Two unusual portraits of my family

This week I got two very unusual family portraits – one expected, one a delightful surprise. One very digital-age, the other a kind of analogue throwback.

Portrait #1: Lomokev street-style

The first was by the brilliant Brighton photographer Kevin Meredith (a.k.a. Lomokev), of whom I’m a big admirer. I own one of his prints and when Brilliant Noise started up a couple of years ago he did the portraits of the founders for our website. Last year I did one of his excellent weekend Hot Shots courses and tried my own hand at Lomography, the old Russian film cameras which Kev has long championed, and from which he gets his nickname.

When I saw he was doing family portraits using the photo-montage technique he uses for his street style photography, I knew I had to get one done of my lot.

And here it is. The final version will be four separate framed photos, but this digital version has us all side-by-side. I really like it…



Portrait #2: Us on holiday two years ago

The second portrait I stumbled across on the internet. A couple of years ago we were on holiday in Mallorca. On our way out for the day we stopped down the road from our villa to put our rubbish and recycling in the communal bins and we saw a Google Maps car go past. Knowing that it was heading for a dead-end, we stood and waited for about five minutes and it came back.

Of course, I checked the map a couple of months later, but the road we were on wasn’t available on streetview on Google Maps. I assumed that perhaps it was a private road and Google wasn’t allowed to post images of it. Ho hum, I thought, and forgot about it…

…until this week when I was booking a holiday to Mallorca again and trying to see a villa on streetview and I thought, why not check and see if that photo is there now. It took some clicking around (I couldn’t remember which backroad outside Pollensa it was) and then… bingo.

ZZ2A707FE2 ZZ58C0ADBBFunny little moment of serendipity, eh?

Getting an Autographer


We’ve ordered an Autographer for the Brilliant Noise office. I’m really looking forward to trying it out.

Three main things I’m interested in…

  1. A new kind of camera: It will be great to experiment with the Autographer in situations where taking photos is difficult. I think especially of running – there are so many interesting scenes you come across when distance training (I’m about to start my 2014 marathon training) and stopping and using your phone can really disrupt your run. I think that it will be interesting to use it when speaking at conferences and capturing other moments where I’m usually focused on something else.
  2. Creating new kinds of stories: Documentally’s* inspired me a bit with his Autographer films earlier this year – like this one about a Storymaking event at the Guardian. It strikes me that there are all kinds of behind-the-scenes, day-in-the-life stories waiting to be told like this.
  3. Seeing how it works socially: In Documentally’s review of the Autographer he talks about both forgetting he was wearing the device and having to consciously make decision to turn the camera off…

I found myself suddenly and understandably concerned by the privacy of those around me. Another time was when I thought other peoples kids were identifiable in a playground.

What might happen when I walk through airport security and inadvertently break the law? What does all this mean for privacy in general?

Like every other piece of social technology we will need to invent the rules and behaviours for devices like this one. I’m curious about how it will feel and the questions it will prompt me to ask myself.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

* He’s actually called Christian Payne, but I always think of him as Documentally. 

My best photos of 2012

Having wound down enough to look back on 2012, it has been an amazing year in all sorts of ways.

So here are 50 of my favourite photographs I’ve taken this year. I’ve chosen my favourite shots rather than going for reportage, but it includes weddings, births, national spectacles and Brightonian pagentry…

In terms of my photography, it’s a year of two halves  – the first half is dominated by photos taken with the iPhone, edited and posted on Instagram, which was a bit of an obsession. Then in the middle of the year I got a new DSLR – a Nikon D5100 – and the best shots are mostly with that, and one or two Nokia Lumia 920 shots – the phone I got at the end of the year.

Anyway – I hope you enjoy them. Let me know what you think…

Geeks you can see from space (well, Google Maps)

Maybe I should reserve judgement until the project is concluded, but I think that Moblog impresario Alfie Dennen may have surpassed himself with the Britglyph project.

The plan seems to be use a combination of GPS and digital photography to map out a geoglyph, a large drawing on the ground, using geeks around the UK to make up the points in a kind of join-the-dots exercise on a massive scale. 

The image that people will create, basically by dropping stones on the ground and pins in a Google Map with images attached, is of John Harrison‘s Chronometer H5, the 18th century technological marvel that gave us an accurate way to measure Longitude.


An excerpt from the lost graphic novel: Chronometer to Crack Up: The Fall of John Harrison

The project seems to be in part to promote Shozu, a mobile software application which, as Lloyd Davies pointed out in a comment yesterday, can be set to automatically attach a geotag (location reference) to photos that you upload to Flickr, and possibly elsewhere. 

I grew up partly in the Vale of the White Horse, the white horse being one of the oldest geoglyphs in the UK. I recall that people said it used to be a serpent until King Alfred‘s soldiers carved legs on it to celebrate a major battle – but I can’t find any trace of that story on Wikipedia or other websites.