Monday, 2 December 2013

The Blockheads New Album Launch

Waiting for The Blockheads (Mick Gallagher in background of doorway)

25th November 2013

Last Monday The Blockheads launched their new album "Same horse Different jockey" and your's truly was invited to attend by the band! **insert large grin here** To say I was over the moon is an understatement. I was as excited as a teenager going to their first rock concert. :-D As I'm a bit closer to the half century mark than I'd like to admit, that's quite an achievement. ;-) 
Tim Arnold AKA The Soho Hobo outside Madame Jojo's
The launch was held at Madame Jojo's in Soho, London. It just so happened that it lined up with a two day job I was doing in London and wasn't very far away either! So it all worked out perfectly. I would have traveled to London on Monday afternoon anyway and stayed over night as my job started at 8am Tuesday morning. It was like it was all meant to be.
Ben with his father Mick Gallagher outside Madame Jojo's
How did I get this invite? I stayed up half the night one evening doing screen grabs and blogging about a little #LogoWar between New Kids on the Block's 'number one fan' and The Blockheads on Twitter (and on Facebook) (and Barney Bubbles too). The band saw the blog post and were very appreciative of my efforts. Ben who works for The Blockheads, and is the son of Mick Gallagher, contacted me to say thank you. And as a thank you they wanted to give me a copy of their new album (Same Horse Different Jockey) and invite me to come to their new album launch. 

I asked Ben could I bring my camera and take some photos during the evening and he said yes I could. Oh and then I asked could I bring my husband, he said it was OK if I brought him too. ;-)
Jud Charlton, Compere for the evening
 Soon after we arrived for the launch I found Ben Gallagher who started introducing me as the 'lady who wrote the blog' about #LogoWars. Most people had read it and knew who I was which was exciting. Before the evening was over we were introduced to quite a few people, it was great meeting everyone, especially the members of The Blockhead band. 
The Three Belles and The Bevin Boys
 The evening started out with Jud Charlton opening the evening and introducing all the acts of the evening. Jud Charlton even performed and sung a few Blockhead songs later in the evening himself! The first two acts were The Three Belles and The Bevin Boys. Both were delightful, playing 1940's era style swing band songs. Really really enjoyable to listen to and watch. 
Miss Dolly Blow-Up
Next up we were entertained with a bit of burlesque with Miss Dolly Blow-up. My husband Peter particularly enjoyed this performance! 
Jock Scot
Then we had a bit of poetry by Jock Scot, he was very amusing. I tried to find a website for him to link to but I couldn't, so I linked to a page that tells who he is. In my research I did discover that he and actress 'Duck Face' Anna Chancellor fell briefly in love and they had a daughter together. 
The Blockheads!
And then The Blockheads took to the stage! Wow, what a band! They are still going strong! They were very lively and they played a mixture of old favourites and their new songs. The place was packed and people were singing and dancing along with them. 
The Blockheads!
The Blockheads were amazing live. If they ever do a concert within my reach I'll do my best to go, definitely worth it. They actually performed here in Stroud a few years ago and I missed it! Lottie and Miles from The Prince Albert, our local pub, got them to come to Stroud to perform for The Prince Albert but decided that their pub was too small for such a big band and hired The Landsdown Hall for their performance. Wish I'd known! Would have loved to have been there. 
Miss Baby Sol and The Blockheads
After The Blockheads play a few songs, Miss Baby Sol joined them on stage for a song. She has a really powerful voice and is a great singer. We really enjoyed her performance with The Blockheads.
Tim Arnold (The Soho Bobo) and The Blockheads
Next up we had Tim Arnold (The Soho Hobo) joining The Blockheads for a set or two. The crowd loved him. We did too. :-)
Andy Serkis, Tim Arnold & Jud Charlton join The Blockheads on stage!
Then Andy Serkis, Tim Arnold (The Soho Hobo) & Jud Charlton all join The Blockheads on stage! What a fab performance they put on too! Everyone had such a grand time, it was seriously difficult to stand or sit still. What a way to end the day!

I didn't know it at the time....I'm pretty clueless about these things.... but I've seen Andy Serkis before in several movies. Most notably as Gollum in Lord of the Rings, as Kong in King Kong and as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He was also Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin, and of course he was Ian Dury (as in The Blockheads) in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (which I've not seen yet, it's now on my 'to do' list!).

After the show I met and talked with most of the band members, what a truly nice bunch of guys. They were all so lovely. Those that I managed to ask agreed to do a station ID sound recording for Stroud FM, (My local community radio station of which I'm a volunteer presenter) but they were all surrounded by their fans and it was quite loud, too loud to do a sound recording, and it was getting quite late. But as we were leaving I caught band member Mick Gallagher outside and he did a quick Stroud FM station ID for me! Yay! I'm looking forward to giving it to the station. Awesomeness. :-)

I made a quick gallery of a few highlights from the evening on my new, work in progress, website. Sadly I missed one of the highlights which was of the Sax player playing two saxes at the same time! Apparently he's famous for this as my husband was pushing  me forward in the crowed and telling me to take his picture, but as I was clueless  to what was going to happen and it was loud and crowded I missed photographing him with his double sax performance. Darn! Shame that, as he was awesome! 

I've made lots of links (in red) in the text of this blog for you to follow and find out more information about everyone involved. Please do check them out! Also do check out The Blockheads' new album, Same Horse Different Jockey. It's really a great album, especially if you like The Blockheads. :-) 

About the album cover, it isn't to everyone's taste, and it's taken me some time to get used to it myself! Though I'm sure most Blockheads fans will love it! It's quite amusing actually, though it is NSFW (Not Safe For Work) previewing. You should have seen me trying to carry the large record album all the way from London to Stroud, through the streets and on a crowded train! Oh and iTunes banned it! Ha ha! The cover, not the album. You can buy the album and the individual songs on iTunes. In both the UK and the US. I highly recommend it! :-D

Oh, here's a link to the band talking about their new album on YouTube.

In case you missed it, you can see a few more photos from this evening by following this link -> quick gallery. :-D

Thank you Ben and The Blockheads for an incredible evening and the new album! x

Oi Oi! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013


Left New Kids on the Block fan twitter page. Right is The Blockheads twitter page
My post today may seem like it has nothing to do with photography but in a way it does, because I'm going to share a copyright story with you that's on going as I type. (though may be over by the time you read this, who knows how long it will last...or how long it will take me to write it) It truly amazes me how many people don't understand copyright and think it's OK to use other people's work as their own and go as far as profiting from it.

Here's the story....

You've heard of New Kids on the Block? Boy band that hit the scene in 1984? Broke-up ten years later then made a come back in 2008? I only know this information because I looked it up just now, so don't judge me. Anyway they've got this fan group who call themselves The Blockheads. Yep, The Blockheads. Yes the same as the English rock and roll band The Blockheads who have been around since 1977 and are still going strong. Calling themselves Blockheads is not what sparked me to write this blog post, it is the logo they are using for their fan pages on Twitter and Facebook. The fan page stole the original Blockheads logo which they've been using since 1977 and had been specifically designed for them by the late artist Barney Bubbles.

Here are some screen grabs of the logo in question in use. Note, the NKOTB fan page have since removed the logo, but they still are claiming they designed it. Also please note that this is a NKOTB FAN Page and nothing to do with the actual NKOTB (New Kids On The Block).

NKOTB Fan twitter page

NKOTB Fan Facebook page using same logo.
 Now the fan page claims that the logos are only similar. Well if similar means exact then yes, they are similar. Seriously, in who's world is this only similar? And how would anyone accidentally come up with this same logo design with the exact same placements, exact font and exact colour combination? Shame on you Blockheads Unite.

Here are The Blockhead's pages using their rightful logo designed specifically for them by Barney Bubbles.

The Blockheads Facebook Page

The Blockheads twitter page

We see this sort of thing in the photography world all the time, someone nicking an image from the internet and then using it as their own. I've had quite a few of my images done this way. One in particular has been used hundreds of times, mostly on blogs and mostly with a poem of some sort. I've had a few that have been used on professional sites and used to promote businesses used without my permission as well. Oh and even found an image of mine offered free for download once! This is one reason I put those nasty logos on my images these days. I hate to, because I love sharing my images, but I don't want them used without my permission. Same goes for logos.

The Blockheads website
Back to #LogoWars....

I find the name of The Blockheads new album quite ironic, given the events unfolding. Tickled my funny bone. :-D

Here are some screen grabs of a series of tweets made by the NKOTB fan page @Blockeads (Yes the 'h' is missing)

Fan page tweeted soon after the logo issue was brought to their attention, claiming logo as theirs

Again claiming the logo as their design

This next tweet by the NKOTB fan page I really have a hard time believing...they actually challenge the Blockheads band about their own logo!
Directly challenging The Blockheads band and their logo 
The Blockheads band reply

Still claiming the logo as their creation. 
This is funny beyond belief really! This logo they claim as stolen from them and accusing people of using on shirts etc was used on shirts, records, posters, etc long before NKOTB even thought about becoming a band themselves!

Again, without question, claiming the logo design as their own creation

I just really have a hard time wrapping my head around this. Seriously? They really believe they designed this logo themselves? Exact same design, exact same placements, exact same font, exact colours.... Seriously?

Now it's hubby's work is it? 

The fan page has been busy deleting their posts and on their fb page have been busy deleting all comments calling them out on their logo theft & blocking people from reposting, myself being one of the blocked.

Post from NKOTB fan facebook page and reply which got me banned. 
Above is a post on their FB page stating that they are still claiming they designed the logo in question. I called them out on it and I was banned from posting on the group. I wasn't the only one either. They eventually took this post down because of all the people pointing out who the real designer of the logo was.

Here are some more screen grabs from fb...any that were on the NKOTB fan page have been deleted by them.

Screen grab from NKOTB fan page
Screen grab from NKOTB fan page
Of course there were lots of other posts from people but they were deleted quite quickly.

Here is The Blockheads response on facebook. This screen grab is from the NKOTB fan page which has been removed of course, but can still be found on The Blockheads FB page.

Screen grab from facebook
screen grab from facebook
Here are a few screen grabs of random tweets, there were loads more of course:

You can search for tweets on this by going to the Twitter Search page and searching for key words like @Blockeads. Which is what I did. Of course you can't see any tweets that have since been deleted. 

Oh and just when I thought it was all over I found this 'apology' (if you can call it that) from NKOTB's number one fan, Becky. It doesn't currently show up on their fb page but you can find it so they must have hidden it from their timeline..... for now. Becky's apology found here. (If it hasn't been deleted yet that is)

Becky's apology on facebook
Again, seriously?! She's still claiming she designed the logo? Well I did a bit of investigating, using the screen shots I'd grabbed before they were removed from the internet. Let's start with twitter.

Twitter logos side by side

Twitter logos layered
I took the screen grab of the two twitter logos from both accounts and I compared them side by side and I also layered one over the other, changing the opacity of the one on top so that the one underneath would show through. This of course makes a blury image...except where the two are exactly the same. I zoomed in and not a pixel was out of place with the two logos. They are the exact same, no question. This is not a fluke as Becky claims.

I did the same thing with the facebook logos I'd managed a screen grab of.

Screen grab of fb logos side by side
Logos from fb layered
As you can see, the logos used a bit of a different crop but the main bit of the logo in the middle is the exact same, pixel for pixel. In the layered photo where the pixels line up exactly comes out nice and sharp and a darker white. Again, there is no question that these are the same logos as designed by Barney Bubbles back in 1977. There is no way this is a coincidence. These are not similar, they are exact. They didn't even bother to change it or redo it. It's the exact same. Not only that it's an iconic image! **head to desk**

I honestly don't understand why anyone would want to take someone's work and claim it as their own. I do believe that people can come up with similar things, I've seen it many times. There's been many times I thought I'd come up something original only to find out later that someone else had done it before me. But they weren't the exact same, just the same general idea.

I still feel Becky from NKOTB fan page should own up to her thievery and apologize to The Blockheads. If she hadn't claimed she designed it herself I wouldn't have called it 'thievery'. But she did, and that's exactly what it is.

Am I being harsh? No, I don't believe I am. I've got several images out there right now being used without my permission and I have not contacted any of them and called them a thief. I have contacted a few commercial websites and called them out on it though and they have either removed my image and/or apologized and given me credit for the image. Or in one case paid me for the use of my image. I've only found one of my images where the person implied that it was their image and they quickly removed it.

So in conclusion. Don't use other people's work without their permission and without paying them for that use if appropriate. Can you use other people's work as inspiration? Yes, of course. Put your own spin on something, but please do credit when appropriate.

I am in no way associated with The Blockheads, but I am a fan. Here's a link to The Blockheads Youtube Channel, which I didn't manage to squeeze into this post. One of my favourite songs is 'Hit me with your rhythm stick' by The Blockheads. :-)

I will most likely be discussing part of this on my monthly radio show, Beyond the Lens. I might even give it a mention on my weekly radio show Stroud Women at Noon. Both shows are on Stroud FM my local community radio station.

Have fun everyone! But please be nice to each other. x

I don't know why I didn't think of this before but, the original logo created by Barney Bubbles in 1977 would have been created in a much different way than we create things today. Becky is claiming to have created this same logo with a paint program on her computer! Completely different than would have been done in 1977! There just is no way she accidentally created the exact same logo pixel for pixel. Shame on you Becky for claiming that you designed this exact same logo yourself. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Icon for a Day

Icon for a Day with Kathrine Anker as iconic Mary Pickford. 
Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version on the right with Kathrine Anker
Recently I did a special photo shoot for Photography Monthly Magazine. It was the end of their 'Icon for a Day' series which I had heard about and seen a couple of the articles for. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted when they contacted me and asked if I'd like to do a Mary Pickford inspired shoot for the magazine. Well of course I would! :-D
Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version on the right with Katherine Anker
The idea behind these shoots was that people who worked for the magazine took turns being an icon for a day. They decided on the iconic image they'd like to portray and found a photographer to help them create the image. It was Kathrine Anker's turn to be in the hot seat so to speak and she picked Mary Pickford from the early 1900's. Kathrine is a Features Editor for Professional Photographer magazine an its sister magazine Photography Monthly.
Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version on the right with Katherine Anker
Kathrine is the one who contacted me about being the photographer for this project. I plucked up enough courage to ask why she'd picked me as we'd never even met before. She said that their group imaging editor for Archant photography magazines had recommend me. Thank you Adam Scorey. :-)
Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version on the right with Kathrine Anker 
We only had a few weeks to sort out props, find a hair stylist, make-up artist (Sabina Yunusova) and sort out a location for the shoot. They wanted to use my studio but sadly I'd recently closed it down. I just wasn't using it enough to justify the overhead to keep it running. Most all of my work is on location. If I need a studio set up I hire a space and sent one up for the day. That's what we were going to do with this shoot but then they found this great studio in Milton Keynes, Unique Capture Studio, which they hired for us to use.
Unique Capture Studio, Milton Keynes
We did a lot of research and Kathrine ordered a book on Mary Pickford which is where we got most of the images for the shoot. She of course sought and received permission to use the images in the magazine. So we set about deciding which images we wanted to recreate. We didn't have to copy the images exactly, the idea was to get the same feel and be similar.
Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version on the right with Kathrine Anker
Sadly we didn't have much time or unlimited resources to work on this but we sure had fun trying. We hunted online and hit the charity shops mostly. In the end we didn't use all the props we'd bought and we couldn't find all the props we wanted. But I think we did a pretty good job with what we had. We all really loved the studio layout of the Unique Capture studio.
Jess liked the studio a bit too much, she said she NEEDED this chair in her life. 
Oh, I  haven't introduced Jess Bracey yet, she's a features writer for both Photography Monthly and Professional Photographer and several other of the sister magazines too. She's also a radio presenter on StroudFM and does a Teacakes and Talk show as well as a Rhyme and Shine music show. And on this day she was videographer! Oh and stylist too! Multi-talented that one. She even helped me test the lighting in between make-up/hair and costume changes.
Jess helping test the lights.
Jess doesn't like the above photo because she's not wearing any make-up. When you're this young and gorgeous you don't need make-up! Speaking of young and gorgeous, Kathrine was a natural in front of the camera, she really got into her role as the iconic Mary Pickford.
Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version on the right with Kathrine Anker
The above photo was the biggest challenge, we just didn't have the props we needed to pull it off. So we improvised. I really like what we came up with. I had quite a bit of fun with this image of Mary Pickford as you can see below.

Setup with Katherine and Jess
I had quite a bit of fun with all the images actually! I can't express enough how much fun and amazing this shoot was. The hardest part for me was making the images look old. Not so much physically as mentally. I've spent a lot of money on equipment to get clear sharp images and I had to add blur and noise to the final images to kinda hint at the early 1900's. I know I didn't take it far enough, that I could have made them look much older, but I didn't want to over process them. So I just aged them a bit. Sabina Yunusova, the make-up and hair artist, did a fab job giving Kathrine that early 1900s look. She even did special make up for black & white photography.

Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version on the right with Kathrine Anker
This next image (above and below) was taken with a Canon 5D MKII (above) and a 1930's Coronet 020 box camera and 120 film (below). As we were shooting an early 1900's icon I couldn't resist taking my box camera along and taking a few images with it in the studio. I wish I'd picked it up more than I did though. I was focused so much on the shoot that sadly I kept forgetting that I had the box. I'm really glad I remembered for this shot though (right).
Original photo of Mary Pickford on the left, my version with box camera on the right with Kathrine Anker
Here's the original version of this image taken with my 5D digital SLR. I quite like all of these versions.

Here are a few more images that I had fun with:

After we got the original of this shot above I couldn't resist moving her to in front of this graffiti wall that was in the studio and retaking the same photo. I made her mono and softened and added a bit of noise to her to try and simulate an older photograph but leaving the background alone. It amuses me. The original image is the second image from the top of this blog post.

These next two images (above and below) are the precursors of the third image from the top of this blog post. I'm really fond of these two. 

Kathrine being herself :-)
Thank you Kathrine and Photography Monthly magazine for hiring me for this job. This is the first time I've called it a job, I had so much fun it's hard to call it that!

Oh, I almost forgot! There's a video to go with this! Remember I told you Jess was videographer for the day, this is what she was working on. Here's a link to the video on their website:
Or you can just watch it below:

Check out Photography Monthly's website and their YouTube channel, Photo TV,  for more videos from their magazine.

Here are the pages from the September 2013 Photography Monthly magazine where my images appear. If you click on them they will open up larger. Use your back button to return to this page. Or if your browser allows, right click on the image and choose open in new tab or window.

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Photography Monthly is a great read and I highly recommend it to any photographer, no matter what your level. You can currently pick up past copies free with current issue of Professional Photographer magazine which is a really cool deal.

Happy Snapping!