Monday, 31 December 2007

Daily Photo #23

I was reminded of this shot due to someone adding it to their list of favourite images on FlickR yesterday.

It was taken18 months ago, in London's Soho and this actual cinema has featured in many movies/TV shows. I'm rather proud of the colouring on this one and it wasn't even shot using .RAW format. It was really just a chance shot of Linda walking away but I think the signifiers in the image work.


I was so proud of it I submitted it the the Tate online exhibit, the How we are now and it got accepted. Never made it into the final but one has to try, doesn't one?

Sunday, 30 December 2007

I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay, wastin' time

Bum. I hate it when Xmas is over. All the presents have been opened. Food and wine drank. Luckily the weather hasn't been too unpleasant yesterday but time gets skewed. Case in point, it's Sunday but feels like a Friday. I had so many chores to do today but nothing was open to get things sorted or accomplished.

Off to buy a laptop tomorrow for work/travel purposes but cannot for the life of me think about all the other chores that need to be done. Oh well, will pop to the bank in the morning to do those odds and ends such as pay in Xmas cheque from my aunt then do stuff like tidy the house and get books back on shelves/comics bagged/cats groomed.

Anyway, cannot believe almost one week has gone by. I've spent the last few days moving between the living room and my office, as below:

My crib

It hasn't been wholly unpleasant, far from it. Just wondering where the time has gone, that's all.

Daily Photo #22

I could sure use one of these right now.


That is all, nothing to see here. Move along. These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Daily Photo #21

I'm all about hues and gamuts. Even though I am colour blind to red/green, I love working in colour. For five years during the degree and BTEC years I worked solely in black and white and sepia, fearing colour somewhat after a few disasterous stints in a dark room that used colour (I couldn't get my fleshtones spot on, either too red, too pink or just plain zombie) but shooting in digitial (especially RAW format) is a whole new world for me (cue theme to Disney's Aladin). Seriously, unless I get a totally wrong exposure my tones turn out spot on. But what I do love more is abstracting lots of colours and making them the focus of the image instead of something that supports or reinforces it.


I shot this at the Stourbridge "Cone" where they have an active and working glass blowing workshop, our friend Fleur took us there for the day and I had a lot of fun shooting stuff like this.

I think the days of second guessing my colour work are finally over!

Friday, 28 December 2007

Daily Photo #20

My cat has some serious temper/mood issues. Shot these last night and she wasn't impressed that I spirited her away from left over turkey and cat nip drops. If she was human, I guess she'd have an Emily Strange T-shirt and be listening to My Chemical Romance. God bless emo cats everywhere.


'tis comic book day today so about to get the train out of here into the city. I hope the zombie hoardes have diminished somewhat.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

They're dead, they're all messed up.

Final post of the day, honest.

Something to warm the hearts of George A Romero fans everywhere. Looks like Diary of the Dead has a release date (at last!)

Where will you be on 7th March 2008? I know where I'll be ;)

In honour of this news, I might watch Dawn of the Dead again. Perfect Xmas movie, I think.
Anyway, it's Linda's birthday today and we hit the sales (God, 'twas like Hell on Earth in Solihull - although "Hello" on Earth is more applicable with all the dodgy fashion and style aspiration that was on show). So, after celebrating her B'day with a fab film (the effective adaptation of alltime classic Richard Matheson novel, I am Legend), we're going to chill out with a few eps of S3 of Battlestar Galactica.

A big thanks to whoever linked my post about the B'ham Flea to the Custard Factory website. It was a nice surprise this morning, if you love the Custard factory, this site should be on your reading list with my post being quoted here. I think it's the first time I have ever seen my words quoted in such a manner! Thanks Mr Ashton!

Finally, over the last few days I don't think I have slept so much ever. It must be cramming as many assessments as I could into work a few days prior to breaking up. I still have five more days or so of leave left and I need to do some pics asap. Feeling not as creative as I should be of late. Not sure what I should be inspired by though. Requests for new Linda photoshoots via my FlickR account have been positive but it seems to be more of the same. I have some collaborations on the cards for the new year but trying to pin them down has been a bit of a chore but we'll see how it goes.

We do have that Mara Jade shoot planned and a couple of little odds and ends in mind (some kind of Bettie Page homage if we can come up with the right styling/location with Linda's maid outfit). Any suggestions of locations or assistance with styling would be most welcome!

Battlestar Galactica beckons now. (Bonus points to anyone who can tie in the title of this blog to the episode it originates from)

Daily Photo #19

In keeping with my nature vibe (I must be a reincarnated hippy), I chose this mosaic as today's image.

Hues - Mosaic

I shot this on my old 350D with a very basic lens (I now use an EOS 5D) but I was quite happy with the colours on this one.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Daily Photo #18

Well, mom and her partner have just vanished into the night after a traditional boxing day supper of left over turkey and gin. (Hey, we're English. We do stuff like drink gin and eat dead animals. I didn't say we were civilised or anything). So, after zipping back and forth through my archives I tried looking for suitable Xmas-y type things and found not a jot.

So, here is something random:


A view in a field. I like the sky and the angle on this one.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

She haz Lightsaber

Yes, I do cat macro speak.


I love my geeky wife.


Merry Xmas and wasn't Doctor Who fantastic?

Daily Photo #17

It's Xmas day at last and the journey over the last few weeks has arrived at its logical destination. I don't believe in god but I do believe in something more, the will and power of the individual. As John Lennon once said, "I don't believe in 'isms". I took this on board during my late teenage years and always held it true. Man is a being of self determination. When I look at people, I don't see faith. I don't see belief. I see the person.


Now, this might be a strange photo to post on Xmas day but I will give you some background. I shot this image at the site of the WTC. I didn't ask permission of those people in the shot. I took the picture and walked away. They could be anyone, people there to grieve over the loss of a loved one. A tourist. A passerby. To me, it doesn't matter who they are. They took the time out to pay their respects. To remember. A person is the sum of their memory. If we do not remember who we were, we cannot remember who we are or who we will be. We are walking memories, a map of decisions. Of the path we have taken. Over six years ago, a tragedy befell New York. To this day, I can remember seeing the Twin Towers where they stood. Proud. Two beacons, two sentinels who looked over the city. Now, I don't know where I am going with this but I know one thing. We're all on a path and it's the choices that make us who we are. I am not my job. I am not what people label me to be. I am a person and I determine who I am by the choices, actions and the path I make.

It's on days like this that we reflect and look back. We collect our thoughts and sum up what we've done over the year. I like to think that I will sleep soundly tonight. I've faced my demons and moved on.

I promise I'll be more cheerful tomorrow ;)

Monday, 24 December 2007

Daily Photo #16

Now, today's image is not at all Christmas like but we were going to shoot some pics today when I finished work but Linda has a smidge of a cold and I am knackered. The lure of the DVD boxset of "24" (Day 6) was too great and we decided to eat a mince pie and have a shot of whisky while watching the exploits of Jack Bauer. (Mr Sutherland, even if you're spending Xmas in prison, we still think you're fab but please quit the DUI thing, it's not good, y'know).

So, we shot these late November as they were requested by this the peeps on this site (really nice people, btw!). Anyway. I decided to give this a more timely B+W makeover, its colour counterpart can be found here. It was a fun shoot and certainly gained the interest of joggers, people walking their pets and cyclists in the area. I've never shot anything like this out of doors so it was a revelation. Now we've obtained one of those Master Replica Force FX Lightsabres, we have a Mara Jade shoot planned for the New Year. Should be fun! (I am such a geek, I know but hey, if I wasn't around to do this, who would?)


Anyway, wishing you all a merry Xmas and I'm gonna go sod off back to the kitchen to finish some preps for tomorrow's dinner and the like then it's off to more 24. And maybe some S3 of Battlestar Galactica.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Daily Photo #15

I shot this while down at the Flea Market. I should work in Sepia more as it's timeless. The Green Man still looks sinister :)


I can't decide which I like more - shooting people or landscapes? Both have their merits and each offer a unique challenge.

Birmingham Flea Market

The Birmingham Flea at the Custard Factory is a must see if you're a native Brummie or a visitor. Unfortunately, this was the last one for a while but it motivated me to go say hello to Bunny (who's Blog inspired me to let loose from Livejournal and post in other places, those places being here). I am profoundly shy and find it a little hard to talk but after two minutes or so of hearing about her adventures with John Waters and her passion for Pee Wee Herman I felt any fears rush away cos this lady knows her cult media and that makes her fab in my books, being somewhat of a fan of all things off-beat myself.

We managed to swap a few stories (I hope I didn't monopolise too much of your time, B!) and some advice about running a stall at the B'ham Flea (something I am seriously contemplating as I need to thin out some of my collection, books, comics etc). Her cakes and merchandise look fab as usual and I certainly need to pick up a few items from her asap! Anyway, she took a moment to pose for the lens and an example of the result is below:


Looking very festive, if you're at the flea go say hello as she's a fab lady!

Also had some good conversations with some other stall holders about photography (I heard someone say "it's 'im with 'is camera again" but it wasn't meant in a sarcastic way). The Flea just has this intense mixture of artists and people selling their wares and it's unique, something that Birmingham so desperately needs right now. It's a place where people can sell, buy, converse and just be who they are instead of the mass production ephemera of the high street, we can see merchandise stretching back for decades here. It's like stepping into your own little Timewarp and to be part of that just for a short time is fantastic and liberating. I cannot wait to go back when the market kicks off again and just walk around and be myself for a bit.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Daily Photo #14

I am nursing the most horrid hangover from hell. I have barely functioned all day, drifting in between a nap here and there and a hot bath. I didn't drink that much last night and I feel buggered.

Anyway, this sums up how I feel today.


Migraine - Art Installation

No daily photo today

I'm not gonna post a photo today cos it's number "13" and I am a superstitious type.

Just got back from the office party and it was a good one. Lots of merriment and I am somewhat inebriated. So, sleep must beckon and I may shoot some new pics this weekend.


Thursday, 20 December 2007

Daily Photo #12

I don't know why but I felt like posting this one.

Negative contact sheets/proofs

It's not seasonal but I like it for some reason. I feel kind of random today. And for some reason, Xmas makes me feel kinda open to thoughts of a naughty nature. God knows why, must be the impending office party of doom that is on the horizon.

I shall report my findings when the event is over.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Daily Photo #11

Xmas is coming! We did these as a set a couple of years ago with the intention of printing them up for Xmas cards to be given to close friends (and not family!)

Unfortunately we never had the chance but it was a fun set and most festive. So, 6 days to go and do you know where your turkey is? ;)


Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Daily Photo #10

I collect stuff. Sue me ;)

Mattel have over the years released "theme" and "media" Barbies. Linda has a few in her collection including the Wizard of Oz. A couple of years ago as she knows I collect anything to do with Catwoman, she picked this one up for our collection.

Weekly Geeky pic#6

Now, given that Barbie is meant to be the epitome of American Middleclass Suburban Soccer Mom, do you think it's just a tad subversive to give her a vinyl fetish suit, knee boots in the style of a hooker and a whip?


Maybe times have changed afterall.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Daily Photo #9

Cats have it quite good, y'know. They don't have to leave home about 6.25 each morning in freezing fog and can lie next to the radiator and snooze all day. They also don't have to worry about hitting quotas or other work related nonsense and stuff like balancing the bank account and paying bills or doing the shopping.

Let's face it, they're blessed little sods. We have 2 cats - Ro and Buffy (Linda is a cult telly fan, as you might know). Anyway, this is Ro. They both came from the same litter but their personalities are majorly different. If the cats were human, Ro would be the laid back stoner and Buffy would be the uptight college major. They argue at every chance they can get (in a meow-y catty way, of course). But, I think they do really get on when we're not around as more often than not, they can be found inches away from each other snoozing the day away.


Bless. I took this about 2 winters ago and she probably got into a fight or had a dirty face.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Daily Photo #8

Blah. The spirit of Xmas has broken me somewhat. I didn't want to go out today and it was a struggle to go visit mum and do some odds and ends of food shopping. I cannot find it in me to be festive and/or nice to people right now. Case in point, idiot with mutton chop sideburns shaking a bucket in front of my face while I was trying to talk to Linda does not make me instantly want to hand over money. I'd already given some cash to the kid's hospital to a group earlier but mutton chops wasn't having any of it and tutted at me as I shook my head. Usually, I am much more receptive but this week, I just want the hell out of Winter and Brum.

I don't think it's a seasonal depression thing, although this time of year does make one think of friends and family who cannot be here for various reasons but in contrast to my post a few days ago, I just can't raise the excitement and would sooner have the whole run up to Xmas over with but in the true nature of the hypocrite that I am, it could be that I am lusting for time away from work and some nice rest away from the grind and routine of the season. For the first time ever I contemplated booking a holiday away from the UK somewhere warm. The cold snap this week has been quite extreme and there is a discernible winter feel to the air which is most unlike the weather we've experienced over the last 2 or 3 years.

So, my pic for today is to celebrate sunnier times.


Even though I am not wishing my life away, I am so looking forward to the Xmas time off and some new Doctor Who on the telly. Lofty ideals be damned, I like the finer things in life.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Daily Photo #7

It's still bloody cold in B'ham. After battling the demons of stupidity all day I thanked god for having a wonderful wife at my side to steer me through the crowds and avoid the general detritus, flotsam and more than a little jetsom of humanity as a whole. Xmas shopping is still insane.

Anyway, my reasoning behind the pic is to just show off Linds, 'cos she's great and all (although she did get mardy with me at a few points due to my dislike of going into clothes shops and nodding yes at all the right places). So, faults aside with her love for Mika and crap Xmas tunes like the Jonah Lewie one (well, it's better than some I guess). I took this pic of her two Halloweens ago and really caught her well, I think.


Anyway, I shall take some fresh images for the stream sometime soon. The last shoot we did features here in this set but maybe it might blight the sensibilities of casual viewers, non?

If you fancy a squizzle of some of the last shoot we did, head here.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Daily Photo #6

I guess I am just a hippy at heart. I took this one during the summer at Birmingham's Botanical Gardens. (A fab place to visit if you ever get the chance). Still, I think the colour is applicable as the weather is freezing today!!!


Xmas Shopping.

It's been a funny old day really. Had half a day of annual leave to do some of the "silly season" (as Mel Gibson refers to it in the timeless Xmas classic "Lethal Weapon")

In between freezing my nads off and dodging old women with large shopping bags I managed to get most of what I needed in the temple of consumerism that is Birmingham. George A Romero would have eaten his heart out at the displays of desperation and human histrionics on display and there wasn't a zombie in sight. (At least, not of the Flesh Eating Variety).

It was a battle of wits to see who could block the aisles for the longest amount of time without resorting to withering gazes or crass stupidity. People fought over the right to be served first, proclaiming that there was no difference between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toillette. (Except for maybe £20 here and there).

The amount of tat (or crap, if you prefer) filling the shelves this year was astonishing. Three for the price of two drew shoppers in by the truckload, and yet I could still not find that one killer app, the quintessential present(s) for an awkward wife who has a birthday scant two days post Christmas. I was boned. Twice. The shelves revealed not a jot, until the joys of HMV lured me in. (Linda, if you're reading, sod off now).

Anyway, this isn't a post about my travails or frustrations at the season. It was more about the magic as for every annoying middle aged woman with bags of steel there were 10 kids with wide eyes taking in the magic of Xmas. It took me back to being four years old and wishing for an Eagle Transporter from Space 1999. And I remember all the magical shop displays right through all the Star Wars movies - each time a new movie was released a new set of magic was unleashed by the Great God Lucas. In 1980, when the heights of Empire Strikes Back merchandising hit their stride, I remember looking for what may have seen hours at a glass cased and automated display holding Palitoy (Kenner) figures in an amazing dio-rama from Lucas' second opus. I stood there bewildered, gazing at the figures lined up, mini recreations of Hoth and Dagobah stood alongside Luke vs Vader in Cloud City (or Bespin for the purist amongst you).

That Christmas I can recall vividly. I remember waking up and opening the Millenium Falcon and loads of figures (at least 2 snowtroopers too!). Looking back, they were good times when toys were toys and had great play value. The excitement was in not knowing if I had them or if santa (my parents) had delivered. But also, it seemed a less cynical time. I don't know if I'm looking back with the rose tinted specs of 20/20 hindsight. There wasn't as much merchandising back then and what there was seemed to have an air of honesty about it. Today we're surrounded by Bratz and a somewhat disenfranchised Barbie. Star Wars has come, gone, returned and left the building again but I hope those kids I saw today experience just 20% of the excitement I had waiting on Xmas eve. I guess it's all about the build up and not just the pay off. Back when I was a kid, the journey was just as important as the destination.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Daily Photo #5

Yep, it's that time again. It's been a dull day back at work. One full of pain killers, telephone calls and assessing various applications. My mind feels like candy floss under a hair dryer - brittle and prone to bursting into flame at the drop of a hat. Found my mind wandering here and there whilst trying to get back into the "beats" of trying to read various constitutions and decide what is valid information and what isn't.

Fun but taxing I guess. It helps having a job that I love to bits but given the cold weather and fragile physical post flu state I did find my mind wandering just a touch. Still, I chose today's random photo from a set taken during my birthday weekend in Manchester 2 months ago. Linda and I booked a room in a luxury hotel and made the most of it.

The space in the room was fab but the high point (apart from this amazing pillar in the centre of the room, supporting wooden beams and an almost decadent bed) was this tiled bathroom. If I had better lighting I could've shot pics in there all weekend. It was almost cathedral-esque in its size and the mirror made for some good shots.

Now, unless you may not have noticed I have this major catwoman/Emma Peel thing going on where I get Linds to dress up in the style of (when I can persuade her to, that is!).

IMG_3832 - ver 2

This was just one of my mental "wandering grounds" today and it got me through work quite nicely.

Roll on the next weekend, I need to do some more shots in this style!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Daily Photo #4

Slowly returning to normal. The cough has slowed down and my ribs no longer hurt thankfully. First proper night's sleep in almost a week too. So, getting back on my feet.

I've really wanted to get out and shoot some sunsets of late. The winter ones in B'ham are most spectacular with all the burning hues of reds, oranges and purples. Trouble is, there are few good vantage points by the time the sun sets in the city apart from Snowhill.

This brings me to the subject of the setting sun. The most romantic view I have had of this was in 2006 on a holiday in Morrocco with Linda. As we watched the sunset on our first evening on that balcony it felt so damned timeless. As the sun fell over the sea in the distance everything felt so right. We just stood there speechless and watched as the birds flew across the horizon and we could hear the locals packing up their shops and wares in the streets below.


I'm looking forward to getting some more shots like this when we hit Vegas in 2008 but Morocco was rather special. Hope to return there someday.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Daily Photo #3

I'm still gripped in the midst of some chest infection/fever and woke up barely a short time ago. It's funny but when I get sick I crave foods that are not to hand or easily available. The sunlight snuck through the curtains and woke me up. The house is fairly cold as the heating clicked off a few hours ago when Linda left for work.

First thought on my mind was liquid and lots of it. Having a congested head means I can't breathe through my nose as is the norm. So, after dreaming of American Hotdogs with Sauerkraut, catsup and mustard I really wanted a can of Fresca, a sugar free grapefuit flavoured fizzy pop which is the best soda (soft drink) known to man (and woman). I would have given so much to have one of these sitting there in the fridge, ice cold. I'd snap the can open and pour it over a bed of ice and savour every moment. The fridge did yield some crackers, cheese and diet coke which broke my fast somewhat but I needed something more.

So, hence I chose today's image of Nathan's Hot Dog stand on Coney Island. When we went to New York in April this year the weather ranged from mild to snow and back to beaming sunlight. We caught the metro over to Coney and walked around the beach. That day I ate Clam strips washed down with Fresca. Although, I bet it wasn't as cold that day as it is now.


I just loved the kitsch-ness of the decor on the store. I love NYC and it's funny how the slightest memory or recollection can send me back there.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Daily Photo #2

This is my choice for the second photo. Purely random to be honest (feeling less than great still on the cough side of things). The image was taken in a field in Stratford during Summer of 2007. The flower was left abandoned in the rubble and the image has been tweaked to play down all colours apart from the vivid red of the petals. I keep a printed copy on my desk at work.

What I was trying to portray was that there can still be life in decay and rubble, albeit it a limited one. The viewer is meant to decode that the flower is perhaps stunted/dying or even synthetic with the vivid almost "man made" hues and the uniform nature of the flower petals. It's an image of mixed messages with the viewer left to decide how they perceive the image and its meaning.


I'm off to bed again. *atchoo*

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Daily Photo #1

In an effort to get more of my work out here, I'll be posting a random pic on a daily basis. They might be taken from that day or be from my archives.

Today, I have chosen the aerobic santa claus peeps who were doing a charity run for the Acorn Children's Hospice. These people do fantastic work raising money for sick and terminally ill kids. The sight of all these santas was a bit too much but check out the guy on the right of the frame. He appears to be dancing to a different tune!


Busted/Broken....a bit under the weather.

I don't what it is but I invariably come down with something before or during Xmas. Having worked in offices for the last 6 or so years I can say, hand on heart, that they are festering little germ pits. The aircon when it does work (to this day I have *never* worked in an office where it is 100% effective) flies all those little microbes around that cause pestilence and stuff like the common cold.

Even Vic's First Defence, a wonderful invention has failed to kill this sucker in its tracks and the whole of my office has been coughing and sneezing its way to oblivion. Personally, I have been through two boxes of tissues and enough decongestant based amphetamines to kill a baby elephant and the pesky little cold has descended down my throat into my lungs.

Now, I'm not complaining as a nice side effect of all this has been medicated nirvana and the type of dreams that would drive David Lynch to a therapist. Choice moments have been riding a combine harvester around the Bullring Shopping Centre (fellow Brum Bods will know that landmark) and hunting down missing episodes of Doctor Who while being accompanied by K9 (the tin dog from Dr Who), Ewan Macgregor and Chloe O'Brien off 24. I think there was a cross over in dreams at some point where a tannoy sounded that such and such store had Nintendo Wii's in stock and Chloe told us to swing that combine harvester (I think US types call it a thresher?) which resulted in much mayhem and needless loss of life and limb. Still, it's a dream after all but was still pretty vivid.

Anyway, there must be an equation in here -

Benylin + amphetamine based decongestants - lack of good nights sleep X bad shopping day

= something akin to a video nasty.

Amusingly, my abuse of over he counter cold remedies is a highlight of the silly season and often brings with it some lurid dream here and there although it is the first time I have self medicated on Sinutab which the lady in Boots warned me about not taking before bedtime so I thought that mixing it with Benylin Cough Syrup would equal it out a little but, oh boy does it make the brain just a tad overactive.

Still, as it says on the packet it's best not to mix meds which would probably be the equivalent of going to a party and trying to drink one of every spirit, beer, cider and then chasing those with a bottle of cherry brandy. Sensible people just don't do it.

Anyway, the point of the post is trying to say that I guess when I get a cold it often mutates into something a little worse. Mainly due to inheriting a dodgy chest set up (hereditary, damn my genes) with a combination of getting older.

It's almost 9:15 am and I need more Benylin, stat.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Please allow me to introduce myself...

As someone who writes on occasion I always find those first words to be the most difficult ones. The best advice I was given (by a failed writer, I might add) was never to start at the beginning, always stretch your narrative a little and begin where you feel is appropriate. To me, that was always like trying to take a piss in public. Annoying. Time consuming. Pointless. You're either too wrapped up with trying to write the back story (or avoiding urinating on your feet) or trying to get the detail and tone of the piece just right (or trying to hide your wang from prying eyes). Looking back, my advice would be never to start writing the middle part of an article/ story and never urinate in public.

From the above paragraph, I just broke my own rules so let's rewind.

I'm a Live Journaller who has finally "grown up" and is trying to escape the sandbox. I take pictures in my spare time. My work involves assessing grants for community projects.

I guess I had to justify the Rolling Stones quote on the title of this piece.

Now, I am so totally unused to "blogging" apart from Live Journal so this is a new experiment for me. I guess I have transcended my "private space" on LJ to open my life a little more an concentrate on speaking to people I don't know (and hopefully will get to know) and expand my sense of community a little more.

So, anyway - I take photos, a sample can be found below:


So, not sure what I should be talking about but I am certainly going to enjoy the journey and forget about the destination for now.