Well, the inevitable came to pass. Newcastle United were relegated from the EPL today after another abject display from the team. I am not sure what upsets me the most: being relegated, or the manner in which we went down. You would have thought that Premiership survival meant something to these players and that they would have been fighting for their lives out there, but no. The last shot on goal was in the 20th minute. Says it all really. Mind you, I can't say I'm surprised. This has been coming for the last 3 seasons, and the on and off pitch performances this season have finally exposed the inherent weaknesses at the club. Millions of pounds wasted on average players, 9 managers in 3 years, bizarre appointments in the boardroom have finally taken there toll. The team has been woefully short on pace, imagination and flair and that is just not good enough in this league. I just hope that the club stick with Shearer, listen to what he says and rebuild the club based on the excellent talent we have in the youth team.
Peversely, I think this may be the best thing that could have happened to the club; it could be the wake up call that we need, and I am looking forward to seeing the likes of Vuckic, Ranger and Lua Lua really establish themselves.
Shay Given and Charles N'Zogbia must be killing themselves laughing.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
I have a friend called Chris, who is an amazing watersport photographer. When I met up with him last year in Spain, he insisted that his pictures were promoted as being "non-Photoshopped", a claim that in itself is admirable. Then today, I had a debate with some photographer friends about Photoshop image manipulation techniques in fashion magazines, and it got me thinking. I have had many clients asking whether I can get rid of wrinkles, laughter lines etc from their wedding and portrait photos. The answer is yes I can, but why would I want to? To me the beauty in a face is in the laughter lines, it is that element of your appearance that tells me who you are, and is what I am trying to convey through the photo. If you have a spot on your wedding day that wasn't there last week, and won't be there next week then fine, but I am not going to airbrush your personality away! My whole attitude towards manipulation is I will do what could be done in the darkroom of yore. And, as the first set of images show, that is quite a lot. The first of the 2 is an iconic Vogue cover from the 50's, the second is the original photo from which it was taken. So, manipulation of images has been going on for decades, and is not an evil attributable to Photoshop exclusively. The key is whether the manipulation adds to the image or detracts. Airbrushing your personality out of a portrait defeats the object of what we are trying to achieve. There are many constructive ways to use the technology available to us these days; personally, I don't think a boost in colour saturation, a judicious crop, or a bit of "dodge and burn" are bad things, and as mentioned before have been an integral part of photo development for decades. I just feel that when one gets to the stage where it is acceptable to alter digitally someones complexion, and even body shape, in the name of "beauty", we have to question the value of technology.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
I am a great believer in continuous improvement, and it doesn't matter how well you think you are doing, there is always something new to learn. And with this ethos, for the last 6 weeks, I have been on a fantastic course run by Dylan Baker in Durham, to help develop the photography skills in areas that I normally would never consider. For example, as a wedding photographer, you don't get the luxury of waiting for the right light, a team of make-up artists retouching every 10 minutes for that flawless complexion, lighting assistants moving large lighting rigs around, and 30 minutes to compose the right shot with professionally trained models. You just gotta know how to pose people, and capture the moment in a unique and engaging way. On the course we did just that (apart from the make up artists!!). Models, lights, ideas, and TIME to think about what you were trying to do. One photo attached. So, if you are into photography, and want to try your hand at something new, I would recommend Mr Baker's course to anyone. Yes, cheque will be fine Dylan, thanks!
Get in!!!! 3 reasons for being utterly delighted this week. Firstly, my new PC arrived. Did I tell you what happened to the last one? No? OK. In a nutshell, the effort of having to upload a single batch of 200 large photo files in less than 3 weeks finally proved too much for the poor thing, and with a slightly unceremonious and disappointingly pathetic "phtt", it finally pointed its computery toes to the sky and died. However, new computer is a thing of power, and because I am a man, and men can only buy things with stupid names (check out the Gillette Power Fusion Phenom razor to see what I am talking about), I have decided to christen it the "Alpha Stealth Ultra X". I then gave the task of "recycling" the old one to my 7 year old lad. What that kid can do with a screwdriver doesn't bear thinking about. Suffice to say, 10 minutes later it was in in 200 componant parts on the study floor, and he loved it because it was the first time he has taken something expensive apart and hasn't been told off when he couldn't put it back together again.
The second reason is my website is now up and running. It has only taken me 3 months to get to this point having managed to spot (and avoid) numerous graphic charletons, sorry designers who could do me the most beautiful looking site, but wanted a significant chunk of my mortgage for the pleasure, oh, and what do you mean you wanted to upload photos at will; that'll be a kidney please. I just have to say that Andy at LayerSpace has been an absolute breath of fresh air, so thanks to him, and also Dylan for pointing me in this direction. So, if you are interested, have a look at RTS Photo and leave your thoughts.
And finally, and I am going to whisper this in case I alienate all of my Teesside potential market........Newcastle 3, Boro 1.