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5 Things I Learned From Deleting my FB Account

In my recent post, The Process of Personal Archeology, I shared that I deleted my Facebook account. I had 2 weeks to change my mind before it was permanent. On the last day, I reinstated it. Here’s what I learned:

Contact Info – I don’t have contact info for most of my Facebook connections except through FB. To stay in touch I would need to collect each person’s contact information outside of FB. Marketing departments call this “owning the customer data.” Both Amazon and FB have a lot of data about each user. In personal terms, unless I take active steps otherwise, FB “owns” the contact info of my contacts.

I let three people I am connected to on FB and IRL know that I was deleting my FB account. I didn’t post a departure notice on FB [which in retrospect, I should have done].  If anyone noticed, they couldn’t reach out because they likely did not have my contact info.

Conversations – Messenger is also deleted when you delete your FB account. I quite like Messenger. It’s different in feel from mobile phone text. In both cases the content is delivered to your device. The messages are both presumably from someone you already know well enough to give your phone number. But. I write differently for Messenger than I do for text. I translate the message I receive differently too. The tone of content in Messenger is more conversational than text and less transactional.

Communication – When I see my FB friends IRL, we start in a different place because I don’t know what they’ve been up to, what amazing vacations they have been on or what family reunions they’ve been to. I don’t get to enjoy those photos. Likewise, I’m limited in my ability to share as well. Marketing departments would call being able to start communication with a customer in the right place “knowing the customer” or “customer intimacy.”

Cat Videos – I remarked to my husband just yesterday that without FB I lost my reliable source of curated funny cat videos (which send me into spasms of laughter) and adorable dog videos. I’m convinced that once in awhile these videos are the sole benefit of creating the internet:)

Collected Data – You have the option to download all the data that FB collects about you. Picture1I did that. Check out the folders image from the download for details on what is collected. For example, there’s a record of every IP address I have ever logged into FB from. FB uses this information presumably to serve up relevant ads. To FB, I’m a target.

Conclusion – I’m back on FB with the express goal of attracting my friends out of the walled garden into a world where we can communicate directly with each other.

The Process of Personal Archeology


“How’s your Swedish death cleaning going?” my cousin-in-law asked last week.  In Swedish that’s döstädning — a combination of the word “dö” (which means death) and “standing”.

I hadn’t heard the term before but was both delighted and amused by it. Why wait? Why burden someone else with all that I’ve accumulated. That wasn’t actually why I started. I had time and the rare form of energy required to examine and evaluate. But it definitely played a part in continuing. Here are some of the places that I dug into on my personal archeology review, in no particular order:

Hard Drive – Keeping back up drives up to date and mirrored and the hard drive organized are on-going struggles. I renamed and rearranged folders to reflect how my mind and days are organized now and made sure all the information I wanted to keep was saved in 2 places.

The Cloud – Box, Dropbox, Evernote, all contain dirty footprints from files now mysterious and vacation travel research long past useful. Time to go.

Social – I deleted a blog I no longer maintained, my 15 year old Flickr account because they wanted to bill me $99 to keep it going, and most controversial of all, my Facebook account. The good news is that all 3 had the ability to download an archive copy for my records.

The Garage – The paint we used on our interior 15 years ago can be recycled at paint stores. But the various spray paints needed to go to the city’s hazardous waste disposal site. Appointment needed. Some old photography chemicals have a shelf life of forever. These I gifted to friends. Others I took to the city hazardous waste site also.

Hardware – Much of the hardware that I have used for photography is still useful but nonetheless aging. Seals go bad, apertures stop working, so saving an item to use someday is silly thinking. In the face of entropy, donation to a local junior college is my best bet. Old electronics like mice and keyboards can be taken to the city hazardous waste site.

Yard – we’ve been fortunate to have a tree trimming and exterior painting projects that have forced us to evaluate what’s on the patio. No need to keep a rake and a hoe when we replaced all the dirt with pavers. Even the potted plants may still go.

Passion Projects – I had 6 paintings that were taking up space in the closet. They were experiments at one point in time. I put them on the curb and 4 of them disappeared immediately. I am repainting the other 2 with something cheery to see if they will disappear as well.

Furniture – That IKEA Poang chair and ottoman in storage were not getting used. Thankfully, I found some friends in need of furniture because a roommate had moved out. The furniture is now in use.

Photographs – I threw away a ton of my photo prints all carefully filed away in photo albums when that was a thing, but I kept the negatives and photos of people. It was interesting to look in the rear view mirror at experiences that seemed so dear at the time but in retrospect, I didn’t need the evidence to remember the enjoyment.

Artwork – I have a lot of works on paper that I had stored in various sizes of boxes, in various places. I pulled all of these out and consolidated them into an Alex drawer unit from IKEA which I LOVE! I am much more able to find things and enjoy them more.

In short, I’m learning a lot from a life examined.

Many thanks to my friend Kathryn for the title to this post.


Photo Book vs Photo Magazine


Left: Photo Magazine                                                     Right: Photo Book

In my last post I wrote about finding a way to publish photo books cheaper as a magazine. In the process of creating a book and a magazine I learned a lot about the differences between the two.  The medium really does matter!

You’d think it would be easy to know the differences between a book and a magazine because we read them all the time. All I can say is that the practice of creating a photo magazine, Myopia in Britain and contrasting that with creating my eighth photo book, Myopia in Italy, has given me a more intimate appreciation of what goes into the design and a much enlarged mental map of what is possible. Let’s start with something simple.


My mental model of a magazine read “saddle-stitch” in which folded sheets are held together by  staples regularly spaced up the spine. Whereas my mental model of a book said perfect-bound where the pages and the cover are glued together usually at the left edge. What I discovered is that indie published magazines don’t have to be saddle-stitched. They can also be perfect-bound just like the fancy mags Elle Decor and Architectural Digest.


For my indie published books, I had been able to select from a number of papers. For example, Blurb offers a variety of surfaces and weights. (Note: I’m not able to use Artifact Uprising and Shutterfly as examples because they do not offer magazine publishing services.)

  • Standard 80#
  • Premium Lustre 100#
  • Premium Matte 100#
  • Proline Uncoated 100#
  • Proline Pearl Photo 140#
  • Standard Layflat 100#

I had assumed that magazine paper would be high gloss and a much lighter 60# paper. What I discovered is that the same heavier paper is also an option. For example, Blurb offers

  • Cover: 80# Semi-gloss (216 GSM) for heft and protection
  • Paper: 80# Matte text (118 GSM) paper
  • Cover: 65# Semi-Gloss (176 GSM) (Economy)
  • Paper: 60# Gloss text (89 GSM) (Economy)


In my photo books to date, I had focused on one or two images per page for the most part (although I did sneak in a nine-up and a four-up here and there) because the images were the focal point. In an 8.5″ x 11″ magazine, the portrait or vertical format meant that 2 horizontal images on one page or one vertical image on one page fit best. But that image density and layout didn’t feel right. It felt more natural to put several images of different sizes and orientations on one page along with text.


I wasn’t sure if my preference was a result of reading magazines or if it was something that happened because of the format. So I checked out what the real pros do.

I stopped by Powell’s books in Portland, Oregon and thumbed through the gold standard, LensWork, a premier photo magazine that has won the Benjamin Franklin award (aka the “Oscar” of the printing industry) five times. That’s more times than anybody else. LensWork was perfect bound on heavier paper in smaller vertical format. A single image or two covered most of the page. Where there was text content it was a full page. No ads. The printer was Hemlock Printing.

So the layout can be anything you want it to be. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.


Rather than select that one best image in each case like I did for photo books, I selected groupings of images that helped illustrate an experience, for example, of driving in Britain or of drinking beer at a pub.


When I do a photo book about the same topic, 90% of these images will not make it in.  The advantage of having all of them is a more rounded view but the result (at least of my initial effort) is less art and more information / illustration. A very interesting shift.


What to say, what to say! As a photographer, I don’t use text a lot. Often I don’t even use titles though I should. Coming up with the text meant figuring out what to say about a grouping of images. What story to tell. The inclusion of text is another subtle shove from art to illustration / information. In a photo book, a poem about each image would balance the importance of the image with the words more.


And there’s the decision of whether to lay text over images and/or beside images. When does text over an image make the image “more” and when does it diminish the image.


This project was the culmination of a labor intensive post-travel process that took hours that I didn’t keep track of. I:

  • found 1,000s of images from various years
  • looked through all of the images
  • chose about 200 to examine more closely and edit,
  • selected 93 of those for the final edit
  • arranged those 93 images over 30 pages
  • wrote accompanying text

Overall, I’m very impressed with the magazine format and am considering whether to do more of my future work in this format following LensWorks layout and emphasis. I hope you enjoyed!


PSR: Publish Photo Books Cheaper


What problem was I trying to solve? Independent publishing of printed photo books is expensive. For example, I experimenting with the same book on 3 different services and the average cost was $63:

[Note: this post is about printed matter. Blurb also offers iBooks, Amazon, iOS and Android compatible digital versions as well as PDF.]


While searching for alternatives I found the Alliance of Independent Authors and they review and rate self-publishing services. For example, they recommend Blurb as well as Apple iBooks and Amazon CreateSpace is a partner member.  AIA also have Watchdog Advisory and Caution categories and they use them.

While researching other publishers, I stumbled upon a prolific photographer who recommended switching from photo book to magazine format to bring down the cost significantly while keeping the photo quality up.

Indie magazines have experienced a renaissance lately in part because of the availability of technology. Blurb got into magazines in a big way in 2014 by licensing MagCloud, HP’s web-based publishing platform invented by HP Labs in 2008 that created a network of users publishing magazines on-demand using HP Indigo commercial printing presses.


I published a 37 page soft cover magazine, Myopia in Britain, on Blurb for $10. Versus an average of $63 for a book. That’s 6x difference.

Magazine Cover

Next week I will have an actual physical copy in my hands and will let you know how the quality stacks up. In the meantime, my next post will be about the things I learned about the differences between creating a book and creating a magazine. The medium really does matter!


Collage Works

Final Large Copy NPNO Small

Nothing to Prove to No One by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2018

Collage was perfect. The act of assembling a new cohesive narrative out of discarded discordant ephemera appeals to me. I got curious about this practice and went to find out more.

Collage was a movement, but before that it was a useful skill employed in 19th century graphic printing processes. Just like then, collage juxtaposes incongruent text, images and color. The result challenges us because we can’t rely on the original context and narrative of each piece and we may not even know where it’s from. Viewing a collage forces us to create a new story to explain the new context. The messy work of mapping out the fluid relationships between formerly fixed elements taxes the maker and the viewer.

The panelist abstracts from the Collage, Montage, Assemblage: Collected and Composite Forms, 1700 – Present Conference in Edinburgh on April 2018 shed some light. Namely that when collage is used an art form the form itself performs several functions and conveys several things.

Collage is a way to conserve. Salvage arts such as collage are often a patriotic gesture during the make do and mend culture of war time.

Collage can be a way to mourn or heal. The act of compositing can be an emotional outlet when physically or emotionally displaced. It can serve as a reminder of lost places and relationships or a way for participants to rediscover and reinvent their identities. Collage can be an act of violence, pulling things apart, and an effort to self-heal by putting them together again in new ways.

Collage can also be used as a way to seize control of the narrative. The act of making a collage gives back a sense of agency, a way to write yourself back into the picture or write your self a new picture. Reconstruction demands decisions about what to take and what to leave behind. Collages subvert mass media images of news, success, etc and takes control of their meaning.

The practice of collage works on so many levels. The emotions expressed can be of sadness or of joy, of disorientation or order, or anything in between.

CrossFit Open 2018 Lessons Learned

All five of the 18.x CrossFit Open workouts are behind me now. It was really fun! I learned five lessons as a newbie that I wanted to share with you. If you’re not a CrossFit crazy don’t worry – they are life lessons too.

Change your grip. 

The 18.3 workout had a ton of pull-ups. I was thrilled to be able to do one, but in one round, I needed to do twenty-four. Miraculously, by adopting a flying bat approach and doing them one at a time I was able to get to 20. But despite four attempts I could not get 21. If I had changed my grip to underhand, I could have gotten at least one more pull-up.

How many things in life, if we could just change our grip on them, would we do more or better or differently.The dutch word “begripet” is perfect for this. It means “understanding” but it means it in a very visceral way –  “to get a grip on things”.  Change your grip on things and change your life.

Jennifer Garvey Berger, author of Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World, talks about whether something has us or whether we have it. When something has us, it controls us without our knowing it. When we have it, in the palm of our hand, we can look at it, and make decisions about it.

Offering our troubles and worries and wants and cares to God’s care in prayer is one way of changing our grip on things. If we don’t have a grip on it, and can give it to Him we know He does.

Work on your weakness

In CrossFit, a weakness in any one of the ten focus areas (like agility, strength, etc) will prevent you from completing a round. For example, if your upper back is too stiff to perform an overhead squat, and that’s part of the 18.x workout, then you can’t get past that point. You work on your weaknesses so that you can participate.

This approach is different from a contemporary approach to development popularized by Don Clifton, author of Strengths Finder 2.0 and Marcus Buckingham, author of Stand Out 2.0,  which focuses on finding your strengths and developing those. I’ve seen this approach work very well to improve individual and team performance. And, it is also true that weaknesses can keep you from participating.

As a contrast to those approaches, it’s good to remember  2 Corinthians 12:9-11

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with [b]insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Encouragement matters

In each Open competition, each participant has a judge and must meet movement standards or else hear “no-rep”. Judges do more.

I despaired of being able to do even one more thruster before the seven minute time cap was up on 18.5. At 65 reps, my judge, Jeb Binkley, gave me hope by saying “two minutes left, plenty of time, rest and go again.” I rested for 10 song beats and went back at it to failure. I got five more…and thought that was all I could do. Jeb said, “90 seconds more. You have time to rest and go again.” I rested for 10 song beats and got five more to complete the set of 15 and went on to get three jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups before the buzzer.

That’s a whopping 20% more reps because my judge oriented me in time and encouraged me. Who’s your encourager? Who are you encouraging? It’s worth at least 20%.

One at a time

Last year, I had started overhead squats with a PVC pipe and squatting to a low box. Nine months later, my best overhead squat was 18 pounds. But the scaled requirement was 35 pounds or 94% more than my best so far. Twenty one times. At the start of the workout. If I couldn’t get past this, I couldn’t do much else.

I tested it out on the practice bars. I could barely do one. “Okay, that’s it then, a score of one.” I thought to myself.

As I was setting up for what was sure to be a one rep round, Tim Dymmel, CrossFit Palo Alto owner and coach, walked by and said, “Can you do one?” I said, “Yes”. He said, “Then do them one at a time.”

Amazingly enough, I did. All 21. One at a time. Whatever mountain is too hard to climb, do it, one at at time.

Teamwork is dreamy

Being on a team cheering for each other, judging for each other, encouraging each other was consistently the best part of this experience for me. Whether it was the team we made, Team Alma, or the temporary team formed between judge and participant, with Rob Castaneda and Jeb Binkley it’s a real bond.

And the people were amazing. From the “box” owners like Tim and Christine Dymmel (CrossFit Palo Alto) and John and Jennifer Huston (Pacific Crest CrossFit) who orchestrated each workout for heats of people, to the volunteers who helped setup and tear down, the judges who both watched for the no-rep and the fellow participants who cheered others on and the people who took pictures, each had a role to play in making these five workouts over five weeks a lot of fun.


Team Alma: Will, Amy, Cheryl, Janine, Coach Alma, Mary and Jennifer

I can’t wait for next time:)

In Between

Large moments lie between

the goal posts of shadowed branches.

Be present there too.