Beautifully Briefed, May 2022: Two on Type, Two on Photography, and Kottke

This month’s favorites cover a delightful new extension of the typeface DaVinci, Google’s updated mega-font, Noto, photographs of a desert aircraft boneyard from above, and mega-photographs of the Milky Way.

Before we get there, however, I wanted to wish Jason Kottke — whose 24 years of web sleuthing has been a source for items here on Foreword dating back to its original iteration in the ’90s — good luck on his sabbatical:

“I need some space to think and live and have generative conversations and do things, and then I’ll make something, but I can’t tell you what it is just yet.”1Alexandra Bell, NYT That’s the sort of energy I need to tap into for a few months.

Hear, hear.

The Beautiful DaVinci Italic

It’s Nice That points us to a new, extended version of the font DaVinci, done for Sydney’s Biennale:

“When you do this sort of type exercise — based on printed letters — it gives a very organic shape and form, in opposition to the very metallic sharp shape from type materials.” Furthering this organic look by pushing the fluidity curse at its maximum, Virgile ended with a design “which is very historical, yet with a contemporary twist.” 

Just look at those glyphs!

Makes you want to find an excuse to use it. But that’s not all: Flores is an incredibly diverse artist whose work both challenges and inspires. See more.

Google’s Noto

Called “A Typeface for the World,” Google’s Noto defines “megaproject.”

Noto is a collection of high-quality fonts with multiple weights and widths in sans, serif, mono, and other styles. The Noto fonts are perfect for harmonious, aesthetic, and typographically correct global communication, in more than 1,000 languages and over 150 writing systems. 

Google’s Noto font collection.

According to Google,

“Noto” means “I write, I mark, I note” in Latin. The name is also short for “no tofu”, as the project aims to eliminate ‘tofu’: blank rectangles shown when no font is available for your text.

While the font itself has been around for a few years — 2013 seems like yesterday in so many ways! — it’s updated regularly, cover 150 out of the 154 scripts defined in Unicode, and deserves attention from every web designer and type nut. Read more at Google or Wikipedia. (Via Kottke.)

Aircraft Boneyard, From an Aircraft

This is Colossal introduces us to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, whose desert conditions are ideal for storing — and scrapping — aircraft:

What happens when the military’s aircraft are end-of-lifed

The photographs are by Bernhard Lang — whom Colossal has highlighted before — and who has an incredible talent for finding patterns from above. See many more at his website.

Milky Way Photography

We don’t get many opportunities here in Middle Georgia, but in other, less populous (read: less light-polluted) places in the world, the Milky Way shines forth from the heavens:

Mountain, redefined.

The Guardian points us to the 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year, and many just wow:

Take cover . . . in awe!

Check ’em all out, be inspired to take one of your own, or simply be reminded just how big this system we’re a part of is. Enjoy.

Gallery Update: The Columbus Museum

As I mentioned in the last entry, Gerald and I were in Columbus, Georgia on Saturday, where our primary photographic mission was The Columbus Museum — specifically, its Olmsted Garden.

ArchDaily is to blame here; they pointed me to the following:

Celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., known as “the father of landscape architecture”, the Cultural Landscape Foundation has created an ever-growing digital guide of Olmsted’s most notable works.

I immediately looked up what was near me, and lo and behold…. (Full disclosure: the garden is actually by Bradley Olmsted, one of Fredrick’s sons.)

Of course, the building’s interesting, too, so there’s a good mix of architecture, gardens, architecture from the garden, and — you guessed it — garden architecture:

The Columbus Museum (B&W #1)
Urn, Columns and Bricks, The Columbus Museum
Crawford’s Kindred (B&W detail), The Columbus Museum
Olmsted Garden (Flower #3), The Columbus Museum
Old Pool House (B&W), Olmsted Garden, The Columbus Museum

I enjoyed the visit, and as a result of that visit, added 32 new photographs to the Columbus gallery. (They’re grouped together: “Columbus Museum – Mar22.”) Peruse anytime; purchase if you’d like. Thank you!

Updated Gallery: Columbus, Georgia

Gerald and I were in Columbus, Georgia, today, which included a delicious lunch at The Black Cow — no word whether the name is related to the Steely Dan song — and which meant a few photographs:

United States Post Office and Court House (Eagle Detail), Columbus, Georgia

One of several of the Post Office and Court House (the header photograph is that building, too), along with a few others from downtown:

Lamp and Buildings, Downtown Columbus, Georgia
Arches, Planes, and Sky, Downtown Columbus, Georgia
Tower and Spire, Downtown Columbus, Georgia

Columbus is really well covered in its dedicated gallery: check it out. The majority of today’s photographs, however, were from the Columbus Museum; those will be posted Monday. Stay tuned.

Updated Gallery: Sarasota – Ringling Museum

The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida has been a place I’ve been taking photographs since I lived in the area, almost twenty years ago now — and a place where I continue to enjoy taking photographs whenever possible.

The grounds have these amazing banyan trees, with root systems larger than many houses:

Banyan (black and white, detail)

They’ve expanded over the years, adding buildings, a new entrance, and additions. This is the Chao Center for Asian Art:

Chao Center’s Asian Art Siding #3 (Detail)

The old Ca d’Zan gate is the new main entrance:

Ca d’Zan Lion

And, of course, the whole compound is right on Sarasota Bay:

Ringling’s Bayfront

Take a virtual stroll through the Ringling grounds with 24 new photographs, along with many more over the years, and a few extra photographs from Sarasota proper. Enjoy.

Updated Gallery: Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain

As I mentioned yesterday, Gerald and I enjoyed a lovely first-of-spring drive out of middle Georgia. Our destination was Pine Mountain, home of F. D. Roosevelt State Park. Needless to say, there were cameras involved.

Starting on Dowdell Knob, FDR’s favorite picnic spot — with its amazing valley overlook:

Roosevelt’s Grill With a View, Dowdell Knob

Next was the park’s office and overlook complex:

FDR State Park Office (B&W Study), Pine Mountain
Stone, Shutters, and Stars and Stripes
FDR State Park Overlook: Rocks

Peruse the entire gallery here. And when you have some extra time, all of FDR State Park is worth a visit; it’s got everything from hiking trails to cabins to the Callaway Gardens Country Kitchen in its 9049 acres. Enjoy!

Bonus: Georgia Public Broadcasting, at the premier of its film A President in Our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia, said:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a very special relationship with the State of Georgia. This compelling documentary spotlights the mutual benefits that the friendship provided to both the president and the people of Georgia. The film is based on the book, A President in Our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia.

It’s no Ken Burns, certainly, but if you’re not familiar with FDR’s extensive time spent in west Georgia, it might be worth your time. See it here.

Bonus gallery: Callaway Gardens, from 2008.

New and Updated Galleries: Woodland, Thomaston, and Yatesville

The end of winter here in Georgia means beautifully warm days, flowers and trees budding, and photography. Gerald and I took a road trip this weekend, enjoying almost 200 miles of driving — and four photostrolls.

We’ll cover three today, heading west from Middle Georgia:

Yatesville Peach Blossoms #1

See everything from Yatesville, pop. 408, here.

Next is an update from Thomaston, whose downtown square is typical of Georgia:

Upson County Courthouse (B&W Study #2), 2022

That gallery is available here.

Lastly today is a new stop: Woodland, in west-central Georgia, near Pine Mountain and Warm Springs, northeast of Columbus.

Woodland Antiques
Postal Angel (Awning to be Free)

Woodland, whose population also happens to be 408, has a gallery here.

Many thanks to Gerald for the company and good day. Next up: FDR State Park, likely tomorrow.

Where You At? A Bioregional Quiz

A few days ago, Jason Kottke posted an item that raised an important enough question — well, twenty of them — that I wanted to repeat it here. The questions stem from a 1981 quiz1Developed by Leonard Charles, Jim Dodge, Lynn Milliman, and Victoria Stockley, originally published in Coevolution Quarterly 32, from winter 1981, asking how well you know your local natural environment. They are:

  1. Trace the water you drink from precipitation to tap.
  2. How many days til the moon is full? (Slack of 2 days allowed.)
  3. What soil series are you standing on?
  4. What was the total rainfall in your area last year (July-June)? (Slack: 1 inch for every 20 inches.)
  5. When was the last time a fire burned in your area?
  6. What were the primary subsistence techniques of the culture that lived in your area before you?
  7. Name 5 edible plants in your region and their season(s) of availability.
  8. From what direction do winter storms generally come in your region?
  9. Where does your garbage go?
  10. How long is the growing season where you live?
  11. On what day of the year are the shadows the shortest where you live?
  12. When do the deer rut in your region, and when are the young born?
  13. Name five grasses in your area. Are any of them native?
  14. Name five resident and five migratory birds in your area.
  15. What is the land use history of where you live?
  16. What primary ecological event/process influenced the land form where you live? (Bonus special: what’s the evidence?)
  17. What species have become extinct in your area?
  18. What are the major plant associations in your region?
  19. From where you’re reading this, point north.
  20. What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom where you live?

I did poorly. (In the words of the authors, “It’s hard to be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all.”) In fact, I did so poorly that I decided to not only follow up on the questions but put my camera where my mouth is.

In answer to the first question, Macon and a good chunk of Middle Georgia get their drinking water from the Ocmulgee River:

Ocmulgee (River) Origin

In fact, this past weekend’s trip to Monticello and Barnesville were merely extensions of the trip to Jackson Lake and Dam, so I could see where the Ocmulgee starts. Next up is to trace the Yellow, Alcovy and South Rivers, which feed Jackson Lake. (See the rest of the photographs from the Jackson area.)

Jackson Dam #1

But I’d ask everyone reading this to ask yourselves the same questions. As Kottke points out, most of the people living here years ago would have known more of the answers than those of us who live in the built environment do. He passes on an idea from Rob Walker:

Pick one of the questions you don’t know the answer to – and make it a point to learn what that answer is. After you’ve mastered that, move on to a new question.

Go!

  • 1
    Developed by Leonard Charles, Jim Dodge, Lynn Milliman, and Victoria Stockley, originally published in Coevolution Quarterly 32, from winter 1981

New Gallery: Jackson, Georgia

This past weekend’s road trip included five stops, including Monticello and Barnesville, which I covered in the last post. However, there were three more stops in the middle.

Jackson Dam, which forms the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River — and which has a fishing area with this neat scene:

Walk and Deck, Jackson Dam

Jackson Lake, formed by the Yellow, Alcovy, and South Rivers:

Jackson Lake (Wideangle)

And Jackson proper, which has a traditional (for Georgia, at least) town square with a courthouse:

Butts County Courthouse #5, Jackson

Also, this — with perhaps too cute a title:

Downtown Door During Reconstruction, Jackson

All of these have been added to a new gallery. Check it out.

Monticello and Barnesville Galleries Updated

February has been beautiful here in Georgia, with spring just beginning to show — which means the Leica and I are out and about again.

Let’s start in Monticello. (Although named for Jefferson’s estate of the same name, it’s actually pronounced “Monti-sello.”) The tractor’s still there:

Monticello Tractor (Pinhole)

And my chase of architectural details continues anew:

Cornice and Corbel, Collected

More to see in the updated gallery. (A reminder: once there, click on any photo to start a slideshow.)

Next, Barnesville:

Red Southern Caboose Against Blue Sky

Across Main Street is this:

Whitewalls of Thine Increase

Enjoy that updated gallery, too.

Bonus Update: Gave the 235 some exercise, too — which means a couple of photographs.

Beautifully Briefed, Late February 2022: Photography, Font, and Furniture

A three-fer as we wind through this February: Peter Stewart, a really talented architecture photographer from Australia; VAG Rounded, Apple’s keyboard font and how it relates to Volkswagen; and a new site called The Apple Store Glossary leads to an interesting review of furniture in Apple Stores.

Peter Stewart

November’s Beautifully Briefed covered the 2021 Architecture Photography Awards shortlist, and one of the photographers is Peter Stewart, a self-taught Australian who wanders around Asia. Gotta say: he’s better than great.

“Hanshins Web” Osaka, Japan. 2019, by Peter Stewart

His eye for pattern and color is spot-on:

“Four Columns” Tokyo, Japan. 2019, by Peter Stewart

Archinect’s In Focus feature has a great 2019 interview that not only discusses the how and where, but also the why — including his thoughts on use of Photoshop and, perhaps most insightfully, how to thrive as a photographer in this crowded age:

The hardest part of being a photographer today is finding a way to stand out among the crowd. In just the past few years Instagram has changed everything and given rise to a sizable number of highly talented new photographers. We are inherently influenced by the work we see from others, and as such has given rise to a lot of popular trends and styles of photography which has brought about a bit of a copycat culture. The point is, I think it’s important to find your own themes and ideas in order to progress, and not to simply emulate.

Peter Stewart, Archinect Interview

Check it out.

VAG Rounded and Apple

Daring Fireball is a daily stop for Apple geeks like me, but rarely does it cross into graphic design territory — except when it links to a Jalopnik article discussing how a Volkswagen font wound up on Apple’s keyboards.

Good stuff. (Bonus ’80s Dasher brochure siting, too.) Enjoy.

Apple Store’s Boardroom Furniture

Some Apple Stores have additional, not-usually-open-to-the-public spaces called boardrooms. And, as you might imagine, they’re filled with interesting stuff.

A new (to me, at least) site called The Apple Store Glossary has information and photographs of all aspects of Apple Stores, from the new Pickup area to the behind-the-scenes Boardrooms.

The latter started out as something called Briefing Rooms, intended for business customers and special events. However, they’ve evolved: more casual, more comfortable. And more interesting:

Apple Boardroom (Passeig de Gràcia store, Barcelona, Spain)

9to5Mac has a great roundup of these rooms we don’t see, from the accessories (bonus Eames Bird sightings) to the books, and perhaps most interestingly, the furniture.

Grab a seat, get comfortable, and get info.

Two Photography Contents with Results Worth It

Let’s face it: photography contests are often more about promoting the contest or the publisher than the photographer. “Read the fine print before entering” is more than good advice, as little details like reassigned copyright can wind up being big details indeed. With the disclaimer out of the way, here are some results absolutely worth highlighting.

First up, two of my favorites from the 8th Annual International Landscape Photographer of the Year competition:

“Comet NeoWise Setting,” Tanmay Sapkal, Mt. Tamalpais, Marin, CA, USA

Spectacular, from the location to the fog to, of course, the comet. More than right place, right time, it’s just right. Well done.

“Fire,” Marcin Zajac, Yosemite National Park, USA

This one combines beauty with something frightening, a not-so-subtle reminder that the future we face is about more than just wielding a camera.

See the rest of the Landscape Photographer winners here. (Via DPReview.)

Next, let’s look at something less well-known: the UK’s International Garden Photographer of the Year, starting with this:

“The Stardust,” Magdalena Wasiczek, Trzebinia, Poland

Wow. Everything about that shot is just perfect. Congrats to Magdalena Wasiczek.

“Bamford Beauty,” Lee Howdle, Derbyshire, England, UK

Recognize the bridge? (Never mind.) Quintessentially English and beautifully done.

“Seedheads, Re-imagined,” Ingrid Popplewell, UK

This is one of six, called Portfolio shots, by Ingrid Popplewell. Re-imagined, indeed.

“Arrangement for Crete,” Laurie Peek, Rockland County, New York, US

This one’s filed in the abstract category, and something that could be envisioned as a book cover. Nicely done.

See more the the BBC’s roundup, or visit the competition’s website.

Bonus update: DPReview brings you the Travel Photographer of the Year, too.

Bonus update 2: The BBC covers the Underwater Photographer of the Year. (Because there aren’t enough of these contests to go around.)

Architecture in Music

New Zealand-based photographer Charles Brooks, who happens to have spent years as a professional cellist, brings us some astonishing inside-the-instrument shots, including this one:

1780 Lockey Hill Cello. © Charles Brooks

The Colossal post, where I ran across this, is definitely worth a read. But let me just add one thing: He’s using an L-mount (yes!) Laowa probe lens, an insightful choice driven by curiosity. Well done, sir.

His levitation shots are killer, too. And there’s behind-the-scenes (literally) stuff on his blog. Oh, and his logo is fantastic.

Score! (Sorry — had to say it.) Go visit.

Beautifully Briefed, Early February 2022: A Car, a Photo, and a Book

BMW i3 Discontinued

As some of you know, for getting around town, I zip about in an electric BMW i3. The range isn’t great — 120 miles, give or take, meaning I’d have to recharge there if I went to Atlanta — but for Macon and pretty much all of Middle Georgia, it’s perfect. Grocery store? No problem. Park, for a walk? No warmup, no emissions. Enough range for an ice cream in Musella or lunch in Milledgeville? Easy.

In fact, it’s not an understatement to say that I rave about my i3. Simply put, I love it.

Electric Toolbox, Wooden Shed

When introduced in 2014, it was hugely ahead of its time. Built on a bespoke platform with a carbon-fiber body and an eye-catching style (that somehow just looks electric), it was a huge change of pace for the “Ultimate Driving Machine” folks. And it’s done well for them, too: a quarter-million since.

Alas, it’s just been discontinued: people want SUVs instead. Bah.

From cars to boats

Leica has announced their photograph of the year for 2021:

Over the past ten years, Leica Camera AG has honoured twelve renowned photographers for their life’s work, by inducting them into the Leica Hall of Fame. A Leica Picture of the Year has now been designated for the first time, with the aim of sharing this success with all Leica enthusiasts. 

Leica’s 2021 Photograph of the Year

One of the things that makes photography so glorious is how many different ways the person behind the camera could approach a subject. So, I ask myself: would I have taken that photograph? Almost certainly not. That said, would I hang it on my wall? Yes. For $2000? Maybe another lens instead!

LeicaRumors has more. Meanwhile, I’ll keep improving. Someday….

Update: The official Leica page: Ralph Gibson and the M11.

2021 Cover of the Year addition

Lastly, the New Yorker’s Briefly Noted book reviews (from 6 December — I get them second-hand, and subsequently, am a little behind) reveals a collection of poetry — a reinvestigation of chemical weapons dropped on Vietnam — whose cover is sublime:

Yellow Rain, 7 x 9″ paperback, Graywolf Press, cover by Jeenee Lee Design

Noted, indeed — I wish I’d seen this in time for my favorite covers of 2021. Belated Honorable Mention! (Thanks, Youa.)

New Website. Finally.

Housekeeping news: I went back to having an actual website in June, 2019; for a few years, I’d just used a photography hosting service, as photography was the vast majority of what I did. However, when book design again became an important-enough part of my work, I wanted to have a space to talk about it. I bought a WordPress template, added photographs, and posted it.

…But I never really liked it. From the beginning, I felt y’all deserved more: better typography, better photography, better everything. Like so many, however, one’s own stuff is always at the bottom of the to-do list. No longer.

I’d like to introduce the new version:

The new gileshoover.com, January, 2022

There were a few bumps getting here (naturally, I broke everything along the way; to say I don’t code is an understatement!), but with some tweaking notwithstanding, the new gileshoover.com is live. It’s got all-original photography, matched sans and serif font superfamily (Merriweather by Sorkin Type, a Google Font), much faster response time, open-source foundations, and so on.

Note that entries on Foreword are best seen individually, as you’ll see bigger photographs (or illustrations, graphics, etc.). Click on entry titles to get there.

Please explore.

Beautifully Briefed, January 2022: Airplanes, Architecture, and Typography

BB Jan22 header image

Happy New Year! Stephen Colbert called it, “an unprecedented third year of 2020.” Let’s hope it turns out better than that.

To that end, here are some neat things to catch your eye.

Airliner Photography, to the nth degree
MG - no bogies here

I’ve been a plane junkie since, well, forever; to this day, I watch YouTube videos of things flying around, often the big ‘uns. I follow Airliners.net’s Civil Aviation forum, and can tell you at a glance whether something sitting at the gate is a Embraer 190 or Airbus 220. So this new title by photographer Maxime Guyon has my complete attention.

MG engine

Very much looking forward to getting my hands on. Beautifully done, sir. (Via a great article at It’s Nice That.)

ArchDaily’s New Branding

Meanwhile, another subject I follow:

ArchDaily 2022

Arch Daily has already teamed up with Architonic, a site for products, last year. For 2022, they’ve rebranded and both sites are now linked with DesignBoom, one of the web’s original sites for design and architecture (since 1999!). Dezeen has more.

The Year in Type

Last but certainly not least, I Love Typography has a great roundup of 2021: The Year in Type.

The Year in Type, 2021

Enjoy, indeed.