Digital Photography for the Older and Wiser: out now!

Digital Photography for the Older and Wiser
Digital Photography for the Older and Wiser

Some shameless self-promotion. My latest book, Digital Photography for the Older and Wiser, has been out in the UK for a couple of months, but is now available in North America and other countries.

Although aimed at older readers, anyone who wants to delve into the world of digital photography for the first time should get something out of it.

The iconic Amateur Photographer magazine has given it a brief but positive review in the current (April 17)  issue. Jeff Meyer writes: “I’m always sceptical of books aimed at the ‘mature’ photographer market as they seem to be a little patronising. How is someone in their 60s different from someone in their 20s learning photography for the first time? Nevertheless, this is actually a very good primer, clearly explained and well illustrated.”

This was my aim, and in fact I sent my first two draft chapters to a friend of mine who is my age (30s) to read – she’s never used digital cameras and I wanted to know if what I’d written made any sense! That said, of course there are a few things for the older and wiser to look out for when buying a camera such as ease of use, clarity of buttons and so on – but even those features would benefit people of all ages.

I’ve learned a lot while writing the book and there is actually even more to digital photography now that new standards and camera types are emerging. But hopefully the basics outlined in this book should still remain constant for many years to come!

Google launches Street View in London

Last year, Google vans began trawling the streets of the UK, taking photos of every single street and property using a panoramic video camera. Over the last few months, the images were stitched together.

Today, Street View is live in the UK, giving people the ability to view a 360 degree replica of the nation’s streets in photographic form.

From what I’ve seen of Street View in London it is very impressive, particularly as it was a cloudless, sunny day when they took a picture of my flat! Sadly, some common landmarks such as Covent Garden are marred by endless bendy buses, the continual digging up of the roads to fix old water pipes, and/or the scaffolding that is reminiscent of a changing metropolis.

To use Street View simply type in a UK postcode into Google, and in the balloon that pops up on Google Maps, click the ‘Street View’ link to take you to the panorama view. You can zoom in and out and click the arrows on the road to travel back and forth along it. To see the 360 degree view, hold your mouse down on to the street view image and drag the screen up, down, left or right.

Because people are in view there are privacy concerns. Google’s blurred the faces, but someone wearing distinguishable clothing could still be recognised. And they haven’t blurred everyone’s face – after just a couple of minutes browsing I noticed this guy – he is wearing a cap but you can still make him out. What if the woman he’s holding hands with isn’t his wife?

I wonder when people will start finding the funny images they found when this service launched in other countries – the guy passed out on the lawn, the burglar escaping over a fence, and so on. It’s only a matter of time and I am sure there are some people with too much of it who are quite keen to be one of the first Google Street View controversy-spotters!

Last chance to see Street and Studio

Tate Modern’s Street and Studio exhibition ends at the end of the month (31 August). It’s a concise history of urban photography both in the ‘off the cuff’ street environment and in formal, contrived studios. From the whimsical observations of a young Lartigue to the paparazzi shots of the late 60s, the ‘street’ of this exhibition pretty much has it all. The ‘studio’ element spans the staged portraits from the early days of photography to the capturing of ‘characters’ in contemporary settings.

While it’s not the greatest collection ever, there are plenty of important and excellent works on display that you may not have all seen in one place.

Photobook auction on 18th May

The popularity of photography books as collectors’ items continues apace. Christie’s is holding the first proper auction of rare photobooks at Kings Street London on 18th May. Estimates for the books range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of pounds and this event will surely be attracting global interest from avid collectors. A strong representation of Japanese photographers and first editions from old masters is there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin Parr, the photographer with a keen interest in photographic books (as of 2004 he owned about 7,000 and has published a book on photobooks), will be at the auction to outbid everyone!

Update on photography exhibitions in London

Here’s a quick update on some interesting photo exhibtions in London which you may be interested in checking out!

  • First of all prolific and controversial Japanese photographer Araki opens at the Barbican this week, and will be here to talk about his work.
  • Then, a round-up of legendary photographer Diane Arbus’ photographs at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, from 13 October until mid-January. The largest retrospective of her work ever exhibited.
  • Also at the V&A, we currently have on new photos and video from China, which runs until mid-January 2006.
  • New York revisited

    A couple of photos from our trip to New York this Christmas/New Year’s…

    Dogs, running around in Central Park on 27 December…

    An extremely touristy jaunt to the Statue of Liberty. Even Rob went; he hadn’t been since 1987! I hurried off at one point and bought a veggie burger, and immediately threw it away upon purchase. Unfortunately all food in New York is great except for that found on Liberty Island.

    Midtown snow woman

    Updated photos at NYCLondon

    More photos have been added to RG’s running Photolog at NYCLondon – they are the same ones which have featured on the photoblog, but more accessible.

    I’ve got a few Lomo photos which came back from the lab (yes, the photo lab!) today. There’s one nice one I’ll scan in sometime this weekend. Cheers. Oh, and I’ve signed up to the Lomo site but I’m confused by the ticked box: “Do not uncheck if you don’t want to receive no newsletters from lomography,” it says. What does that mean?

    Current and upcoming London photo exhibitons

    Apart from the aforementioned Citigroup Photography Prize 2004 (which I am yet to see but you can read a review of here), there are a few other photography exhibits currently showing (or soon to be held) in London. These are:

    Cecil Beaton at the National Portrait Gallery until 31 May.
    Bill Brandt: A Centenary Retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 24 March to 25 July 2004.
    Daido Moriyama at the Shine Gallery until 10 April 2004.