Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Shortcomings

Tomine’s genius is to strip his medium of every possible type of grandiosity or indulgence, and the result is that life itself floods in.

-Jonathan Lethem

Shortcomings

Last week I was browsing Forbidden Planet’s signed books and came across Adrian Tomine, a graphic novelist with whom I was not familiar. His real world stories revolve around relationships and immediately evoke Daniel ClowesGhost World, in both visual style and socially awkward characters, although the subject matter is slightly less offbeat. I picked up signed copies of Shortcomings and Summer Blonde and devoured them in quick succession. Particularly interesting is Tomine’s often cinematic style in which the reader feels they are watching a scene through a camera, lingering with identical panels. Scene changes are often abrupt, occuring in the middle of a line, and many conversations are joined mid-flow. From context it is always easy to extract what has been discussed previously, but the precise words are left to the reader. As contemporary fiction that just happens to use a different medium, Tomine is subtle, intelligent, easy to read and highly recommended.

While I still love my current camera lens (a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS) there are certain things it can’t do. The main issue is low-light shooting since I detest flashes. If the subject is stationary there is little problem, particularly with the lens’ image stablisation, but those of the organic variety do have a tendancy to move. The trade off is then blurry shots or dark images. In short: time for a secondary lens. It didn’t take much research to stumble upon Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.4, a prime lens (non-zoom) that is by all accounts beautifully crafted, letting in a huge amount of light and producing incredibly sharp images. Unfortunately I wouldn’t know. Nowhere in London has been able to sell me one. Because they don’t have any. If any photographers out there have a secret supplier please let me know.

A few days ago I mentioned the sudden expansion of Twitter as celebrity bloggers brought it into the mainstream. It becoming mainstream, while it may be less of a “club”, is no bad thing. The celebrities, however, might be. Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross both have extraordinary numbers of followers but, while both being intelligent and witty people, neither really seems to have that much to say. Rather their feeds are filled with drivel, mostly pandering to people who want to receive that one personal message from their célébrité du jour. I am not saying I have found the perfect balance for my own Twitter feed, but I also know that there is enough background noise in my life without needing to add these kinds of celebrity microblogs.

I do have one on my list though: Neil Gaiman. It’s not that unnecessary minutiae do not appear in his, but the majority are interesting links related to his work and that of his acquaintances. If you must include celebrities, I strongly recommend TweetDeck which lets you organise the feeds of those you are following into multiple columns so you can separate out friends for example. By default it also keeps replies and direct messages separate so you can easily identify and respond to them. TweetDeck requires the Adobe Air platform to be installed.

2 Comments

  1. Other than ebay, can’t help I’m afraid! Guessing that your existing lens is about f4 at 50mm, you should be able to get shutter speeds about 8 times as fast, so worth tracking down! I have a couple of f/1.2 lenses (this is where sticking to old equipment saves money!) and once had the pleasure of using a 20mm f/2 macro lens, with a bellows, which gave a ten times magnification factor… which was nice. Also, this is pretty.

  2. Wow, that is pretty! Depending on which bit you stare at, I suppose.

    And yes, you’re right about older equipment. The modern f/1.2 flavour of this lens costs around £1400 so that’s sadly very much out of the question!

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"Lack of imagination is an occupational hazard for an apex predator."

(CC) BY-NC 2005-2018 Priyan Meewella

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