Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Animation, Made of Photos from Early-1900s

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Mesmerizing Animation, Made of Photos from Early-1900s America, Lets You Travel in a Steampunk Time Machine

Surely you remember Cheers, if only from the sitcom’s syndicated reruns ceaselessly aired around the world. And if you remember Cheers, you’ll remember no part of it more vividly than its opening credits sequence, which broke from the well-established tradition of showing the faces of the series’ cast members.

Instead, writes Stephen Cole at Fonts in Use, the studio charged with creating the sequence “collected archival illustrations and photographs of bar life, culled from books, private collections, and historical societies. They hand-tinted the images and paired them with typography inspired by a turn-of-the-century aesthetic.”
The Old New World
As fondly as we remember their work, the art of bringing turn-of-the-century photos to life has come a long way indeed since Cheers debuted in 1982. Take, for instance, the short above: The Old New World by Russian photographer and animator Alexey Zakharov, who in just over three and a half minutes takes us right back to early-1900s America. “The photos show New York, Boston, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore between 1900 and 1940, and were obtained from the website Shorpy,” writes Petapixel’s Michael Zhang, quoting Zakharov’s own description of the work as a “photo-based animation project” as well as a chance to “travel back in time with a little steampunk time machine.”
The Old New World 2
You can see a gallery of more of the materials that went into The Old New World at Behance. Just as those Cheers opening credits evoked the conviviality of old-time tavern culture, Zakharov’s film evokes what it meant — or at least, to all of us currently alive and thus without any living memory of that era, what we think it meant — to live in the headiest cities going in the headiest country going, places whose booming industry and culture held out seemingly infinite promise, even on quiet days.
The Old New World 3
Should Netflix picks Cheers as their next beloved sitcom to revive, they might consider going to Zakharov for a new title sequence. He’s certainly got all the pictures of Boston he’d need.
The Old New World 4
via Petapixel
Related Content:
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London Mashed Up: Footage of the City from 1924 Layered Onto Footage from 2013
James Joyce’s Dublin Captured in Vintage Photos from 1897 to 1904
Watch 1920s “City Symphonies” Starring the Great Cities of the World: From New York to Berlin to São Paulo
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Daily Habits of Famous Writers

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  • The Daily Habits of Famous Writers: Franz Kafka, Haruki Murakami, Stephen King & More

    Though few of us like to hear it, the fact remains that success in any endeavor requires patient, regular training and a daily routine. To take a mundane, well-worn example, it’s not for nothing that Stephen R. Covey’s best-selling classic of the business and self-help worlds offers us “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” rather than “7 Sudden Breakthroughs that Will Change Your Life Forever”—though if we credit the spam emails, ads, and sponsored links that clutter our online lives, we may end up believing in quick fixes and easy roads to fame and fortune. But no, a well-developed skill comes only from a set of practiced routines.
    That said, the type of routine one adheres to depends on very personal circumstances such that no single creative person’s habits need exactly resemble any other’s. When it comes to the lives of writers, we expect some commonality: a writing space free of distractions, some preferred method of transcription from brain to page, some set time of day or night at which the words flow best. Outside of these basic parameters, the daily lives of writers can look as different as the images in their heads.

    But it seems that once a writer settles on a set of habits—whatever they may be—they stick to them with particular rigor. The writing routine, says hyper-prolific Stephen King, is “not any different than a bedtime routine. Do you go to bed a different way every night?” Likely not. As for why we all have our very specific, personal quirks at bedtime, or at writing time, King answers honestly, “I don’t know.”
    So what does King’s routine look like? “There are certain things I do if I sit down to write,” he’s quoted as saying in Lisa Rogak’s Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King:
    “I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”
    The King quotes come to us via the site (and now book) Daily Routines, which features brief summaries of “how writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days.” We’ve previously featured a few snapshots of the daily lives of famous philosophers. The writers section of the site similarly offers windows into the daily practices of a wide range of authors, from the living to the long dead.

    A contemporary of King, though a slower, more self-consciously painstaking writer, Haruki Murakami incorporates into his workday his passion for running, an avocation he has made central to his writing philosophy. Expectedly, Murakami keeps a very athletic writing schedule and routine.
    When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.
    Not all writers can adhere to such a disciplined way of living and working, particularly those whose waking hours are given over to other, usually painfully unfulfilling, day jobs.
    An almost archetypal case of the writer trapped in such a situation, Franz Kafka kept a routine that would cripple most people and that did not bring about physical strength, to say the least. As Zadie Smith writes of the author’s portrayal in Louis Begley’s biography, Kafka “despaired of his twelve hour shifts that left no time for writing.”
    [T]wo years later, promoted to the position of chief clerk at the Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute, he was now on the one-shift system, 8:30 AM until 2:30 PM. And then what? Lunch until 3:30, then sleep until 7:30, then exercises, then a family dinner. After which he started work around 11 PM (as Begley points out, the letter- and diary-writing took up at least an hour a day, and more usually two), and then “depending on my strength, inclination, and luck, until one, two, or three o’clock, once even till six in the morning.” Then “every imaginable effort to go to sleep,” as he fitfully rested before leaving to go to the office once more. This routine left him permanently on the verge of collapse.
    Might he have chosen a healthier way? When his fiancée Felice Bauer suggested as much, Kafka replied, “The present way is the only possible one; if I can’t bear it, so much the worse; but I will bear it somehow.” And so he did, until his early death from tuberculosis.
    While writers require routine, nowhere is it written that their habits must be salubrious or measured. According to Simone De Beauvoir, outré French writer Jean Genet “puts in about twelve hours a day for six months when he’s working on something and when he has finished he can let six months go by without doing anything.” Then there are those writers who have relied on pointedly unhealthy, even dangerous habits to propel them through their workday. Not only did William S. Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson write under the influence, but so also did such a seemingly conservative person as W.H. Auden, who “swallowed Benzedrine every morning for twenty years… balancing its effect with the barbiturate Seconal when he wanted to sleep.” Auden called the amphetamine habit a “labor saving device” in the “mental kitchen,” though he added that “these mechanisms are very crude, liable to injure the cook, and constantly breaking down.”
    So, there you have it, a very diverse sampling of routines and habits in several successful writers’ lives. Though you may try to emulate these if you harbor literary ambitions, you’re probably better off coming up with your own, suited to the oddities of your personal makeup and your tolerance—or not—for serious physical exercise or mind-altering substances. Visit Daily Routines to learn about many more famous writers’ habits.
    Related Content:
    The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People, Presented in an Interactive Infographic
    Haruki Murakami Lists the Three Essential Qualities For All Serious Novelists (And Runners)
    Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers
    Honoré de Balzac Writes About “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee,” and His Epic Coffee Addiction
    The Daily Habits of Highly Productive Philosophers: Nietzsche, Marx & Immanuel Kant
    Philosophers Drinking Coffee: The Excessive Habits of Kant, Voltaire & Kierkegaard
    Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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