James O’Sullivan Live On-line

James is a local musician who seems to have worked with just about everyone in the area as well as touring Europe and the US with various bands.  He is extremely talented (and a very nice guy too) and I had the pleasure of shooting some portraits and other images for his new web site.

So you no longer have to take my word for it, check out the site at http://www.shambobala.com/james and keep your eyes open for James gigging in the city and county.  He can also be booked for events, weddings and all that (check out the details on his site)

15 Minutes of Fame at SPWC

We all had a great time at the Street Performance World Championships at the weekend.  The park was heaving but we still managed to bump into a few friends in the crowd.

The big danger in watching a street performance of course if being pulled out of the crowd.  I watched a few early shows thanking my lucky stars that your man pick on me.

Then we sat down early to get a good look at ‘Bendy EM’.

She sets up, she warms up, she tries to warm the crowd up a bit, she neatly tucks both legs behind her head.  Oh My God.  Applause.  She says, ‘I need help getting out of this position, can the guy in the striped T-Shirt, yes you sir, can you give me a hand’.  OMG, that’s me.

So I get my 15 minutes of fame helping Bendy EM go through the routine including having my T-shirt removed and sweat bands applied and 20 push ups but thankfully not too much public humiliation (apart from getting my less-than-six-pack-like abs out).

Good show Em, like the act and it was a pleasure to be part of it.

I’m still laughing to myself about the whole thing and my kids are very proud.  She even let me keep the sweat band!

And this is the point where the world feels grateful that my wife never learnt how to use the camera.  Moreover, so far there are no photos on pix.ie of me holding in my belly in front a large crowd in Fitzgerald’s Park.  Not yet anyway…

Lampost Beauty Contest

Election material has come through our door practically every day this week.  No surprises there.  It normally gets discussed in some way at the table.  My 8-year-old has a natural curiosity for the whole thing. I think Deidre Clune visiting Kindie while she was Mayor had a long-lasting affect on her.  We encourage this: I’m a big fan of democracy.  As my mother put it (although in a very different context): ‘people died to get you the vote’.

At one point she declared that we should simply ‘vote for the best looking one’.

Naturally this sparks a discussion on what makes someone good at running the place and what she’d want them to do (free sweets, no school, look after the planet etc).

But she had a point.  Putting your face on a poster or a flyer is an incredibly strong visual message.  In doing so, each candidate is projecting an image which is going to influence your impression of them and therefore possibly your actions when you scroll down the ballot paper scanning those same images.  Even if your vote aligned to a particular party, they hope to influence your transfers.

It is a strongly subliminal message and I’m not sure how deliberately any of them are using it.  Certainly the larger parties have a consistent look and I’m sure there has been some strategy behind selecting the presentation of the image if not the image themselves.  The smaller parties and the independents seem to just ‘have a good photograph’ (and some not) and have paid little attention to how the style of the photograph projects them.

It works too.  I can name many candidates but I know very little about their manifestos.

In actual fact though, those leaflets I have taken the time to read have contained very little policy information – a big photograph and a lot of bio.  Its all about personalities and not policies.  If you’re in government it is about youth or experience, if you’re not in government it is about change.  But no actual policy statements.  A picture tells a thousand words.

The style of a photograph does project an distinct image of them. We learn to interpret a face from a very early age.

I take a good few business portraits for people (mainly web site bio pages). I always ask a client what kind of image they’re looking for and many don’t have a strong preference. So I talk to them about their business and we go from there.

Most people I guess don’t really appreciate what a strong and effective visual communicator a facial image is, especially if they’re offering a service.  They know it is important to get their logo and their branding right, but few spend the same amount of time discussing their portrait with their photographer.

Now you’ll now notice that there is no image of me on my web site.  That’s a photographers curse I’m afraid: we’re too often behind the lens that no one ever takes our pictures.  It is not an easy thing to do either: a portrait of a photographer needs to project the quality of their own work but the photo isn’t actually taken by them.

So thanks so David A Williams for this one: David realises the predicament that a photographer is in and ensures that everyone on his seminars leaves with a portrait.  Thanks David (again).

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