It's been a great week for my photo site, Ephemera.
On Monday, Justly Married, my record of the same-sex marriages that took place in San Francisco in February 2004, received an honorable mention in the NPAA Best in Photojournalism 2005 for News Picture Story. I'm told it's the first time a photoblog has appeared in the awards. It's quite an honor.
And on Wednesday, my pet photography was honored as "Best Animal Photography of a Photoblog" in the Photobloggies. Thanks to everyone who voted! I'd like to thank all the little people, especially the ones with fur and four legs....
I'm doing a little housecleaning and I've decided to sell some cameras. Looking for a great digital camera? I've got two for sale: (UPDATE: They've both sold!)
You know what never gets old? Shilling for votes. Really. It's a skill I've nurtured over my 10 years making web stuff. I'm still sore I never got in the Top 5% in the mid-90s. The ballot was totally confusing. Most of my votes wound up going to David Siegel.
Case in point: I'm honored that my humble photo site is nominated for two categories in the Photobloggies: Animal Photography and Photo of the Year.
And The Wife is nominated for two as well: Best American (hah!) and Best Toy Camera.
So, please, if you cherish freedom, mom, and apple crullers, vote Chawazek today! We'd do it for you. And hurry - voting ends March 28.
UPDATE: Heather has recused herself because she wants to see the award go to a site that's not already on the Photoblogs Top 10. Isn't she the best? Answer: Yes. I vote for her every day.
Here's a little experiment you can do right now. When you reach the end of this paragraph, turn off your monitor. Really. Turn it off and give your eyes a minute to adjust and then look at the screen. What do you see?
Go ahead. I'll wait.
Back already? Did it work? If the light is right, and your monitor is a nice shiny CRT, what you should have seen is your own reflection.
I bring this up because it explains so much about the way we behave online. That mirror image of ourselves is always there when we stare at the computer. And we see ourselves in whatever we're looking at.
I call this The Big Mirror and it might help explain why Steven Levy, a white guy, looks into his monitor and sees only white guys. At least, it's the only explanation I can think of for how he might have missed all the fantastic blogging women out there. (I could go on and on and on.)
The Big Mirror also explains why pissed off angry people look into the web and see only pissed off angry people. Why sad depressives see sad depressives. And why boundless optimists see through a rose-colored monitor. We see ourselves - our fears and hopes and insecurities - everywhere we go.
That faint reflection of ourselves is always there, both literally and metaphorically. So the next time someone tells you about how everyone online is a freaky child molester, ask yourself, what do they see when they look in the mirror?
Yesterday San Francisco Superior Court judge Richard Kramer ruled that California's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He said: "No rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners."
This week we'll see a flood of media on this across the country. And all the stories will say how "gay activists" are thrilled and "religious conservatives" are angry. But the real story will be lost.
I'm a 31 year-old married guy. I am not, by any measure, a gay activist. And I am thrilled by Judge Kramer's ruling. Why? Because I believe in equal rights.
This is a very simple equation: The California constitution says that the state cannot discriminate. And marriage, for better or worse, is a state-sanctioned practice. So for the state to say that one group of people cannot participate because of who they are, that's discriminatory. Period.
California's ban on same-sex marriage is no different than the old laws that said that men could own property and women couldn't. Or that blacks and whites couldn't marry. Those laws had tradition and religion on their side, too, and how do they look today?
And this is not only a symbolic issue, it's a legal one. There are over a thousand legal rights given to married people. Why should some people have access to those legal protections while others can't? Judge Kramer answered that question: There is "no rational purpose."
The more this story pits "gay activists" against "religious conservatives," the more it leaves out the vast majority of Americans - people like me that believe in equality and are against discrimination. If you believe that all people should have the same constitutionally-protected rights, then you should be in favor of equal marriage rights for all, too.
Since it's still the first quarter of the year and I seem to be doing well, I think I'll add some more.
Please join yours truly and a handful of other contributors to My California tomorrow, Thursday, March 3, for an evening of California storytelling at the Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco. It's gonna be fun! Tell the folks at the door that you're an "author's guest" to get in free.
UPDATE: The event was a wonderful success! Here's a photo of me reading my story, courtesy of my beautiful and talented wife.
This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page shows thoughts from March 2005, including:
31 March 2005
Cameras For Sale!
27 March 2005
21 March 2005
The Big Mirror
16 March 2005
Thank you, Judge Kramer
15 March 2005
Update on my 2005 Resolutions
7 March 2005
SF Lit Event
2 March 2005
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Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »
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Ephemera Recognized 31 March 2005
Cameras For Sale! 27 March 2005
Vote Chawazek! 21 March 2005
The Big Mirror 16 March 2005
Thank you, Judge Kramer 15 March 2005