Photographers, manage your ego if you want to grow as artists

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Artists are known for having a “big ego.” But is it necessarily a bad thing? In this fantastic video, Sean Tucker discusses what it actually means to have an ego and how it can be essential for us as artists. He talks about its positive and negative sides, and how important it is to make a balance between them.

As it often does, Sean starts the video with a couple of quotes. One of them has particularly caught my attention:

“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God almighty” – John Lennon

It reminded me of an illustration I saw somewhere on the internet ages ago, and it looked like something like this:

I can totally relate to this, both as a photographer and a writer. One part of me loves sharing what I write or shoot with others. But the other part feels the crippling self-doubt that turns to equally crippling anxiety when I need to publish my work and share it with the world. These are two sides of the same coin, and this coin is called ego.

What is ego?

When you say “ego,” it has a negative connotation in common language. This is the case in English, but also in my mother tongue (Serbian).  However, having an ego is not actually a negative trait. It’s neither a good nor a bad thing. Or actually, it’ both at the same time. Not only artists have an ego, everyone has it. However, the ego is essential for artists, and we need to learn how to make a balance between its good and bad side.

The term “ego” was defined by Froyd, who distinguished between the id, ego, and superego. If you’re not familiar with these concepts, you can learn more about them here. Put simply, the ego is what creates a balance between our basic drives (id) and our moral conscience (superego). It’s the realistic part of our psyche which mediates between them.

When the ego is essential for artists

As Sean already noted, the ego is extremely important for artists. We need to be self-centered, but not in a negative way. Instead, we need to know who we are and what we want to create when we make art. As artists, we need to stand for ourselves and to stand behind our artwork. But also, we need to be able to handle criticism, and healthy ego helps us do all of this.

Having a healthy ego means creating something for yourself. In other words, think of a type of art you’d like to see – and make that kind of art. Healthy ego gives you proper focus because you’ll stop trying to reach everyone and please everyone’s taste. And only when you do this, you’ll really reach the audience who will really appreciate and love your work.

When the ego can hold artists back

Sean admits that he struggles with a negative side of ego. In his words, he likes to impress people and he can get toxic and defensive when it comes to criticism. I believe we all have these moments, but the trick is not to give in when they occur.

As Sean puts it, a little humiliation every day can get you back on track and remind you who you are. I believe it can remind you to stay humble and down to earth. You need to remember that you are not your ego – you’re smarter than it, and you’re the one in control. So, catch your own thoughts when you start thinking of yourself feeling superior to others. Catch that moment, take control over it, and put your negative ego to bed.

In summary, our ego helps us through criticism and it makes us stand behind what we do. On the other hand, we need to be careful about the ego games that will make us feel superior to others. We need to find the fine balance between the positive and the negative aspects of our ego to be successful artists, but also to be happy, healthy and fulfilled human beings.

[The Artist’s Ego: Learning Balance| Sean Tucker]

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Actress Who Plays A Murderous Robot Criticizes Fake Police Chief’s Behavior

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dolores hopper

Can I just say one thing? Thank God for Evan Rachel Wood.

If it weren’t for Evan Rachel Wood, how would the millions of women out there know what to look for in a man?  How would they know that obviously depressed, slightly manic, clearly unstable Chief Jim Hopper from Stranger Things is probably not the ideal life partner?

How would us men know that “extreme jealousy and violent rages are not flattering or sexy?” And here I was, all this time, living my life thinking women will fall for me if I secretly read their text messages and punched Kyle-sized holes in their walls. So thank you, Evan Rachel Wood, for we’d be lost without you.

If you can’t tell by now, Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood had a Twitter take about Stranger Things Police Chief Jim Hopper that essentially amounted to her warning women not to date anyone who resembles this fictitious character from a show about interdimensional, children-led warfare.

(spoiler warning for Stranger Things 3)

Look, I understand the sentiment of what she’s trying to say: toxic men are bad. And on that, I agree with Rachel. But to use a literally fictitious character in a fictional show as your trojan horse of genuine relationship advice is bordering on laugh-out-loud hilarious.

This would be akin to me tweeting: “Hey fellas, don’t trust beautiful blonde women like Dolores from Westworld or they’ll murder you in your sleep as they advance their plan to take over humanity!”

Well, no fucking shit she would — that’s the way the character was intentionally written: to be murderous. And Hopper was intentionally written to be an over-aggressive and annoyingly jealous mess — no one (except Evan Rachel Wood, apparently) is pretending that he’s the ideal archetype of male behavior (lest we forget he merely adopts an orphan and gives up his life for the sake of humanity).

Hopefully, after she’s finished binging Stranger Things, Evan Rachel Wood makes her way to the original trilogy so she can let everyone know that they should be a better father than Darth Vader.

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‘Apollo: Missions to the Moon’ brings the history of space exploration to life

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, National Geographic has plans for an entire Space Week of programming, kicking off Sunday night with the premiere of a new documentary called “Apollo: Missions to the Moon.”

It’s a story that’s been told many times, including in last year’s Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man.” And of course, there’s a whole slate of new documentaries and specials airing in the next few weeks — something that “Apollo: Missions to the Moon” director Tom Jennings acknowledged with a rueful laugh when we spoke on the phone.

But Jennings brought his distinctive approach to the project, one that he’s employed in previous documentaries like “Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes” and “Diana: In Her Own Words.” The idea is to rely entirely on archival audio, video and photos, so that viewers can experience the story in the present tense, rather than hearing about it from talking heads 50 years later.

In this case, National Geographic says the film draws on 800 hours of audio, 500 hours of film and more than 10,000 photos. That includes previously unheard audio from Mission Control.

“In documentaries in the past, whether it’s the Moon landing or any of the Apollo missions, when you would hear audio in Mission Control, it’s a single line open line — that was the guy called CAPCOM,” Jennings said. “[But] there were hundreds of people there, and many of them are wearing headsets.”

Apollo Missions to the Moon

Flurry of handshakes erupts after successful launch of Apollo 11 (NASA)

So by incorporating this new audio, the film can give a fuller picture of what was happening in Mission Control, and how the Earth-bound team was responding to events in space.

Also worth emphasizing: The film tells the story of the whole Apollo program, not just Apollo 11. It spends more time on some missions than others, but the idea is to give viewers the full context of how we got to the Moon, and what happened after.

That includes tracing the program’s Cold War roots, although Jennings said that over time, it became “less and less about the space race and the Russians” and more about “doing the impossible.” Or, as he summed it up, “It became more about the expedition and less about the politics.”

One of the big elements in the story is the breathless way the media followed the initial missions. (“The media was a character.”) After all, Apollo 7 featured the first live television broadcast from a crewed space mission, and one of the most striking scenes shows how people around the world were watching Apollo 1.

“How much the world stopped was unprecedented,” Jennings said. “I don’t think that it’ll ever happen again.”

Apollo Missions to the Moon

Aerial view of spectators around their campsites awaiting the Apollo 11 launch (Otis Imboden/National Geographic Creative)

Indeed, you can see that in the film itself, as public interest in the program begins to wane after the Moon landing. Jennings speculated, “It was about the quest. Once that quest was completed, it was like: Now what?”

In fact, he said some of the footage cut from the film made that point as well, with “NASA spokespeople wandering around the press room after 11, before 13 got into trouble, basically saying, ‘For Apollo 11 this place was standing-room only, and now it’s just vacant.’”

And while the film doesn’t skimp on the triumph of Apollo 11, by tracing the full arc of the program, it ends on a melancholy note, as Apollo ends and NASA officials predict correctly that we won’t return to the Moon in their lifetimes. “Apollo: Missions to the Moon” doesn’t directly address what’s happened in more recent decades but you can’t help but see an implicit critique of NASA’s scaled-back ambitions.

“I felt like we needed the film to properly acknowledge what we’ve lost,” Jennings said. He recalled talking to Frances “Poppy” Northcutt, who worked as an engineer for the Apollo program, and she told him, “You know, everything was there. We were ready to go farther into deep space. If we had kept going we would have had people on Mars 30 years ago.”

Still, recent developments, like the work Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, have made him hopeful for the future: “I think we will go back to the Moon. Something will be set up on the Moon.”

“Apollo: Missions to the Moon” will air on National Geographic on Sunday, July 7 at 9pm (8pm Central time).

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Scientists store data inside molecules that drive your metabolism

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Never mind using DNA to store data — there may be a simpler way to store info. Brown University scientists have shown that it’s possible to store data in solutions of artificial metabolic molecules, such as amino acids and sugars. The presence or absence of a given molecule creates one bit of data, and the complexity of the mixture decides how many bits that mixture can hold. After that, it’s a matter of placing thousands of mixtures on tiny metal plates as nanoscale droplets — you use a mass spectrometer to decode the data once the droplets have dried.

The researchers have used this method to store images of an anchor, an Egyptian cat and an ibex. They could retrieve the data with about 99 percent accuracy. That’s not where you’d want it to be (imagine if one percent of your phone’s data was corrupt), but it certainly shows that the idea works.

The scientists were quick to characterize this as a proof of concept, and that there’s a lot of improvement left. The plates could be much smaller, and the processes need to be faster. DNA is still currently better for handling relatively large amounts of data.

Over time, though, this molecular storage could make sense for particular forms of information. These molecules are considerably smaller than DNA, they don’t require energy, and they might even be more stable than conventional electronic memory as they’re more resistant to extreme environmental conditions. Molecular storage could be the medium of choice for storing small amounts of data when conventional hard drives and solid-state storage just won’t cut it.

Via: New Scientist

Source: PLOS, Brown University

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