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7 September 2016

With all the amazing technology streaming at us this morning from Apple's Special Event, we thought we'd dish up a little visual poetry with a tribute to the lowly rag. Where would we be without the rag?

Rags. Cousin to the brush.

The rag in any artist's studio is cousin to the brush. There may be just one rag or a pile of them. An artist's rag may be clean or blotted like a canvas. It may be brand new or shredding with age.

It may come in handy to absorb a color laid down too thick or too bright or too dark. It may be just what you need to absorb excess water from the brush. It will even humbly answer the call to clean up when what can be done has been done.

The iPhone 7 Plus that Apple introduced today is no rag. With both a faster wide angle and a new telephoto lens its ISP performs digital zoom unlike any digital zoom before it.

And with an improved processor twice as fast as that of the iPhone 6, it can nimbly edit Raw files in Lightroom mobile.

Then there is the new Portrait mode, which can recognize the people in the picture and mask them to blur just the background, leaving the faces sharp.

As Apple's Phil Schiller said, it can show you that effect in real time, as you frame the image. But, he was a little too excited when he said no dSLR can do that. Any dSLR with a Depth of Field Preview button can do it.

Apple always seems to be able to turn the page to a new chapter that we turn to with excitement. There is a trick to that. It's knowing when to stop.

The French artist Eugène Delacroix explained it in his Journal:

Experience and, more especially, confidence in one's strength give to talent the assurance that it has done all it could do. Only the mad or the impotent torment themselves about attaining the impossible. The superior man knows how to stop: he knows he has done what it is possible to do.

When you have done all you can, you reach for the rag. And there it rests, waiting to do what only it can do.

By then you have already begun thinking about the next challenge, the next chapter, the next brush stroke. Because that has just become possible.

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