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Afternoon at the War Memorial.

I saw more guns, planes, and Nazi memorabilia–which I assume was stuff captured by Australian troops from downed enemies–than ever before in my entire life. There’s a whole enormous hall just full of old aircraft, including the tiny single-wing balsa wood things my grandpa used to use to train pilots before they were deployed overseas.

(Pa was never deployed because, I assume, he was too useful to the Air Force as a trainer. There’s a Big Issue around service personnel who never left Australia yet still contributed to the war effort. Nanna is still considered a war widow and gets benefits from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. On the other hand, Pa adamantly refused to set foot inside an RSL club his entire life.)

The War Memorial is an interesting place. It doesn’t glorify war–I was tearing up over more than one of the exhibits–so much as simply present the artefacts of conflict in a matter-of-fact sort of way. We only really went through the WWII gallery, so there’s a lot we didn’t end up seeing.

One of the most interesting things in the museum is part of an ancient mosaic floor dug up in Gaza during World War I. I’d be betting it’s one of Australia’s only “plundered Old World antiquity”. Go figure, I guess.

2017-08-23T09:59:54+10:0029th July, 2014|Tags: culture, hipster photos, photography|

One of these things is not like the others…

Photo of a display of Young Adult books in a store, including titles like DIVERGENT. One book, titled UNDERBELLY, features a naked woman looking back over her shoulder.

Shelving books; tougher than it looks, I guess.

I mean, I know they talk about YA books being too “dark”, but… really?

(On a related note, that A.G. Howard book is one of the favourites of the Girl Over The Partition; the tweenage relation of someone in the office, who comes in sometimes in the afternoon and talks to her Paternal Adult Figure non-stop about YA books and wanting to grow up to be old enough to read Game of Thrones. It’s very cute.)

2018-05-01T10:51:51+10:007th July, 2014|Tags: books, hipster photos, photography|

The perfect photo.

Interesting for its list of the “most important photos ever taken” (warning: as you can probably expect, some are very confronting, even if you’ve probably seen them before). Although I was a little surprised the Phan Thị Kim Phúc photo wasn’t included (again, warning for confronting subject matter); this is, after all, probably the photo that’s not just credited with ending the Vietnam War, but that shaped the concept of “embedded journalism” in all subsequent conflicts.

2017-07-17T10:46:59+10:0028th January, 2014|Tags: photography|

#qantasluxury

So a few years back, Australian airline Qantas ran into some social media trouble with its #qantasluxury hashtag. The resulting fail–I’m sure you can imagine how things went down–is so notorious that it’s taught in business school.

Ironically, business school was exactly where my husband was heading when he sent me the above photos; taken inside one of Qantas’ first class lounges.

For people who don’t know, airlines have tiered flight lounges; when people talk about going, usually they’re referring to the “regular” lounge, available to anyone prepared to shell out the cash to get into it. These lounges are definitely better than the terminal–there’s free food and wine, for one thing, and the toilets and chairs are better–but cheap plonk and olives aren’t usually worth the cost of admission. Even the business class lounge isn’t much; quieter than the plebe lounge, and with staff who call you by name, but otherwise mostly the same.

But above business? Apparently that’s where the real #qantasluxury starts.

(The really fancy lounges, if you’re wondering, aren’t signposted in airports: if you can get into them, you know where to go.)

The reason there’s no prices on that menu? That’s because things are free (well, “included in the price of the ticket”, is the generous explanation). And most of those wines are Langton’s.

Also my husband reports there is “table service coffee” and the staff are “polite”.

Definitely all things I’m going to be thinking about, next time some surly Qantas flight attendant throws me a stale cake and snaps at me to turn my headphones off.

… or perhaps not. Given that we’ve just made a family pact to do all our economy flying with Virgin from now on.

2018-09-05T13:09:07+10:0028th January, 2014|Tags: business, photography|

Luckiest. Mid-air collision. Ever.

Two small planes collide in mid-air. Fortunately they were both full of skydivers, and everyone survived, including the pilots. The worst injuries were some minor cuts. (I’m not sure what happened to the plan wreckage.)

Of course, being a plane full of skydivers, there were plenty of those helmet camera things, so here’s the footage of the accident. From multiple angles, even.

2014-01-09T13:06:17+11:009th January, 2014|Tags: photography|

On looking hideous in other people’s photos.

Apropos to the season in more ways than one, Chrys Stevenson has a post defending selfies in which she makes the point:

That first selfie was a bit of a revelation to me. I had thought of myself as unphotogenic – an impression reinforced by the toe-curlingly embarrassing insistence of people posting and tagging photos of me on Facebook without ever considering how fucking awful I looked.

To which I want to say a huge yes, this.

This is the ugly truth of it: it’s not that you’re unattractive. It’s that people are fucking awful at taking photos.

This occurred to me a few months ago, when I happened to have an occasion to take some photos of a friend of mine. This guy is not a bad looking guy, and yet I remember he’s lamented to me on previous occasions that he hates photos of himself, because he always looks awful. He backed this assertion up with evidence which, yes. Those were some pretty awkward photos, I couldn’t deny it.

And yet, I don’t think I manage to take a single bad photo of him in my own time behind the camera. (Not even a fancy camera, at that; just my iPhone.)

People laugh at me when I take photos. I’m that person who will kneel down or stand on boxes or at weird angles to get a decent shot. It’s not that I’m some Pro Awesome Photographer or anything; I’m not. It’s just that I care about other people’s self-image. As someone who’s also cursed with extreme Badphotoitis–I find tooth-flashing smiles really awkward, for one thing–I see taking photos of other people as like unto being entrusted with something very precious. Because it is; they’re trusting me with a piece of their own self-esteem, no matter how small.

Good photos make people feel good about themselves, and, if I’m taking a photo of someone, that’s the feeling I want them to have when they see the shot. And decent photos are a skill; framing, lighting, angle, pose, expression. All that stuff. It isn’t easy to get right, but it matters trying.

A lot of people don’t realise that, I think. At least not consciously in quite that way. Hence the millions upon millions of bad photos out there.

2015-05-13T08:23:54+10:0026th December, 2013|Tags: photography, selfies|