Shuttermaniac.com is a Photography blog authored by Lee Williamson, a Scottish photographer based in Ireland.
Before this blog started (prior to Oct 2012) he had a Facebook page which served as a means for keeping clients and friends updated to any upcoming gigs, work and events. This also served as a back catalogue for said clients wishing to see their portfolios shown on a public platform for review and critique. He currently has a website which only started last year May 2011 and has already attracted a plethora of international interest (but mainly Scottish..)
‘Dublin’s Arts and Antique Quarter’ use his images in their highlighting of the up and becoming cultural area in and Francis Street.
The Blogger comes from a small, quiet agricultural seaside town just south of Glasgow, so always had the aspirations to seek out the next big city and run away from home. Since the childhood dream of leaving home officially (usually a kick in the arse when you turn sixteen) he has worked, lived, and squandered his time around the globe. Dodging in and out of Hospitality/ Catering work as often as a stray dog to a home he worked in every level of Hotels, Restaurants and Bars and even served time in the Merchant Navy as a Drunken Sailor/ Sommelier on board the QE2 cruise liner.
The common factor in all this unsettled chaos, was the pastime in which this young man adhered all his spare time and attention to. With years spent away from home and cultural comfort zones, and having a distinct lack of wanting to return, he was only going to be immersed deeper into this new-found career path.
“It’s only by looking back and organising your photographs, that you can make sense of all this madness, which we call life”. At least that’s what I think she said, as my forgetful grandmother asked me for the third time.
“Who is this one again, son?”
Here’s a walkthrough of how I hooked up my Android phone to my DSLR. Why did I do this? Because of Dropbox, social media, quick editing for the web, an intervalometer, macro/low-angle photography, an external LCD screen for video, Wi-Fi, and more.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
An Android phone with USB OTG (USB host) capabilities
On the common occasion that I cant get a successful night’s kip I’ll venture out into Dublin’s darkness and see what I can shoot. This helps me use all the unspent energy from the day in the hope that when I return to bed I can finally get my forty winks. I thought I’d share with you the images I have taken over the last year which helped me drift off into a deep coma.
Earlier in the year I ventured out into the Irish rain and tried to document the event of the summer.
In June Bavaria City Racing brought Formula 1 to the streets of Dublin. More than 100,000 spectators were expected to gather for an adrenaline-fuelled afternoon with Superbikes, Super cars, Touring cars, Formula 2, WRC, Drifters, and demonstrations from internationally celebrated F1 cars and drivers.
The map of the taken-over streets
This is what I managed in the midst of the worst weather of the season.
I shot in three different locations. It was well worth the extra effort to talk to bar-owners in the city centre to let you up to the top of their buildings to allow you to shoot from above.
I found a great article on buying the older retro cameras on Ebay.
The trouble is, after you have read this you are going to be poor and partner-less. On the brighter side, you will have an immense collection of the greatest light recording tools on the planet!
“One thing I’m always amazed at is how some of the best cameras can be bought on ebay at great prices simply because few sellers spend just a few minutes cleaning up the cameras they find at garage sales or in the attic before photographing them and listing them. The metal bodied cameras of the 1930’s through 1970s were built like battleships. They clean up beautifully. I’ve collected more than 150 cameras on ebay over the last 2 years and have had great luck in winning high quality equipment that I shoot at least a roll of film with each of them.
Somebody may consider this a sacriledge, but I clean up each and every one of them using baby wipes. These things clean up everything from leather to metal and plastic parts. and I have never seen it damage any camera with whatever chemicals are in the wipe. Maybe some other brand might do damage, but I can vouch that the Kirkland brand from Costco does no harm and does a great job in taking off everything but corrosion. Clean lens glass with proper lens cloths, though and use proper lens cleaning fluid (if you must) so you don’t take the delicate coating off lenses and mirrors.
Beyond that, one usually just needs to replace the light seals on most cameras and get the proper batteries and then you have a camera that takes great, razor sharp pictures. The great news is that there are great sellers on ebay that sell light seal replacement kits and hard to find batteries. I’ve bought from each of them on more than one occasion and have been very happy with their products. I suppose the most common of the no-longer-available batteries is the 625 mercury cell that was commonly used in such popular cameras of the 1960’s and 1970’s like the Cannon FTb SLR, the Canonet Series of Rangefinder Cameras, The Nikkormat FTn, Nikon F, and the Minolta SRT Series of SLR’s. Sure, there are ways to use hearing aid batteries to replace this no longer available button cel, but I’m a very satisfied user of the Wein Cel MRB625 that provides the exact 1.35Volt power those cameras (and their meters) were designed to use. Even though they are the zinc/air type they still last over a year in storage after the tab has been removed. At about $6 per cel they are worth being able to use these classic cameras at their original specs.
Another great product to know about in restoring old cameras is Ronsonal Lighter Fuel. Used sparingly, this is a wonderful solvent that frees stuck parts such as leaf shutters and aperture blades. It is thought to be a very pure solvent that leaves little or no residue after it evaporates. I’ve been able to take wonderful pictures with many seemingly hopeless cameras because this stuff loosened up the old lubricant in cameras that haven’t been used in decades. Usually, there’s nothing else wrong with them”.
The street I live on has seen much change in years gone by. It has moved on from the days it was nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” to the vast ethnic diversity that can be seen there today. I decided to go up and down the Dublin city centre stretch and show the business’s from circa 1960 to present day.
1960 Eddie Thornton’s Grocery Store
1964 Gregory Conlon’s Curio Shop
1975 James and Seamus Traver’s of Travers Photography
In keeping with the family connection to explore the notion of how photography inspires us, I asked my sister to recall a story relating to a cousin of ours.
“My brother asked me to collaborate on his photography post series Monster Under The Bed as in our family we have all witnessed first-hand the superpower of the photograph. Lee sees the world through different eyes and shares his unique view with us all through his captivating photography. I also see the world differently with the help of photographs, and I’ll explain the reasons why”.
Using Photography as a Tool for Emotional Therapy;
Most of us will look through our collection of family photographs from time to time, and remember fondly (or not so in some cases!) the event or occasion that took place when the photograph was captured – reminding us of when it was taken, who we were with, what we were doing, how that event impacted our lives etc. Such reminiscence using photographs is often used as a form of therapeutic treatment in the care of elderly dementia patients, giving them a real sense of belonging, importance and of peace, in a time of difficulty. But it doesn’t stop there – many of us will use photographs for the same purpose, remembering happy times and helping us to maintain or improve our emotional wellbeing, and in coping with life’s challenges.
To put this into context, I’ll share my cousin’s story. By the age of just 15 he had tragically lost both of his parents, my own Aunt and Uncle. His photographs of them became a treasured collection of his memories, captured ‘forever’ in print. However, some years later a devastating house fire destroyed most of these images, leaving him with only one single photograph of his mum and dad together. This photograph of course became extremely precious to him. He realised that any other photographs of his parents would be like gold dust to come by.
My mother knew she had a photograph of my cousin’s parents in an old album somewhere and wanted him to have it, but despite her hunting high and low and in all the nooks and crannies of every inch of her house, that wee photo completely eluded her grasp. She started to accept that perhaps she had lost this over the years of house moves and life moving on, but she never quite gave up on the idea of what that one single image could mean to my cousin. Very recently she uncovered an old box in her loft containing images from a lost era . One of which was the photograph of my cousin’s parents.
There was an extra sparkle clearly visible in this photograph – it didn’t only include his parents, but also showed that my Aunt was expecting company.
From the moment I called my cousin to let him know, to the excitement when I sent the email with the scanned photo attached, and to the day I received the text message from him telling me of the joy he felt to see that image– I became inherently aware of the superpower of the photograph – to bring happiness into someone’s world and sooth the delicate emotions from yesteryear. The earliest photograph of his existence so powerfully established in the simplest of their contemporary devices. Respect fairly due to ‘the snapshot’. As Kodak’s earliest ad’s stated “You press the button, we do the rest”, Do we disagree?
This was a task I was to undertake for college, that I thought I would share. This is the deconstruction of an image using opinions from professionals across the fashion industry.
Kate Moss signed up to David Yurman’s company in 2010 to model his new line of jewellery, posing with a ring from his upcoming autumn collection. Yurman himself started out in the art world as a prominent sculptor (Nordstrom, 2012), his wife also shared artistic flair being a recognised painter. The couple realised the importance of classic tradition when it comes to what should be in their advertising campaigns. The collaboration between themselves and an established photographer would make for an attractive and lucrative advertisement. Moss is photographed by Peter Lindberg (Grazia, 2010) on a beach with a few key elements on display. The ring is the main focus of the commission. I selected this particular shot because, in what it is surrounded by, the ring itself becomes redundant. This makes me question who or what is being advertised by the nude. By illustrating naked form in such a way, what cultural assumptions do we make in order to understand such powerful and seductive imagery?
Smith (2004, p56) validates that a client’s shoulders, in order to appear more interesting and less rigid should not form a horizontal line throughout the frame. Moss certainly does appear more alluring and less distant. The pose draws you in and increases the length at which you would normally gaze upon the subject. This seems to be a popular stance for models that want to appear aloof and alluring when on the final turn on the catwalk and indeed this particular pose comes from classical roots. Edward Steichen photographed Gwili Andre in an almost identical method (Ewing 2008, p 253) when she modelled jewellery by Tiffany in Vanity Fair in 1936. This shows that traditional mechanisms are still being used today to attract clients to purchase products.
Steichen suggested (Ewing, 2008, p191) that if you take good photographs the art will follow suit. I believe that Lindberg may have been inspired by this standard, although in order to appeal to a more demanding consumer, he would have had to have added something else. Tobia Bezzola commented (Ewing, 2008, p192)on De Meyer who at the time was the chief photographer of Vanity Fair, to develop a form of fashion photography that itself engages the art of seduction rather than merely serving to document the art of the couturier, meant that the objective qualities of the attire were of scant interest. This suggested that even back in 1914 fashion photographers were beginning to realise the power of the nude to increase the potential value of the model associated in the advertised image. Although this commodifies the naked model, actual, rather than suggestive exposure will increase the market value of the product on offer.
Kate Moss was discovered by the owner of Storm Modelling Agency at the tender age of fourteen in JFK international airport (MCM, 2012). During her career to her mid-thirties she has intrigued her viewers by promoting vulnerability and her dominance as the queen of Heroin Chic. The image directors knew that by placing Moss in an ad campaign on a beach, soaked and appearing fragile that the viewer would feel empowered over her and relate that feeling perhaps to the jewellery that was being advertised. She is after all hiding herself behind the ring. But as we are no longer in the early 1920’s, and the fact it’s just a ring, is she really hiding anything. Or is it in fact she is really trying to promote something else?
Considering other models would have bared themselves for promotion, I looked at the portrait of Demi Moore by Annie Leibovitz (Carter, 2008 p56). Although its popularity with audiences spanning the globe attracted considerable controversy Susan Kandel (Kandel,1992) defended Moore and Leibovitz against traditionalist right wing protesters and sympathised with the progression of the nude in contemporary art. “While the self-righteous on the right lambasted the photograph’s flamboyant immodesty, the well-intentioned on the left hailed its progressiveness. Woman displayed as an expanded object, happily complicit both with her expansion and her objectification.” Kandel validates that the representation of the female body in twentieth century photography is laden with unease and constant negotiation between the physical and institutional bodies that constitute the very meanings of a women’s self-representation. Athough Kate Moss exposing a single nipple on the magazine advert attracted controversy we should realise that this is the movement of the times.
Many feel that the movement of exposure, in which female nudity is upon us now, stems from an attitude dating back to the early 1900’s. Josephine Baker (Rosetta, 2007) was one such icon which continues to inspire a century later. Famous for barely-there dresses and no-holds-barred dance routines, her exotic beauty generated nicknames “Black Venus,” “Black Pearl” and “Creole Goddess.” Admirers bestowed a plethora of gifts, including diamonds and cars. Even today her legacy exists in live performance, art, photography, fashion and film. With all the glamour attained by baring all for the camera it’s clear to see why culture has transgressed in this direction due to demand and reward from the audience. Contemporary audiences are no different.
John Tagg (1998, p16) observes the socialisation of production and consumption, with the mechanisms of discipline and desire to reveal that, by combining the two notions we are offering a medium by which we have little or no control. The technology of the camera itself is creating a division of power both between the controller and the possessor. Tagg states that within the space of these contradictions there is undoubtedly room for cultural resistance, although dissent rarely develops. Even if in today’s pressing advertisements, there contrives much controversy, there will never be enough negative press to assert a deceleration of such a strong cultural movement. This adheres with the age-old phrase that any publicity is good publicity.
On reflection, this image, even with its controversy, shows us a sign of progression in fashion and advertising. We realise that the nude has immense power in the stimulus of separating ourselves from our hard earned finances. Moss gains acclaim from the fashion world, in keeping with and moving forward the notions of au courant feminism. David Yurman projects his acknowledgement of the movement by the advertising of his products in the current fashion, and society is influenced by what they see in the magazine of this ultra-modern culture. Peter (Lindberg, 1998) proposes that “creativity is really a rebirth, a true tone we feel for ourselves and for our world. All this is a question of how deep we are willing to go”.
There have been many discussions lately, both on-line and off, on the rights of photographers – when, where and what you can legitimately photograph, and what you can subsequently do with the photographs you take.
This pamphlet is intended to give an outline of your rights and responsibilities as a photographer, but is not intended as a comprehensive guide.
As always, if you’re looking for specific legal advice, contact your local friendly solicitor!
Photographing on Public or Private Property?
In general, you are entitled to take pictures of anything you wish, when in a public place. You may take pictures of private property, people, or anything else you fancy.
On private property, you are also generally allowed to take photographs, provided you have permission to be on the property.
However, the owner may impose conditions on your entry to the property, which may include a complete ban on photography, a ban on photography of certain things, or a ban on certain types of photography (eg, flash photography, video photography etc).
Even where permission is not explicitly needed to enter the property, the owner is entitled to demand that you cease taking photographs, or that you leave the property. If you are asked to leave a property, you should not be threatened or attacked. Reasonable force may be used to remove you if necessary, however. In general, you are better off leaving when asked – the fact that you should not be threatened, does not mean you won’t be. The owner has no right to confiscate or damage any of your equipment.
The occupier of a private property, where he is not the owner, has the same rights as the owner would have. Security guards may also act for the owner or occupier in exercising these rights.
Violating the conditions under which you were admitted to a property voids your permission to be there, and you may be guilty of trespass. Trespass is a crime in some unusual cases but damages are more commonly sought in a civil case.
Photographs in a Public Place
You are not allowed to harass people in the course of your photography – stalking someone, or repeatedly blocking their way to take a photograph of them could be construed as harassment; simply taking a photograph of them probably won’t. Taking photographs of people in public is generally allowed – however, an exception is made where the subject would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You’re perfectly entitled to take a photograph of someone walking down the street – but hiding in a tree to take a photo of them in their home may get you into trouble.
You are not allowed to obstruct movement on the highway (roads, footpaths, cycle paths etc), or the work of a police officer, while taking photographs. Whether you are regarded as obstructing will depend on the situation, and you will generally be asked to move along by the police, if they view your behaviour as obstructive. If you refuse to do so, or persist in obstructing the highway, however, you may be arrested.
What you can do with your photographs is limited by Irish law. You may be found in contempt of court if you publish a photograph of a defendant, where identity is in question, that is, where witnesses may be asked to identify the defendant. You may also be found in contempt of court if you publish a photograph that might prejudice the defendant by insinuating his guilt (for example, of him being brought to court in handcuffs), or a photograph that might reveal prior convictions (for example, of the defendant at a previous trial).
Your Subject’s Rights
Can the subject of a photo prevent you from publishing it? Most of the caselaw in Ireland has centred on the misuse of celebrity images to imply an endorsement of a commercial good or service. This is dealt with by the courts, in general under the normal rules covering passing off. So, if the subject’s image might be worth money if used in an advertisement or as part of a product endorsement, they have a right to protect the income flowing from that, as a property right.
But what about the rest of the world, who don’t make their fortunes by assuring the world that, as Hollywood millionaires, they choose only the finest home-bottle hair-dyes to colour their hair? As the actor Gordon Kaye found out, when he was photographed by an interviewer whilst recovering from a serious head injury in hospital, there’s not much anyone can do to prevent you from publishing your photos. Provided your photographs are genuine, even if they would bring the subject down in the eyes of society, they’re not libellous.
Up to now, the right to privacy has been largely determined by a mixture of Constitutional rights, and ECHR case law – the Minister for Justice has previously said that the private interactions of a person – even in a public place – may be covered by the right to privacy – for example, while doing the shopping, or meeting a friend for coffee. But, once the interactions become public – at an awards ceremony or waving from the podium at the Olympic Games you lose that right to privacy. It may be hoped that the forthcoming Privacy Bill will clear up these issues, but for now, it is generally safe to presume that you can publish your photographs, unless your subject was in a situation where a reasonable person would believe that they’d brought their ‘portable sphere of privacy’ out with them.
In short, your subject can object to the publication of photos of them if: The photographs are untrue – they’ve been altered in some way, to show something that isn’t the case; The photographs are interfering with the subject’s commercial endorsement business; The photographs are tortuously violating the subject’s privacy.
The last option is still not entirely clear, but use common sense and remember the hypothetical “reasonable person”, and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
Ownership of Photographs?
If A takes a photograph of B, who owns the copyright in that photograph? As a general rule, the photographer owns the copyright. This is true even if B has commissioned and paid for the photograph – as in the case of wedding photographs. If B wishes to enjoy the copyright, he must agree with A that the copyright will be transferred to him. B should make sure that the agreement and any transfer are in writing – or they may be ineffective under Irish law to transfer the copyright.
The main exception to this principle is where photographs are taken by an employee in the course of their employment – if X Ltd. employs Z as a photographer, then the photos taken by Z in the course of his work belong to X Ltd. and cannot be used by Z without their permission. This can trip up the unwary – for example, Z may be in difficulties if he wishes to use those photos as part of a portfolio of work.