic approach. I'm also increasingly failing to be inspired by the photography of others, far too many people relying on their various formulas and creative crutches, be they retro nostalgia, exoticism, arti-ness, software virtuosity, titillation, expensive equipment, journalistic convention or gallery-sales technique, etc etc. Four years of intense co-habitation with the medium, and I think I see through all of that now, or most of it. Stripped bare, there's often little to hold my interest. Far too much artifice, too much contrivance, too little authenticity, too much propaganda, be it political propaganda, commercial propaganda, journalistic integrity propaganda, good times propaganda, art-scene-self-gratification propaganda, the propaganda of photography itself, some kind of service in the name of some other larger cause, rather than photos which stand as independent entities. It's all mostly garbage, digital landfill. And this goes for prize-winning establishment "elite" and their various hangers-on, as much as it does for the "cross-section of life" on Flickr. What exactly is this monster we are building ? Delete your Flickr account. Throw away your prime lenses. I'm seeing now that photographs perform the same trick as organised religion; their only achievment is to generate some kind of vaguely tangible trace that people can believe in, either brutally or subtly depending on the viewer's tastes, but stripped bare, actually there's nothing there, its just us, wanting there to be something, and dressing these urges up in whatever clothes we see fit. For those who approached photogrpahy from an academic or indeed armchair standpoint, all this might seem self-evident, but for those like me who became enveloped in a photography, allowed its whims for a time to take over our very own nervous systems, it comes as more of a surprise. Could I in fact just let the rest of humanity busy themselves projecting their god-desiring urges onto other people's photographs while I ignore the whole lot, just as I ignore religion. I may in time devote my time and energy to something else altogether. In the meantime I'm increasingly find myself drawn to taking nihilistic photos of nothing, because really, that's all there is in any photo. The rest, the cameras, the film, the accessories, the camera industry, the right-place-right-time context, the academic analysis, the festivals, the histories, the greats behind the camera and celebrities in front of it, the magazines and teach-yourself manuals, the self-promotion, the self-referencing, the cheesy smiles, the v-signs, the reasuring click of a firm shutter, comments, faves, it's all just baggage, a circus. This accumulation of "photographic culture", this sprawling unstoppable megalopolis called "Photo City", has reached such an extent that it obscures us from seeing what a photograph actually is, or isn't. Photography vs The Photo. I'm sure disillusioned economists and priests have had their "Finance vs Money" or "Religion vs God" moments. Today it's my turn, I want to put the whole lot through the shredder.Marmon
Marmon's parent company was founded in 1851 manufacturing flour grinding mill equipment, and branching out into other machinery through the late 19th century. Small limited production of experimental automobiles began in 1902, with an air-cooled V-twin engine. An air-cooled V4 followed the next year, with pioneering V6 and V8 engines tried over the next few years before more conventional straight engine designs were settled upon. Marmons soon gained a reputation as a reliable, speedy upscale car. Marmon Series 8-69 4-Door Sedan 1929 Marmon Series 16 4-Door Sedan 1933The Model 32 of 1909 spawned the Wasp, winner of the first Indianapolis 500 motor race. This car featured the world's first rear-view mirror. The 1913 Model 48 was a left-hand steering tourer with a cast aluminum body and electric headlights and horn, as well as electric courtesy lights for the dash and doors. It used a 573 in3 (9382 cc) (4??6-inch, 114?152 mm) T-head straight-6 engine of between 48 and 80 hp (36 and 60 kW) with dual-plug ignition and electric starter. It had a 145 in (3683 mm) wheelbase (long for the era) and 36?4?-inch (91?11.4 cm) front/37?5-inch (94?12.7 cm) rear wheels (which would interchange front and rear) and full-elliptic front and ?-elliptic springs. Like most cars of the era, it came complete with a tool kit; in Marmon's case, it offered jack, power tire pump, chassis oiler, tire patch kit, and trouble light. The 48 came in a variety of models: two-, four-, five-, or seven-passenger tourers at US$5000, seven-passenger limousine at US$6250, seven-passenger landaulette at US$6350, and seven-passenger Berlin limousine at US$6450. (By contrast, a Colt Runabout was US$1500, an Enger 40 US$2000, and American's base model was US$4250.) The 1916 Model 34 used an aluminum straight-6, and used aluminum in the body and chassis to reduce overall weight to just 3295 lb (1495 kg). A Model 34 was driven coast to coast as a publicity stunt, beating Erwin "Cannonball" Baker's record to much fanfare. New models were introduced for 1924, replacing the long-lived Model 34, but the company was facing financial trouble, and in 1926 was reorganized as the Marmon Motor Car Co. In 1929, Marmon introduced an under-$1,000 straight-8 car, the Roosevelt, but the stock market crash of 1929 made the company's problems worse. Howard Marmon had begun working on the world's first V16 engine in 1927, but was unable to complete the production Sixteen until 1931. By that time, Cadillac had already introduced their V-16, designed by ex-Marmon engineer Owen Nacker. Peerless, too, was developing a V16 with help from an ex-Marmon engineer, James Bohannon. The Marmon Sixteen was produced for just three years, with 400 examples made. The engine displaced 491 in? (8.0 L) and produced 200 hp (149 kW). It was an all-aluminum design with steel cylinder liners and a 45° bank angle. Marmon discontinued automobile production in 1933, the worst year of the Great Depression. Marmon was notable as having introduced the rear-view mirror as well as pioneering both the V16 engine and the use of aluminum in auto manufacturing.
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