Smogranch Redux

As many of you have noticed, Smogranch is living under a redesign. A new paint job so to speak. This came about for several reasons. First, I was somewhat bored with the old look, but I get bored with such things pretty darn easy. Second, that pesky combo of Flemming Bo Jensen and Charlene Winfred pitched me on doing something new. You see, this power couple has embarked on a new adventure in web design housed under the moniker “Coffee and Magic.”
New Mexico 201209. Una Pura Verdad
Both of these folks have serious backgrounds in tech. You know, those jobs for Coneheads, or those who did really well in math and science. I was clearly lacking in these skills, and at 45, realize there is no hope for me ever being able to comprehend how any of this stuff works. Flemming’s only flaw is his inability to judge the condition of automobiles. He always gets suckered into buying something promised as “convertible” or “low miles.” He’s Danish.
Charlene in Arches
Charlene is also a full time traveler, writer, photographer and budding filmmaker in addition to knowing this web…stuff. She is prone to standing in places with no buildings. The idea of the new Smogranch was “simple as humanly possible.” Black on white. Minimal to the point of being non existent. How people consume content has changed dramatically over the past few years, and will continue to change. I remember when Flash was the king of the hill. Sites moved around, spun, twirled and zoomed in and out for no apparent reason. Now if you did that you would get angry emails and digital death threats. Now it’s about ease and simplicity.
One of their first endeavors was to create the site for The Fred Roberts Photoraphy Workshops, a site they managed to pull together in a VERY short amount of time. What you can’t see is the behind-the-scenes connections for PR folks, NGO staff and the actual students. And it’s only just begun. This site will continue to adapt and expand, with the ebb and flow of the actual project.
The entire Smogranch redesign was complete in less than two days. Yes, it was that fast. I put some currency in an online spot, the currency disappeared and my site was done. Easy as that.

“Beyond” a film by Charlene Winfred

Okay Smogranch slackers, it’s film time. The players in this little skit will be all too familiar if you have spent any amount of time on this site. Flemming Bo Jensen is a friend, fellow photographer and Danish Star Wars expert. He is also prone to walking shoeless around deadly spiders and sleeping at global monuments most people spend their lives attempting to reach and explore. He would sell his family for a lone bottle of frosty Coke Zero. Flemming and I did a short film together. Well, he did the film. I walked around and made pictures, drove a lot and fed him a constant stream of Blake’s Lotaburger to keep his creativity churning.

Beyond from Charlene Winfred on Vimeo.

Flemming, although the subject of this film, takes a back seat to the filmmaker Charlene Winfred. Charlene is also a friend, but I don’t know her well enough to know her secrets. She does however snap a limb,tendon or vertebra at least once a week. I’ve never seen her NOT on crutches. How she managed to navigate the world long enough to make this film I will never know. This is her first time around the filmmaking block and I think you will agree she did a bang up job…get it…”bang up job.” I’m giving comedy lessons later if anyone is interested.

On a serious note, if you can push aside this pair’s filmmaking, the photographs and the other beautiful visuals, there is a more important morsel at the bottom of all this. Flemming, once a well respected member of the Danish working class, the IT world to be exact, decided that the life he was told to lead was in fact not the life he wanted to lead. So he changed. He sold off, kicked out, rebooted and set sail for unknown parts, and in fact is still roaming our little planet some FIVE YEARS later. This world is not for everyone, but it’s for more people than we imagine. There is a downside to nomadic life, both for the nomad (isolation, loneliness, money) and also for those of us who are still cemented to day jobs and mortgages. Remember, Flemming slept on my couch more than once, and hearing Yoda noises in the night will put the fear of God in just about anyone, and I’m still paying off his Lotaburger quota.
I actually know a fair number of people who have chosen life on the road, each have their reasons and their methods for surviving. It shouldn’t be a big deal to do this but it really is, at least in the minds of the mainstream. Nomads have the ability to inspire jealousy and rage, both good things in my mind. Personally, I live in a society which seems bent on little more than material gain, so running into someone whose entire life fits in one bag, a bag I’ve had to lift, move and transport more than once, is refreshing. I know for some there is an almost distrust of those who leave the bounds of tradition, but I will ask you this. How do we know someones real calling until they are set free? I always wonder about why our society forces us to conform. Return from college, “get serious” and then get a job where in some cases people are donating their forty most productive years to something they may or may not love. What if we set them free instead?
On the same note, I do hold people like Flemming and Charlene accountable. They must not conform or surrender, at least not while out in the world. They hold the torch for a lot more than themselves.

PS: Here is Flemming sleeping at some pesky little monument in Peru.