Monthly Archives: June 2010

More “p” words…political correctness

What were they thinking? 

The museum The Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience has taken a PC stance on Winston Churchill’s penchant for good Havana cigars by turning the great man into a non-smoker. Full story in the Daily Telegraph As Sigmund Freud once said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Now I wonder what he would have thought of Winston’s Tommy gun?

But as R. Kipling saw it, “…a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.”

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The “p” word. Photography? No! Paranoia…

Received this email from my West Australian colleague, Tony McDonough of RAW Images, last week. Yet another example of the rampant and unreasonable paranoia infecting society.

“I have just finished a shoot in Perth’s northern suburbs. Nothing fancy, a pic of a shopping centre and some surrounding streets. Job booked and shot at 10:30 am.

For those of you who are not in Perth or have not seen the news lately, there was an alleged child abduction in the “northern suburbs” a few days ago. Now the scene is set.

While walking down a street with my camera over my shoulder and the person who briefed the shoot ( a lovely lady ). I happened to walk past a school. I didn’t look at the school, just a glance, I judged that there was no picture to be had using the school so we continued walking ( we did not stop ) I did not at any time, touch my camera while passing the school except to adjust the strap which was slipping off my shoulder as they sometimes do when a 200 mm lens is attached. I did not put the camera to my eye.

I was even unaware that my companion was not alongside me anymore when I reached an intersection. I stopped and looked around, she was chatting to someone, so I walked back to join in. The stranger was wearing a school name tag, and was enquiring just what we where doing walking past the school. Unfortunately the conversation was over by the time I got there, and all I heard was “…. you can’t be too careful ….” as the busy-body returned  100 meters to her rightful spot.

I only wish she had stopped me :). I could have asked her if she had indeed asked the two other men over the road, they had motorbikes, perhaps the vanguard of a criminal gang scoping out the area to sell drugs. Or I could have asked her if she would so willingly have stopped a plumber carrying a wrench, or perhaps a muslim, because they may have been planning a bombing raid, but sadly I missed my opportunity to chat to this guardian as she scurried back to her vantage point within the school fence.

She obviously  has a keen eye for  for dodgy characters , her first clue would have been the camera, because it is a well know fact  amongst our protectors that people who want to do mischief, often carry cameras worth upwards of $12,000.

What is wrong with our society that people feel a need to question people going about their lawful business? Why didn’t she at least ask me? Why do people immediately feel threatened by people with big cameras, or indeed anyone who carries a camera in public, when almost everybody today carries a smaller camera or a phone camera ? Why should I feel guilty just for carrying a camera?

What have we become? I was and still am really disappointed and upset that I was singled out for his treatment. Do I drive a white van (there was one mentioned in an alert) or was there one parked nearby? No. Did I fit the description of the alleged offender? No. Did I carry a camera past a school? Yes.”….

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Filed under Australian, documentary photography, Opinion, Photographer, Photographers' rights, Photojournalism

Art prints by Rob Walls…

Launched a blog today to display slide shows of my work available as fine art prints: My print archive

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Wintering with wombats…

It’s winter school holidays down here in the real deep south. As a shakedown cruise for my new/used Toyota Hilux pick-up, I came up with the idea of taking my daughter camping in north-east Tasmania to photograph wombats. The very best place to photograph these animals is at Narawntapu National Park where they graze like miniature bison on the flat open areas that used to be potato fields.

Winter is the best time to photograph these shy marsupials, as they come out of their burrows in the daytime, to warm up in the thin winter sunshine. The weather was not at all kind to us, but as the old cliche goes: if you don’t like the weather in Tasmania, just wait five minutes. We managed to keep warm and cheerful and got enough good light to get what we were after.

A wombat peering shyly from its burrow © Rob Walls 2010

Along the way, I discovered a stock photo niche. Amongst the 19,000,000 pictures on Alamy, there is not a single picture of the curiously rhomboid wombat scat. “Scat”, a curious word? A euphemism? Probably. Not much better than putting “s**t”, but then telling it like it is and calling it “shit” is, to my mind, somewhat crude. Anyway, if any natural history photo editors out there are looking for a stock shots of wombat excrement, they should be able to find several at Alamy.com after next week.

As my friend and colleague Roel Loopers said, “as we all know, Rob, shit sells!” I hope so. Here for your information and edification is what wombat crap looks like:

Wombat scat

Wombat scat

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Filed under Australian, Digital photography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls, Stock photography, Tasmania, travel

Ross Barnett asks hard questions of Peter Garrett

Writer/photographer Ross Barnett has long been active in bringing attention to the ridiculous regulations that govern photography in Australia’s so-called “national” parks. Here he asks some questions of Peter Garrett, the minister responsible and gets some answers that seem to indicate either the minister is evading the questions, or that he lacks the intelligence to grasp the idea that freedom of expression is a value worth embracing in modern Australia.

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First day of a Tasmanian winter…

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Most mainlanders have an image of the Tasmanian winter as being pretty bleak. They don’t realise that, though we are sometimes referred to as the gateway to Antarctica, we have a climate that is exceedingly temperate. To put it in perspective, an island on an equivalent northerly lattiude is Corsica…and we too grow olives and grapes.

Yesterday was the first day of winter. The sun was shining, it was 16 degrees Celsius and I was traversing the Midlands highway on my way home with a Toyota Hilux pickup I had bought in the northern coastal town of Devonport. This is a slide show of some of the pictures I made on my way home.

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Filed under art, Australian, Digital photography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls, Stock photography, Tasmania, travel