The Royal Wedding

I’ve been watching the social media site Facebook for the last few days and noted a number of people saying that they are not interested in the Wedding of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle. They’ve taken time out of their day to do this, thus suggesting that they are, indeed, interested.

So they should be. It is a real event for the two young people and staged in such an open fashion as to enable all to see what is happening. There is enough drama of the good old-fashioned kind to satisfy all, and no-one need feel sad at the end of it.

Indeed, just the opposite. A cheerful union of two people from different countries, with the reasonable prospect of them having enough to eat, a place to live, a chance to do their jobs, and perhaps even have children. I cannot think of a better antidote for the sadness, the tragedy, and the politics of the world – and I would wish the same happiness for any of my Facebook friends who have seen it.



Sex, Yet Again…

You’ll have to pardon me for pasting that title up there. I just wanted to hear the hum of the virtue-robots turning on and the sound of the cultural turrets revolving on their roller bearings. It’s like watching ” The Guns Of Navarone ” but you’re not entirely certain who the good guys are. One thing’ll be certain – in the next two weeks a flock of dodgy “likes” will show up in my email…

I read Facebook regularly. I hunt up all the clickbait side panels and I read all the troll comments. I regularly resort to the Urban Dictionary whenever the language gets obscure. I haven’t bought red tennis shoes or grown a man-bun yet, but I do cry openly – mostly at our household utilities bills. But I long to see a final definition of a number of burning questions of the hour…

a. If a single lady goes off and does bad things in bed it is known as sexual misconduct. If a married woman goes off and does the same, is it sexual mrsconduct?

How about if it is blokes? Mrconduct? Who is in charge of the English language here? And more importantly, where do we go to get a piece of the action?

b. If we are to be driven to expunging gendered words from the English language at the behest of university professors and sophomores with protest signs, who will de-gender the French or German languages? Will it become the Academie Francay ( with a mumbled pronunciation ) to avoid setting up a tent in either camp? Oops. Sorry about the camp there…oops, sorry about being sorry.

c. If we were in Oklahoma that would a sorry with a fringe on top.

d. Tish Boom.

c. If being a Liberal in Canada and the USA is being Labour in Britain but being a Liberal in Britain is not being either Conservative or Labour but being Labour in Australia is not being conservative…we have Liberals for that job…is it time to retire all the political words and invent new ones? I am led to believe ” Snowflake “, ” Snowball “, and ” Slimeball ” are already taken but we’d welcome any suggestions.

d. No suggestive suggestions, please. Our in-box will only take so much…

e. If we are not allowed to open doors for ladies or tip our hats to them, are we allowed to behave like gentlemen in any other fashion? Slaying dragons or composing love-sonnets still alright? The old guitar under the balcony in the moonlight business? How about fighting duels? I could go a nice pistolling about now…

f. Now that blokes can marry blokes and ladies can marry ladies…as well as the blokes marrying ladies bit…will we see revised traditions at weddings? Who goes for the garter, where will they look for it, and what will they do with it once they find it?

Who carries/throws/catches the bouquet? I ask this for the florists in the audience. It’d be a bit unfair to them to cut ’em out of the fiscal feeding frenzy around a wedding. Note that if you are going to throw a bouquet over your shoulder, weight it with lead shot. It’ll be a bit harder to get it up in the air, but when it comes down onto the crowd of well-wishers, it’ll be travelling like a comet and be able to do similar devastation.

Who cuts the cake, and why? Would it be better to cut the cheese? Particularly with the stuff they serve at wedding receptions…

And don’t get me started on the speeches. They’ll all be straining at the microphone like the horses pulling Ben Hur’s chariot. No-one will get out of the reception until 3:00AM. Living hell for the wedding photographers…


The Wet, Frozen Wedding

Today is wet and cold. It is also Saturday – the traditional day in Australia for weddings.

Somewhere in the metro area there is a bride, groom, wedding party, celebrant, and congregation shivering their shows off and praying that the reception venue is warm. Or at least dry.

I can only hope the groom has had a good stiff shot of rye to give him courage. Likewise the bride. It’ll be a tough one in the Baptist churches today…

The gardens pictures will be memorable. The bridal party huddling under umbrellas or trying to avoid the drip from the bridal arch that looked so romantic in the brochure. The limousine driver putting out the red carpet, then deciding whether to pick it up again, wring it out, and stow it in the boot…or just drive away and leave it in the mud.

I’ll bet the celebrant doesn’t tarry with the ceremony. No long pauses or flights of oratory. In between ” Dearly Beloved” and ” Kiss The Bride” there will be very few pauses.

And here is the funnest part – a few of the weddings will be outdoor affairs with no cover. No shelter. No Plan B. It’s A Man’s Life In The Regular Brides…

I’m not shooting today. I’m here in the house typing away. I can read a calendar and a Met map.

How Does An Atheist Bless You?


Well, it’s not as silly a question as you might think. If an atheist does not imagine or believe in any deity but still wants to give out some sort of non-committal promise that you will be happier because they said so…they have no mechanism in place to project it from. They can’t really promise you kindness from the government because they know what the government is like – and they can’t promise you the fealty and love of other people because the other people might know what YOU are like.

About the best they can do is assure you that they hope you are not run over by a street car. And even this is difficult to promise in Melbourne.

Atheism is a tough row to hoe. All the work of being moral and no relaxation afterwards by killing your enemies in the name of superstition. You might get a chance to kill them in the name of economics or theory or a coloured rectangle of cloth on a pole, but like as not someone will write a book about it 50 years later and try to make you look bad.  It almost takes the fun out of explosions.

The other tough part is there are no feast days for atheism. And feasts involve food and drink. Oh, you can go to the local hotel and order a counter lunch and a couple of pints on Tom Paine’s birthday but no-one puts up a tree or makes presents or takes you into the broom closet for a cuddle because of it. ” Joyeaux No ” as a song has never made it to the charts.

Worst of all is there is no money to be made out of atheism. No cards, no gifts, no food, no booze, no sleigh rides in cold climates or slay rides in hot ones. No-one ever gives money to the No Salvation Needed Army. Even when their lassies are not blowing trombones and tambourines outside the pub.

I tell you, it’s enough to shake your faithlessness…



The Nuptial Krautwagen


I am a firm fan of weddings, having starred in one 43 years ago, and having drawn beer money from others ever since. I have been taking wedding photos since the 1970’s and by and large have enjoyed the sport – and I’ve seen a lot of wedding cars in that time.


Some have been plush things hired for the occasion – others just family sedans tricked up with a fresh polish job and some white ribbons on the bonnet. Very few of them were comfortable rides for the bride going to the church or the newly-weds travelling to the reception. They were not meant to be – they were symbols of luxury and attainment in eras that had fewer motor cars – they were special just for being available.


Well, today there are more cars than ever and every second one is large and sleek. They are still no better rides for the passengers but the rich gloss has gone from all but the most unusual of them.


In a contrast to this trend, we have a pair of Volkswagens. They are run by different firms to different standards, but their very nature makes them more distinctive and fun. In both cases they also bid fair to be more convenient and comfortable for a bride in a large dress.


The splittie is the older of the vehicles and is not as big inside as the double cab. You can still enter via a side door – no mean concern when you are wearing yards of white dress fabric – and there is room to fit your bridesmaids in with you. I’m a little uncertain of the effect of opening the split windscreens while travelling along between the ceremony and the reception, but at least if you are bringing baggage into the marriage you’ll have a couple of racks to carry it… And as a VW does not go all that fast,  there should be no unseemly screeching of brakes and wheelies in front of the church.


I can’t be too specific about the double cab…It’s a newer body and may have more of an engine in it. It certainly has a big door – plus for the dress – and a bigger lot of seat space in the back for the whole wedding party. I suspect it will also be carrying wedding eskys and glasses. Not too sure whether the roof  with the pop-up camper top is a good idea as it seems to spoil the line but at least if they have a bar fight in the back it will make more room for swinging the chairs. I can see Armadale and Gosnells all over this one – but as weddings are good trade wherever they occur, I wish them well. No taking the railway grade crossing at full tilt, however.

A Very Civil Response


A recent posting by a friend who is a civil celebrant set me thinking; civility is generally thought of as a good thing but we need to remember that Antietam, Vicksburg, and Marston Moor were also civil…extremely civil…civil for days and weeks, if you include time taken by the burial parties. You can go and see the monuments to civility and there are some of the cannon in the museums.

It also set me to imagining the other forms of celebrant – the uncivil ones.

There are the rude celebrants that growl at the bridal couples and push them around – generally known as religious celebrants. They aren’t answerable to state government authority, or at least not until they are charged and defrocked.Up until then divine intervention is about all they need to worry about and the righteous lightnings of heaven are generally taken care of by copper rods down the side of the building.

If you want opposites you can have military celebrants…though exactly what they celebrate is yet to be determined. Suffice it to say when they do celebrate something they have secure bases, supply lines, and adequate ordnance mapping. Of course there is always collateral happiness associated with military celebrations – you can’t avoid that sort of thing – but with proper targeting and rules of engagement it can be minimised.




This is not intended as a recruiting poster for your new career – we have enough thieves in the profession already and the training system will be able to supply new ones as the old ones retire or are shot.

A recent post from a friend alerted me to a new form of dishonesty – stealing images that have been taken by another photographer. He did not detail how it was done or where the booty was taken to but I suspect that someone lifted something from a Facebook post or a contribution to an on-line group. Perhaps they reposted it or even claimed that it was their own work. Perhaps he sent images to a publication and watched them disappear…

This stuff is not impossible – at our camera shop we get to see a lot of websites and occasionally we find someone displaying someone else’s work as their own. Sometimes it is only for a small time – sometimes it just goes out there and stays.

Not a new phenomenon, either. A couple of very famous images in the film era that hitherto have been credited to iconic photographers have been debunked. And readers of the old Linhof publication ” Grossbild ” will remember their Hall Of Shame articles where they show the various versions of the same image or idea that one art director or photographer copied from another. They were a big enough company to name names, too.

Wedding photographers that make proof books in various forms have always had dishonest brides and their dishonest mothers trying to get cheap copies from the books. Photo labs regularly used to turn them away when they showed up with the proofs – some were stamped on the back and all. Nowadays they might resort to the ubiquitous scanner and copier…perhaps they get the results that they deserve, but they do sully the professional look of the real photographer while they are picking his pocket.

Of course we all read about watermarking and tagging images. We’ve all experimented with obtrusive signs on the files. I tried it but gave it up – the end result looked so bad that even I couldn’t be bothered. For the commercial work I made arrangements for an adequate one-time payment and after that decided that they could do what they liked. I still see some images from 20 years ago out earning money for the users as advertisements and good luck to them. I got paid.

It’s a little different with the images done for love or friendship. There my main problem has been the business of someone taking my work and “improving” it with Photoshopping. Fortunately no-one has made disreputable use of my pictures but it is annoying to find my work messed about. If it is then posted as the work of the secondary artist the thing becomes truly infuriating. In these cases I pursue it.

Sometimes all it takes is to ask them not to do it – they may not have realised that it is wrong. In some cases it is necessary to change the form in which they are made from digital to print. Rarely, it might be best to cease supplying images – a sad end as I like making pictures. I suspect that my friend also likes shooting his pictures and he does do them very well. Let us hope that he still gets a chance to exercise his art and the people who pinch it realise that they need to play fair.