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Scott McKay is a Toronto strategist, writer, creative director, patient manager, half-baked photographer and forcibly retired playwright.

This little site is designed to introduce him and his thoughts to the world. (Whether the world appreciates the intro is another matter.) If you'd like to chat, then you can guess what the boxes below are for.



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    "They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket."

          – George Orwell






    "Advertising – a judicious mix of flattery and threats."

          – Northrop Frye






    "Chess is as an elaborate a waste of time as has ever been devised outside an advertising agency."

          – Raymond Chandler


    Entries in photography (3)


    two people who are each worth a thousand words, and then some

    photo: Ashley Jonathan ClementsToday I was poking around this little site and realized that I hadn't added Ashley Clements and Alyssa Bistonath to my blogroll, so I just fixed that.

    Ashley is a photographer and communications specialist as part of World Vision International's Global Rapid Response Team. Alyssa is a freelance photographer who does a lot of work with WVC, and whom was part of our team when we shot the DRTV last fall.

    Ashley regularly sees things most of us don't even know about, let alone see with our own eyes. For instance, have a look at his most recent entry, about the situation in north-west Yemen, called Returning from the Mouth of Hell. I've been impressed with his work for a while now, and I was impressed with him during a web chat he did with WVC last year.

    Alyssa's got a fantastic eye and is really good at talking with people in a way which draws out their stories. We use her work in a lot of the material we do for WV, and watching her work was a real treat. She's also a very grounded, very real person.

    Anyway, please drop by their places and look around.


    a brave new world 

    For my birthday I got a lovely, practical and exciting present – a Canon Speedlite 580 EXII flash. I can only imagine how it's going to open up my potential for shooting.

    I've been purposely keeping things simple with my dSLR, starting out with a used xti and the cheaptastic 50mm 1.8 lens, and only adding when I get a sense of how to use what I already have. The 1.8 helped me understand composing, instead of relying on zoom to frame things, by forcing me to engage with my subject and move around to get my shot. And it's really helping my understanding of aperture. (For instance, I'm not quite sure why I was shooting wide open that day, what with the blistering sun and all; wouldn't do that quite as aggressively again.)

    Anyway, I really like shooting in natural light, but I'm really looking forward to weeks of messing around with what this flash will do. It's the only way to learn, isn't it?


    plug that metaphor

    I've always been a little suspect of metaphors concerning creativity. Much like Sir Bedevere in The Holy Grail ("and that, my lord, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped") you can too easily find yourself making grandiose statements that aren't tethered to reality, or like anti-evolution creationists, ignoring facts that don't fit your particular grandiosity.

    Still, although I can't speak to any theories of creativity or neurology or how the consciousness works, after days and weeks of cranking out ideas and designs and copy and meetings and presentations, at some point you really kind of do need to recharge.

    The empty/refill metaphor feels real to me, and I suspect to every creative I've worked with. Because I think we've all been there; feeling listless before you start the job, unable to get excited about anything concerning what you have to do. That's not a good place to be, and you have to do something to change it.

    How do I recharge? As you can tell from this little site, photography has become a hobby over the last year. I don't want to say anything in a photograph, I just want to take a picture that makes me want to look at it again. That's an enormously liberating thing when everything you do every day has to have a meaning or ladder back to a strategy.

    Two things I don't do enough of are reading (ancient and WW II history mostly) and get to the AGO, where there's generally a good mix of the familiar and the new. (Yeah, I know it's not the Uffizi, but it serves its purpose.)

    The only thing I can generalize about is that I think you actively have to do something to recharge; sitting in front of a TV or a computer simply isn't engaging enough, and probably isn't even really relaxing. The best thing you can do may be whatever engages your creativity in a totally different way, and takes you farthest away from whatever you're used to; it may also be the most relaxing thing.

    I'm interested in what you the readers of this thing do to recharge, or to revivify whatever creative metaphor you subscribe to. Please share, anonymously if you prefer.