Fashion Terms Are So Complicated

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 19, 2015 in Internet |

Even a full color monitor isn’t going to help you with this one: The Daily Beast wants to tell us that we can buy Olivia Pope’s white blazer by using a new application, which would be a wonderful thing if it worked, but most people do not have a problem seeing that there is a slight problem here.

Twitter: The Daily Beast and Colorblindness

Screenshot Source: Twitter / The Daily Beast

Clearly the application is still in beta, but no matter what the color, I wouldn’t have thought what was on show here was a blazer. Clearly a men had his hand in this tweet, probably one who eagerly goes shopping with the woman of his choice, but merely nods and agrees that whatever she has on is fine – depending on the price tag – without looking up from his smart phone, checking the latest football scores.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Working On Two Fronts

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 15, 2015 in Publishing |

Every single time I promise myself I am going to cut back, going to relax, take a little more leisure time, I look back after a few days and realize that I’ve done the opposite. In theory I am relaxing right now, working on my degree course and steering clear of the Internet. But only in theory. Whilst I haven’t been posting here every single day – or anywhere else – as I promised myself a few weeks ago, I have been filling the freed-up time with other activities. One, as many may well have caught on, is the building of a new Internet shop which – also obvious from recent posts – is now fairly much finished. Well, as far as anything can be finished which should grow with time!

Aside from bringing everything from the old shop across to the new – with a little cut and paste here and there – I have also been looking at how to market the publications better, and the first thing which comes to mind is the appearance. It’s all very well having a copy of the cover on display, but that tells the potential reader nothing about the work, especially when the covers used as simple and clean as mine!

The Masonic Obligation

Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis: smallpress-books

So today I gathered up all my resources, and borrowed a few requisites from friends, and worked on the appearance, the first impression for the five titles which are on the site. And I must say, it was a pleasure to finish! I have never been so frustrated with a camera as I was with the Canon EOS today. For some reason it simply did not want to auto-focus, and I spent a lot of time trying to hold the lens together – it slips when nearing vertical – and focus. I have small hands: it is not easy.

Regardless, after many, many trial and error shots I managed to get a few decent images for each of the books and load them onto the shop site. Each one is carefully thought through, and features something matching the work being promoted although they all have the same basic theme. The book is center of attraction, with other books, photographs, even an old German newspaper to enhance. Far more interesting than just a scan of the cover and, hopefully, attractive enough to boost sales too!

It’s not just the shop site, though, which needs my attention: social media, here we come! Well, no. As you know I’ve been on the social media wagon for a long time, so a lot of the things which happen are automated now. Google and Twitter? There’s a plug-in for that! My latest area of interest – which seems to be bringing something with it – is Ello. Other people link here from Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Tumblr: what more could I ask for?

Now, on with the work: new titles in planning!

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Finally, May I Present…

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 14, 2015 in Internet, Publishing |

It seems almost as if it were yesterday that I first thought of writing and publishing my own works and, coupled with it, publishing monographs and short stories from other authors too. In truth it is considerably longer, and since then a lot of water has passed under the bridge. My publishing company has five titles out, many sales to keep the books reasonably well-balanced, and is looking optimistically into the future.

So optimistically that I have taken the shop we’ve been using so far and completely renovated it, not just giving it a new name, a new look and new plans, it is now on a secure platform and ready for the next expansion.

High Street bookstores have long since stopped just selling books, and this is the direction I am also going in although, well, not quite as far as they seem to be. Quite a few of the bookstores I know here have fewer and fewer books and more office or school supplies. The bookshelves are receding out of sight and becoming secondary. The titles which can be bought straight off those shelves fewer and fewer. I, on the other hand, hope to be able to expand the number of books on offer and have already started trying to make contact with distributors and a few small press publishers. Whether I will get any replies remains to be seen.

The expansion, as will be seen over the coming week, is into photography. I plan on selling some of my own images through this new shop and, perhaps, the work of one or two other photographers too, one day. Then we shall have my two main interests combined in one area and, perhaps, just perhaps, it will all be a wonderful success.

Take a look: the link to the new shop is in the right hand menu.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Selfies: Is An Apology Necessary?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 11, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

I sometimes think that society hasn’t got it all together yet. In fact, I’m fairly sure that this is true, and that society – as a generalized term – will never manage to get it all together in any way, shape or form even when it comes to the most simple of things such as the image of a person’s body.

Here we are lauding it over how much skin we can see through the dress of an actress walking the red carpet; turning the pages of our newspaper quickly to see the daily topless pin-up; glancing surreptitiously at the top shelf in the news agents for a quick glimpse of something interesting; spending hours surfing web sites with a questionable calling and a clearly over the line content; ogling the latest stolen selfies from actresses in the limelight and yet…

Stripped, Tanga, German Football Players, Dressing Room, Selfie

Screenshot Source: Twitter

And yet some people in that brief shine of stardom are still being forced to apologize for their appearance and for the fact that they show their bodies off – without all the intimate bits showing, I hasten to add.

Strangely enough it is fine for football stars like Beckham to model underwear – and receive a very acceptable level of pay – but when someone offers it for free it is considered in ill-taste, a case of mis-judgement, an event requiring an apology to ‘all my fans’?

An apology for the alcohol related photograph on the left is, in my opinion, far more a requirement than for the showing of abs on the right.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Blogging: Installation Is The Easy Part

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 6, 2015 in Internet |

Anyone who happens to use WordPress will already know, when you want to set up your own blog on your own server, it’s easy. You unpack the package, point it through your chosen FTP client to the appropriate file and then click-through the installation URL in your browser. After that it gets a touch more complicated: picking out the right template, for example, and setting up the restrictions and privileges for yourself and any other users. However, believe me, that was still all the easy part of the whole thing.

Blogging and Photography

Photo Source: SperaCreative Commons

It’s a little like picking a pair of shoes, what follows. You know exactly what you want – a pair of shoes, easy! – but there are so many. And yet…

Read more…

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Breaking The Silence

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 5, 2015 in Photography, Publishing |

It’s hard to believe that someone is working their butt off when you see no results. However, as we all know, many things cannot come into being if those in the background, the unseen people, do not do their work, and so it is here at the moment. In between writing papers and sorting through all sorts of study things for the future – near and far – I have been making plans so that, when the time comes that I have a lot of time on my hands, I will have something to show for my time.

Photo Source: Stijn NieuwendijkCreative Commons

I’ve mentioned photography and all my regular readers already know about my writing and the fact that I run a small press publishing business. Many will also have seen the Internet web sites, both for the shop and for the publisher. Now I am looking at doing a major upgrade, combining several different interests and then bringing a real, secure, up-to-the-minute Internet presence out of the woodwork, or out of my sleeve, or wherever these surprises come from. Not that it will be much of a surprise, I guess, since I am mentioning it here, and all my regular readers already know that I am always experimenting and looking to make things better.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Slightly Underdressed?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 1, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

Hard to believe it’s the middle of winter, and everyone is wrapped up in their warmest clothing as they hurry to and from work, to the shops, about their daily lives. Hard to believe because, if you happen to be wandering through Wujiaochang Station on your way into town, you might just see a few women who are not dressed for the weather.

Japanese Woman semi-undressed, Japan, Fashion

Photo Source: xieeb

Clearly this young woman has something else on her mind, and it is not stepping out onto the street and taking her chances with wind and rain. Clearly, she is waiting for someone or something.

Read more…

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Seen Through The Eyes Of Someone Else

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 28, 2015 in Photography |

The other day I wrote a short post on a photograph I had taken; a book with glasses and a pipe. I wrote that it was a quick shot – six or so images to find the best one overall – and hardly planned. All I was doing was experimenting with light, since I am used to using natural light and not any form of artificial enhancement.

It seems that a few other people have a different impression over what I call a snapshot, over an image that was not carefully planned, not really thought through in any special way. I uploaded the image to two sites other than this blog: to Flickr and to Picfair. Don’t ask me why, as I say, it is just a snapshot taken to see what happens when I use different light.

On Picfair it was accepted and received a Star, as well as appearing – for the last two days – on the front page of the site as a Trending Photograph – although it has had relatively few views. On Flickr it was marked down by five different people as a Favorite and received a comment too.

It’s strange what other people see in a photograph, when all I see is a quick piece of work with no real background to it…

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Experimenting With Light

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 26, 2015 in Photography |

Up until now I have always used natural light in my photography; no flash, no forced lighting, no reflectors. Every single photograph has been taken – with a firm and steady hand mainly! – using whatever was available, whether it was in a museum, a church or outside in the cold. Natural light is good, I feel, but learning how to take photographs, especially film photography, means that I need to learn considerably more. I need to be able to judge the strength of available light, or additional light, as well as zones, shadows and variations across an entire spectrum which, eventually, will make up the finished image.

There is also the fact that I wish to be able to sell – or license – my work so that other people can use it for their own web blog, for Internet sites, for printed medium. Limiting myself to certain images, following one set subject, is hardly going to create a good portfolio of images which could attract those willing to open their purse.

Book, Pipe, Glasses

Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis

So yesterday, on the spur of the moment, I grabbed a few things from around the house, from friends and neighbors, and took a few (digital) photographs using the simplest of light sources: a normal lightbulb – in this case a 3W, 300K, 46mA, 230V 50Hz Livarno Lux, for those who love details.

Absolutely nothing special, no plan, no design, just a few odd shots to see what could be. In this case, the photograph you see above, I had a very old, yellowed book on a dark wood background. The light is reasonably warm in color, and the age of the book gives it this deeper taint. The pipe is probably out-of-place, being far too dark and casting a bad shadow in comparison to the rest of the image, but it is a start.

The good thing about a digital camera, once again, the chance to experiment without having to wait for the results and then, when something works, take advantage of it straightaway with a different camera – film – or, perhaps, take the digital images and use them too. If it doesn’t work the first time – and I will be honest, this image here is the fifth attempt from many – correct, shoot again. Transferring what is learned to a film camera is another matter entirely, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely.

Love & Kisses, Viki.



Twitter: Setting The Target Low

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 25, 2015 in Internet |

I seem to be hovering around the one thousand three hundred mark on Twitter, when it comes to people who follow my account. Sometimes it is slightly more, sometimes it is slightly less. Sometimes people follow me – with a Twitter fanfare – sometimes they silently disappear. I must admit, though, I have never thought of setting myself a target for how many people follow me: I’m mainly interested in reading what others have to say. Then again, I am not a big business, where big numbers are important.

Twitter Plea

Screenshot Source: Twitter

However, if anyone wants to promote my distinct lack of Tweets – since mostly what appears there is a listing of what I write here – I am, at this precise moment of hitting the Publish button – 998708 short of a million. Could you help me get there, please?

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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