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- 2012 and 2016 times 2 – London on the rise
- Stripy house can stay stripy
- Mr Ed has some metaphorical fun
- A picture of a book about pictures
- To Tottenham (8): Zooming in on some Big Things
- Playing golf versus following cricket
- Quota bicycles
- Another Capital Golf car
- Battersea Power Station then and now and soon
- Timing shits instead of forcing them
- Lincoln Paine shifts the emphasis from land to water (with a very big book)
- Classic cars in Lower Marsh
- Stabat Mater at St Stephen’s Gloucester Road
- A selfie being taken a decade ago
- Gloucester Road with evening sun
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Category archive: Digital photographers
As related last Wednesday, I heard GodDaughter 2 (and others) perform this:
What a strange piece it is. To an atheist like me, the plot is very simple and wholly disastrous. Mother watches her only son being tortured to death. Yet Rossini makes a lot of it sound rather up-beat, even jolly, despite it mostly being in a minor key. This effect was strengthened in this performance by the fact that instead of the orchestra that Rossini specified, they made do with two pianists playing one piano. Don’t get me wrong, these guys did fine. But the inevitable emphasis that a piano places, unlike wind and orchestral stringed instruments, on the beginnings of notes, especially when two pianists need to keep in time with each other, created a mood not unlike a rather jolly brass band, of the sort manned by men in leather shorts. Put on top of that singing that was more operatic in manner than traditionally ecclesiastical, and you can see why (I just learned this (blog and learn)) Heinrich Heine described the work as “too worldly, sensuous, too playful for the religious subject”. Playful is exactly the word. The tenor solo aria, early on, sounded like he’d just got married.
But then again, it’s not for atheistical me to be telling nineteenth century Italians how they should feel about the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. If they want to treat this as a cause for something close to celebration, which I suppose is what Christianity as a whole does, in among all the lamentation, I’m not going to tell them otherwise. Besides which, I enjoyed it, once I had got over the surprise of how it sounded. Playful is a good sound.
If you like the sound of playfully ecclesiastical Rossini, I also recommend his Petite Messe Solomnelle. That’s long been a favourite of mine.
There’s something about young-and-still-studying classical music voices that is often lacking with more famous, better paid and older classical singers. Basically, their voices are still pristine, not yet having suffered from the habit of belting everything out to the far corners of opera houses. Provided the students you are hearing are in command of what they are singing and don’t sing out of tune (these were and didn’t), they can create a sort of musical magic that you often miss on bigger and grander occasions. There is also something appropriate about how none of them are stars, or not yet. That way God, the Virgin Mary and her Son get to be the stars of the evening.
That said, towards the end, GodDaughter 2 had her big solo moment, doing a very difficult number with some scarily low notes. As I already reported she did very well, in other opinions besides mine, Other than that, the highlight for me was the performance of Michael Ronan, who brought gravitas to the occasion of a sort that I was expecting rather more of. I say “performance” because he accomplished this effect as much with his restrained and perfectly pitched body language as with his fine singing.
It was a shame that more people were not persuaded to attend this event. I’m guessing we were mostly friends and family. We had the performers outnumbered, but not by much.
I earlier linked to the Scherzo facebook page. This was then still plugging last Wednesday’s performance, but as of now it features a photo of all the singers and their conductor Matthew O’Keeffe, taken after the performance. I’m tempted to show you the photo of the photographer taking this photo that I photoed, but have resisted. I also resisted taking photos of the performance during the performance, but she showed no such restraint, sometimes being almost in the singers’ faces. Afterwards, I heard grumbles, but presumably she had permission. If her efforts help Scherzo to get the bigger audiences they deserve in the future, then I forgive her.
Indeed, a decade ago to the day, on the grass outside Westminster Abbey. The word “selfie” didn’t then exist, but that didn’t stop anyone from doing it. It was because so many were doing it that the word was needed:
I like how the soles of their feet are the bit of the photo that’s most in focus.
My first use of the word “selfie” was, according to my blogging software, in this posting. It’s all about me.
I took this photo of a photoer, among many other photos of photoers, outside Buckingham Palace, exactly ten years ago today:
It’s the best photo I took that day. By which I mean that today it is the best photo I took that day.
What this guy is holding in his hands is the past (i.e ten years ago) and the future (i.e. today) of low-end digital photography. He is using a now obsolete little digital camera of the kind people hardly use any more, to take his photos, back then on April 2nd 2007. Dangling down below that is a mobile phone, which is what people mostly now use to take these kinds of photos.
DP Review explains, here.
Last Saturday, I journeyed forth to check out a statue. I’ve been reading this book, which got me interested in Frederick, Duke of York, second son of George III and C-in-C of the British Army, for real, not ceremonially. A hugely important figure in British military history, apparently, and there is a statue of him at the top of a column, right across the road from where he used to work, where he used to work being a walk away from where I live. I’ve always liked this statue, and its column, but had never, until now, given a thought to what the bloke at the top of it had done to deserve it, for deserve it he did.
But before I checked that out, I encountered, in Parliament Square, that big Anti-BREXIT demo, and since today is a rather important date, BREXIT-wise, I’ll leave the Duke of York to other days, and focus on that demo, and in particular on all the signs that I saw. The light was very bright, so here, with many a shadow getting in the way, are most of the signs that I saw:
Given that I personally voted BREXIT, why did I go to all the bother (and when I do this kind of thing it is a lot of bother) of showing all these snaps here?
Here are a few reasons:
I was struck by the enthusiasm and inventiveness and personal commitment on show, especially illustrated by the number of hand-done signs I saw. This enthusiasm is a significant political fact of our time, I think, no matter what you think of it. My personal opinion is that it is going to do terrible damage to the British left, in a sort of mirror image way to the damage that Britain’s participation in the EU did to the British right. (See this posting and this posting, at Samizdata.)
Second, many people whom I like and respect, some of them people of the left but most of them not, nevertheless voted against BREXIT, for reasons I thoroughly respect. Much of the motivation behind the vote against BREXIT was libertarian in spirit, and much of the motivation behind the vote for BREXIT was anti-libertarian in spirit. I voted the way I did despite all that, because of my pessimism about the future development of the EU, and because in my opinion the EU brought out the very worst in our politicians and public officials. Turned them all into a pack of bloody liars, basically. But those who did not see it that way had their reasons. This posting is my nod towards all those who disagreed with me in this great matter.
Third, this posting reflects a photographic enthusiasm of mine, which is for large sets of objects which are all of the same kind, yet all different from one another. I reacted, photographically, to this demo, in the exact same way that I reacted to an NFL jamboree that I encountered a few years back, in Trafalgar Square, where I found myself snapping lots of NFL name-and-number shirts, likewise all the same yet all different.
And see also this demo.
I have included a few signs which verge on self-parody. 1.1: “I AM QUITE CROSS”, made me chuckle, and wonder whose side they were on. As did 9.1 and 9.2, “Tut” and “DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING”, the latter being a sign that goes back to Father Ted. 11.2, “mewn” baffles me, though. What is that? Does it mean: me-EU-UN?
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.