Monday, 21 December 2009

No heating in a snowstorm . . .

The central heating went off last night. We didn't notice for an hour or two. It was -2 Celcius overnight and we're helping to look after an eighty-seven year old. British Gas won't come out to have a look until a daytime slot next day, as we aren"t a priority (we have an alternative method of heating, an ancient electric bar fire). It's been like camping inside the house, every possible blanket piled up on the pensioner, and waking up every half hour to check the temperature. The nice young man at the call-centre last night said they were working 'flat out'. I decided it would be a good time to re-read 'The Spy who came in from the Cold'. Wish us luck. Ecerything's just about warm enough at the moment (06.00 h) but no heating or hot water until the engineer gets here through the ice and snow.
Cluck on the title to go to an article about surviving a power-out. Post-script :- the service-man said that a small piece of ice fell into the boiler flue; this trggered the 'flame-failure device' to switch off the boiler, and that was that.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Photographer stopped for snapping . . .

After I received my letter from the Secretary of State at the Home Office in November 2009, stating in part, in relation to section 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000
" . . . . Important: section 43 does not prohibit the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place and members of the public and the press should not be prevented from doing so in exercise of the powers conferred by section 43."
I concluded that police would not now be preventing me from taking photos in a public place.

This all arose because in September I had been taking shots, from the pavement outside North Greenwich Bus station. of the Docklands City skyline and the O2 building nearby. Two O2 security guards were aggressive (see my earlier post), threatened to personally confiscate my cameras, and called the police. The police, when I also rang them on 999, said that I had to desist immediately. I pointed out that I was in a public place, and would they please come and see. No-one came, and I was able to walk away, although the guards said they were having me arrested for 'being a terrorist' and for 'taking photos'.

I nearly fell off my chair to read in the Grauniad this morning that Paul Lewis (a well-known and award-winning photo-journalist), was closely questioned by a rather large number of City of London police on Thursday, for taking shots which hundreds of people shoot daily, of the Gherkin.

I and a colleague on the HNC course were told, only two weeks ago, whilst she wanted to film in St Pancras mainline railway station in London, that the British Transport police had just the day before been briefed to allow most filming, and to be less aggressive when they approach photographers. This is what I expected to read about in the papers, NOT that a very well-known journalist has been treated like a criminal. Click on the title to read the depressing article in the Guardian.

Reality intruded last week for us, as we were told brusquely by a security guard at Paddington mainline railway station that we were forbidden from filming without a permit. So, we went and got one each. And I noted that every ten minutes someone in uniform passed by. Gosh, we were only waiting for the next arrival at Platform One.

Remember, there are fifty or more security high-resolution CCTV cameras covering most parts of this station. Every move we made has now been stored on film, ready to be reviewed at any moment for at least the next year. If YOU use a station, you're on film now for a while, too.

There is an urban tale which states that if you walk from one end of Oxford Street to the other, you have been recorded on 196 CCTV cameras. Useful, if you drop your keys . . . What do you think ? You could also Google 'I'm a Photographer not a Terrorist', or click on my post title, which is a link to the Paul Lewis article . . .

Friday, 4 December 2009

Left Brain versus Right Brain . . .

It all started at college. The Business Studies lecturer explained 'Artist's Statements' as writing that 'all artists (including photographers) use when they are writing up a blurb to say who they are and what they do' when they are going to be in an exhibition, publish a book, etcetera. I think it's meant to 'contextualise the artist and their work", and perhaps differentiate them from the rest of the pack.
I am worried, because the ones we read in class that day, and the stuff I read at exhibitions, and in books, are so 'over-written'. Unnecessary phrases and clauses, entire paragraphs appear to be included just to 'add on' descriptions of phenonmena which the artist wants you to think about, as guiding principles for the creation of their work before you.

Bryan Appleyard (click on the post title) describes Iain McGilchrist's 30-year search to find out more about 'Right brain-Left brain' understanding of the world. Read more in the review by Appleyard. The article describes the 'left brain' as the 'rule-following and ordering' side, and the 'right brain' helps us understand 'contextualising' understanding, meaning' etcetera.

Basically, McGilchrist's very deep book describes scientifically how each person's brain looks at information and then reports the analysis back to our conscious level (where we 'think').
My homework is to compose an 'Artist Statement' for myself. I'm not sure where to start, but I guess with he facts, then tack on a few concepts . . . . does this mean I start with plain left-side data, and then move on to embellish the raw facts using right-side context ?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

MA Photography - what is it ?

I went to an Open Evening to find out about the MA. They've got several at University of Westminster, one in Photography and another in Photojournalism.
One REALLY important question I asked was "Do you need a first degree to read for an MA?" "Nope, you just need commitment and the ability to do 'high-level' research." So, that's a 'yes' for anyone on my current HNC course. What do you do on an MA Photography ? It seems it's not a regular under-grad route. there are no projects, you set your own work. It lasts one year FT, or several years PT.
What equipment can you borrow/ use ? Everything is at least professional quality. The tour was like going around a television studio, with say ten studios. the ones I saw had lighting I've only seen in books. TEN colour printing machines, three or four digital printing suites (Mac G5's everywhere), the monitors are calibrated EVERY WEEK.
Vacuum-pressing machines for photo-mounting onto aluminium, 24/7 library, thousands of DVD's to borrow as there's media studies at the Harrow campus. Apparently the canteen food is only 'average'. They have loads of dorms, but I guess anyone doing an MA already lives in London.
I might look into it a bit more. But, one of the other candidates (Hello, Jocelyn) was telling me about a similar course on offer at LCC, so I might check that one out. As always, click on the post title to to go to the Uni write-up on this course.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Is freedom in cyberspace a con ?

The internet is more censored than it used to be . . . you knew that, I knew that, but it comes as a shock to see it written down. Bryan Appleyard (in The Sunday Times today, click on the post title above) says it's partly because what we used to keep on our computer is now out there on servers all over the world. 'Cloud computing' makes it really easy for the bad guys to see who we're talking to . . . Twitter has been turned on the good guys . . . it's really difficult, but NOT impossible, to get free.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Street Shooting

A photo-shoot out in the street may never end (click on the title to go to a Google-page link on 'Street Photography'). The shoot might take a long time if, like me, you're doing a 'Homage' project, and the photographer (Lee Friedlander) has been shooting loads of series over the last six decades. Trees (mature Californian Oak) , blossoming Japanese Cherry trees, sticks, thousands of street signs, war monuments, 'The Noble Worker', his friends, his colleagues, different sets of nudes at different times, and on and on. Oh yes, he incorporates his own shadow wherever possible, zillions of reflections onto windows, off windows, through shop-front glass, etcetera . . .
I'm getting to grips with the initially off-putting 'overlay' techniques he uses to build up and make tangential the 'real' subject of his imagery. I am loving it. Of course, I musn't 'copy' his work, but t's OK to do 'in the style of'.

I've shot loads of medium-format (I couldn't afford a Hasselblad as he used, but I borrowed a Bronica SQ-B which acts the same). I have learned to love Black and White again, and I've now got to go on a crash-course on 'Gelatin'Silver' printing; that's what he used, and apparently he prints ALL his own images.

I went to the British Library to look through a couple of his limited-edition portfolio 'books'. I was very impressed by the toning and very wide range of shades of grey, which are alarmingly good.
One of my images in this post was shot on a Sony-Ericsson 'phone, another on a Canon digital SLR, and the last is a film negative shot using a large-format 'portable' 5" x 4" camera.

ESSAY v. NOVEL . . .

I read Joan Didion in the 1960's, when I dreamed of going to California and living the emerging alternative lifestyle. When I got there, life was just actually discernable as the way she had written it. Bravo . . . . her Slouching Towards Bethlehem is still fantastic (re-published again last year !), although we've all moved on . . .

In The Revenge of The Real Zadie Smith in today's Guardian (click on the post title, as always) rolls out a defense of the essay as 'real'. In apposition to this perfect creation from the writer's mind is the more familiar novel.

Zadie, who continues to write super-successful novels, re-iterates that all novels are imperfect, creatures subject to the author's whims and shortcomings, ie. incomplete plots, inadequate dialogue, unbelieveable characters, etcetera. I mean, how can any sane person keep up the pretense of an imagined reality in a made-up novel from the start through to 'the end' ?
Read what Zadie has to say about the essay being pure, a realisation of a perfect ideal.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

100 years of great press photographs

I flipped through this in the Guardian, before breakfast. I would not recommend doing this, as the carnage and desolation explicit and implied may ruin your meal. Click on my post title to go there.
The images are arresting, and evoke very strong feelings. The one with the most impact, for me, was Leibovitz's; it shows a child's bicycle lying on the floor, a huge streak of blood adjacent. He was hit by a mortar, just in front of Leibovitz's car in Sarajevo during the siege. They took the boy to hospital but he died before he got there.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Against the Odds - a film about the Labour Party

AGAINST THE ODDS - Apparently it was shown at conference . . .a bit like a Hovis ad, if you listen . . . it's supposed to get us out and fighting for rights and jobs . . . I was unable to insert a direct link in my post, so you'll have to click on the post title above, or go to YouTube and get it from there. Two minutes long, brass band music . . .

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Barbican Library, City of London - bursting with photography books . . .

This is about the Barbican library; click on the blog-post title to go there. I discovered it a few years ago, around the time of a great exhibition just downstairs from it, In the Face of History - European Photographers in the 20th Century. Fab show, and the library's pretty cool too.
They have hundreds and hundreds of photography books (Robert Frank, Doisneau, Lange, Evans, Bailey, Atget, Donovan, Tillmans, scores of photographers I don't know after only four years of study at college. Gosh the list is endless).

Gasp, the books are on loads of shelves, so you don't have to ask for them . . . you can cruise their collection on-line, as far as I know . . .
Joining is easy. Show them the card from your area, and they'll give you a City of London card. Easy-peasy. All the books you wanted the college library to stock (Hello, Jean at Paddington campus !) Late opening hours, if I remember correctly, and very helpful staff. Starbucks is not far away, and so is the Barbican Concert Hall, lots of banks . . .

Metropolitan Special Collection, Photography books in London . . .

It's a local library in Islington, but it happens to have hundreds and hundreds of books, all bought by the Greater London Council and other bodies, and all about photography. Very few people know about it, but I've been telling colleagues about it for years. It is
the Finsbury Library
245 St John's Street
London EC1V 4NB
t. 020 7527 7960
f. 020 7527 7998

To borrow books (luscious huge and not-so-huge photography books) you need only join the library. All you need for that, I believe, is a local library card from wherever you live in London, and you're joined up. MOST of the super books are in the basement (not many people ask for them do they ?), so you'll need to search on-line (once you've got your Islington library card), and order them on-line, and they'll call or e-mail when they're ready to pick up and take away. Yes, I've got a few on my coffee table from time to time. If you really want them to buy a book, they'll consider it, as the collection is not static, but they add to it.

Libraries - I could live in one . . .

Colette, our tutor, did suggest that we ought to be researching for our photography information at the British Library. it is 'just down the road' by Kings Cross, so I went there today.
To get a reader card you need to have the usual stuff, utility bill, credit card statement, etcetera, with the name and address. As well, you need the other one with the photo and signature, ie. passport, driving licence, credit card, etcetera. They've got a leaflet setting all this out.
You apply, and a few days later you get the card. Then you can research and order books to read on-line, and four days later your books are ready for you to read in person. All the things I carry around with me are banned. No cameras, food, drink, scissors, pocket-knife. You can take pencils, laptop and iPod, phones must be switched off.

The pay-off is a look at just the books you want to read. They buy every single book published here and abroad, and although it takes a few days to get them out of storage, how wonderful will it be to flip through a rare and priceless tome . . .or perhaps just one no-one wanted to pay for. It is F R E E . . .

Critical Theory of Photography

Tom Miles in his Photosmudger blog (click on my blog title to go there pronto) covers an explanation of John Berger's 'Ways of Seeing', Sontag's 'On Photography', Barthes' 'Camera Lucida' and 'Mythologies' (thank goodness, Barthes is VERY hard to read, even in translation !), also 'The Photograph' by Graham Clarke, whom I don't know, and 'Another Way of Telling' by John Berger and Jean Moir, which I'll try and track down at the library or second-hand book-shop.

This is not about reading, but understanding. What it is that a photograph, or a collection of photographs might mean, something about contextualisation, and so on . . . there's another Barthes book I'm ploughing through, 'Image Music Text' which is about narrative and seminotics.

'The Photograph as Contemporary Art' by Charlotte Cotton discusses ways that photographers today engage with photography to make art. 'The History of Photography' by Beaumont Newhall gives a narrative (from an American point of view) of cross-influences by photographers on each other.

'Photography - a Critical Introduction', edited by Liz Wells, is a reader on key debates in photographic theory. Very easy to read, but I find the ideas expressed need re-visiting, as they slip away unless I refer to them once in a while . . .

'Inside the Photograph' by Peter C Bunnell is a collection of essays on about thirty specific twentieth-century photographers. Bunnell describes the book as 'about photographs, not theories'. Splendidly written, and a joy to leaf through, but not a true critical theory book, more like fun.

The reason I'm writing this post is that I found myself at the British Library's exhibition of early photographs (breath-taking, do go if you can) and bought Geoff Dyer's book (the very last copy, but I'm sure they'll get more in) 'The Ongoing Moment'. He says he doesn't take photos, and doesn't own a camera. He transposes (American) photographs of the past century into comparisons, and metaphors, and he explains the identity of symbols and motifs in particular photographs.
I'm only on page 21, and I'm hooked. After this, I may finish the Barthes books . . .

And, I was unlucky enough to be in Foyles, where I found an un-put-down-able copy of 'How to Read a Photograph' by Ian Jeffrey. I've been doing a lot of writing down of my own interpretation of contextualisation for images I'm researching, and this adds to my analysis of particular images. It also tells me about Kertesz, Moholy-Nagy, Eggleston, Bourke-White, Shore, Shomei and another hundred more. It gives a bit about them and then really specific contextualisation of particular, usually iconic, images . . .

Oh yes, these sorts of books are not just for fun, they are part of the understanding we should acquire on the way to becoming fully-rounded photographers, on our pre-degree practical photography course, here in London . . .

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bronica Medium-Format film camera. . .

I'm doing something new - I'm writing this blog post entirely on the iPhone. . . This one's about the difference between a Bronica SQ-B medium-format film camera, and a Bronica Etrsi medium-format film camera.

Yes, I know, the Etrsi is a 6 x 4.5 cm. image, and the SQ-B is a 6 x 6 cm. image. BUT, although I knew that, I had no idea that THE LENSES were different, ie. NOT interchangeable between Bronica bodies. Thanks to my buddy and camera repair-person Panny at Camera City (+44 (0) 20 7813 2100) for solving the problem (my Etrsi lens wouldn't mount onto the SQ-B body) . . . the reason is that because the two cameras' image area and shape is different (one's narrower than the other), the lens must compensate for the different image capture shapes . . . Simple, when someone knows what they're talking about . . .
The Etrsi is 'automatic exposure' if you attach the optional 'prismatic view-finder'. However if this is left on 'auto' for long, the battery goes flat, and you're left with a single default shutter speed of only 1/ 500th of a second, not good on a rainy afternoon . . .

So I'm using the SQ-B lenses with the SQ-B body, when I do my 'in the style of Lee Friedlander' photo-shoot on the weekend. . . As usual, click on the post title to go straight to a article all about the techy differences between Bronica models. . . I'll save the Etrsi for other non-square-image shoots . . . which is most of them, at the moment . . .

The one thing I could not do in this post on the iPhone was to re-size the image (I always make them 15 cm. wide, to fit the column width of blog-post text). I needed Photoshop, so I edited the image (using Levels and Curves, slightly tweaked for contrast) on the MacBook Pro . . . thats' it though, everything else was created on the iPhone tonight . . .

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Labour and Tories up against BNP

It is not that important nationally just yet, that 50 % increase in support for the BNP in a few constituencies. It WILL become VERY important at the national election by next May, however.

Read the excellent but short David Leppard Sunday Times article about why we are increasingly supporting the BNP instead of the traditional Labour and Conservative parties. I know from talking to people that this will be an issue in my own constituency, Islington North. It is shocking that some 'normal' people I know are saying they agree with views expressed by the BNP. What do you think ? Will the BNP have more support at election time ? Does it matter ? Will splitting the Labour vote allow the Tories to get in ?

I am worried and I will do all I can to campaign for a large turnout of voters in my constituency, in the UK elections . . . what do you want to do about the stealthy rise of 'fascism' in our 'more volatile' constituencies ? What happens when the BNP puts up a candidate near where you live ? We have a BNP MEP, and BNP local councillors in London and elsewhere.
Click on the post title to go to Leppard's article.

Is TONY BLAIR the right guy for the EU ?

Jonathan Oliver and Bojan Pancevski look at why Tony Blair might just be a stalking horse . . . or, is it the other way around ?? . . . at present the EU presidency is rotational between the different EU national heads of government.
There's a move to change that to a permanent position to represent the EU around the world. Should Tony Blair be that representative ? Click on my post title to go straight to the Sunday Times article . . .

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Gifted and Talented pupils often ignored . . .

This is a (slightly-edited) conversation from my friend Tabitha this week [names have been changed]. She's a Mum with an eleven year old boy who many of us agree is really pretty bright. That is, he's always ahead of the other children his age, but no-one at his school has ever tried to measure his intelligence or aptitudes . . .

" . . . . It feels a little pretentious calling one's son "gifted" but according to the government website definition . . . . I believe he falls into that category and I will at very least be in contact with Head of Year 7 accordingly. (Interestingly he has already dropped the word "gifted" into conversation with regard to ' Johnny and computers' at least twice at the Year 7 Parent Teacher meeting.)

I've had enough of having to tell Johnny to "keep his mouth shut" about his knowledge at school, and with teaching staff always referring to what I see as his rather remarkable talents as a "problem".

The rhetoric seems to be there on the official website - in practice I have yet to see [it]. Certainly when I (and my mother before me) [were] at school no such thinking was in place. It was criminal the hours, days and years I wasted at school (and even at college) bored out of my brain knowing I was capable of far greater challenges. I remember wasted English lessons in Scotland being forced to spend an entire "lesson" watching 15 year old boys in my class getting the belt - boys who were roaring with laughter and . . . etc. When I think back to all the dreadful so-called "lessons" I sat through wishing I was elsewhere it makes me so angry.
Not just that, the secondary school where I sat my A levels lost my course work, claimed I had not attended exams which I had . . . . and failed me in music when the invigilator, nasty pervert, had for 2 years . . . . when the two of us were alone in the room.
God knows how I was so shy I thought I should not say anything, just thinking back to those days makes me feel like . . . - and demanding some recourse from the school for all their failings.

Ah well, that was then, this is now, and I am hopeful this secondary school will prove more suitable than the primary he attended.
I am increasingly convinced that I also have a duty to Johnny to stick my neck out a bit.
On a day when [Gordon] Brown reminds the nation of words of a former US president, I too must think of the wisdom in the words "If not me then who, if not now then when . . . ."

Every school in the UK is eligible for this extra funding. It will provide resources for any children at their school who may be Gifted and Talented. Click on my post header above to go to a list of resources. Your child may be one of these . . . Do you want to help them ?

Saturday, 17 October 2009

When you've got cancer . . .

Within the past few weeks in my own family we've had someone who 'all of a sudden' realised she had a brand-new lump on the breast. Cue utmost anxiety, fear, gut-wrenching waiting for the emergency hospital visit to the specialist.

She says that after the testing they took her to the little room at the end of the corridor. You know, the one where they break the bad news. They waited, and the doctor told her 'It's just a cyst; we can drain it and you can go home.'

I was thinking of her this morning as I read Aida Edemariam's article in the Grauniad, about Maggie's Room. It's astonishing that someone's come up with the idea of a place where you feel very comfortable at hospital, find a quiet corner where you can chill and have a cup of tea at your own pace, talk to the medical folks if you want or just come to terms, in a comfy environment, with the news many of us most dread, 'You've got a terminal disease'.

I was once a builder, and am pretty surprised that some of the biggest names in British architecture are involved in designing these 'comfy places' at many hospitals in the UK. Susan rang (really) just as I finished the article and turned the page, wondering whether it was time for a cup of tea. I told her to buy the Guardian, and read the article. You can too, by clicking on the title above.

Friday, 9 October 2009

10 best PHOTOGRAPHY websites . . .

Mike Peake does "the 10 best websites" for anything, in the Sunday Times. Here's his summer 2009 choice for . . . click on the title to go there . . .

Sunday, 4 October 2009


I found a fun explanation on the 'Net, of the way to organise all my open desktop windows EASILY on my Mac. Click on the blog post title, as always, and enjoy the cruise through the techie stuff.
I must say this is all VERY easy to use, once you know it's there. And boy oh boy, it does really simplify my computer time. A LOT . . .

AppleMac EXPOSE - W O W

I'm doing PhotoShop, Safari (Internet Explorer on a Mac), iTunes, Mail, Finder (eight open windows, as I'm looking for old documentary photos), System Preferences, Scanner window, Printer dialogue box, Address Book, and Pages (Apple's version of Word).
That's a lot of windows. I can HIDE every one, and then see wnat I've got open by going to a corner of my screen with the cursor. Voila ! There's all my open windows, and when I click on the thumbnail, that becomes the active 'full-screen-size' window. Sooooo easy, but I think PC's don't have this, do they ? Click on the title, as always . . .

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - a sequel . . .

The Review section of the Guardian has done a superb job with Jenny Turner's review of not merely the sequel to H2G2, but a coherent explanation of where the H2G2's original author Douglas Adams was 'coming from', ie where he got the ideas, and how these ideas elided so well with the late Seventies' & early Eighties' technological zeitgeist, as we who were there remember. She's immersed herself in what is now an alien literary landscape of 'the future as seen in the 70's' and as looked at from the perspective of now. It's dated and clunky, but logical. Whether I actually buy Colfer's sequel 'And another thing' is immaterial. I so loved this review, for re-visiting the past with such clarity. It is a fabulous read, and I forgot my sardine sandwich until I'd lapped up every word . . . As always, click on the title . . .

Survey shows TORIES WILL WIN. Julian Glover's had a look . . .

You COULD go to

for a very technical explanation. Or, in the Guardian this morning Julian Glover shows us a BLUE graphic of the UK. The Tories will sweep the board, if we just hide under the duvet. Click on the blog post title.
Next week the mainstream party I'm a member of is selecting candidates for next May's local London elections. The most alarming sight has been the casual littering of my Google search with BNP (the fascist British National Party) sites, all talking about election issues. That can't be good . . .

Photographer 'BUST CARD'

Marc Vallee is a photojournalist. His website has pretty useful stuff on what Section 44 means, and how to cope with people (NOT always police, sometimes just opinionated security guards or (shock !) ordinary members of the public) who think you MIGHT BE doing something wrong. Or, they just want to spoil your fun.

As always, click on the title to go to . . .

It's not a crime, and I'm not a terrorist . . .

It seems there's lots of us photographers who are sailing close to the wind re: this Section 44 (or is it section 58A ?) of the Terrorism Act 2000, and section 76 of the 2008 Act. Click on the post title above, to go to the British Journal of Photography site . . . Thanks, Vikki . . .

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I was nearly arrested under the Anti-Terrorism laws for taking a photo . . .

There I was, North Greenwich Bus station, on a public pavement, and doing what I've wanted to do for about six months, taking night-time shots of London Docklands. I am using the Bronica medium-format camera, and having a great time. I've taken two rolls (that's the thirty shots of film), and I change position to shoot the towers on the front of the 02 building (this is at night, everything is DARK at 19.00 h). Two security guards leap out from a gatehouse and tell me I must stop, or they'll arrest me under the 'Anti-Terrorism' legislation. I try and ignore them, but they stand in front of the camera. I explain that I'm on a public pavement, obviously going about my lawful business. This isn't good enough for the manager, who radio's his control to call the police; he says I have 'a professional camera, looks like it takes film." I say that I am entitled to shoot images in a public place, and they can clearly see that I'm not obstructing anyone else. I take my shot, and move away. They follow me, up close. I phone 999 as I feel these guys are not going to let me and my camera go. The police talk to them on my phone, then they tell me that I've got to go. I say that because the police aren't there, they can't see that I'm in a public place. I invite the police to come, but after waiting twenty minutes for them to arrive to deal with this 'terrorist offence', no-one shows up, and I tell the security guys I've got to go.

Click on this post title to find out more about FLASHMOB - Freedom to photograph . . . What do you think I should do ? Write to the management at O2 ? Write to my MP ? If I forget it, what will they do to the next guy who tries to take a harmless photograph from the public road outside somewhere ?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Vanishing Of The Bees - in cinemas NOW

Richard Brooks in the Sunday Times raves about the Co-op film on BEES. They've re-invented their stores, they've raised the national profile for ethical sourcing, now go and watch the film. Click on the title to go there . . .

British Wildlife Photography Awards

Click on the title to have a look . . .

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Willy Ronis at 99

I have a book of his post-war images, and I especially like the street scenes.

He died last week at 99. The Telegraph (click on the post title to go there) does him proud . . .

Monday, 7 September 2009

British Library Photo exhibition . . .

You could also click on the title above, which takes you to

It tells you more about the origin of some of the 'new' Victorian photos at the British Library.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Photo Exhibition - British Library

It runs from 30 October through 07 March. There's lots to see with 350,000 REAL FILM images on offer. It's reviewed at

Mike Stimpson, photographer - THE DAILY BEAST

Isabel Wilkinson writes about Stimpson, a British photographer, re-creating 'classic' photographs in Lego. See it at

(or just click on my blog-post title, to go there pronto).

Julie & Julia - Is it Food or is it . . .

Nora Ephron has done it again. She's hot in Hollywood, and she's in the Sunday Times at

This film is supposed to be fab, according to the reviews. Do see it - I will be . . .

Saturday, 5 September 2009

CLICK ON THE TITLE, and you go to . . .

I finally got it to work . . .

WOO - HOO . . .

I've tried for at least a year (NOT non-stop !) to get a hot-link environment going on my blog-posts. You know, click on a a picture and go to another one, that sort of thing. Well, I haven't solved that one yet, but NOW, if you click on the BLOG POST TITLE, it instantly HTML's you to the newspaper article or other stuff that my post is about . . .

more info at

but now you know that to go there you've not got to copy and paste, just click on the _ _ _ _ _ . . .
I've re-done the title for every article back to Martin Parr in May. Two don't work, but you can always copy and paste those two, can't you ?

F A T - Now you see it, now you don't

There I was, minding my own business, until page 26 of today's Manchester Guardian woke me up . . .

includes an audio clip of Lizzie herself. The link

has more of Saner's article. The photo in the newspaper on page 26 lists THIRTEEN Photoshop 'corrections' performed on this photo of the twenty-year old model. The model isn't any fatter than she used to be, it's just that the magazine didn't get rid of her tummy with Photoshop.

According to Emine Saner, this has generated lots of e-mails, but is it a sign for the future ? The Lib-Dems are considering introducing legislating to ban re-touching on photos used in adverts aimed at the under-16's.
See more on women and airbrushing at

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sat-Nav on the iPhone . . .

Yep, it's big. Read the review of Tom-Tom on the iPhone (FIVE stars) and all its competition on other hand-held devices, in the Sunday Times, at

If you have time, there's also the article on getting restaurant info, ATM locations, etc using GPS, and projecting it on a 'heads up' photo you've just taken of where you're going; read more at

iLove my iPhone . . .

I got it on Thursday, and goodbye expensive Vodafone. iPhone is so intuitive, it's like a teeny computer with FREE unlimited internet 24-7, using all sorts of communications technology to give you seamless access to all sorts of stuff you might want. It's the same as having a laptop in your shirt pocket.

It's a 'too good to be true' story, and I've only had it three days . . . Stephen Fry wrote a piece in the Guardian about the launch of 3G-S, at

He talks the techno-talk for me . . . there's also scary 'Big-Brother' stuff on the link

I am getting used to using 42 new FREE apps from the iTunes store, and know there's another two or three hundred FREE ones just waiting to load on. Apps do stuff like convert areas and volumes, or go from Gregorian to Chinese calendar system, or make annoying noises, or give you ring-tones you couldn't imagine and sort your status on FaceBook (no, I didn't make that up, I've got it FREE from iTunes).

I found a FREE Google Earth for iPhone, and it is great twirling the phone to see horizon-encompassing landscapes of friends' and family's dwellings. British Columbia never looked so good, with the snow-capped peaks right in front of you . . .

There's Tom-Tom (cost £50, so I'll let that go for now). I do have free Google-Map. which is like a Sat-Nav, but doesn't talk to you. Must be good . . . My friends were more entranced by the compass app than by the super-duper video recording, but that's boys for you . . .

And I've got 75 albums on it. And 600 photos. Yes, and I can make telephone calls.

de Botton at London Heathrow Terminal FIVE

An absolutely fabulous article about what de Botton does as artist-in-residence at Heathrow. I read about it in the Manchester Guardian, and in the Sunday Times at

Gripping, visceral . . .

Leibovitz may lose all her photos . . .

I love her story, her enthusiasm, her career trajectory, and her images. Leibovitz is one of my culture heroes, and I followed what she did from when she worked for Rolling Stone . . . I went to her retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery here in London last year and, well she just couldn't be bigger or better.

BUT, she may be about to lose it all, including title to her life's work, if the media are to be believed. I read about her in the Sunday Times today, you can too at

It all sounds like royalty gone mad, wild extravagence leading to ruin . . . there are some great one-liner quotes, and overall the tone of the article is well-researched . . . I'm sure there's more to follow, as it ends in September, with Leibovitz and the loan company in court . . .

Monday, 10 August 2009


HURRAH !! I can now watch all those dodgy *.wmv videos my friends send me . . . I can also listen to American and Canadian radio on the 'Net (it automatically slots them into iTunes, pretty cool huh !) and who knows what else. Yes, mine's a Mac, and you can 'fix' yours for receipt of the Windows information tide easily at

Some radio stations want you to load Silverlight, found at

You CAN pay, but I've got the FREE version . . .

Is there other software I don't know about, which will revolutionise my listening and viewing ?

Thursday, 30 July 2009

iTunes and Spotify . . .EAR heaven . . .

Life is good . . . there's more on SPOTIFY at

After a year and a half of MacBook Pro ownership I'm doing two wonderful things for the first time . . . listening to FREE Spotify streaming '60's rock tracks (Cream, Doors, Brian Auger and more . . .) as I dump sixty CD's of music into iTunes. Whoosh, it is fast, about three minutes an album . . . I can't imagine why I never thought of doing it before . . . I did put 100 albums as mp3 onto my PC laptop, but without iTunes, it was a whole lot more difficult to arrange the music and listen to it . . . have you discovered Spotify . . . ?? Find out about iTunes at

Do you use iTunes ?? Tell all.

Broadband fixing

It worked fine for six days. then it slowed to nothing. Re-booting didn't fix it. It took forty-five minutes to find a telephone number for bt (it's the phone company, but they've not got a help number on the bill ! ). SIX telephone connections later I found out that I had ADSL2+, not old-fashioned broadband. And, that means it broadcasts wirelessly on different channels. Eleven of them. And, the nice lady on the phone helpline in India told me how to access the innards of the router from the laptop (Yes, I had it plugged in with an RJ45 lead at this moment. It was 'ip address' stuff, change the password, and change the preferred broadcast channel). Channel 6 was not good, but Channel 11 works real good. Pull the RJ45 lead out and 'hey presto !!' wireless super-fast loading again !!

Find out more at

It's that easy. Anyone can do it. It's just that I had to speak to five dummies at bt before I got the one who knew what she was doing. Ask for Anjulie when you call.

That darn RANKIN man . . .

I almost forgot . . . Rankin starts tomorrow from 10am to 8pm and runs until 18th Sept

RANKIN's doing his shoot of 1,000 people in The Old Truman Brewery. Find out more online at

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

7 - 7 memorial in Hyde Park . . .

We went for a look at it, as it's just been unveiled. There's a link at The Telegraph about the ceremony, see

Very moving, but there's not a lot to say about the outrage on that day. I could only manage a few minutes hanging around and strangely it took me five minutes to actually get close enough to walk in and read the columns and the plaque. There were a couple of sprays of summer flowers, and of course a few new London Plane trees added to the existing groves around the monument. It's near the 'Queen Mum' gates at Hyde Park corner. Worth a visit, as it made me stop everything and contemplate . . .

FABULOUS ART DECO de la Warr Pavilion

You can read all about it at

I went with the Islington Art Society on Saturday, and yes, it's lovely. I used to be a builder, and knew a bit about Art Deco. Last year, when our class went to the Brighton Biennale, I think the de la Warr was a venue for one of the exhibitions, but I never went as it's about six miles from Brighton. I should have gone then, shouldn't I have . . .

I used the Canon EOS 350 DSLR with the 24-105 constant f4 lens. Exposures were from 1/30th to 1/800th second. The weather was the best, and the light was crisp. A swift warm breeze capped it all. These images are, of course, shrunk for the blog, but are also panoramae made in 'photomerge' in Adobe; the 24 mm lens was incapable of capturing the width of the building shapes and contours, up close . . . I was only there for an hour, but I'll find a reason to go back . . . yes, there was also a Joseph Beuys exhibition, pretty interactive and wonderful in its own way . . .