Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Simon Gibbs on Wedding photography (4): Preparations
6000 on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Darren on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Michael Jennings on Wedding photography (2): Signs
MarkR on Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
MNB Achari on Google Nexus 4 photos
MNB Achari on The ups and downs of English
Robert Hale on Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
Laurence Sheldon on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Bryn Braughton on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Most recent entries
- Wedding photography (4): Preparations
- Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
- Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
- Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
- Rothko Toast
- Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
- And another posting from my smartphone
- Posted from my new smartphone
- Google Nexus 4 photos
- Wedding photography (2): Signs
- Wedding photography (1): The superbness of the weather
- A Fleet Street lunch
- So painters also used to “take” pictures
- Funniest run out ever?
- Shadow photography
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Category archive: Advertising
That mobile phones have cameras means that even regular people now always have a camera with them. Already, mobile phone cameras are quite good. Soon, they will be as good as all but the best cameras, to the point where ever more people will be satisfied with their mobile phone cameras, and accordingly won’t want to be bothering with dedicated cameras at all. This transition is already under way, a fact which I regularly track whenever I roam about London snapping (among other delights) my fellow snappers and their snapping machines.
This photographer, for instance, looks like he’s using a “phone”, the inverted commas there being because these things are so much more than phones, to the point where the phoning is almost an afterthought. As Michael Jennings said last night, it really is something of an accident that we just happen to call these things “phones”.
Here is a photo I took with my Google Nexus 4, very soon after I got it, of Randy Barnett (already featured here in this earlier posting - bottom right of the first lot of pictures there), speaking at Freedom Forum 2013:
As you can see, the quality is okay, but only okay. Compare with the zoomed photo (at the link above) of Barnett, and you can easily see the difference that a better camera makes. If the Google Nexus 4 camera has a zoom feature, I have yet to discover it.
As the picture above shows, I (of course) had my regular camera with me at FF2013. But last night I was out and about for a short while, without that camera, only the Google Nexus 4. I was dining at Chateau Samizdata, and collecting Amazon stuff that I have delivered there rather than at my own front door, because at my own front door there have been robberies. So anyway, a recent arrive at CS was a keyboard, for use with the GN4, but although pre-warned that this keyboard would require two AAA batteries to make it go, I had forgotten to bring these with me. So, I nipped out to buy some. Without my regular camera.
Sod’s Law decrees that whenever you are out and about without your camera, interesting things will immediately present themselves to you. And one such interesting thing did, in the form of a sign making use of the double meaning of the word Pole. But, Sod’s Law was held at bay by my GN4, which I did have with me, in my jacket pocket, because keeping the GN4 in my jacket pocket at all times except when I am using it is The Rule. Snap snap, which fortunately I had more or less learned how to do:
The GN4 may not be much good for distance Big Things, and the like, but it is fine for a sign.
And since the sign was the point, even though I do like scaffolding, here is the bit of the picture with the sign:
No computerised trickery there, apart from the cropping. More than somewhat blurry, but entirely legible, the whole point of letters being that they hack their way through exactly such communicational barriers.
I know I keep going on about it, but now I will go on about it some more. Signs make great photos. Signs are extraordinarily evocative of the places where they are displayed. Signs tell you what goes on in a place, or what people want to do or are liable to do by mistake, but/and must not. Wherever the public goes, there are signs, especially nowadays, when you are legally responsible for whatever idiotic thing the public does on your patch, unless you can point at a sign saying don’t do that. So, on that wedding day, I photoed signs.
It was, after all, a sign that told me I was in the right place to start with, see 1.1 below. My favourite is 3.2, the one about swan rescue.
No, forget the swans. My even more favourite one is the one that says: this parking space is only for Registrars, 2.2. This told me that there are a lot of weddings here, and that they are accordingly quite good at doing weddings. So it proved.
British Summer Time began last Sunday, and I surely wasn’t the only Brit taken by surprise. According to our excellent and invariably accurate short range weather forecasters (the long range climate guessers are something else entirely), the current (bitterly) cold spell that we are enduring will only end around the middle of this month.
On April 20th, two friends of mine are to be married, hopefully in the warm outdoors, and I hope to be taking photos of it, in the warm outdoors. They hope, as do I, that the cold will soon abate. Fingers crossed. The weather is getting sunnier now, but is still amazingly cold. Coldest March Britain has had for over half a century, they are saying. It was several years ago now that they (i.e. the long range climate guessers) changed Global Warming to Climate Chaos. Wise move. Wiser would have been to shut the fuck up and let Western Civilisation (a) proceed without them fucking with it, and (b) deal with any climate dramas if and when.
Meanwhile, the cold has kept me from roaming London taking snaps during the last week or two. Instead I roam through my recent archives, looking for interesting snaps taken on warmer days.
Here are some more:
This time there are more of those commonplace things that look better in good photos, as I hope you think these somewhat are, than they do when you actually see them. That’s if you even do see them, as in notice them.
Besides which, a double decker bus advert may be pretty obvious stuff to a fellow Londoner. But what if you are one of those lost souls who lives outside London? Or worse, who has never even been to London? Or perhaps never even set eyes on a double decker bus? A double decker bus advert must seem, to such a person, almost unbearably exotic and glamorous.
Note, in the first picture, top left, reflections of these buildings.
While I was on that Waterloo Station upper deck, I espied a couple of adverts next to each other, put out by this organisation.
Here they are together:
And here they each are separately, for you to click on to get them well and truly readable:
Okay, I accept these challenges, and will respond.
The left hand one is a variant on the theme of “a billion people can’t be wrong”. Yes they can. Why has the Qur’an remained unchanged? There are any number of reasons why that would happen, other than what they are trying to say, which is that it is all true. Because it is an object of unthinking worship, rather than of serious study? (Remember that the memorising of it is often done by people who have no idea what they are saying, merely reproducing sounds.) Because people have been too scared to challenge it? Because Islam remains stuck in the seventh century, and unthinking bigotry is built into it?
Science, which the second advert seeks to argue was pre-echoed by the Qur’an, has changed over and over again. And this is a sign of science’s intellectual seriousness and intellectual vitality. Lack of change, century after century, signifies the opposite.
As for the claim of the Qur’an to be science before science, the real theory of the big bang is but the conceptual tip of an intellectual iceberg consisting of a ton of evidence and interpretation, and it is the latter that gives science its force. Science is not merely true. It explains why it is true. It argues about whether it is true. And consequently it gets ever more true. Islam is no truer now than it was thirteen centuries ago.
The good news here is that the claim that the Qur’an is as scientific as real science is a huge concession to the acknowledged intellectual superiority of science. “We have been right all along, and science proves it!” But if they really thought that the Qur’an was the last word on everything, they wouldn’t be dragging science in to back the claim up. Science would be ignored.
But they know that they cannot now ignore science. Science is a challenge they know they have to respond to. On account of it being so much truer and so much better at getting at more truth than the unchanging and unchangeable incantations that they are stuck with.
I have recently acquired a new cleaning lady. She’s been twice now, and she seems good. I am paying her £20 for two hours, which is a bit more than she expects, but I need her services rather less regularly than many people might, and at irregular times, so a bit more seems fair.
She is keen to get further cleaning and housekeeping work in the London area, so if anyone in London would like me to put them in touch, get in touch with me.
Yes, she is Eastern European. I have yet to ask if she is a trained concert pianist. She definitely sings in a church choir.
So how about another Feline Friday:
Photoed by me this afternoon, next to Westminster Abbey.
In the forecourt of the Channel 4 headquarters in Horseferry Road is a big 4, which gets variably decorated from time to time. This is the latest variant, photoed by me this afternoon:
That must be a guy in a wheel chair, there to flag up the Paralympics coverage on C4.
And yes indeed, perfect summer weather.
Last Tuesday, at 10pm, I met somebody at Piccadilly Circus. I seem to recall it being on QI that actually the Eros Statue isn’t really an Eros Statue, but despite that, we met next to the Eros Statue. It sounds more exciting than it was.
While waiting for this person to arrive, I of course, took photos of people taking photos:
And on the way home, I photographed some Modern Art:
That’s in a tube station. Green Park, I think.
Early last week, via the Londonist, I heard about a big occupation of Regent Street that was going to happen yesterday, not by idiot hippies with no agenda (thank god), but by cars – veteran cars, E-type Jags, Minis, boringly modern cars, and surely plenty of etc. type cars.
But, come yesterday morning, I really wasn’t in the mood to get out, and nor was the weather very getoutful. But I am very glad that I forced myself to attend. I have never seen so many interesting cars assembled in one spot. Any one of them would have deserved a photographic effort. All of them congregated together was stupendous.
The light was poor, the kind where you have to hold your camera still or it’s disaster. But I held it just about still enough, and snapped away like a mad thing.
There were, as promised, lots of E-Type Jags:
Lots of E-Type Jags and Minis:
Yes, lots of Minis, and we’re not talking the fake German Minis of recent years, that aren’t even that Mini. These were real Minis:
The reason for all that Mini Jag action being that both are this year celebrating their fiftieth birthdays.
Better yet, there were lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of vintage cars, of the sort constructed over a century ago, when they were still trying to work out what a car was:
There were other cars, some exciting, like the knee-high red rocket car, and some dreary, like all the cars that demonstrated different varieties of fuel, such as electricity. The dreary thing about the modern cars on show is that they look exactly like ordinary cars, i.e. in the nature of this, dreary cars. You can’t see all the bizarrely new mechanical stuff, or not most of the time, because it is hidden behind dreary metal, just like a regular car:
But despite the dreary modern cars, it all added up to digital photographer heaven. Many of the above pictures contain photographers, whom I couldn’t have avoided snapping had I been trying to avoid snapping them, and of course I wasn’t. Was I going to be the only digital photographer present? Of course not. Here are some more of my tribe in action:
But what exactly, besides cars, were we all photo-ing? I believe I was not the only one who was particularly noticing all the details of the vintage cars. Like I say, they hadn’t (around 1900 or so) fully worked out what a car was supposed to be, and you can see them experimenting and juggling around with this and that arrangement, these and those luxury appendages, these and those sorts of seats, these and those sorts of bonnet shapes, right there in front of you. Things had to be somewhat different from horse-drawn carriages. But how different?
Amazing. That all took hardly more than an hour. Throughout, it was threatening to rain, but it never did until I was ready to leave. I love how, when you visit something with a camera, you can photo it, and then go home and look at it all at your leisure.
Including “Sport” in the category list is because today, many of these cars will have been racing down to Brighton.
I’m busy concocting a big Samizdata posting about the NFL. (When this link turns purple, that will be the link from here to that.) But the Samizdata posting is getting really big, and I want to link to these photos from there, so as not to clutter up that posting any more than I have already. So:
A Real Photographer would probably have used a filter, or some such contrivance, to deal with the light being so bright, either making the sky white (mostly that) or things in the shade black. One day I will learn all these things, and become a perfect photographer. Then, only hours later, I will die.
Indeed. Snapped yesterday at a bus stop, pointing my camera up Victoria Street, and getting the view down Victoria Street, plus the cheeseburger:
This, I believe, is a good way to photo the Wheel. Not looking straight at it, but bouncing it off of other stuff. Its appearance is so very distinctive that it will survive almost any treatment of this sort. Which means that doing this communicates that distinctiveness very well. More direct Wheel snapping? That’s all been done.
There are some interesting titbits in this piece about the IPL cricket tournament, and about how well it is doing as a TV show.
“A sense of meaning has been absent,” Desai said. “It has become repetitive. Sports must produce some sort of meaning finally. Otherwise it is just leather hitting wood.”
But even he agrees advertisers don’t have to worry yet, saying “there is still good reason for [the IPL] to exist” and that it simply needs to transition from being a spectacle into a tournament that reflects “what every team represents and stands for”.
Indeed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thoroughly enjoying what I am seeing of this tournament. But, what I am enjoying - and will remember for a while - is the achievements of individuals, rather than the distinctiveness of and collective success of teams. I do remember great things that have been done by Malinga, Valthaty, Sehwag, Gayle and Ishant Sharma. But if asked which teams those guys play for, I’d have to pause and think about it.
It doesn’t help the way players move around from one year to the next, according to who gets them in an auction. This is the problem with salary caps, and in general with a tournament that is that little bit too centrally controlled, and controlled to contrive equality of outcome. It makes for more evenly matched teams, but there isn’t the romance of “organic” teams, emerging from the wider society of whatever society it is. A similar complaint applies to American football, I think. In general, I am not fond of the word “franchise” in sport.
In this respect the IPL is not a patch on that other Premier League. Yes, in “the” Premier League, there are usually only about half a dozen teams each year with a serious chance of winning, or even of doing well enough to play in Europe the following season. But teams do rise and fall. Unlimited money is not enough to guarantee success.
It must say something that the Olympic Games, the World Cup (as in the soccer World Cup) and the English Premier League, three of the most successful televised sports tournaments on the planet, all have this huge inequality between the best teams and the rest of the teams built into them. Yet people still care about their little country getting their one amazing Silver Medal, or their recently promoted team avoiding relegation the following season with a last gasp win against a mid-table team, or their little country snatching a draw again Germany and scraping, against all odds, into the last sixteen before being thumped by Brazil. Personally, I detest the Olympics and don’t get that excited about soccer or any sort. But I know sporting super-success when I see it. The IPL needs to keep working on its formula.
In defence of the IPL, those other biggies have been going for decades, while the IPL isn’t yet half a decade old. Given time, it too will become “organic”.
Hello, rain stopped play. That’s not supposed to happen in India. An earlier match was totally washed out, on a day when the weather here in London was fabulous.
LATER (Sunday afternoon):
That’s a picture of the Gayle effect. 40 off 3 overs.
Photoed by me this afternoon, above the Royal Victoria Dock, which I have been visiting lately.
At the top of a London Tube escalator, an appropriate juxtaposition, n’est pas?
Another sign of the times:
This afternoon I went east, to see how the Shard is getting on. It is getting on. This shoe repairs shop is in a peculiar elevated shopping street near the Shard, the other side of the street from London Bridge Station, towards the river.
I like that the phone number still starts with 0171.