Skip to main content

Verge Favorites: Greg Sandoval

Verge Favorites: Greg Sandoval

Share this story

The Verge staffers aren't just people who love technology. They're people who love stuff. We spend as much time talking and thinking about our favorite books, music, and movies as we do debating the best smartphone to buy or what point-and-shoot has the tightest macro. We thought it would make sense to share our latest obsessions with Verge readers, and we hope you're encouraged to share your favorites with us. Thus a long, healthy debate will ensue where we all end up with new things to read, listen to, or try on.

Fear and Loathing On The Campaign Trail '72


Sure, nobody wrote more entertainingly about debauchery than Hunter Thompson, but what often gets overlooked was the man's eagle eye. The 1972 US Presidential campaign, eventually won by Richard Nixon, was the perfect showcase for Thompson's ability to spot subterfuge. Here, he outs the narcissistic buffoons, public relations sleight of hand, and general double dealing that plagues the American political system. I came away, however, feeling sorry for the author. Despite all the cynicism, it's obvious Thompson loved America and wished the electoral process would evolve into something beyond cheap theater.

AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED


On a cost / benefit basis, my Nikkor 24-70mm, 2.8G-ED lens is the best purchase I've ever made. Nearly everything I ask of it; portraits, action shots, speakers on stage at tech conferences, low light — the lens consistently gives me sharp photos. Need shallow depth of field? This bad boy is bokeh-licious. High performance comes at a price though. The Nikkor set me back $1700. It's also a bit clunky. When attached to my D-7000, the rig only takes a couple of hours on my shoulder to leave me sore. Alas, I'll consider that my cross to bear for quality photos.

Caetano Veloso, Fina Estampa


The Brazilian woman behind the counter told me Caetano Veloso "is our Frank Sinatra." To an American, that's a big statement, but one listen to the album Fina Estampa and it's obvious Veloso can back it up. This is Veloso live, when the timbre and tone of a master vocalist are at their best. Contemporary music fans may hear a little of Radiohead's Thom Yorke in Veloso. Both singers are comfortable in falsetto, but can also drop into a cavernous growl.

The films of director Luc Besson


Some of my friends who are film fans, as well as those friends who are French, sneer when I say how much I love the films of director Luc Besson: The Fifth Element, The Professional and the now classic Nikita. Besson was born in Paris but my friend Seraphine calls him "The American!" To critics, Besson is all pretty pictures and no narrative, a style they associate with Hollywood. I've recently watched a string of Besson movies starting with The Big Blue. His best films typically feature strong but vulnerable female characters besieged by powerful and evil forces. I don't know that there's much to be learned from Besson films. I just know they're fun and beautiful to look at.

The photographs of Francesca Woodman


Francesca Woodman was a prodigy. Raised by two artists, Woodman took up photography in her early teens. By the time of her suicide at the age of 22, she left a huge body of work — mostly black-and-white stills. Woodman was expert at using light and shadow as well as mundane objects to convey powerful emotion. Her work is proof that you don't need expensive backdrops, models, or equipment to create compelling photographs.

More from this stream Verge Favorites

See all 51 stories