#118, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
As the days get warmer and the moldy rattle of the air-conditioning unit beckons like a siren song, while the rest of New York takes to the streets with their abhorrent flip-flops and sun dresses, swilling iced coffees and smiling at their good fortune, a seasonal change afflicts me as well. Instead of my usual routine of slipping on a coat and zipping up a good pair of boots, tossing my camera in my bag and embarking on a pleasant afternoon of wandering and picture-taking, I must now weigh the pros and cons of venturing out into what feels to me like a furnace and to others like "a nice day." Say what you will, but I'm not drawn in by the fabulous new clothes on the emperor. I know that madness is afoot and that spring fever is on the prowl, and this can mean only one thing for my productivity: I slack.
Oh, but don't be fooled. You won't see that I'm slacking. No, on the outside, you'll see only the dogged industriousness of a one-number-per-day poster. You'll feast snack on the photographic fruits of my labor and may even chuckle at my occasional smattering of witty asides or string of non sequiturs. How does she do it? you may wonder. How does she continue to post a number a day when every other sane person is outside enjoying themselves, for crying out loud?
Demystification Part the First is complete, as I've confessed before to keeping a running stockpile of photographs from which I can pluck the coming day's number. But Demystification Part the Second is that this arsenal of numbers is far from fully loaded, and I am coming up on deadlines. Days for which I have no number. Rather than panic, I reserve the right to act as any sensible person working under deadline will act. No, I don't mean skip the assignment, and I don't mean make up excuses. Too easy! I'll do better than that. I will distract you with my special effects.
Any student worth his/her salt or any teacher of such a slackadaisical student will be familiar with this pedagogical cloak and dagger. The guidelines are simple. You stick to the assignment's bare bone rules. You show up. You give it a go, you even do it on time. But to compensate for a pathetic lack of content, you decide to dazzle your reader with a dizzying array of fonts, BS, and novelty-laced visual aids. You with me yet?
In this first example, note how the sepia tint to the image combined with the advanced "edge blur" function appeals to the viewer's craving for nostalgia and old-style sophistication while simultaneously granting you, the lazy photographer, a sensible yet artistic air. Never before has looking so authentic been so easy or, for that matter, inauthentic! If writing a caption to go along with that photo, why not try a classic serif font to grant your work a whiff of antiquity? Or how about a cryptic batch of webding to add that special je ne sais quoi to your writing? Substituting a bicycle for the letter "n" hasn't failed me yet, and I think you'll find similarly satisfactory results.
Still not convinced? Here is a sure-fire technique I have culled from years of observation. Why not try a bright, obnoxious color to get your reader's attention? Or how about blurring your numbers and amping up the contrast for a touch of computer-generated psychedelia? By this point, your audience will be so enthralled by your stunning vision, your bold originality and finesse with the color spectrum, that they will not even notice that you, er, don't even have a #119 lined up. Yet.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not endorsing regular reliance on these techniques over the long term. Moderation is key. There's still no replacement for the simple, undecorated image and a thoughtful, simple paragraph or two in response. But the mercury here is rising and deadlines are looming, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Which is why tomorrow's post very well end up looking like this last image. I don't ask for your forgiveness. Just so long as you're prepared for the possibility. Now if you'll excuse me, there's an AC unit I have to be installing.