31 July 2009

Oooh er, more frightening Fizzognomy

For Shot Rationale, see above (or below, depending on how you look at this whole reverse-time blog phenomena).
This picture is a fraud of course, and is a composite of my right side, twice: once pictured "normally", then copied, flipped and aligned. Then a bit (or a lot, depending on how you see software use as applied to photos) of manipulation and fandabulation and there you have it, mirror man.

28 July 2009

Fun Things to do with your Nokia 5800 #4

Listen to the radio. Except, of course, in a public area such as a train or the street because you won't be able to hear it for it is quiet as a church mouse (probably some EU directive responsible, but there you go) and reception is worse than the already laughable 3.5 g. Exceptions are made for Kiss FM and Virgin radio where the only thing more frequent than the inane and shouty adverts is the desire for you to pop to the train station and say "one way ticket to Bridgend please squire."

Fun Things to do with your Nokia 5800 #3

Watch this screen on the train and pretend you can surf the web. You can't, the network coverage is shockingly bad (take a bow, T-Mobile), although what can you expect in the capital city of the UK? [Hint to T-Mobile: the clue is in the term "mobile" - it suggests MOVEMENT. As you move around, so does your phone - geddit?? The same cannot be said, at present, of your signal].

Fun Things to do with your Nokia 5800 #2

Take some pictures and then show your friends this screen while they wait for the gallery to load. Don't worry if the pictures are no good - you friends will be so bored waiting they will have gone by the time the pictures are visible.

Fun Things to do with your Nokia 5800 #1

Take it apart when it crashes. Which it will. Regularly.


20 July 2009

Uxbridge: A Portrait (to fully enjoy the vistas, click on the individual pictures to enlarge)

Warning and Disclaimer:
Some moaning follows - I do apologise but if you have ever been to Uxbridge you will understand why - feel free to skip this post if you are looking for happiness.

Ah, Uxbridge, bless her. Aspiration-free, 80’s bound, blue-glassed, plastic-front-doored Uxbridge: what a pit it is. Visit by all means but don’t expect good things. Microwaved baked potatoes, milky cappuccino, iceberg lettuce – these are the highlights here.

Taking these pictures (do enlarge - they make more sense when you have seen the slightly bigger versions) as part of a "one hour portrait" project I set myself, I came across an old* pink-haired lady out with a camera taking shots not dissimilar to some of these, at least in terms of subject matter if not intention. Adopting what I thought was a friendly tone I asked if she was taking photos to augment her memories. She responded for all the world as if I hadn’t said anything; as if, in fact, I didn’t exist. She initially showed a spark of recognition then shut down and edged away, not looking at me but not looking at her surroundings either, trying to act, in fact, as if not only did I not exist but nor did she.

Of course, I realised afterwards I had made a basic psycho-geographical error: I had forgotten that this was Uxbridge, a town where strangers will only interact with you if they’ve got 8 or 9 Bacardi Breezers on board and, civility threshold breached, such interaction will then necessitate the involvement of the emergency services.

What is it about the place? It isn’t just poverty – there are some reasonable houses about and some people are even employed - but it really is a soulless dump. It’s as if it tries a little bit but all along everyone is thinking “you know what, we haven’t got what it takes, why are we bothering? We’ll chuck up a few ugly white metal and glass buildings based on the worst of 80’s architecture but we all know that underneath we’re an ugly, desperate suburb of the suburbs and really, please, would you mind looking the other way?”.

The pubs say a lot about Uxbridge. The Chiltern View, for example. Even when open one suspects this was not a merry house of fun but rather a last staging post for the desperate. People cared so little that the very name of the place is a lie, giving out as it does onto the Cowley Road and Uxbridge Industrial Estate. Or The Culvert: where else would you get a pub named after a sewer? A place one would less like to be on a “Monday” it is hard to imagine, although maybe that is the point: keep out, it says, unless you are looking for the absolute arse end of nowhere. And some people are, they are comfortable there, and there is a freedom to be had. Maybe that’s what it is – there is a conspiracy to keep the place tawdry and sad as it enables a degree of anonymity into which desperation can be channelled. Nonetheless, there is much to hate about the place and it makes me angry and sad – angry I ever stayed here, and sad for the same reason.

Being angry, though, freed me up to take pictures with a different, more powerful emotion behind the shutter. Because of this, finding subjects (no cars, no humans, little colour were the rules) was easier. Uxbridge doesn’t like me? Well so what, I don't care much for her either.

*Maybe 50 Uxbridge years.

13 July 2009

The neighbour's

Thanks to Ellie for allowing me to take a few shots of her window display as the last rays of the sun caught it. As with the shot below, it needs a bit more post-processesing, though I'm not sure there is anything I can do about the blown red channel - I am struggling to contain this on the D700 and don't remember having any problems with my D50 in this regard. Ah well, I shall read more about it tomorrow and try and resolve it in time for whatever next presents itself.