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Posted on 21st April, 2012

Model no-show = broken leg, CEWE / Photoworld prints,

'Picturing Democracy', and 'Capture Waltham Forest'.


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The result of breaking a legI have to admit that I'm pretty pi**ed off with photographic models, as I've had far too many experiences of the unreliable and irresponsible ones amongst them. Arranging shoots with them is a pain in the backside, chopping and changing their minds like the weather. Then, they'll think nothing of pulling out of an arrangement at the last minute, or worse still, just failing to turn up without warning. When these things happen, the usual results are frustration / anger, and wasted time and money. On Sunday however, it was a broken leg. Not my own, but that of my super wife and helper Pauline.


The shoot was to have been outside in daylight, at Blue Lagoon, a local nature reserve. We waited 15 minutes beyond the appointed time before deciding that it was a no-show, and then, because we both like walking, we decided to at least make the best of a bad job by taking a meander around the area. Bad decision. Within a few minutes Pauline had slipped on loose stones that were lying on a sloping path, and I was phoning 999. A short time later she was in the care, whilst still lying on the ground, of three paramedics tending her broken tibia and fibula. However, access difficulties for vehicles to the precise spot meant that getting her to hospital was badly delayed, as a fire-crew then had to be called out to unlock a gate for the ambulance itself to get through. Thankfully though, the competence of these emergency operatives, and those at the hospital, means that my wife's leg is now pinned together again, and on the way to a full recovery I trust. It just leaves me wondering what the truant model would feel, if she realised the results she's indirectly caused: great pain and distress to my wife, and great financial cost to society. Well, knowing that just the no-show itself was irresponsible, she rapidly deleted her profile from the Purestorm website. Guilt I wonder? For her to have learnt of the major consequences though, a bit of remorse perhaps? Unlikely, I suspect.


On a more positive note, I've had some photographic enlargements made under a cut-price promotion by CEWE / Photoworld, and they're great. The printing quality is first class as expected, but there's something much more eye-opening that the prints have brought home to me: even on a 50x75cm, I just can't believe the sharpness & resolution that I'm getting from my ageing and relatively-low-cost Canon 24-85 and Tokina 12-24 lenses, coupled with my Canon 400D and 40D cameras. I know full well that the quality would be even higher with a Canon 5D Mk2 for instance, but even so, when compared to what I was getting in film days, the results are in a different league. Not that I should be surprised mind you, because, to the disgust of the masochists who still persist with the archaic medium of film, I'd say that digital has had absolutely no downsides since the release of the Canon 400D on 24 August 2006. Part of the reason for the improved quality in my case is the much-derided practice of 'pixel-peeping', whereby photographers view image quality on computer screens at magnifications well-beyond that necessary for normal viewing. Well, pixel-peeping pays dividends I'd say, and my CEWE / Photoworld enlargements are all the proof I need of that.


So, with my wife being 'disabled' for the next couple of months, my plans to take pics at the St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, and the Sikh Vaisakhi celebrations at Handsworth (Birmingham), are on hold for a year. I have to say that I was not too sure what to expect at St George's Day anyway, but I anticipated one of two stereotypes: either the 'Land of Hope and Glory' proms brigade, or, lager louts too thick to see the irony of toasting the patron saint of England with gnats-pi** that couldn't be less English in style, taste and heritage: Stella Artois, Fosters, and Budweiser. Either way, I'm missing the lost photo opportunity.


My disappointment regarding the 'lost' week-end has been tempered however, with news that one of my images has been selected for display in Westminster Hall (alongside the House of Commons) shortly. The image is one of several I submitted to the 'Picturing Democracy' competition in late 2011, and was chosen along with seven others by Austin Mitchell, MP since 1977 for Great Grimsby, and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on photography. It's great to know that one of my photos has actually been chosen by such an important and influential person in the UK photo world.


The above recognition comes not too long after I was informed of another photographic morale-booster, this time relating to Walthamstow in east London. I entered several images into their 'Capture Waltham Forest' competition last year, and was pleased to hear that one of them will be amongst twenty-five that will be placed into an archive for the area, and, be displayed at Vestry House Museum from 2 June to 30 September. Now with the image I currently have on display in Soho (Dean Street, off Oxford Street) relating to the Crossrail project, that'll make three, but is any one of them bringing me nearer my desired 15 minutes of fame I wonder? I still live in hope.


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