Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lo Fi photography

"I don't care what camera people think I use, or even if they think I don't know how to use a camera. So much of photography is bogged down in this preciousness."

Not words uttered by me, but the kind of statement that could get you thrown off a photography masters course.

These words came from fashion photographer Valerie Phillips, whose so-called lo-fi style has been used by brands like Puma, Virgin Atlantic and Doc Martens.

Lo-fi photography is almost a snap-shot style and without the use of a studio, lightning rigs or, seemingly, much forethought. But that's the idea.

I think it's the fact that it is the easiest style to emulate for an amateur, leading to criticisms from the great and good who reside at Hotel Theoretical (not the place you and I would feel at home).

But while others sniff at it either because it looks cheap or because it can't be obviously referenced to a style first used more 50-odd years ago, the only measure of it's validity should be this: Does it look good?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It is accomplished

Got my Masters degree certificate in the post this morning. It's not as impressive as the certificates you used to get years ago with a big embossed logo but the certificate doesn't really matter, does it?

In fact, passing the course didn't really matter - it was all about learning. I learned about some old photographers, some crap theories, how to develop a project and how to produce a book.

Last month was the graduation ceremony at Bolton University. I didn't go. I kind of forgot. Or only remembered when it was too late. I bumped into fellow Master Mark Scholey and he said I was the only one who didn't go. I felt a bit guilty.

But the pomp and ceremony and stupid hats don't mean much to me. And I'd rather spend my ever-dwindling financial resources on a budget flight rather than a tatty cape.

Was the course perfect? Course not. Nothing is. The main area it fell short was in teaching you how to put together a budget proposal to get a commission or a grant. It was mainly covered through us doing a presentation. Those who had experience of it did well, those who didn't struggled. And that was it.

It's the one area that still strikes fear into my soul. Shame really, especially as the charismatic Ian Beesley has previous in this area.

And organisation problems apart the lectures were superb, several of Beesley's being better than the big-name visitors, while the confidence from learning has been invaluable already.

Garry Cook, MA.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Photographers are perverts

If someone tried to stop me taking photographs of my son, I'd tell them to knob off.

But such is the silly world that we live in, not only can this happen you can also be accused of being a pervert. For photographing children. Your own children.

Gary Crutchley, from Walsall, was taking photos of his kids, aged, seven and five, going down a slide when he was accosted by another parent and a member of the ride's staff.

He said: "A woman said I could be taking pictures of any child to put on the internet and called me a pervert. It was sheer madness."

Sheer madness? No argument from me there.

Fact: You can take a photograph of anyone in a public place whether they like it or not.

That doesn't mean you need to go around upsetting people. If you want to take a photograph of someone it's polite to ask.

He added: "We left. Two police officers confirmed that I had been perfectly within my rights to take photographs of my own children in the park."

I've taken photographs of my own son in one of those huge indoor climbing frame centres. I'm conscious of other parents reactions but so far everyone has been respectful. Taking photos of your own kids is normal.

But if I took a photo which included one of their kids, would that make me a pervert? Of course not. If I took a photo of only their kids would that make me a pervert? No again. Just someone who is a bit rude for not asking.

But Gary Crutchley, standing next to his wife, was taking photos of his own children.

Crutchley added: "What is the world coming to? This parental paranoia is getting out of hand."

If you didn't know already, planet earth is packed with idiots.

So, this is the lesson we've learned today: Our children can carry knives, sniff glue, smash up bus stops and impregnate each other - but don't you dare photograph them you pervert.

NOTE: No children were harmed in the taking of this photograph.