About Me

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A nineteen year old with a camera in rural Norfolk. http://rosajoy.com

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

L is a Pirate

on a violin. Somewhere.


Why not vote Lib Dem?

A slightly-adapted piece from the Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists.

Why not vote Lib-Dem? Because, although they are more left-wing than New Labour on some issues, they are fundamentally, deep in their bones, a junior party of big business.

Lib-Dem spokespeople have demanded powers for Government to ban strikes in "key national services and infrastructure" and impose "compulsory binding arbitration" on rail workers, postal workers, telecom workers, firefighters, etc. During the BA cabin crew dispute, Lib-Dem leaders denounced Labour as "in hock to militant unions". When Simon Hughes, the "left-winger" among top Lib-Dems, ran for mayor of London, he claimed that if elected he would "see off" the Tube workers' union, the RMT.

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have been leading members of the "Orange Book" group in the Lib-Dems, named after a book they put out in 2004 which argued, among other things, for scrapping the NHS and replacing it with a system of "social insurance" (like BUPA, but run by the government, with compulsory enrolment).

The Lib-Dems opposed the creation of a National Minimum Wage. They think that "Government needs to impose far fewer burdens on the business community", and say New Labour isn't pro-business enough.

On cuts, the Lib-Dems have tried to place themselves halfway between Labour and the Tories. They want bigger cuts (like the Tories), but (like Labour) only after a delay. They cite the 1990s Liberal government in Canada as the model of how to deal with budget crises. That Liberal government, in 1993-8, responded to a crisis in which Canada's credit ratings had fallen in global markets. It slashed public expenditure by a fifth. Some 23% of public servants (45,000 jobs) were made redundant. Business and agricultural subsidies were cut by 40%-60%. The transport and science budgets were halved, and some ministries were abolished altogether.

The Lib-Dems' record in local government is also a test. For example, they lead Leeds council. They have been in a coalition administration with the Tories and Greens since 2004. Leeds has gone from one Academy school to three, with two more now being proposed. The council cabinet member for education is a Lib-Dem.

In 2009 the council's pay review left up to 3,500 bin workers and street cleaners facing cuts in pay which would also hit their pensions. The cuts varied from £3,000 a year to £6,000 a year. Some people faced the threat of losing their mortgages and homes. Only resistance from the workers' unions, the GMB and Unison, forced the council to reach an agreement which saw all but fifteen of these workers lose no pay. The council leader throughout the bin dispute was Richard Brett, a Lib-Dem.

The Lib-Dems are to the left of New Labour on some important issues. They are against the Trident replacement (though they want to continue Britain's nuclear arsenal: they just say they could find some, unstated, cheaper way to do so). They are for an amnesty for "illegal" immigrants settled here (though not for any substantive easing of Britain's restrictive and racist immigrant and asylum laws). They have opposed New Labour's restrictions on civil liberties in the name of "anti-terrorism", and opposed ID cards.

Some of the Lib-Dem surge reflects a real desire among votes for more leftish politics. But workers' and union rights, and public services, are central issues. Without workers' rights, all other rights decay. Once you know the Lib-Dems' record on these issues, you see they are no alternative.

A real working-class alternative to New Labour can be built only from within the labour movement, from the grass-roots organisations of the working class. Since the main unions are still affiliated and have a say within the Labour Party, that also means, partly, from within the Labour Party.

The Lib-Dems have no base that can be mobilised against the leadership to create the elements of a new alternative. Even the currently weak left wing within the Labour Party - trade unionists, MPs like John McDonnell and others, and many Constituency Labour Party activists - looks positively formidable in comparison to any "left" in the Lib-Dems. And it has a social base from which activists can build something powerful.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Some clarification.

Would you consider yourself to be a photographer? As your work largely consists of yourself and your camera on a timer, thus meaning you cannot actually see what you are taking a picture of. If you went for an interview for a photographic course or job then only having yourself as the model doesn’t really show any variation and also it makes you appear vain. I’m genuinely interested in a response x

Hey there, formspringer. I’m so pleased you’ve given me a legitimate chance to explain myself and my photography. I’m going to break down my response into four parts, because in actual fact you’ve asked more than one question.

‘Would you consider yourself to be a photographer?’

What an enormous question. I can answer it simply, though: no, I do not consider myself a photographer. But not for the reasons you imply. I don’t consider myself a photographer because it is not my occupation – it is not the way I make a living. Photography to me is a hobby, a passion, a craft, but it is not my job. Therefore, I am not a photographer.

Someone talked about this on tumblr a while ago. Unfortunately I can’t remember who it was, but they said that rather than calling themselves a “photographer”, they preferred “image-maker”. I thought this was interesting, not least because a “maker of images” sounds far more romantic than a plain “photographer”. It is a better description of what I do, too. I think about, craft, record and edit images. In short, I don’t work; I create.

‘Your work largely consists of yourself and your camera on a timer, thus meaning you cannot actually see what you are taking a picture of.’

Yes, I do often use myself in my images. I’m going to talk about vanity in a minute, but let me address your concern that I ‘cannot actually see’ what I am taking a picture of.

On a very practical level, you are absolutely right. Obviously I can’t physically be in front of and behind the camera at the same time. But I want to assure you that I can see exactly what I am shooting. I spend far more time setting up for a shoot than I do actually shooting it. I make sure I can see exactly what I want to see through the viewfinder before I set up my tripod, and then I regularly make re-adjustments as necessary as I shoot. When I click the shutter, I can see the image which is being produced in the camera in my head.

Of course, if I return to the camera and find something is slightly off (I’ve misjudged the angle, the sun has moved…) I will re-shoot until I have exactly what I want. Trust me when I say my work is not made up simply of “lucky shots”.

For those of you who are interested, by the way, I actually rarely use a self-timer. I set my Nikon to remote release and put it on a two-second delay. This lets me shoot quickly without having to return to the tripod, but gives me time to hide my remote.

‘If you went for an interview for a photographic course or job then only having yourself as the model doesn’t really show any variation’

I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you. Firstly, it would obviously depend entirely on the job or course I was applying for; but we’ll say for the sake of argument that it was a portraiture job. A client would want to see that I can use light, composition and location to produce a good photograph. The fact that I am the subject of a lot of my pictures doesn’t in any way detract from these three elements.

More importantly, I would argue, would be their concern that as I don’t often work with models my “people skills” as a photographer would be lacking. There, I would in part agree – I haven’t had all the experience I would like with working with models. On the other hand, I have had some work photographing others, and I believe I am reasonably competent in getting good shots of people other than myself. If you’ve seen the photographs I’ve taken of Kim or Lucy, you are of course entitled to disagree (but could you refrain from formspringing me those remarks!)

I also disagree with your assertion that because I appear in most of my photographs my work doesn’t show any variation. On the one hand, it is true that my work does not vary widely (you don’t see a lot of pictures of nature or architecture on my flickr stream), but that is because I myself am interested in particular in fashion, portraiture and concept art. All of these, of course, normally use people. However, within those genres there is so much variation to be found.

I try to make the best of the resources I have while staying largely within the boundaries of my own “style”. Yes, I know what you are about to tell me, and I agree: my work doesn’t yet have a definitive element which identifies it as “mine”. But there are elements of similarity in many of my shots; I like to use natural light, rural locations, fashion which adds to a sense of mood, and – most importantly – I like my photographs to portray and emotion or a story.

Those are the similarities which appear in my work; but let me talk to you about the differences. I tailor my shots to fit exactly with what I am trying to say in them. This means that each one is always different. The location, light, perspective, tones, fashion, pose, props and expression (that’s not just facial, but in hands and feet too) are all thought about individually and then brought together to make the final piece.

I’m going to go a little off message here, to talk about a claim that I think arises from what I’ve just said. On flickr you’ll notice that I quite often I include more than one shot in a set. You might argue that this devalues my point: obviously the shot hasn’t been that carefully thought out, then.

I disagree. The fact is that I am not always sure how best to portray what I want to portray, so I often take a (rather ridiculous) number of shots when I’m out. I bring them back and go through them, and sometimes there is one which jumps out immediately. More often, though, I find a few which say roughly what I want them to say, but in subtly different ways. Sometimes I also find that when I put four or five shots together, they show I story I didn’t know I was trying to tell. Those are the ones that appear in the comments on my flickr stream. Yes, there is trial and error involved. But I do think hard about my photographs before I ever pick up my camera.

‘it makes you appear vain.’

It may well. I hate that. The problem is, if this is what people want to believe then nothing I say is going to change their mind.

If you are genuinely interested in this response, as you said in your formspring, then I’ll tell you that I started photography because I suffered from severe acne for eighteen months. At that time it was much easier to be behind the camera than in front of it, as it gave me some control back. Since then, I’ve retained that control in my self portraiture; photographs of me are taken by me, and therefore I have complete rule over which images exist. Photography has given me so much, not least some self-confidence. If you see that as vain, then I guess that’s that.

The issues around self portraiture and vanity are complex and interesting. I'll do a blogpost at some point, because over the months I've been thinking about it a lot. There are some people I need to talk to about it first, though.

I hope this has answered your questions, formspringer.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

There's a girl I know who helps me in everything I do.

If she were here, she would tell me:

Consummatum est.
They cannot hurt you any more.

Week 33.52

Where'er you tread/the blushing flowers shall rise/and all things flourish/Where'er you turn your eyes
- Handel, 'Where'er you walk'

52 Weeks on Flickr

Friday, 23 April 2010


Chopin's Nocturne in E flat major.

For me, it is intrinsically linked with goodbyes.

I said another one today.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Week 32.52

And when the sand was gone and the time arrived/In the naked dawn only a few survived/And in attempts to understand a thing so simple and so huge/Believed that they were meant to live after the deluge
- Jackson Browne, 'Before the Deluge'

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Two wheels and disposable film

I talk about bike riding a lot. Way back here I made an attempt to explain exactly what it means to me to have a summer day and a pair of wheels. Freedom, I said, and nostalgia.

On Monday, K and I biked the same trail we took that day, stopped on the same hill and used the same bikes. It was our first ride out this summer, and it was glorious, but something had definitely changed. We tried to pin it down as we rode through village after village, but it wasn’t until three hours later as we turned back onto her lane that I realised.

It’s the fact that I can drive now, K said, It means this doesn’t feel so much like freedom as hard work.
I prefer grass under my feet, the wind in my hair.
(You look a mess, by the way, she said, I need to put it in a plait.)
Is it that we’re too old for this? We’re like kids, weaving all over the road and screeching when we go down hills.
It’s not that, but it’s something like that. Even now, this still reminds me of the day we left high school and took off in our school shirts and black pumps.
Memories then, she said, It’s bittersweet now. You used to bike part of this route, from the high school to see your ex boyfriend, didn’t you?
In the pouring rain, I smiled, and Liz’s dad had to pick me up when I got a flat tyre one time. But it’s something else…

The weather was perfect and I took a disposable with me, because it was a day for film. Perhaps that speaks volumes; the choice to use low-grade film rather than sophisticated digital is one made solely in order that the shot have a different ambience. It’s completely about nostalgia. Two girls in skirts on bikes, riding through the countryside sounds like the set up of a movie which opens with acoustic guitar and is later hailed as a beautiful coming-of-age tale. That's the image I had in my head when I left my Nikon behind.

Is it that it’s something we’ve always done, K asked as we made our way home again, pedalling side by side as there hadn’t been a car for miles. Is it that, soon, you’ll be at uni and we won’t be able to do it any more?
It’s like that, I said, It’s sort of about us not being able to see each other any more, and not doing this.

No more, K said as we turned into her lane, I’m shattered. Let’s walk.
So we did. The sheep and their new lambs had been turned out in the field opposite, and they watched us.
I think I know, I said.

It’s to do with simple pleasures and to do with freedom. It’s to do with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. It’s to do with high school and to do with growing up. It’s to do with the end of an era and to do with finding new horizons. It’s to do with being utterly alone, and to do with having a friend by your side. It’s about all the things there are still to do, and the things which are done now. That’s what these bike rides are about.

Friday, 16 April 2010

"I'm in a sad mood and I can't shift it. Can you come over?"

"Of course," she said, "I'll call when I'm on my way."

When the doorbell went, half an hour later, I assumed it was my sister's friend. When K opened my door, she didn't let me voice my surprise. "Get your wellies," she said, "Get your camera. And get in the car."

It was golden hour, and she took us to a wood I haven't been to before. We parked up on the grass verge and walked. The light was perfect.

She had a go with my Nikon.

We went barefoot because the leafy ground was dry.

We chatted about things we haven't talked about in ages and we messed around.

We climbed trees.

And I took lots and lots of photographs.

And then we drove home in the fading light, with Springsteen on loud and the sun in our eyes.
I have the best friend in the entire world.

Monday, 12 April 2010

You control this

- don't let it ruin your evening, don't let it tell you how to feel, don't let it dictate your reaction, don't let it dig its way like shrapnel into the place where your heart still beats, despite everything;

don't cry, sweetheart, don't cry.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Oh, this has to be some kind of record.

It's 22:55, and I'm starting today's revision...

Queen of Procrastination, je suis.

Week 31.52

Often before I am quite awake I fancy I am still in the orchard, standing with my old friends under the apple trees.
- Anna Sewell, 'Black Beauty'

Monday, 5 April 2010

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Week 30.52

It is not violence that best overcomes hate - nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury... Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.
- Charlotte Bronte, 'Jane Eyre' (Helen Burns, ch6)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Photography makes me a bad person.

All I can see when my sister's friends turn up for her birthday sleepover are seven girls ready to be enlisted for slave labour to make me 35 origami swans for a shoot tomorrow.