Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Star Wars iPhone Edits

One of the things I've increasingly found myself doing in the past year or so has been the incessant editing of images on a very small screen, typically an iPhone 4 (or more recently, an iPhone 5). Photography-based apps are some of the most regularly downloaded bits of software from the iTunes store if the iTunes charts are anything to go by.

Indeed, there is a burgeoning mass of professional and amateur enthusiasts taking to the small screen with much gusto - just witness the success of people like Richard Gray (aka @rugfoot on Twitter) who teaches courses in iPhoneography at Kensington and Chelsea College. The iPhoneography website has (unrelated to Gray) has also been around since 2008, offering application reviews as well as a supportive network of creative individuals via their Flickr group.

Needless to say the rise of Instagram and other apps (eg Aviary, Instaeffects, Wood Camera, Vintique, etc) that offer quick and easy-to-apply filters, either for free or for very little cost, has produced an upswell in experimentation and creativity wherein even the most average of images can be transformed into something approaching professional quality. 

That's not to say that every user of such apps are suddenly professional photographers - far from it - but the techniques that used to be the preserve of a few are now being aped by algorithms and employed by the many, often with mixed results. Suffice to say there has been an explosion in the amount of images being circulated across various networks, as people increasingly photoblog their food or create digital pinboards of things they've stumbled across on a daily basis.

The thing that really interests me is the ways in which individuals can experiment with various applications in order to achieve some interesting results, often with some helpful feedback from others who witness said experiments. The limitations of mobile phone cameras (limited focal control, digital zoom, etc) makes for some interesting workflows as users find ways to breather new life into old images, even if that is simple bit of colour correction with Snapseed or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, total image destruction with Decim8.

With that in mind, I've been playing around with a few different applications as part of an experimental  Star Wars album so I thought I'd share some of those images here as they've been getting some fairly positive feedback from the people that have seen them. My intention with these images was twofold: 
1) experiment with a number of different applications in order to see what they could do
2) in doing so could I make the overly familiar somewhat unfamiliar yet still recognisable on a very small screen (<4 inches)

All the images below were edited on an iPhone. The applications used in the creation of these remixed images include iPhoto, Photoshop Express (with paid upgrade), PXL, Etchings, Decim8, Snapseed, Wood Camera, Vintique, and Instagram

You can find me on Instagram at http://instagram.com/robjewitt 

Any comments, questions or feedback is welcome

Friday, 1 February 2013

The morality of the press

This post is aimed at the Level 3 journalism students taking the Media Ethics modules (MAC373, MED312). It would seem that I haven't been given access to the module space in Sunspace yet, meaning that I can't add material, post content, respond to messages, etc...  In the mean time I'll post material here until I'm given the keys to the kingdom.

The week we are looking at the differences between morals and ethics in relation to professional journalistic practice. Radio 4 has a regular programme which quite often covers these issues so it's worth checking out the The Moral Maze, presented by Michael Buerk/David Aaronovitch.

In particular I thought I do is draw your attention to an episode that was first broadcast on 19th of November 2011 entitled 'The Morality of the Press'. It can be streamed in full from here. Here is the description that accompanies the specific show:

The Leveson inquiry into the culture and ethics of our press opened this week. In the wake of so many scandals has time finally been called on the industry that for so long has been drinking in the last chance saloon? Defenders of the press say any moves to impose external policing and regulation will threaten freedom of speech and undermine the vital role a free press plays in a democratic society. But why should we treat our press differently from any other industry that's key part of society? Broadcasting, energy, water - they all have external regulators. Is it still tenable to argue that the press is somehow different, special and should be exempt, when at the same time it operates within a climate that thinks it's acceptable to hack in to the mobile phone of a murdered teenage girl? And what about the noble calling of journalism itself? Has the financial pressure on the industry created a culture where ethics and morality come a poor second to doing whatever it takes to get a story that will sell? If we want to reset the moral compass of journalists is time for hacks to consider swearing the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath? Or are we actually looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Do we get the press we deserve and are the people we should be questioning are those you buy, read and enjoy the stories that have prompted the Leveson inquiry? The Moral Maze - the morality of the press.

Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk with Clifford Longley, Kenan Malik, Anne McElvoy and Matthew Taylor.

  • Steven Barnett - Professor of Communications, University of Westminster
  • Ian Collins - Radio broadcaster - Formerly with TalkSPORT
  • Simon Jenkins - Journalist and Author, Former Editor of The Times and London Evening Standard
  • Rasmus Kleis Nielsen - Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford and Assistant Professor of Communications, University of Roskilde in Denmark.

Er, hello

Wow - I haven't written a blog post here since May 2012. That's a long time. That might be something to do with the arrival of my first child at the end of April. Being a parent can be quite time-consuming. Hopefully, I'll start pushing some material out here over the newt few weeks...