Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

MY LIFEHACKS #3

4 March 2013

THIS IS ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHY LIFEHACK.

At one time, life was simpler; there would be just one family camera, and it would take all the pictures of the children growing up, the holidays, the life events.

But now, things are considerably more complicated because we can take pictures with a range of devices. In our household at the moment, my daughter can take pictures with her pink camera, her phone, and her Nintendo DSi. My son has a blue camera, a DS, and an underwater camera.  We still have a family camera that takes videoclips as well as jpg files, and of course, we have smartphones, videocameras and probably more things if we really thought about it!

Each device labels each photograph and video file in an unhelpful way – something like 023456IMG.jpg – and we would rather not spend time renaming and tagging all this stuff – so what’s the best way to organise our data? What is the best way to manage photographs and video clips?

[Picture of irfanview logo]Well, for us, the answer is to use a free program called IRFANVIEW. This may be downloaded from irfanview.com.

Put a batch of pictures and clips in a folder, download and install irfanview, then select a picture (a *.jpg) in Windows Explorer – right click and select “Open with…” then pick irfanview.

When the picture opens in irfanview’s viewer, type in the letter “b” from the keyboard to do a batch rename. There is a special code that converts the filename into a date and timestamp, regardless of what device was used to take the picture or clip.

The code is:
$T(%Y%m%d_%H%M%S)
This is year, month, day, hours, minutes and seconds, it is very unlikely that two photographs would be taken at exactly the same time, so it is a great way to rename all your files from all your devices – it sorts them all chronologically, but the EXIF information (the data about the camera used etc) remains intact.

batchscreenshot

[Click on this image to enlarge for detail if required]

Simply “Add all” and let the batch run. All the files are renamed!  Simple.

[Picasa logo]

If tagging is important (hidden – but searchable – data about the location, who is in the photo, etc), then the long-term quickest way, I think, is to use Google’s picasa program. It’s free to use, download it from picasa.google.co.uk.

Once downloaded and installed, let it look through all your pictures. It will recognise human faces and offer them to you to tag. That is not as laborious as it sounds; it learns who the person is (somehow), so when you tag a face once, it looks through every picture you have to find and tag that person’s face wherever it finds it. Brilliant!

Of course, there will be times when it is not sure, so it will ask you to confirm that the face it thinks is someone is actually correct.

Now, once the program has done all that, it can display groupings. You can see a group of pictures containing a particular person. You can then select all of them and add that person’s name as a tag.  A proper image tag. A tag than can be uploaded to flikr or read by anyone’s device.

In Windows 7, you can tag pictures in Windows Explorer, so you can add a tag for a holiday batch or whatever you fancy.

CHOOSE LIFE

I like to get computers to do the work; I have a life.  That is what computers are supposed to be for, isn’t it?

I use irfanview to rename all my files chronologically and uniquely.  I use picasa to recognise people and group them for tagging.  I use a python flikr uploader script (see My Lifehack#2) to take the pain out of uploading loads of files to flikr.  I use flikr to organise, group into sets and collections, to share and to back-up all my stuff to the cloud.

It is all completely free of cost too. Free and easy. Takes no effort nor time once set up; the computer does all the hard work for you. And that’s how it should be; it lets you get on with more fun things in life. Enjoy!

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MY PHOTOS OF GLASGOW 1

5 June 2010

I was mesmerised by the pattern of light on an old brick building on Finnieston Street.  As the sun set, it reflected off the highly mirrored finish of the tall Sky Park building.

[davedevine's fone snap of Building on Finnieston Street]

I saw a similar effect on Gordon Street, with the Ca’D’oro building, along with rainbows and a nice reflection:

[davedevine's fone snap of Ca'D'oro building]

And again with the old Dental Hospital entrance up near the Art School.

[davedevine's dental hospital reflection]

As a result, I began to notice more and more the reflections on buildings’ surfaces. I noticed the Gaelic School reflected the RSNO building nicely.

[davedevines's picture of the RSNO reflection]

Churches make good subjects, so I took two pictures with my mobile phone one lunchtime on Bath Street.  The subject is Renfield St Stephen’s church restored spire.  There are two office blocks across the road, the first picture is 225 Bath Street’s entrance, which is clear glass.

[davedevine's fone snap of Renfield St Stephen reflected on 225 Bath St] [davedevine's fone snap of Renfield St Stephen reflected on office Block on Bath St]

The second picture shows the church reflected in the highly mirrored building directly across from the church.  I took another picture of this building from a different angle and disregarding the church’s reflection:

[davedevine's fone snap of office block on Bath St]

I realised that there are quite a lot of buildings that attempt to be invisible by being mirrored to reflect the Victorian surroundings.  In some cases the building is almost invisible when reflecting the sky:

[davedevine's fone snap of the Crowne Plaza]

Invisibility can make a building light and feint, and nonemoreso than the new Springburn College — known as North Glasgow College, which is formed in plan by two squashed boxes separated by a sharp or acute triangular portion. The pointed bit really is pointed, and vanishes into the sky, being mirrored on both sides.

[davedevine's photo of NGC point]

[davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College] [davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College] [davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College]

Sometimes a building will be shiny and silvery, but not really act like a mirror.  There is a very strange building in the IFSD:

[davedevine's picture of foil-wrapped building]

It is like a foil-wrapped building, and it still can reflect the sky to become almost invisible.  However, this picture was taken from a narrow lane at the rear of the building, so it mainly serves to reflect light into a dark area.

I like reflections of their own sake — buildings that were not designed to reflect can sometimes do so by virtue of their glazing — a=to great effect if what is reflected is noteworthy.  I spotted this window in the Park Circus area:

[davedevine's fonie snap of park circus reflection]

Another picture from the next street has a massive mirror to lend light and a feeling of spaciousness to a moat area:

[davedevine's fone snap of mirror at park circus]

The above point of the North Glasgow College, reminded me of a picture I took with an old Nokia phone of the Science Tower:

[davedevine's Nokia phone picture of Science Tower]

I like looking up at tall buildings; it certainly beats looking down!

[davdevine's mobile fone snap of office block] [davedevine's phone camera shot of flats on Broomielw] [davedevine's cameraphone snap of the Eagle Building]

[davedevine's fone snap of Beresford on sauchiehall st]

No article on pictures of Glasgow could miss out The Stobcross Crane or the Armadillo landmarks, and of course, the Clyde itself — perfect for reflections. These three cameraphone snaps were taken from the Squinty Bridge (Clyde Arc).

[davedevnie's sunrise over the clyde taken by phone camera]

[davedevine's Clyde Arena camera phone snap] [davedevine's fone snap of crane and clyde]

Hope you enjoyed seeing around my home city of Glasgow through my eyes and the lens of my old trusty Sony Ericsson phone. There are beautiful things all around us all the time — if you choose to look for them.

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RODCHENKO

6 December 2006

[Picture of Osip Brik by Rodchenko]It was the picture first.  Not the story, not the context, not the label, just the picture.  It caught my eye and has stayed with me ever since. The photograph is called “The Critic Osip Brik”. I was just 17.

Alexander Rodchenko was Russian and an artist.  He gave up painting in favour of photography back in the 1920s.  Was he right, was art a waste of time now that we have photography? Hmm, interesting.

In any case, Rodchenko’s picture made me wonder about its subject — who was this curiously named man?  What a face!  The spectacles, the reflection of Russian, the composed features, the moustaches.  It somehow fitted the description for me of Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective, Poirot!

My investigations at the Mitchell Library introduced me to the “Futurists”  — Brik was a Russian avant garde writer and literary critic, was one of the most important members of the Russian Formalists” as well as one of “The Futurists”. Brik was one of the co-founders of the magazine “Leftist Front for the Arts” or LEF, which was a championed Russian “Constructivist art”.

I was amazed — that this ostensibly very conservative, almost prim person — a potential Nazi — could be such an anarchist! WOW!

And for me at 17, reading about the Russian Futurists was earth-shattering! My research led to the Italian Futurists and the German Dada movement.

The Futurists were fascinated with the dynamism, speed, and restlessness of modern urban life. They were out for attention, for challenge — for controversy — mainly by slagging off the art of the past as being boring.

Of course this clicked with the new wave — the “punk” movement of which I was so engrossed.

The portrait is iconic as an art object, and it showed me that you cannot judge a book by its cover.  I guess you could say that this is a bad photograph if it doesn’t make clear that Osip was radical and anti-establishment. But hey — that’s what that type of person looked like back then!

The name Osip Brik, and the picture are as part of me as anything can be.  I looked at this face every day for a decade, having it as a postcard that I carried about in my wallet.  Some people, on seeing it, has reckoned he was Jewish, others that he was a POW Commandant!  He’s been called right wing fascist, and communist — he’s been a villain and a hero, a mild mannered banker type and a cool, calculating killer!

This is therefore one of the most enigmatic images ever recorded on film.

As for Rodchenko, well, as a result of this picture I have grown to love so many other pictures of his that it may be said that Rodchenko is a seriously major influence on my life and approach to life.

He did the official film poster for the movie, “The Battleship Potemkin“, in 1926 — now, in case you don’t know, this film has  been voted one of the most influential films of all time on many occasions, and was named the greatest film of all time at the World’s Fair at Brussels, Belgium. It is a silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein about a real life  uprising from 1905 when the crew of a Russian battleship rebelled against their oppressive officers of the Tsarist regime.

I have a lot of “coffee table” photography books, and I adore Rodchenko’s photographs. His eye was amazing — weird angles made me take family Christmas snaps standing on a chair to get a tall perspective!

Rodchenko has been an amazing influence on all sorts of people — even to this day.  Just look at this picture belonging to a collection of the Musée d´Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, entitled,  Rodtchenko, la révolution dans l´oeil.

[Picture of

Now compare it with Scottish Pop band, Franz  Ferdinand’s album cover for “You Could Have It So Much Better”:

[Picture fo Franz ferdinand's 2nd Album Cover]And Rodchenko’s stairs and shadows surely must have influenced another Glasgow artist, Jim Lambie — who uses black and white tape to create something of the same effect (the picture here is of his exhibition, “Forever Changes” at GOMA”).

[Picture taken by Rodchenko of shadows and stairs]jimlambie_goma

Rodchenko has endured as one of my all-time favourite photographers, and Mr Brik has been a close friend for a great many years (I even had him on a tee shirt).

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CAPA

10 November 2005

I have had a darkroom all my adult life; photography has always been so important to me — and to my wife (she takes fantastic pictures, much better that mine).

Naturally we have lots of coffee table photography books, and every-so-often they are consulted to remind us what we should be striving for.  Some photographers have taken pictures that have been so inspirational to me in so many ways, but I ought to add here that which is all too often omitted — that some pictures become friends, they live beyond the intention, the moment, or the context of the artist’s life.

  • The first picture that I can recall affecting me that way is by a chap known professionally as Robert Capa. It is probably one of the best known photographs ever taken.

Capa was in Cerro Muriano on the Cordoba Front during the Spanish Civil War.  It was taken on 1936-09-05, and is called known as The Loyalist Militia Man at The Moment of Death. The Militia man has been identified as Federico Borrell García, from Alicante.

[Picture called It’s an amazing picture.  It initially haunted and troubled me, and I hated it.

Then I found out that some people think that it is a fake. Oddly enough, that made me feel a whole lot better about the picture; it has become symbolic now, for me.  It is so familiar now.  It describes perfectly  for me the insanity of war, that a son/ dad/ brother/ friend can take a living step and be dead before completing the action — dead while actually moving.  Dead in a moment.

Yet the man is the only thing in the frame, the brilliant white shirt against the sky, the shadow adding so much, the lack of cover — nowhere to hide.  The lack of armour, of uniform, or support — this is a bloke with a gun, not a trained killing professional. This is an (ironically named) civil war. He’s a civilian really.  It’s obviously sunny, but thank goodness it’s a monochrome picture; colour would not work.

I am not sure it matters if this is the moment of  Federico’s death; the image speaks for itself, and does it’s job without the need for explanation or background information — it is powerful to me without being gruesome or gory (there are plenty of them available I’m afraid).  This goes beyond photo-journalism and becomes “art”.

[Picture of D-Day Landings by Capa]Personally I do think now that it is genuine — not a staged scene. Capa was perfectly capable of getting that close  to the action — look at his D-Day landing pictures for proof of that. He was known as a war photographer — in fact he was blown up as a result of stepping on a landmine in Indochina (Vietnam) in May 1954.  He died holding his camera in a war zone.  Earlier he lost the love of his life, war photographer Gerda Taro — she was killed in the Spanish Civil War.

But it was not all war and scary stuff; Capa was a colourful chap — as a Jewish Hungarian refugee, Endre Ernő Friedmann picked “Robert Capa” as his professional name because “Capa” means “shark” in Hungarian, and “Robert Capa” sounded American. He founded the famous agency, Magnum Photos in 1947 with Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Vandivert, David Seymour, and George Rodger.  He also dated the movie star, Ingrid Bergman and lived in Hollywood with her until 1947.  Their pal, the famous film director, Alfred Hitchcock based his movie, Rear Window, on their turbulent love affair!

I have to say here that I am not a war person, I certainly do not search for those types of pictures or anything like that.  Having said that, I do admire Capa and the work of the Magnum guys immensely — it’s just that I prefer those picture that offer something, you know, different, something extra. To explain this a bit better, look at the following picture:

[Picture of killer pilot by Capa]It’s not the fact that it’s a war picture, what I like about this is the expression on the pilot’s face — along with the tally, the suggestion of cockpit, and the angle of the composition.  It shows that Capa was a great photographer, technically, instinctively, and compositionally — what a good eye and idea, and that’s what it’s all about.

Powerful and memorable objects in their own right — that’s inspirational and aspirational!

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SKETCHING – CHORDS

8 May 2003

[Pictures of sketch bnooks from 1977)I grew up in a semi-rural location.  It was quiet, mature and terribly boring, so I had little choice but to travel to meet up with my pals — and this meant that I was in a lot of different and pretty diverse groups, bands, teams and gangs.

I had pals in one group that would never — ever, in a million years — get on with pals in other groups.  That was part of the fun!

Mind you, it was not entirely black-and-white, cut-and-dried; I knew a few guys who liked art AND motorcycles, others who liked art AND music, others who liked music AND motorcycles, if you see what I mean.

But largely speaking, there were distinct groups of pals — and I would hang out with the guys who loved album art and who painted motorcycle petrol tanks, then I would see guys who played guitars and drums or the guys who played rugby with me!

Heck I actually had a pal who was incredibly shy, he liked to listen to music and was into hi-fi, but hated musicians and avoided bikers! So it was more about keeping everyone away from each other than anything else!

The result was that I picked up a bit of this and a bit of that.  I played a wee bit of guitar and bass, I did some sketches, I played a wee bit of rugby, I dabbled in hi-fi, did a bit of writing.  I think I did rather well as a talentless will-o-the-wisp, I may not have been any good at any one thing, but it was always fun… and still is to be perfectly honest!  Today, my wife is constantly amazed at the wild diversity of my acquaintances!

Anyway, for myself, I sometimes try to merge one thing with another.  I painted rugby players, I photographed rallies and speedway, and the above are the results of my attempt to blend guitar playing with art!

I discovered some old schoolday sketch pads from 1977, and thought I would embarrass myself by putting them up here on the world-wide web! Hey, why not? They are decades old and of no use apart from this sort of thing — maybe they will spark something in some real artistic soul that wanders across this blog.  You never know.  All I know is that all my life I have been about cross pollination between disparate social groups, why should it stop just because I am unable to get out and about as much!

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