Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mr. Styles and Dr. Joyce Brothers


On rare occasions, when I walk Olga, I don't bring my camera. I feel about the camera sort of what I feel about the computer -- it's a great device but you have to back away now and then just to maintain your sanity and your perspective. You know?

Yesterday morning, Olga and I set out sans camera and walked in a wide circle to the west. We were passing near Latimer Road, a popular graffiti area, so I decided to look and see if anything new had appeared. Voila! A beautiful new piece by Mr. Styles, whose work I really like.


Of course that meant I had to walk back to Latimer Road yesterday afternoon, with the camera, to take some pictures. (A little more than two miles round-trip.) One thing I've learned -- if you see a nice piece of street art you better photograph it immediately, because it's likely to be covered with new tags in no time.


In other news, I see that Dr. Joyce Brothers died. Here's the story of my brush with Dr. Brothers.

Almost 25 years ago, when I was working as a reporter in Central Florida, an editor asked me to write a short article about the uplifting scent of springtime orange blossoms. (Newspapers had a lot of space in those days.) I was trying to find some experts to give this story a little punch, and I thought, why not call a psychologist to talk about how and why pleasant smells can elevate our mood?


So I called Dr. Joyce Brothers. She was very pleasant and gave me some answers about how smell receptors are close to the pleasure centers of the brain, and I dutifully included all this in my article.

I was dismayed when it came out in print the next day, though. Apparently what I turned in was too long for this particular editor, who took a hacksaw to the piece and cut it mercilessly, without regard for preserving transitions or flow. What ran was a tattered mess.

Dr. Brothers had asked me to send her a copy of the article, and I did so -- but in an uncharacteristic act of professional rebellion I also sent a printout of the unedited piece, to show what it was supposed to have looked like. I also complained to the senior editors, one of whom sent me a note praising my ingenuity and gave the hacksaw-wielding editor a little talk.

Victory is mine, sayeth the reporter!

11 comments:

Elizabeth said...

That street art is incredible -- I am so glad you "caught" it! And I'd love to see your article -- your should print it out!

Angella said...

As an editor, I keep close to the fore the memory of the dismay and embarassment and disappointnent I felt on seeing a piece I wrote badly hacked. I don't ever want to be the cause of a writer feeling that way!

The street art is amazing. Wow.

e said...

This unfortunately happened to me on more than one occasion as well. Great story and a wonderful idea.

Ms. Moon said...

Dr. Joyce Brothers (always both names, ALWAYS) was such a part of my growing up. He columns in magazines, her appearances on TV shows.
She was sort of the Dr. Phil of her day.
I would never have thought those images came from street art. Amazing.

Lynne said...

These should be hanging in a museum somewhere --incredible! Thanks for the close-ups. What a shame to think that someone is going to paint over them.

Dr. Joyce Brothers ... hmm ... we haven't heard much from her in decades it seems.

Shame about your hacked article after all the thought you put into it.

The Bug said...

That art is amazing!

Have you seen this kerfuffle? http://www.sfexaminer.com/news/california/2013/05/chris-browns-scary-curbside-art-irks-la-neighbors

Really people - that stuff isn't any different than "Where the Wild Things Are." Did that scare the babies?

Peter Bryenton said...

Editors: I sent a link to this story to a friend who both practices and lectures in journalism.

Good "clean" photo-documentary too, thanks Steve.

Nancy said...

So much irony in this post. Your article being hacked to fit someone else's idea of perfect... and this amazing street art, pure and unadulterated, straight from the artist's soul. This is why I support the Indie movement. Dude, keep your hands off my crap! That's my motto.

ellen abbott said...

I love this piece of street art. It's a shame that it won't stay intact but for just a few days. you'd think that there would be some sort of respect among tatters. But I guess that tatters are a different sort that artists.

Steve Reed said...

Elizabeth: I wonder if I even still have it? I probably just have the badly edited version.

Angella: It is a delicate task. When I graduated to editing I often thought of this example and usually kept a pretty light touch.

E: It's a writer's curse, isn't it?

Ms Moon: Mine too! I remember she was on the Today show all the time. (Or maybe Good Morning America. Or both.)

Lynne: Aren't they great? I'm so sorry to see such great pieces vanish, which is why I began photographing street art in the first place.

Bug: Thanks SO MUCH for that clip! I hadn't heard about that! I actually dig those monsters. I think I'm on his side.

Peter: Thanks, on both counts. I'm sure my story is similar to those any journalism lecturer has heard a million times before from disgruntled writers. :)

Nancy: I think some editing can be good. Haven't you ever read a blog and thought, there's SOMETHING here, but I can't quite get to the point because of all the extraneous stuff? At the same time, though, yes, there can be too many cooks in the kitchen.

Ellen: It IS a shame. Actually there's something of a fierce rivalry between "artists" and hard-core urban taggers, who disparage street art as a sort of hipsterish pretending.

Helene Titsch said...

The art is awesome...glad you caught it! And love the Dr. Brothers story...the taste of victory is so sweet!