Boo hiss!

It’s that time of year when I have to do my accounts. If I’m brutally honest, it was that time of year about three months ago, but preparing my accounts is a job so devoid of laughs that I tend to find myself pushing it further and further down my to do list… well if I wrote a to do list, I promise you it would be there, near the bottom.

Espresso coffee on New York Times

How many coffees can I take before I can no longer focus on my receipts?

It’s not that my accounts are especially complicated. Just getting my receipts into order, entering them in a spreadsheet and handing everything over to my accountant. Even he doesn’t think I need to trouble a bookkeeper. Once I get into it, the whole process is pretty quick, it’s just the thought of doing it fills me with dread and I push it on down my (imaginary) to do list.

If you’ve ever seen Black Books, you’ll understand the kind of sentiment I’m expressing here. I’d rather sort my sock drawer than do my accounts.

There was a time when there was at least some entertainment value in the task. When I worked for News of the World it used to tickle my accountant’s imagination when I claimed for things like underwear from Victoria’s Secret (sometimes a necessary purchase when photographing a young lady for a kiss-and-tell story – oh yes, I covered all the important world events). But I haven’t had the opportunity to buy anything vaguely dodgy or fun for a long time, which takes away what little fun there was in this task.

Even writing this blog article is a distraction technique because I was doing my accounts this morning, I just needed a break. And so, after successfully completing one month’s receipts analysis, I treated myself with a coffee break. After another month I felt it was time for lunch. Another month completed after lunch and coffee beckoned again. Then I realised I needed to write a blog for today and nothing was jumping into my head, and yet writing a blog seemed like an excellent way of not doing my accounts.

Only problem is I’m running out of things to say about not doing my accounts and you probably stopped reading about three paragraphs ago. Dammit… back to the accounts… lalalalalalalala…

No pixels were harmed…

I have an excellent friend on twitter, @lau_merritt, who has been very supportive of my photography work since I can’t remember when, but certainly since not that long after I joined twitter. I’m sure she was among my first followers.

We keep in touch, re-tweet each other’s posts and I especially appreciate it when she reposts my blog articles… which I have a funny feeling she’ll do today.

Now the other day the subject of photoshopping came up. Lau, a keen amateur photographer, was struggling with some photos she’d taken on a recent trip. She was frustrated that she’d only just got the camera she took with her, hadn’t had time to get to grips with the controls, and had shot in jpeg mode where she’d meant to shoot in RAW.

It was when Lau came to edit the images that the Photoshop fun really started. I received some messages of frustration and Lau felt she was butchering her images. We joked about the slaughter, the sounds of pixels screaming,  red pixels sprayed up the walls – this kind of weird humour appeals to me.

The culmination of our conversation was a rather excellent sketch which Lau drew and which, with her permission, I’m featuring here. After the sketch came the blog article, which you can view by clicking on the photo. I’m hoping for the movie and the musical to be announced soon. The Photoshop Butcher, queue deep, growly voiceover, “In a world where pixels have no meaning, welcome to the slaughter…”

Sketch of a woman butchering photos

Lau’s Photo Butcher – click the photo to see her full article

Out for the Count

I don’t know when Frome Amateur Boxing Club was built, but judging from its rickety exterior I’d say it was made from the spare timbers Noah didn’t need. The shed that until recently housed the pugilists’ punchbags, weights and general paraphernalia stands precariously behind The Old Church School, the building where my office is based, and when any of the Studio 5 team steps out onto the fire escape for a breath of fresh air, it fills most of the view. Soon, though, it will be knocked down to make way for an extra 20 office units at TOCS. I had hoped to take some shots of the last training sessions before the club vacated to new premises on a trading estate in Frome, but I missed the opportunity and one day found a note in the window explaining that the club had moved. A shame, but I did get to look inside the other week and took a few photos to record the passing of this upside-down ark of a building. And so this week’s article is a mini gallery of some of the images I took. I hope you enjoy them.

Old boxing poster in the former Frome ABC

Ali vs Inoki poster

David Evans of Ghost Limited tries a pair of boxing gloves in the former Frome Amateur Boxing club building

David Evans of Ghost Limited, Studio 5, tries a pair of gloves out

Blackboard with boxers' diet written up

Diet tips for boxers

Boxing club keys with novelty gloves keyring

Would the last person to leave the club building please lock up

Stock as Barometer

Though I’ve derided photographers for supplying the micro-payment stock sites like iStockphoto and Shutterstock, I do have a few stock images with on the basis that though sales might not be as frequent, I do at least get semi-respectable rates for my pictures when they do sell.

I do get some odd-looking sales though, like this one from August for a Spanish direct mail/brochure use in the banking and finance sector. Looking at the content of the photo, it makes you wonder what the client’s message is. A bonfire of capitalism?

scrap yard fire in Portsmouth

A vision of things to come?