Brian Micklethwait's Blog
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Brian Micklethwait on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Michael Jennings on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Brian Micklethwait on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
Patrick Crozier on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
kenforthewin on The most newsworthy thing so far done by a drone
6000 on UPS drones and drone vans
6000 on Guess what this is
Erin on The most newsworthy thing so far done by a drone
Patrick Crozier on The Robert Stephenson statue at Euston
Edna on The most newsworthy thing so far done by a drone
Most recent entries
- Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
- Leake Street photo session
- Longer life would make most of us (certainly me) more energetic and ambitious
- Azure Window broken
- Beltane & Pop van parked on the South Bank yesterday afternoon
- New River Walk
- Die Meistersinger was very good
- Spring in Islington
- ROH Covent Garden here I come
- Today’s plan
- Photoing the faces of strangers (or in my case: not)
- England crush Scotland in the 6N – plus the hugeness of home advantage
- If Pugs could fly
- Chronicle Tower and its roof (and window-cleaning crane)
- More Dezeenery
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Category archive: Digital photographers
Leake Street is that tunnel under the Waterloo approach tracks, filled with an ever-changing display of grafitti. And of photoers photoing it.
I’m still photoing photoers, basically because the photos of photoers I took about a decade ago get more interesting by the year, and so, I’m betting, will photos like these, which I took in Trafalgar Square, last October:
The difference from ten years ago is that I avoid photoing faces far more than I tried to then. That means, as explained in this earlier posting, that I find myself photoing a lot of hair, as above. Although, 3.3 is the hair on a lady’s sleeve, and the guy in 2.3 has no hair. But, he has a hair style.
But I’m not a hair fetishist. I’m just a not-face photoer, when I’m photoing strangers who are themselves photoing.
There was a posting at Mick Hartley’s yesterday which showed that concern about photoing the faces of strangers and thereby in some way stealing from them is not new. Hartley reproduces a great pile of photos, photos like this:
Scroll down to the bottom of Hartley’s posting, and you will encounter quotes from the man, Richard Sandler, who took all these ancient black-and-white photos, of strangers. Go to where Hartley got these pictures and the quote, and you’ll get one of the questions, as well as the answer.
Have you had anyone ever question your motives in the street? Did you ever piss off anybody?
Occasionally people get angry and they have a right to, I am stealing a little something from them. Also for many years I used the strobe on the street and so there was no hiding what I was doing ... it can be startling. I have been kicked, spit on, and chased, but not very often. Once a woman with a rabbit pursued me for 30 minutes because I had flashed her and her pet.
Hartley also quotes Sandler saying this:
I think those were more interesting times because the warts of corporate/capitalist society were more visible then they are today, and those contradictions could be photographed more directly than now ... also every third person was not virtual, being on the fucking phone and not really on the street ....
Two things about that. One, there is something rather exploitative about these photos, as he goes on to admit, sort of like an old school colonist photoing the natives. Second, why the hell are “fucking” phones not themselves fit objects for his photoing? Not really on the street? Come on.
They are certainly fit objects for my photoing.
Could it be that Sandler is suffering from a dose of professional jealousy? Suddenly, the damn natives can photo the warts of corporate/capitalist society for themselves. And nowadays, they don’t even have to use a dedicated camera.
And as for flash, well, the latest cameras hardly need them. They can pretty much see in the dark.
Yet more evidence of how digital photography has encouraged temporary art, by making it digitally preservable. What we see is videoing, I think. But we can be sure that a straight up still photo of the final result will be included in the photography process.
Note the silver paint, on top of what was there before. If the previous occupant of this spot (in the Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel) didn’t have what he had done photoed, he has only himself to blame.
Don’t ask me what the graffiti means.
Here is what this was looking like. Lots of cranes. Lots of scaffolding. And big signs on the perimeter fence celebrating glorious moments in Spurs history:
2.1, in pleasing contrast to the masculinities of football and construction, a girly bus goes by.
3.2 features how the new stadium will look from above.
It will be entertaining to return in a couple of years time, to see how it all ends up looking.
In this report, you can see more pictures of progress, viewed from above.
At present Spurs seem to be doing rather well. Today, they drew with Man City, having been two goals adrift, which was a result, and they are in second place in the Premiership.
I had been expecting them to be doing rather badly just now, what with this new custom built headquarters being now under construction.
So, you like photoing photoers. And you like photoing people wearing rock tour T-shirts. So, obviously, you spend years rootling through your photo-archives, looking for photos of photographers wearing rock tour T-shirts, and then you find two, taken within the space of one hour, in September 2013.
There was this photo, celebrating this tour, ...:
… and there was this photo, celebrating this tour:
And, bonus, the Iron Maiden guy is a bald guy.
But, no, I wasn’t really looking for these photos. I just found them.
This, says 6k, is going to be fun.
And it is already. One of the rules of toys is that a good toy starts being fun straight away. This one has certainly passed that test:
That’s two 6k kids and two friends of theirs, all helpfully shielding their faces, which means I feel free to borrow it.
I have been tracking the spread of drones, and noting that most of them are in the service of those who command large spaces which they wish to photo. Farmers and pop concert organisers, for example. They are not commanded by those who command only tiny spaces and wish to photo other people’s spaces. A privately owned drone, for me, in tightly packed London, in almost as tightly packed England, makes no sense, however tempted I sometimes feel to get one.
But South Africa (I was told about this last night by someone who had been there over Christmas) is a land of wide open spaces, and a privately owned drone makes sense there, provided only that you have the means to get into those wide open spaces.
I recently opined here that drones are not toys, and here, they aren’t. But in big old Africa, they can be.
It’s not that I am a hair fetishist. It’s more that I dislike faces, as in: I dislike photoing the faces of my fellow photoers, by which I mean photoing the faces of strangers. And then sticking their faces on the www. Or merely looking as if I might be doing that. Bad form. Not done. Especially with face recognition just getting bigger and bigger as a thing people worry about.
One way to not do this is to wait until they hold their cameras in front of their faces. Another is to simply photo them from behind. I do that a lot.
Which means that I find myself photoing a lot of hair, and a lot of hair styles.
And that is how I found myself noticing the deliberately bald look, so often sported by gentlemen these days.
And that is why I photoed this advert, which I chanced upon recently in a tube train:
I was standing up at the time. Which was lucky, because I was consequently able to take this photo without even the appearance that I might instead have been photoing the face of the man sitting underneath the advert. Many is the amusing tube advert I have refrained from photoing, in order not to arouse such fears, and maybe then cause A Scene.
More information about this impressive looking product here.
How to say that I am at home alone over Christmas without you feeling sorry for me? I can’t do it, but please: don’t. In exchange, I won’t feel sorry for you that you are reading this instead of having “fun”.
Each to his or her own, but I love it that holidays, for me, really are holidays, rather than just burdens of a different sort to the more usual ones. Don’t get me wrong, burdens are often well worth bearing, as when I visit GodDaughter 2’s family in Brittany, and must bear the burdens of living in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar facilities and unfamiliar routines and with the fear of inflicting various sorts of offence and inconvenience upon everyone, with them being too polite to say. But, these are still burdens. This Christmas, as is my usual habit, I have been ensconced in my little snuggery, with no burdens at all.
I haven’t been fobbing you people off with nothing but silly old photos because I’ve been gadding about around town, catching up with friends and family and attending swanky functions. No gadding about. I’ve been fobbing you off with photos because I have been relaxing, even more than usual.
Here’s another silly photo, to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I haven’t found any Merry Christmas messages out in the streets lately, so here is a Christmassy photo that I think I took in Oxford Street, definitely in December 2008:
Which tells me that I was fascinated by Bald Blokes Taking Photos for quite a while before I had worked this out in the fully conscious part of my head. I love how green he is.
On Christmas Day itself I will not be alone, for I am to have a Christmas lunch with friends. This will bring with it the burden of having to travel across London on Christmas Day, which basically means two very long walks. (I don’t know how to Uber, since you ask. I’d rather walk.) If I come across any Merry Christmas messages while walking, and manage to photo them, I’ll pass them on.
The year approaches its end, and I am trawling through my year’s archives to put together one of those My Year In Pictures postings for Samizdata.
Which is how I came across this photo, that I took in January of this year:
That won’t make the cut, I don’t think. Too much about me. Too little about The World, etc. But, I do like it.
As mentioned in earlier postings, I did a trawl through my photo-archives, looking for the earliest evidence I could find of people taking photos with their phones. Here are the earliest photos I found of this characteristically C21 phenomenon. The first one dates from April 4th 2006, and the rest were photoed between then and the end of 2006. They are shown below in chronological order.
I was then, and have been in this posting, much more relaxed about showing the faces of strangers than I normally am here. Now, I try not to even photo people’s faces, and when I do, I don’t post them on the blog. But I’m hoping that ten years is the passing of enough time for this not to be a problem.
It doesn’t surprise me at all that the first person I saw doing this was a young girl, just pre-teen. That demographic being famous early adopters of the things it likes to adopt.
Click and enjoy. But, be warned that these pictures are necessarily of rather variable quality. Picture quality is not the point here. The point is what is going on, and when it was going on:
It also says something that I often found it quite hard to work out whether what I was looking at was a phone or just a camera, and in about one or maybe two cases here, I may have got that wrong, although I don’t believe so. But actually, one of the best things about a smartphone is that, because you can use them for so many different things, it is often hard to tell which of those things you are doing at any particular moment.
This is a big, big fact about citizen digital photography. You often can’t tell, merely by looking at it, whether it is happening or not.
The other day I was at Tate Modern, at an exhibition where, it turned out, photography was forbidden. I saw people very obviously taking photos, and being told to stop. I myself took a few photos, and was told to stop.
And I saw others doing what I think was taking photos, and if so, was taking photos in a way that observers couldn’t be sure about, probably deliberately, and I didn’t see them being told to stop. Photography is not like smoking. You can’t just see it, and stop it. Not all of it. And that is partly because of smartphones. And of course other cameras are so smart that you can’t see them at all.
And I am so knackered that I am too knackered to explain why I am so knackered.
Here is a photo I took today of a fellow photoer:
Woolly hats and gloves often come out especially well, I find.
Good night. I am off to bed.
People taking photos with their mobile phones, now more commonly known as smartphones because of all the other things they can do also besides phoning people when out and about, is now something you see everywhere. Above is a typical such photoer, whom I photoed at the top of the Big Olympic Thing last Tuesday, just before it got dark, on the same day I took these photos.
1.1 and 1.2 both show classic finger-work, of the sort I have long been familiar with, but which I nevertheless never tire of seeing and photoing. These shapes always make me smile.
2.2 is a classic screen shot, with everything on the screen very visible, as it is often not. Normally I like bright, outdoor light, but when it comes to photoing other people’s screens, the worse the light is the better.
Perhaps 2.1 is the most interesting one, because it shows what dirty windows there are up there. The human eye doesn’t see through dirty windows very well, but cameras do this better, unless the camera is photoing the dirt, in which case it really photos it.
I spent today doing more tidying, and searching through my photoarchives from the second half of the year 2006, looking for people using mobile phones to take photos, as already mentioned here in this recent posting. The second half of 2006 being, it would seem, when that got started.
I found quite a few such photos, as I will surely relate here, some time soonish. But in among finding them, I also came across this, which I really like:
That’s exactly how it emerged from my camera, in Parliament Square, way back then in the late summer of 2006. I like it as it is, capturing as it does both the movement of the man on his roller blades and the hurried wave of chaos that engulfs me when I take such photos.
If you disagree, and think that the rollerblader should be cropped into greater prominence, and straightened, well, click to get the bigger version and crank up whatever version of Photoshop you have and get to work. Or, just look carefully and tilt your head.
Yes, two photos from the archives.
First, David Cameron, in November 2006, somewhat more than a year after he had become the Leader of the Opposition. Cameron is no longer the Prime Minister. The Globalisation Institute is no longer.
And, photoed about a week later, a Remembrance photoer, outside Westminster Abbey.
I took over seven hundred photos that day, including photos of many, many photoers. Not one single solitary one of them was using a mobile phone to do photoing. So I guess that means that that had not then started.