Sunday, 4 February 2018

The As Yet Unnamed News Series - Instagram Post Scheduling

Welcome to my as yet unnamed news series. The series in which I share photography, tech, and geek news I happen to stumble across.

This time it's a quick one regarding a recent update from Instagram.

Instagram Now Allows Post Scheduling. Well, Sort Of...

In a blog post released by Instagram this past week they have announced that users can finally schedule posts for automated publishing...providing they jump through some hoops first.

For starters, it seems the scheduling feature is only available for users who are using a "business" account (that's the one with the graphs, right?). So, if you're one of the many who have kept their account a "personal" account, you'll have to make the switch to use the feature.

Before deciding to make the switch however, there is another hoop jump you'll have to consider. The scheduling feature isn't available on Instagram's app. You have to use Instagram approved third party apps such as Hootsuite to schedule your posts. Having quickly scanned the Hootsuite website, this could potentially lead to the average user needing to spend £16 per month for this feature.

I'm the first to admit that when it comes to "social media", I'm a little behind. I understand the basics, I dabble with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, but the extent of my interaction with Instagram is limited to looking at other people's work. As a blogger, scheduling posts is something I do on a regular basis. It gives me the option to write something at 3am when inspiration hits, but post it at tea time the following day, or a week later. Based on my very limited knowledge this seems a positive step forward by Instagram. However, it's sullied a little by the fact that you have to use Instagram approved, often times pay to use, third party apps.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below, and you Instagram handles (that's what they're called, right?) so I can give you a follow.


Saturday, 27 January 2018

The As Yet Unnamed News Series - Jack White & CVS

Welcome to the inaugural post in my as yet unnamed news series. The series in which I share photography, tech, and geek news I happen to stumble across.

This time I'm sharing two stories. One of a company that are, in theory, trying to do the right thing about body confidence in women (about bloody time too!), and one of a musician that wants to ban photography...


As anyone who has read some of my previous posts will know, I'm not a fan of overly editing a person's appearance. It seems a company in America finally shares these feelings too.

American pharmacy chain CVS this past week announced a new initiative to "create new standards for post-production alterations of beauty imagery it creates for stores, websites, social media and any marketing materials".

In a statement released by CVS they state:
"CVS Pharmacy is one of the largest and most trusted beauty retailers in the country, and we are passionate about beauty and the important role it plays in overall health. We know that taking time to feel good on the outside enhances overall well being. We also believe we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to think about the messages we send to our customers and how they impact their health.

That’s why we’re making a commitment to not materially alter the beauty imagery we create for our stores, marketing materials, websites, apps or social media. We will not digitally alter or change a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color or enhance or alter lines, wrinkles or other individual characteristics. We want our beauty aisle to be a place where our customers can always come to feel good, while representing and celebrating the authenticity and diversity of the communities we serve."

Also as part of the initiative CVS are introducing the CVS Beauty Mark. A watermark that is to be applied to images that are not "materially altered". Materially altered is defined by CVS as "changing or enhancing a person's shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, wrinkles or any other individual characteristics". Also, if images shown within CVS stores, and on their various marketing materials have received digital alteration will feature a 'digitally altered' watermark.

In my mind this is a great step forward, but there is a way to go. For too long have women (and men but not to the same extent) found themselves shown images that give them unrealistic expectations, and make them feel inadequate. On a daily basis people are bombarded with imagery that makes them feel they should be taller, skinnier, more tanned, less tanned, "better". This message is not limited to the viewer. If the model was to see their image in a store and it's had parts of them Photoshopped to such a degree they can't recognise themselves, imagine how that must feel.

Jack White Bans Fan Photos At His Concerts

Musician Jack White, formally of The White Stripes, has banned fans taking photos at his upcoming concerts.

The NME reported that White’s upcoming US tour will be completely phone free in order to give fans a “100% human experience ". In a statement by White (or his people) they state “No photos, video or audio recording devices allowed. We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON.”

How is this to be implemented I hear you cry? Allow me to share a little more of the statement

...“Upon arrival at the venue, all phones and other photo or video-capturing gizmos will be secured in a Yondr pouch that will be unlocked at the end of the show. You keep your pouch-secured phone on you during the show and, if needed, can unlock your phone at any time in a designated Yondr Phone Zone located in the lobby or concourse.”...

Yup, your stuff is going to be locked in something similar to those security things supermarkets put high risk stuff in. Now, call me a pessimist but I find myself wondering what happens in case of an emergency?

I also find myself wondering how they plan to manage the inevitable stampede at the end of the concert when hundreds, if not thousands (could be stadiums he's playing, I have very little interest in his music/shows) of concert goers want to unlock their stuff?

My main puzzlement with the whole ban is thus. Jack White, in conjunction with Lomography, has a camera on the market. So, when it's making him money selling cameras he's all for photography, but when it comes to people capturing memories at his concerts, photography is evil and must be banished?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below.


Monday, 1 January 2018

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Guffogg's Guest - Artemis Fauna

Welcome to 'Guffogg's Guest', formally known as 'Where When How Wednesday'. The series in which I interview creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Wiltshire based model, Artemis Fauna.

Hi Artemis. Thank you for taking a little time to answer some questions for me. How is it you found yourself in the modelling world?

'Hello Ian/everyone,

I'm actually very nervous to do this interview. I have never done anything like it before...but I suppose I have put it off long enough now-! Gulp..!

Well, I get asked this quite a lot (I think it's probably THE most asked question in this bubble) but the story goes like so;

In 2009 I was on holiday in the South Of France with some uni friends. One of the girls out there saw some images of me on facebook. They were images from one those overly expensive makeovers you can have done, you know the ones... and she asked me if I had ever thought about being a model! (I probably choked on my cornflakes at this point and laughed my head off at the idea) but for whatever reason I let her sign me up to Purestorm that day just to make her happy.

Image from Artemis' expensive makeover photoshoot

Within hours my inbox was full, I very quickly learnt this is what happens when a new model clicks the 'shoots nude' box!! Within a few days I had dodged most of the wierdo's (sadly not all) and booked in my first ever shoot, an outdoor nude shoot. Total madness really- I had never stood nude in front of anyone as an adult but something told me it was a good idea-!

I actually nearly cancelled my first shoot due to nerves. I woke up that morning and it suddenly hit me how totally CRAZY the idea was! I was about to drive 80 miles get naked for a total stranger, what the bloody heck was I doing?!

Anyway, I went to the shoot...and the rest is history I suppose.'

(Exclusive-ish...possibly) Image from Artemis' first ever shoot

Of all the things I could pick up on within that answer to ask a world that includes things like Sugar Puffs and Coco Pops, Cornflakes? Really?

'Haha, OK OK. Coco Pops are pretty awesome, better than Cornflakes, for sure. I kinda want some now actually...'

I believe you've been busy with many things this past 12 months, including travelling internationally quite a bit. Where have you found yourself visiting this past year?

'Yes! This year... where the blummin heck has it gone!? I know people say this every year but honestly, it's terrifying how quickly it goes! Doesn't help that a lot of us full time models have to book up months in advance so it feels like our year goes even faster! My 2018 diary is already mad- with no totally free weekends until November 2018!!

This year has, I think, been my most 'international' (If you can call it that) ever. From May-October I visited EIGHT different countries. Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, India, Morocco and Fuerteventura. 

Portugal and Fuerteventura were the locations for mine and IainT's luxury all- inclusive photographic trips. Something we jointly came up with back in 2015...and something we have noticed has become a quite a popular 'theme' in the purple land in the last year or so...Say no more...)

Photographer - Paul GH Photography,  Other Model - Carla Monaco

Photographer - Iain T,  Other Model - Carla Monaco

Photographer - GaryMac Photographer,  Other Model - Scarlett Fox

Photographer - Terry V,  Other Model - Scarlett Fox

Cyprus with with Eyas- a very last minute idea to shoot out there for a week in June- on my 28th birthday too! But I didn't mind, who would when you can eat your own body weight in moussaka, go for a swim in the crystal clear sea and shoot until the golden sun dips below the cerulean sea.

Photographer - Eyas

Photographer - Eyas

Wales, Ireland and Scotland were part of my usual yearly tours. I often disappear for 2-3 weeks on these as there is just so much to fit in! I like touring, despite how exhausting it can be!

Photographer - Ceri Vale

Photographer - Colm Edwards

Photographer - John McNairn

India was quite the adventure! KenP asked me months ago if I would be interested in travelling there with him and I said yes! I have wanted to go to India for years and years so it was amazing to get the opportunity! We created some incredible images out there and the 10 days went by too fast. It was an utterly brilliant experience.

Photographer - Ken P,  Post Processing - Tuppence
Photographer - Ken P

If you wish to see more images from India, please CLICK HERE

Morocco was a kind of mini scout for a possible luxury trip in 2019. Eyas more or less sorted the trip for me while I was in India and when out there we did our best to shoot in the MANIC streets of Marrakech and just explore! We came back with some fabulous images.

Photographer - Eyas

Photographer - Eyas

To mix it up we also hired the Photojournalist 'Suzanne Porter' and she took us to the real back streets and tanneries of Marrakech to do some street photography! New genre to me, and I was super rusty with my camera... but I loved it (once I got over the fear of pointing my camera at strangers-!!)

Artemis' Marrakech photography

Artemis' Marrakech photography

Artemis' Marrakech photography

I have been really lucky this year with all the places I have visited but it's been totally manic! Not only did I travel a lot I also moved home in July (which was a real life change for me as it's the first time I have had my own place) that and fighting three chest infections since July...But I just keeeeeep plodding on.'

I'm glad you mentioned your photographic trips, now I can invite you (and/or Iain T) to write a behind the scenes article about one of them. As a prequel to that, what do attendees to one of your trips get?

'Id love to do that, when I next get a few days off!

I'm going to go bold here. I down play a lot of what I do as no one likes gloaty smug mug, do they!! I also find talking about myself in a positive way kinda embarrassing at times- this interview is the most I have ever talked about myself- I really hope I don't put people off!!! (It's good to be confident about doing your job but no one needs it shoved down their throat, haha) BUT seeing as you have asked me the question...I'm going to be brave!

In this 'bubble' our Luxury All- Inclusive photographic trips are, quite simply, the best money can buy.

Iain and I were the brains behind the initial idea- which seems so simple (now) yet no one at the time had done it! There were loads of trips abroad being run, many well established glamour orientated ones that had been running for years but no one appeared to be running anything 'all inclusive' or 'luxurious' so between us we figured we would give it a go and see if there was any interest. 

We quickly figured that people were VERY interested and they would pay that bit extra to get what we were offering, happy days!

I am stubborn- so is Iain. Unlike most people out there we will go above and beyond to give 100% perfection on the trips we run. We pride ourselves on this and will bend over backwards to make it happen. We don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Why? Because we want our photographers to get the best experience possible. We truly care. 

Iain is the personal chef and Chauffeur and I do the organising, booking, research and of course, the modelling out there. We spend days finding locations, the best villas we can to make sure that when the photographers land they do nothing but enjoy themselves and take tones of incredible images.

We book the best, most versatile models we can. Carla Monaco, Scarlett Fox, Ayla Rose and Ivory Flame have joined us already/ will be joining us next year.

Photographers booking on get the following;

~Two of the UK’s top models
~Three days, three nights (or longer on our extended trips)
~Up to six hours a day shooting
~On hand photographic help from widely published glamour photographer IainT
~Shooting opportunities around the gorgeous 5* Villas we book
~Great locations pre-scouted 
~Socialising time, a very relaxed friendly atmosphere
~Breakfast, lunch and dinner included (we have our own chef!) Fresh local produce and wines.
~Bottomless (!) drinks (wine, G+T’s, beer, soft drinks, water- anything you like)
~Amazing accommodation 
~Pool (underwater shooting)
~Your own private room and en suite bathroom where possible.
~Air-conditioned van during the trip (our own chauffeur!)
~Unique themed shoots (a creative touch to our trips. We have, so far, styled shoots based on; David Hamilton, Helmut Newton and Jack Vettriano)
~Transfers to and from the airport sorted
~Shooting in pairs or 1-2-1- so quality shooting time. This is not a huge group shoot as it's ONLY FOUR photographers per trip. 
~We cover almost everything so unless you wish to shop- there are NO extra costs to cover.

I adore running these trips, the buzz it gives me it quite addictive! It's not easy by any means but the sense of satisfaction it leaves me with is huge. It makes me really happy. Thank you to everyone who has supported us!'

BTS of Artemis & Ian's awesome trips

BTS of Artemis & Ian's awesome trips

BTS of Artemis & Ian's awesome trips

BTS of Artemis & Ian's awesome trips

If you wish to see more behind the scenes images from Artemis & Iain's trips, please CLICK HERE

Speaking of travelling. If, on a long journey to a shoot you watched a film to pass the time, what film would you choose?

'Hmm, well I drive to shoots as I have a stupid phobia of public transport (blame my parents moving me to the middle of no where at 16) so that wouldn't quite work! But on a long plane journey I always go straight to the horror films! I don't do 'cuddly or girly' movies I'm afraid, I always seem to go for horrors or thrillers! To be fair though, I'm not overly fussy so put a glass of red in my hand and some pretzels and I will watch most movies.'

It's always great when I get to geek out extra hard when doing one of my interviews, and as you've mentioned one of my other passions, horror films, I get to right now... Which horror films are your favourites/go to films?

'Hmm, I'm not really a watch the same film over and over kinda girl. But I guess my most watched film as an adult is probably Pans Labrinth!! I love that film. It's so dark, and gets me every damn time...'

Sometimes in my interviews I've asked participants what they do when they're not shooting. I suspect you don't have much free time having seen how much you work, so instead...if you weren't a model, what would you be?

'Free time? What is that? No seriously...I actually had to google it.

Hmm, free time. Well, when I don't have a shoot, and I do have 'me' time...I do like a bit of a cheeky lie in. I suck at sleeping (brain never stops) but oh boy can I lounge about in bed in the mornings at times. I like to edit images- when my laptop works fast enough, I like to collect up photography books from charity shops, I like food, red wine. I visit friends when I can but I do wish I had more free time.

Realising now I was greedy and started answering both questions...Oh well...

If I wasn't a model. Gosh, I honestly don't know! I studied Fine Art at uni, got my first class degree (only one in my class, ahem) so I guess I might have done a masters. I might have just got a normal job and been packing your bags in a super market! Who knows. I do love cats so always said if I failed at life I would use my money to set up a really cool cattery hotel and become a crazy cat woman.'

Photographer - Jon Downs

I've also asked this a few times of interviewees with hundreds of positive references on PurplePort. You however have well over one thousand, so I have to ask, what's the secret to your success?

'I must admit, knowing I was the first UK model to hit 1,000 positive references totally made my week a few months ago when it happened. Yeah, I know #Loser but I don't care. 

I share my secrets to success far too much- that's my problem (LOL) but I'm not sure my own success is really any kind of exciting secret.

I guess I have always been a bit old fashioned in my ways. I treat people how I would like to be treated and IMHO there isn't enough of this in our bubble. So many people are just out for themselves and I kinda hate that. It's an ugly trait in people (selfishness)

I am far from perfect (obviously!) but I pride myself in putting others before yours truly and treating people well. It's really not hard- but it seems to be a rare trait these days. I think this (crazy as it sounds) makes some people stand out more than others- so that is my main 'secret' I guess, which feels like a cop out as that should be normal!

I may not be the tallest, the best looking, have the best skin or hair but I am nice, genuine and a good model. Shock horror- people like nice genuine people, hahaha.

I'm also stubborn. When I was new all I got was "you can't" "you will fail" "You are not model material" "You can't do glamour, so don't bother" "you look butch" "your figure is no good for most genres" blah blah blah...

Each and every time I was told these things it made me more determined to prove the bastards wrong. Don't ever tell me I cant, because I will make sure I can.

So my secrets to success appear to pretty much be that I'm a stubborn, but nice person. I guess being creative, a good communicator, down to earth, fun and having a genuine passion for my job helps though.'

Photographer - Paul GH Photography

Some of your works have seen you nude in popular beauty spots such as the banks of Loch Ness. Whilst shooting have you ever found yourself "caught" by someone? Be they dog walkers, ramblers, a minibus full of care home patients on an day trip?

'Now here comes the biggest shock of all. I'm actually really shy!! I can honestly be like a meercat on something when I am modelling on location as I literally have nightmares about being caught out, hahahaha!

I have had several close calls over the years, maybe a couple of people half walking in on me trying to get my head through the arm bit of my knitted dress...But no full on "Oh shit" moments (unless I was so traumatised I blocked them out!!)

I think when you are with a group of people (like on the trips I host) it's not so bad as you have the 'pack' with you but if it's just 1-2-1 it feels more like you are doing something wrong and I get nervous! Haha. 

I make sure photographers do test shots first so you are not sat about naked and I also work pretty quickly. The Loch Ness shot with IainT was taken in October! I said come sun, snow or sleet I would get naked on the banks of the Loch and we got a stunningly sunny and warm day! 

Photographer - Iain T,  Other Model - Nessie (sort of)

Some locations, like this one with Imagesse- it was 0 degrees, there was ice on the floor and three blokes setting up camp just the other side of the rock. I was scared (and FREEZING) but I saw an opportunity (here's where the stubbornness comes in) and I wanted to get the shot, so just did it, and got the scar to prove it as I gouged my ankle on the way down, blood...everywhere...'

Photographer - Imagesse

"come sun, snow or sleet" got very lucky it didn't end up going The Day After Tomorrow on you. Touching on this and the earlier question about traveling, is there anywhere, either a specific location or a country as a whole that you'd love to shoot in?

'Oh man, I want to go everywhere!! I went to the USA for two weeks back in 2014 with some friends and we shot out there and the first place we stopped was the Valley of Fire. God I felt so at home there and the two days just wasn't enough. I have wanted to go back there ever since I left!! I fell in love.

I can't even begin to write out a list, I honestly want to go everywhere. Cuba is close to the top of the list, Chernobyl...Chefchaouen in Morocco...Lots of C's!! Oh, gosh, anywhere and everywhere!!'

Photographer - Amelia Roslyn

Photographer - Amelia Roslyn

Photographer - Amelia Roslyn

If people want to see more of your work, or book a shoot with you, where should they visit?

'I do upload a lot of BTS stuff to my instagram- it's the best place to see what fun I get up to on shoots

I occasionally try my hand at being 'cool' and post on twitter...

I have a website (but I never update it as me and technology don't often see eye to eye)

I'm on facebook, but don't update it that much

Well I use Purpleport more than any other so it's the best platform to catch me on.'

Speaking of PurplePort...damn, my segways are, well they're still clunky...I believe you had a hand in the creation of PurplePort?

'I most certainly did. History can be re-written but you can't get rid of me that easy.

I won't go into too much detail but yes, back in 2009 Russ and I started up PurplePort. I will always add straight away that I never had any 'hands on' AKA coding input into the website but I was there on day one. I helped nurture ideas, be an admin from time to time, find people that wanted to be part of PP, draw up ideas, scribble notes- I even designed purplebot- the little dude that hands out your FPI's! Oh and there used to be a time, waaaay back, I was the only person that gave out FPI's! How things change, grow and evolve. The reason we set up PP was because we wanted a "better place" a place where admin weren't faceless scary people, a place that embraced the 'now' and didn't feel old fashioned. I think PP is mostly this, and has obviously gone from strength to strength so it's been interesting to watch it change over the years. My involvement in PP came to an end back in 2013, but I was there at the beginning of it all and most certainly helped PP get going in it's early days and become what it is today.'

It's that time of year, so, the obligatory Christmas question...what do you do at Christmas? What are your favourite things about it?

Hmm, Christmas questions! Well, I guess it is Christmas after all. Nothing ever really beats Christmas as a child does it? I swear every year it get a bit more hard work and a bit more of an effort to truly feel Christmassy, LOL. But I'm no scrooge! I swear.

I usually go down to see my family at Christmas time. My parents, sister and grandparents on my mums side, oh and the cat, Toby. I'm not overly close to my family really (I should put more time aside to see them- and they should to see me) so it's a time of year we all make the effort to spend some time together.

I usually head down on Christmas eve and stay a couple of nights...Over eat, over drink, fall asleep at the TV watching 'It's a wonderful life' YET again... (the usual)

My favorite things? Hmmm, the smells I think! Haha, I love Christmassy smells! I think Christmas can feel a bit romantic too sometimes, cuddling up, being cozy etc etc. I like the way it seems to cheer people up a bit, the warm knitted clothing, the twinkle of the Christmas lights, the delicious food, the red wine...the cheese!!

I actually really like buying people presents too! It makes me feel good and I enjoy wrapping them up in brown parcel paper with string and then putting them under the tree.'

Lastly, then I'll leave you to get back to your Christmas festivities, what's your favourite joke?

'Can you name the four members of the cat family..?
Mummy cat, daddy cat and their two kittens...
Yeah, I suck at jokes. I will stick to the modelling, for now...'

'Thank you Ian for getting in touch with me for this interview. I know I put it off for almost a year, but I'm glad I got a bit of time over the Christmas break to do it. I just hope I didn't bore everyone to death!!

Merry Christmas to you ALL and a very Happy New year!
Artemis Fauna'

I'd like to thank Artemis again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of her work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.