Category Archives: Ideas

Ideas – Seville and the Art of the ‘Selfie’

I travelled to Seville in February to escape the dreariness of the UK, have a short break away from work and take photographs. I visited Plaza de España in Seville on my first day in the city, a beautiful spot in Maria Luisa Park with its huge half-circle of buildings, mosaic floor and fountains. It was a sublime spot with startling green parakeets flying around catching the sunlight on their wings and the sheer splendour of the Moorish architecture.

Despite the scenery and idyllic atmosphere, I was absolutely spellbound by an Asian girl who spent at least 20 minutes standing in the mosaic square in front of the buildings, perfecting a selfie. She posed in numerous multiple positions and must have taken tens or more images of herself. I grew increasingly annoyed. “Turn around and look at what you’re here to look at properly!” I kept muttering under my breath. “How can you possibly not soak in the beauty of that sight over and above your own good looks?!”  “Why travel so far from home and then just take hundreds of photographs of yourself – save yourself a plane flight and just sit in front of a mirror?”

Was I just being a grumpy middle-aged woman a bit put out because this stunning girl was enjoying perfecting an image of herself in this beautiful location? Was I ever so slightly jealous about her total lack of self-consciousness in such a public place? Did I want to ram her mobile down her throat to teach her a lesson? Yes. Did it not occur to me that I was at least two big steps removed from this ‘selfie’ culture… firstly obviously by age, secondly because it also seems the done thing if you’re from east Asia.. the Japanese in particular seem to do this everywhere – and it’s not restricted to young people – the spritely geriatric generation are definitely doing it too.

I have decided to research more about the development of ‘selfie’ culture as a bit of research on the side within the ‘self-portrait’ section of this course.  Stand by….

Ideas – Photographing crowds

Below is one of the photographs from the Guardian’s ‘Best Photos of the Day’ published on 17 January 2017 (https://www.theguardian.com/news/gallery/2017/jan/17/best-photos-of-the-day-a-fiery-ride-and-art-restoration).. It was shot in Allahabad in India and the image is described as ‘Impoverished children watch a performance as part of a campaign against child labour’, taken by Rajesh Kumar Singh.

allahabad-india-rajesh-kumar-singh-impoverished-children-watch-a-performance-as-part-of-a-campaign-against-child-labour

It immediately made me think of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s wonderful ‘Children at a Puppet Show’, a photograph I fell in love with years ago. The children in Eisenstaedt’s image are showing a much wider ranges of emotions, but it still struck me what a great idea it is to focus on a crowd and away from the spectacle to get some totally natural candid portraits… I’m going to try this the next time I come across street performers and a decent sized crowd!

alfred-eisenstaedt-children-at-a-puppet-show