XmasPhotoHunt – Gallery

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There is not much analysis to do on our Xmas Photo Hunt, it was simply a bit a fun.  The kids picked 12 themes for 12 days of Christmas, each theme had a sort of link to Christmas but could be interpreted in any way you want.  Not surprisingly there were a lot of Christmas themed photos but also plenty of different approaches taken as well.  I wasn’t sure with it being a busy family time if people would play along but plenty of people kept me busy with a steady stream of photos coming in.

Initially I was going to try and keep track of how each person was doing in getting all 12 but I soon gave up on that idea and left it up to the sender to work out how they were doing.  A few people definitely got all 12 and it was clear there were a few ‘finishers’ out there but others put in anywhere between 1 and 11.  Either way it was fine with me as it added a bit of fun and social media togetherness across the holidays.

The 12 themes were: Pretty, Sign, Travel, Crack, Together, Enjoy, Relax, Story, Kind, Wrap, Escape, Peace.  Have a look at the gallery and see if you can work out the various interpretations.  I’ve set the gallery to random so each time you have a look the gallery will be a slightly different order enabling you to get a slightly different perspective each time.  As always huge thanks for getting involved and taking part.  I’m not sure when or if the next photo challenge will be – follow me on twitter @ianstreet67 to find out.  Hope everyone has a great 2016.

Banksy paints Steve Jobs

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I’ve always found graffiti fascinating: who paints it, why, what are they trying to express, do I understand it, is there a reason why they have put it where they have, is it any good, is it art, does it say anything? are just a few of the questions that always spring to mind when I see some.  In fact I think I often pay far more attention and think about it more than any piece of art that I see installed in a gallery.

Much of this was brilliantly explained in the BB4 documentary ‘A Brief History of Graffiti’ which I found utterly captivating and informative.  In in Dr Richard Clay goes in search of what it is that has made people scribble and scratch mementoes of our lives for more than 30,000 years. From the prehistoric cave paintings of Burgundy in France, through gladiatorial fan worship in Roman Lyons to the messages left on the walls of Germany’s Reichstag in 1945 by triumphant Soviet troops, time and again people have wanted to leave a permanent record of our existence for our descendants. In doing so Clay lays down the challenge that this is where what today we call art comes from – the humble scratch, graffiti.

During the programme there was one piece that I found really affecting and it was this statement that what Graffiti really is is truth speaking to power.  This idea really struck a nerve when I saw a picture of the latest Banksy that he has put on the walls in the notorious refugee camp in Calais.  In one piece of graffiti Banksy has laid down a challenge that looks to confront the negative attitudes towards the thousands living there and the many thousands of others that are desperately fleeing conflict across the world.

In the picture the late Steve Jobs is depicted on the move, black back across one shoulder, with on of his first Apple computers in the other.  Steve Jobs was the son of Syrian migrant.  Banksy very rarely comments on his work but he has said this about his latest piece:

“We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant. Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7bn (£4.6bn) a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”

Truth Speaking to Power if ever I’ve seen it.

Summer Photo Fun 2015 – Week 7 – Odd

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We finished this year’s summer photo fun with the kids choosing odd as the theme.  This summed up the summer quite nicely for me as for reasons that I’ve never quite got my head round Leeds decided to opt for a 7 week summer holiday this year for schools instead of the normal 6.  Apparently next year it will be 5, no idea why, as I say odd.

When people tweet me their photo interpretations they often put a little explanation in with the tweet, I never use this on the blog posts as I like the photos to tell their own story and when they are all placed together in a gallery you get a better overall effect I think than single photos with an explanation.  Also I like people to look at the photos and either figure out what the taker was thinking or perhaps to see their own interpretation within the image.  This week though with odd I did think about putting up the explanations as there is indeed some odd photos and interpretations, but then I thought naaaaargh just go with it.  So here it is an odd gallery indeed.

Also an apology from me, I struggled a bit to get the blogs up on time this summer, primarily just because I’ve been busy, you know life getting in the way, and this post is a typical example as it’s two and half weeks after the end of the holidays.  Tardy indeed.  It’s also been an interesting summer photo fun as I look back over it with some weeks really capturing the imagination and lots of people taking part while other weeks barely seemed to get off the ground.  I’ve no idea why this was, maybe people are bored with it after a few years of doing it?  I suspect there’s no real rhyme or reason to it which is always part of the fun, you put the idea out there and see what happens.

I’d really like to thank everyone who has joined our good ship photo fun, it was my eldest who came up with the idea a few years ago and while I pull it all together they still come up with all the themes.  I love every photo that comes in as each simple photo and tweet is a connection made across time and space and there is something beautiful about that as far as I’m concerned.  Cheers from me and the kids.

Summer Photo Fun 2015 – Week 6 – Culture

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I’m strangely fascinated by the word culture – what is it, what does it mean, what connotations are there when it’s used so it was a great theme that the kids picked for the penultimate theme of this years summer photo fun.  As always the photos that you contributed to the week I think showed many sides to that word culture which I think goes to show what a confusing word it is.

the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

maintain (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth.

A long time ago I went to university, all I actually learnt was one key thing – definitions are vitally important, if you don’t define what you mean by a certain word then confusion, misunderstanding and misinterpretation is the guaranteed result.  Culture is a great example of this covering as it does some stuff floating about in a petri dish or opera (some might argue they are the same thing of course).

So while the gallery does not bring us any examples of the third definition I think we’ve got the first two covered.  I particularly liked ‘Pub Culture’ at the top of the post a photo that is full of possibilities and questions and the more I look at it the more I see and question.  Take a moment and have a good look and think.

As always thanks so much to everyone who contributed, this week made me think a lot.  Do let me know what you thought and also I’d be interested to know what culture means to you.

Summer Photo Fun 2015 – Week 2 – Colour

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We had a right splash of colour for week 2 of this year’s summer photo fun.  I’m not sure whether we had more people contributing because they found this theme easier to interpret that the first week of start, or whether for most people this was actually the first week of the holidays.  Either way there were some great interpretations and it was fantastic to see my timeline pop up with these lovely photos, including some from kids which is always great.

If you click on the gallery then you can scroll through them in the right size, do have a look and let us know which ones you liked.   I really liked the pink umbrella in St Mark’s Square but I couldn’t take my eyes of the piece of art work dripping in colour so I had to put that one at the top this week.

As always huge thanks for playing along with us, the kids will set a new theme each week over the summer holidays so hope you will continue to play along with us.  Just follow #summerphotofun and / or me – @ianstreet67 on twitter and you will see the themes, then just tweet your interpretation and they will all go into the blog gallery for that theme at the end of the week.  You don’t need to be a ‘photographer’ just open your eyes, snap on your phone and have fun with it.  If you happen to be in a part of the world where it’s not summer, no worries you are still welcome to interpret and join in.

Summer Photo Fun 2015 – Week 1 – Start

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Summer Photo Fun 2015 got off to a bit of a slow start, with the kids picking Start as the first theme.  I was not sure whether people were finding it hard to interpret the theme, or whether we had simply got off to too early a start for people.  The summer holidays in Leeds this year are a bit strange and have caught quite a few people out as we count through our diaries and realise that it lasts for 7 weeks this year.  Now summer holidays have been 6 weeks for as long as I can remember but for reasons I don’t understand this year they are 7 weeks and next summer 5 apparently.  The result of this meant that we leapt into Summer Photo Fun a bit earlier than normal.

Still a few people saw it and got snapping and as always there were some lovely interpretations, the start of journeys, adventure, races and perhaps my favourite the photo at the top feature the start of new life.  Although it was a quiet start to summer photo fun, as always many thanks for those who contributed.  Let’s see what the rest of the summer throws up.

Anyone is welcome to contribute, just watch the hastag on twitter #summerphotofun and / or follow me on twitter @ianstreet67 for the weekly themes that my kids set.

Liberate Tate #TimePiece

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I like it when you stumble across things.  I’m one of life’s bumblers with no grand plan, this can of course be infuriating for me and others at times but on balance it really works.  It’s a particularly good way to enjoy cities so instead of a must see list and charging round at the speed of light so you can cross things off said list, I find it much better to have a vague idea, somewhere to sort of aim at but it doesn’t matter whether you get there or not.  This way, while you have a sense of direction, the journey is somewhat more haphazard and as a result you see more things along the way.

I hadn’t planned to go into Tate Modern the other day but as I was ambling up the south bank having spent a very enjoyable few hours in it’s older sibling Tate Britain and in particular at the Fighting History exhibition I thought it would be good to pop in and see what was in the Turbine Hall, also I needed the loo.  I really wasn’t sure what was going on at first as hunched, veiled figures were holding books, scribbling on the floor.  On closer inspection I’d stumbled across an artistic protest which was kind of spookily ace seeing as I’d just come from an exhibition featuring radical protest art and artists trying to interpret key moments in history.  Climate change and dependence on fossil fuels will surely be a key moment in our history and here unfolding in front of me was conflict, protest, an artistic act that seeks to make sense of this moment and affect change.

The group doing the scrawling were Liberate Tate who are a group of artists protesting about BP’s sponsorship of the gallery.  They have done a number of other artistic protests but in this one they were occupying the turbine hall for 24 hours (to coincide with the tidal movements of the Thames) and were using charcoal to inscribe passages and slogans from dystopian novels, climate change reports, non fiction books that provided a thought provoking narrative.

Should public institutions be tied to companies driving climate change? At the very least it should be very clear what investment is being made and it seems very odd that it took a three year legal battle to get the amount that BP invests in the Tate made public, and the amount ?  £224,000 a year apparently which, while being a not inconsiderable sum of money, makes up only 0.3% of the Tate’s operating budget.  Food for thought I think.

I don’t know what happened when the gallery was due to close, would the security guards move in or would the group be allowed to stay and continue their silent protest, quietly scribbling away?

I’m glad that I stumbled across Liberate Tate.

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