I came across Kirsty Mitchell’s work not long ago and was completely amazed. The U.K.-born Mitchell initially studied art history, photography, and fine art in London going on to train in performance costume at the London College of Fashion. Afterwards, Mitchell completed two internships at the design studios of Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan before ultimately landing a full time position as a senior designer for a global fashion brand. In 2007 everything changed when her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and as she put it, “my world fell apart.” Her mother died in November 2008 and Mitchell wrote that photography “engulfed me, becoming an overwhelming passion that I could not stop.” She found herself producing works echoing memories of childhood stories her mother read to her; images in which she designed and made everything. The costumes, props, sets and accessories all became a vital part of the process as important as the finished photograph. The results are simply remarkable. Her “Wonderland Series,” created between 2009 and 2014, is the stuff of magic and dreams. In an age where one suspects any and every image to have been manipulated by the likes of Photoshop much less CGI, Kirsty’s photographs are true works of art. Here are a few favorites.
In the last two years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my reading glasses because of the following tragic and all-too-common tale:
a. I initially bought a very stylish pair of reading glasses from my neighborhood eye care place and almost immediately lost them on a SFO to Denver flight. Ouch!
b. I then replaced them with a not-so-groovy pair which I had for almost a year before one of the temple pieces fell off while standing in a parking lot in Albuquerque.
c. I returned to my friendly neighborhood eye care place to learn that they could only replace the entire frames—and not just one of the temple pieces. Oy!
Total price: over $1K. Frustration and alternate strategy: priceless.
Enter Warby Parker. WP is the vision of co-founder Neil Blumenthal, also the founder of VisionSpring. The premise of Warby Parker is simple: “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” as in $95 for well-made prescription glasses. For every pair sold through the WP website or retail stores around the country, a pair of glasses is provided gratis to someone in need in a third world country. Further, the VisionSpring program allows the opportunity for low income men and women to sell affordable glassware in their country.
The selection of frames and styles at WP is very good and changes seasonally. Prescription sunglasses are also available. I ordered two pairs of reading glasses via the website and am thrilled with both pairs. The customer service is outstanding—glasses ordered online and delivered in a week’s time. If you haven’t checked out Warby Parker, you should. The world needs more companies like them.
I’ve come to the sad conclusion that most of my music listening happens while sitting in front of my laptop. In fact, as I’m writing this I’m listening to Prokofiev’s “Romeo & Juliet” by the Atlanta Symphony on Telarc. It’s a sad conclusion because my definition of listening to music is devoting time to just that--sitting in front of a decent system with good speakers. Alas, the world has changed and my anything-but-regular work schedule necessitates listening while sitting in front of the magic all-knowing screen. If that’s the case then the equipment—as in the desktop speakers--have to be good (Don’t worry, it’s a guy thing. We get completely compulsive about electronics. It’s true).
About two years ago I purchased a pair of Audiogengine A2’s after doing entirely too much reading about small desktop speakers. Mind you, I’ve owned Magnepan speakers for over 20 years and still think top planar speakers are the best there is. But the A2’s changed everything about my day to day listening. Audioengine is a small company based in North Carolina and has custom built studio monitors for years. It’s no surprise that the small self-powered A2’s (as in 6 X 4 inches) are made from the best materials and weigh a ton for their size. As for sound, you would have to spend three times the price to do any better. And because the A2’s are amplified you can just plug your smart phone or iPod in and listen away. The company now offers an updated version called the A2+. BTW—I recently upgraded to the larger A5+’s and they are top class as well, even if they are entirely too large for my desk. Once again, it's a guy thing.