The people who work here newsletter

November 6th, 2008

I have a day job as a software product manager at Ingres Corporation. My friend, coworker, and fellow artist Jamie Watson asked me to write about my photography for “ThIngres,” our employee newsletter. I started three times, first with “I got my first camera when I was ten years old,” then “I like puppies but I don’t take pictures of puppies.” Finally I realized that this was not an approach that would make any sort of a connection, and started the third version (in which I still managed a bit of shameless self-promotion). Here’s a reprint of the final version, with a few links to internal documents removed. I did not change any names to protect the innocent.


For the longest time my boss had no idea that I’m a photographer. I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t totally committed to my work here at Ingres. I recently posted a question on LinkedIn asking how I could keep my software and photography profiles separate. My reasoning was that I didn’t want galleries to check my profile and wonder, is this guy a photographer or a computer guy? (Oh, yeah, vice versa for software folks seeing the photography stuff.) I got some great responses. Jamie Watson wrote, “it makes me feel like more of a whole person, to blend both aspects.” She also pointed me to Doug’s blog on this topic.

The view from the Materhorn conference room, Redwood City office

View from the Matterhorn conference room, Redwood City office

I finally realized how wrong my thinking had been. Most artists have day jobs and we all have something going on outside of work. And that’s actually OK! That is what is so freaking awesome about this ThIngres newsletter. It’s not about work. It’s not even about “the employees.” It’s about the people who work here.

You already know that Simon Cattlin and Bruno Bompar are artists from previous issues of ThIngres. I’m going to “out” a few more here: Jamie Watson, Mary Schulte, Tom Berquist, Emma McGrattan. Did I miss you? Yes I did. We are all artists, even if we are still in search of our medium. Art happens. It happens on your trip to Italy. It happens at the grocery store. (Ever looked really closely at lychee?) It even happens at work, which is where I took both photos included here. Discover art and make art. Hang some in your cube. Go ahead, it’s good for you.

Fire drill at Redwood City office, 10/24/08

When Mark (Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch) Wahlberg was on SNL a few weeks ago he met a donkey in the hallway and said, “Hi, donkey. You live in a barn, right? I’m in ‘Max Payne’. OK, bye. Say ‘hi’ to your mother for me.”

In other words, I’ll take this opportunity (any opportunity) to mention that I’ve got a group show coming up in San Francisco, starting November 7, and running through January 30. There’s a reception opening night from 5-8 PM. The show is through SF Camerawork, but is being hung in a high-end print shop called In Color 2. It’s a really amazing, huge building with endless passageways, the perfect location for another film where someone chases Franka Potente or Elisha Cuthbert for 120 minutes. The best part is that it is conveniently located directly across from “The Dogpatch Saloon,” which I have on good authority is a dive. I’m buying. Just kidding.

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Michael Singman-Aste
Postdiluvian Photo

3 responses to “The people who work here newsletter”

  1. Jamie Watson says:

    It was good to see you and your work at your reception Friday. Look forward to the next one.

  2. […] hanging from tree limbs with the caption “Hang in there, baby.” As I wrote in “The People Who Work Here Newsletter,” “I like puppies, but I don’t take pictures of puppies.” Even my more […]

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