Learning…

Duke and I are having a hard time…

This morning i skipped my swim to rejoin the battle with teh crazy camera i have on loan from Scart Labs. It feels like i’m slowly getting to grips with it, but in the immortal words of someone, “damn thing was crazy! bam-bah-lam!”

It doesn’t help that the polaroid back refuses to spit out the film. Maybe i’ll get better results with real film…

Still, you can’t help but be excited by the softness in the background. If the beast can be tamed, i think it’s going to be spectacular! Obviously i’m working up to the coke machine; one does not prostrate oneself before God without the requisite training…

Wha…

Two crazy things:

  • Japan is once again the largest holder of US Treasuries
  • that pale green line is the UK holdings of US Treasuries, which have increased by ~$70Billion over the last two months… Where is that money coming from?!

And, it’s not just that Japan has increased it’s purchases, it’s that the Chinese are actively selling.

Someone should hold me and tell me that it’s all going to be alright…

More bewildering words at Zerohedge.

Golden Gai (in Blue)

Took the venerable 10d out for a ride the other night. Forgotten how slow and clunky it is to use: autofocus doesn’t work in the dark; it takes an age to save one shot; and the shutter button is almost dead!

Playing with a 50D for a few minutes was a bit of a revelation… perhaps i’ll have to get one of these new fangled digital camera things?

Been a while since i shot and processed a batch of digi-snaps. Hate to have to admit it, but it was quite an enjoyable change of creative pace. There. I said it. Happy now, Adrian?

Wrap

Fragments of TokyoWhat a week! Last night we took the exhibition down, packed it all up, and went home… after a few beers.

It has been a great experience, and good to have so many people turn out. Don’t really know how many people we got through the door.

On the three days that i was there, there wasn’t a quiet moment… actually, around 6:30 last night, watanabe-san and i were the only ones in the gallery, we both thought it was all over. The relief was cut short by a couple of swedish photographers that we’d met in Golden Gai the night before, followed by a posse of drunk Mg’ers.

I’ve learned a couple of good lessons: everybody likes different shots, you have to get over all ideas you might have about which ones will be popular; pulling a series out of the mess on flickr, getting a consistent set of shots, really helps you see them for what they are; talking to people about photography for hours several days in a row takes it out of you!

The show as a whole came together really well. Even though we worked from a very loose theme, the four sets of pictures worked well together. That was luck, as we certainly didn’t plan it…

Wouldn’t say that, right now, i’m looking forward to doing it again, but give a few months and that’ll probably change. It’ll certainly be nice to get out there and shoot again without having this hanging over me.

Thanks to everyone who came along to the show, especially all of the friends who came along to support and helped out in so many ways. Love you all.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, i’ve posted my shots on the Magnesium site. Will have to see if the others are going to do something similar. If so i’ll send out links.

On the Wall

Fragments of Tokyo

After the usual dramatics (the styrene boards wouldn’t stick to the wall; one fell down while i was out getting padded tape… which then needed trimming, and forced me to re-order the shots) the exhibition is on the wall at Place M. I should probably mail them about fixing the link to my photograph on the front page.

Here’s hoping that they stay stuck to the wall until everyone gets to see them…

I’ll be there on Thursday from around 3pm, and most of Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The afternoon party has become an evening thing, from 6:30pm until they throw us out. It’s not clear to me how or why the time changed, but this appears to be the final answer.

Watanabe-san made the above poster for me. It’s not actually part of the show. Mostly because i couldn’t get it clean enough. Looks like it was used to clean the house! Feel free to grab it and re-blog it. <hint hint>

Contagion Coming to Tokyo?

I don’t think so, at least not yet…

The FT seems to agree, and almost manage to summarise:

But talk of a massive JGB bubble – let alone default – is farfetched. Certainly, Japan is not in the rudest of fiscal health. The government has spent to keep its economy going. That, combined with falling tax revenues, has pushed the country’s gross debt towards 200 per cent of gross domestic product. With an ageing population, this alarming figure could get worse. So the 10-year JGB yield, at about 1.3 per cent, looks low. What do the markets think they know?

One should be wary about explaining away such aberrations. Yet by several criteria, Japan is different. First, gross debt levels are misleading. Japan’s debt, after netting off the state’s own holdings, is less than 100 per cent of GDP. Second, the cost of servicing its debt is low, at roughly 1.3 per cent of GDP. That compares with 1.8 per cent in the US, 2.3 per cent in the UK and 5.3 per cent in Italy. Third, Japan has fiscal wiggle room: sales tax is just 5 per cent. Fourth, 95 per cent of Japan’s debt is domestically owned. Fickle foreigners have almost no sway. Indeed, Japan’s problem is still an excess of savings. Banks are awash with deposits that they need to place somewhere. For some time yet, the government will not find it hard to secure buyers for JGBs. Japan’s debt problem will be worked out in the family.

[Emphasis mine.]

No denying that there are a lot of longer term, structural, problems, but imminent collapse of the JGB just doesn’t seem likely. If japan had current account deficit, high personal debt, high taxes, and was engaged in protracted overseas military campaigns, then i’d be worried… now.

New Magnesium Post: Izu Tripping

My second piece for Mg is now live. Brett dreamed up some text for me. He’s a very talented chap. The words flow out of him like honey slides… obscure reference for the day.

It has been good having another outlet for these photographs. Flickr is oriented toward the individual shot, and when you work on a series, it tends to get lost in the noise. This is especially true, if, like me, it sometimes takes a couple of years to feel that something is finished!

The shots in that piece were shot over a period of a year and a half. They’re all taken through train windows when going or returning from diving. Izu looks rather neglected these days, like an English seaside town, but with lush vegetation, torrential rain, and bamboo. Even though i obviously don’t remember it when it was a series of flourishing hotspring resorts, it evokes a feeling of nostalgia. Nostalgia, which is obviously fake, and therefore manufactured, or ‘falsely recovered’. If you know Izu, i hope it does something for you…

And, yes, the day that it hammered down with rain lead to some really memorable diving!