Brian Micklethwait's Blog
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Brian Micklethwait on Incoming horizontality from Simon Gibbs
Rocco on Incoming horizontality from Simon Gibbs
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MarkR on Goodbye PhotoCat – hello PhotoPad
Brian Micklethwait on Deirdre McCloskey - The Great Enrichment – Using a smartphone as a mirror
Rob Fisher on Deirdre McCloskey - The Great Enrichment – Using a smartphone as a mirror
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Most recent entries
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- Incoming horizontality from Simon Gibbs
- Seven London bridges (again)
- Feline Friday at Samizdata
- Face recognition – face disguise – the age of pseudo-omniscience
- More South of France bridges
- Played 6 – Won 0 – Drawn 3 – Lost 3
- I want to write more here about music
- South of France signs
- Keeping up appearances at One Palace Street
- Goodbye PhotoCat – hello PhotoPad
- Incoming imagery from Antoine
- A bridge in Narbonne
- South of France electronic clutter
- Deirdre McCloskey - The Great Enrichment – Using a smartphone as a mirror
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Category archive: Digital photographers
Today I attended Deirdre McCloskey’s talk for the Adam Smith Institute. I know what you’re thinking. Okay, okay, photos, as per usual. But: What did she say? Fine. Go here, and you can find out. What I can find no link to is any information about the event – when, where, and so on. It’s all now gone. Maybe it was never there in the first place.
But the Man from the Adam Smith Institute told me to send in some of my snaps, and these are the ones I sent them:
McCloskey’s basic point was what is rapidly becoming the libertarian orthodoxy, to the effect that (a) the world started getting humungously rich in or around 1780 (Yaron Brook‘s preferred date for this is 1776 (to coincide with America starting and Smith’s Wealth of Nation’s getting published)), and (b) we did this. Our enemies tried to stop us and they failed. We know how to make poor people rich, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Our enemies only know how to make rich people less rich and poor people more poor. Bastards.
My recent favourite example of enrichment is a very tiny one offered at today’s talk by McCloskey, which is that you can now use your smartphone as a mirror. Better yet, McCloskey said, before the talk she was giving, she spotted Steve Baker MP doing this exact thing with his smartphone, while perfecting his appearance prior to doing his MP socialising bit.
The reason I particularly like this is that I just recently learned about this trick myself, when I saw someone doing it, and took a photo of it:
If you photo someone looking in a mirror, they can see their face, but you can’t. (Unless it’s a crap movie, in which case the audience sees the face and the person with the face doesn’t. I know. Ridiculous. But this is truly what often happens.) But, if you photo someone using their smartphone as a mirror, both you and they can see their face.
McCloskey’s point was that enrichment doesn’t only come in the form of more money, but also in the form of the ever more amazing things that you can buy with your money. Like a phone that is also a NASA circa 1968 supercomputer. And a face mirror.
Finally, here are a couple more photography-related photos. On the left is the official photographer for the McCloskey talk:
And on the right there is a photo which I also took at the venue for the McCloskey talk, which I will not name, because the people in charge of this place might then learn of this blog posting and see this picture and then who the hell knows what might happen? Are you wondering what I am talking about? Click on the picture and work it out. I only realised what I had photoed after I had got home.
And I was deliberately retracing steps I used to do make a lot of around eight or ten years ago, to see what had changed and what had not. A lot had changed, in the form of a few big new buildings. The rest had not changed.
Did I say that that sunset I recently posted photos of was last Saturday? Yes. Actually it was the Friday. Get ill and you lose track of time. That evening I also took a lot of other photos, on and from the south bank of the river, between Blackfriars road bridge and Tower Bridge, and here are some of the ones I particularly liked:
That array of small photos (click on any you like to the look of to get it a decent size) really should not now be misbehaving, on any platform. If it is, please get in touch, by comment or by email.
As to the pictures themselves:
1.1 A Deliberately Bald Bloke standing at the bottom of 240 Blackfriars. (You can see the top of 240 Blackfriars in 3.1 here.) That Deliberately Bald look is, I think, fair game photo-blogging-wise. The guy is choosing to look this way. It’s a fashion statement, not an affliction. Blog-mocking the involuntarily bald is not right, but blog-celebrating those who embrace their baldness is fine. Especially if the guy obligingly turns his face away.
1.2 is one of my favourite weird London sites, namely the topless columns of the Blackfriars Bridge that isn’t, in between the two Blackfriars Bridges that are, the one on the right now sporting a new station on it. The twist is that this was high tide, and waves were rhythmically breaking against a corner in the river wall and filling the air between my camera and the bridges with bits of water.
1.3 is a building on the other side of the river. Just beyond the Blackfriars Station bridge. I do love what light and scaffolding and scaffolding covers sometimes do.
1.4 and 2.1 illustrate the universal photography rule to the effect that if you want to photo something very familiar, like St Paul’s Cathedral, you’d better include something else not so familiar, such as some propaganda for a current Tate Modern show that I will perhaps investigate soon, or maybe four big circles that you can see at the Tate Modern end of the Millennium Bridge.
2.2 is an ancient and modern snap, both elements of which I keep meaning to investigate. Those two buildings, the office block and the church, are like two people I frequently meet, but don’t know the names of. Luckily, with buildings, it’s not embarrassing to ask, far too late.
I know what that Big Thing behind the Millennium Bridge in 2.3 is, under wraps, being reconditioned, improved, made worse, whatever, we’ll have to see. That’s Centre Point. It even says most of that on it. I have always been fond of Centre Point, one of London’s early Big New Things.
2.4 features something I have tried and failed to photo several times previously, a Deliveroo Man. Deliveroo Men are usually in a great hurry and are gone before I can catch them, but this one was taking a breather. Deliveroo Men carry their plasticated corrugated boxes on their backs like rucksacks, which I presume saves valuable seconds.
3.1: Another ancient/modern snap. The very recognisable top of the Shard, and another piece of ancientness that I am familiar with but have yet to get around to identifying, see above. I reallyl should have photoed a sign about it. I bet there is one.
3.2: The golden top of the Monument, now dwarfed by the Gherkin and by the Walkie Talkie.
3.3: A golden hinde, which is to be found at the front of the Golden Hinde. I’ve seen that beast before, but never really noticed it.
3.4: Another ancient/modern snap, this time with Southwark Cathedral dominating the foreground. The combined effect yet again vindicates Renzo Piano’s belief that the Shard would blend into London rather than just crow all over it. Those broken fragments at the top echo the four spikes on the nearby Cathedral. It looks that way to me, anyway.
4.1: Another delivery snap, this time of the old school sort. A White Van. But with lots of propaganda all over it, notably the back door, in the new school style.
4.2: Yet another ancient modern contrast, this time the Monument, again, with a machine for window cleaning. Note that small tripoddy object on the top of the Monument. I suspect that this is to give advance warning if the Monument starts to wobble.
4.3: Two exercises in power projection, now both lapsed into tourist traps. Behind, the Tower of London. In front, HMS Belfast.
4.4: Finally! Modern/modern! The Walkie Talkie and the Cheesegrater, and probably my favourite snap of all these. Not a view you often see in other photos, but there it was. Should the bottom be cropped away, to simplify it even more. I prefer to leave photos as taken.
5.1 shows that thing when reflected light is the exact same colour when reflected as originally. Photography is light, so photography sees this. But eyes always try to create a 3D model of what is going on, rather than just a 2D picture. Eyes deliberately don’t see this.
5.2 and 5.4 take me back to my beautiful-women-taking-photos phase, which was big last decade. These two were too good to ignore. They were just so happy! But, mobile phones, which is very this decade. Just like my cameras, the cameras in these just get better and better.
5.3 is another view of that amazing cluster of footbridges.
The tricky thing, Adam says, is how many of his clients insist on secrecy. If you’re hiring a crowd to fill a campaign event or a film premiere, the last thing you want to do is let anyone know. Adam must balance his goal of spreading awareness of his company, so he can attract more clients, with the benefits of keeping the public in the dark. If people start to doubt the veracity of crowds, his business might suffer. “Right now, we’re still kind of this secret weapon,” Adam says. “We have the element of surprise. Yeah, you might’ve heard about political candidates paying to bring some extra bodies into their campaign events, but it’s beyond the realm of most people’s imagination that crowds are being deployed in other ways. Nobody is skeptical of crowds. Of course, in five years that could change.”
Indeed it could. And something tells me that this story is going to get very well known, very quickly. “How much are they paying you for this?” is going to be asked, a lot.
A longer term effect is also going to be that genuine protests are liable to look like they’re fake too.
People have been paid, in cash or kind, one way or another, to do this kind of thing for quite a while. All that this guy has done is turn it into a pure, if that’s the word, business.
I’m posting the photos below of these various ladies which I took yesterday outside Westminster Abbey, (a) because I like them and hope that you do too, but also (b) because I am checking out a new way to present photos here.
The problem has been how to contrive horizontal spaces between little photos. I’m doing it a different way here, which I hope gives me tighter control over the ultimate width of space occupied, and thus avoids the final one of a horizontal set of them (in this case just the two) spilling over, at some magnifications and/or on some devices, onto a newly created next line.
Well according to my posting software, that’s working.
If anyone sees anything weird of ugly, rather than two photos on the top next to each other (with a small gap in between) and then another below them and exactly the same width as the combined width of the two photos above plus the gap, please leave a comment.
All three photos are the result of my quest to make faces unrecognisable to computers. The top two show no faces at all. The two faces below? Well, do those sunglasses do the anonymity job? I hope so.
Reflective sunglasses like these certainly provide me with lots of photo-fun. The lady on the left as we look has both Big Ben and the selfie stick she was using reflected in her glasses, twice. The lady on the right has this church, next to Westminster Abbey, reflected in her specs. Click on it and you’ll see all this more clearly.
And I love those coloured finger nails, top right.
Last night I dined at the new and rather temporary home of Samizdata, where I took this photo:
Click on this to get it larger.
These really are very tasty crisps, and I strongly recommend them. I immediately decided that I would try to serve some of these at future iterations of my last-Friday-of-the-month meetings. So, I took a note of these chips, with my camera.
When I pondered the impact of digital photography, way back when that was, this ability to photo not only mere prettiness, but also information, loomed large.
I mentioned how my friend Simon Gibbs and his workmates all use their smartphones to photo the mass scribblings on a whiteboard after a brainstorming session. The man making the thumbs-up sign in the above photo told me about a new app that he now uses at work which takes a picture like the ones Simon and his pals take, and smartens it up, so to speak. It translates handwriting, that is to say, into proper computer text (presumably computer text you can scan), and arranges everything more neatly and more readably. Impressive. And I’m guessing that the existence both of smartphones taking photos, and of apps like this that can make even more sense of such photos, changes what gets written on the whiteboard, now that more coherent text will be better recorded and processed. I’m guessing that handwriting improves somewhat. But does this app, I wonder, subtract somewhat from the informality of the process? And might that undermine creativity?
I wonder what this app would have done with my Tyrrell’s veg crisps photo.
I photoed Mr Thumbs-Up’s smartphone, where the logo for this app was to be seen, but alas, the smart-focussing in my camera was not smart enough to focus on this image. It was all a blur:
There’s no point in me showing you a larger version of that, is there? How sad that my photo-note of an app for processing photo-notes should be so useless.
I should have included more stuff off screen for my camera to focus on. As I later discovered when I took some other photos off of his smarphone, of how my blog looked on his smartphone. Those photos came out better. But that’s for another posting.
Last Thursday afternoon, just before it got dark, proved to be a truly excellent time to be taking photos, and by good fortune, that’s exactly what I was doing. Yesterday’s white van was an early snap from that expedition. And when I got onto Westminster Bridge, in fading light but light pouring down from a cloudless lump of blue above, things got really good.
I, of course photoed my phello (my blog my rules) photoers.
A lady was photoing Big Ben. So I photoed her:
And I carefully contrived it that her hand was in front of her face, so nobody could put her face through a computer and recognise her, that being another of my rules, now. But she spoiled it, by sticking her own, I guess, face on her phone, together with, I further guess, the faces of her husband and her son. A few seconds Googling confirmed for me that personalising the graphics on your smartphone case is now a definite thing.
So, why do I show these faces, having been so careful not to photo this lady’s actual face? Something to do with the fact that she is obviously so proud of her family that she sticks them on her phone, and then waves her phone in the sky, photoing Big Ben, on Westminster Bridge, London. This is me and this is my family, and I don’t care who knows it! I mean, if you wave a photo of yourself around the place, that’s fair game, I reckon. Well, my gaff my rules. And when it’s borderline, I follow the Reasonable Man test, me being the reasonable man who gets to decide.
No problems, on the other hand, with this guy, also photoing Big Ben, minutes later, also with his hand over his face:
Although, I had to crop this one a bit, to eliminate faces in the crowd behind him.
You can see that lovely sky there. And you can also see those delicate hand movements that photoers do, that I so love. See especially the fifth finger of his left hand. All the more fun to see when it’s such a big hunk of (bald-headed) manhood doing it.
Yes, today I was in Burgess Park, which is the other side of the river from me. I took the 148 bus, to see where it would go, and once in that bus, I spent my time wondering what Camberwell Green is.
I tried to take photos out of the bus, but the best seats, at the top at the front, were taken. I had to sit right at the back. But, in the vicinity of the Elephant and Castle, I did manage this:
I got lucky with the crane shadow, didn’t I? The development is called Elephant Park.
I never did find out about Camberwell Green, because the bus got stuck in a jam next to one of the entrances to Burgess Park, and I got out at the next stop to take another look at this diverting space. I visited Burgess Park once before, and liked it a lot. Great views of Big Things. Today was also good, from that point of view:
But the shot of the day, in my opinion so far, on the same evening, is this, of a photographer photoing the sunset:
You’ll have to take my word for it that the sunset is what he was photoing, and for that matter that he was even holding a camera. But he was.
Happy Christmas, as and when you get around to reading this.
The weather this Christmas has been terrible. Warm, yes, but relentlessly cloudy and rainy. It seems like it’s been raining in London ever since I said here early last month that in London rain is quite rare. Wednesday was a brief respite, which the weather forecasters duly noted beforehand, but yesterday and today it’s back to mostly cloudy and rainy. So here is some Christmas photo-cheer from just before Christmas last year, when the weather was mostly what it should be around this time, suitably cold and frequently bright and sunny.
I mentioned earlier my intention to focus of a Friday on non-deline as well as feline members of the animal kingdom. This fine beast was to be seen last Christmas outside the old Covent Garden Market, where they used to sell fruit and veg - all that having moved to this place - and where they now sell stuff.
And here are two more photos, of the beast’s head, with a dose of that proper Christmas weather behind it, and of the sign at the beast’s feet, about how you mustn’t molest it in any way:
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom would not be BrianMicklethwaitDotCom if I hadn’t photoed photoers and stuck some of the resulting photos up here, so here are some of the many other photoers who photoed this reindeer. The first two have the reindeer on their screens:
And my favourite one didn’t have anything on her screen that I could see, but did have reindeers on her excellent woolly top.
Relevant website. Like I said, stuff.
Yes indeed, this is posting number seven - seven - about a walk that G(od)D(aughter) One and I did, in June of this year. Is this Proustian attention to detail? Or is it just travel boring on an epic scale? If you think the latter, the titles of such postings as this one will chase you away. You are not sitting in my living room. I would love it if you did read this posting, and if you did click on all of the photos below and if, having done that, you enjoyed them all. But this is a blog, not a kidnapping.
For those still sitting attentively on this blog’s metaphorical sofa, first: thank you for you continuing kind attention; and: the central point of this posting is that not only are Humans now using smartphones to take photos, on an epic scale. So too are Real Photographers.
GD1 is a very Real Photographer indeed. She does Real Photography for a living. GD1 had her Real Camera with her for the day, yet for a number of reasons she spent most of our walk that day taking photos not with her big Real Camera, but with her iPhone. I vaguely recall that her Real Camera had not been sufficiently recharged, but I may be imagining that. Or she was wanting to send photos to friends as only iPhones and iPhone-like cameras can do. Or perhaps she was just curious to see how good iPhotos are capable of being. Or maybe she just wanted a change, on this day out, from her day job. Whatever her reasons were, as my photos of her show, she spent most of the day iPhotoing, rather than Real Photoing. I think that’s a very interesting sign of the times.
Photo 1.1 sets the tone of these photos by concealing GD1’s face, in this case with an iBag. I never tire of taking such photos, usually of strangers, but also of friends upon whom I do not wish to inflict face-recognition angst.
In 1.2 we observe GD1 photoing London’s Big Things. I don’t know if I have influenced her at all in this matter. Maybe.
Photos 1.2, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 show her doing something that has definitely influenced me, which is photoing inconsequential objects to create consequential photographic effects. 1.2 and 2.1 both involve water, which is a particular source of photographic effects of the sort that the eye seems programmed not to see when looking at actual water, only when looking at photos of water. This does much to explain GD1’s liking for walking beside canals, which I definitely share, but for rather different reasons.
Mirrors (2.2 and 2.3) are another source of photographic effect. I too like mirrors, because they enable me to include me in my pictures. Which I like to do from time to time, because it drives home the point that I am not and will never be a Real Photographer. (Real Photographers only photo themselves by mistake.) Sadly, I could find no photos of GD1 photoing bits of mirror, with me reflected in any of the bits. Must try harder.
3.1: a swan family (I think maybe this is the iPhone influencing her – this would be too cute, I think, for her Real Camera). 3.2: gasometer.
In 3.3 we have arrived at our final destination, Alexandra Palace, from which Big Things can be seen. So I photo the Big Things, and she iPhotos Alexandra Palace.
Will there be further postings featuring photos taken by me on this journey? I promise nothing, but … almost certainly yes.
Yes, number 1.2 here is not taking, he’s making, and I photoed his screen instead of him. (This would seem to explain the (to me) decidedly off-putting not to say offensive slogan on the back of his costume.)
Although quite late in the day, which was in April of this year, the light is still fairly bright, so no pictures on electrical screens. Just faces from behind (IYGMM (if you get my meaning)) and faces front on, but with cameras in the way:
I am well aware that my obsession with photoing strangers photoing is somewhat creepy, this being why nobody ever seems to comment on these postings. Even to comment is to get too close to the obsession and to risk being thought to share it, or just to reckon it not creepy. But I happen to believe that willingness to be a bit creepy is a major slice of photoing talent, and I regularly risk this. Although I do definitely care what people think of me, I care even more about getting good photos.
And I reckon that, what with me having now done so much of this kind of photoing, the best of these photos that I take now are indeed getting to be pretty good. Of those shown above, I particularly like 1.3, with its intriguing contrast between the manliness of his pock-marked yet handsome face and the girlified phone he is using to take his photo, of his pock-marked yet handsome face, with the four-pointed Parliament tower (actually it is probably Big Ben in his photo) in the background.
The skeleton being photoed by the guy in 2.1, in case you were wondering, is an attack on capitalism, as the Guardian explains. But if this has to be explained, and it does, then it’s not much of an attack, is it?
I can’t make out what type of camera the guy photoing the skeleton is using. But of the seven other cameras, four appear to be mobile phones, and the other three to be quite big and quite expensive hobbyist cameras like mine. Mobile phones would appear to be gobbling up the small, cheap-and-cheerful digital camera market. All phones are now cameras. How soon before all cameras are phones? (See the graphs in this earlier posting here.)
Photographs are, as all the world has recently been learning, except those whose business – paid or unpaid – it is to complain about what all the world has recently been learning, a wonderful aid to memory.
And many of the happiest memories of our extraordinarily comfortable and frequently very happy times involve food. So - and the complainers complain about it with a venom they seem to reserve only for this, and for selfies - people now like to photo food. Food that they have themselves prepared. And food that others have prepared for them.
And I like to photo them photoing the food. This also makes happy memories.
Man prepares meat: Man photos meat: Man prepares salad: Man photos salad:
These are happy memories from last August. Visit to friends in the outer suburbs.
The outer suburbs? What do they look like? Well, one of the things they look like (horizontalisation opportunity) is this:
That’s the large patch of grass, beyond the back wall of their back garden. And sadly, although those things in the distance do vaguely resemble Big Things, they are actually rather smaller trees.
We are beyond the “Green Belt”. The above photo, especially if clicked on, offers a glimpse of what the Green Belt might usefully be turned into, instead of it remaining for ever the wasteland of pointless open space that it is now. It would need livening up a bit. A bit of open-caste mining, or a temporary phase as a juvenile race track? Then let nature take its course, and you’ll have a lovely place. Apparently some industrial type activity (gravel?) is about to happen in that particular stretch of grass. That will stir up some interesting nature, when the industrialising is done.
Finally, this being Friday, here is a visitor to our jollifications who dropped by that afternoon:
Like many cats in places like this, this cat seems to have a basic home of basic benefactors, and daily rounds to visit other potential and not-so-basic benefactors. This visitor acquired no happy food memories with his/her visit, on the day I photoed him/her. Not that day.
But I have plenty. Without my camera, these memories would soon have gone.
Where would we be without maps? In what world would we be living, without maps? A very different world, I think, and a much less coherent and join-up world. While travelling we consult maps, and are often unable to distinguish later what we learned by actually going there and being there, and what we merely saw on maps while going where we went, and being where we went. That was my experience anyway, when, much younger, I roamed about in Europe, on a bike.
However, when I am on a walk with Goddaughter One, I tend to learn rather little from maps, until afterwards. She is usually the one choosing where we go, and I just follow her lead. And, I don’t consult a map, because I always have my bag with me, and my camera in the other hand, and would need a third hand for a map, but do not have a third hand. There is accordingly a basic sense in which, after one of our joint expeditions, I don’t know, at the time, where I am, and don’t know, afterwards, where I have been.
It would be different if I was taking photos with my mobile phone, and also using that as a map. But, I use a regular old camera to take the pictures I take. I only use a mobile when (a) I want to take a photo, (b) have forgotten to bring my regular camera, and (c) have remembered to bring my mobile. This circumstance is very rare.
Take our most recent trek, the one which began when we met up at Manor House tube, talked for a while, and which only really got started after we had found our way to that amazing castle. I only worked out quite recently that we had started our walk here:
When we walked from Manor House tube we were walking south. When we reached the Castle Climbing Centre, we arrived at the southern most point of our travels that day. Then we took the path in an easterly direction along the canal, i.e. the blue line. The map looks a bit like a pair of spectacles, I think.
Here are some of the pictures I took that day, when the journey really began:
As you can see the path we took is called the New River Path (the canal being the New River). Wikipedia seems to be quite informative about “New River (England)”, but my blogging software seems to refuse to do that link (brackets?), so you’ll have to take my word for it that some of the words there are these ones:
The New River is an artificial waterway in England, opened in 1613 to supply London with fresh drinking water taken from the River Lea and from Chadwell Springs and Amwell Springs (which ceased to flow by the end of the 19th century), and other springs and wells along its course.
I don’t know when those reservoirs happened. Later, I presume. Until this expedition, I had no idea that the “New River” even existed.
As I said at the end of this recent posting here, I have some catching up that I want to do.
Two other people’s screens while avoiding their faces photos, taken on a muggy evening last September:
The one on the right is okay, because Westminster Abbey looks more interesting on someone else’s screen than in does in a regular photo, or in real life come to that, I reckon.
But the one on the left is really nice because the lady with the matching pink iPhone case and pink spectacle frames is photoing one of those little assemblages of modern architecture of the sort I especially like. There are all those apartments across the bridge approach from where James Bond’s bosses live, and to the right of these apartments (which already look rather tatty from close up but which look much better from afar) we observe the Spraycan. The Spraycan will soon, I believe, be joined by other towers, as that whole part of town erupts with activity sparked by the new US Embassy a bit further up river.
And, she is holding a map. Does she not know that she could whistle up a map on the phone she is photoing with?
And here are two more photos of people photoing, taken within the same short time-frame as those above:
The total amount of anonymity supplied to these two dudes is about right, but is, unfortunately, rather unevenly distributed. Dude 1 on the left is not showing us his screen, but I do like how I used that lamppost to prevent any machine from being able to spot him. Although, we can all see where the photo was taken, thanks to that road sign, which I also like including in photos.
But could a machine maybe identify Dude 2, on the right, perhaps from the rather blurry and shadowy image on his screen? A human who knows him would know him from that photo, but that isn’t the question. Here’s hoping that no machine will be interested.
Trouble is I like the photo too much to keep it to myself. You can even see the Wheel, on his screen.
Photo-screens come into their own, as objects of photography, when the light fades. They stay bright.
Ever since I expressed interest in their picture processing programme, which is called Zoner Photo Studio, the Zoner Photo Studio blog/magazine has been sending me news of articles in that blog/magazine. I don’t mind this. Often I find these pieces quite interesting.
Like the one in which I read this, for instance:
Loss of detail in red objects is a common problem in digital photographs. Digital cameras’ sensors are more sensitive to the red color channel than the other two (blue and green), and meanwhile overexposure of the red channel can lead to the loss of detail in red objects.
The article then goes on to explain how to deal with this loss of detail in red objects, an explanation that I can live without for the time being. No, what interested me was the claim that cameras get more excited by red than they do by other colours.
I found myself thinking about this fact, if fact it be, when preparing this set of photos, of photographers, taken exactly a year ago to the day, on December 6th 2014, in Piccadilly Circus. When doing this, I thought it would be fun to pick out small squares, not with a view to necessarily showing the most important bit of the picture, but in order to make a pleasing collection of squares. And while doing this, I did indeed feel that I detected exactly this tendency of my camera to see red with great intensity (where there was red to be seen), and also to see pink (where there did not seem to be much in the way of red to be seen at all).
Maybe this is just because people like red, and so the camera-makers deliberately make cameras which particularly see red. They could tell the cameras not to see so much red, but if they do, people like it less. If that means that people can’t see so much detail in the red bits of their pictures, well, they don’t care that much. Red is, after all, the colour of Christmas cheer. When seeing the best in something, we are seeing it through rose coloured spectacles. Red makes people happy. Could that be it?
Anyway, here are those pictures. My camera, when taking them, saw a lot of red, and presumably these other people taking photos were also photoing a lot of red. See in particular the one where it says Mamma Mia on the screen. Mamma Mia is in blue letters, but the surrounding colour on the screen has a distinctly pink tinge to it, even though I am pretty sure that the original background was white:
Once again, here is a result of a photoshoot that was really quite good, so why didn’t I show this or a similar result at the time? Well, first, there was really no rush, was there? It’s not as if people taking pictures in Piccadilly Circus is any sort of revelation. It wasn’t news. It could wait. But why did it, for a whole year? Well, basically I take far more pictures than I can reasonably show and tell about. If I thought that just shovelling snaps into Flickr was worth doing, I would do it, but I don’t. For me, it has to be photoblogging. But photoblogging takes time. Also, I like to mix it up, and not just have posting after posting consisting of great masses of photos, taken by clever old me. So, for me, photoblogging takes even longer. And the blogging bit tends to get left behind by the photoing.
Over Christmas I intend to stay in quite a lot, basically doing more writing than usual. And I also intend to do a bit of photoblogging catching up, harking back to sunnier times, last summer, and perhaps also in the more distant past. Although, as always, I promise nothing.
Last Tuesday I attended the A(dam) S(mith) I(nstitute) Xmas Party, to which I had been looking forward. Sadly, when I got there (and this is nothing whatsoever at all to do with the quality of the ASI Xmas Party) I found that I was in a decidedly anti-social mood. Grumpy Old Men are not a cliché for nothing.
But before making my gracelessly early exit, I did manage to strike up a conversation with a young woman fresh out of studying the history of media censorship, at Cambridge. This, she said, “could not be a more libertarian subject”. True. Good. More and more libertarians seem to be emerging from universities these days, in considerable part thanks to the ASI.
Me carrying a camera caused her to mention that she too was keen on photography. I asked her what is the best photo you’ve ever taken? And she said, tapping away at her iPhone: probably one of these. Definitely a cat person. I reckoned it a bit too uncouth to be photoing her, but I did photo her iPhone, which is also good when the light is a bit dodgy, as it was that evening.
Later, I cursed myself for not remembering to ask Anton how his expedition to the USA had gone. But, as I keep having to remind myself, this is the twenty first century. You can look things like this up. And sure enough, at Anton’s Twitter Feed, I found this ("U can now watch my presentation (of thesis for the very first time!) at Columbia’s Center for Capitalism & Society: ..."), which takes you straight to this, the second this being the video of him in action. I just watched it. Excellent. And recommended to all who want to know how the world got from almost universal penury to something rapidly becoming almost universal creature comfort, in which all can have, if they wish, cat pictures on their iPhones.