Lomography: love, love/hate, then just hate

But Rich! You always struck me as a ‘new-age-fun-with-a-vintage-feel’ kind of guy! Didn’t you work in a camera shop? Haven’t you got like at least four cameras, some of which could be termed ‘quirky’ or ‘retro’? Isn’t one of them a camera from the company: Lomographic Society?

Gear lust

Yes to all of the above. (Except the first one) I blame working in a camera shop, and innate nerdiness for developing a relatively short lived period of gear lust. Photography being one of the areas I think is quite easy to develop (ha) gear lust in, especially when it comes to vintage (ie: expensive, old and often more trouble than they are worth) cameras. So many features, so many numbers, so many brands, makes, models, ranges… so much obtuse nerdy tech history tied up with obtuse art-nerdy history.

Copied from http://www.nick-t.com/blog/2010/10/hasselblad-photokina-part-one/
How could anything you do with a camera THIS fancy, NOT be art?

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I worked in Jessops (camera shop, good times mostly) and the pressure was always on to sell Extended Warranties with every piece of gear. Most people are rightly suspicious of extra insurance and the salesperson only has about 10 seconds towards the end of the sale to try and flog that too. It got to the point where the best way to sell the insurance was to basically say: “Look, pay £30 now, then when it gets to the end of the 3 year period, just throw it down the stairs and we’ll give you a new one: probably even an upgraded version by that point.”

If I’ve got to point out the flaws in your business model to be able to sell your financial product, then how on earth do they make any money? Simple, I bet most of us just forget about it, and I can’t honestly say I ever remember any particular customers taking my advice when it came to it. The insurance companies only win if we don’t check the details! It’s not like you’ll be investigated for fraud over a 3 or 4 hundred quid camera, of course you’ll just get a new one! Please note, I do not CONDONE insurance fraund, but in this situation I HEARTILY ENCOURAGE IT.

So while I was bored at work I thought I’d come up with a comic strip about a camera shop on a space station, and this is the only strip I ever actually made, but I did write a couple.


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How does one go about conforming, or non-conformism anyway? The trick is in the title, it isn’t something you can DO, is it? Defining yourself only by what you aren’t is the same as defining yourself only by what you are… hang on, no, wait.

I’ll put the kettle on.

Value for money: Jubilee or Mugabe’s birthday?

Royalists wont hesitate to slam Mugabe for taking public money and giving himself a million pound birthday bash but I couldn’t help but wonder, isn’t this argument a bit like our own British queen’s jubilee? Apologies in advance for linking to the Daily Mail, but the contradiction is amusing. They cannot help but gush about the royals most of the time: Here’s a classic double whammy: “Health & Safety has gone mad and it’s stopping us celebrate our glorious subjugation”

Those arguments aside, I wonder which one is more costly to it’s respective taxpayers and economies?

The short version is that Mugabe’s birthday could be proportionately (taking into account population and the relative sizes of economies) 13 times LESS expensive. Say what you want about human rights, as a dictator, at least the man is good value for money. The long version then….

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Fast Food Nation – Schlosser

Fast Food Nation – Schlosser

Dare I say that I think the humans come off worst in this book about the fast food industry?

Actually, that strikes me as one of the most genius things about this book. I’m sure there is a litany of work out there detailing every minute of a battery hens life, or that of a ‘roid-raging cow… but once you know that we (you know, humans) often don’t treat animals particularly nicely, then it just kind of sinks in and you either care or you don’t. If we’ve pulped a million billion chickens, then what difference is 2 million billion? (Answer : one million billion) Maybe you don’t like chickens? What if you think chickens suck?

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Simulations – Baudrillard

Simulations – Jean Baudrillard

Nothing like some hot French postmodern (or post structural?) philosophy to kick things off. It would make me appear erudite and complex, if I then didn’t go on to reveal how bloody hard it was to read and (probably) how little of it I really understood. Gotta try though.

Also, taking selected chunks out of one important thinkers’ works, in isolation, and trying to get the whole meaning over is a little naughty of me: suffice to say if you want the full story on Baudrillard you won’t find it here (try the tell-all celebrity autobiography “Baudrillard: Mad, bad and French to know” hitting shelves this Christmas)

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