Friday, 02 July 2004
Better To Journey Than To Arrive
CREDIT: © Basil Pao & Michael Palin/PalinsTravels.co.uk
WHERE: Pacific Rim. WHAT: circumnavigation - well almost!
MAP: interactive Full Circle. Thumbnail  clicks pop-up source pages.
Basil Pao [original name Ho-Yun] had one career as a designer, probably most famously for the cover of the Monty Python book The Life of Brian. We were unable to find the book cover, but here is the video case. We hope the book and the video share a common design. Basil met up again with Python team member Michael Palin during the filming of Around the World in 80 Days, while in his second career, as a photographer. He has been the stills photographer on every ensuing Palin journey.
The PalinsTravels.co.uk web site is extraordinarily generous. There are video clips, maps, and online full editions of the books from the series. Basil's photographs form extensive galleries, and the pictures are available as 800x600 and 1024x768 pixels desktop wallpaper downloads. We stand amazed at being offered such riches to enjoy freely, especially in an era when some copyright owners have sought to clench their fists ever tighter around their assets by leveraging their political influence to have the existing legal protection extended.
Our choice of images for the thumbnail strip was driven by two criteria: we wanted to highlight Full Circle, in which Michael fails to complete his 50,000 mile journey by the final mile, demonstrating that anal retention is not part of being heroic; and secondly to show that quality pictures can be minimalist, and not be in-yer-face like so many of the over zoomed examples we have seen recently.
Excuse us while we vent. Next time your thumb strays towards the zoom lever on that camera you could not resist buying because it had such a long zoom range, reflect on the following: the zoom does not selectively enlarge the image, it changes the focal length, which in turn affects the perspective. Stop behaving like a bird watcher, and start thinking like a photographer. Basil's example might be a good place to start.
PS: the PalinsTravels.co.uk web site design team are a class act, too: but then who notices, or even cares about such things, when anybody could have designed most web sites, and in all probability did so? Forgive us, it's been a difficult and trying day.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)