When I lived in Queens between the ages of 15 and 18, attending Flushing High School, I lived on a street called Kisenna Boulevard. Today the co-op apartments on the street are inhabited by Chinese people. When I went back to Flushing a couple of years ago to settle my mother’s affairs, I discovered that the neighborhood was a more interesting place with Chinese restaurants and shops, and now Main Street was teeming with people, like downtown Shanghai, I imagined. When I was a boy I lived in what was primarily a Jewish neighborhood and I spent a lot of time visiting my school mate Michael Miller’s apartment, also in the co-op. Michael’s father and mother were well-educated lefties and their home was filled with books and magazines. What attracted me most was the pile of Popular Photography magazines, which I devoured. I knew only a little bit about photography, but I had started taking pictures when I was 12. I became a surrogate member of the Miller family and hung out there many hours – and a good part of the time I spent reading those old copies of Popular Photography which, by hook or crook, taught me a lot about technical photography. Little did I know that someday I would be an editor at Popular Photography. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category
I wrote this article for the American Society of Cinematographers’ Magazine and it was published in their October 1982 issue. The reader may find it to be of interest, or possibly quaint. The film was shot with Chris Condon’s above and below lenses on a 35 mm Arriflex camera.
The dogs of Hiroshima
barked until the very end.
One slept on the ground, in the shade.
Two pups played and chewed on each other.
One dog came when it was called.
Another sat by the side of her master.
This story appeared in a collection of stories edited by Paul Krassner, “Pot Stories for the Soul.” The collection provides a rich view of the 60’s counter-culture, of which I was a part.
By Lenny Lipton
Behind me lay the Sacramento Valley, the A & W Root Beer drive-in in Redding, a hash joint in Weed and the ever-looming Mount Shasta, the Siskiyou, Ashland and the long glide downward into Oregon. Before me, across the road, that Halloween moonlit night, I heard the sounds a rock band coming from the big old house with the Jeffersonian columns. The house sat on a knob of land formed by a bend in the Mohawk River, just a few miles outside of the town of Marcola. They said it had been used in the Jimmy Stewart movie Shenandoah, and true or not, the story lent an air of glamour to the downtrodden manor.
It was Christmas vacation in 1952. The snow was falling in Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, but I was warm and dry as I stood in the queue with Harvey, Morty, Jeffrey and Robby, waiting to see ourselves on closed-circuit color TV in the storefront RCA Exhibition Hall. We inched along, mingling with the holiday crowd, until we came into the field of view of the lens of the refrigerator-sized color camera and at last saw ourselves on a nearly circular color tube, in bright “living colors.” Only there were too many living colors. The picture was out of alignment, or more properly, convergence. No such shortcoming could dim my enthusiasm, but when I got home to tell my mom how much I wanted a color TV, she wisely said: “We’ll buy one once it’s perfected.” It turns out we never had a color TV in our living room (but I bought her one years later). And neither did our Brooklyn neighbors, for it took more than twenty years and a fortune in research and development and marketing before RCA and its licensees achieved a fifty percent penetration for color TV sets. By that time the image quality had improved, but the system, named after a standards body empowered by The Radio Corporation of America, was mocked in engineering circles and NTSC came to be known as Never Twice the Same Color.
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) published my article “The Last Great Innovation: The Stereoscopic Cinema” in the November/December 2007 issue of their SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal.
My book Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema, the original definitive book on the subject, is available for download at the Stereoscopic Virtual Library. In this book I first enunciated the guiding engineering principal for stereoscopic 3D system design–the principal of binocular symmetries.
Puff the Magic Dragon, the children’s picture book, hits #1 this month according to Publishers Weekly.
I originally wrote the poem Puff the Magic Dragon as a college freshman in 1959, which became the song made popular by the group Peter, Paul and Mary. It was released as a children’s picture book this last July and is now being translated into fourteen languages.