Saturday, May 26, 2012

Plenty more Cavendish in the sea

To Countdown Metro, in search of snacks; I find myself looking longingly at a display of a new product - banana bread - and asking myself "what took them so long?" But my desire is soon checked by a reading of the ingredients, a list which ends with the following warning: "may contain traces of fish." Really? It just might? An accident involving fish and bread might occur? Some fish might have swum into the cake mix, is that it? Or do fish migrate in bananas? I think we should be told.

In other news, the resistance to Instagram begins here. We take heart from the news that Facebook has introduced its own camera app, called simply Camera; this after buying Instagram for one billion dollars US. Clearly, Instagram is not in safe hands; it is in the hands of an overgrown frat boy who has had an extraordinary amount of luck and now is stuffing up everything. We (and by we I mean all of us who enjoy photography) can only hope that he makes a complete hash of his purchase and his app, so that,  soon, we will no longer have to endure distressed photographs of meals posted on Internet by their proud makers and eaters.

At right is a real photograph made in the past. It depicts Golden Lane Estate in the City of London, designed by Chamberlain, Powell and Bon. It comes from a book published in 1963. You will note that the photograph does not have any arbitrary shadows creeping in from the corners: cameras were really very good in 1963 and could produce images of high quality. Nor is this image slightly out of focus: photographers in 1963 were often highly-trained professionals. Nor still is the image saturated in a yellow wash: photographic film manufacturers in 1963 made stock that did not discolour easily. So, it just goes to show, the past was not like Instagram at all.

Still puzzled? If you want to what the past looked like, try taking a look at Between Channels. You'll be glad you visited.

What's that, you are still not sure about photography in the past? Well then, take a look at the work of Fred Herzog, who photographed Vancouver in the late 50s and 60s. You might notice that Herzog did not waste film taking photographs of his dinner. His images are clear and bright. They are about the city and its people. They are not self-obssessed.

So, put your phone away and eat your dinner.

Here is an aptly named song from the Go-Betweens:

1 comment:

Marie said...

Beautiful photographs by Fred Herzog.
Re the banana bread, I wonder if there is a new trend of a blanket disclaimer on food packaging. In a small town in New South Wales I saw a case of Yalumba Methode Champenoise which carried the warning, May contain traces of fish and eggs.