RICHARD CHAMBURY

Photographer & EyeEm Ambassador based in London.

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AN EVENING WITH SEBASTIAO SALGADO

Last night, I went to the Natural History Museum in London for ‘An Evening With Sebastiao Salgado’ where the great man spoke for a couple of hours in the Central Hall, in the shadow the skeleton of a giant Diplodocus.

He spoke about the Genesis project, his previous projects such as Workers and Migrations and most interestingly what motivated him (during a conversation on the banks of The Serpentine in London…) to take that tangent away from the possibility of taking a job as an economist with the World Bank in New York, or becoming a photographer.

There was a main Q&A, but he stayed for ages after that answering further questions from the audience and having his picture taken with them, which was great as the answers were a lot more spontaneous and insightful. After a little cajoling, he even posed for a portrait for me too, which I lit him with by using a large TV screen, as there was zero light in there. Doubt he had this problem in the jungle……

YEAH….IT’S GOOD….BUT DOES IT FLOAT….!?

Recently, I was invited to a preview by the incredibly welcoming people at Citizen PR, to put the new Sony Xperia Z smartphone through it’s Android paces. Sony and Android are two words that are not overtly employed in my technology blinkered vocabulary, so I was initially reticent. But with the lure of incredibly posh burgers, fine red wine and carte blanche to photograph anything I liked relentlessly for a couple of hours, I was in.

Upon arrival a good lady of Citizen handed me the new sleek device. The five inch 1920x1080 pixels HD screen sat sunken into the slim, black chassis. We both stared silently in awe at it. I triggered the display and the Xperia Z awoke, it’s display illuminating. It reminded me of KITT from Knight Rider. But without the low profile tyres or the creepy voiceover.

The first thing I instinctively found and opened, was the camera app. I am a photographer after all! The important telecommunications part of the smart phone is now actually an after thought. Why did the geeks even bother designing a device with earpiece and speaker!? The vivid, responsive display made taking pictures effortless. For once, I actually started framing images to fill the whole of the display, as you would on any other dSLR camera. Often I shoot to suit the app I will be publishing the images onto. For example, on Instagram, I will shoot with space around the image as it will be ultimately cropped into a square. The focus also snapped sharp without delay, which was also a massive plus. Previously, I’ve been cursing as the iPhone camera has still been searching, whilst I have missed the shot. Again.

What surprised me was the quality of the 13MP camera. I’m currently just making do with an 8MP camera in the iPhone 4s, which I thought was impressive. This takes the user into a whole new territory, as the quality is perfect for a businessman to photograph his own images for a brochure for his own advertising or to put onto social media without it looking pixelated and fuzzy. The images look professional and in these days of recession and budgeting, this a game changer. The only annoying thing was that you couldn’t use the volume control on the side as a shutter button, which would make it easier to hold still, but this is only a minor detail.

As if on cue, my colleague, press photographer Leon Neal, arrived. I shot some test portraits of him, whilst he photographed me, for your and the guests at the preview’s entertainment. Then we compared the other smart phones we had on us, against the Xperia Z. As you can see from the images, the size and vivid colour of the screen were superior, with great detail, especially in skin tones. However, the Xperia Z was the only one we knew we could drop into a goldfishless goldfish bowl of water and know it would survive for thirty minutes. Yes that’s right, it didn’t float….but in a good way!

The responsive navigation around the device driven by the 1.5 Ghz Quad Core processor is also a huge plus. I’ve always found Android quick, but the actual apps clunky to operate in comparison to iOS. The added speed made all the difference. I would now consider changing over to Android, where as I was liberally sitting on the fence before. In fact, to prove it’s watertight chassis is not a myth I may well take it back to Kumbh Mela to immerse it in water and paint myself!

All images edited using Google Snapseed on iOS.

Leon Neal courtesy of Leon Neal Inc.

PHOTO FORUM : EDMUND CLARK

I spent the evening at Photo Forum tonight who had photographer, Edmund Clark talking about his projects, Guantanamo : If The Light Goes Out and Control Order House.

I’d seen ‘If The Light Goes Out’ at The Bluecoat in Liverpool as part of the Look 2011, so I was looking forward to hearing from the man behind the camera.

The talk was effortless, as the images are all so strong, but Edmund’s commentary was so good. Understated and very English. If you are interested in politics and especially anything that encompasses American foreign policy, I highly recommend having a good look at both the projects online and the books when you get a chance.