Category Archives: Contemporary Photography

419ness

A collection of blog posts about Toledo, Ohio

The Maumee River

About Stephen Black

Stephen Black's books

Huaqiangbei electronics market: street photography

Celebration of flowers, the color red and childhood.
A yellow robot
a package going to Peru
Futuristic Shenzhen
image of two men loading boxes
white round objects, black sweater
food scene in Huaqianbei
street life in China
working at night
individuals
red reflections, two men in motion
looking
a vibrant night in China
the design of love

A story about Huaqianbei is here.

Photographic documentation of an international drone competition in Shenzhen.

Stephen Black at SXSW 2019


I'm telling myself that this is a self-portraiture/conceptual art/writing exercise. I do not stand next to celebrities very often; almost never am I photographed with them. SXSW was incredibly brilliant (Cliche police! Arrest that man!), but it was also "very interesting" financially. If this post brings people to my blog and I can sell some books or connect with some funds for my AR startup and/or VR movies (here and here), then I guess this is OK. And if any galleries poke around this blog, that might be good.

OK?

OK.

I am listening to this. I discovered them because of Orions Belte. I knew nothing about OB before they walked onto the stage. The thrill of unexpectedly discovering a great live performance is extremely rare, at least for me. This is a very nice recording of Joe Frazier, but very different from what I experienced that night in Austin.... imagine being dragged to a karaoke night and discovering

Orions Belte with Stephen Black at SXSW 2019. Photo by Bubiko Foodtour.
OB on Bubiko's Instagram account

PS. FWIW: One afternoon at SXSW, I found myself in a nearly empty room with a business partner of Roger McNamee, who wrote a book about Facebook.

I gave McNamee's business partner one of the small goofy pieces of paper I was passing out during SXSW, said "Low tech, high art" and walked away. So there ya go.

Book Merah!
Carlos Trujillo
We met on the train, talked, went to his show that was part of a Columbian music showcase. Lucky, lucky. (His version of a Paul McCartney/Kraftwerk song!) More photos of Pablo and more on this SXSW music blog post.


Guy Kawasaki, hosting an event at the Mercedes Media Lounge. Complete surprise: the decision to attend SXSW was extremely last minute and the first day we had a basic schedule, but discovered many events by chance, like this one. Guy was also releasing a book, Wise Guy.
I thanked him for his work on his APE book, APE meaning Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, which I highly recommend to all independent writers.

Not only was SXSW life-changing, almost across from the Convention Center was the O. Henry Museum!
O. Henry is one of my favorite writers. One example: A Municipal Report.
Another favorite is about a painter who creates portraits that can reveal the soul of the sitter; he sees people in their "true light". I cannot find the name of the story at the moment.
That goofy paper again, this time held by David Mims. David bought a one way ticket: Detroit to Austin. Respect.
An interview in Japanese and in English can be found here.
Yes, I wore the same style Teeshirt all the time. Thanks to Jupmode and Philipp Aldrup and Stuart Rankin/Sixcat Studios! Number 5 on my list of things to do is get some of of these AR Ones tee shirts ready to sell. Message me if you'd like one. Oh yeah... this is Ollie (on the left).


Spontaneity/unpredictability/destiny/Southby synchronicity.. whatever you want to call it... The first night, we're exhausted. But still I am passing out the goofy pieces of paper. I see a guy using a phone on a stick; probably talking to a friend or it's a business call or something. I wait until he's done, then slip him the goofy piece of paper. EXCEPT that he is still talking to someone. I am embarrassed, pull away. Instead he waves me into the camera and asks me to say hi. Suddenly I am talking to two people in Korea-- two students who are studying VR filmmaking! I make VR films!
We talk about screen writing, and I mention my experiences with Robert McKee... and one of the students holds up the book on his desk: Story, by Robert McKee.
I say wow, everyone else says the Korean equivalent of wow. The man next to me,
Chui Shin is involved with a Korean VR festival.He gives me some bread as he is talking to the students and says "wow" a lot. He says I'm an angel; I say no but the students say yes. Anyway, I head toward the bathroom but come back one minute later... with an angel.

So, then, five minutes after the VR/angel incident...who comes by but Leonard Maltin, whom I do not know. But he's in a great mood and there is a friendly little crowd and we end up getting our photos taken with him. Only later did I learn who he is.

MUKASHI MUKASHI NIHON NI SUNDEMASHITA!


W
W + Bubiko

So... for quite a few years, I have wanted to write about the cover of the Soldier album, by Iggy Pop. It is a gem, a stick of dynamite made of stencils and spray paint. He's wearing wild eyeliner and a tee shirt. Every time I searched for information related to that studio shot, the trail led to a video of Dogfood on Youtube. I write about photography; and that cover, shot in 1979, is spectacular on many levels: technique, the times and everything else. I wanted to research and do a blog post about it. I'd research this topic every few years.

So... we're standing on the corner on a beautiful Sunday morning, our plan being to go to the Samsung exhibition again. Mari Goround stops and points to a sign. It is a talk about "screens"(video here), with a collection of VR projects upstairs. The venue is the beautiful hotel right in front of us. We go in. It starts in five minutes. Open bar. We mingle. The speakers are all experts and I am excited that we have discovered this. It starts. One of the speakers, right off the bat, says his name and that he did the art direction for the Soldier album by Iggy Pop. His name is Alex McDowell. A very big deal in Hollywood (Minority Report, Fight Club +++) he is now BUILDING WORLDS. But yeah...Soldier.

Quiet and small in public, a huge force in my life: Sayuri Okayama

Stephen Black with Barry Black, Chief Scientist at Black Ranger Software.
We connected immediately, even before we discovered we share the same last name. Barry told me that he'd traced the history of the Blacks, and got as far back as Belgium. I looked at a basic genealogy map once, and saw that there are/were Blacks on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Regardless of my past, I am very thankful for the present, and excited about the future.

Stephen Black projects.

Recent Bubiko projects, including the MIT talk

I discovered the photographer who shot the cover of Soldier.

Cosplay at SXSW 2019

If you are interested in cosplay, you may like these photos from a Hong Kong event. camera: iPhone 6s.

enchantress
A charming woman whose name and character I did not get. If you happen to know her, or any of teh other cosplayers, kindly share this link with them. or just add the name of the character in the comments section. Thank you!

Information about the winners and judges here, at the SXSW page.

SXSW 2019 impressions: a photo gallery

spiritual angelic karaoke
Austin: a building reflecting clouds
Yawning man, women in kimonos SXSW night scene. Downtown Austin, Texas.
Triceratops mexican style

This photo gallery will soon be supplemented by posts about SXSW music experiences, food experience and tech experiences like AR, VR and gaming. Bubiko has some posts about SXSW on Instagram.

A bearded gentleman in Texas wearing a cowboy hat

ARphabet Tour

Stephen Black

the ARphabet tour

Indiegogo Prelaunch  page.

With the three topics of AR, Books and Mango Sticky Rice, The ARphabet tour starts at ARIA at MIT, January 14 and 15, 2019.  AR-themed presentations are one part of the tour, the second involves readings and writing workshops.There is also a component called The Mango Sticky Rice Experience.http://www.blacksteps.tv/the-mango-sticky-rice-experience-part-of-the-arphabet-tour/

The ARphabet Tour is fun, serious and now taking bookings for the United States and Canada. After stops at SXSW in Austin, Texas and the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco, The ARphabet Tour will wind down around the first of April.


Newest version of the flyer.

Although I am planning an AR startup, the talk is about AR trends and developments. I am not using this tour as a way to directly seek investors or partners. I am interested in promoting AR as a whole.

Here is an example, from my workshops last summer, at HK  PolyU.

AR: 2018 State of the Art Workshop @ Hong Kong PolyU

AR Presentations

Presentation will be focused  to provide maximum relevant information to any of the following groups. No AR knowledge or experience necessary. Consultations should be scheduled separately.

  • General
  • Children
  • Grade School Students
  • High School Students
  • University Students
  • Advertising/Media
  • Food Industry
  • Medical
  • Artists, including Dancers and Sculptors
  • Filmmakers
  • Writers and Poets 
  • Investors

Unless requested otherwise, the presentations are not overly technical and consist of personal experiences and observations about the past, present and future of AR.

Introducing  Bubiko Foodtour, an AR character

Readings and Workshops

Son of a book salesman, author of fiction and non fiction, writer for TV, websites and magazines, Stephen is well experienced with the art of writing. One of his books, I  Ate Tiong Bahru, is a national bestseller in Singapore. The readings provide a behind-the scenes look at Stephen's writing techniques, inspirations ad challenges. Stephen's books and related videos and reviews can be found here.

Workshops, as much as possible, focus on ideas and text provided by students. After explaining his own writing process, write and share their own texts and ideas, which are evaluated individually and with the class as a whole. Workshops can be modified for any age group or level of writing experience. I have taught English in Japan,as well as creative writing/poetry performance  in Singapore. I also studied in an invite-only class with Robert McKee, the legendary teacher and author of Story, the definitive guide to screenwriting.

Publishing Magnates
Stephen Black , Book Merah CEO/author , with Stuart Rankin, Chairman of The Dundercats Multimedia Group.
360 films
Stephen Black in Beach Road, the 360VR film he co-produced with Hiverlab. The film has been featured in festivals in Las Vegas, Brisbane and Singapore.

Mango Sticky Rice. Yes, we will also be doing presentations and workshops on mango sticky rice. Why? Because mango sticky rice is Bubiko Foodtour's favorite food. We researched it extensively during our tour of Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand.

About Stephen Black

After graduating with a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Stephen Black experienced the growth of digital media from these viewpoints: as a photographer, as a video artist in New York's  Lower East Side and Japan; as a producer/writer/director for Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies in Hong Kong, and as a self-publisher of ebooks, books and photography books.

He was first drawn to the possibilities of spatial computing/AR/VR as the creative director for a $3.2 million game-making startup in Singapore. In 2007 he committed himself to writing books, while anticipating the arrival of AR and VR. And here we are...

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black
A Chinese newspaper review of i ate tiong bahru. iatb is available as an audio book and a softcover, on Amazon. The first edition of the printed version is sold out.

Troublemaker !

Troublemaker, in Shenzhen.

construction process
Trouble Maker in Shenzhen, meeting

One chapter in Alphabet Spikes will be about Trouble Maker.

HQB Vibe

Photo Documentation by Stephen Black of FAI Drone Racing Championships, Shenzhen 2018 (part 1)

International drone racing championship in Shenzhen: the birth of a sport!



If you know the names of the people in the photos, please let me know, especially if you have contact info.

Feel free to use the images for noncommercial uses. If the photos are to be used for commercial purposes, please contact me, and I will contact those in the photos.  
The four days in Shenzhen were fantastic. I met Lunchbox and The Lunchbox Lady! I also was inspired to write a story called Life Pilot for  Alphabet Spikes.

Onwaird!

STORE grand opening HK PolyU

STORE grand opening HK PolyU

More photos here. Event information here. Will this event be mentioned in Alphabet Spikes?