Month: November 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge (metro lines)

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Converge.”

metro escalator descending...lines converge

metro escalator descending…lines converge

The metro is part of my daily routine, many converging lines, whether descending the escalators or walking along the platforms.
I used this image for an earlier challenge descent it would seem to fit both challenges perfectly.

metro platform, converging lines

metro platform, converging lines

metro escalator

metro escalator

Tbilisi was the fourth city of the Soviet Union to get a metro system (after Moscow, Leningrad/St Petersburg and Kiev).


Black and White

One blog I follow The obvious and hidden has beautiful black and white images. I feel inspired and at the same time reluctant to leave the medium of colour. In this the digital era it is so easy to move from colour to black and white and back. Autumn is like a second spring when every leaf turns into a flower, my heart thrills at the colours of the changing leaves like natural fireworks.



Black and white can accentuate images with distinct lines, shapes and patterns – colour can be a distraction away from such compositional elements.

Autumn in black and white

Autumn in black and white

We naturally see the world in colour, so viewing everyday objects rendered in monochrome is often a novelty for me. Yesterday, I visited a local cemetery, my camera has creative settings such as “dynamic monochrome” and “one point colour” (this is black and white and one chosen colour). These statues were naturally white and black so rendering the whole image black and white was no great adjustment of the scene.

Vake Cemetery Statues

Vake Cemetery Statue


Woman weeping

Black and white can make the image appear as if it was taken in a bygone era many years ago, rather than just yesterday or last week.

It gives the image a more timeless quality, it can also be considered “cool”, though I’m not sure why. Pictures of Hollywood Stars from the past in black and white look “cool” (think of those iconic black and white images of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe or Marlon Brando).

I mentioned “one point colour” , this would seem a halfway house between monochrome and colour.

grave using one point colour (here red)

grave using one point colour (here red)

The red of the flowers and some red on the gate is seen in an otherwise monochrome image.



black and white

black and white

Autumn Leaves (one point colour)

Autumn Leaves (one point colour)

Zaporozhets wreck in colour

Zaporozhets wreck in colour

Zaporozhets in balck and white

Zaporozhets in black and white

I think I need to experiment more with monochrome. Photographers, for what reasons would you choose to make images in black and white?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

This picture is me juggling, juggling three balls was an achievement, now I’m attempting to achieve further and juggle with four. Behind me is a drawing I made of singer Lauryn Hill in 2001, possibly my greatest graphic achievement. On my finger a wedding ring, after two failed marriages, I have finally found a wonderful woman with whom I wish to spend the rest of my life, five years into marriage we have yet to have an argument, which is no small achievement.

Getting the photo of me juggling was also an achievement, putting the camera on self timer and hoping to get a suitable shot (many failed).

Me juggling

Me juggling

A year of blogging is also a small achievement (this my 278th post on this blog), I will never get an Olympic Medal or a Nobel Prize but small achievements are heartening.

Other interpretations of achievement can be found here: Weekly Photo Challenge “Achievement”

Top of the Pops *

*this post is not about the BBC TV programme, it just seemed a fitting title.

I’m not a great follower of chart music. In the late eighties I worked in music retail (Our Price Music in London: Queensway, Notting Hill, Wandsworth and London Wall branches), at the time, I was well aware of the fluctuations of the charts. That awareness was curtailed when I moved to France in 1991, France is not exactly a pop paradise. Recently, however, teaching English I have a student interested in learning English through listening to the top hits. We look regularly at the Billboard top 10 hits and for the past two months, two songs have dominated those charts:

The first, “All About that Bass” by Meghan Trainor

and the second is “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Both songs are very catchy, I find them running through my head often when I am on the metro or walking around town. They also both have pleasingly positive messages.

Week of 15 November 2014 (Billboard Chart)

  1. Shake It Off               Taylor Swift         11 weeks on chart Previous week :2
  2. All About That Bass  Meghan Trainor   17 weeks on chart Previous week :1
  3. Habits (Stay High)       Tove Lo                23 weeks on chart Previous week :3
  4. Animals                      Maroon 5              11 weeks on chart Previous week :5

Meghan Trainor (a relative newcomer to the pop scene aged 20), who  it’s pretty clear,  ain’t no size two, her song basically is about not worrying about your size, You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along.

The song shows an awareness of the Photoshop manipulation of fashion images.

I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop

It is an empowering song about embracing your natural body size, it is Meghan Trainor’s first big hit.

The video is quite slick shot on a set resplendent in pastel colours, if an old English sheepdog were added to the mix, you could be forgiven for thinking it were a Dulux advert.

Taylor Swift, at 24, a veteran of the music scene,  looks a bit more like a stick figure silicone Barbie doll.

Her new album “1989” was the fastest selling album on the week of its release (selling 1.287 million copies)  since Eminem released the “Eminem Show”  way back in 2002.

“Shake it Off” is a song about ignoring criticism. She sings: I stay out too late
Got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say, (then she looks to the camera and nods with a sarcastic “mmm-mmm”)

…and continues the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate 

The message of the song seems to be that you have to not only live your life in spite of people who don’t understand you — you have to have more fun than they do. Shaking off the criticism.

Both songs are highly catchy, almost insanely catchy, both singers look knowingly at the camera and there is some of the seemingly obligatory booty shaking, what I believe is known as “twerking”, in both video clips.