Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘journalism

The Battle of Waterloo, its re-enactment, and some images of it

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As mentioned in my previous post I went to a re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo on the weekend. Here are some of the other images. Rather bizarrely (and annoyingly) the aesthetic and the idea that I had for some of the project run closely parallel to the work of another photographer who has only just been unearthed to me. Not ideal at all. I need to go back to the drawing board and re-arrange my thoughts perhaps…

(yep I realise that there is some dust on my sensor too – haven’t had a chance to cleanse the images yet!)

'max colson' 'historical re-enactment' '94th regiment of the foote' 'old scotch brigade' waterloo deserters

Some deserters

'max colson' 'historical re-enactment' waterloo 'calvary charge' calvary

Napoleon's cavalry charge the English

'max colson' 'historical re-enactment' waterloo 'old scotch brigade' '94th regiment of the foote'

Skirmish in the forest

'max colson' 'historical re-enactment' waterloo napoleonic general

Senior officer from Napoleon's army

'max colson' 'historical re-enactment' waterloo napoleonic general

Peering into the dark

Role-playing

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I just got back from a trip to Belgium where I was part of the re-enactment of the the Battle of Waterloo.

Although I was out on the battlefield with the men I was also living in an 1815 style military camp with the rest of the Allied forces trying to learn the ways of the 1815 military, light fires, follow orders, and hold muskets. Serious thanks to the brilliant 94th Old Scotch Brigade for allowing me to be embedded whilst they were part of the 1000 man re-enactment. Unfortunately I didn’t get to fire any weapons but we’ll have to save that for next time.

More to come but I thought I’d give you my self portrait of me being the action hero first. I have my mean face on and everything:

max colson photographer re-enactment

Self-portrait with musket and 1815 English military 'red coat' uniform

Some thoughts on iPad apps & coffee table audiences Pt.1

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If photojournalism is about getting people to care about the stuff that the photographer cares about then the  ideal is to make sure that as many people as possible see the photos isn’t it? The more people that see the photos, the more people who can be potentially effected, which results in a higher number of people caring (and hopefully doing whatever it is that needs to be done for the cause). This is the ideal but obviously in the real world people have things called budgets and you have to be more strategic & targeted about it.

Previously I guess that there were two main tactics in getting people to see photos, with photographers probably siding with the first because of the various barriers to distribution (do correct me if I’m wrong):

a) Getting a small group of people to understand the facts (more of a tactical approach i.e. using select locations & print titles)

b) Getting a large group of people to understand the facts (more of a broadcast approach i.e. using national newspapers, TV)

The approach that you took depended in part on funds available + what the project objectives were I guess, e.g. The Red Cross in the aftermath of an earthquake has completely different targets from a project by Martin Parr on arms fairs (no pun intended).

This is all fairly straightforward. At the root of it it’s all about making sure you are hitting as many of the right people within the budget that you have. Right?

In light of all of this it was interesting reading the interview that Chris Anderson (the Magnum photographer) gave in the British Journal of Photography, which included an exchange over his new iPad app and its price. In the interview the BJP asks rather incredulously, “Why $4.99 [for the app]?”. The photographer responds,

That seemed to be the threshold for my when I buy an app. I think it is underpriced in this case, but I did want to lean toward underpricing rather than overpricing. For me, above $5, for an app and I want it to serve me coffee in the morning.” (my bolds)

Before the digital copy publishers were able to say that it cost a fair bit to print photobooks on paper. Colour inks and nice paper are really hard to source and produce and stick together and all that. So they printed the photobooks, made them hardcover, and then wacked a nice £40 price tag on them. With the digital copy you obviously can’t really justify that kind of price tag. Which is nice for everyone who isn’t able to afford those nicely polished coffee tables to display the books on just as yet.

Whilst the traditional print industry (newspapers & magazines) gradually ceases to become the main source of funding for project documentary photography, another opportunity is opening. Anderson in the interview acknowledges that

“I imagine that the audience will be slightly different than book collectors. I do imagine photo students, for example, or this might even be a way to easily incorporate the book into an academic curriculum. I also think that the price might allow people with a passing curiosity in the subject matter…people who are not even photography fans…to purchase it.”

Whilst we haven’t reached the point where the mobile screen has become ubiquitous I would conservatively predict that a large percentage of us will have a mobile screen thing in 6/7ish years , or whenever the prices go down. NB – it’s worth pointing out here that Morgan Stanley’s tech guru Mary Meeker has predicted that sales of mobile devices will surpass that of the PC in 2013:

The potential of this kind of photo distribution is significant not only because of funding potential but because of audience size. ‘Normal’ people who don’t buy photo books will actually be a potential audience for project photography. And they will probably expect to download a photo project for about £3 whilst they wait for the bus to take them to work. Now I don’t know about you, but if the point of photojournalism is to get as many people to see the photos as possible that’s a light at the end of the tunnel which shines more brightly than someone’s nicely polished coffee table and a £40 price tag.