Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The old man and the trees

The old man and the trees, plus his dog. © Magnus Andersson

Yesterday I had the honour of shaking hands with Sir Ian McKellen. Without doubt the pinnacle of my life. I'll tell you more once its been in the paper.

In other news: its quite difficult to get your hands on 120-film nowadays. Why is that?

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sally McKay

Sketch of me while I was busy taking portraits of the artist. © Sally McKay

Isn't it funny how things turn out sometimes? Bored stiff at work, I have taken exactly zero pictures that are worthy of going on the blog. Planning ahead on personal projects becomes a salvation from the dross that I turn out every day at work. The reduction of staff in the newsroom has inevitably taken its toll on interesting jobs. Most days I mainly shoot school children or boring PR jobs for either the local council or a local company. No room for manoeuvre. Hence I'm pleased to announce that the above picture was neither taken by me nor made for PR purposes.

Artist Sally McKay. © Magnus Andersson

It is a picture drawn by artist Sally McKay as I was photographing her and it all came about when she confessed that she hated having her picture taken. As photographers we are acutely aware of this disposition - I for one am not very keen on being photographed. Anyway, the portraits were done in her studio in Charlton and she had a nice set of sketches on the wall that would make a nice backdrop so we got down to work, but Sally was very nervous and in a bid to stave off her self consciousness I suggested that she do what she does best - draw. And so she drew a sketch of me while I was moving around doing my job. Voila! Job done.

Artist Sally McKay. © Magnus Andersson

Later, after having seen the published article, Sally emailed me and said that I had snapped her looking relaxed and smiling - a feat that no photographer had managed before - and asked if she could use one of the images that I took for her website. I said of course, BUT only if I could have a copy of the fabulous sketch she created during our session. The rest is history.

But if you think that us creative types come for free, just have a look at this outrageous attempt of trying to to get professional pictures for nothing. The answer they get is truly what they the deserve (also the best cut'n'paste job I have ever seen)!

Like all photographers, I'm pretty sure that Sally and her fellow artists get the same ludicrous propositions, trying to get us to work for free.

You can read Sally's new blog here.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Back in ten

Notice on an office door in Blackheath. © Magnus Andersson

Hmm, there has been a void on the blog, getting close to a two week hiatus, but honestly, not a lot has been going on. OK, I lie, quite a few things has been going on and I have started four blog posts on various issues but thankfully I didn't hit publish on those. Some things are better kept off the radar.

But I have been quite busy; the good BA Photojournalism students at LCC turned up for my guest lecture and despite a stupid fire alarm going off in the middle of it - and subsequent full evacuation of the building - which dented the full presentation, it was great to see the next generation of snappers and their enthusiasm. I might have scared them about the future of newspapers. Sorry about that, but things are changing at the moment. Hopefully there will be some clarity soon.

Two hours isn't anywhere near enough for a talk though. Thanks goes out to Nigel Tanburn for having me once again, but can I have three hours next time, please?

I've also had a meeting about a new project that hopefully will see some Hasselblad action as well. It's a strange one as it will ultimately result in a play but there will be an exhibition to go with it, and perhaps more. My poor medium format kit has been gathering dust but this might be a good opportunity to get back to some 6x6 framing. The project will run in the next 6-8 weeks and I'll update you nearer to the finish.

Oh, and my colleague Rob handed in his notice today, so all you snappers looking for a job, there might be something coming up in the next few weeks at the paper! Prepare your CV's and all that BUT...given the current management policy of 'saving' money by not employing/replacing staff, don't hold your breath on this one just yet. I'll keep you posted though.

That's all for now, I'm going back to blowing balloon's.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The end is nigh

An angry motorist snaps (sorry) after being photographed by a Lambeth Council CCTV Enforcement vehicle, and starts photographing the two officers on his mobile phone, shouting: "If you can photograph me I can photograph you!" © Magnus Andersson

I think we all have had enough of Big Brother, and there might actually be an end in sight for the stupid use of 'Section 44 of the Anti terrorism Act' against terrorists photographers. Earlier today Lord Carlile of Berriew - the independent terror law reviewer for the Government - called for S44 to be scrapped, weeks after the European Court of Human Rights found it illegal, as BJP reports.

Good news indeed. More from the Evening Standard here, including this ominous Carlile quote: "Nothing fills my in-tray and in-box more than complaints on the use of Section 44."

When a law reviewer gets concerned about his inbox there must be a serious problem at hand. If S44 is scrapped, perhaps the police can go back to whatever they were doing before, i.e. catching camera wielding people criminals.

Here's a good read on the chances of being killed by terrorism (spoiler: 1-in-a-million chance for each person, about the same as the chance of flipping a coin 20 times and it coming up heads every time).

© Leon Neal/AFP

In other news, here is a fantastic blog post from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver by AFP photographer Leon Neal. Great read, lots of insight on covering such a huge event and stellar pictures too, especially the picture of one of the luge riders staring at the metal pillar which killed his team mate before the Olympics had even started. A very sad yet telling picture.

A lone girl is refreshing under the late monsoon rain in the impoverished Oriya Basti Colony in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, near the former Union Carbide industrial complex. © Alex Masi

And finally, only last night I met up with my dear friend Alex Masi and it is good to see that his solid good work has been rewarded yet again, this time with a 2nd prize in the PGB awards. Big up!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

You looking at me?

Regular stranger - the deaf white cat on Columbia Road, east London. © Magnus Andersson