Category Archives: Photographic

Where I’ve Been, And What I’ve Seen.

Hello..!

So, I’ve had a little absence from the old blogosphere, but at least this time I have an excuse (yes, a real one). In the past two weeks I’ve travelled the world, seen the sights in Chicago and New York, and ended up somehow engaged to a wonderful woman. Isn’t life just great?

Now where does the blog fall into all of this? Apart from the numerous stories about sunstroke, dunked-beef sandwiches, lack of decent trainer shops in NYC, and 2012 dunny collections, I also managed to take over 700 still pictures and 400 movies. The sifting process has already begun, and you’ll be the first to see the outcome of a big city obsessed young adult visiting some, well,rather big cities.

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Face Books, and Insta Grams.

So everybody must know this by now, but Facebook decided to buy a little Spring present for itself in the shape of Instagram, for the measly ‘down-the-back-of-the-couch’ amount of $1bajilliontrillion dollars. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I really didn’t see that coming!

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I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, as I’m sure most of you do too;

On the one hand, it can be great for organising events, gigs, shows, flash-mobs, riots, MDKs, and, well, the whole shebang really! It’s a great way to be the vainest person you know, and host thousands upon thousands of images of yourself in the perfect pose, bottle in hand, head held high, smack bang in the middle of a pop-punk jump. You can connect with all those people that you’ve lost contact with throughout the years, and then judge yourself against them to see who has ‘won’ the game of life. And of course, lets not forget about all those hours you can whittle away playing Farmville!

On the other hand however, it’s awful for the fact that people invite you to all of their events, gigs, shows, flash-mobs, riots, and MDKs. Pictures of you bottle in hand, head held high, smack bang in the middle of a pop-punk jump are posted endlessly showcasing the fact that you can barely jump half a foot from the floor without become out of breath. You get to “add” all of those people that you’ve lost contact with throughout the years, like the school bullies who picked on you for having long hair, and took it out on your kidneys for being different. You end up stalking your old secondary school friends to find out that their jobs, houses, cars, and general lives are hundreds of times better than yours… And of course, lets not forget all of those valuable work hours you can whittle away playing Farmville.

Where am I going with this exactly? I don’t know, I’m whittling, but there’s a reason somewhere.

As much as I understand the love that Facebook receives, I’ve never been one to give it the attention it so desperately begs me for. I’ve always fallen close, but just as our social networking relationship began to blossom, a cuter, younger networking website whisked me away from the out stretched claws of Facebook. First it was Faceparty, then Facewhore, followed by a brief flirtation with Facebook only to be courted by Twitter, Reddit, WordPress, Blogger and 4chan.

Instagram, the darling of the hour, is a service I grew to love almost immediately.

It’s basically a photo app for smart phones, which adds ‘retro’ (and I say that very lightly) screen effects over all of the pictures of food you take. For a guy like me who eats loads of food, it’s a necessity in life. Not only could I make a picture of my breakfast look like it was taken on a 1950s Kodak camera, but I could then share it with whatever social networking website I so chose. I of course post it to Twitter, as it’s my SN of choice, but there was the option of adding it to Tumblr, Facebook or some otherstuff that I never did understand.

Instagram also became another social network in itself, with users requiring these name things that differentiated between users that I could only describe as “usernames”. It came with the ability to follow your favourite poster of food photos so you’d never miss a meal of theirs, and a handy ‘love’ button, to let your favourite poster know that you were totally mad jelly of their Yorkshire puddings. It was great. It’s still great. I hope it will always be great.

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I think what I’m worried about most, is that Facebook might take that all away from me. They might integrate the app into their own website, and who’d blame them? If you have “30 million users uploading 5 million new pictures a day”, why not force them to do it through your own website? Webspace doesn’t pay for itself, so maybe sneaking in an advert before letting a user upload would be the way to go? What’s that? You want to upload this image to Twitter? That’s not Facebook.. don’t be silly Ciaran! You know you only want to upload it to Facebook. Facebook. FACEBOOK.

Yes I know, I’m jumping the proverbial gun, and Marky Mark Zuckers himself said that “Instagram would continue to work with rival social networks. That will allow users to post on other services, follow users outside of Facebook, and to opt out of sharing on Facebook.”, but who really trusts that guy? He killed Bill Murray.

Look at OMGPOP; one second they’ve created the global phenomenon DrawSomething, the next they’re being bought out by the bad guys at Zynga, and their CEO is posting ridiculously idiotic PR-destroying tweets calling out ex-employees for refusing to be part of the deal that cost Zynga a cool $200million. Anything can happen, and something, somewhere, at sometime, will.

What then world? What then? How will I know what Ashley’s had for tea? How will I know what Emily’s birthday cake looked like pre AND POST digestion? How on earth will I get to see the newest Burger Anarchy creation? How ever will I sleep at night?

Hungry, filterless and wanting.

For a more serious take on this subject, where tongues are not firmly pressed in cheeks, take a look at what Pete Davison’s written right here.

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My Weekend Through A Lens

In the weekend just gone, I went to Oxford. It was full of bicycles and brilliant buildings, and absolutely devoid of bins, but more importantly, babes. It’s a rather strange place. While the shopping was pretty poor, the cafes and food establishments were fantastic. The Natural History museum was a great two hour outing, but apart from that, we were left with little else to do when we weren’t eating ourselves into a coma.

It’s a lovely place to go for a short break, and a brilliant place to celebrate a relatives birthday (Hi Mum!), but if I were there for more than a few days I’d probably want to off myself. There’s a travel poster in there somewhere, but for now here’s what two days of photography looks like after I’ve filtered out the shite.

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Eating Out Manchester’s Country Side: Manchesterscountryside.com

I’m hilarious. Anyway. The first of possibly two entries today brings you a new press campaign to advertise a side of Manchester most people don’t know exist; Countryside and that.

When I think of Manchester, I see the city before I see anything else. I’ve lived in the centre of this quite frankly amazing place for the past six years, and on the outskirts for sixteen before that. I knew the city streets before I knew the names of streets in the town I lived in. I’ve been to uni here, I’ve been to hundreds upon hundreds of shows here, and I’ve spent many a night stumbling home from various night spots, to one of the many flats I’ve occupied. Manchester to me is a city, but this campaign, is working to remind us that Manchester is much bigger than that city it contains.

It’s a shame really, as it looks like something we’ve all seen before. If you were to make your way to any ‘Visit *‘ website, you’ll see similar styled posters in their dozens. Don’t get me wrong, the art direction is rather nice although the font is a strange choice, and the photography is absolutely stunning, but it’s hardly exciting. It doesn’t match up to previous work done by Dinosaur, and in all honesty looks like something an in-house design team could have knocked out in a few days, which is not what you want to be thinking when looking at work done by one of Manchester’s best.

The locations Dinosaur have decided to use are picturesque, and might have been what was required, but I feel the four posters I’ve managed to find feature only two locations. According to the agency head, the aim is that “Each treatment places an activity, such as cycling, trekking, or narrow-boating at the centre of it and then we have fun playing it off against the preconceptions of ‘urban’ Manchester. We wrap it up by highlighting ‘there’s another side to Manchester’ – its wonderful countryside.”, which is all well and good, but there are many more locations that would have worked just as well, if not better, than the two they’ve decided to focus on.

Here’s me obviously shooting myself in the foot, and in a few weeks time they’ll run posters of kids zooming down wires at Go Ape, but for now I’m stuck feeling underwhelmed and needy. Browsing the Manchester Countryside website, I can see activities that would define the ethos of this campaign much better than the country house and reservoir we’re looking upon in these images; East Lancs Steam Railway (I fucking love trains), Burrs Activity Centre, Go Ape!, and Wild Wings to name a few, but of course running these exciting attractions might somehow over shoot the aim of the campaign. However as an addition to the tamer attractions, they’d create a wider, fuller, and dare I say it, better run of adverts.

What I need to stress is that these adverts will work. The public will see them, take the information in, and then comes the dawn of realisation that there’s much more to Manchester than the city. Unfortunately for me, Mr.Over Critical, while the campaign is definitely adequate and ‘on-brief’, I can’t help but wanting the campaign to have been pushed that little further. Two dinosaurs out of five, please try harder.

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The Manchester Camera Day Parade – Part Two

WARNING: IMAGE HEAVY – Part two of my photography trip around Manchester, and here we have it; The Manchester Day Parade. Full of wonderful floats, bright colours, interesting choices in outfits, and all in all, a hell of a lot of fun. It makes me proud to live in Manchester.

Enjoy

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The Manchester Camera Day Parade – Part One

WARNING: IMAGE HEAVY – Here it is, part one of my Manchester photography trip. Here are LOTS images, and this is only a quarter of what I took. A quarter have been binned, and the next half will be posted tomorrow. Hopefully you’ll find some gems in there somewhere, but I genuinely have tried to choose images that have at least some artistic, symmetrical, or colourful value.

I hope you enjoy looking at them, as much as I enjoyed taking them – If you haven’t already realised, I like taking pictures of angles, architecture, and people without their knowledge. That’s right, I’m a pervy Ted Mosby.

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The Manchester Camera Day Parade – The Taster Issue

I went on a picture taking trip today! Here are a few tasters before I upload hundreds and waste a few entires on pretty things.

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My Life In Phone Photography

My phone is something I’ll always carry with me. I feel lost without it, and that should definitely be seen as a problem. Luckily for me, I’m quite good at keeping tabs on where the damn thing is, and having it with me at all time, is a crutch I’ll find hard to get rid of. You see, my phone has everything I’ll ever need. For starters it makes phone calls, sends text messages, and browses the internet. That means I can ring my girlfriend to find out what I’m having for tea, text my best friend to find out when it’s beer ‘o’clock, and then check up on my video games news on Eurogamer. That’s all well and good, but most importantly, my magical wondrous phone, takes pictures.

Granted, it’ll never beat either of my SLRs, but it’s been used far much more than my little Canon compact, and that’s purely because it’s always in my front right pocket. I didn’t buy this particular phone for the camera, but after looking through almost one thousand images I’ve taken with the damn thing (in less than a year might I add), I realise I come to rely on it for picture taking abilities far more than I actually think I do. It’s strange really, for someone who has so many ways to capture an image, I choose to use the lowest quality device, purely because it’s there.

The budding photographers out there may complain that using a camera just isn’t the same as using an SLR, and while I agree with you, I have always been a student of the idea that it doesn’t matter what you use to take a picture, if you’ve got a good eye for composition, you’ll always be in with a winner. Now I am no Jeff Wall, but I know how to frame an image. It comes with fives years plus worth of experience in the field, and while that may make me sound like an arrogant shit, I’m willing to place bets that there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who are better at photography than me.

Thanks to the ever present phone camera, I seem to take pictures of anything that catches my eye. Anything that one day might become useful. Well it’s useful now! With half an hour left of the second of April, I am going to show you lucky lot images that I haven’t shown anyone bar Victoria. Images that I took for fun, and for nothing else. Images I’ve sifted through, and picked the juiciest morsels out of a large vat of average snaps. I hope you enjoy them, as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Hipster Shmipster

Probably the coolest toilet you’ll ever see in your life.

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