Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Olympic Torch Relay 2012 in Blackburn

Saturday June 23, 2012. The Olympic Torch Relay came to the outskirts of Blackburn at 9.12am.
There were hundreds of people waiting for its arrival.
NOTE: The torch actually came via mini-bus to Blackburn from Preston. It is not physically carried by joggers throughout its entire route.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Is the Daily Mail the saviour of documentary photography?


The Picture Post was a British photojournalism magazine in circulation between 1938 and 1957.

Since the Picture Post’s demise, documentary photography has suffered a long and slow death in this country.

Publications showing in-depth photo essays have dwindled over the decades. Hardly any exist today.

Newspaper magazine supplements – such as Sunday Times Magazine, Guardian Weekend magazine and Telegraph Magazine – were once proud adversaries of documentary work. 

But from their 70s and 80s photojournalism heyday, these supplements have chosen to cut back on their once impressive documentary coverage in favour of celebrity driven content.

While there has been the occasional renaissance in coverage, the Sunday Times Magazine’s Spectrum strand springs to mind, the British press has largely become a wasteland for photojournalists.

But over the past 12 months something quite remarkable has happened – photojournalism, or at least a bastardised version of it, has become increasingly popular thanks to an unlikely source.

Step forward the Daily Mail, a British middle-class tabloid better known for whipping up scare stories and savagely attacking any woman deemed past it who dares to give herself a makeover.

The Daily Mail Online is officially the world’s most read news website (though you could argue that the New York Times website still has more hits if you take away views from the Mail’s sister titles). We are talking 45 million hits in a month (December 2012)

The British Guardian newspaper produces innovative photographic slideshows and actively promotes documentary photography online.

But the Mail Online beats it hands down with a fast moving, celebrity-driven front page with long title headlines which are optimised for website search engines.

Strangely, the stories you find in Mail Online are hugely different to much of the content in the print version.

But what editorial staff at Mail Online have quickly realised is that as well as a thirst for tittle-tattle on Cheryl Cole and Rihanna, readers also love a photo essay.

And the Mail duly serves up photo story after photo story, with collections of images ranging from the British weather, archived black and white collections and, more recently, documentary essays on subjects like Gypsy travellers and the Chinese culture of eating dogs.

Sadly, all of these stories are subject to the Mail’s derogatory spin, which can be xenophobic and prejudicial.

But the sheer volume of photoessays, sourced from various agencies, are giving a new platform to essays from around the world.

The discovery that there is a news-hunting audience out there ready to devour photo essays is a huge boost to the photography industry.

As the hits mount up, expect more online publications to follow suit and give documentary photographers new avenues to showcase their work.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Alternate look at Wadi Rum

As well as it's stunning landscape, Wadi Rum is also home to the semi-nomadic Bedouin people.
Contrary to popular belief, these people are more Westernised than you would think. These images include the Bedoouin town of Wadi Rum.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First look at Wadi Rum in Jordan

Wadi Rum, 30 miles from Aqaba in southern Jordan, is a beautiful valley or red sand and mountains.
These images are from my recent assignment in this amazing desert country.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Diamond Jubilee celebrations - The Queen in Burnley and at Dunsop Bridge

The Queen, she's been leading one's country for 60 spiffing years.

And to mark the end of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations I hereby post, by Royal Appointment, two regal images of Her Majesty. [[posterous-content:pid___0]][[posterous-content:pid___1]]The first was taken in Burnely last month (May 2012) outside of Turf Moor, the football club.

The other picture is from a visit to Dunsop Bridge in 2006.

God Bless Her.

NOTE: She like green.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

App test: EveryTrail for mapping journies

In preparation for a photo journey around east Lancashire I am looking at mobile tracking apps for Android phones.

The aim is to produce a map which automatically marks tweets and photo uploads along the route, plus Audioboos, Instagram and so on. I am yet to find an all-in-one solution for this.

I discovered the free version of the EveryTrail app and gave it a go. It is very user friendly, unlike Trip Journal Lite which I am also trialing.

To get going, all you need to do is switch on your mobile phone's GPS tracking (though my phone warns me that data transfers charges may apply). Then, off you go on your journey and the app automatically tracks you.

And this is what it recorded:

Whalley To Fulwood

EveryTrail - Find hiking trails in California and beyond

GOOD: Love the ease of use and the graph it generates of your distance, speed and elevation.

BAD: Questionable accuracy. I did exactly the same journey twice and the distance differed by almost one mile (16.24miles and 17.14miles)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Queen's Diamond Jubilee party at Read and Simonstone, Lancashire

*By the way, one of the boys won the porcelain doll in the Guess the Name competition. She's called Carrie. The other one of the boys was winning the bowling competition when we left.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

360-degree panorama photography (review 1)

After seeing some decent results from other users, I've downloaded some 36--degree apps for my Android phone.

Over the next week or so I will test them and report my findings. First up is this one by Sfera-360.com (the web link doesn't mean much but you shuld find the app by searching for Sfera).



I've taken the code from the webpage link after uplaoding my 360-images, which was taken today in the park outside Clitheroe Castle. 

To use this free app, you have to tap your phone screen and then slowly rotate clockwise. There is a helpful on-screen horizon line to make sure you don't slip from the phone's viewing plane too much.

GOOD: It works quite well. There's audio too - which was a surprise and not always a good thing. Audio can be switched off easily in the app. It also has GPS location.

BAD: The link you get to view your 360-degree panorama online is not the most easy on the eye and does take a while to load. We'll see how the loading time compares with the other apps.

When you upload your link on the app a message tells you that you must buy 'tickets' to post links - with the first five tickets free. To buy 10 tickets (you can't buy a single) costs £1.19. This is not great value.

SUMMARY: Decent quality but may be more cost-effective to get an app where you pay upfront.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Creative Exchange and The Digital Public Space (not for people who read Bella)


The Digital Public Space is the fairly simplistic term given to the part of the online world where we can all be produce work and be creative.

  If anyone has a more simplistic, better informed explanation than that, do drop me a line.

  This place, the DPS, is a fascinating world of new ideas, cross-discipline collaboration and fear.

  It ultimately aims to enhance society in general and the economy specifically.

Some embrace it with excitement and exploration, others abuse it with pretty but pointless creations while a handful of academics are looking beyond the bluster and questioning the impact of the digital future on society.

 The Creative Exchange, launched recently at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, is the tip of the iceberg in this area of user-generated content (audio, film and photos) and shared technologies.

 This is what some of the seven guest speakers said at the event:

 Bill Thompson (BBC Archives) “Metadata is the key… Everyone keeps their own stuff but shares access to it.”

  Professor Richard Harper (Microsoft) “Facebook timeline… narrative is not linear.”

  Professor Jo Twist (CEO UK Interactive Entertainment) “If we don’t have kids learning code, programming, we are stuffed.”
Mike Ryan (Manchester Digital) ”Menworth Hill* can monitor two million digital communication channels at any one time.”

  But you can’t imagine ideas without the help of visualisations. And here are mine from the launch event at MOSI.

From top to bottom: Professor Rachel Cooper, Mike Ryan, Professor Bill Thompson, Matt Watkins, Professor Neville Brody, Professor Jo Twist, Professor Richard Harper and Clement Renaud.


NOTE: The Creative Exchange is a collaboration between  Lancaster University, Newcastle University and the Royal College of Art.

  *Menworth Hill is an RAF station in North Yorkshire which is operated by US intelligence services.