A Bucket of Guts, LiveBooks Drops The Ball, SEO Winners.

A couple weeks ago I wrote an article about the Badu/Flaming Lips video which had incited nine kinds of “internet anger” and touched off a “firestorm” of surly tweets.  This led both parties to feign shock, deliver limp-wristed apologies, bicker like children, and look like spineless puppets.  It’s unfortunate, really, since it was a pretty fantastic video that was both beautiful and intelligent and much better than say, two ultra rich rappers destroying a car that costs more than what most of their fans make in a year.  More on this in the future.

I got more than a few emails asking me where my covered-in-guts photos were hiding, since I’d made the claim that I’d covered people in all manner of yuck.  I had to do some digging, including plugging in a dormant external hard drive, but I found them.   A couple years ago I embarked on the first of many experiments combing the erotic and the grotesque.  This is just about my favorite intersection in the entire world and I was just getting my bearings on what ratio of erotic to disturbing I should use.  (Still don’t know, but still trying to figure it out.)  I was really interested in fetishes and how something could be so sexually inspiring for one person and how another person might be completely oblivious to that same impetus.  Let’s take feet.

As far as fetishes go, feet are probably the most common.  In fact, if you have five friends, one of them is probably aroused in some capacity by a sweet looking set of feet.  I’m not that guy.  Feet are cool, don’t get me wrong, and I suppose I like feet in the same way that I like ears or eyebrows…but I spend less than a millisecond a day thinking about mine or anyone else’s.  That being said, it’s a popular fetish, with an enormous and sometimes rabid fan base. (Google “foot fetish.”  No, don’t.  Okay, do it.  Are you at work?  Don’t.  Ah, fuck it.  20% chance your boss is hot for feet.  Google it.)

I know what you’re thinking. And you’re a pervert.

I’d worked with Sadie on some latex stuff a few months prior to the guts project.  She knew about my project and at the end of the shoot mentioned she’d done some foot play for a few websites.  I filed this in my mind-rolodex.  A while later I called her and asked her how she’d feel about sticking her feet in a bucket of pig intestines.  There was a long silence.  A really long silence.  Then she laughed and agreed.

I arrived at her apartment at 9am with 25lbs of pig intestines and my gear.  We set up on her porch, she brought us some strong coffee and started the playlist she’d prepared on iTunes just for this event.  The weather was perfect, and I must admit it was really one of the better photo experiences I’ve had.

Oh…wait…I think I lost my contact….nobody move!

These were all shot with a 60mm macro rendering an insane amount of detail and a palpable sense of wetness.  When I showed these last year, I’d printed them enormous.  I wanted people to get lost in the lushness of the color, the saturation, the visceral nature of all of it.  These small shots don’t do them any real justice.

In other news, one of the larger portfolio sites, LiveBooks, crashed this week effectively shutting down every photographer on it’s server for almost 24 hours.  LiveBooks and I have been together for around 3 years and while their customer service is sometimes a bit slow, they have been rock solid as long as I’ve had them.  Things like this happen, though, and we are all so dreadfully linked to technology that when a crash occurs we are reduced to screaming, yelling children.  Literally…there were so many ill-behaved commentors on their forum that I thought I might have wandered into the wrong place.  LiveBooks, however, dropped the ball in such a big way that it was hard not to throw a fit.  The hosting service apparently sent out some emails and made over 500 calls to customers to alert them of the outage, but that means thousands of other people had no idea what was going on and when it would be fixed.  (Myself included.)  I’m not sure how you get on the emergency call list…obviously being a customer for 3 years is not the way. There was no news on Twitter or their own website until nearly noon PST when they acknowledged there was an issue and that they were working on it.  No ETA, just an acknowledgement.

Sadie is a boss. This is why.

The contact we have with companies now is pretty astounding.  At almost anytime, you can tweet your love or hate for a company and they’ll know about it.  And there’s FB and whatever else.  (Hell, you can blog about it, too…)  It works both ways, actually.  In my feed, I’m constantly getting tweets that are marketed to me by Coke or Urban Outfitters or the Mormons or whatnot.  (ok, not the Mormons.)  That being the case, when you provide a service that thousands of professionals rely on to make money and it spirals out of control into a flaming deathspin, you’d better figure out a way to keep everyone up to date.  14 or so hours into it more information was slowly being made available but so much damage had been done already.  If you’d been doing business with one of their partners…Agency Access, let’s say, who schedules email blasts for Wed and Thurs…any art director or buyer who clicked on your site would have been routed to an error page and you’d look like a complete tool.

We live and die by our sites.  There are so few physical books (portfolios) these days and email marketing is so ubiquitous in the industry that even one day down can throw such an enormous wrench in the works that without a doubt, there was a ton of money lost that day, and in the following day as well.  While LiveBooks has promised some fixes and better communication in the future, we’ve still not been alerted as to why our sites were down for so long and there’s been no talk of any sort of refund or compensation for a day lost.   While I am sympathetic to problems like these, the lack of communication (in the era of communication, no less) is disconcerting at best.  LiveBooks wanted to act like nothing was happening on the day of, and it seems like they want to act like nothing happened now.  I like to ignore my problems, too, sometimes, but sadly, they don’t actually go away.  Without some sort acknowledgement from them, however, it may be time to research other options.  If you are a user of another portfolio service, I’d love to hear about it.

I’m sure you guys are on the edge of your seats wanting to know what excellent search terms led readers to the site this month.  The number one search term this month was “Anime boobs” followed by a close second of “Marilyn Monroe Nudes.”  Neither of which actually resides on my blog so you can imagine the inevitable disappointment.  “Panda boobs,” Exhibitionist wife” and “Naked Mom, ” also promise the same amount of sorrow as these things also do not exist on CultFitz.  Those are all pretty special, but here are the amazing ones:

Just let all that marinate for a minute.

See you guys Thursday.

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