Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday January 23 2006

Yesterday I was wandering along the South Bank, and there were Billion Monkeys everywhere. Okay I’ve been doing less Billion Monkey snapping of late, but was I expected to ignore them?

Here are three photos I took yesterday, of about five or six which I took of the same lady Billion Monkey.

The usual procedure would be to show you only the good one, the third and final one, when I finally got the focussing near enough right.

The light was already fading fast, and only absolute stillness of camera relative to object was going to ensure good focussing.  So, most of the pictures I took of this lady were very blurry.  When I looked at the earlier ones, I found myself saying “Oh I wish they’d come out better”, but then I thought, hang on, maybe they did come out okay.  Okay, not focussed properly, but okay.  Who says everything has to be focussed properly?  Click to get them bigger.

image  image  image

The first and on-the-left picture, the blurriest by far, communicates very well the theatrical animation that Billion Monkeys always display when they are telling their loved ones what to do and how to stand and how to look.  Real Photographers, in my experience, tend to be cooler and quieter at this bit of the photographic task.  No wonder she was out of focus.

The middle picture, where the focussing is getting better but is still not proper, does already display one very important focussing virtue, when one is photo-ing Billion Monkeys.  The lady herself is still not sharp, but her bags are in focus.  Bags are a very important feature of the Billion Monkeys way of doing things.  Billion Monkeys hold on to their bags when snapping.  It’s almost a rule.  Unlike Real Photographers, we Billion Monkeys have lives beyond photography.  We laugh, we cry, we shop.  Especially, we shop.  And we usually hang on tight to our acquisitions, so that no plunderer can steal them when our attention is entirely focussed on Billion Monkeying.  I also like, in this second one, the way the Lady is standing, her weight forward..

In many ways, the third of these snaps, on the right, is the least interesting.

And since I took them, and some of them came out nicely, here are some more regular Billion Monkey shots.  Again, click at will.

image image image image image image image image

They were snapping either at the Wheel or at Parliament, with the exception of 1.1, where the guy was snapping a man completely covered in stripes.  It’s that kind of place.

Note the particularly excellent fingerwork being displayed in 1.2.  1.3 shows why photography is so often called shooting.  1.4 is a caption competition.  I suggest that the bad tempered looking fish is saying: “Out of the way, bitch, he’s photographing me.”

Note Salvador bloody Dali in 2.2, bottom right hand corner.  London has been infested with his vile stuff for some time now, especially at Waterloo Station for some reason, opposite the Eurostar platforms.

And yes, that is Big Ben in 2.3.