Here is an excerpt from an excellent article by Harold Merklinger over at Luminous Landscape:

I would argue that an image, whether a painting, a drawing or a photograph, is a graphic portrayal of some object, scene, story, or idea that conveys some message to the viewer through the sense of sight. Even a drawing or painting may involve some degree of technical assistance in its preparation, be it a measure taken by means of a brush handle and thumb, a projected image, a sketch or even a photograph. It may also be entirely the imagination of the artist. A photograph necessarily relies heavily on technical assistance, but also involves some degree of human intervention. A human probably at least determined where to point the camera and when to push the button. A photograph necessarily requires some scene or object to serve as its origin. That origin does not need to be identifiable, but it usually helps to have at least a few clues. From there on, it depends what photographic game the photographer chooses to play. Is the scene identifiable? Is there some action or situation that is to be portrayed? Is it a play on colour and/or light? How much detail or lack thereof is appropriate? Am I satisfying just myself, or do I have a viewer or audience in mind? Does the viewer understand or need to understand my intent? The answers will vary.

You can read the rest of the article here

The following is not a question and answer section as was the original intention of the photography talk series. I however recently went through a mini data crisis of sorts, and I wanted to use this feature to highlight my failures and hopefully help others avoid my mistakes. Data backup after all, is an important part of the modern photography experience. 

I recently learned a very expensive lesson that could have easily been avoided. Without going into explicit detail, my main working hard drive in my PC was about to fail (all the signs were there) and I had gone ahead and backed up all my data before replacing it. There wasn’t much to back up, as I had a regular backup routine already in place, and all of my photos were backed up to an external USB 3.0 RAID enclosure, where I had two 2 terabyte drives running in a RAID 1 mirror. Unfortunately when I bent down to move my computer’s tower and replace the internal working drive, I forgot that the USB 3.0 enclosure was set on top, and it fell to the floor. Long story short, both hard drives were active at the time, and the impact with the floor damaged both of them mechanically. Thanks to my good friend Gordon at Fixsys labs, I was able to recover 100% of my data. But it cost me $2200 in data recovery alone (believe it or not this is in the mid range of the potential expense of this type of recovery). The point of this article is to educate you, my friends and fellow photographers on how to properly protect your mission critical data. In my case, I nearly lost all of my photography and my extensive collection hidden camera footage from the change rooms of various Wal-Marts.

Make sure you have copies of your copies copies.

You better have more than one of these or your data is at risk!

It is of crucial importance to have at least three copies of all your critical data. In my previous setup, my RAID 1 mirrored drives should have provided me with two exact copies of whatever was stored on the RAID 1 mirror. Should one drive have failed, I could have A) popped another drive into the RAID array and continued where I left off, once again having two copies or B) pulled the remaining non-damaged hard drive and put it into my system or an external enclosure to allow me to access the data (this is one of the benefits of using RAID 1). There are many people that will argue about the various different RAID setups, but as a matter of opinion and preference, I prefer the ease and simplicity of a RAID 1 mirrored array.

However since I managed to mechanically damage both drives in the external RAID enclosure at the exact same time, I was shit out of luck, and my data was gone (at least temporarily).

My system is now composed of the following storage components:

  • My C: system drive runs my operating system (Windows 7 64bit pro/ultimate) and is composed of two 100GB Vertex 2 drives in a RAID 0 Array (Raid 0 allows to drives to act as one, resulting in maximum performance
  • I have a D: drive which I use for virtual memory, and to store things like internet cache, Adobe Bridge thumbnails, the Photoshop scratch disk etc. It is a single 74gig Western Digital Raptor 10K SATA drive
  • I have purchased a new working drive, a 600GB Raptor 10k drive. When I do photo shoots, I immediately copy them to this drive, and work on them from this speedy device until I archive them later (I also backup all the camera raw files immediately after copying them to this drive, and then later update the backup with new edits and settings from the shoot etc.)
  • My first external storage unit is once again two 2 terabyte drives in a RAID 1 mirror in an external enclosure. This gives me two copies of each file should I not throw it on the floor again
  • My second (and new to me) external storage unit is a single 2 terabyte HP USB 3.0 drive, which makes a back up of the photos stored on the first external enclosure

This now gives me a minimum of three copies of all of my photos (one on each drive in the RAID 1 mirror, one replica of those files on the single 2 Terabyte external enclosure). In the case of my most recently shot photos that I may still be working on, I have a fourth running copy on my 600GB Raptor 10k internal drive. This may seem excessive to some, but I have spent literally hundreds of hours of my time creating these photographs, and given that they sell quite well at art shows (and soon online) how could I possibly risk losing them? I was lucky to have not lost them the first time, and it cost me $2200 (plus the cost of the new hard drives). What’s more is that I’m not even done outlining proper backup procedure yet.

I am currently in the process of finding an online backup service to store the final high resolution edits of all of my photos. It is absolutely crucial to keep a backup of your critical data somewhere off site in the case of a fire or robbery. When I finally narrow it down and choose such a service, I will be certain to update this article.

It was important for me to write about this, as I wouldn’t wish what I’ve gone through lately on anyone. It is debilitating watching gigabytes upon gigabytes of vagina’s disappear before your very eyes. I got lucky and with the help of some charming experts, was able to recover (snatch?) every last one. You however may not be so lucky. I implore you, take data backup seriously, and come up with an effective plan today. Mechanical failure of sensitive computer components is an in-exact and unpredictable science. Whatever it costs you today to make copies of your files, it will cost you ten times as much to have them professional recovered tomorrow. The rule of thumb is three copies of each file you need as a minimum, with one of the copies stored off site.

Lesson Learned. I hope this helps someone out there prepare for the worst and avoid the mistakes I’ve recently made.


Birthday Party 2011

Being a leap year baby, I generally only celebrate my birthday once every four years. This not only keeps me youthful, it allows me to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to myself which has always been a main priority for me. So as many of you probably saw on Twitter last night, I planned a nice little party of one, at home alone with a bottle of Jack and a few Vicodin’s.

And then my door buzzer rang.

So there were seven of my closest friends encouraging me to snap the fuck out of it and party with them. They brought cake, balloons, champagne, party favors, edible body paint, binoculars, a police siren, cap guns, candy bra and panties and Mardi Gras beads.

Then they took their clothes off. I have such great and wonderful friends. Who knew a birthday party could involve so many outfit changes?

And get this, they said they’d only stay if I took pictures of the nonsense. I didn’t mind, since that’s what I do. So here’s what happened *click*


The Erotic Fiction Diaries Volume Two

Richard Northwood Presents: The Erotic Fiction Diaries Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang

He walks up to the bar and when he leans against it his elbow hits her back. She turns to look at him and he is handsome and he smells good. His eyes are kind and his hands are weathered like a mans should be. His jawline is strong and his hair is perfectly cut. Her pupils dilate and her lips become engorged with blood.

As he walks to the bar he is bumped from behind and his arm hits some chick standing in his way. He looks at her and then looks past her and then looks at the bartender and orders his drink. He looks at her again and kind of thinks she is leering at him strangely and he wonders if he’s met her before or something but he doesn’t care enough to ask so he takes his drink from the bar and walks back over to where he was standing, just a few feet away.

She turns her body towards him and she hopes that he will notice her. She hears the men that he is talking with laugh hysterically and she thinks that he is charming and kind. He has an easy stance, like life has been good to him and he is certainly well dressed. She wonders if his lips are soft and as she stares at them he picks his nose because he thinks nobody is looking. She quickly adjusts her view to take all of him in once again and it is just in time to notice him picking at his crotch because he again thinks no one is looking. She watches him type a message into his phone and she hopes it is for her. She wonders what it would be like to have him inside of her, his body pressed against hers.

He is standing with some co-workers and he is telling them the story about the crazy drunk bitch that he fucked last night and they think the story is hilarious. He is having trouble standing because he hurt his ankle playing basketball and he feels a sudden itch in his nose and he picks it because it is dark and no one will notice. He picks at his crotch and jokes to his friends that he needs to wash more often and he’d swear that out of the corner of his eye he can see that weird chick staring at him again. He pulls out his cell phone and shows his buddies a picture of the crazy chick from last night. He wonders what it would be like to be inside of her again, his cock hammering her.

She catches him staring in her direction and she doesn’t think she has the courage to approach him and say something, so she hopes that he will come to her.

He looks over at the bar because that chick that he was talking to earlier is there, but he can barely see her as she is standing behind that weird chick that keeps staring at him.

She stands there waiting as he comes to her and he leans into her left side and she leans in closer.

He walks up to the bar and tries to get around the weird chick but she steps in front of him.

She looks up at him.

He asks her if he knows her.

She says well you do now and tells him that her name is Michelle. She is twenty two years old and she doesn’t get out very often but she’s really glad she came out tonight because it was really nice to meet him. She is planning on becoming an English teacher one day and her friends dragged her out tonight because they love being there so much. She tells him that she was really nervous to come out tonight because she just got her hair cut and she doesn’t think it looks good. She asks him if he thinks it looks good. He doesn’t answer because she doesn’t let him and she asks him if he likes this kind of music. He moves to the bar to get them a drink.

The weird chick that keeps staring at him says a whole bunch of stupid shit and he walks past her to get himself a drink.

She wonders if he’s a bad boy that is going to try to get her drunk and the thought makes her smile a devilish little grin.

He turns around with his beer and as soon as he does the weird chick says ‘cheers’ to him and slams her glass against his bottle. She does this hard enough to spill a little beer on his shirt and he goes ‘what the fuck?’ and quickly wipes it off a little with his hand. He looks at her and she says nothing, she is just staring at him with a ridiculous grin on her face that makes him feel bad because he thinks she might be mildly retarded.

She watches as he gets nervous and spills his beer on himself and she thinks its cute and she laughs a little. They say hello again and she looks into his eyes while he speaks the most perfect words she’s ever heard, and she knows that she belongs to him.

He sees her laugh and suddenly she doesn’t look too bad to him. He starts to talk to her because it is late and he probably won’t find that other chick before last call anyways. He tells her that if she wants another drink its on him because he knows everybody here and they will probably just put it on the house. He tells her that he has a new Nissan Maxima and that he is thinking about going back to law school but he doesn’t know if he will have time because he does a little acting on the side. He tells her that she looks really hot and that he has been checking her out all night. He asks her if she has a boyfriend but then quickly cuts in telling her not to answer because tonight he doesn’t care. He puts his hand on her ass and leans in and tells her that they should go back to his place to have some fun.

She quivers in anticipation when he gently puts his powerful hand on her lower back to support her while he whispers in her ear. She simply melts when he asks her if she’ll come to his place tonight and sit by the fire while he reads her the poetry that he often writes. He wants to write her a poem, and he promises to do so while they are in the taxi on the way to his place.

He makes out with her in the taxi all the way back to his place but he gets annoyed because every time he places her hand on his cock she pulls it away. He is hard and ready, but she is a complete tease and he feels stupid because he should have known that she was a flake.

She melts in his arms as he places upon her lips the softest kisses she never knew existed. She can barely keep her hands off him now and she struggles to resist.

He opens his door and throws his coat on the floor and makes himself comfortable on his couch. He lay there in frustration because he knows he isn’t getting any, and he is probably stuck with her for the night.

She lay with him now, his manly body slowing to a rest, their hearts beating as one, ready to drift into a slumber. She dreams of being there always, wondering what their children will look like.

He falls asleep and then eight minutes later he wakes himself up, snoring loudly. His arm is asleep because the flake has fallen asleep on top of him. He is certain that she is drooling.

The End

Richard Forsythe Northwood


The Erotic Fiction Diaries Volume One

Richard Northwood Presents: The Erotic Fiction Diaries Cat and Mouse

Seated in his usual spot at the end of the bar Mike takes a long sip of his frosty beer, not his first that evening. He is alone now as his collegues left shortly after dinner, and he stayed behind to watch the game and lose track of how much he’s had to drink. Out of the corner of his eye he sees her standing in the entrance, her eyes scanning the room, a carefully considered smile painted on her face. He knows this routine and as she approaches him he prepares himself in a way that he is familiar with. Taking a seat next to him she looks up, her amber cat-like eyes meet his and he feels the adrenaline building. ‘I’m sorry, but it’s been a terribly long day, would you mind buying me a drink and then taking me back to your place?’ she asks in a voice she likely considers innocent enough. Her luscious crimson lips light the fire of desire inside him, blood now rushing into his other head when he says ‘how about we skip the drink here and I’ll give you a stiff one when we get to my place?’Tom and Jerry

She says that she thinks its a great idea, and he tells her to sit there and wait until the game is over and asks her if she’d like something to drink. She orders a double gin on the rocks and the game finishes before he has time to feed her another.

Cynthia slides up next to him in his truck and she secretly wonders if her crab shampoo has worked since she started using it last week. This man is her tall, dark and handsome perfect stranger, and she wants to leave him itching for more rather than simply itching. They pull into his apartment complex and stumble inside, not because they are hopelessly all over each other, but because she is foolishly drunk and acting like a whore. She can barely walk straight.

As they move over to his couch she swings her scarf off and it hits his lamp shade and knocks the lamp to the floor. On its way down the lamp collides with a coffee table and knocks a half empty beer can onto the carpet, and Mike yells out ‘Fuck!’

He runs into the kitchen for a towel but by the time he returns Cynthia is already on her hands and knees cleaning the mess with her scarf. Mike tells her to stop and he continues the blotting with a towel and just then Cynthia leans in and french kisses him. They hit the floor rolling and Mike tells Cynthia that ‘she is beautiful’ and she replies ‘please touch my cunt’.

He pulls up her skirt and slides down her panties and is instantly amazed that a woman so young and beautiful could care so little about her grooming. He feels as though he’d be better at this task with a machete in place of his tongue but he presses his lips against her clit anyways and she gasps.

Furiously now her hips do buck, and when she’s had enough she pushes him off and climbs on top. Aggressively now does she fumble with his zipper desperate to unleash his manhood and hoping that its of satisfying dimensions. She slowly slides him into her mouth and quietly wonders if that red bump on his lip is herpes.

As Mike slides in and out of her mouth he begins to run his hands through her hair, holding her in place, demonstrating his strength. He catches his finger in her earring and quickly jerks back his arm but by then her hair had become entangled in the mess and she tries to yell but instead gags on his cock.

She quickly takes a sip from the water bottle that has probably been sitting at his bedside for three weeks and tells Mike that she ‘wants to fuck now’ and he says sorry again for ‘ripping her hair out’.

She slides Mike inside of her and he immediately notes that she could be wetter. Initially it is painful but eventually it gets worse. He asks her if she thinks they should use a condom knowing he doesn’t have any, and she tells him that its up to him while increasing the speed of their sex.

She rolls off of him onto her back and spreads her legs wide open. Her right leg swings too far and falls off the side of the bed and she thinks she’s hurt her lower back. He climbs on top of her and pushes himself inside of her, holding his arms straight, towering powerfully above her, wincing with each magnificent thrust.

She tells him to fuck her harder and he tells her he is going to come and she screams to pull out and he does and he jerks off on her stomach.

And nothing happens. He doesn’t come and he immediately loses his erection. She pushes him off and runs to the bathroom and he rolls over and falls asleep.

When Mike wakes up Cynthia is gone, so he hops out of bed and stumbles around to make sure that nothing is stolen. There is no trace of her except for a scarf on the back of his toilet, which is now covered in (and filled with) vomit. On his mirror she has written her phone number in toothpaste. And so he calls it and it is fake.

So Mike goes back to bed and when he wakes his penis is itchy.

The end.

Richard Forsythe Northwood