Wow. There’s an awful lot of people seemingly upset by The Polaroid Corporation’s recent decision to stop making their eponymous film.

Check out
Of course, the current Polaroid Corp. has pretty much nothing to do with the original corporation; the current company being much more interested in slapping their coloured squares onto any number of consumer electronic devices than their traditional analogue imaging processes.

Ironically, Polaroid could well be making the biggest mistake ever. Recent reports seem to indicate that the rush to digital imaging is being stemmed, and consumers are returning to film, whether for

  • aesthetic reasons (some colours just aren’t rendered as nicely as on film); or
  • financial reasons (the constant buy/use/replace cycle which comes from chasing the leading edge of technology becomes pretty expensive after a short while)

Polaroid always had a characteristic look which distinguished itself from traditional negative/positive photography – and the fact that each shot is totally unique (Ok, so is slide film) adds some mystique to the object you hold in your hand…

I for one am going to stock up on 600 series film so that the kids can have some fun (they *really* appreciate the instant nature of Polaroids – they are well versed in 35mm and digital photography, but the sheer immediacy of Polaroid really pushes their buttons). The suspense of waiting for the picture to magically appear is fantastic, and they both want to take pictures with the Polaroid. Best let them do it before it’s too late…

Country on the verge of a totalitatian regime (UK 2008)

The latest Metropolitan Police Force advertising campaign encouraging us all to spy on each other is further evidence that the UK is losing its nerve entirely and will, before long, welcome Stasi-like secret police, constant observation, and further restrictions in our movements.

In the old days, there was a very real terrorist threat within the UK, what with the IRA and all that. During that time business as usual was preached – once you respond to the terrorists, you have already lost. Now, there were plenty of attacks, lots of people died but, ultimately, it is now history. Who was funding the terrorists here? Well, there were rumours of collections being held in certain Boston bars to support the brave freedom fighters across the Atlantic but I’m not saying anything…

Is society to blame for its own incarceration? Is accountability the true evil here? When everyone has to be seen to be doing something, the only responses are kneejerk – there is no plan, there is just a panicked herd mentality.

Until one day, you wake up in East Germany in the 1980’s

A quote from New York Times’ ‘Stasi’ book

“To ensure that the people would become and remain submissive, East German communist leaders saturated their realm with more spies than had any other totalitarian government in recent history. The Soviet Union’s KGB employed about 480,000 full-time agents to oversee a nation of 280 million, which means there was one agent per 5,830 citizens. Using Wiesenthal’s figures for the Nazi Gestapo, there was one officer for 2,000 people. The ratio for the Stasi was one secret policeman per 166 East Germans. When the regular informers are added, these ratios become much higher: In the Stasi’s case, there would have been at least one spy watching every 66 citizens! When one adds in the estimated numbers of part-time snoops, the result is nothing short of monstrous: one informer per 6.5 citizens. It would not have been unreasonable to assume that at least one Stasi informer was present in any party of ten or twelve dinner guests.”

Stupid, stupid, advertisments. Number 2 in a possibly infinite series


Need I say more?

No, but I’m going to… This tendency to make-up-scientific-sounding-words has been going on for ages, but I think that it’s also adding to the general dumbing-down of society, where people may think that NUTRILLIUM is a proper-scientific-fact-like, rather than a made-up-marketing-word.

Unfortunately, it would seem that this stuff works (marketing, not the shampoo), otherwise the adverts would stop.

From now on, all namke communications product will contain new miracle compound MyarsiumTM, proven to prevent up to 100% of the 73 signs of a slightly dulled life experience.


[Also see Amateur Photographer article]

Austin Mitchell has an ‘Early Day Motion’ (EDM) currently running in the houses of Parliament regarding the clarification of the laws of photography in public places:

“That this House is concerned to encourage the spread and enjoyment of photography as the most genuine and accessible people’s art; deplores the apparent increase in the number of reported incidents in which the police, police community support officers (PCSOs) or wardens attempt to stop street photography and order the deletion of photographs or the confiscation of cards, cameras or film on various specious ground such as claims that some public buildings are strategic or sensitive, that children and adults can only be photographed with their written permission, that photographs of police and PCSOs are illegal, or that photographs may be used by terrorists; points out that photography in public places and streets is not only enjoyable but perfectly legal; regrets all such efforts to stop, discourage or inhibit amateur photographers taking pictures in public places, many of which are in any case festooned with closed circuit television cameras; and urges the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to agree on a photography code for the information of officers on the ground, setting out the public’s right to photograph public places thus allowing photographers to enjoy their hobby without officious interference or unjustified suspicion.”

We should all let our MPs know that we want to retain the freedom to take pictures of public places without having to have to explain ourselves to the local constabulary, and that our MPs should back EDM 1155

You can find and email your MP by putting your postcode in the link below

Birthday + Polaroid + Friends = great time!

Cake!I had a birthday party (of sorts) last weekend* and invited friends etc. over to our house for drinks/food/chat. In light of the recent announcement by Polaroid that the production of instant film was to stop, I decided that this would be a good time to have a go with Polaroid… I picked up a camera from freecycle, bought a twin-pack of 600 film from Boots, and I was good to go.

Well, y’know – Polaroids are way cool fun! Much more entertainment than a digital camera – especially the wait for a picture to appear – and a real conversation piece. Most people weren’t aware that Polaroid was stopping, and a couple even said that they were going to go and get a camera before the chance disappeared completely!

Anyway, thanks to all of the people who turned up. Hope you had a good time, and we’ll try and get together again soon, Ok?

*(for those who know me and feel disgruntled that they weren’t invited, it may be that we don’t have contact details for you – give us a ring: our number hasn’t changed for about 10 years!!!).

Happy birthday to me….

My collection of photographic equipment grows ever-larger – got a HP Combi-Plan developing tank from my wife and her parents (Hooray! Now I hope I won’t scratch my 5×4 negatives), and am getting a decent tripod from my parents (Manfrotto 055xprob + 808RC4 head – I really need to keep the MPP still!).

Also received a CD by Elbow (“Asleep in the back” – having enjoyed their appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross a couple of weeks back, as well as their version of Independent Woman courtesy of, a James Brown compilation CD (I actually only own one James Brown record – a 12″ single of ‘Get Up’ from the 1980s, so this addresses a shortcoming in my music collection!), and a Family Guy DVD (Blue Harvest).


Now, what I have just decided that I need is a Polaroid camera, so that I can document my upcoming birthday party….


Uncontrolled rant at the celebration of mediocrity present in today’s society

I’ve just come back from my local camera club (‘York photographic society’) where we had an ‘exhibition’ – actually a couple of CD-roms of prizewinning entries to a couple of competitions. The first was the FIAP: ” FIAP 23rd Colour Slide Biennial 2004″. Now, Ok, this is a few years old now but I thought it might be interesting.


Well, kind of wrong. During a 34 minute show, with each image being on the screen for 4-5 seconds, I think that there were two photographs which I considered good. The rest were bog standard postcard images, or just plain bad (i.e. horizons which were 3 degrees out of level, verticals which weren’t etc. Y’know, basic technical stuff).

It was interesting only because of the – to my mind – staggeringly low-quality.

Then there was the something like ‘the tropical photographic competition’ – run out of Florida apparently. This time the show was 30 minutes of ‘creative photography’ from 2007.


You know when you first play with Photoshop? You load in a picture and apply the ‘watercolour’ filter? Or perhaps the ‘posterize’ filter. Perhaps you’re really avant-garde and use edge-detect. You look, and say ‘hey wow’, and then you get over it?

Apparently not. I reckon about 80% of the pictures had been posterized, or watercoloured, or had edge detection applied (or turned into an oil painting). Of those that weren’t, the rest had had a really neat ‘page turn’ effect added. Cool! Or perhaps ‘selective colouring’ had been used. Woo! Way to go. For those photographers with more time on their hands, why not motion blur the background?

In short, I was not impressed.

I had a discussion with another member of the club afterward and he basically said that if you enter competitions, you enter to win; and to win you submit pictures which you know the judges will like. And that means you look at what has done well in the past, and recreate it.

So, it seems to be ‘a renowned prize-winning photographer’ you need to lose all shreds of creativity, and just follow the herd.

That’s not for me. I’ll still enter the competitions, but I won’t be upset when I don’t win – who knows, maybe one day I might even get some useful feedback.

This is identical to the stuff which has annoyed me about music creation over the past few years; everyone seems to think that slapping a fistful of samples together over a beat which sounds kind-of-like-something-that’s-in-the-charts constitutes writing a track. Worse still, this gets perpetuated and soon all of the creativity has been squeezed out of music (the same applies to so-called manufactured bands – a couple of safe covers, a number one single and then it’s back to the dole queue for you my lad).

If it’s any consolation I now feel sufficiently fired up that I might even start doing some more music (that, of course, no-one will like).

Sorry about the rant 😉

ps: with regard to photoshop. I have no problem with it per se, but it does annoy me when people print out their latest abomination and cheerfully remark that they wouldn’t be able to repeat the picture since they ‘were just messing about’. That’s not art, that’s mindless button-pushing. A monkey could do that (an infinite number of monkeys would be able to do rather better I fear)

So, the journey continues…

I now have some filmholders (double-darkslides) to go with my recently-purchased MPP Micro-Technical camera. I bought the camera at a camera fair just before Christmas and spent a few contented hours getting the shutter up to scratch and making a temporary ground-glass screen.

Having bought some film (which arrived before Christmas too) I have been champing at the bit somewhat – unable to take pictures without darkslides (I should have got some filmholders with the camera, but the seller said that he was going to send them on – they have now arrived!). This has meant that I have been able to read up on and experiment with the effects of the camera movements.

I think that this weekend I will do a few portraits of my sister’s family before they emigrate to Australia on June 22nd… and hope I don’t mess up the processing!

A small list of my current objects of desire…

I’ve started selling up some of my accumulated clutter in order to buy some stuff I actually want. My list (currently) is:

  1. Fender Jazzmaster guitar
  2. Ebow
  3. Some form of digital SLR
  4. A decent photo printer (A3+)

Of course, this is all going to take some time, and may require the shedding of a lot of stuff…

So far, I have sold a bunch of old BBC Magazines; next up is one of my BBC micros (c. £50), (probably) my Marlin Sidewinder Guitar (c.£35), and a whole load of NMEs etc.

eBay here I come 🙂 (again)