Inspired | July 2019

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in July: the biggest misconceptions in photography, a roundtable discussion with black directors, Veronica Mars and the power of solitary women, the neuroscience of long-term goals, the women of ’50s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll, and more.

The Biggest Misconceptions in Photography? by David duChemin: “Yes, learn your craft, geek out on reciprocal rules if you must, but if you had to ration it all out, I’d tell you to give that stuff 10% of your effort and put the remaining 90% into anything that will make you more creative, give you greater freedom, and make you more comfortable with risk.”

How Carrie Mae Weems Rewrote the Rules of Image-Making by Megan O’Grady

A gifted storyteller who works accessibly in text and image, she’s created new narratives around women, people of color and working-class communities, conjuring lush art from the arid polemics of identity. The desire to create images has never not felt powerful, something Weems understood from the first time she held her own camera.

‘They Set Us Up to Fail’: Black Directors of the ’90s Speak Out by Reggie Ugwu

But the experiences they shared — of barely disguised prejudice, of being marginalized by executives who feigned interest in their work, of lacking a safety net that seemed to buoy their white peers — fit into a kind of mosaic. It depicts a system that failed to sustain a generation of its minority talent, and stands as a challenge to those who would seek reform.

Disney Is A Symptom, Not The Cause, Of The Problems Facing Hollywood by Scott Mendelson: “The issue isn’t audiences flocking to the kind of movies that Disney now specializes in, namely big-budget, character-specific and often nostalgia-targeted four-quadrant fantasy blockbusters. It’s that audiences have ceased seeing almost anything else in theaters.”

Free Solo by Soraya Roberts (contains spoilers for Veronica Mars Season 4)

The image of the lone woman is as strong as it ever was. And perhaps it is even more poignant these days as a symbol of transgression in the wake of our collective awareness around men’s control of the world. In this moment, the singular femme represents the possibility of a future without the trappings of the past.

Why Your Present Self Doesn’t Give a Damn About Your Future Self by Becky Kane: “The important thing is to remember that your Future Self is going to do everything in her power to not do whatever it is that you want her to do, so you’ll need to be both creative and ruthless.”

Microsoft’s Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM by Brian Barrett

Your iTunes movies, your Kindle books—they’re not really yours. You don’t own them. You’ve just bought a license that allows you to access them, one that can be revoked at any time. And while a handful of incidents have brought that reality into sharp relief over the years, none has quite the punch of Microsoft disappearing every single ebook from every one of its customers.

Women in Rock & Roll’s First Wave: Hundreds of women and girls created and performed rock and roll songs in the 1950s and early 1960s. Their contributions shaped the culture and sound of rock and roll. This project is dedicated to preserving and telling their stories.

How the Neighborhoods of Manhattan Got Their Names by Laura Turner Garrison: One of the most dense and culturally diverse places in the United States is the small island at the center of New York City. Here’s some history on the many neighborhoods, districts, and locations that make up Manhattan.

Restaurant Reviewing Needs a Revamp by Edward Lee

Just a few months ago, I read a review of a Korean restaurant where Kalbi was described as “roasting meat tinged with sesame oil and funky spice.” Can you imagine a legitimate critic getting away with reviewing an Italian restaurant and describing osso bucco as “leg meat boiled in red wine and an array of cut-up vegetables”?

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?