The more observant among you will have noticed that I changed the layout of the blog. One of the great things about WordPress (apologies for the shameless plug) is that idiots like me can construct a photoblog and get it up and running in seconds. This new theme is a bit more contemporary and, dare I say it, a bit more sexy; not to mention modern and shiny looking. Nearly a year ago, the pro photographer that I spent a day with urged me to start writing a blog or diary as it was the best way of tracking my progress. This was the result and, after only 9 and a bit months, it has already proved its worth in terms of generating interest and meeting new contacts.
One of the other new-fangled inventions that I use regularly is Twitter. Now Twitter is one of those things that you either ‘get’ or ‘don’t get’. I know many people who use it brilliantly to make people laugh (@serafinowicz, for example), to make people angry about the Daily Mail culture that we are now living in (@antonvowl, @uponnothing), to promote local businesses and things to do with the kids on a wet weekend (@didsburylife, @kidsguide, respectively). Twitter is a very powerful tool and there is also a thriving community of photographers using it to promote their blogs, point people towards their Flickr streams or just share photographs with friends. Yesterday I read a brilliant blog post on why photographers should use Twitter and you can read it here. Many thanks to @smashandpeas for the original blog post and @LightStalking for pointing me in its direction.
It is often said (and I am sure that its a sweeping generalisation) that young people don’t get Twitter; in fact I read recently that the average age of people that tweet is 31 which would seem to support this view. And while it is true there are a lot of ‘I am having my lunch’ or ‘I am sitting on the bus’ tweets there is also a lot of laughter, discussion, thought provocation, bubble pricking, truth-finding, channelled anger, political comment and, yes, really great photography. Twitter only works if you are focused on getting your message across as concisely as possible (there is a 140 character limit on all tweets) and have something interesting to say. People who say nothing apart from telling you what they have had for lunch are often cut loose (or unfollowed) and it is these people who think that Twitter doesn’t work, is pointless or will contend that it’s a passing fad. I myself must hold my hand up and say that I am guilty of tweeting the mundane but I try to be funny, witty and erudite most of the time.
The Twitterverse (sorry, but I couldn’t think of a better word) has real power; think about the political dissent in Iran – it is only via Twitter that we know that there is a young, switched-on, tech savvy generation of Iranians that do not agree with their political leaders on every issue; think about how Jan Moir of the Daily Mail was exposed as a homophobic bigot following Stephen Gately’s tragic death.
It is thanks to Twitter, or more importantly my friend @uncouthamerican, that I am in the position of framing some of my photos to hang in a small gallery space. This is proving to be a very difficult process as I just cannot decide what to include. I find myself changing my mind on an almost hourly basis. Pictures that my wife really likes I’m a bit less confident in and vice versa. Should I try and theme them or is an eclectic mix better? To try and help make the decision I asked friends on facebook to suggest their favourites but this didn’t really work either as everyone suggested different pictures and pictures that I hadn’t even considered. It seems that beauty or ugliness for that matter really is in the eye of the beholder and this was proved beyond doubt with the reaction to my lighthouse picture (the one where I was playing about with spot colour) which people either loved or hated.
Thankfully, there are a few pictures that everyone agrees on and this seems to be one (sorry I’ve taken so long to get to this point). It’s probably not the most striking of the pictures that I took in Crosby but it is probably the one I like the most. I think, and this is only a theory, that it’s the human element that lifts it. I took this picture on one of the coldest days of the Winter and although I was on Crosby beach for almost 3 hours saw barely a living soul apart from this man and his dog. Presumably a Crosby resident he must be as used to the Gormley statues now as if they have always been there. And while I, the visiting photographer, was marvelling at their beauty and power – especially when coupled with stunning winter skies – the dog walker shrugged his shoulders, pulled in his neck against the cold and carried on with his 4-legged friend. In other words, I think that I might have made a decision about one picture at least.