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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Summertime

...and the living is easy

in Photography , Friday, June 24, 2022

It’s been a very long time since I posted anything new here. Despite that I’m still getting more than 0 visitors, so thanks for that. I have very limited time to devote to this, and recently what time I have has been fully dedicated to maintenance and redevelopment.

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Over time I’ve received feedback on various points, such as the difficulty of leaving comments, overall design and adaptability to non-desktop devices. So, I invested a lot of time and indeed money into a project to transfer everything to a Squarespace site, where all these issues are taken care of. Actually the Squarespace migration is almost completed, but I’ve decided not to go ahead with it. Although there are a lot of positive points, and while it does offer a certain level of flexibility, finally it is all “cookie cutter” and I’m having to compromise far too much on how I want to present myself and my photography. Not to mention my opinions. And Squarespace is expensive.

So I went back to the drawing board, and now I’m actually well advanced in completely reworking my existing hosted site to use modern adaptive methods, as well as making use of some more advanced features of Expression Engine. It won’t look all that different, but behind the scenes it will be almost all new.

As for when it will be done, who knows. Now, it’s summertime, and tomorrow I’m off on vacation. Real vacation, not photography hell. It will be done when it’s done.  Thanks for watching.

 

OK | CANCEL

“Vigilante” by Andrew Molitor

in Book Reviews , Wednesday, April 20, 2022

I’ve kind of stopped outward communication for quite a while. I’m having one of my periodic diversions into mediuming rather than messaging, and as usual I’ve been sucked into a maelstrom of indecision.

So funnily enough the subject of this return is quite on topic, as it is really does conflate medium and message to a remarkable degree.

The topic is a book, I think, although maybe I isn’t. It’s certainly art, and it indisputably takes the form of a book, and it is called “Vigilante” by Andrew Molitor. But I guess the book is just a record of a performance.

[Actually before I go on I should express my extreme guilt at taking so long to write this, but well at least I’m writing it before any of the other things in my mental backlog]

“Vigilante” tells a tale lasting a few months over the summer of 2021, during which Andrew posted a series of surrealist takes on the standard lo-fi local advert with tear of strips. A bit like this.

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I won’t bother describing the contents any more, since you can see much better for yourself in the Blurb preview. Go away and have a look, and I’ll grab a coffee and continue when you’re back.

I imagine that some clever Master of Fine Arts could write quite a treatise on this, using all sorts of clever erudite words like signify, zeitgeist, post-modem and stuff like that. I guess post-modem is wifi? Anyway I’m not really up to that.  What I get out of Vigilante is just a lot of fun, an offbeat sense of humour but also a sense of re-engaging with the world after the pandemic decade. Very unserious but very serious at the same time.

It’s also has a significant self-deprecation undercurrent, to the extent that one wonders if the author is actually British (I guess Bellingham WA is almost Canada, so close enough). Although I’m certainly no authority, my feeling is that “Vigilante” is actually a much stronger and sincere work than the average conceptual dross found in most galleries.

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And then ... the idea of seeing the book as a “just a record of a performance” is actually cleverly detonated on the last page, where the reader is invited to step through the looking glass.

Vigliante is low key in all respects, but also a wonderfully human work which should bring a warm glow and a smile to anybody lucky enough to read it.

You can and should follow Andrew Molitor here.

 

 

 

 

 

Ukraine - a call for help

every little bit helps

in Off Topic , Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Andrea Bianco is a photographer who publishes a very unusually erudite blog which I thoroughly recommend.

However that is not today’s topic. Yesterday he sent out an email to his subscribers regarding action he has taken on contributing to the Ukrainian refugee crisis:

We are living in terrible times, dear friends. Not much is left but doing what we can for helping each other –– and hoping for reason to win over madness –– empathy over hatred.

I am trying to be useful and so I am hosting a Ukrainian refugee family with a 1 year old baby. I managed helping them escape war and reach Italy 3 weeks ago. I luckily have a little place for them to stay as long as needed –– so now they live in a little country home, where they can enjoy nature and safety, far from the fear of soldiers. Instead of bomb alerts, they listen to sparrows singing –– the Sardinian hawk crosses their sky instead of missiles. Their hearts are heavy under the worries for the friends and family they left there, but at least they are safe. They brought their little cat with them, and it seems he loves this foreign nature.


You can read the full message here. And maybe if you’re inclined to, you can make a small donation.

Just the price of a filter or a lens cloth can maybe give a little boost to someone’s day.  There but for the grace of God….

 

Xpan outings

Back off the shelf

in Hasselblad XPan , Wednesday, February 02, 2022

For about a decade and a half, my Hasselblad XPan was a regular fixture in my life. I rarely went on any significant trip without it. But various things combined to make my use of it tail off. First of all my flirtation with the Linhof 612, which eventually burnt out. Then my use of the Sigma dp0 as a digital alternative. Finally, a few years ago, I decided it was time for revival, and I took it with me to the sun scorched lands of southern Puglia, were it promptly blew a fuse. This was kind of reminiscent of my first XPan tragedy in Svalbard 10 years ago, but at least this time eventually a repair was possible.

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I ran a few desultory test rolls through it when it came back from repair, but after that it pretty much sat on the shelf for 18 months. It seems to have a market value - even to a dealer - north of €7000, which is nuts, but I can’t bring myself to sell it.

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So last weekend, on a whim, I grabbed it along with a couple of rolls of expired Provia 100F, and took it for a couple of outings. The first, to Como lakeside, in the sun, and the second to Andermatt, in the Swiss alps, also in the sun. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The experience of the widescreen optical viewfinder never gets routine, especially now I found an 0.5 diopter correction, and the simplicity of use is remarkably refreshing. I still miss the exposure compensation dial from the XPan I: adjusting it using the LCD screen is an absolute horror. I understand why they made the change, but still, it’s shockingly bad design.

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The results were fine, nothing spectacular, but everything well exposed and in focus. Scanning was a bit of a disaster as the developed film had a very pronounced curve, and I should have waited until I flattened it. Most scans are out of focus, so I’ll have to start again. Silverfast largely behaved itself.

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I’m not sure if this will become a habit. I can shoot “XPan frames” much more efficiently on my X1D, but the experience isn’t the same. On the other hand, the cost of film and developing, the time it takes to scan, is all a bit of a drag. Nevertheless, a well exposed, well composed XPan shot of something interesting looks absolutely spectacular on the light table.

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Stumped

Like! Like! LIKE!!!

in Photography , Wednesday, January 05, 2022

I post photos quite regularly on Flickr, and have been doing so, with the odd gap or two, since 2006. There is an element of curation in this, but frankly the underlying reason is to have some community involvement, and of course to be showered with praise. 

For whatever reason my popularity on Flickr is pretty poor: 471 followers from 15 years of activity is not very impressive (although it’s by far the best “social media statistic” I can claim). This might be explained by my photos not being very good or very interesting. It could also have something to do with my poor engagement - I’m only following 163 other members - although I do try to find time at least once a week to explore other people’s photos and leave comments.

I usually get a few “likes” per photo, sometimes even the odd comment. But some photos disappear without trace, often ones I expected to draw some attention (while a few outliers that are, by my standards, wildly popular, really puzzle me).

So anyway. Last week I slipped out for a quick photo-ramble to a nearby wood. The area I went to is at the bottom of a quite shallow valley. On the way down I noticed a quite striking tree stump covered in iridescent moss, and decided to stop by on the way back up. There certainly seemed to be some photographic potential there.

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I also noticed the small tree in the background with pale, dead leaves, I thought I might be able to make something of that.  So I had a few attempts.

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Actually it wasn’t so easy to line things up in a satisfactory way, but anyway, I felt I had something. I only had a few minutes to spare, needing to get home for an appointment, so maybe I was too rushed.  Eventually, looking at the photos on my computer screen, it seemed to me that one I took facing in the other direction was more successful.

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So I posted that to Flickr. And up until now, it has got the sum total of 0 likes. 40 people have looked at it, and not one was even impressed enough to click the little star. Give me praise! I want praise!!!

Perhaps it needs processing more. Perhaps it really isn’t in the slightest bit interesting, or perhaps I wasn’t able to unlock the potential… ok, I can live with that, but then why is a boring photo I took of a ship so (relatively) crazy popular?  I don’t get it. De gustibus non disputandum est.

 
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