My day was spent recovering from a busy yesterday, trying not to get too hot in all the hotness, and then when I should have been saying profound things here I was watching the first Men’s Hundred Game, which was every bit as entertaining as yesterday’s game, again because it was a good game, and was again won by the Oval Invincibles, this time the men’s version.
So, a photo from the I Just Like It collection, photoed way back in 2007:
He’s photoing Big Ben, with the friend in the horizontally striped stockings in front of it, which means he has to be phptoing from pavement level.
I love the contortions we photoers get ourselves into to get the exact photo we want. It’s as if the process, being so easy, has to become complicated, or else where’s the creativity?
Landscape painters never used to behave like this. They just parked their easels in a comfortable spot for painting, and started painting.
Maybe it’s just that we photoers do this kind of thing because we can!
E-scooters can go at 60mph, but these ones are fixed so they can only do 15mph. You can ride them on the road but not on the pavement. This way, the e-scooting community will be in danger themselves, but will subject pedestrians to fewer dangers. All will depend on how this is policed.
My current personal opinion is that making e-scooters work will require a major upheaval of the transport system, and this will not happen in a city like London any time very soon. Much more likely is that some place, somewhere on earth, where the masses really want e-scooters and are very willing to take the risks of driving them at a worthwhile speed, will subject itself to this upheaval, and may even make it work semi-safely. At which point, the rest of the world will look, and copy, maybe. But, I think all of that is quite a way off. For now, they’ll only be toys for boy racers. During Lockdown, the roads were rather empty and they worked well and were winked at the by law, even though supposedly illegal. I suspect that will all end now.
But, those are only my guesses. We shall see.
My photos don’t show the details of what was on those cards legibly. Sorry about that. In can tell you that the middle card of the three in the last photo was “Rules of the Road”, but the rules were unreadable. The bloke in my photo presumably did better in that regard. Maybe I should have used my mobile.
Even then, with my antiquated Canon S1 IS, I was already photoing goodish photos, or at any rate photos I thought were goodish (and still do). It was just that the success rate then was a bit lower, and the light had to be perfect. That day, it was.
I reckon about a third of those views would look exactly the same now. However, anything with a camera or a map in it is now history. Cameras and maps are now the same things, apart from that tube map on those pants. Mobile phones can’t yet double up as underwear.
Plus, the City of London Big Thing cluster is now … a cluster, rather than just isolated oddities. Who knew then how quickly the Gherkin would be smothered by other Bigger Things? Well, probably a lot of people knew, but I was not one of them.
I have a particular soft spot for photo 6, the one with what looks to me like a thing made of cocktail sticks. It looks to me like a thing made with cocktail stick because I used to make things like that with cocktail sticks. Although, that one in the above photo is extremely primitive compared to some of the things I made, shapes I have never seen since. Memo to self: I must dig out the photos of those, such as the photos were. My stick objects, sadly, predated digital photography.
I haven’t been getting out much lately, so am instead exploring my photo-archives.
These from March 24th 2012, when I journeyed (and not for the first time) out east to the Victoria Docks, in the vicinity of the then-under-construction Emirates Air-Line, which is that strange ski lift that goes across the River:
As you can see, I especially like the cranes. And the barbed wire. There were even pylons to be seen. Best of all is that newish (-ish now) footbridge.
I used to love that place, and especially then, with all manner of new stuff going on. Memo to self: go back and see how things there have changed. Because, they have surely changed quite a lot.
And this could be the biggest change of the lot. Apparently, spurred on by TikTok, people have recently been riding on the ski lift in large numbers. There’s a first.
Regular BMNB commenter Alastair James, noting my growing liking for 22 Bishopsgate, just sent me this photo, taken by him from Finsbury Circus:
That’s 22 Bishopsgate looming up behind Tower 42, the NatWest Tower that was.
It so happens I photoed this same Big Thing Alignment from pretty much the exact same direction, back in 2018, when 22 Bishopsgate was still being built:
Finsbury Circus is nearer to these Big Things than where I was when I photoed the above.
If you photo a Big Thing behind a not so big thing, the paradoxical effect can be that the Big Thing actually looks smaller, the nearer you are to it, because even a quite small thing makes its presence felt if it is in the foreground. Get away into the distance, and the bigness of the Big Thing becomes a lot clearer.
This effect is not particularly clear in the above photos, despite the difference in distance. But I did a posting on Samizdata, in which a church totally hides the Big Thing behind it. And that Big Thing was: The Shard.
This photo, which I just this moment encountered on my Twitter feed, is exactly the photo I would have photoed, were I ever allowed into such a place:
Up to and including the facts that (a) I would have been indistinctly reflected in the mirror at the back, (b) everything is ever so slightly not quite vertical (that being a constant problem I have), and (c) there is a cat involved.
Castelnou is a small and impossibly picturesque hill town in the lower reaches of the Pyrenees, in the far south of France. GodDaughter2’s parents and I went by car, just over five years ago now, in May 2016, to check it out. And yes, the weather was as marvellous in Castelnou as it has recently been unmarvellous in London.
Nowadays, I find that my expeditions have as their officially designated destination a spot where I have arranged to meet up with a friend and exchange chat, rather than just a particular physical place I especially want to check out. But as my death approaches, not as fast as I feared it would last Christmas but still faster than I had previously supposed that it would, I find that mere Things, in London or anywhere else, aren’t enough to make me get out of the house at the time previously determined. Partly this is because if I fail to arrive at the Thing at the planned time, the Thing won’t ring me up and ask me where I got to, whereas people are inclined to do just that. And partly because the Internet tells you lots about Things, whereas actually meeting people bestows knowledge and pleasures more profound and subtle than you could obtain by any other communicational means.
The point of this Castelnou expedition was that it was with GodDaughter2’s parents, not that it was to Castelnou. Castelnou was just an excuse for us all to spend time with each other, plus it gave us things to talk about.
But of course, once in Castelnou, I photoed photos galore, of which these are just a few:
A few more things to say.
First, there are cats and dogs involved (as well as a bird statue), hence this posting appearing here on a Friday. The cats were very friendly and sociable. The dogs were more cautiously proprietorial, but none were aggressive. Which I think reflects well on us tourists. We all behave well towards these creatures, and they behaved towards us accordingly.
Second, what’s wrong with being a tourist? I am sure that “tourists” have been featured on the popular TV show Room 101. But if I was ever on Room 101 I would want to banish from the world “tourists who complain about all the other tourists”. Tourism is a fine thing, enjoyable for those of us who do it or we wouldn’t keep doing it, and profitable for those who cater to our needs. Many good things happen because of us tourists. Besides all the deserving people who get to earn a living from it, there are the conversations that tourists have with the locals whom they encounter, and with each other, which can sometimes have have wonderfully creative consequences. Many an economic success story has started with a conversation involving tourists. Tourists bring the world, as it were, to particular places, and places into contact with other places, and thereby are able to provoke creative thoughts that would otherwise not have occurred to anyone.
Does tourism “spoil” places like Castelnou? Hardly. I’ll bet you Castelnou is a much happier, prettier and more interesting place than it was before it started attracting tourists.
And finally, Castelnou is a fine example of an aesthetic process that fascinates me more and more, which is the way that when an architectural style first erupts, it is hated, but then when it settles back into being only a few surviving ruins, people find that same style, to quote my own words in the first sentence of this posting, impossibly picturesque. Castelnou began as a castle, which then gathered dwellings around it. And you can bet that the people in the vicinity of this castle hated it and feared it, that being the whole idea. But once the castles stopped being built in such numbers and when the castles that survived began turning into ruins, they then also turned into objects of affection, first for locals, and then, even more, for visitors from many miles away.
Tangenting somewhat, I was yesterday predicting that the next wave of architectural fashion is going to be a lot more colourful. And it is. But, lots of people will, for as long as this new fashion lasts and seems to be on the march (the military metaphor is deliberate), hate that fashion, and regret the passing of the drearily monochromatic tedium that they now only grumble about (because that is now still on the march).
Is Castelnou perchance the French, or maybe the Catalan, for Newcastle? Sounds like it to me.
Today Michael Jennings, the creator and still technical curator of this blog, who was in my area for the first time in quite a while, called round and we went out and had drinks. In a Pimlico pub. Indoors. Unmuzzled. With quite a few other people also present. This being the first time that either of us had done this with anyone for … quite a while:
I photoed him and his Lockdown hair, and he told me more about how photography on mobiles is developing. He has an iPhone, which you can just see bottom right of that picture. My mobile only has one camera two cameras (see comments 1 and 3), but Michael’s iPhone has three, thus making variable and quite impressive zoom possible.
Michael speculated that it may not be long before the whole of the back of his next iPhone but three with be covered in cameras, like: well over a dozen.
The limiting factor on this sort of multi-camera is not the cameras themselves. The problem is processing power. Making sense of the output of such a large camera array will take a lot of that, and also lots of ultra-clever software as yet still being contrived.
And there we have the ongoing story of digital photography, better explained than I have ever heard it before. All that processing power attached to an old-school camera would presumably triple its price. But mobiles already have all that processing power, or soon will, so it makes sense for your camera to be part of your personal pocket Kray computer, that you use for all your other mobile computerising.
Several years ago, the big Japanese enterprises who decide these things decided that they would spend no more money making regular dedicated cameras better, which is why these things haven’t changed in the last half decade. They decided to throw all their photography money at mobile phone cameras.
What I had not realised was how very, very good the mobile phone “camera” (quotes because it will really be cameras plural) is going to be, and how inexorably it will go on improving. 3D images? Oh yes, said Michael. The processing power applied to these camera arrays will make imagery possible of a sort that no single dedicated camera, no matter how complicated and costly, could possibly now contrive.
Which means: that old school cameras, even of the most sophisticated sort, will ever so slowly but ever so surely fade into the history books. And actually, do so really rather soon. In historical time, in the blink of … a camera.
Which further means that the best of all those photoer photos that I’ve been photoing for the last two decades will just keep getting better and better, like old wine. Plenty of other people have photoed such photos, but I know of nobody else apart from me who has made a point of doing this on such an industrial scale.
Here are thirty such photos I photoed in July 2006 and which I displayed here last January. There are plenty more where they came from.
This afternoon, while I was on my way yet again to the Royal Marsden to score my next month’s supply of Osimertinib, a huge lorry drove past me along the Fulham Road, with a painting of a steam locomotive on the side of it:
I display all of these three hastily grabbed and decidedly mediocre photos simply to make it clear that this was indeed a lorry, as well as a picture of a locomotive.
Later, I found myself musing on how the ubiquity of digital photography and of the social media must have transformed advertising. Just as graffiti has become more individual and elaborate, in the age of digital photoing, so too has advertising.
Because, if you can persuade a decent proportion of the digital photoers you drive past to photo their photos, of your unique lorry with its unique and as likely as not hand-done painting on the side, and then get the photoers to stick their photos up on the www, there’s every chance you can save a ton of money on the distribution of your advertising message. Throw in that any word can be searched for on that same www, and you don’t need to bother with big lettering, the way you used to have to to get your message spread around, and you can concentrate on making the image look as great as you can contrive. Use little letters and let the photoers look it up and link to your website and generally spread your word for you. All you need is a sufficiently striking and appealing image, to grab all that attention.
So, by way of emphasising my point, here is the DQF Flower Shuttle website. Go there, and learn that there is a whole fleet of flower delivery lorries, each one flaunting this or that elaborately artistic type picture of an antique form of transport, most of them ships, but one being of another locomotive. I assume that all of these lorries are each of them adorned with unique images, and I further assume that photos of these images are all over the social media. Judging by what happens when you do this, my assumptions are right. Although, I can find no photos of the particular photo I photoed of a DQF lorry this afternoon. This must be a rather new image.