I occasionally worry that I should live in the big city. That I should be close to daily life there to better document it. It’s harder to make good photos in the “suburbs” where it’s quieter. That said it’s sometimes more important to try. I guess modern day fear of missing out makes me think I should be living in a big city. Plus, living on the other side of a river means you always have a bus to catch to get home. There’s no nice long walk from the cinema or restaurant. It’s broken up by an anxious bus trip home filled with noisy humans. Read More
Monday morning. It’s dark. Darker than it should be. I grab my camera, iPhone, put my AirPods on and leave the cafe. It feels strange out. There’s something not quite right with the light.
While photographing the Pride march I had flashbacks to being in secondary school in the 1990s where kids, people I called friends, would throw terms like “Gay” and “Homo” around with no thought at all. You wanted to insult someone? Easy. Call them a gay. I think back on that now and it’s simply horrific. The idea of using what someone uses to empower themselves as a derogatory word to hurt someone else is absurd now. Different times eh.Read More
There was a strong protest in Liverpool against Trump’s immigration executive order. The Guardian can sum it up better than I can. I’m totally against it. You can’t ban people out of fear, especially not the US which was built on immigration. I was really proud that Liverpool got a protest sorted in less than 24hrs. I was most proud about the diversity and energy in the crowd. People in wheelchairs laughing with friends. Kids, teens, adults, OAPs from a whole range of backgrounds. Comedy signs and poignant signs. Good show Liverpool. Read More
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.