My wife bought me a plane!

…cost her .49¢

Supermarine Hurricane Mk IIC. I don’t care what anyone tells you -the Spitfire might be more glamorous, but this is the plane that was the real workhorse behind the Battle of Britain. If any plane was responsible for victory in the skies, this is it.

Look at the image on the cover of the packaging. Realism? Hell no. Either the ‘artist’ took extreme creative liberties, or else the printer ran out of green, and was low on blue and decided, ‘fuck it! All that extra red will be far more exciting.’ 

The picture is worth the price alone. Instead of a bold Hurricane majestically patrolling the skies, it looks more like Charon ferrying souls of the damned across the River Acheron, and into hell!!

Now that’s exciting!!

Anyone who’s ever taken a few pictures (everyone) has on occasion, probably noticed something similar. Someone in the shot will probably look green, or yellow, or blue-ish. Someone looked sick. Either the white balance in your camera is off; your subject is positioned under a coloured light, or, in the case of film shooters, the emulsion you’ve chosen for your shot(s) doesn’t match the scene you shot your photos in. Or perhaps, that cool looking filter you applied to the image actually looks like shit.

Back in 1990, when Fuji Velvia was first released, there was great excitement among photographers because it was such a ‘punchy’  (saturated colours) film, it made even the mundane bright and cheery. It was a product of the times. Flourescents, and neons were all the rage for a couple of years back then, and everyone wanted that look. 

Unfortunately, it was horrible for skin tones.

Can’t blame Fuji, though. There was a (albeit, rather tiny) notice on the box that the film cans came in stating that Fuji advised against the use of Velvia when photographing people, or skin tones, -which was the first, and so far, only time I’ve ever seen such a thing on the packaging of film. Of course, many completely disregarded this warning, and went ahead and shot portraits, and all sorts of stuff, marveling at eye-scorching brilliant colours, but completely oblivious to the fact that all the people in their images had heads looking like giant tomatoes, or pumpkins.

(There are still, to this day, a couple of very popular photographic websites that feature this, uh, interesting look!)

Portrait photographers obsess over this sort of thing.  Skin tones. Well, it is their bread and butter, after all; but I’ve seen raging arguments over the apparent glaringly obvious differences between two or three film types, or presets, when to me, the differences seemed less than negligible.

But as people with cameras, we at least owe it to ourselves, and especially our subjects, to try and get the skin tones as close as possible to real life. This proves tricky sometimes when you’ve got a group of people of mixed races. When in doubt, split the differences, or if at all possible, re-shoot under more favorable conditions.

Perhaps the most egregious example of getting skin tones wrong, (at least that was the claim. I find it very hard to believe that the head photo editor for TIME magazine, -a position that, at the time, was perhaps near the pinnacle of what one could be for that job) was TIME Magazine fucking up the image of O.J. Simpson on their magazine cover during his trial. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, FUCK TIME Magazine.

At the very least, this reeks of false journalism, (How about, out and out lying?) but I think it’s pretty safe to say that TIME Magazine manipulated an image to create a darker, more sinister monster to sell magazines.

What does that say about them?

About us?

No story, no morals, poor light…

Went out the other night while the evening light was really nice, figuring I’d see something worth photographing. Walked a few blocks through my neighborhood, but as fate would have it, nothing really caught my eye. Decided (admittedly, a bit frustrated) to just head home, and call it a good walk, but no pictures. I sat down on a little bench to light up a smoke before heading in, and noticed that right across the street, a couple of fellows were queuing up to make purchases at the little convenience store that I myself, go to regularly.

The guy that owns and runs the store -Joe, is the greatest! Always in a great mood, always offering you a ‘special price,’ and if you buy smokes two or three packs at a time like I do, he’ll usually throw in a lighter. His store has that old convenience store smell that I remember from my childhood. It’s hard to describe, but I guess it’s the combination of everything from loose penny candy, to cigarettes, to foolscap writing paper. I really don’t know how he jams everything into his tiny space, but he somehow manages.

He was one of the first merchants I saw who really took the Covid thing seriously. Right from the get go, he wore a mask, and gloves, and chained his front door so that it would only open a maximum of about 15cm. Then, he taped loose plastic from the top to the bottom of the open area, so that there was only a minimal space to put your hand through to exchange cash, or debit for goods. 

This guy ain’t fucking around!

But you wouldn’t know this. Not from looking at the picture, anyhow. And that’s why, as ‘street photography,’ this one doesn’t work. Street photography is supposed to tell a story. And if it hardly does that, it had better have an unique, or interesting composition. 

The above shot has neither. Plus, the light was great -FOR CERTAIN THINGS, but not here. That hard, side light that I love just ‘flattens everything out’ in this case, proof that there isn’t one ‘best’ light for everything.

On top of all that, because I wasn’t intending to shoot any street shots when I left the house, I only had a long lens with me. ‘Click!’ I’m an asshole. I hate taking this sort of shots from far away. It doesn’t look right, and it doesn’t feel right.

So why did I take the shot? 

I don’t know…… something, something…. couldn’t resist?

And why am I writing this? I don’t know. I’ve thought about this shot for the last couple of days -and just to post it here, I had to go back and retrieve it from the trash, where I had chucked it.

Maybe, something, something, I was thinking, ‘…………why let a good story go to waste because of a shitty picture?’

Staring at the sun

One of the first things I learned about photographic technique (which was probably after I had been taking pictures for well over a year!) was that if you see some good light, TURN AROUND! Chances are, it’s going to be pretty interesting the other way as well, but not in the same way.

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