Wednesday, 20 June 2012


“I don’t have a photograph, but you can have my footprints. They’re upstairs in my socks.” 
 Groucho Marx

Ok follow up mini grumble.

Been playing with Instagram some more and I have to admit it's a bit addictive. Here's a few samples:

#roseoftheday no2 "Purple Tiger"

and no 3 "Cliff Richard" (no really!)

#catoftheday no1 Walter in a box

 and no2, Walter in another box

and finally bonus #roseoftheday Sally's bouquet (she was 21 today :-) )

So what do you think? I think I was being a tad harsh when I said instagram made rubbish pictures. It easily can, but sometimes it does add a certain 'something'.  And Laura is right, it is great fun to use.

All the pix above were taken on the iPhone,  if I'd had to go and fetch the 'real camera' I might not have bothered. As Chase Jarvis famously said, 'the best camera is the one you have with you' (and he made a few quid from saying it too - smart guy! :-) ) So anything that encourages you to use the kit in your pocket can only be a good thing right? Well maybe.

I suspect there will be an awful lot of chaff created which may bury the wheat. but who knows, images are so transient these days we don't generally print the vast majority of them. Just snap it, tweak it, and publish it. Then move on to the next.

I like photographs, I love good photographs, their colours, their textures, above all their light. Maybe instagram is a good thing after all.

But was it worth $1bn?  Mark Zuckerberg clearly thought so. Maybe he was right.

Monday, 18 June 2012


All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.

- Richard Avedon

Is it mid June already? does that mean the cold spring rains are behind us and we can look forward to the warmer summer rain to come? I mean, joking aside WTF?! I've lived in England all my life, and have got used to the perception of Johnny Foreigner that its a wet miserable place where everyone wears galoshes and carries an umbrella, but until this year I thought they were mistaken. 

It was pretty ironic really , in a terribly British sort of way, how the water companies all lined up behind each other in March and admitted that despite supplying water to one of the wettest countries in Europe, their systems were so F**d up that they had actually run out. All the southern ones immediately declared a hosepipe ban, and many hands were wrung at the thought that Britain was turning into the Sahara.

Then it started raining. It rained for the whole of April. It stair rodded it down throughout May, and it's been pissing it down all through June. This has undoubtedly been the wettest drought on record.

Storm clouds gathered, and refused to F*** Off

The lawn is looking a bit damp

There is a bright side though, the garden looks lovely. Particularly round the pond. The bog garden is doing very well, so well in fact that it's spread halfway down the lawn and threatens to enter the house. The roses are taking a right battering. But at least the 85 tomato plants and 70 odd chillies that I decided to grow this year are surviving. Mostly because the bulk of them are indoors.

Some of the chillies

At least the pond Irises are happy

So all in all it hasn't been the greatest spring to benefit from the solar panels we installed at Christmas. Not that it in fact would have mattered, because the daft wazzack that installed them put the meter on backwards and we haven't actually been using any power from them at all. It's fixed now so if the sun ever does come out the £13 grand install  might actually save us the cost of a lightbulb or two. I figure at this  rate, payback on the investment should be around 2198, so maybe the great grandkids will be happy.

Anyway, enough grumbles, I've just discovered Instagram! Cool is it or what!? Actually I didn't so much 'discover' it, as grudgingly find myself having to find out just what Facebook spent $1bn dollars to buy? Oh yes Facebook, c'mon own up, who bought those shares? Of course you didn't , because your'e not that F***ing gullible are you. At $38 per share Facebook was valued at $105bn, yes One Hundred and Five BILLION dollars. That's quite a lot. Its more in fact than Ford, or Sony, or Porsche, PUT TOGETHER! for a company that doesn't actually sell anything? No surprise then that they have er, slipped a little, down to around $25 at their lowest. What is surprising is that they have recovered back up to over $30 dollars again, despite being sued by the new shareholders for not telling the truth about their advertising revenues. You couldn't make it up. And if you did no-one would believe you.

But back to instagram, FB paid $1bn for this little company, it was 3 years old, had one product, about 5 staff, and one of them had only been there a month. The founder got $400m, not bad for three years work. The new kid got about $10m, and he only made the tea! But what does instagram actually do?

Well it lets you take pictures with your iPhone and er, share them, like Flickr, or funnily enough Facebook, or Twitter. In fact it integrates with Twitter, and Flickr, and Facebook, and Tumblr (who he?) and a couple of others. So that's pretty revolutionary isn't it? er, No it isn't, but what IS revolutionary is that before sharing your pix you can F**k with them! Yes you can apply 'Filters' which  change the colours, and the contrast and make them look, completely rubbish.

There are about 18 'filters' with names like 'Amaro', or 'Hudson'. But they should really just have names like 'bad', 'awful', or 'crap'. There are also some focussing tools, which let you ruin the focus even more than the iPhone did for you automatically. Oh and you can have a white or black frame on your pic. And that's it.  I mean Mark Zuckerberg might be a social networking guru, and a very rich munchkin, but paying $1bn for an app that just F***s up your photo's is not really a sign of genius.

Here's what I mean. This pic taken of Walter (looking grumpy because I just stuck my iPhone up his nose) isn't great, but at least he looks like himself:

Through the miracle of instagram he can look like this:

Heres another, a rose, straight off the iPhone, not great, but not terrible either:

But waive instagram's magic wand and Blam! Completely trashed:

So that's it, and the kids love it! I guess the point is that they can all blame instagram for why their pix all look like shit, instead of admitting that maybe they just took a bad photo? Or maybe I'm just missing the point and these instagram pix are in fact wonderful art? It could be that. Maybe I should re-think.

OK, Change of heart, instagram is GREAT! worth every penny (its a free download), and henceforth I am going to use it, every day. No really I am. I'm linking my instagram account to my twitter feed (see how down with the kids I am?) and I'm going to tweet AxsMan's #roseoftheday pic, every day. See what I did there? I used a #hashtag. Maybe I'll go viral!

Here's the very first  #roseoftheday. Remember where you were when you first saw it.

One day it might be worth something ;-)

Nurse - more meds please.