Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adulterated Views

Don't you just hate it when someone does that? You're reading a blog post that has somewhat interested you and there is a photo, supposedly informative, that accompanies the text. You look at it - hoping that it will reinforce or illustrate what was written. But at the corner, or somewhere embedded, comes that grating text that serves as a declaration of one's non-existent photographic skill.  

Never has there been an act more pompous and selfish than branding photos in such a conspicuous manner. 

Now don't get me wrong, there are commercial and artistic circumstances in which a photographer has every right to do as he/she pleases. But more often than not, those who took the pains to create some form of watermark are 'photographers' whose only training in the craft is to push that button of a digital camera that automatically gives you an ideal setting or, worse still, iphonographers and their smart phone brethren. 

There's no conceivable reason for one to do so. Do they think that one will not know who took the photo? Do these people seriously think that someone will take their photo and make a ton of money by selling it to some publication? 

It only indicates that they are protective of their vanity rather than content presentation - to inform, entertain, inspire, compel, question, and provoke. Then again, they did succeed in provoking me to write this post. 

So what about the photos on my blog? Aside from photos of myself and friends, feel free to steal, covet, manipulate, re-create, and use all you want.  I couldn't care less and am actually flattered that you deem it to be good enough. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Best of July's August Man

For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you should have known by now that I'm currently interning with August Man magazine. If you're wondering what is it like to work for a magazine, stay tuned as I'll write about my experiences in a later post. 

For now, I shall share with you what I like best about the July's issue which hit newsstands roughly a fortnight ago. I know what you are thinking... 

No, I'm not doing this because I want to impress the editor (he doesn't even know I have this blog) or that they are paying me extra to do this (how I wish this were true). One of the reasons why I even applied to work for them, apart from pocket money and killing time, is because I like the magazine. I wouldn't work for a publication that I have no interest in. 

So here goes, the best of July... or what interests me the most.

Of course, I have to include my own work. It'll be impossible for me to stay on for so long if I didn't take pride in what I do. My byline appears in two sections: Calendar and Emporium.

For the former, I pick five events that really interests me which may appeal to the August Man reader. And my byline is justifiably there because I took the effort to write something that best describes the event - nothing was copied wholesale from the press releases. I particular enjoyed writing about Free by Raw Moves and Red by Blank Space Theatre which I eventually got to see and review (click on the links to read them). 

As for Emporium, I picked ten things that one could consider buying if they want something different for their wardrobe. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to personally look at the products as I have rather strict editorial timelines. 

Now on to the fun stuff. I thought the choice of theme for the main book - non-conformist - is a good one as it opened up lots of possibilities to interview and write about interesting people. I was really happy to help out with research and transcription of the main feature, The Power of One. It highlights five regular individuals who have made a change in the community or even the world. Their causes are varied from the political and social causes of animal and LGBTQ rights to a more personal one of raising funds for cancer patients and making them laugh so as to ease the pain of chemo and radiotherapy sessions. 

Being a lifestyle magazine, we are never far away from the fashion world. The managing editor, Darren Ho (@DarrenJYHo) wrote two pieces, one of which is rather fascinating while the other is very useful and practical. His feature on the Sapeurs - a group of elegant and stylish men from the Republic of Congo - talks about how they view fashion as a way of life and a statement against the conflicts in their war-torn country. For those clueless about tuxedos, he also wrote an article about the evolution of the tuxedo and its sartorial features through the ages. I'm definitely creating a checklist based on this article before going to my tailor. 

To round up the fashion features, it's time to bring back the hat and score that 'hat trick'. It tells you about the fedora, its distinctive features (not every hat is a fedora), and the styles that are available. While I have some opinions about people wearing a hat, I shall spare my readers the soapbox this time and say this: donning a fedora does not a Sinatra make. 

Horology and art enthusiasts should read the Arts & Craft section and find out how AP brought together the best of both worlds in their exhibition at Art Basel Hong Kong. Also, if you are tired of hearing doom and gloom in the region of Afghanistan, then wake up. The magazine has a refreshing coverage about Skateistan, an NGO that aims to bridge various divides through a common sport and affect real change in the countries that they are working in. Yes, the pictures show that the girls can really skate.  

Finally, eager entrepreneurs will not feel left out because there is a business supplement, Guru, which covers start-ups from a variety of industries. Of course, long-time readers will have their usual fix of fashion trends, travel destinations, electronics, fitness, grooming, cars, watches, and food - all in one package. 

To top it all off, you can even buy the mag from a vending machine! The great thing is that you can purchase the June issue if you forgot to get it from the newsstand. Yes, I helped with that issue too. 

As if me waxing lyrical hasn't convinced you enough, if you purchase the magazine from bookshops or the vending machine, you'll get a free phone case from KASE. Some kind soul has even documented some of the designs available if you are wondering what's on offer.

Till the August issue.