Notes on the 2008 ICT Symposium

Additional reporting on the ICT Symposium, direct from my notebook...
Related: BitDepth 655...

McNally talk posted

The final posting of notes from PhotoPlus Expo 2008, notes on talks given by Joe McNally is posted here...

Remembering Bheem Singh

Bheem was always kind to strangers but he doted on his children and their children. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

Bheem Singh died on November 09 and was buried on November 12 in a quiet ceremony at St Mary's Church in St James.
In one of those curious turns that makes Trinidad and Tobago such a unique and intriguing nation, the man who returned Divali, a Hindu festival to St James with a street display outside his home at Ethel Street, was buried under Christian rites.

Bheem Singh was always kind and generous to me and his tireless patience with my efforts to photograph his work for the festival, so he was, after a fashion, the first of my Local Lives subjects.
I first photographed the work he was doing with his sons on Ethel Street for The Wire, but the photos weren't published. When I came by to apologise for wasting his time, he berated me instead for not visiting on Divali night to share in the food his family generously served to anyone who visited their home.

This year, neither Bheem nor I were at the family's celebrations. He was in hospital while the family bravely carried on with the celebrations and I was was in New York, having carelessly failed to factor in the overlap with my travel.
He was a generous, kind and cheerful man, a great neighbour in St James. He will be missed, particularly when the lights of the deyas are lit each year.

I've finally posted the last three of the published
Local Lives essays, including A Light in the West.

David De Caires, fondly remembered

I wrote this editorial for Monday's Guardian (October 03).
As I mentioned in a note to David's son, Brendan, his father always recognised me wherever we met with a kindness and generosity that was always touching.
David De Caires was a man of some intensity, but he had no airs and I count myself fortunate to have met him through my friendship with Brendan.

Blogging the show floor

The next installment of BitDepth (October 28) will be a report on highlights from this year's PhotoPlus Expo, but from Thursday evening, I'll be blogging my findings and notes from the show floor of the PhotoPlus Expo 2008 at the Jacob Javits Centre in New York for the duration of the three days of the show.
You'll find that coverage posted on
my photoblog here...

Future talk

Notes on the Futurist event at the Hilton Hotel on October 08, 2008. Read More...

A farewell to testosterone

A review of Brian Vaughn and Pia Guerra's epic graphic novel, Y the last man. Read More...

Fundraisers for Jeffrey Chock announced

Notes about fundraising events for the photographer Jeffrey Chock. Read More...

PhotoBlog: Lenses, not cameras

A new entry on my photography blog explores the importance of high quality lenses on digital camera bodies. Find it here...

Four colour heroics in black and white

A review of four novels about comics and the beginning of my coverage of comics on the blog. Read More...

Chock fundraising

First notice of the fundraising effort in support of the medical expenses for Jeffrey Chock. Read More...

Virtual exhibit hall

New image gallery added to the brand new section of the website, The Virtual Gallery.
This new section offers images in much higher than normal resolution (images will be 1200 pixels wide or 1024 pixels high on their long side, depending on orientation) and will fit nicely on a screen that’s 17 inches or larger.
The display is roughly equivalent to viewing an 8 x 10 inch print.

This runs counter to the traditional thinking on web reproduction, these larger files being easy targets for theft. But there’s also a very valuable counter movement, exemplified by
the Boston Globe’s take on photography on the web. Which is, in summary, so what?

I’ve had exhibitions of my work in the past and I still haven’t recovered from the experience 25 years later. I’d rather risk some petty theft and display some of my collections properly than massage my ego with another show in a hurry.

Let me know what you think about the first collection. I have another, much larger “show” waiting in the wings.

To assist you in viewing the images on your screen with greater accuracy, I’ve included these colour bars. Most modern monitors offer some colour controls that will eliminate particularly obvious colour casts.

The blocks in the bar are from left to right, 100 percent of blue, green, red and black, 50 percent gray, 25 percent gray and 100 percent white (that block should disappear on this page).

PhotoBlog: Portrait with a single light

The latest photoblog entry is a look behind the scenes at some recent photography for Gayelle TV that’s now on show here...

Norton website launched

Noel Norton has launched his new website. View it here. There's an excellent history of the studio's operations available on the site. You can read more about Mr Norton and his place in Trinidad and Tobago from my perspective here...

Kelly's surreal Tales

Richard Kelly's Southland Tales is one of the most irritatingly intriguing films I've seen in years. Where Donnie Darko was focused on a fairly straightforward, if mind twisting plot seasoned lightly with earnest weirdness, Southland Tales is awash with unfulfilled ideas, heady notions and wild paranoia.

Like Darko, there's an interesting science fiction underpinning to all the goings on, but it's almost irrelevant to the political intrigue of a US Government that has taken homeland security to its logical conclusion and the personal peccadillos of Dwayne Johnson's Boxer Santaros.

The star power that's brought to bear on this story is impressive, inclusive of Sarah Michelle Gellar, John Laroquette, Miranda Richardson, Justin Timberlake and Seann William Scott, but what's lacking is a sense of restraint and service to the story. Kelly's tale wanders off on odd little tangents that ultimately amount to very little and nudge the story forward imperceptibly.

It's not hard to see why the film failed so completely to find an audience. The comedy is so black as to stifle even the most hard earned laugh, the science fiction is almost marginal and the action is so brief that it could qualify as punctuation.
Add to this Mr Timberlake's surreal little song and dance number and you have a cinematic pelau so varied that it's sure to be inedible to all but the most refined of palates.

What Southland Tales is, though, is a very personal piece of work that feels a lot like the work of a post-Matrix Robert Altman-esque director, one whose passions are involving enough to draw intriguing performances from a strong cast but so undiluted that they alienate all but the most committed of audiences.
If you like your movies odd and quirky, then give Southland Tales a look.

PhotoBlog: Photographing a CD cover

A note on my approach to photographing an album cover for jazz guitarist Theron Shaw is posted here...

MacBlog: Homemade coolpad

Notes on a cooling system I built to reduce heat on my laptop are posted here...

PhotoBlog: I hate shooting tethered

Notes about the philosophy of shooting tethered are posted here...

MacBlog: Backup software I find useful

These are software tools that I use to keep my data backed up.

Transcript of TATT response to BitDepth 638

This is a text facsimile, extracted from the PDF copy of a letter sent to the Trinidad Guardian’s Editor in Chief, Anthony Wilson by TATT Executive Director, Cris Seecheran.
TATT has chosen not to make any changes to the copy, which I reproduce with only a few additional page breaks for web readability.

Notes on TATT's response

My notes on the letter sent by TATT to the TG Editor in Chief. Read More...

Beat Big Up for La Fleur Morte

One of my personal projects, La Fleur Morte, is featured in the July/August issue of Caribbean Beat.
The story by journalist James Fuller offers some kind words about my work and manages to date me quite nicely.

I'm not so ancient, however, that I'm likely to be doddering about humming Neil Diamond songs for inspiration, so please note that James misheard me and the quote that he cites is by
Neil Gaiman, not the composer of the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull that some folks consider to be quite inspirational.

The image enlargements on this page are quite large and will require at least a 17 inch monitor to view properly, but anything less just didn't do the reproduction of the pages and the sample image of the flower of the Chalice Vine (Solandra Guttata) just didn't seem right any smaller.

You can view the story
online here...

You can also access many stories from the current issue of Caribbean Beat as well as archives of the magazine by
signing up for a free subscription here...

There's a blog posting on my website and
links to other material about the project here...

Interview with Magella Moreau and Dennis McComie of Gayelle TV's Cock a Doodle Doo.

Slideshow movie that I prepared for that appearance.

Download the interview
here and the slideshow here.

Remembering 1990

Reflecting on the impact of 1990 in images.

1990, enriching the narrative

Eighteen years after the 1990 coup attempt, the story of the insurrection is still focused on the Jamaat al Muslimeen. Read More...

Happening for the birds

M Night Shymalan’s The Happening looks a lot more like Hitchcock than you might have expected. Read More...

RBTT becomes RBC

RBTT becoming RBC provokes some interesting memories.

More on Vista adoption...

The rest of the story on Vista adoption. There first part was published as BitDepth 629. Read More...

A slyph of a star

On Audrey Hepburn. Nothing more need be said, but I go on and on anyway. Read More...

Cold Comfort

Frances Anne Solomon's A Winter Tale is a keenly seen vision of the struggle to find Caribbean truth in a metropolitan city. Read More...

Instant obsolesence

Slowly, Polaroid is going away, the immediacy of digital photography replacing the fast fading thrill of watching a colour photo appear after a minute of almost magical developing. Read More...

Contract Killers

G Anthony Joseph, who really wants me to stop calling him Gerard, has produced the best film of his quarter century in the film business with Contract Killers. Read More...

Information Minister responds

Information Minister Neil Parsanal wrote this response to the editorial of March 17 in a letter to the Guardian after its publication.
I should note that I often write the editorial without having had the benefit of witnessing the incidents or issues that are the subjects of the day's opinion leader.
I do, however, try to draw conclusions based on at least two reports of the situation. In this case, both Newsday's report on the incident and the TV6 report under the heading "Things that make you go...huh?" asserted that the reporter, Sean Douglas' microphone had been silenced.
Whether or not Mr Parsanal threw the switch, as Information Minister, he had the right and leverage to continue the discussion to the satisfaction of both the reporter and the media in attendance.
The response was published in the Guardian of March 21. Read More...

Media and Government - March 17

Here's a new one. I've referenced editorials that I've written for the Trinidad Guardian in this virtual space, most notably here, but this is the first time that I'm reproducing one directly as an entry on the blog.
Editorials are a curious piece of work for me. They need to represent the thinking of the newspaper's editor and publisher, or at least such thinking as they would be comfortable with.
After writing almost 600 of these, I have to acknowledge that some of them are also my own opinion, free and clear. This one was important enough to share here. There may be others in the future. Read More...

Jazz, not soul or R&B, on the greens

A review of Jazz Artists on the Greens is posted here.

Got web skills?

Fast developing downloading music site looking for a webmaster, for webmarketing and web programming. Webmaster should have experience and knowledge of Apache, MY SQL, PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript.  Location Port of Spain, Part-time an option.  Contact 625 4829, email

Might as well jump

Jumper is a bad movie. Bad, bad, bad.

Boissiere house for sale

Some notes and references on issue of the Boissiere house, now for sale. Read More...

TSTT response to "Broadband Problems"

Trevor Deane, TSTT’s VP for Broadband services responded to the reader responses to issues they have experienced with broadband implementation. Read More...

Reader responses to "Broadband Problems"

These are three detailed responses from readers about their issues with the broadband rollout by Flow and TSTT over the last few months. Identifying details have been removed at the request of the respondents, but their comments are otherwise unedited. Because the Flow response made more sense inline, I've included Rhea Yawching's comments in italics in the body of these reports. The column that I wrote based on these reports and responses is here. Read More...

More Mas Medicine

More thoughts about how to improve Carnival that didn't fit into this week's BitDepth, (posted here). Read More...

Having issues with TSTT or Flow?

Is anyone having issues with their broadband service with either Flow or TSTT?
I'm working on a piece that aggregates information from customers about their experiences with broadband upgrades, new installations or problems with Internet speeds and the support responses they have experienced with these providers.

Power of the Super Niche

I've been following some of the Carnival bloggers after getting some really valuable links off a few of the sites for the Making Mas series.
Several of these sites are really focused on the business of getting ready for Carnival Monday and Tuesday and one of the fascinating themes that cropped up in the week before Carnival was the disparity between costumes as delivered and as advertised.

Two particularly thorough and interesting entries appeared on the blogs of Saucy Diva and Carnival Jumbie.
After covering Carnival for almost a quarter of a century, an issue like this simply never occurred to me. Have a look at what the committed masquerader has to say. These are blogs that deserve to be signed.

Carnival Congratulations

Congratulations are in order to several of the people profiled in the Making Mas series. Brian Mac Farlane (MM4) won the George Bailey award for Large Band of the Year, with Trini Revellers (MM3) came in second in that competition. Tribe (MM2) placed sixth in the Large Band category.

San Fernando bandleaders Ivan and Wendy Kalicharan (MM6) won the South Band of the Year title. De BOSS (MM7) took the Lil Hart award for Small Band of the Year, closely followed by Tribal Connection (MM7) in second place. Wade Madray tied for third place in the King of Carnival competition.
View Making Mas online here.

We are the Police

Why careless construction work and other day to day slights should not be tolerated. Read More...

The Road March Curse

Winning the Road March competition sometimes gets easier when the judges do you wrong. Read More...

Jason Daly 1973-2008

Jason Daly died on January 29. Jason was one of the first of GayelleTV's presenters to visit my studio for the series of portraits that I've been doing of the all-local station's presenters. I didn't know him particularly well, but he always acknowledged me whenever we met and he was a cooperative subject.
I began shooting GayelleTV's presenters partly as a personal project, partly because of my long association with Banyan and Chris laird and Errol Fabien, but mostly because the station is just around the corner from my studio and as I told Chris, it would have been ridiculous for anyone else to be doing their photography.
Having a record of the presence and vitality of Jason wasn't the reason for doing it, but I'm glad that the photos exist.
GayelleTV has created a virtual condolence book for Jason here.

Two score and ten

If 30 is over the hill, what the heck is 50? Read More...

Hosay in full swing

Hosay is approaching its climax again this year. It's Flag Night tonight. Have a look at the photoessay I did on the Panchaiti camp last year here and there's a look behind the scenes at how it got put together here.

Four minus one

Some thoughts about Terry Joseph.

The Frenchman and the downloads

More on The BitDepth story is here...