I am curios – how does it feel to run the most hated service in the world?

A few days ago, the self proclaimed “most loved” payment service decided to freeze my account. Just because. To be exact, they “determined” that I was involved in some dark illegitimate affairs and by doing so, violated their Terms of Service or something to that effect. It still puzzles me what kind of illegal stuff I was plotting, yet the following events were even more bizarre (however hard it may be to imagine).

It is not that hard to imagine that emails to the customer service went unanswered. After all, PayPal is famous for it’s “customer service denial” system.

Next came the phone call, which prompted me to blog this in the first place. The conversation went as follows:

– PayPal: We see that you have a problem with your account. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer you our service
– I : That’s exactly why I’m calling you. I wish to close the account
– PayPal: We cannot do that. We can lock it.
– I : No, I wish to close it. You just said you can no longer offer me the service, so close it.
– PayPal: We cannot do that. We can lock it.
– I : Why?
– PayPal: Because closing is not possible for limited accounts
– I : How long the limits will stay in effect?
– PayPal: Indefinitely
– I : I wish to close the account
– PayPal: It is not possible
– I : Can you provide an explanation?
– PayPal: No
– I : Why not?
– PayPal: Because we don’t see a reason. Goodbye!

Who needs a muscle these days… The days of bullies are drawing to the end folks. Modern bullies wear suits and ties. You don’t need to be strong, you just need to be PayPal, the most hated payment service in the world.

How do you feel, PayPal? Fine, I’m sure…

It’s a “mistery” – the sequoia rainforests of North California

It's a "mistery"

Or maybe "foggery" 🙂 The sequoia rainforests around the Crescent Bay area. A spellbinding experience straight out of some unbelievable fantasy novel, where the ocean fog drapes the thousand year old trees…

#foggy #landscapephotography #sequoia #wp  

attached image

via Alex Stepanov :: Google+ Posts
Find the original post here… https://plus.google.com/104646146884143207478/posts/M4HpZdF7NwF

You are invited to visit my other sites:
Commercial work: www.astepanov.com
Travel & Art Photography: www.smallbigplanet.com
Behind-The-Scenes and articles on PHOTIGY are here

I am curious. Nothing in particular, just curious…

I am curious. Nothing in particular, just curious. I look up when everyone else is looking down… They say “curious George” – I’m not so sure about the “George” part but otherwise… I wonder how many otherwise perfectly normal people would spend their Sunday morning laying right smack in the middle of the way in a busy mall (and in some pretty indecent pose I might add) taking shots at the mall cupola. Judging by the looks I received – not too many. Which makes me wonder – why don’t they see it the same way? We are all given at least two eyes (some got three, they call us “photographers”) so why don’t they see it? I am pretty sure I have missed some untold numbers of bugs and worms, and maybe a few dog piles – all due to paying attention to what’s up in the sky – but it doesn’t bother me too much. I wonder why?

#wp #architecture #architecturalphotography

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via Alex Stepanov :: Google+ Posts
Find the original post here… https://plus.google.com/104646146884143207478/posts/FNRx5RjM3ab

You are invited to visit my other sites:
Commercial work: www.astepanov.com
Personal & Art: www.500px.com/astfoto
Behind-The-Scenes and articles on PHOTIGY are here

I am the road

For some reason, I only feel at home while on the road. Don’t ask me why… I think, it must be something related to the ancestry – while everyone else was busy trying to descend from the apes (please direct your comments to certain Mr. Darwin), I took the shortcut and descended from a gipsy dog who wasn’t very busy at the moment 🙂 Seemed like a good idea at the time… Now I’m bound to ramble. Luckily, there is no shortage of open roads in California and each one is beautiful in its own way…

#wp #travelphotography #california #landscapephotography #landscape

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via Alex Stepanov :: Google+ Posts
Find the original post here… https://plus.google.com/104646146884143207478/posts/B264qx8TiRs

You are invited to visit my other sites:
Commercial work: www.astepanov.com
Personal & Art: www.500px.com/astfoto
Behind-The-Scenes and articles on PHOTIGY are here

For some reason, I always look up. I’m not sure…

For some reason, I always look up. I'm not sure why. Most people look down to watch their step; I trust my feet to take me wherever they are inclined to walk to, while the head (and the camera) are otherwise occupied. Here we have one of those rare moments when both the feet and the head happen to work together so that they brought me up to this fantastic building in downtown Montreal. The rest is… um… history.

#wp #architecture #architecturephotography #montréal  

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via Alex Stepanov :: Google+ Posts
Find the original post here… https://plus.google.com/104646146884143207478/posts/86N3jEwVGZi

You are invited to visit my other sites:
Commercial work: www.astepanov.com
Personal & Art: www.500px.com/astfoto
Behind-The-Scenes and articles on PHOTIGY are here

Fighting with the book

Have you seen that commercial where some guy tries to eat chicken wing but the wing is not about to be eaten and slaps him all over the face? That’s how I fill trying to fit the latest round of the abstracts into my book. The book fights me back. The black and white austere majority rebels. I wish they had a pill for improving editing skills…

On the state of creative union

Recently, I ran an ad on Craigslist looking for some help with designing printed promos and other minutiae of that sort. So I placed an ad for graphics designer and left off to attend to some other errands of the moment. Deep down, I was hoping to get a few replies form the undegrad students and was bracing for working with kids who just learned Photoshop in the last semester class.

Little did I know.

In about six hours, my mailbox was ready to bust in seams. Amongst over forty submissions, the majority were from the people who I wold consider the “black belt” level – people who have been there and done that, who worked for the who is who in the field and had been on the billboards, posters, CA annuals and so forth. People who managed marketing teams for well known companies; people who directed branding efforts for movies; people who designed the web sites we see every day… The list can go on. At this point, I had to pull the ad down and take a deep breath.

This exercise opened my eyes in many ways – it showed me how it feels to be on the other side of the email chain. Face it, it’s not every day that we get to be in the buyer seat so every glimpse of experience is golden. Now I know how my emails appear to the potential buyers – a great lesson I would not have otherwise.

It also was quite discomforting to see that despite all the years of experience and great work to show, these people have to bask on Craigslist and the like… And I thought photographers were the last ones on the food chain…

On the fine art of being funny

Today, I received a fine epistle penned by the creative folks at Victors & Spoils. E-epistle to be exact (it was an email). One thing that struck me deep while reading this opus magnum – I am sure the people who created this text (quoted below) meant well and just wanted to be funny. It’s just knowing when to stop is something that they haven’t mastered yet. There is a fine line between being outgoing and funny and being phony and disrespectful. As the old saying goes, “too much good is no good”…

The aforementioned opus follows:

{quote begins}

Congratulations. You are smarter than a baby.

Thank you for joining the Creative Department at Victors & Spoils. And kudos to you. Because you are smarter than most infants.

Now it’s not that we have anything against babies, really. But we know a smart person when we see one. And we’d like you to feel good about yourself. So let’s look at the facts. You know how to work a computer. You somehow found our website. You can negotiate pull-downs, click on crap, type within the tricky confines of tiny text fields, paste links to your work. And glory on high, you can also press send.

Can some slobbery baby do that? No way. They can’t even hold in their urine. But man are we glad you can. Because as we continue to grow, and as the creative opportunities at V&S become more numerous and juicy, the more we’ll be reaching out to you for your creative genius. And we’d rather you didn’t pee on us when we do.

So for now, be sure to confirm your membership and stay tuned for further correspondence from us once we have a choice new brief for which we think you’d be right. While you’re hanging tight check out the projects we currently have available at victorsandspoils.com, they’re projects open to all, and we’d love to see what you could do.

Confirm your account by clicking this link – Confirm my account

Love,

Victors & Spoils

{quote ends}

The world in low-fi

For some reason, I am drawn to the “low fidelity” look and feel of the Polaroid pictures – even if they are “Poladroids” like the one on the left. There is some delicate magic in those blurry off-color images with badly shifted whites – maybe it is because they force you to imagine rather than to see?

Here is the link to the original image on 500px.

Cheers,
Alex Stepanov

The new site is out!

At long last… After much toiling and scratching the head and mumbling something incoherent to myself…

The new web site is OUT!

The baby turned out to be rather well behaved and can be seen here (or just click on the image on the left)

Whew…

Let me wish everyone a very pleasant weekend!