Saturday, January 30, 2010

This is way cool :: carryology

For a bag geek like myself... makes for interesting reading. Well worth checking out. I especially like the way they take a narrow "special interest" and really run with it. Nicely done!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

260110_ The M8 Westbound at Coatbridge (026/365)

Tonight... whilst the we'ans were at their Band practice... I nipped over to the M8 junction at Coatbridge (near MacKinnon Mills) and took this pic. It was bizarre to park my car and take the walk to the bridge. I was alone with all the traffic passing beside me and below me. I was nervous and, to be honest, excited at the prospect of bagging a photo.

I am really pleased with how this pic has turned out... after a wee tidy up in Lightroom. Its nice to see the balance of red and white lights... and the starred lights (albeit they weren't deliberate).



Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Lanark...

230110_ New Lanark_ 003

Went for a walk around New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde today. Truly an awesome place. More photos here.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Get out there...

1) sigur ros (23/365)

This time last year I had my gallbladder removed and was confined to the house for a few weeks as I recovered from the keyhole surgery. During that time I continued with my "project365"... trying to catalog my extremely large collection of tee-shirts... and show to my world that I was still alive... still here.

I can't imagine being confined like that now. It scares me, if I am honest. I hated the snow because I couldn't get out. Don't get me wrong... its nice to be indoors... all warm & cosy... but my obsession / passion for photography is driving me "out there".

Afterall... out there is where the Motherwell Heritage Centre is ::

210110_ out and about in Motherwell #4

... or the CB Exchange Building ::

210110_ CB Exchange #2

Out there I can focus on things other than myself. I can focus on others... out there.

Photography, for me, is all about capturing the moment... the moment I am participating in either actively or passively in a viewing capacity. There are times when its about me... but mostly its me looking out at the world.

Same goes with faith. If we are not "out there" actively participating in the moments that are given to us... then there is the very real possibility that we'll become self-absorbed and inward focussed. Yes... faith can be about me... but its mostly about me looking out at the world... and seeing how I can participate in it for good.

Get out there!


An exercise in gratitude #7 :: a teddybear dressed as Darth Vader

200110_ An exercise in gratitude #7_ Darth Teddy (020/365)

I am grateful to my girls for giving me this teddy bear called "Thomsk". They thought of me when they saw the Darth Vader outfit... and... well... got me my own Build-a-Bear for my Christmas. I love it!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shoot... Shoot... Shoot...

180110_ Self Portrait with Canon eos 350d

If I were to give any advice to a new photographer (and I consider myself one only just on the road and probably not yet one experience sufficiently to give advice) I would say...
"Carry your camera everywhere and shoot... shoot... shoot!"
On Saturday... my car broke down... my folks had to come and pick up the we'ans because the recovery lorry took so long... Olly was freezing and I... well, apart from being on the phone... was taking pics... like this one ::

160110_ At the roadside_ 003

Pretty insane... yes... but also an opportunity not to be missed. I mean... when will I be able to take that pic again... or, for that matter, the other pics I took?

Photography is about the moment. Its about grabbing that moment like a greedy opportunist... and not letting go. Its about having eyes to see the opportunities around you... and being part of the context that allows these opportunities to happen and, in some way, reduces the uncertainty principle that comes from having a camera.

I consider myself a photographer. Yes... I am a rookie... and am always seeking to learn... but I do consider myself to be someone who practices the art and craft of photography. Its all about the practice. The doing. The being.

When I think in these terms... it makes me think of my faith... and I think of St Francis of Assisi:
“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
Its the "all times" bit that gets me. We practice the Gospel in how we live... in what we do... in who we are. Its not something that we should switch on at certain times and then leave dormant... like the poor wee point and click that only gets used for holidays or special occasions... and then lies gather dust on the shelf.

Photography is part of who I am. Its in my blood. It permeates through me.

This is how my faith should be too.

So... yeah... if I were to give any advice to a new follower of God in the way of Jesus (and I consider myself one only just on the road and probably not yet one experience sufficiently to give advice) I would say...
"Be a follower everywhere and love... love... love..!"
Grab the moment... and use it to love and for love! Oh and use words only when necessary!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

170110_ Near the Pavillion_ 003 (017/365)

Inspiration, Instruction, Influence & Interpretation vs Imitation...

140110_ Contemplative self portrait

I was recently awarded the honour of being included in JD Blundell's 11 kingdom bloggers to watch in 2010. I think he intended it to be ten but when he included Stewart... he felt he didn't want to leave me out.

I am deeply honoured to to be included on this list but... more importantly... I am honoured to consider JD a friend.

Anyway... if you are reading this because of the list then welcome. If you are reading this because you've been walking with me on this journey then... hey... thanks for coming back!

The point of this post is to talk about about creativity... with inspiration rather than imitation.

You may have gathered by now that I am obsessed with photography. Its my golf. Its my WoW. Its the thing I am most passionate about after God, Olly & my we'ans.

It presents me with a challenge. With each picture I want to get better... improve... evolve. I want to learn to use my cameras... and eagerly seek out both advice and inspiration whenever I can. I carry at least two cameras with me wherever I go... and try to shoot... shoot... shoot... at ever given opportunity.

I seek inspiration from other photographers... and have some dear friends whose pictures I love - Laura... Stewart... etc. They inspire me but I do not intend to imitate them. Yes... I would love to take a pic of the moon like Stewart or an off-the-wall self-portrait like Laura... but I'm more interested in doing "my thing".

I recently read this post on the "flickr-ization of photography" and got the sentiment the author, Kirk Tuck, seeks to convey :: copying the original without adaptation or interpretation is killing photography...
"Something evil is happening to Photography (with a big "P"...). It's becoming homogenized by high priests of specific styles. And while homogenization is arguably good for milk and some cheeses it really sucks when it comes to arts and crafts. The problem is that when a style is promoted by one of the "strong influencers" on Flickr people ask for the technical information behind it. In the interests of keeping information free (and driving more and more traffic to their site to get some "click thru's" for advertising revenue as well as justifying display space on their the influencers eagerly divulge lighting diagrams and step by step instructions. No problem with that but what happens next is the "relentless repetition tsunami". Many people who crowd around cult-like figures tend to be very literal so they end up copying the original image without adaptation or interpretation."
Kurt goes on to state that "Technical Mastery is Not Art" and I would wholeheartedly agree with him.

I want to learn and develop in this obsession... I want to get better and better and better... kind of like Verucca Salt wanting a squirrel.

120110_ Marc

To this end... I have sought out and developed a friendship with an awesome photographer - Marc de Ridder (above) - who teaches me about my camera (and cleans it occasionally) ... albeit... he calls it a "Noink" because he's a Canon man. He is mentoring me on craft of photography... and instructing me on how to use the tools - the camera... Lightroom etc. He is an inspirational figure and a dear friend.

That said... whilst I love his work (I have one of his pics in my downstairs loo) and am inspired by our conversations over coffee... I don't want to imitate his style - I want to develop my own style underpinned by his instructions.

I recently read this article in "Fast Company" that speaks of imitation being the hidden key with creativity...
"Their key insight is that creative ideas can only spread if they're actually adopted by others. Too much creativity, and there's not enough imitation--ideas die on the vine, because there are so many of them and few ever catch fire. For good ideas to spread, there's an optimal balance to be reached between creating and imitating."
Personally I think this is too naive a point... because adopting an idea through inspiration and interpreting that idea for yourself... is NOT imitation.

We are all inspired by others... ideas are like Lego blocks... we build on the ideas of others to make what we want to make. That's not say there isn't original thought... there is... all the time... but that originality is more often than not looking at something differently through the lenses of inspiration that comes from education and experience. The originality of the thought comes more from the unique application and expression of the key factors that have brought the thinker to that point.

It is the application of how we interpret what has inspired us that is crucial here... and this is where the context becomes extremely important.

Above is a screenshot from an iPhone photography app called fotobrisko that I ... *shock* ... *horror* ... don't own. Whilst I commend their ingenuity for creating it... I don't want it. Why? Here's the blurb:
"The Foto Brisko application helps photographers to find photos that they want to try and reproduce themselves. The application will find interesting photos allow you to browse them, choose the ones you are interested in shooting yourself by adding them to the shot list. When you get near the location of the shot click a button and see your location and the spot the photo was taken."
Its all about reproduction rather than creation... and that doesn't interest me. I want to take my photos in these places... not seek to copy the photos of others. Don't get me wrong... it looks fab as a tool to find awesome locations... but... we should be encouraging folk to do "their thing" not copying the work of others.

We should also be encouraging folks to do "their thing" in "their spaces". What is the point in me jonesing about taking photos in Brooklyn when I live in Motherwell. I should be jonesing about taking pictures in my environment... in my context... in my space!

So yeah... bringing this back to JD's post... please be inspired by what I and the others on the list say... do... go... take any instruction that may be forthcoming... and interpret it in your own way... do your "own thing" in the context in which you belong.

Please dont imitate what is done... but, influenced by the actions & intentions of others, do your own thing. Be you. Be the you God created you to be... in the place He has placed you.

Be prepared to try... be prepared to give it your best... be prepared to fail... but, most of all, be prepared to do it your way... in your original manner & approach... because afterall... as Hermann Melville put it...
"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Letters from the city :: an illustrated Glasgow philavery...

I'm humbled to say two of my pics have been included in the third edition of the Letters from the city :: an illustrated Glasgow philavery ::

Welcome to Glasgow, Jeff (329/365) (in which my dear friend Stewart Cutler had a hand) and...

At Kennyhill Allotments (133/365)

The philavery is a lovely wee self-publication by Lewis Irvine & Emilia Weber that explores Glasgow through stories, poetry, illustration & photography. I am honoured to feature and hope to contribute further pics in the future.

There are only 250 copies in circulation (I have no.41) and they are available for £2 from Caledonia Books, Voltaire & Rousseau, Recoat, Monorail, Tatty Bon, Biblocafe, Aye-Aye Books (CCA), Glasgow Print Studio and the Glasgow School of Art Gift Shop (in Macintosh building).

One of the many cool things about the publication is their word of thanks in the inside frontcover...
"This publication is built on the kindness of strangers."
I really like that sentiment.

They have a website :: but its not up yet.


I now have #54 are my dad pinched my copy... Thanks Dad... Enjoy! Tx

Monday, January 11, 2010

The artwork for the latest Cousin Silas release...

I mentioned on Saturday about the album cover I was asked to collaborate on. Well... above is the final draft of the insert for the snow imposed silence.

It is based on this picture...

281209_ Minolta P's_ 010

...which is one of my faves from the Minolta I was given last year. It was Cousin Silas' idea to put it on its side and, by doing so, abstract it. I really like how it works.

This is the back... which is based on this picture from 2005:

Demolishing Motherwell Bridge 2

It was taken with my then cameraphone... the Sony Ericsson K750.

I am really pleased with the *hopefully* end result... and look forward to letting you all know when the snow imposed silence will be released.

Thanks to everyone who supported me on this.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

A wee taster...

I was personally asked to provide the artwork for the next Cousin Silas album... entitled "the snow imposed silence"... by Cousin Silas himself. I was so chuffed and have been working with him over the last couple of days on the concept etc.

Above is a wee taster for the final product. I'm not sure when the album will be released on bfwrecordings but I will give you a shout when it does. I have heard the pre-release and am well impressed... it really builds upon Uncertainty.

I'll also post the full version of the artwork as soon as it is approved. Its pretty much at the wording / sizing stage.

So yeah... for a self-taught amateur... I'm pretty happy with the end result.

Thanks Cousin Silas!!!


Motherwell... this afternoon

090110_ Motherwell_ 002

I love Motherwell.

090110_ Motherwell_ 014

Some more pics here.


This is cool :: the Momento app for the iPhone

momento is an interesting diary app for the iPhone... that pulls in your updates & "@replies" on Twitter, status updates on Facebook, photos uploaded to Flickr & tracks "loved" on Last.FM to create a narrative of your day... which you can build upon by adding "moments" (aka diary entries) during your day... and add further photos.

It has a lovely user interface and is underpinned by metadata tags... allowing you to search back for the moments you have recorded. "Food" for example is one I use for when I'm eating out... and I want to remember where I've been.

I think the app is fab... I have been using it since Christmas '09. Pulling the social feeds really adds to the diary experience. If you tweet like me then you will already be recording the key moments in your day... and I like how it all works to build up a descriptive & holistic picture of your day.

What's more... I see this app having real potential. Imagine it pulling in other feeds... like blogposts, shared Google Reader items or even reviews on Yelp. A desktop app would be an excellent extension too. There is real room for growth as a way of recording your "social media" footprint.

Well worth checking out... if you have an iPhone.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Rob's Five

Yesterday... or was it today... I asked my dear friend Rob Griggs-Taylor to pick five of my photos that moved him in some way or other... and describe why they jumped out at him. This is his response:

070110_ Into the sun #3

(1) This is gorgeous - I love big contrast between light and darkness, and this has the added feeling of an American city although I suspect it's Glasgow.

040110_ Strathclyde Park in the snow_ 042

(2) I'm a sucker for strong geometric patterns and this shot has stayed with me since I first saw it. I actually searched it out in your photostream! I also like the contrast between the dark water and the white snow - funny that they're both essentially made from the same elements.

Lanark Loch #2

(3) The light on the left and the lens flare suggest that it's been a beautiful day, but the stillness of the water speaks to solitude. Very restful - I'd have this on a prominent wall in my house.


(4) If there's a photo in all of your collection that says "I am Headphonaught", this is it! Starbucks, a computer and desk, I'd be surprised if Twitter wasn't on the monitor. The setup is fab - the light on the cup and the shadow forms are great. Love it!

Sunset over Anstruther

(5) Oh come on - look at the sky! Awesome colours, totally gorgeous. I can just sit and stare at this.

I know this may seem like a vain post... but its awesome to get such warm feedback. It is reassuring to know that my photos can have an impact... and useful to understand the themes that are worth exploring such as symmetry & the use of light.

Thanks Rob... you've given me a welcome boost of encouragement... and given me food for thought.

My thanks too to everyone... you know who you are... who encourage me with a comment or a "favourite"... I notice when you take time to acknowledge what I've done... and I am grateful. So much so... I am making a conscious effort to respond... and to comment more myself. Do unto others afterall.

If anyone else would like to comment in this manner... or, likewise, if you'd like for me to comment on your photos... please let me know.


Here's an interesting wee mix...

Blech Part #1 is a hour long mix by DJ Food of classic tracks from Warp Records' 20 years. The tracklisting is as follows:
  • Clark - Herzog
  • Jamie Lidell - A Little Bit More (Luke Vibert Mix)
  • Aphex Twin - Ventolin (Deep Gong Mix)
  • Prefuse 73 - Robot Snares Got No Cadences Or Balances
  • Harmonic 313 - Dirtbox
  • Aphex Twin - Window Sill
  • Nightmares On Wax - Night Interlude
  • Nightmares On Wax - What I'm Feeling (Rae & Christian Remix)
  • LFO - Shove Piggy Shove
  • Mira Calix - Ilanga
  • Boards Of Canada - Happy Cycling
  • Jamie Lidell- Multiply (a Cappella)
  • Autechre - Teartear
  • Aphex Twin - Ventolin (Plain-An-Gwarry Mix)
  • Plaid - Alba Eedio
  • Boards Of Canada - Sixtyten
  • LFO - Tied Up
  • LFO - Them
  • Autechre - Cipater
  • Mike Ink - Paroles
  • LFO - Pathfinder
  • Link - Amazon Amenity (Chameleon Remix)
  • AFX - Children Talking
  • Aphex Twin & Squarepusher - Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid
  • Aphex Twin - Bucephalus Bouncing Ball
  • Aphex Twin - Cock 10
  • Boards Of Canada - Zoetrope
  • Broadcast & The Focus Group - Various cuts
  • Jimi Tenor - Backbone Of Night
  • John Callaghan - I'm Not Comfortable In My Own Mind
Well worth checking out...


Monday, January 04, 2010

Strathclyde Park in the snow...

040110_ Strathclyde Park in the snow_ 032

I took a walk round Strathclyde Park's Loch this afternoon... whilst Olly and the we'ans went to Forbidden Planet (more geek pride :-) ). It was amazing to see the water frozen solid. So solid in fact that I watched a couple walk around the island (below) and a fox cross the channel from the island to the "main land".

040110_ Strathclyde Park in the snow_ 005

It took me a good couple of hours to walk around... due to the snow on top of the ice. The light was awesome... with me only losing the light in the last fifteen minutes or so.

Strathclyde Park is a real "thin place" for me... and it was a real privilege to be creative with the works of the creator.

Here is the full set on Flickr.


I've added three more things to my list...

Three more things to do:

#19 - make time to listen to podcasts... I have so many I want to listen to but don't. #20 - say thank you to the folks who make my life special. #21 - find a new "third place" in Glasgow City Centre. I intend on posting more about my things to see & do list in the coming days, weeks & months. Stay tuned. Tx

Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Just like their dad...

From 2009 to 2010

Photo on 2010-01-02 at 07.35 #3 (camerabag'd Magazine)

I believe it is customary this time of year to consider the year gone by...

I look back at 2009 and am pleased that I achieved my first Project365. I am also disappointed that I gave up losing weight and, pretty much, became a distant relative with the gym.

2009 saw a building up of connections with likeminded people in and around Glasgow. I'm not sure how many folks I met for coffee in 2009 but, by the way Stephanie gave me a mug when Starbucks shut, I don't think it was inconsequential. I want to continue to use and channel this influence for good... for encouragement and inspiration.... and not for regret or the chasing of "what might have been".

2009 brought into focus that I am part of the Salvation Army... albeit... an outlier. I will feed wherever I can but will gravitate towards my denomination in the vain hope that change can & will occur as a result. If only one person "gets it" as a result of my influence then I will have succeeded.

2009 also saw me move on from the first incarnation of ((deep))... which is a decision I still question 4 months on. I think I have something to give within the context of a "divisional fellowship"... and need to explore how this may work.

I believe it is also customary this time of year to lay out the changes in our lives that we are resolved to make. I currently have 18 things on that I am working on. I say working on... because I see life as a journey of ups and downs... and not something that is all or nothing. Life takes work.

These things are as follows (in now particular order):
  1. I want to learn to pray everyday
  2. I want to read my Bible everyday
  3. I want to keep the podcast moving/evolving/growing in its reach and influence... continuing to spread stories worth listening to.
  4. I want to see a coming-together of people passionate about prayer and open the door for some form of 24-7 expression in Glasgow as an extension of ((deep)).
  5. I want to develop my photography - both digital & 35mm
  6. I want to read more - 12 books in 2010 at least
  7. I want to develop my blog with a focus on quality
  8. I want to comment more - on blogs & flickr especially
  9. I want to learn more about painting & develop this creative outlet
  10. I want to exercise more - go to the gym & ride my bike more
  11. I want to lose weight :: 18 - 24 lbs in 1 year
  12. Get a tattoo
  13. I want to develop "a hint of bergamot" into a photography collective
  14. I want to refresh my French
  15. I want to visit Paris with Olly & the we'ans
  16. I want to learn to cook
  17. I want to pull my weight more with the household chores
  18. I want to use my influence for good
There is no proper order... and some are more important than others. For example, is it fair for me to attempt to paint when there are chores that need done?

They are all inter-related in some manner or another... the idea is for me to use the time given to me to the best I can. If I was to group them as a "theme" it would be to do stuff... and, in doing this stuff... get off my MacBook Pro.

I think I spend too much time online... and its not always productive. I want to use my time more productively. To consume... yes... but also to contribute and participate in the communities I am part of... both off and on line.

I got up before 7am this morning. I had trouble with phlegm (nice!) and was dreaming about "problogger" for some reason. Anyway... I got up to make a cup of tea (Olly's idea) and took my MacBook Pro with me. So far... I've been on Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, eBay, Wikipedia, Camerapedia and Google Reader. I've also been on TeeFury, 43 things and... obviously.... Blogger.

I can't escape this. It is part of who I am. I just need to make it more productive... more valuable... more uplifting. I try not to watch junk on TV... and limit myself in front of the box. I now need to do the same with my online activity. I need to make it count.

Anyway... we'll see how this journey pans out. Please check in with me now and again. Ask me the following the next time we meet... "how are you getting on with your 43 things... even though you are only doing 18?!"

Lastly... I leave you with a challenge. I've been open about my 2009... and my plans for 2010. What did you think of 2009 and what are your plans for 2010?


An exercise in gratitude #6 :: Moleskine Desk Calendar

I'm grateful to Olly for giving me this luxurious novelty... a day-to-a-page desk calendar from Moleskine.

The moleskine cover adds a sense of transience to the calendar... and reminds me of all the fab "leather goods" gentlemen used to have when they travelled in the late 19th century, if you know what I mean?

I have an extra large Moleskine diary / notebook on order to complement it. Whilst I am a huge fan of my iPhone & use it to keep my "todo" list on it (using Behance's Action Method app) ... I do like paper & pen for planning my day. For me Moleskine's are a luxury... and whilst they've become almost a cliche... I'm still a big fan... even if I have to tape the odd spine with Squash Racquet tape. Tx

Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Friday, January 01, 2010

January 2010's calendar

Carrying on my wee tradition... here's January 2010's calendar.

Download via these links :: Mac / Windows & For my Dad's iBook.

Enjoy... and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


The end of one Project365 & the start of another...

Project365 :: 330 - 365

This is the final mosaic from my first "Project365"... it covers 330 to 365 (see below). I can't say the experience has been hard... I've become rather trigger happy of late... spurred on by my joint obsessions with photography and my iPhones.

What I can say... is that the experience has made me more disciplined... to see with a photographer's eyes - to see beauty in the mundane etc - and to take the opportunities presented to me.

I have enjoyed the experience so much that I intend to carry on... with a Project365 for 2010.

My thanks to everyone who has appeared in my pics... and everyone who has viewed them. I hope you will see an improvement in their quality.


311209_ Hogmanay_ Olly #3 (365/365)


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