Sunday, June 17, 2012

Getting clicky

I vaguely worry that my favourite photo on a recent trip to Melbourne was taken about an hour out of Adelaide on an unscheduled wee-break.

Actually, the above sentence is not quite accurate. My favourite photo taken on a recent trip to Melbourne wasn't even taken by me, but the admirably committed, talented Looki. I repost it here, without permission, but with a link. Go and see her photos. They is lovely.

Here is my attempt at the same sort of thing:

Similar emotion, lousy composition. I couldn't even post the one of Charlie cuddling into Dan's neck because it was blurry and boring. You might post it on Facebook. Maybe

I'm fairly certain that I take more photos than Looki, but she practices more, if that makes sense. Me, I'm still in the half-way house between the hard-living life of the happy-snapper, recording every event, finger held firmly on the shutter, and the serious amateur, who, to borrow a nice phrase from pro-photog Joe McNally, stops taking photos and starts making them. Whereas Looki actually goes out with the express purpose of taking photos, takes the photos and comes back and actually edits them. Not Photoshop, but just sorting out the good and cutting the crap. Then she bravely posts them online!
Me, I store everything. I can barely bring myself to delete any shot, ever. Hence the 140Gb or so of digital memories. Partly, it's laziness. Partly it's a nostalgic bent; every image tells me a story about the day I took it. And a small, but significant reason I don't delete photos is because I constantly imagine some Blowup-type scenario (or CSI, if you must) where my casual photography will help solve a murder.

That said, I do like some of the photos I 'made' in Melbourne. I aspire to be like Looki and post more photos, and that will start now:

I realise that I have regressed to the old art filter setting, but I think it brings out the red in the carriage.

I might have mentioned it before, but I'm a massive fan of the blurry photo. Not the fancy bokeh Looki engages in, but just straight up blurry photos. I think they can tell their own kind of story. This is my portrait of Looki the photographer, courtesy of complimentary water for the table.


  1. Looki has a ridiculously expensive Nokton something or other lens. Even the photos I take with it look good (when I get the manual focus right). That charlie over the shoulder photo was great timing and composition, but with a kit lens the background would have looked the same as the foreground, making it flat.

    Just look at your "charlie and dan playing peggle" shot, and imagine if the TV was blurred but the back of our heads was in sharp focus. Actually you don't have to imagine, I've 'shopped it in for you (badly).

    1. Dan - Hmm. Mebe. Expensive lens, yeah yeah. I believe the workman/tools example only makes sense for iffy quality work, rather than giving credit for good stuff.

      I still maintain that Looki's photography practice yields better results that my "shoot everything and hope" approach.

      Thanks for the 'shop. I still think it's too busy in the background to adequately focus on the nice little lean Charlie has going on.

    2. Dan, it is not all about the lens, but yes, it makes it easier. My photo had the benefit of a much more distant background than Sam's. So even if I was at Sam's maximum 3.5, it may have still had a blurry enough background to work (and Charlie would have been in focus!). But for the television shot, you'd need to be a lot closer, even with my lens at 0.95. (Then maybe the focal length of my prime might've been too much to fit you both in the shot...)
      I think it was probably just unlucky that Sam's comfy seating position on the couch was in view of the junk I have piled up there, something you might not notice until looking at photos on the computer. If Sam had been directly behind you may have only the TV.
      You've got to remember, Charlie like most people doesn't hold still for long, so like 90% of my photos of him it's a very small window of opportunity, and good shots are flukes.

      Try black and white with the 'shop? It should make it less distracting.

    3. I'll leave the rebuttal, if any, to Dan here ...

  2. I clicked over and had a look at some of Looki's photos, they are very nice.

  3. Hey, quit with all the praise already!
    Yeah I think nowadays everywhere I go I have my camera, and the times I don't, I'm still looking around sizing up imaginary shots. I don't know if that's always a good thing, but it does make me take notice of things around me.

    I LOVE the first shot. My shot has Charlie in it, so it automatically gets points, but yours is way more artistic and beautiful and photographicky. Frame it.

    I love the idea of the photos being used to solve crimes! I think it's nice to have so many memories at your fingertips too. Personally, I just find it a lot easier to find the good ones if there are less bad ones. And my bad ones are bad enough I can never imagine using them (and I usually have 5 or so of the exact same place and time). And if I have too much clutter, I won't be able to find anything and give up. (Like my pantry and cupboards at the moment).

    That train photo is cool, makes me think of Russia, not that I've been there.

    Can't say I recognise myself in the last shot, but the colours look familiar. Abstract and portrait in one! Like it.

    1. I had to stop bringing my camera everywhere, because really, there are only so many photos you can take of work, Charlie in the loungeroom, Charlie in the kitchen, Charlie in the garden.
      I basically need to go to more exciting places ...

      In the portrait in the top half you can see you glasses and your mouth underneath and the black bit is you holding the camera. The bottom half is ... stuff?
      Try looking from a step back, it helps you see it a bit better.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32