Sunday, September 11, 2011

SEPTEMBER 11th- A DECADE LATER: time does not erase tragedy

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

We all are facing our own battles. Daily, we deal with the reality of a 9.5 - 9.7 national unemployment rate, a national debt crisis that causes to question the government spending, our military influence globally. When bringing up the the national debt one cannot bring up the debt crisis without questions of our presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Reading several different sites from various sources streaming over the internet from reputable entertainment sources to news- I have surprisingly read some people reacting in a hostil fashion towards 9/11 rememberance. Some people feel that it was 10 years ago and to just "leave it alone already" and that "the economy is the important thing to be thinking about today."

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

And while, yes the economy and our own personal lives is wrought with our own personal tensions and stress. When I read negative comments from some people actually getting annoyed with any sort of tribute towards 9/11- I tried to stay objective and yet I was floored. 10 years ago the attack on our soils changed the course of history, destroyed lives, and caused so much suffering. It was a moment in history most of us will never forget.

Personal family photos of my husband & his father
It is a moment that made people like my husband feel the need to serve his country with his life. He was about to start making plans for Graduate school when the event changed his life forever and many others as well. The picture here is a young boy (my husband) standing with his father proudly posing before the twin towers, a moment in time that burned a deep desire in him to sacrifice his plans to go to Graduate school and live the comfortable, typical civilian life.

Since, he has deployed 27 months both to Iraq and Afghanistan in some of the worst places. He will be going again on a 3rd deployment to Afghanistan in the near future. Since, we have buried many, many friends- too many soldiers and all have sacrificed their lives for this great nation.

When we bring up 9/11 we cannot bring it up without remembering all of what has happened within the last 10 years, including the wars. Many, many people may not agree with the causes or reasons for being in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Frankly, there have been too much division, disputes, and disagreements over this. I would rather not make this about a political debate over the wars.

Nonetheless, I  will honestly say one thing about it and write what I do know based upon my very real and extremely personal experience. What I do know from having lived through 27 months of worrying whether or not my husband was coming home alive or not-  is that those that have family, husbands, and fathers that have deployed to war and have gone and fought- our feedback should carry more weight over the war debate than those that have never understood the sacrifices. Those that have never gone to any of the funerals or do not know what it is like to worry or wait for a husband who is deployed to war. Those that have not lived in our shoes should not try to speak for us or attempt to banter on and on about anti-war this or pro-war that in an extremely politically divisive (right or left) way.  Most of these opinions, as I have come to find, usually come from those that assume to know or think they know. Just because one is highly educated does not make them war strategists, economists or genuine experts in the field. They especially cannot speak for the sacrifices that our military makes if they do not have the first clue as to just how much we really sacrifice.

But, rather than divided, in a very bi-partisan way 10 years ago what started as a tragedy turned in to a moment of unity. It was a moment where everyone came together. Those that did not believe in God- prayed for the first time. Those that did not understand what real loss was- felt it for the first time and it was so heavy that no one could escape it. It was so deep in our hearts, the grief touched all of us. For those that feel annoyed by remembering 9/11 or feel that it is exploitive and may cause those that have lost loved ones on this national tragedy to have to "re-live" that moment.

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

For those that feel that we have bigger problems to worry about like the economy and to just "get over it." To me, remembering soldiers that died for this country, fire fighters, police officers, and the victims of 9/11 is not exploitive- but our duty as citizens of this great country. It is our duty to remember them and to never forget. It is selfish of us to say " oh, get over it." I hope we never really get over it. There is no such thing as placing a number or a time table to a tragedy. There is no such thing as saying that if "X amount of time or years have gone by, then we should move on and forget it." Lives are forever changed. There are friends and family and children and people we are never going to be able to bring back. Ever. 

Like the holocaust and slavery and moments like the tragedy that happened 10 years ago that marked history, they are moments that cannot be blown off with a number. That is not to say that we do not continue to become stronger and learn from our past as a country and fortify our international and national security. However, there are some things in life that no matter how many years and decades go by, the grief remains just as real as the very day that all of it happened. Today is a moment to selflessly put others in our thoughts above our selves. We have plenty of hours in the day to think about ourselves. Today, let us reflect on all of the sacrifices and the lives lost on this very day that felt more like yesterday and not a decade.

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

iPhone Photo Apps: Dummy-Friendly Apps, the next new media wave?

The invention of new applications for the smart phones has become more and more simple, yet these applications can do so much now. I am blown away by the amount of things we can do. I am especially impressed with the photo applications capability on the iPhone. Although, the iPhone's picture quality initially is not that good. The applications that you can add to your phone (free-$2.99 average, can be more) does so much, it simplifies what even Photoshop and those that are advanced Photoshop users can do.

There are some applications that are worthy to use and ones that I love, but they are not compatible or able to be shared easily. One of the most popular ones today and one of my personal favorite applications because it merges social media with photo sharing is Instagram. Instagram allows you to follow people like you would on twitter. They can like your comments the way that you can on Facebook and all of it is centered around sharing events or your lives with one another by way of photos. It is a brilliant and simply designed application. It is easy to use, easy to obtain viral friends and followers and is becoming the next social media trend in my book. My prediction is that social media is going to become more and more photo and video sharing related. The only thing about instagram that you can not do is share a slideshow of photos. They may have already come out with a new version, but the last I checked- you can only share one photo at a time.

On the other hand, there are other applications that will allow you to create slideshows and all from your phone. Take Mediastory- the photo slide presentations application for the smart phones: primarily targeting the Droid and iPhone. I used it to make a slide presentation- put it on Facebook and could not download it to my personal computer or e-mail it. The only way that I could share it was through Facebook. I had to recreate it in a program called PhotoSnack in order to show you here, what I was able to recreate using Mediastory on my iPhone. The downside to Mediastory, yes, it is a great application and a quick way to make slideshows of your photos on your smart phone. But, it doesn't allow you to share the slide show with anyone other than Facebook.
You can't e-mail your slide show picture presentation to your friends or family. You can't twitter it and you can't embed it because it doesn't give you the code to do so.

Whereas, PhotoSnack, although a web based only tool, does allow you to embed your slide show to your personal blog or websites as seen below. It also allows you to share it with a variety of social networks with a simple click of a widget/button they provide. I foresee them eventually turning their operation into mobile applications that will allow users to sign in to their account on their smart phone, create a slide show and save it. Then, the slide show can be accessed on your home computer as well as be twittered, e-mailed, or posted via Facebook. I am imaging that they will eventually cave in to creating a smart phone friendly version of their web based photo slide tool. As of right now, I have researched and found no smart phone version yet.

There is another favorite of mine called Befunky which has got to be the coolest photo application. It is simple to use and makes any photo no matter how awful the original- it makes it look a million times better after the effects.



There is Photo lab and many, many more. Here is a good article written about the many photo applications available on your iPhone "100 Fantastic Photography Apps for iPhone"

As you can see, there are so many things that you can do with the iPhone now. This blog would be way too long if I went in to all of the applications that could possibly be placed on the iPhone. But, those that own iPhone's and Smart phones know the capability of the new wave of media using the smart phones as a platform of use. Most people are using their phones now to do more as tweets, facebook messages, and e-mail replies are all yesterday's news when it comes to using the smart phone as a media platform. The iPhone and most smart phones can do so much more now, as it practically thinks for us. From navigation, tip calculator, Skype, various types of instant messaging, photo manipulation capabilities. Why, there is even an application on "How to Tie a Tie" and apparently it works really well from my sources that have used it. 

If you are not careful, you can spend a lot of money and time in the Apple store application on your phone surfing through all of the different applications to place on your iPhone. All in all, my prediction is that these applications are going to become more and more user-friendly and yet have the capability to do high quality, professional level work with no need for the user to have formal training and all this will be achieved with a few simple clicks.