So my plan was to blog every day. I missed the first few due to illness. Well thats fair enough, but the other day I got stuck in. 2 whole blog posts and then I missed a day. What happened yesterday? Was I too busy? Was I run off my feet and fell asleep as soon I stepped into the house? No. I simply forgot. Read More
I wrote this before we went away to NYC. I was stressed and panicking. What if the trip wasn’t perfect? How do I make it perfect? Well all my fears proved to be for nothing as a few things happened that I never expected which just goes to show that maybe I should learn to chill out rather than make everything perfect?
In my final vlog of 2016 I mentioned a 2017 plan. It was this;
- Instagram daily
- Blog daily
- vlog weekly
It’s 11th January and this is my first blog post of 2017. Shazbot!
Ok, so what went wrong? Well there’s a few reasons why I never got stuck in. I was quite ill last week and also I was in New York. When I wasn’t ill I was distracted by trying to be a New Yorker, which mainly involved eating bagels and tooting my horn (not an euphemism). I was so ill I couldn’t go through the photos I had taken. The worst kind of ill.
I did manage to write in my journal though. I need to finish it off and print some photos but you know what, I freaking love having a travel journal. I’ve got receipts, cards, photos, memories, weather forecasts, and all sorts of information taped and written down in a book that won’t be bought out by Facebook and sunset shortly after. It’s my real world representation of our trip. I really love it. I plan to journal more using Field Notes and print out photos because it’s really nice to have real world things of note. I just don’t print enough of the billions of photos I take. 1 a day would be plenty.
Anyway… Hello blog. It’s good to be home.
Just down the road from me is the new Wirral Met College on Wirral Waters. It’s been there a year now and there’s a few things I really like. First up is the design. It reminds me of Icelandic architecture. I like the big windows so people can see in and out. Turns out there’s a reason for this. It’s so people passing can understand the use of the building and also invite people in. The idea is that you can see people learning a skill and maybe think you could try it too. Clever. On the flip side it the view inspires the students. They’ll see the area develop over time and how the skills they’re learning can be put to real world use. Again, clever.
Last thing I like is that there’s nothing obscuring the view. No railings. No health and safety. There’s no railings in Amsterdam by the canals and there’s bars by the water. Turns out its not as big as an issue as you think. So they left the view uncluttered. I like that.
We went on a tour and they said that inside everything is left exposed. This is so that while the students are learning about buildings the teacher can actually point to a working example right above them. It’s good stuff.
Nice architecture. Inspiring and educating while also fitting in with the area. Hopefully the start of good things to come with Wirral Waters.
You’ve got a wide lens and a not so wide lens. Apple keep calling it a telephoto but its not really. It’s a mid-range prime I guess. Apple doesn’t see it as 2 cameras or the ability to swap lenses. Apple sees the dual camera functionality as a zoom lens. The way it works is that every time you open the camera app it defaults to 1x, to the 28mm-ish wide lens. To get to the 56mm-ish lens you have to tap the 1x button changing it to a 2x lens. It’s not wide and zoom. It’s 1x zoom and 2x zoom, like on a bridge camera. I guess I’ve been using primes for too long so I see this more like the ability to switch between lenses but Apple have chosen a different way of thinking about it. I guess its a more consumer focused way of thinking about it.
What this means is that it’s a little fiddly to quickly put it in street photo mode. Maybe there will be an app that can open directly to the 2x lens but that still requires unlocking and tapping the app instead of the quick swipe from the home screen.
One nice thing about the 56mm lens is you can get some good street photos with it. Everyone knows how wide the normal iPhone lens is so you’re able to get closer to people with the 56mm lens on and no-one will think you’re photographing them. You look like a tourist. Kinda handy.
I’m not really going to get technical nerdy about apertures n stuff. Plenty of sites where you can read about all that. But the other main feature is the portrait mode. It’s called portrait but maybe it should be called blurry background or something because it works just fine on random things like benches, cats, bottles, droids, etc. I’ve been testing it for the past day and I can see that its not 100% perfect but for the average Instagrammer its fine and I’m sure it’ll be popular. Nice thing about it is you can see it live on screen so you know whether its working and also when you take a photo it saves an un-bokeh’d version just so you’ve got it. This feature really needs good lighting though. Maybe because the software doesn’t like digital noise.
So I’ve had the phone for a few days. Love it in every way. Here’s what I’ve been doing with it.
It’s the Liverpool Biennial year. Unfortunately due to the loss of my dad I haven’t had the time to dedicate an entire day to walking the full Biennial trail. I’ve caught bits and pieces over the past few months like the dancing inanimate objects at the random apartment in One Park West, which while technically a fringe event was really nice. I’ve seen the stairs in Liverpool One, the Hummingbird telescopes in Derby Square and a few other things. I’ve also been lucky enough to see behind the scenes on a few commissions. So while I haven’t had the best chance to take time out and soak it all up like I normally do I feel like I’ve not missed out this year.
At the weekend we managed to find a few hours to nip to the out of town bits, Granby, Toxteth and Cains. I’m really not qualified to discuss the artwork. I couldn’t tell you what the deep meaning was of the lasers inside the Toxteth Reservoir but it sure looked cool. Thats why I enjoy the Biennial. I’m looking for the everyday made different so I can best photograph it. My brain just isn’t built for abstract artistic thinking.
I did enjoy our walk between locations but I did feel a bit like a tourist, well I guess I was. The only times I’ve ever really wandered around the Welsh Streets, Granby, Toxteth etc have been while there’s an event on because I feel “safe”. I’m a guy with pretty annoying social anxiety issues so for me to be able to casually wander around Toxteth with a camera I need the safety of an event. While I would like to walk around and document the street life there sometime I have no authority to do so. I’m not Tricia Porter or Paul Trevor. I’m a guy who loves street photography and fears people. I’m just kinda broken that way. Toxteth isn’t Bold Street. On Bold St you can vanish but Toxteth I feel that you need to be visible and you need to be accepted in order to do good work. Paul Trevor was, very much so. He’s a lovely guy to talk to.
What I mean is that I felt like I was a bit of an art tourist dropping into someones house party as a guest. I didn’t know the people there so I felt awkward, a bit shy etc. When I came out of the Granby house installation a guy on the street asked me for spare change. I had to apologise because I’m a trendy modern guy that only uses Apple Pay. I felt really uneasy after that. I questioned my motives for being there, for poking around what was someone’s home under the guise of interesting art. The whole area is filled with decaying homes and it’s upsetting because you can see that the community is passionate about the area. Those decaying homes that have been boarded up are covered with drawings. Round the corner the Granby 4 Streets project is working with the talented Assemble to create new homes. This project won the Turner Prize and has interestingly enough been classed as art. It’s at this point when everything just becomes hard to wrap my head around. What is art? Is everything art? Was the homeless guy asking for money art? No, that’s stupid. What am I thinking here? I guess at the end of the day I’m thinking that on the one hand I may not fully get the intended meaning behind the specific artwork of the Biennial but the experience certainly made me think. Thats a good thing. Art should encourage discussion and thought. If it can be used as a force for social change then bloody well deploy that art.
*phew* Right. That got kinda deep so heres some pretty pictures.
Oh and if you go to the Oratory and have some spare time say the words “I like my friends” at the desk. You’ve got a couple of weeks left to do that. It’s interesting.