Friday 29 March 2013

The Rising of Jessops

Zombies. Walkers. Rotters. The dead coming back to life have been rather popular of late with TV shows like 'The Walking Dead' even appealing to those who aren't fans of the zombie genre. Just like those TV shows where a character dies and comes back, the photo retail chain Jessops has returned from the dead; thankfully looking in a leaner and fitter shape than it did before it passed away.

Originally the comeback, only made possible by the efforts of entrepreneur and businessman Peter Jones, was to be an online only operation, but it has now been revealed that 40 stores, possibly rising to 48 at a later date, will be opened around the UK. One store will open every day during April. An order online and collect in store service appears to be one key area that the new Jessops company are keen to promote so the location of the stores will be key to the use of the order and collect service.

The new stores opening is great news but they do need to be relevant to the broad demands of the modern day photographer. Whether it be digital, video or film, the stores should reflect the diverse nature of 21st century photography. One reason for the death of the old Jessops brand was it focused on a very narrow market - a market that quickly moved onto using smart phones for their photography! The retail needs of other photographers tended to be ignored. Hopefully this new Jessops enterprise will be a true photographic retailer where digital, video AND analogue photographers can shop in the same retail space.

So will i use it? Well yes, in fact i will be placing my first order next week using the website, buying photographic chemicals and a few other bits and bobs. What the future has in store for this new enterprise is another matter, but with reduced costs and a better business plan it could have a bright future. Maybe.

The new Jessops website can be found at

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Tumblring Onward

Over the past weeks or so, I've been watching with some interest the Tumblr activity connected to the photograph above. The photo was taken last year at Strome Castle in the Highlands of Scotland and posted onto Tumblr later that day - so it has been on my blog for around seven months. Over that time the image has been liked and re-blogged nearly 150 times. The other Strome castle image has managed just 10.

OK, so 149 isn't a very high number, but the interesting factor has been the whom behind the re-blogging of the image. Virtually all of the affection has come from what i respectfully call the 'Tolkien brigade'. These are individuals with an interest or passion for the 'olde' world that ranges from Celtic and viking culture through to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones fans. Is the general subject matter of the castle, lochs and old stone walls the appeal or is it the actual photograph and an almost timeless view through an old castle wall? It's probably a combination of both. Whatever the appeal, the image seems to capture people's imagination.

The likes and re-blogs also have another interesting trait. They tend to come in waves usually starting with an individual finding the photo, liking or re-blogging it and the cycle starts again as their followers do the same. It's like the photo is caught and blown along by the wind. How long this will continue is anyone's guess but if the photo can still be found seven months on then i see no reason why it can't keep tumblring onward.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Astro Nighttime

Have you ever looked up into the clear night sky, stared at the stars and thought how insignificantly small we are as a planet? We are just a fleck of dust in the cosmos compared to the majestic star fields that stretch out across the dark sky. As you watch this great video you get the same sort of  feeling.

If your internet connection is up to the task then i'd recommend viewing in HD and full screen. I especially love the movement of the stars as the night progresses. It gives a rather intense visual feeling of the speed of 'our' little planet as it spins and moves its way through space.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Raising the Colours

Reenactment at Gettysburg, PA. 2012 | Photo by Michael Falco

There are a few photographers covering the current anniversaries of the American Civil war but the superb colour images by Michael Falco especially stand out by having quite a unique haunting quality.

Michael has been using his own large format pin hole cameras to capture the action at various civil war reenactment events that will be going on until 2015. The resulting images have quite an authentic feel to them but i especially like the blurred movement contained within the images. The flags on the battlefield take on a life of their own, often looking tattered and worn from intense battlefield wear and tear.

We tend to want everything sharp and clear in this digital photography world. Usually that's OK, but modern images can sometimes be seen as rather too clean as other photographers have mentioned. Falco's work has character, feel and most of all atmosphere. You can almost hear the flags fluttering in the wind.

It would be interesting to do some English Civil war reenactment images in a similar style, even if it was historically totally inaccurate. Photography in the England of 1644 would probably be regarded as witchcraft so you'd have to be careful.

Michael Falco's excellent pinhole colour photography can be found on his website HERE