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John Wilson
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Another favourite from the same shoot

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One of my favourite photographs from the production shoot I did for Little Stitches - a set of plays dealing with Female Genital Mutilation

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#smalltowninertia 35mm Film Test scans August 2014

I’d known Stuart for over 15 years, time once was when we were barfly pals, attempting to dull our respective pains with cheap red wine whilst discussing the world, damning it’s evils and championing it’s beauties.

Forever on the fringe of Market Town, having returned here to care for his elderly Mother, until she passed away, Stuart stayed alone in the house that witnessed his Mother’s final breaths and some weeks ago also bore witness to his. 

Stuart was one of the first people I ever documented, the encouragement he gave me, at a monumental junction within my own life, I’ll never forget, he gave me a chance, as a human being and as a fledgeling photographer and as a friend. 

I remember, so vividly, when we had his portrait featured upon the Pictorymag blog, I rushed over to tell him, gave him a print of the featured photograph and he was thrilled, amazed anyone would care for a word he had said. 

(*From Pictorymag feature)

Baptised in Darwin’s Bathwater. 

"Stuart lives in his late parents house on the outskirts of town. Alone and somewhat isolated from the world around him, Stuart has taught me one lesson above all : to love the small, precious moments with those close to you. It’s the one element of life that can never be regretted. For him, the warmth of remembering sustains the coldness of present days."

"Stuart has watched as so many loved ones have returned to the earth, and yet maintains an air of gentle understanding about the rhythm and pattern and tempo of mortality. “I was baptised in Darwin’s bathwater” he told me as we discussed the afterlife and his resolve about the natural cycle of life’s twists and turns. “Love is the eternal where we are not so in the physical.”

“Love is the eternal where we are not so in the physical.” …these words are how I’ll forever remember Stuart. Market Town has lost one of it’s princes and is dulled with his absence.

I’m sharing some audio from our final recorded conversation, I want you to hear his voice, his laugh, his musings, memories. 

*Up till an hour ago, I never knew this photograph existed, whilst making more inroads with testing the film scanner, I found a single negative image, alone, at the bottom of a large bag of negatives I’ve been amassing since the very early days of #smalltowninertia. This is the only colour photograph I ever made with Stuart.

My partner, Laura, said to me during a long conversation regarding film the other evening “Film is beautiful, it’s like looking at memories…” and, discovering this negative of my late friend, Laura’s words were pulled into a sharp focus. 

As the scanner whirred and thrummed, drawing the negative within it’s belly, the slow reveal of all the sun and electric light had burned onto the virgin film, I remembered everything about this day, borrowing a camera, my father giving me a roll of out of date colour film he’d found the night before. 

I remembered Stuart, not that you ever forget people that you’ve been close with that have passed, but, looking at this photograph, brought him back, just for a moment.

I remembered our conversation, meandering river chaos, I remembered his laugh, his sorrows and joys shared, and, all the dreams he had held close to his heart, a lifetime of dreams that in just two years, would be, finally, within reach, then lost forever. 

Stuart, you’ve made the great leap, you know the answers, whatever they be, I miss you my friend, deeply. X

Link to audio :

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After visiting with David, Laura and I had our 'date day' in the Norfolk Kitchen and I could complete the test roll for developing!.

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Here's Ben Walters' wonderful film about my haircut and female-to-male transformation:

Tesco behaving badly:

yesterday I got the following email
Reminder - your coupons are expiring soon. 

Dear Mr Wilson,
We just wanted to send you a little reminder to let you know that some of your coupons are about to expire. They're especially chosen to help you save on the things you often buy, so don't forget to use them soon.
All of your coupons are waiting for you at the online grocery checkout. Alternatively, if you want to use them in store you can go to your My Clubcard Account and print them out. Just make sure you have your Clubcard to hand to go through our security steps.
Thank you for shopping at Tesco and enjoy the rest of your summer.
Your Clubcard Team

Now this immediately rings alarm bells.

1/I have never had an email about Cubcards from Tesco before (I have all the emails ever received by this address and I searched them)

2/ I don't have a Clubcard account - my wife does and she gets vouchers in the post. I've ordered one thing from Tesco online and that was in 2011.

3/ It's going to try and harvest personal information as part of the "security steps"

So I checked the headers:

Received: from ( [])
        by with ESMTP id b17si17785236oen.96.2014.
        for <>;
        Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:03:57 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;
       spf=pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender);

That looks fine Goolge has checked it's a permitted sender so I have reasonable confidence it came from a Tesco controlled machine.

However clicking on the links in the email produced no data errors.

So I assume that somebody has hacked into the Tesco system, Tesco has found out and has pulled the plug on the infected server.

Asking on Twitter revels that Tesco customer support say the email is genuine and that the response has crashed their server.

I think what has happened is this:

1/ Tesco want to link Clubcard details to online shopping accounts.

2/ They can't do that automatically so they have to ask all Clubcard account owners to do it for them

3/ They don't have the email addresses of all Clubcard account owners but they do have the email addresses of all shopping account owners.

So they send emails to all shopping account owners pretending that they have outstanding vouchers about to expire hoping that they will add the Clubcard data to the shopping account.

This is certainly deceitful and, in my view, dishonest.

Why not send an email saying "if you gave a Clubcard and you add the details to your shopping account we'll give you some vouchers?"

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Two records not to be missed: from the amazing ReR Megacorp 

Epiloghi: Six ways of saying Zangtumbtumb [£14.50] 39u
An hommage to Russolo’s Art of Noises, Rene Descartes’ Passions of the Soul and Jacopo Peri’s Dafne, this is a radio work for ancient theatre noise-machines, stage props, harpsichords, fortepiano and occasional voice. In the Baroque theatre, wind, thunder, rain and other sound effect machines were used, some of which have survived – and these are what Bumsteinas uses, sometimes with harpsichord and/or fortepiano. Sound constructions, though they contain some music and, at one point, a stunning accompaniment to Marinettis recorded reading of Zangtumbtumb. A second work Night on the Sailship is built from theatre sound effect machines, props and coulisse machinery alone. A unique project

(dbl CD) [£20] By Name
A very limited number only, imported from Korea. This double CD set is, exactly as it says - a compilation of pieces made either with a balloon, or a needle, or both. Pieces by Judy Dunaway (the balloon queen), Davide Tidoni, Una Lee, EVOL, Attilla Faravelli and Enrico Malatesta (with environmental accompaniment), Matjaz Galicic, Choi Sehee, Benedict Drew (using also a cymbal), Eugene Chadbourne (the balloon king), Jin Sangtae, Ricardo Arias, Dave Phillips, Horio Kanta, Hong Chulki, Luciano Maggiore, Umeda Tetsuya, Franz de Waard and Lee Miyeon. An admirable collection. It comes in a nice minimal off-white card gatefold sleeve with geometrical cuts (curves and wedges) removed - and, of course – with a needle and a balloon. A great deal of variety and admirable ingenuity shown and aesthetically concrete (or acoustic) rather than electronic. Only a few skip-able tracks - to my taste. The collection is enigmatic as far as information on method is concerned, but that’s perhaps acceptable in this particular case. A serious, careful, thoughtful and smart release.

I modest proposal to Fuji

I have a Fuji X-T1. I bought it because I have been shooting stage performance with my X-Pro1 and, whilst that camera performs extremely well in general and the image quality is great, I have a problem with the shutter lag. The X-T1 fixes that and I get the extra bonus of a camera which is even less obtrusive than the X-Pro. (I shoot rehearsals a lot and they can sometimes be a little tense. The last thing you need to be is a person with a big, noisy camera when tempers snap!).

The thing I did not buy the camera for was WiFi support. “It's a battery draining gimmick for people who want to post pictures of their latte on Facebook” was my considered assessment. It emerges that I might, for once, have been over hasty in dismissing a feature...

The phone application which uses the WiFi connection allows quite extensive control of the camera settings. It's comparable to what you can do with a Canon 5D and a USB connected PC (or phone or tablet using something like DSLR Remote). So, for example, you can pop the camera on a jib and get some high angle shots to inject a bit of interest if you are shooting an event.

The nice thing about WiFi is that you can, for example, place a camera in a good position to catch action from an unusual angle, shoot normally with your main camera and then control the second camera with your phone when you need a shot from the second camera position (e.g. high up in a church at a wedding). One slight drawback is that it's a bit fiddly to change the settings quickly using the app and another is that you have to juggle camera and phone which isn't a good thing if you're under pressure.

In my ideal world I'd have a special dedicated camera controller which would have similar control dials and buttons as the camera and would allow control of one or more remote cameras. My ideal device would also have a viewfinder which would show me what I would see if I was looking through the viewfinder of the remote camera. Sadly that's not going to happen. The device would cost a fortune as it's a very niche application with low volume sales compared to camera bodies. So, it was a nice idea but it's prohibitively expensive. Pity!

But wait, is is an impossibility?.

Let's look at what I'd ideally want -  A device which looks like an T1 or E2, which has all the camera controls on it and which has something that looks like a lens on the front with aperture control and focus rings and has a high quality EVF. It has built in WiFi and can communicate to one or more real X series cameras. I already own something that very nearly does all that. It's called a Fuji X-T1. If Fuji could port the remote camera code as a firmware update to the T1/E2 then they'd have something amazing which would sell second (and third and fourth) bodies to pro and semi pro photographers. I could take a photograph with the camera in my hand, switch to a remote camera, take a photograph with that and switch back to photographing with the camera in my hand. All without taking the camera from my eye.

Now, of course, the devil’s in the details. I've no idea if this is technically possible. I've no idea the cost and difficulty of implementing it. 45 years of making computer programs tells me it's not as easy to implement as it seems. But would't it be great if it could be done?

Added later:

Just to clarify: I'd like this as well as the phone/tablet apps not instead of them.  There are times when using a phone or tablet is preferable. For example, if I have the camera on a jib I want to control the camera from a tablet on a magic arm. This is because I have my hands full controlling the jib. I want to frame my shot then use the tablet to set the focus point and fire the shutter. 

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"I only wanted Uncle Vernon standing by his own car (a Hudson) on a clear day, I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on the fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography" - Lee Friedlander
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