Professional Auteurism
Professional: One who has acquired a special skill in or knowledge or mastery of something. Auteur: A filmmaker, usually a director, who exercises creative control over his or her works and has a strong personal style.

These stories start with events that happen in my professional life as a web designer or artist: conferences I've attended, talks I've given, people I meet, or trips I've taken. Of course, they never end there!

July 9, 2011

My Encounter with Wally

Wally Shawn photographed for Time magazine. This has got to be the worst photograph of Wallace Shawn I have ever seen. What were the editors of Time magazine thinking when they decided to use Peter Hapak’s image for their…

June 25, 2010

The Real Reason AT&T Has Exclusive Rights to the iPhone

A recently discovered magazine ad fuels speculation that Steve Jobs can time travel. This morning, in an old dusty box hidden in the corner of my attic I unearthed some old magazines. I can’t remember why I kept them….

April 24, 2010

On Talking to Strangers

Never say a commonplace thing. Jack Kerouac My name is Jeff Gates and I talk to strangers. More on that later. We don’t want our children to be fearful of public engagements. But we want them to be able…

March 14, 2010

Clearing the Path for Sisyphus: How Social Media is Changing Our Jobs and Our Working Relationships

This is the second in a series of essays on the effects of social media on organizations. The first, Confessions of a Long Tail Visionary, looked at how social media is changing our jobs. This piece continues the exploration by…

January 3, 2010

Avatar:a Reflection of Human Nature
When Will Homo Sapiens Stop Making Movies Like Avatar

Glenn Beck as our species savior? Annalee Newitz recently posed this question: “When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like ‘Avatar’?” And she followed it up with some interesting ideas on race and film making in America. While I…

April 25, 2009

On Creating a New Stock Photo

Commentary at the New York Stock Exchange On a trip last week to New York for a series of meetings I suddenly discovered the New York Stock Exchange was located directly on the path between my hotel and meeting…

February 8, 2009

Anatomy of a Photograph

Details from some of my Inaugural portraits As I began to look at the photographs I shot during the Inauguration I realized how many portraits of people I had taken that day: from soldiers and police who were doing…

December 6, 2008

The Composite Sum of Obama’s Face

Beauty has always been a product of the social attitudes of the time. During the Renaissance voluptuous Rafaelesque women were the standard aspiration while in the 1960s, and certainly today, thin —even an emaciated look— is often what people…

October 19, 2008

Leveraging Political Power in the Blogosphere

Hotlinking. I’ve written about this netiquette faux pas before. And as you can see I’ve found a number of ways to get even (here and here). If you’re going to use my images don’t even think of linking to them…

July 18, 2008

When Speaking in Spain, Always Take a Picture

Gracias por haberme invitado aqui a hablar con ustedes hoy. Yo hablo poco Español, asi que continuo en Ingles. Vamos a empezar. I’m used to speaking in front of large groups of people. But even though I’ve been doing…

July 6, 2008

Traveling Abroad: A Pre- Pre-Flight Checklist

Boat house with concrete lighthouse for sale. A photo from my last trip to a Spanish-speaking land: Puerto Rico. Ok, true confession: I am a neurotic traveler. Well, to be more specific: I am a neurotic pre-traveler. With one…

January 13, 2008

Upgrading the DC Metro’s Identity

When DC’s Metro unveiled a new concept car last week this logo identity mysteriously appeared. Local officials first billed DC’s proposed transit system as “America’s” subway when it went to Congress for financial backing. Last week the Washington Metropolitan…

October 11, 2007

Shipping by Dolce & Gabbana

The price is right but shipping’s a bear. View larger image. I love my iPhone. But I was disappointed when my Sennheiser headphone plug wouldn’t fit into the iPhone’s recessed receptacle. Nothing but the earphones that came with the…

July 7, 2007

iPhone Lust-O-Meter Bursts!

Life Outtacontext’s iPhone Lust-O-Meter Bursts It was too much to bear. The pressure, as you know, has been building for a week. The outcome seemed inevitable. Yesterday, my neighbor, Mike, offered to “show me his.” And, as we sat…

June 17, 2007

A Modern Father Knows the Code

The kids are not afraid to ask questions, but the adults feel an absolute need to provide answers… Rather than say, “I don’t know; let’s find out,” parents feel like they have to make something up to seem smart….

April 7, 2007

My Own Wheel of Fortune

You know your job is secure when you make it on Wheel of Fortune. Click the image above to start. (Quicktime, 5.5 MB) Last night: the end of a very busy week. I’m preparing for my first back-to-back business…

November 24, 2006

Bad Kitty!

You might remember last year I discovered that someone was “hotlinking” to one of my images. Hotlinking is where someone links directly to your image file and places it on his or her own site. This violates a couple key…

November 19, 2006

When Type Goes Bad

Installing signage at Clyde’s Restaurant. We were hopeful. When the Smithsonian American Art Museum closed for renovations in January 2000 the neighborhood surrounding its building was neglected and deserted (especially when the Federal workforce left for the burbs at…

May 14, 2006

Silence is Golden

Sometimes silence is golden. Click the image above to start. (Quicktime, 7.6 MB) I enjoy watching TV with the sound muted. It gives inane programming new meaning. Media moguls take note: it often improves my television watching experience. Programs…

May 7, 2006

Seeing Red: Handling Your Own Baggage

Separated at birth: the real thing with his dopplegänger. At the conclusion of my two day meeting in NYC I shed my business attire and re-entered my normal world. Donning my casual uniform, jeans and my red baseball cap…

April 1, 2006

You Say Resume, I Say Résumé

resume 'rĭ-zōōm’\ v. tr. 1 : To begin or take up again after interruption: resumed our dinner. 2 : To assume, take, or occupy again: The dog resumed its post by the door. 3 : To take on or…

February 12, 2006

The 21st Century Mark of Success

We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur. Former Vice President Dan Quayle Boing Boing links to Jeff’s Sprint Mashup Last week, as I was talking to Cultural Tourism DC, a group of small…

July 23, 2005

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

Stealing Bandwidth: when someone links directly to internet files from another Web site without the owner’s permission. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) often limit the amount of monthly “traffic” to or from your Web site. So, often victims of bandwidth…

April 2, 2005

Trouble Right Here in Sin City

Trouble, oh we got trouble, Right here in River City! With a capital “T” That rhymes with “P” And that stands for Pool, That stands for pool. We’ve surely got trouble! Right here in River City, Right here! Gotta…

May 2, 2004

Having a Major Minor Success

In today’s Washington Post it was revealed that Micah Ian Wright, who last summer published the wickedly creative book of repurposed war posters called You Back the Attack! We’ll Bomb Who We Want! lied about his own war record….

May 4, 2003

We Were GELin’

I never expect to learn anything new at conferences. Not that I know everything. But going in, I’ve learned to keep my expectations near rock bottom. It seems the problems I’m trying to solve are the problems everyone is…

January 25, 2003

New Age Etiquette: It’s Easy as A-B-C

I saw Michael Jackson on the subway yesterday. Not the present version but the one from the 70s: medium, well-shaped Afro and that angelic, before the shit-hit-the-fan face. It’s been oh so cold here in DC (coldest it’s been…

January 23, 2003

Another Wireless Network?

The Washington Post is reporting today that yet another wireless technology is being tested in this country. EvDO (Evolution Data Only) is ten times faster than regular modems and faster than WiFi (the wireless networks available in many Starbucks and…

January 20, 2003

It’s a Small World After All

The Net is redefining our social space. Hyperbole aside, in the last week I’ve discovered two new ways to define my net community. Did I tell you I’m reading Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs? Howard has researched the ways technology is…

March 20, 2002

Face-to-Face for the First Time

Do I Know You? Inside each one of us, laid out like a grid, is a network of complementary, anatomical, psychological, hormonal, and linguistic structures, which in turn allow us to function—I’m paraphrasing Dr. Kai here—within a larger social system…

January 28, 2002

Reliving Ground Zero

Last week I took a trip up to NYC to see Ground Zero. I’d been wanting to make the trip for some time. And, after working on Dichotomy since September, I felt it was important to take the trip….

May 5, 2001

The Economics of Great Ideas

I was at the Digital Arts and Culture conference in Providence last week. This meeting began a few years ago to discuss the issues surrounding hypertext literature and media and represents a new subculture for me within the digital…

March 5, 2001

Speaking of Superhighways

I was invited to speak on New Media to the Trustees and senior staff at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts this past weekend. They’re looking to introduce technology within the museum and wanted to explore the area. I…