rhythmaning: (Default)
There's a debate about photography at jazz gigs over on LondonJazz. A lot of people don't like it - understandably. It is a topic that has been on my list to write about for a while...

Courtney Pine c1990 Wayne Shorter c1990



Here was my comment:
It is not professional v amateur photographers: it is people who show consideration to others in the audience against those who believe they have a right to disturb others.

I frequently take photographs at gigs. I believe I am sufficiently sensitive to the music to minimise disturbance to those around me: my camera's screen is switched off so there is no light pollution, the autofocus aid is switched off so there are no red dots illuminating musicians, I don't hold my camera above my head to get in the way of those behind me, nor do I stand (unless it's a standing gig!).

I don't take photographs in quiet passages with my SLR, I NEVER use flash (musicians hate it - it momentarily blinds them, dreadful if they are reading the music), I try to time my photograph to the beat and, most importantly, if I feel I will disturb anyone, I don't take don't take the picture. If it is apparent I am disturbing those around me, I stop.

If possible (ie small gigs!), I ask the musicians if they mind me taking pictures - I have only once been asked not to, because the musician in question wanted to control copyright of his image, and I happily complied.

Several musicians have told me how much they appreciate the photos I have taken: several have used them on their websites or CD covers.

I have frequently been disturbed at gigs by those given official sanction to take photographs - you may call them professional, but their attitude to the audience is one of disdain: they move around during numbers, get in people's way and make a lot of noise. They often appear uninterested in the music.


DSC_0122 bw DSC_0300



I could - maybe should - have added that if anyone asks me to stop, I do. It has only happened once. Years ago, using my old (non-digital, heavy, loud) SLR, I was taking pictures at a gig. The stranger next to me asked if I was actually going to take any - I had taken about 30, but she hadn't been aware of the shutter at all.

There is a certain hypocrisy about venues asking people not to take pictures and then letting "professional" photographers wander around taking pictures.

DSC_0802 DSC_2620

rhythmaning: (sunset)
I took a great number of sunset and sunrise photographs around the turn of the year: a Christmas Eve walk produced a surprisingly colourful sunset, and two different sunrises just into the New Year were similarly beautiful. Then there was also the Hoover Building - a third January sunrise.

A friend asked why I was suddenly taking so many sunsets and sunrises; basically, it is because I can: they are more accessible at this time of year. For much of the year, to be honest, I can't be arsed with sunrise - you simply have to get up too early.

Also, though, there were some beautiful skies: the low winter sun passing through misty winter mornings produces some beautiful shades.

These photos have been on flickr for a while, and links were posted on Facebook, but I wanted to set them up here, too - these sets, curated, look a little different.

They'll follow in the next three posts...
rhythmaning: (whisky)
I use two lenses with my DSLR: an 18-50mm zoom and a 55-200mm zoom, both Sigma. Before I went on holiday in June, I bought one lens to cover the same range – another Sigma, 18-200mm.

When I got home, I wanted to compare the new lens quality to my old lenses. I set it to 200mm and took a picture; then did the same with my 55-200mm.

The quality wasn’t an issue; but the two pictures had quite different fields of view – despite both being “200” mm. I estimated that at its full extent, the new lens was equivalent to c. 130mm on the older lens.

I wasn’t happy about this – having just forked out a couple of hundred quid, I had failed to duplicate the full range. I took the lens back to the shop, where we duplicated the test, and the salesman agreed that the field of view was significantly less than I had expected. He explained that this was because the 10-200mm lens was not a zoom but a “versatile” lens. This sounded like saleman’s flannel – surely 200mm should be 200mm? (He was good enough to refund my money, and I would recommend them for good service and prices.)

My brother was visiting this weekend, and he has a Nikon 18-200mm zoom, so we repeated the experiment – with exactly the same results. The image from the Nikon lens had a much wider field of view, equivalent to about 130mm on the Sigma.

Here’s the image from my original lens, set at 200mm:

DSC_8617



Here’s that from the Nikon 18-200mm, set to 200mm:

DSC_8618



Here are the two overlaid, the Sigma image resized (not a perfect fit):

DSC_8618 v 8617



And here are the outlines of the two, for comparison – the Nikon 18-200mm in red, the Sigma 55-200 in blue:

200 comparison



The metadata recorded by the camera says that both lenses were shooting at 200mm.

Clearly, 200mm is not always 200mm. I don’t know which lens is truer to 200mm: I don’t have access to a fixed 200mm lens.

Does anyone have an explanation for the difference between the lenses?

Any views appreciated!

(crossposted)
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
We went to see “Exposed” at Tate Modern recently, an exhibition of photographs and videos exploring photography’s relationships with voyeurism and surveillance. I found it a strange exhibition, lacking in cohesion: few of the photographs seemed worthy of exhibiting, and those were from early in the development of photography. Given the large numbers of photographers and photographs which could have been included, the omissions seemed critical.

Photography is necessarily voyeuristic. Looking through a camera – particularly older cameras – is like looking through a window. Since photography was invented, it has been used to capture candid scenes, with or without the subjects knowledge or involvement.

In “Rear Window”, Hitchcock probably said more about the relationship between photography, the photographer and their subjects than this show did: the desire to frame the world, to record others’ behaviour; to catch an image. (And, in “Rear Window”, a criminal.) And of course, in the movie, the audience are themselves acting as voyeurs.

And so was the audience at this show. A surprising number of people looking at the pictures on the wall had cameras strung around their necks, as if they were about to contribute to it. One exhibit incorporated an image of the viewers watching it (superimposed on an archive photographs of a lynch mob in the southern USA).

This show did raise serious issues: the extent to which the viewer is complicit in the photographer’s action; whether a photographer is responsible for what they see, and whether a subject’s willingness to participate removes the photographer’s responsibility; when does a photograph become one of the people instead of the environment; are there things which shouldn’t be photographed? And so on, and on.

It is of course an interesting subject. But, for me, the issues weren’t fully explored, and were weakened by the frankly poor quality of the pictures themselves. Artistically, they were lacklustre: the images didn’t have the power, as photographs, to convey the complex ideas the curators were projecting onto them. There were more interesting pictures by the photographers – why the particular images were chosen by the curator wasn’t clear.

The more modern works left me cold: too knowing, perhaps too conceptual. There was a very entertaining video of an artist’s dialogue with a surveillance camera (he held up signs asking questions; the camera nodded or shook its “head” in response) [sorry – I can’t remember the artist!], and the discourse on the role of the security forces and military was interesting. The role of the media – and even the internet (tagging of pictures on flickr and Facebook, for instance) – was barely covered (apart from a look at celebrities); whilst the whole exhibition was about privacy, it didn’t really seem like it was actually examined.

There was no examination of the extent to which everyone’s snaps – our holiday pictures, pictures of our children, for example – are intrusive, whatever the subjects’ complicity. An examination of how our attitudes to voyeurism and privacy have changed since the advent of photography would have been interesting, too. Now that everyone’s pictures sit on the web and we move through cities under the ever-watchful panopticon of CCTV, do we perceive the public and the private differently?

Almost uniformly, the subjects weren’t smiling; indeed, they looked pretty miserable. This is understandable in some cases – many of the pictures examined the living conditions imposed by poverty, for instance – but it was most marked in Nan Goldin’s pictures of New York’s social scene in bars and parties. Shown as a slide show, these hundreds of images featured willing participants who mostly looked bored or miserable. That is probably the point: the opposite of fun. But generally, people smile; I go to bars, I take photographs at parties: people smile.

But not in New York. And not in “Exposed”.
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Walking home yesterday evening was a lovely sunset; I noticed it first reflected in a new development:

P3140026



and this is what was reflected:

P3140027

rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, which makes it an illegal act to photograph police officers, came into effect on 16 February 2009. This picture was taken on 13 February 2009. The picture shows the back entrance to Downing Street, London. I think they saw me... And that is a sub-machine gun the female officer is holding!

DSC_0051



This is my protest against an unnecessary, harsh law.
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, which makes it an illegal act to photograph police officers, came into effect on 16 February 2009. This picture was taken on 13 February 2009. The picture shows the back entrance to Downing Street, London. I think they saw me... And that is a sub-machine gun the female officer is holding!

DSC_0051



This is my protest against an unnecessary, harsh law.
rhythmaning: (sunset)
If anyone out there uses Photoshop Elements, can you explain the difference between the clone stamp and the healing brush? They seem to do exactly the same thing to me.

Ta!
rhythmaning: (sunset)
If anyone out there uses Photoshop Elements, can you explain the difference between the clone stamp and the healing brush? They seem to do exactly the same thing to me.

Ta!
rhythmaning: (violin)
I never cease to be surprised by what people look at on my flickr pages.

But I am curious for a real preference for scanned text over photographs. The pair scans of aphorisms which I was given by a stranger in Darjeeling 18 years ago have got way more hits than any of the photographs taken at the same time I uploaded today.

Also interesting is a real preference for people: the pictures of G., with whom I was travelling, also have more hits than the landscapes and cityscapes.

I often don't include people in my photographs - unless they are the subject of the photograph. I go to lengths to exclude people, sometimes: you could look at my pictures of Edinburgh, New York or London and think of them as unpopulated, desolate places. (Aside from some people getting married and some others running through an art gallery...)

This is partly because I am always wary of putting pictures of people I know on flickr - they may not want to be there. I have have some lovely pictures of the friends I stay with when I visit New York, but they might not want pictures of their kids splashed over the internet.

It is also because if a picture is of a building or a shape (and a lot of mine are), I don't need to see people there, too: the abstract is enough for me.

But that's just me: and clearly other people like pictures of smiling faces!
rhythmaning: (violin)
I never cease to be surprised by what people look at on my flickr pages.

But I am curious for a real preference for scanned text over photographs. The pair scans of aphorisms which I was given by a stranger in Darjeeling 18 years ago have got way more hits than any of the photographs taken at the same time I uploaded today.

Also interesting is a real preference for people: the pictures of G., with whom I was travelling, also have more hits than the landscapes and cityscapes.

I often don't include people in my photographs - unless they are the subject of the photograph. I go to lengths to exclude people, sometimes: you could look at my pictures of Edinburgh, New York or London and think of them as unpopulated, desolate places. (Aside from some people getting married and some others running through an art gallery...)

This is partly because I am always wary of putting pictures of people I know on flickr - they may not want to be there. I have have some lovely pictures of the friends I stay with when I visit New York, but they might not want pictures of their kids splashed over the internet.

It is also because if a picture is of a building or a shape (and a lot of mine are), I don't need to see people there, too: the abstract is enough for me.

But that's just me: and clearly other people like pictures of smiling faces!
rhythmaning: (sunset)
There is a meme going around that works like this:

Go to your picture files
Go to your 6th folder.
Go to your 6th picture.
Tell us about it.


This of course ought to be the perfect meme for me. You may have noticed that I take copious numbers of photographs. But I can't.

The sixth folder is empty. It doesn’t contain any photographs.

I don't order my photographs like that. My folders are structured differently. The control freak in me means that I refuse to use the "My Photographs" folder (similarly any other preloaded folder, apart from music, which iTunes wouldn't let me change to suit the way I think: I had to do what it wanted, which annoyed me no end, since I much prefer doing what I want).

I use folders and subfolders to organise my photographs, and a nested taxonomy (one of my favourite words...) to order them; although the most dominant classification is “places”: and within places, by date.

There are other classifications: the sixth folder in my Photographs folder (which is a sub-folder itself – see, I said this didn’t work for me) is “landscape”, but now most landscapes I take are subsumed in “places”. Other folders are “portraits”, “art images”, “botanic gardens” (which hasn’t been used for a long, long time, and should really be moved to “places/Edinburgh”…), “art images”, “events” and “music”. All of these intersect, of course: I understand the use of tags here (though I don’t use tags, apart from when I have dumped my photographs onto flickr ) to cross-reference.

I was thinking I would instead chose a favourite photograph; but I do that regularly (and I am about to post many pictures, later today) – and of course I write about them.

So you can make do with those, instead.

It’s just the way my mind works.
rhythmaning: (sunset)
There is a meme going around that works like this:

Go to your picture files
Go to your 6th folder.
Go to your 6th picture.
Tell us about it.


This of course ought to be the perfect meme for me. You may have noticed that I take copious numbers of photographs. But I can't.

The sixth folder is empty. It doesn’t contain any photographs.

I don't order my photographs like that. My folders are structured differently. The control freak in me means that I refuse to use the "My Photographs" folder (similarly any other preloaded folder, apart from music, which iTunes wouldn't let me change to suit the way I think: I had to do what it wanted, which annoyed me no end, since I much prefer doing what I want).

I use folders and subfolders to organise my photographs, and a nested taxonomy (one of my favourite words...) to order them; although the most dominant classification is “places”: and within places, by date.

There are other classifications: the sixth folder in my Photographs folder (which is a sub-folder itself – see, I said this didn’t work for me) is “landscape”, but now most landscapes I take are subsumed in “places”. Other folders are “portraits”, “art images”, “botanic gardens” (which hasn’t been used for a long, long time, and should really be moved to “places/Edinburgh”…), “art images”, “events” and “music”. All of these intersect, of course: I understand the use of tags here (though I don’t use tags, apart from when I have dumped my photographs onto flickr ) to cross-reference.

I was thinking I would instead chose a favourite photograph; but I do that regularly (and I am about to post many pictures, later today) – and of course I write about them.

So you can make do with those, instead.

It’s just the way my mind works.
rhythmaning: (on the beat)
This is a a bugbear of mine, and I know a lot of people who read this journal are interested in the topic as well.

In response to a this video posted on Arbroath, which shows two policemen asking a photographer to see his licence for his camera (yes - his camera licence), Staticgirl left a comment about a short guide to photographers' rights by Linda McPherson.

You can find it here.
rhythmaning: (on the beat)
This is a a bugbear of mine, and I know a lot of people who read this journal are interested in the topic as well.

In response to a this video posted on Arbroath, which shows two policemen asking a photographer to see his licence for his camera (yes - his camera licence), Staticgirl left a comment about a short guide to photographers' rights by Linda McPherson.

You can find it here.

Baffled

Oct. 25th, 2008 12:24 pm
rhythmaning: (cat)
How come out of all the pictures I stick up on flickr, pictures of kittens get more hits in one day than any others?

The internet really is run for the sole purpose of transmitting pictures of cats.

So much for art!

Baffled

Oct. 25th, 2008 12:24 pm
rhythmaning: (cat)
How come out of all the pictures I stick up on flickr, pictures of kittens get more hits in one day than any others?

The internet really is run for the sole purpose of transmitting pictures of cats.

So much for art!
rhythmaning: (bottle)
This evening I did something I haven’t done for five years or so; it used to be a big thing in my life, but along with so much analogue, it got swept away in the digital tide.

I developed a film.

Read more... )

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