Slogans, selfie sticks and loving the holidays

For someone who thinks they are basically a portrait photographer I seem to take quite a lot of different photos when away on holiday, amongst all the family snaps I mix in some of my old love for documentary. I did do some "real" work on a Mamiya rangefinder but have still to develop the film, there being a distinct lack of labs nowadays.... More on that when the film comes back.

I  mostly snap with Hipstamatic on iPhone just because I find it fun. I joined Instagram a couple weeks back to upload some of these snaps so you can go over there if you fancy. I also got a cheap Lumix GF2  but the wide angle is a bit limiting although nice and flat.

Enough technical-schmechnical and back to the holidays. This year what really struck me was the selfie stick. Not content with the arm length selfie, people now use the selfie-stick (something that has been popular in extreme sports for quite a few years).

Before I start to get all derisive over the selfie and selfie stick, let's not forget we were all snapping away on our Nikon FM's into mirrors and windows, selfie-ing ourselves crazy long before the reverse-view function (not the technical term...) made it easier on mobile phones. But it was in black and white, and on film, and you printed it yourself. Maybe....but really, so what?

The selfie is a different phenomenon now though. In one regard, it acts as a means of putting one's mark on a place; if we were tom cats, we'd be pissing all over the world.

I have always taken snap-selfie's too. But part of the fun was not being quite sure what you would get in or not; bits of noses, forehead, something lovely and/or unexpected. Or nothing at all really.

Anyway, the selfie-stick..... it was everywhere. In Rome, in front of St Peter's, inside St Peter's, at the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum: basically any and all various random parts that looked like they could be, or had been, or might become, ruins. I am part-intrigued, part-embarrassed, part-envious, part-bored of it. Also who can be bothered carrying that around all day?

I was sitting next to what I thought was a selfie-stick at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow recently. After the guy held it in the air for the entire evening (+4 hours) I'm reckoning he was filming (or perhaps partaking in a new selfie craze I'm unaware of ?)

Sorry I'm not going to offer up a selfie stick photo - they are superbly documented elsewhere on twitter and Instagram and there's a kind of kick back where people photograph the selfie stick photographer etc etc etc. It's getting confusing but interesting all the same.

So after the selfie stick let me get back to that slogan - 'Sun's Out, Guns Out'. Yep, gotta love the holidays.



© Margaret Mitchell 2013 Person photographing the panda Edinburgh Zoo I find that managing my time is not one of my greatest attributes, evident enough in the lack of postings here....

The inability to find time to post on photography is reflected in real life practice of finding time to fulfil projects, some of them sitting there for quite some time in my head.

My decision then is that perhaps what a blog should sometimes be is not just long writings on photography itself, which is sometimes hard to fulfill due to time constraints, but rather quicker yet more numerous (!) postings on snippets, snaps and finds.

So my first return is a snap from the pandas (well, one sitting munching bamboo and, well, munching bamboo) at Edinburgh Zoo which leaves one musing, as usual, on the nature of snaps, tourism and what we do with these photos afterwards. A well covered subject but one more pertinent with ease of digital and phone cameras. I, for one, am sticking my snap on the web.....

I ♥ Hipstamatic

© Margaret Mitchell Olympic Hipstamatic Photograph It's funny all the hoo-ha about real photography and camera phone apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic. I've read a few pieces where people are getting very upset about these apps and what they do (and do not do) and to be honest it really confuses me, where this dislike comes from.

I recently posted a photo of mine that I took in London of Tower Bridge and the Olympic Rings to Hipstamatic Facebook page and it received over 2,700 likes and many shares. This probably makes it my most viewed photo of all time and probably my most appreciated.

The irony of this is not lost on me.

However, I love Hipstamatic. It's a great little app. It sits there on my phone and is ready to use unlike the camera that I never carry with me (used to think I would, but never do....). I stick to a couple of "lenses" and "films" and find it quite amusing the whole "processing" aspect. Of course there are limitations but that is always the case with any chosen technique in photography, each one is chosen for aesthetics and suitability to the content.

It is nonsense to talk about "real" photography. Very tedious. Photographers have always selected equipment, processes, played about, used chemicals unconventionally, all in order to achieve image "enhancements". Why do current day photographers use 19th century processes if not to achieve an aesthetic outcome? Some haters of Hipstamatic forget  that  photographers still have to take the photo. Some photos by Damon Winter using Hipstamatic won  third place in Pictures of the Year International and he talks sensibly about his use and approach in some detail in a piece here.

Anyway, maybe I will tire of Hipstamatic but I think its a great app, great fun and can add to the image making process. I also did cyantoypes for fun for a time too, but after a while didn't really see the point or suitable application for that either.

Hipstamatic also has a touch of the Cartier-Bresson and his decisive moment and no cropping malarkey, so loved by some (mostly "real") photographers. Which brings me to why my photo pains me: the composition is not right. In my defence, I was on a fairly fast moving boat, with shifting light, a flapping flag, with my kid, on my hols ....taking fun holiday snaps.

Ultimately this is for me a happy-snap that satisfies the purpose for that it was created for.  I have a nice memory of my travel up the Thames under the Olympic Rings because I had Hipstamatic's fun little app right there on my phone. In time I might use it for more than quick snaps (or not) but presently, to all those purists (or whatever they are, I'm not quite sure), all I can say is "lighten up and ♥ Hipstamatic".