Monday, August 30, 2010

Photographic Lies
As a student, I found Dave McKean's Mr Punch - a comic book about childhood memories with some dark undertones. For those of you who don't know Mr Punch, it's part photography and part drawn, the photos are all heavily shopped but the clue is that everything that's told with photography is false, lies, made up and everything that's drawn is the truth in this book.

Walking Photoshop
Later I found Fotomarathon which was part photography, part "24" (but without torture as such) and part making/building/customizing stuff on the go. We were a small group of people who did this for a few years and we worked on perfecting small, lightweight "In-Camera-Photoshop" kits.
I photographed a lot back then, carried my fotomarathon kit with me, because of the 24 picture limitation and the fact that you had to cash out to see your photos, I took care, I experimented, but I made sure my shots were as good as the could be. I never had a camera capable of doing double exposures and I've always missed it.

Going Digital
My skills went down the drain, I didn't take care anymore and photography became documentation. Sure, every now and again I went analog and took a few polaroids or played around with a 35mm plastic camera, but I never had one thing I had always wanted to explore: Double exposure and to me that seemed to be where you could really "photoshop".

The Unreal Camera
When my sister and her family gave me a Diana F+ I was forced to think again: 12-16 pictures on each roll, about 10 quid to get them processed and no automatic easy-way-out. There's also very little choice when it comes to exposure time and F-stops.

The camera has a plastic lens and is "badly" made, it produces random effects, combine with expired film and you let go of more control. Letting go of control is part of the "Lomography" ethos and it may seem silly, but it works, if you don't set out to take precise and "true" photos you gain the freedom to play, you give yourself the right to screw up and make something that looks nothing like what you photographed. I have taken a few straight photographs with it, but they are incredibly boring. That's what I like about this camera, it can't handle the truth - it is a "Mr Punch" camera. The above series of photos is from my second roll shot with the Diana, from about the middle of the film.

To me, this camera is for taking those "Mr. Punch" photos - documenting lies, fibs and tales. (The photos above are from my third roll.) This camera is my sketchbook camera, it is all about ideas and experiments, about creating something new out of the reality that lies before me, creating sights that don't exist.

A small "In-Camera-Photoshop" kit is coming together, but it'll be different this time as I now have my beloved double exposure. The above is what they call a Splitzer, named after a 10 quid image-splitter that they Lomography people sell.

The Blind Layout
It would absolutely be possible to use this as a layout tool using a series of masks, gels, lights to compose a book cover, a poster or any other piece of design, Instead of shoving things around in indesign, you cut out out your headline, mount it on black - or construct it of letters found in the streets, take a picture, then you dress up your model - you might want to use a dark haired model so you don't mess up the headline, you black up her face, take her picture, find a single cloud in the sky, construct a mask around it and position your camera so that the cloud will be where the model's face is. You wouldn't see your layout until it's processed.

I still carry my digital camera around, even more it's become a tool for documentation as I am not interested in the camera when I take these snaps, they are merely an extension of my memory where the Diana is an extension of my imagination.

More Diana shots on flickr

Anything you think I should try out, let me know.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tweeting Fantasy

Over the summer, I've been thinking about games and the current sketchbook is slowly filling up with ideas for playing and what games can be used for.

One of them started when I saw this splash on an issue of WIRED and ultimately was disappointed by it. In the mag, however, they did use the good old Fighting Fantasy system that really, really, REALLY rocked my world when I was a kid, so based on my own flat, I created a mini story in the sketch book as a test. Developing it, I thought of how this could be used to reverse the ARG thinking - they usually import a fictional world into the real world in order to connect you to a videogame, film, TV-show or whatever - my test had small bits of information about reality imported into the fiction.

I thought of the potential of this way of telling stories and there are some pretty decent things you can do with it - these will be revealed when they happen, but one that sprung to mind was:

I wanted to have the same sense of leafing through the book (or some of it) so I decided to ask a bunch of twitterers to join in and each host a segment of the story, leading them on to the next - At this point I was thinking about how the story could be used as marketing - how this could work as a way to get your target audience to visit certain places - obviously, this system can be linked to facebook pages, blogs, flickr accounts, websites for a more versatile system, I used Twitter because Twitter is flux - the story would be gone within an hour, or at least very difficult to find (I could have used hashtags if I wanted it to linger on.)

At a set time, my fellow storytellers and I tweeted first message, directing readers to the start, then a part of the story.

Marketing-wise, this generated very few new followers for the participants - I got a few, but mainly for the hype before the actual event, what it did was to tie the participants closer together, people checked out each others IDs, but non-participants reading the story did not, they focused on the story - probably also because of the Twitter pace - the fear of loosing something.

As for the storytelling in the twitter format, it works with certain kinds of stories, amnesia-stories are good, where you don't need any background, where you figure out snippets along the way. The system is very fragile - you're in trouble if one person forgets to tweet, so in order to make it work, I had created numerous IDs so I could re-route the story if that happened.

I'd like to thank my fellow storytellers: @sewkate, @tikaro, @nick_fu, @equisgarcia, @nerdmeritbadges, @ET_lives, @steveBussDK, @drhypercube, @p8tch, @guerilladrivein and @thisisnevermore

Prepare for "Running Fantasy"...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the new blog on the blog
As part of the (slowly) ongoing overhaul of the website, we're seperating out the blog. The blog started out before blogs, by me uploading a small thought, update or observation every morning, then came blog software and we started using that - to also include images, but mostly, the updates were the same old format - a random thought of a plug of new site content.

Then came Twitter which is just that.
I like Twitter. I'm old-tech so I own no iPhone and thereby my tweets are of a different kind - they are exactly those observations I started posting back in the day, before the blog was a blog.

Now, Twitter has taken over the job of the blog and the blog has no purpose - for a while I've been wanting a place to write longer texts, observations and so on, something the blog wasn't really able to do (because I had stripped it all down - after three posts, the contents were gone - this fitted the format then) so now I'm re-doing it, making it a proper blog.

It's take a while to get into this, so bear with me. Updates will be more scarce, but hopefully longer, with more pictures and stuff. Sketcbook pages will probably go here.

I've deleted the old posts - they were meant to be flux and now they're gone. On with the new.

Be seeing you

Monday, August 09, 2010

off the line
I'm offline for a bit, emails will be checked but sporadically...
Things are being brewed up, thought out and looked at again.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Århus blues
I am back in Århus, as I have been a couple of times a year for a while now and it gets more and more depressing. What I increasingly notice here is a lack of caring - only the wheatpasters seem to still have it, shops, people in general advertisers, they don't care to be clever, smart or good and it reminds me of all the disappointment this place has thrown at me, I wonder if I'll ever fit in here again, or rather, if this place will ever fit me again. I have tried to help it out, I have truly made an effort to make this a nicer, better, cleverer, more positive place but I am increasingly thinking that it's a waste of energy.

This place used to be a nice, clean break from London, no feet on the seats and less fear of stabbings, the feet are on the seats here now too and at least Londoners apologise when they nearly take out you eye with a brolly.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Sconut + medals

To the right you see a Sconut I developed and tested in Port Eliot, to the left you see some medals adorning our medal making den.