End of an era

So I finished my Masters.  I submitted my dissertation piece last Tuesday, and also at the same time resigned from my university job which has reduced my hours over the last few years to just nine a week, which had become a bit of a joke.  These are not the only changes in life at the moment, WordPress wrote me that my yearly payment was due and I declined it so my .com blog will come to an end in a month.  That’s not to say I won’t ever blog again (although my recent record is terrible) but I’ll just have http://www.manchestersartisticson.wordpress.com

It’s a big change blog wise, so I’ll take this opportunity to say thanks guys to all the folks who passed through.  The photo enthusiasts who found the site through the tags and Twitter, and the nice ladies who followed the 100 challenges in a 1000 days task, I hope all y’all are getting on better than I did. And my friends through book club and in real life, THANKS!

So cheers for following my two year meander through photo, art and writing.  What will Post-masters hold for m? , I hope I keep scribbling, but I don’t see me publishing much (Duotrope has gone to a pay site and I never made enough to make it worthwhile anyway) but I’ll keep producing something.  Photo-friends check out my flickr which is now going to be my main photo upload site


And if anything momentous happens I’ll promise to drop a note in here.  Thanks for all the comments guys!


Buying a used film SLR – Suggestions –

Hey, so I haven’t blogged in like forever, but I was just ten minutes ago feeling the restrictions of the interwebs and I thought to myself, I wish I had a platform where I could post pictures and words together in unlimited space and Facebook not have the rights to it… and I remembered I own a dot-com.  Whoop.  It’s like finding money in your coat pocket, except not as useful.

So here goes.
Jarbon supermix 005 Jarbon supermix 006 Jarbon supermix 007

You just bought a film camera off the Bay, imagine, and when it turns up its less than perfect so you rush to tell the seller you hate him, but wait. All it needs is some TLC.  So take the lens off, and the neck/wrist strap and take the batteries out of the battery compartment and throw them away, unless the seller told you they were new.

Get a duster and lay the camera on it and assess it.  First thing you might check is the leathers.  Not only do these go wrong over time, but they are easy to replace, fun to replace and they make the camera look brand new.  The picture here shows the Minolta leathers have shrunk away from the rim around them – that’s kinda what Minolta leathers do.  So you’re gonna want to check out Rikuo’s website or Morgan’s.  Buy a leather kit and then strip off the old leather which comes away easy.

Now the next picture shows how your light seals might look – basically like a coal miner has sneezed them up.  You basically soak them with lighter fluid with a paintbrush, then use a wooden BBQ skewer with a flat edge that you sharpen yourself, to scratch them off.  Take care here, keep some baby wipes and Q-tips to hand and make sure the miner-snot comes out, and doesn’t drop in.  I think it’s okay to gouge pretty hard, but when stuff drops on your mirror Jarbon supermix 008or viewfinder or shutter curtain you take it out piece by piece carefully.  You gradually soak and remove all the bad stuff like this and if alternatively it looks like nice springy black foam leave it be, someone has already replaced it

Now you ideally need some black foam, but I’ve seen all sorts of household stuff used, like black wool, string, bits of black felt, soft black fabric or rubber.  The foam costs about £3.50 a sheet off ebay though.  Camera will look a bit like this now (below)- be warned with this specific model you’ll need to take the self timer off before you fit the new leather but that’s pretty easy.Jarbon supermix 010Replace the bits of foam which you stripped off, around the door.  Actually, just do the strip along the door hinge where it meets the body, that’s the only bit I redo and I’ve never had a light photo times 002leak.  So you’ve found some black felt and done it with some PVA glue, took five minutes right?  Now the hard bit.

The inside of your camera, behind the lens needs to be amazeballs-clean.  So what you can see in the picture here has a dampener of foam around it, if its sticky you need to replace it with tiny strips of the same black felt. Meh, its not easy.  Keep checking the viewfinder as you go to make sure you’re not obscuring the clear view.  But what is important it needs to look as clean as mine, ahem, yep mines pretty clean and now it has its yellow leather on from Rikuo!! And since my Minolta has film in it now here’s a picture photo times 007of my Ricoh with some new strips of foam on the backdoor, but its overkill really you only need to worry about the hinge strip.

I think the next job is to get a pencil with a clean eraser on the end and give the battery compartment a rub to remove any grease and nasty bits.  Use a Q-tip and some camera cleaning fluid (buy on ebay) to clean the mirror and any fragile parts.  Then I get some baby wipes and wipe down the whole camera, apart from the fragile bits.

photo times 004

So your camera has new leather, new light seals, an internal clean and an external clean.  Avoid using brasso or polish on the steel because it gunks up the dials.  Baby wipes are pretty good at getting it shiny.  Fit your new battery and a film and you’re ready to go.  However if its newly bought off the Bay you might want to check the dials all work before the film goes in.  A fresh battery should get your light meter working, check it against your digital camera.  Shoot a few frames with the back door open and no film in so you can see the curtain opening and the mirror flipping, then adjust the shutter speed and look for the difference.  Lastly check the aperture blades on your lens.  Its a real pain to clean inside a lens, although its possible.  Hopefully your blades are free of oil and smudges and move easily.  Just use a lens cleaning cloth to buff up the glass and then attach it to the camera.  finally get back on eBay and buy the right skylight/UV filter for the end of the lens, and maybe a leather case so your camera is well protected.  Now you’re ready to shoot with film, ask any questions below.




The Big Pope Vote

No, I’m kidding you can’t vote for him.  But Big Jo Ratzinger (shown here in his youth) has stepped down in his role pope-benedict-nazi-salute1 sanfranciscosentinel comas His Popiest highness Pope Benedict XVI and a gang of potential new Popes are vying for the position at the end of the month.  Around 117 Cardinals are going to meet in the Sistine Chapel to cast votes for about two or three days to see who should get the job.  Unlike meetings at HMVs head office these guys can’t tweet during the process so the world will wait with bated breath for the results to be announced.  Big Jo, now 85, will not be taking part.  Here’s some of the great candidates who may be taking the top job of telling 1.2 billion Catholics Worldwide what they should and shouldn’t be doing, because of wot God told ‘im!!

CardinalouelletMarc Ouellet – Canadian – generally thought of as a top bloke, he’s pretty anti-abortion but he says he’s sorry for the Church’s pretty dumb treatment of Jews, Gays and women in the past.



Peter Turkson – Ghanaian – A jolly chap with a big friendly smile, although he thinks f6e623665e6eaa1f08e975e0eea6db3dcondoms are worse than Hitler.



Francis Arinze – Nigerian – This old boy (81) was a refugee in the Biafran war in Nigeria and he helped manage the refugee relief movement.  He’s also big on staying friends with the Muslims, which Turkson above isn’t very good at, but he’s homophobic and thinks arinze1condoms actually caused Aids big time.



Wilfred Fox Napier – South African – Social Reformer who spoke out against apartheid South Africa in the CardinalNapier80s, although he is pretty hardcore on the old issues of abortion and condoms which he thinks actually kill people who explode when they put one on.



Angelo Scola – Italy – Italian favourite with lots of imgAngelo Scola2super-Catholic credits to his name.



A top set of blokes, who would you choose?  As in 2005 the whispering in the brothels of Rome is all about the fact we might have the first black Pope!


I’m sure all the people in interwebs world will be watching with trepidation. As it is, whether black or white he’ll still be Catholic, so none of them get my vote.  And it isn’t looking good for the Aids situation in Africa as most of these fellas think condoms are not the answer.  The focus does seem to be on Africa and the developing world for many of the contended issues, since the developing world with its lack of education and scientific knowledge still thinks the Catholic Church is A-okay.  Here in Europe however only Jimmy Saville is entertained by the bad things these blokes get up to.  My favourite quote from a pope is from Innocent III who said; “Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.” Sure we know that fewer people were killed by the inquisition than we used to think, I’ve heard the number 5 million banded about in the past but it’s probably in the hundreds of thousands (lists of Catholic atrocities can be found, with citations here).  This whole anti-condom thing though shows that whilst the Catholic church doesn’t kill that many people directly they indirectly cause loss of life through their make-believe teachings, and putting a black face to those teachings will only encourage people who are galvanized by trauma and hunger to go along with their quite dreadful ideas.  Bertrand Russell said:

“Religion is based primarily upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly as the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.”

Happy New Year!

Well hope 2013 is super amazingness.  I totally ran out of steam these last few months with blogging, but don’t fear I’m still photographing like mad.  Thought I’d post one or two of my fav photos of 2012 for your viewingness – and because its kinda that time of year for retrospection.

Copy of jjjj9




I love this shot, you might disagree but it was taken on a rangefinder and the framing and focus is kinda hard sometimes (It was the Rollei F and it didn’t have a funny little rangefinder double picture thingy.  And I was challenged by a fellow photographer to take a shot of some grand architecture.  I was happy.


1Then this landscape from near my house, bit gloomy, it was foggy, but this was one of the first few rolls I developed myself and it was taken with some old technical pan, well it was branded as something else though.  Maybe I should have developed it for longer, I dunno.  but I liked the magical science of it all.

misha04004Another shot I’m pretty happy with.  I booked this model to shoot an Edwardian style shoot, and my friend in Australia Peter had sent me a roll of technical pan that had expired in the 1980s.  I shot it in my 1949 Zeiss Ikon Nettar and then messed with the developing (even turned on the lights whilst it was in the developer) to get some cool distressed effects.  I was super happy!

hpqscan0006Then me and a model shot in a mad derelict powerstation.  That shoot was significant because I used some cool new stuff I was investing in – an OM camera with 50mm Zuiko f1.4 lens.  And because I loved shooting in a weird location and I’m gonna do that more in 2013.  Also because I developed and scanned old school on my bedroom floor in one of those light tight bucket things.  Whoop!

Overall a good year for experimentation and a few nice shots too.  2013 holds some exciting things I hope, well it flipping well should since I just shelled out on an OM2, a Contax 137 and a Minolta XD11.  No one reading has probably heard of those bits of kit, but basically if it was still 1985 I would be the daddy.

Get in touch if you have any photo or camera questions, and if you’re Vogue magazine and want to hire me for a cool retro shoot then drop me a line, I’m pretty cheap. x

admin *at* manchestersartisticson *dot* com




So I think I’m probably….

…a pacifist. (oh and a bad blogger for not writing anything for ages!)

I turned the TV on tonight, I do that pretty infrequently.  I’m like one of those harbingers of doom from past centuries who thought travelling in trains would cause your brain to explode or installing electric lights would make your fingernail melt and your hair turn blue.

Well I think watching TV will make your brain turn to fluff, your bank account shrink considerably and make you forget all the things in life which are important.  Yeah I know, I belong in the eighteenth century.

So I gave it a chance tonight, because I don’t want to be ignorant of my enemy, that’s what it wants, I have to beat it with knowledge.  So first of all I saw the news, sadly.  Israel are killing lots of civilians again, with American backing and huge military resources.  Anyone who remembers the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s or 1980s and 90s might feel a bit of deja vu over that one.  The usual footage from under-funded Palestinian hospital and a ten year old girl’s funeral.

Then I watched one of Ross Kemp’s amazing inquiring documentaries.  In this one he’s poking soldiers in the arm until they cry, interspersed with footage from other documentaries he’s done.  (look I got pictures of Israeli soldiers crying to link the narrative!)

Apparently we’ve sent 180,000 soldiers to the Middle East over the last ten years during Operation Futile Spending.  And the Futile Spending is continuing because a percentage of them returning are mentally disturbed by what they’ve seen and done so the government is putting money into the NHS to make them alright again.  (Tell that to the estimated 1.3 million Iraqi and Afghan dead since 2001).

Then during the adverts I was teased to tune in again later in the week to watch a program about MPs who are still committing fraud with our taxes, another on the ruined economy and what the banks are doing wrong, and then an expose on Jimmy Saville and all that.  It all sounds too good to be true.

By this stage I’m feeling pretty fragile.  Injured soldiers, injured Palestinian children, my taxes going to furnish the Spanish villa of a Tory MP.  I needed some light relief, and the magic-TV-machine must have sensed it and a program began whereby a group of celebrities were sitting around in a forest clearing striking poses, eating cockroaches and smoking cigarettes.  A program I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t watched it for ten minutes. 


This picture pretty much sums up my ten minutes…


So I decided after all that – two things.

One, I’m not going to turn the TV on again for a few months (my head is packed full of games consoles, DVDs and super 3D TVs I feel like I’ve eaten a Curry’s catalogue) because its alternating horribleness and ridiculousness.

And two I’m a pacifist.  And I think we’ve been tricked into thinking soldiers are heroes and all war is for freedom and horribly necessary.

Oh, and a third – something about not voting Tory in the next election (not that I did in the last!!). 

I probably learnt other things which will mature and become philosophies in time.  Thanks TV!!