I’ve been a Photoshop user for quite a few years now - I think from around version 4 on Windoze, then later on the Mac. I’m in no way an expert, and know that being entirely self-taught means that I do things in ways that a real Photoshop expert would at best puzzle over and at worst laugh openly at me for. As I become more involved with photography for publication for school, however, I have become aware that for pure image development (as opposed to creative tinkering), Photoshop isn’t the greatest tool in the box. As a result, I invested some of my waning subject funds (being a Specialist Schools Trust school meant the price of the licence was less than forty quid! Result!) on a copy of Lightroom. Of course I’m only starting to get my head around it, and once again my self-educating approach will likely lead me to doing things that one really ought not to do, but meh... The shot above is one of my favourites from this morning, when I took the camera with me on my frosty trip to the post office. It is of the signal light on the railway crossing, looking across towards Brampford Speke, where some of you may recall we went to watch the fireworks. Looking at the photo again I have just noticed that Brampford Speke church is almost perfectly centered...
I know some people have been down on Flickr recently due mainly, it seems, to speed and reliability issues. I have to say I haven't experienced that much and I still love it to bits. We used Flickr in class last week to great effect for commenting on some comics work. The results were very exciting. Anyway, this Trash set is one of my favourite recent finds. So many great shots. I am sure there are many people who would find me terribly sad for getting excited about these kinds of photos. Maybe they are right. Who cares.
Terrific piece in the Guardian today about George Plemper’s Thamesmead photographs. Kevin alerted me to them, saying it was like looking at ghosts. He’s right, and I see these very much in the light of John Carney’s The Outside Of Everything – evidence of another world beamed in from the past. A memory of a past that is often at odds with the ‘officially’ remembered versions. Like Dave Haslam’s Not Abba, or even Life On Mars to some extent (but not Ashes To Ashes), it goes against the grain of the accepted collective memory. What’s also really interesting to me is that Plemper had these photos unpublished for three decades before he was able to share them through his Flickr pages. And it is in sites like Flickr that there is that interesting relationship between the global publishing power of the Internet and the personal scale of things. The personal becomes public. Or vice versa.
I do not agree with Plemper’s statement that you cannot be an idealist in teaching though. I think that teaching is the perfect way to have idealism challenged, as you inevitably come into contact with so many different people with different stories to tell. Things suddenly don’t seem to be so black and white. It does not mean that you suddenly become a hardened realist, but it does make youthful idealism sometimes seem pretty silly. Or that at least you are mde to modify that idealism and consider how it can be put into practice. It very much challenges you to think creatively about how you can do what you think is right. It’s one of the reasons I love the job so much. I think Plemper also acknowledges this on the last slide in the Guardian article when he quotes Dylan’s “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now” line.
The other thing that strikes me is that you could really not get away with taking these kind of photos now. I’ve had this conversation with people before, about the fear of photographing young people. It will be interesting to see what the visual record of young people in school today will look like in another three decades. Will it be reflected in rigidly posed press release images and/or scrappy candid snaps and video taken on mobile phones? And whilst that just doesn’t sound so appealing now, will the patina of time make it seem quaint and vaguely old fashioned?
It was cold, windy and miserable on the South Bank on Saturday. I went to the Rodchenko exhibition and then took some photos. The only camera I had with me was the little Panasonic HDC-SD5 video camera, so the quality of the stills are not great. I quite like the widescreen format though. This shot was taken at the National Theatre, wandering its deserted balconies. I wonder who Loren is, and who loves her?
This is the same shoppping cart that featured in the photo from the sleeve of the aforementioned Even As We Speak sleeve. Unbelievably, no-one from the local Council came to clear it away from the beach and so the sea took it's toll and bent it into the sand. I took this photo of it during the winter, when I was back in Troon for the Christmas holidays.
This is the photo that ended up as the basis of the sleeve for the Pipettes' debut 7" single. Another moment of fame for Troon beach. They'll be putting little blue plaques on the prom soon, just you wait and see.
I was out taking some photos in Exeter this morning, post-haircut and breakfast at the Boston Tea Party. The BTP breakfast was okay, but not great. Sadly The Plant was closed for redecoration, so my preferred dish of Persian baked eggs (yum!) was not possible :(
Thanks to a nod from Anne over at ‘I Like’, I’ve been enjoying these fabulous images of London in the 1950s and 1960s. The images are screen captures from various documentary films and TV shows, apparently. Several people have been leaving helpful comments identifying the places in question – some of which are radically altered (or obliterated) and some of which remain remarkably unchanged. Even the interior shot of Waterloo doesn’t look too different, give or take a digital sign and self-service ticket booth or two.