Life

Post Fools Day!

So April the 2nd got me out of Saturday’s ‘Monday morning blues’.

No banana for brunch!! I had a fab breakfast in bed up & out to shoot some rehearsal images for a mates band, out for dinner with the wife & a quick catch up with some friends. All in all a much better day, as were the third and today.

A little bit of axe playing at home, some reading, some photography and I’m almost ready to go back to work tomorrow. Its been nice to have some time off and even have a good nosy around the world wide web looking for a bit of inspiration for my 365 project. Its tough to do. Really tough and I have struggled.

I think it was on flickr or somewhere that I got directed to a blog of a fella that was doing a 365 of selfies. If you know me or follow my flickr, instagram or on here, you’ll know I hate being on the lens side of the camera so when I had a look at this blog here: Idiot with a camera. I did my norm and headed to the beginning. Why? Well I like to look at the images at the beginning and then see how their photographic style and content may have changed. It just makes sense to me, in fact the only reason I have a blog page is primarily so that I can look back over the pages and see how I have grown as a photographer, if at all…….

Anyhow I ended up getting drawn into the above blog partly because the selfies were not the kind that scream Hey! Look at me.

They also appear to be mostly normal day-to-day images and not the elaborately planned style found here. Again, great photographs but for different reasons.

One thing that is very clear reading his blog is that Australia and the UK appear to be worlds apart.

Another person whose life is worlds apart from mine is that of Sir Elton John. I went to see an exhibition at the Tate Modern today The Radical Eye.

Hells teeth he has a lot of important photographs and it was great to see some of these in this format rather than published in a book.

So, hopefully if you followed the links you are not all photo’d out for the day because here is one of mine from today:

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These people had become art as they walked around a smoke/dry ice installation. It was really interesting to see how different people behaved while we observed them.

As always, thanks for stopping.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

 

 

Monday morning blues

Its Saturday. Its my birthday & I have the Monday morning blues.

To be honest I don’t do the birthday thing in a big way; to be really honest I don’t really do the birthday thing full stop!

Not that I’m miserable. Well I am sometimes! I just can’t get into this whole celebrating getting closer to having less mobility, failing eyesight & various other complains.

Yep I have shed loads to be grateful for and lots to look forward to but I also have some really crap birthday memories. My birthday birthday cards simply serve to remind me of those crap times and makes me feel reflective for family and friends that are no longer with us.

A couple of days ago we (her in doors & I) talked very briefly about having a long weekend in Venice but the closest we got to that today was walking over a bridge crossing Little Venice canal in London.

So, today I woke up too early to get up but managed to snooze off again. Thinking I’d have a lay in but some builders put and end to that.

I thought I might get breakfast in bed but didn’t even get a cup of tea in bed. That said when I am off on a Sunday I do normally get spoiled with a brew and breakfast so its not a big deal.

“I was going to do scrambled eggs & salmon for breakfast but the salmon is out of date”. I didn’t get the french toast I was offered after the disappointment of not having breakfast in bed and not having the scrambled eggs & salmon. Instead I had a banana at 13:30. Yarp! My birthday breakfast was a banana at 13:30 hrs.

Anyhow I’m not really that fussed about a bit of breakfast.  When I got up I decided to make a twin lens camera that I bought some time ago. Unusually for a bloke I opted to follow the instructions and an hour later I had a twin lens camera… NO FILM INCLUDED!!!

Aarrggggh!  It was like one of those Christmas moments when parents are out trudging the streets trying to find batteries for kids toys.

Actually have you tried asking youngsters for anything thats not digital?! “Camera Film” repeated at me with the blankest looks you could ever fecking imagine. Yes, film that you put in a camera you fecking dim-witted ‘generation Y’ waste of fecking space!!!! Obviously that wasn’t my response and I’ve typed that just for effect in highlighting how frustrating it is living with people that know nothing of the analog life we once lived.

I can’t say that the late lunch was particularly good, its repeating, I feel bloated and uncomfortable. Maybe I should have just had another banana?

I did however find some film and took a few shots with this camera that I put together but I don’t hold out much hope for them being anything worth posting. We’ll see, it may be a pleasant surprise.

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Its early evening now and with the exception of a couple of cards and a few extra texts from nephews and nieces its been just another day….  Just the way I like it.

One of my sisters and a niece seem to think we might have a big celebration for my 50th… its a few years off yet but I managed to get through my 18th, 21st and 40th without a big fuss so I see no reason why I should change a habit of a life time.

Doubt I’m gonna shake off the Monday morning blues so I might have an early night.

TTFN.

Citizen Photojournalism

So we all know that the Television broadcasting agencies in the UK ask for viewers to share their videos of news stories as I am sure happens around the world and the term ‘Citizen Journalist’ has been bounded around for some time.

A while ago I signed up to the Demotix Agency for photographers. I didn’t really use it. To be honest I only put one item on there from an attack on Coca Cola’s head office in Berlin, Germany. It was part of the lead up to the Mayday protests. Some windows had been smashed and I obtained images after the building had been vandalised.

 

Demotix now seems to have sold up and closed. I found this out yesterday (15/02/2017) when I wanted to upload a couple of images of a protest in Paddington.

French employees of Marks and Spencers had come to The M&S head offices in Merchant Square, Paddington, London.

They were protesting against the closures of a number of stores in France. It would appear that M&S claim that they are not making sufficient profits to keep the stores open and the protestors indicated that they do not believe this is the case.

One protestor that I spoke with stated that M&S are making people redundant so they can re-employ people on zero-hours contracts and removal of current employee benefits.

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©2017 jimjimmyjamesphotography.com

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©2017 jimjimmyjamesphotography.com

Please feel free to comment on images on the proviso that it is constructive. If you know more about the French M&S situation please also feel free to fill in the gaps using the comments / reply tab and if you want to suggest a ‘citizen photojournalist’ site for me to look at, that would also be welcomed.

As always, thanks for stopping.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Private gardens or sheep?

Yeah that title is a bit strange isn’t it…. Sorry about that.

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I was planning on doing a bit of a post about London’s private gardens. The squares that should in my opinion be open to the public to enjoy but instead are there for the privileged that can afford to buy or rent homes in the areas that have these large open green spaces within our concrete jungle. There just for those that can also afford to pay the annual key costs; not the average working class person, not your average Londoner.

This beautiful looking green space is Eccelston square in London, SW1. Increasingly it feels like I need to move away from my city. Increasingly it feels like you need to be earning a huge income or next to nothing – topped up with housing benefits, tax credits, child allowance and other benefits that people wouldn’t need if they were given a decent London Living Wage.

Increasingly I find things like these private gardens frustrating. Perhaps its my shifting political opinions, perhaps its because I just think its bloody unfair the way hard working people that fall within that middle income seem to be the worst off in this bloody city I love.

These park areas are dotted around and closed to the hoi polloi; God forbid that the elite should have to mingle with commoners… Don’t get me wrong here, I have nothing against wealth but I do have what some might call ‘a chip on my shoulder’ about particular issues.   I don’t have the time to do a full personal project on these gardens and perhaps that is just as well.

You might be wondering where do sheep come into this? You might have even forgot that the word sheep is in the title?

I read a post on one of the blogs I follow, how this chap came across some fish leaving the  water as they ate, he stood and watched for a while because he had not seen this before. His post reminded me of seeing a long line of sheep walking across a field. One by one they stopped under a tree and looked up before they carried on with their journey across the field. Have you ever heard of the saying ‘People are like sheep’?

Well its true. I stopped to take the image above and people stopped to see what I was photographing. Its not the first time; it happens a lot. It amuses me that I will stop to take a photo and then two three or more people will stop to take the same photo. I’m not talking about the tourist attractions or something spectacular but just normal things like concrete stairs. What is that about, why on earth does that happen and what do they think they are missing?

Want to try an experiment?  You and a friend stand in the street and look up at something and I guarantee people will join you.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Strolling along the canal

There are two houses that I pass every so often during my irregular walks from home to camden. I stroll along the canal because its a nicer walk than being near the busy roads. Although some cyclists think its a bloody speedway and they have absolute right of way.

Anyhow, one of these houses near to camden has a garden that looks a bit grim during the winter months but always looks really inviting during hot days. It looks like it has just enough shade and light to be a perfect hang out with friends on hot days; yet I have never seen it used.

The other is near park road and the entrance is on the outer circle of regents park. Its huge and well kept, yet again I have never seen it used; I’ve never even seen a gardener.

While I’d love to have a garden space to relax  (not likely on my wages) it does make me wonder if I did have a garden would I have the time to use it?

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Fuji XT2 © 2016 jim jimmy james 

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Fuji XT2 ©2016 jim jimmy james

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Carnival Escape!

I have personal and professional experience of the Notting Hill Carnival. If you do a search for this event you will find all manor of opinions and perhaps even statisticle breakdowns.

I’m not going to say much more than that. I live close enough to the Notting Hill Carnival for it to have an impact on my day to day life. This year we decided to get away. Not far, just across the river to south London.

A couple of my mates laughed when they found out how close I still was to home but to be honest a break is a break and it is nice to see different parts of London that I wouldn’t usually visit. One thing that was immediately notable was hearing London accents!

That might sound odd to those outside of London but the MLE that you often hear is not a traditional London accent. What is MLE? Multi Cultural London English.

London accents where as different as British regional accents but now MLE is wide spread. I’m not a fan so it was nice to be surrounded by people talking proper English like wot I does. (I suspect it will mainly be Londoners that get that).

Its a photo blog so here are a couple of photos taken on my little point & shoot Canon S100.

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Canon S100:  ISO 100  f/8 hand held at 1/15 sec.

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Canon S100:  ISO 100  f/8  1/125 sec.

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It would have been nice to take a better camera out but the Canon S100 is just so small and convenient to carry.

I had a nice break and I think a Notting Hill Carnival Escape may well become an annual thing. Carnival is not for me, it isn’t what it was when it started out in the 1960s but if you did go, I hope you had a good time.

Thanks for stopping and having a look at my images.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

 

Did you miss me?

Maybe? Yes – No. Probably not!

But someone did. I got a message from someone that never comments and never clicks like but follows the blog. They said that I’ve not posted in a while and they hoped everything was okay.

I read somewhere that if you are blogging and going to have a break you should announce that break. The reasons they gave were because people that follow the blog may think you’ve just given it up and remove your blog from their follow list. But also an online community is a community; that even though it is a virtual community, people will still wonder what happened to that man or woman that used to post about this that and the other. I’m very grateful for the message and I will try to remember to announce my absence in the future.

The reason I have not posted is because I have been distracted. It has all been very busy. Lots going on with life in general, work getting in the way of college and my projects. Projects and more projects. Ideas and more ideas and then work again….. I’ve been juggling so much I should apply for a job with the circus.

Actually I would love to live with and shoot a circus for a week or two. That would be pretty cool.

So, I have just finished college and am awaiting confirmation of grades but the preliminary result is a distinction for both projects.

We have some work on show at The Morley College Landing Gallery Although that does not run much longer. I believe there should be a link on there for image sales if anyone wants to check out some other photographers.

I’ve been to a few gigs and recently shot Mood Six who were/are a band made up of existing Mod bands. They have reformed after thirty years and were supported by Miles over Matter. Another old band ‘The vagabonds of psychedelia’ that have been putting themselves out there again. Both bands were excellent and it was nice to be shooting live performances again. (Note to self, when shooting concerts take ear plugs)

However, as much as photographing my punk singers book has been a massive highlight & good fun. The Crème de la Crème this year has got to be ……………. Sorry but like all good TV soaps I am going to leave you on that hanger and you’ll have to come back later in the week.

For now, here are a couple of shots from a recent gig.

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Phil Ward: Mood Six. ©2016 jim jimmy james

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Miles Davis Landesman: Jola: Steve Council: Miles over Matter. ©2016 jim jimmy james

As a side note, Miles had links to the dance company that I had the pleasure of photographing last week.

Thanks for stopping, reading, looking and thank you for the DM.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Street photography project

I am about to start a street photography project. While I have shot strangers in the past, this will be different.

In the past I have felt a safe distance away from the subjects in candid shots and those that I have taken portraits of, I’d approached and sought permission.

Street photography is going to take me right out of my comfort zone, candid shots up close and personal. I have a great deal of anxiety about doing this.

Partly because I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I wouldn’t say I’m a handsome chap and I’m not the ugliest creature to walk this earth. I’m not tall or particularly short. I’m a little over weight but I carry it reasonably well… With the exception of sometimes looking like I am stuck in the ’70s & ’80s I think look really very average. so why do I think I stand out..

I’m using a DSLR that is big and unsubtle. Even in soho and the west end of London people do notice the larger more pro looking cameras.

On top of this is body language. This is my Achillies heel.  I have watched a few videos and observed a couple of street photographers and for the most part I am the polar opposite. The photographers that who produce the images I like are almost anonymous in the crowd, even when they are the subject and the photographer are the only two people in the street. They have a way about them; their body language is relaxed, they look non confrontational, they don’t make eye contact, they are quick and agile leaving the subject wondering if they had just had their photo taken and then thinking nothing of it.

Conversely I often get asked if I was in the military and on occasions get asked if I am a police officer. I’m always the person that gets asked for directions; even when out with a group of friends, the baffled looking person that is holding their mobile phone or an A-Z makes their way directly to me.

I think I am observant and aware of my surroundings but I put that down to where I grew up as a kid. I do tend to make eye contact and I can’t help that, I come into contact with a lot of people in my working day, eye contact, facial expression & body language are important. The visual clue is an important part of communication and because I rely on this I may hold eye contact longer than the average person.

Even wearing “normal clothes” I’m just the sort of person that does not blend into my surroundings. So, the reason I have chosen street photography is the challenge. As a genre of photography I have a huge range of options open to me.

I want to shoot soho life, the buildings, the people, the characters, the transient population and the resident community.

My big question at this point, and it really isn’t something I should be concerned with at the moment, is whether to shoot in black & white or colour.

Naturally as I go through the images I will get an idea of any theme in the content but here is the thing:

Lots of street photos are in black and white, often high contrast.

Some say the colour should be as seen and the image processed in a way to reflect the reality.

I personally like slightly desaturated images and this is likely to be my preference for the project but I’m just not sure it will show the grim or vibrance, the poverty, the glamour or the undercurrent of the area.

There seems to be no obvious consensus and it is really just a matter of taste.

If any readers can point me in the direction of any street photographers that use desaturated colour that would be extremely useful but I’d also like your opinion. What is your preference?

Black & white, Coulour: Desaturated or realistic?

No need for postcards, you can answer below…

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy or James

Copyright question?

Yep its a copyright question again. Actually maybe its more of a ethics and false advertising type of question. You’ll need to decide and I would really like your opinion.

I have had at least one trip to Berlin over the last few years (except last year). Most times I stay at The NHow hotel.

When I stay elsewhere I am just content with a clean bed, room and half decent shower but when I’m in Berlin the NHow get my cash. Why? Because its clean, modern, a bit funky, has a late(ish) bar and for the most part the staff are really friendly and happy to accommodate a Londoner speaking German very badly.

But I’m not doing a hotel review or a review of the staff, its about photography!

So the NHow has a little twist. It is a music hotel, I’m told they have recording studio facilities and they also had some Mini cars for hire by their guests. Thats pretty cool.

Anyhow, I took a photo of one of these cars with the parking space sign. What can I say, it just made me smile.

I  was treating it as a little composition exercise. There is a lot that can and should be done to improve the image if it was a publicity photo but its not. The image was also shot on a compact point and shoot that I was testing (for myself).

When I was going through some files I found the image below and was going to post it onto Instagram  and then thought I might stick a watermark on the photograph. Not for concern about it being used or re-blogged but to direct people to this page in the hope they’d look at other posts and perhaps like, comment or even get an idea for a project of their own.

So the reason I did not post it elsewhere as it is in this post is for the simple fact that I do not know if it is wrong.

Watermarking ones own work is a photographers right and is done for various reasons. As a photographer I can shoot whatever I want in a public space (To the best of my knowledge this stands in the UK but I am not sure about other countries so please do not quote me).

Here is the dilemma: If badly done I think watermarks can spoil a viewers enjoyment of an image. They can be huge and really ugly but they can also be easily removed. So, getting to the point of this post, this question; take a look at the photograph:

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Taken with the Canon G5X

To the best of my knowledge I can do pretty much what I like with this image. Its mine; my intellectual property and my copyright. That is the case the moment I pressed the shutter release and took the photo.

That is also provided I do not use the image in anyway to misrepresent any of these companies or their associated organisations.

I have chosen a pink watermark for aesthetic purposes. The same reason for choosing this position of the watermark is for it to be subtly in keeping with the image but also visible.

I have chosen a different pink to that used by the NHow chain and kept a particular vibrancy so that it does not look like part of the cars paintwork.

For the record I have not paid for advertising or been sponsored by NHow or anyone associated with the Mini Cooper. However, if either would like to sponsor my further photography education please do get in contact.

I have also not intentionally set out to mislead in anyway.

I’m not sure if the question is one of law or ethics or something else…

If you are a photographer, lawyer, interested party or any other, What is your opinion on watermarks and what is your opinion on this particular copyright mark (© relates to the image only).

I’m sure I am not the only photography student to be concerned about copyright and image use. So comments will hopefully benefit more than me.

Thanks for stopping.

Kind regards, Jim Jimmy James

Another example….

 

More bird trouble :(

After getting very excited about the window box nest and getting concerned about not wanting to disturb the mum to be (see previous blog post).

I got home this evening at about 21:00hrs and the plants in the window box have been disturbed. Its dark, cold and raining….. Mum to be, is not in her nest & two of the three eggs have gone.

The nest is intact and the egg that remains does not appear to be damaged. We do have some aggressive crows that in the past I have seen hunting new fledglings but now I wonder if they or the magpies have been at the nest.

Did mum to be see the nest being attacked, did she have a chance to try and fend off the egg predator, did she get injured or did she come back and find that two eggs were missing?

As she is not in her nest now, I’m guessing there is not much hope for the remaining egg.

The above shows how uneducated I am in matters of wildlife and anything even remotely related to ornithology.

I am very disappointed and surprised at how gutted I feel.

I guess thats life!

Actually is mum likely to come back and lay further eggs?

If so, is there anything we can do to protect the nest??

Kind regards, Jim…..