31.1.05

Photoshop Manipulations

pseudo lomo @ bot

Here's an image manipulated in Photoshop to look like a cheap plastic camera!

It's amazing that given the technology available to us like photoshop folks are still find ways to subvert that technology

Personally I can take or leave photoshop, so long as the image is a good one.

29.1.05

First Ericsson Mobile Phone images

global decay?

Here is an image made with my Ericsson K700i. It isn't the first but it seemed to me to justify the extra cost of e-mailing to myself to have it posted at flickr, of course on a real monitor, it falls apart, but on y mobile phone screen it looks sensational. the colours are what really drives me here, and the way the mirror looks like a planet earth, looking down in dismay at the discarded shopping trolley, in all that crazy mixed up light it's just great I reckon?

This phone camera also has a built-in function which allows you to stitch together 3 pictures to create a panorama. Now whilst these images are by no means accurate renditions of the scene presented it certainly gives the feel of the scene as it was experienced.

backyard after heat

I think I am finally coming to terms with what these new technologies mean to my own creative practices. I can really appreciate the way that images can be produced quickly and spontaneously. Then once on the web can be organised in seamless and intergrated bodies of work that are interconnected.

27.1.05

My most viewed image on Flickr?

faves05-01-07-002

My last post from home for the summer of 2005, leaving later for work. Anyway, the most viewed image of mine at Flickr? Strangely its a screen-grab of my favourites, with 211 views, prior to that, it had been a shot of a mannequin dressed as Santa outside a shop in Fitzroy. Strange very strange indeed? I mean I can understand the mannequin shot but a screen grab of other folks photos that I enjoy?

26.1.05

Photographic Flickr frenzy!

FWIW, I have uploaded over 150 photos in the six week break from work, with probably a 25% hit rate means I've shot more like 600 in this time frame!

With me back at work tomorrow, I suspect the upload rate will drop right off, who knows, it's all just to easy to shoot process and upload these days.

The total amount uploaded so far to flickr is about 783 images but a substantial number of these are from the archives.

Ericsson K700i Review

Update on the phone review.

The darns thing stitches panoramas together, has a black and white function, as well as sepia, negative and solarised. My god when will all this end? The downside to this camera is that I am unable it seems to turn off or change the ghastly shutter/clicking sound. Buggah!

Mobile Phone Camera 2

Here is my new mobile phone.

new toy

A big thanks to Matt at Telechoice in Northland for the help in upgrading at no cost. I chose this particular phone because it was one of the few that was listed on the Apple site as bluetooth compatible

Well so far so good, have almost completed setting up the phone, once I have the bluetooth attachment for my laptop it's away I go with my idea of seriously exploring these cameras as cultural tools. Flickr is probably where most of them will end up, who knows. For the time being here's my ‘thoughts’ on the camera.

I like the backlit keypad, and I like the icons and the rollovers attached to them, the menu system was very quick and easy to work out too. However the small gripes I have a this stage are, the Navigation key, this is small for a person of my size and I seem to be either missing it all together or hitting it when I don't want to. The built in ring tones are somewhat limited in their choices and because I don't have the bluetooth all configured yet I don't think I'll be able to download any other options. I am also a little perplexed about the e-mail configuration, and I'm waiting for some messages tom arrive that are supposed to help me set it all up, I've been waiting since about 8:00pm last night?

Still all in all it's shaping up to be a great phone with what appears to be pretty reasonable image quality. Stay tuned for the snaps dear Reader.

25.1.05

Flickr Downtime again?

Hmmm it seems flickr is down again for a couple of hours, uh oh! For two hours! Ai Carumba!

24.1.05

Urban Landscapes 23.01.2005

A couple of the shots from yesterday.

graffiti train 1
graffiti train  2
graffiti train 3
urban landscape 001 2005

Digital Photography on the fly

Yesterday, I found a train that is in the process of being dismantled. Of course Melbourne's graffiti community was onto it, or should I say had been onto it really. So I popped on over and snapped off a few shots with my Nikon Digital Camera.

wasteland two

The Graffiti artists were hanging around working whilst I was still there. Some of my initial impressions were, that these guys and they were all guys, seemed to be much older than I'd ever expected them to be. The smell of enamel paint hung thick in the air, caps of enamel paint cans were strewn everywhere, along with empty stubbies and plenty of the detritus of a train dismantling. I hope to go back and have another go at making some more images, before Smorgons finish the job, stay tuned fine reader. The images are simply edited in Photoshop for the web, no other editing has occured what you see is what you get!

23.1.05

Sets at Flickr?

One of the reasons I am hangin' out at flickr is because it allows me to create sets - quickly and easily - and it helps me to then sequence my images as if I was preparing them for an exhibition. these days I make books rather than exhibit. So I now have a new set at Flickr, possibly a new book as a consequence? Inspired in part by Frederick Sommer's new site

22.1.05

Art Photography?

Interesting photo project?

Over three months, Danish designer Simon Hoegsberg stopped 150 strangers on the streets of Copenhagen and New York City and asked them what they had been thinking about the second before he hailed them. Using a microphone and a dictaphone, he recorded their answers, then snapped their photos. The result

From Jeffrey Zeldmans's site

21.1.05

Photography book collecting, and how should I archive my images?

A man who takes after my own heart as far as photography and book collecting goes. One day I'll catalog my entire collection and post it online, I have a piece of software that does it effortlessly.

Am reading more and more about photographic image management. Read this morning how someone uses a small app from Adobe™, to organise and categorise his images. Currently I use an app called iView (the free lite version, no RAW file support). But don't do much more than drop a CD's worth (however long it takes to fill one) into the app to create a file, and give the file a meaningful name for easy referral at a later date. Later when I need to find an image I just open the iView file or files and ‘browse’ for the image I want. It is a completely visual process, that ties in with my memories of time and place, seeing a few images around the time the image was taken often is enough to jog my memory and hone in my search. So far this process works for me, of course though most of my work is personal and predominantly about the landscape or culture, I have few images of events anniversaries or birthdays, these are the times I want to party not make images so I don't make them.

All Honkey Dorey so far but what about in ten years time? Will I still be making images in the same vien? I've already changed my focus by shooting for screen and small prints only now. And even this year when i printed my first small run limited edition book I just went off gut instincts and chose a handful of images that seemed to work, all visual. Does this make me to easy to please? Are other people more demanding of their images?

Just thinking out loud I guess?

Spam or Link to Photoshop workshops?

Something that appeared to be spam that *may or may not* be spam turned up in my inbox today? A site called yahblogs.com has added me to there database? Hmmmm we'll see what transpires.

Here's what the e-mail said:-

This email is not SPAM.
We are just letting you know we've selected your content.
Have a great day!

Sure enough when I checked the site mine is listed not very high in the photoshop term search though?

Speaking of which my last photoshop woorkshop for the summer holidays is this weekend, the 22nd 23rd of Jan 2005 from 9:00 am to 4:00pm, I have one place left so contact me if your interested? The cost for the two days is $230.00 this includes all course notes and materials needed for the coure and lunch both days. So maybe I'll see you there?

20.1.05

Porn.............

Fashion masquerading as soft porn, well what can I say, some fashion is just fashion, this is soft porn no doubt!

Quotes on Truth and Photography?

Well whaddya know, looks what pops into my inbox from an e-mail list I'm on. Some very tasty quotes about what Photography is or isn't.

"The demise of the relative and analogical character of photographic shots and sound samples in favour of the absolute, digital character of the computer, following the synthesizer, is thus also the loss of the poetics of the ephemeral."
-- Paul Virilio, _Art and Fear_

"When the world, or reality, finds its artificial equivalent in the virtual, it becomes useless."
-- Jean Baudrillard, _Impossible Exchange_

"Don't you think the world's greatest game artist ought to be punished for the most effective deforming of reality?"
-- ~eXistenZ~, dir. David Cronenberg

"To have a regard for reality does not mean that what one does in fact is to pile up appearances. On the contrary, it means that one strips the appearances of all that is not essential, in order to get at the totality in its simplicity."
-- Andre Bazin, "In Defense of Rossellini"

From a C-theory article by Nicholas Rombes.

Veracity or Truth?

An artist who intrigues me at the moment is Larry Sultan he works in colour and in spaces that are used by the porn industry but the scenes he photographs are often disquitening, no “ action” takes place, there are often awkward moments of solitude, people sitting quietly in parts of the scene that either seem out of place or hard to locate. The colour in some of the shots I've seen on the web are fantastic compostions, this shot in particular has the small splash of hot pink in the lower right corner that just balances all the other colours in the room perfectely, the model appears to be completely bored perhaps waiting for something to happen? All the images I've seen so far form his book, ‘The Valley’ suggest to me that this work has the hallmark of of Robert Frank's most famous, work ‘The Americans’. A must buy when the money starts rolling in again.

From the Amazon dot com book description:-

Since 1988, Larry Sultan has returned time and again to photograph on porn sets in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley--the Silicon(e) Valley of the porn industry. But The Valley is by no means a documentary on porn filmmaking. Rather, it is a dense series of pictures of middle-class homes invaded by the porn industry. Sultan's lens focuses on pedestrian details--a piece of half-eaten pie, dirty linens in a heap, "actors" taking a break--that offer clues to a bizarre other-world. The lush and intricate images adroitly play with artifice and reality, adding up to rich, elliptical narratives that circle around the concepts of "home" and "desire." These images of homes and gardens, porn actors and film crews, studio and location shootings are an ambiguous meditation on suburbia and its trappings, family and transgression, loss and desire, the utopias and dystopias of middle-class lifestyle. The Valley and its many-layered photographs outline the complexity of domestic life at the beginning of the 21st century, opening up new perspectives for photography through its innovative combination of staged and documentary photographs. In 1998, an English magazine asked me to go on a porn set. I flew down to Burbank Airport with my wife, and we went to the house they'd given me the address of. It was a dentist's house on Van Alden. That name had all kinds of connotations when I was in high school. Because the Valley is so haunted for me by the ghosts of childhood, all of these street names have Proustian connotations. All I have to do is to say: Havenhurst, Van Alden, Vineta, Dubois, and a flood of associations comes back to me. [...] After the first five minutes of the strangeness of it all, I started to look around, going to the bedrooms, wandering through the house. It felt like a permission to go into a house in L.A. and to imagine how someone would live their life in this house. I made the pictures for the magazine. I left and thought, "This is it, this is what I have to do." --Larry Sultan

Uh Oh, too popular creates problems for Flickr

Growing Pains: "For the first few days of the New Year and now again this week, we've had some problems keeping up with the volume of images uploaded. This has resulted in people occasionally being unable to upload, and some weird things happening (multiple copies of images being uploaded, extremely long waits while uploading, etc.) We are all working on this as fast as we can. This post will explain the problem and what we're doing to fix it (the good news is that it should be fixed quite soon).

How it works
Flickr is quite a complex piece of software. When you upload a photo it is passed through a load balancer (among other things) to one of the servers in the web-serving and image-receiving cluster. One component of the server receives the image file itself along with any associated metadata. Another places and holds the image in a queue for processing. A third component processes the image: converting it to the right format, making all the different sizes that are used on the site and extracting the EXIF - and soon, IPTC - data.

The queuing component then passes all the new files along with the original and the metadata to a fourth component that copies all the files to multiple storage servers (hooray for redundancy!), ensures that they're safe, and then updates the database with the location of your photo and all the metadata.

The problem
In a nutshell, the problem is that at peak times, more photos are coming in than we have the capacity to handle. However, it manifests itself in many ways:

  • The load is not balanced very well - one server might have hundreds of images sent to it while another only gets a dozen in the same period of time.

  • The queue is strictly 'first in, first out', so if someone uploads 500 photos all at once to the same server your photo was sent to, you get a long wait.

  • Processing images, especially the large ones, takes quite a while. While a 640x480 cameraphone image has 307,200 pixels in it, a 3,008x2,000 image (like those from modern DSLRs) has a whopping 6,016,000 pixels in it., and we've got to look at all of them.

  • Under extremely high load and long queue times, parts of the system can 'freak out', for lack of a better technical term,

In another sense, the problem is simply one of growth. While we're used to rapid growth, and have planned for it, the last month has been even 'growthier' than normal. To give you a sense of the whole Flickr system, on a really busy minute in a busy day: 8 new people sign up, 400 new photos are uploaded resulting in around 44,000 new images being saved, 5,000 pages and 60,000 images are served, and over 100,000 database queries are processed. That's a lot.

The solution
The easy part of the solution is getting more servers. We ordered many more when the problem first arose and they should be here soon. Once we get them set up, configured, installed and testing, we're rolling. We had been waiting on adding additional hardware pending the big move we just completed and now have the extra space and power we need to add machines with abandon.

The harder part - what we're all working on now - is making the whole system perform better, even when the loads are very high:

  • The queuing component is being improved by changing to what we call a 'fair queue' - when you upload a few images right after someone else uploaded 100, yours will be interleaved with theirs, resulting much faster processing for you and the wait will be distributed (this is in testing now).

  • The processing process (ha!) has been optimized to move images through about 2-3x as quickly as before. (This is in testing now.)

  • Load balancing will be improved after some changes to the setup of our internal network (this will take a little over a week)

  • More testing is happening constantly to prevent any freaking out (multiple copies of images being uploaded, uploads failing, etc.)

  • Better feedback about and handling of high load situations is being added - this is already present when you upload via the website, and will be rolled into the uploading applications as quickly as possible.

In the meantime
We ask for your patience while we work through this, and if you are having problems, help us by giving us some of the details in the official thread. Happily, only some users are experiencing problems, and even then, only some of the time. Unhappily, if you're one of them, it can be really frustrating. If you have pro account and feel like your Flickring has been unduly hampered, let us know and we'll try to make it up to you."
(Via FlickrBlog.)

19.1.05

What am I reading?

Glad you asked.

Yesterday just read "McLuhan for Beginners" next onto "The New Media Reader" whilst popping in and out of "Pause and Effect" which has been a very interesting read.
More later we're off to see "A Very Long Engagement" a perfect way to escape the heat.

17.1.05

MLE to close?

MLE to close!

From a blog by a former employee of MLE:-

Media Lab Europe is closing its doors forever. The ambitious attempt of both MIT and the Irish government to establish an international research lab has failed. The press release, issued on January 14, 2005 reads: "The Board of Directors of Media Lab Europe announced today that it is putting the company into voluntary solvent liquidation."

Social Experiment site…

New site…
well not that new really but here I am, another one called furl.net is out there too, for some reason it hardly gets a mention in my cbyerspace, yet del.icio.us seems to be mentioned everywhere I go?

16.1.05

Changes afoot?

Saturday night produces a plethora of images the pick of the bunch are over at Flickr of course!

Sadly Reg is almost ready to hang up his lid so to speak, so any day now we'll be bringing home a new child!

Tony's birthday bash 2005

me n' nik at tony's birthday bashsue and nik at tony's birthday bashnadia and tom at tony's birthday bash

12.1.05

First webpage ever?

The First Website Ever: "Ever wonder what the very first page ever on the internet was?
Yeah, me neither. But here's a link anyways.
Via Google Blogoscoped."

(Via Jeff Clark's Vacant Canvas - blog.)

podcasting?

From John Allsop's site dog or higher.

podSites - a slice of the web for your iPod: "

A few weeks back we published our CSS Guide as a 'podGuide', specially for reading on your iPod. And as mentioned elsewhere, the response was quite extraordinary.

In the wake of that, Russ Weakley, who we organized the Web Essentials conference with in September last year and I spent a fevered few days brainstorming and prototyping, and the result is podSites

Think of podSites as an equation

iPod Notes + podCasting = podSites

The site has detailed information on how to develop podSites, and how to publish them using podCasting. It also features a podSite directory where you can submit your own podSites, or download podsites published by others, and a very cool podSite emulator, that takes your content and shows you what it will look like on an iPod.

So get on over and start podSiting :-)

John

“ oh yeah, and a better year all round to all in 2005. Last year was not one of the best.”

(Via dog or higher.)

9.1.05

Tsnumai victims hit again!

Dignitaries get in the way of relief efforts! From The Age.

On a brighter more photographic note:-
Here's a show worth checking out.

Upcoming Destiny Deacon exhibition

From Ozarts.com.au

"...Bringing together works spanning ten years, as well as new work created especially for the MCA, this exhibition combines different aspects of Deacon's practice - photography, video, installation and performance..."

8.1.05

Tsnumai Help

Tsnumai Relief sites and revenue raising has popped up all over the Web, sadly I'm "in between" contracts and am not in position to donate YET, here's a link to a worthwhile auction on e-bay where the proceeds will go to OxFam's relief efforts

7.1.05

Veracity?

Want to know what an "un-manipulated photo is?"

Pfffft ha ha ha ha!

USB SD cards

SanDisk SD card with built-in USB: "SanDisk has today announced a unique SD card which has a hinged portion, flip this over and the card becomes a USB 2.0 Flash Drive. This neat piece of engineering means that you can flip the card out of your camera and straight into your computer without the need for any card readers or cables. Clever. SanDisk expect to be able to produce this new card in capacities of up to 1.0 GB, they will have more detail and initial samples at the upcoming PMA 2005 show."

(Via Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com).)

6.1.05

Photography Links

Some photographic links

Sadly we missed the show in San Francisco by days, and look who was a guest speaker!
Damn Damn Damn!

Joel-Peter Witkin is the recipient of numerous NEA fellowships and was awarded the Commander of the Legion of Honor, Paris. His uniquely dark and evocative representations of the human figure have been exhibited worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art New York, Guggenheim, The Whitney Museum, and San Francisco museum of Modern Art.

And while we're at it, the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is having several shows over summer that might be worth catching up on if you can get up there.

4.1.05

Food Photography?

Like flying, like food? Think twice.

30 milion photos a day!

Flickr stats from the Flickr blog

Some interesting statistics:

• The number of images uploaded has tripled over the past two days, January 1 and 2
• Normally we serve about 15 million photos a day, now were serving about 30 million
• About 20 images are uploaded very second; when an image is uploaded, processing it takes a few seconds, because 5 images in different sizes are made, and because we keep live backups on site, each image is each saved onto two different servers"

(Via FlickrBlog.)

3.1.05

Last images of 2004

Some new images, all manipulated in photoshop, the blur though is in camera. Taken well before midnight on NYE. (Perhaps even a homage to Ralph Eugene Meatyard?)
Of course most of my image making efforts happen online now at Flickr.

blurred lights 2004blurred lights 2004blurred lights 2004

Upcoming ICP show, in New York

I so wish I was back in New York now, the ICP is having a show of work by one of my Favourite photographers - sigh

“ …In his largest group of photographs—referred to here as the “Romances”--Meatyard sought to evoke a world not normally acknowledged by the human eye: the unexpressed relationships between people. These staged images are almost literary in their implied narratives, what writer Guy Davenport has called “charming short stories that have never been written.” Although they present strange juxtapositions and embrace accidents, these unsettling pictures are not so much surrealistic as transcendental. With a quiet spiritual force, they suggest the complex emotions associated with childhood intimacy, innocence, loss, and destruction.”

From the ICP site itself.

2.1.05

Digital camera sales continue strong growth

"A study by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures predicts that worldwide digital camera revenue will reach $24 billion by the end of 2004, and will exceed $30 billion by 2009. Europe, the United States and Japan top the table for digital camera sales this year while it is expected that Asia and Rest of World (ROW) regions, which currently has a combined share of 10%, will share 33% of the revenue by 2009."
( Via Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com) ).

Sorry to be a bearer of bad news but...

"Prisoner numbers have increased by more than 40% over past 10 years"

(Via Australian Bureau of Statistics.)