In an age where we have the development of the mobile phone camera and the selfie much photography is seen as a family snapping affair most people see it as a personal statement record of their and their familie’s lives.In away I guess this selfie culture really reflects the world that we live in. . Few really look into an image trying to understand what the photograph is really depicting.A photograph is a photograph nice shot of me and friends or tourist icon with me. Yet even with the advent and sophistication of the new technology it still takes a good eye and technical knowledge to achieve consistency in high artistic quality work. A good photograph can be as interesting as viewing a film or DVD. The great single image states an awful lot remember the image of the skyscraper construction workers sitting on the steel girder hundred of feet above New York. A staged image but still tells us about the heights and the the working environment of workers in the early days of the great skyscraper the image screams period. The great and iconic photographs of Marilyn Monroe, especially the skirt blowing up in the updraft and the man in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square and all the images that have depicted life changing events.
The art of the great photographer is depicting the story in the most dramatic format possible just like the old masters Rembrandt, Caravaggio with their use of light to make the most powerful statement along with the professional’s ability to spot the moment and be quick enough to catch it.The word “photography” is a combination of the Greek root words “photo-,” meaning “light,” and “-graphia,” meaning “writing” or “drawing.” Thus, “photography” literally means “writing or drawing with light.” . The moment can also be subtle and not totally dramatic requiring an interested eye to gain understanding. The professional photographer uses light composition clarity diffusion all to gain maximum impact, post shoot development can be as important as the shoot. Professional work can take many hours in the post shoot period in order to achieve the desired result whether for a wedding, artistic image, journalistic, fashion or magazine shoot. With all the innovation there is still no click and produce method that will give a planned result.In fact in professional photography Photoshop is one of the most un-user friendly programmes, however it is also one of the most powerful. Photoshop is designed to allow the professional to develop his or her own templates and techniques for developing the right image for the right moment. It is now necessary that the professional understands a raft of powerful programmes all designed to help achieve the required result. Even simple photographic shoots are time consuming, images need to be checked in there hundreds usually at 100% in size bad images need to be eliminated, the files need to be reduced to an acceptable quality and number. Quite often this means the professional eye spending days on the exercise of selection and correction.
Point and shoot camera compact and phone are built around small sensors with many pixels too small to take in enough light to give images the definition achieved by bigger professional cameras. Pixels can be a red herring as the bigger the pixel the more light it attracts and the better clarity of image. A camera with a large full frame sensor or bigger and not so high number of pixels can sometimes give a clearer image than a high number of pixels as the larger pixels attract more light.
Understanding the camera is vital for having the control to achieve the result and consistency of work. Today the digital camera is an incredibly complex piece of machinery. I have great respect for the photographers of the past working blind relying on their mathematical knowledge to gain results although there was a period where image composition could be checked using polaroid. Today working blind has been taken away from the photographer however the modern era has seen the development of a raft of sophisticated technical settings giving the photographer the potential for great control over the resulting image. We live in a world where focus and understanding seem to be considered less important unless there is personal relevance. The world of the professional photographer is understanding the mass of technical developments, lenses, fundamentals of camera development, lighting, composition, printing papers, studio working, Software development and printing, mathematical ability is still useful, in fact today’s professional photography is as complex as the days of film and in some ways possibly even more complex in order to eliminate random. The camera gives us some of the greatest understanding of ourselves and the professional photographer can take this understanding to even greater levels – Knowledge is and should only be the road to understanding. The camera is the tool or paintbrush allowing us greater levels of understanding.
Images of London a vibrant City capturing the sole of a Capital City
Image Shane Aurousseau
Photographer Shane Aurousseau
This may seem like a strange blog for an Australian Photographer, however in my checkered career I did a stint in the financial world in the City of London, including running hedge funds and as business development director for the European side of a New Zealand investment bank.
I learnt one thing during my association with the City there is little interest in clients the main myopic focus is on Fees and bonuses. This is why so many scandals are coming into the public domain; it’s all about making money in the short term then getting out. The LIBOR and Forex fixing by the banks using young traders, Nick Leeson (and his famous lucky Chinese 88888 account). This is not to mention some of the big US frauds, Madoff and Petters both multi-Billion Dollar frauds. The list of investors and feeder funds into Madoff is enormous including some of the biggest names in the banking and investment world with massive due diligence departments – just shows how greed can overrule Logic and management focus.
Scandals/ frauds are certainly coming thick and fast. There has been foreign exchange, precious metals, at least two rigging scandals about Libor(previously mentioned) and now an investigation into whether the banks rigged the liquidity auctions back at the heart of the financial crisis itself.
The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the Bank of England’s crisis-era liquidity auctions believed to relate to a £180bn funding scheme that was ended by the BoE in 2010.
In September 2011, the Swiss bank UBS announced that it had lost over 2 billion dollars, as a result of unauthorized trading performed by Kweku Adoboli, a director of the bank’s Global Synthetic Equities Trading team in London.
On 24 September 2011, Oswald Grübel, the CEO of UBS, resigned “to assume responsibility for the recent unauthorized trading incident”, according to a memo to UBS staff. On 5 October Francois Gouws and Yassine Bouhara, the co-heads of Global Equities at UBS, also resigned. It later emerged that UBS had failed to act on a warning issued by its computer system about Adoboli’s trading.
As I mentioned they are coming thick and fast. All this naughtiness brings me to a culture that exists in many of the major financial centres, London, New York and others. The culture that exists in the great financial centres of the world is one of of hiring young people from major universities and elsewhere and allowing these youngsters to trade unsupervised in many cases billions of dollars. Youth will gamble so youth is hired and allowed to gamble the bank’s or fund’s assets. In reality these funds are not the bank’s or fund managers funds but the investors and until recently the account holders. This culture is one where the senior management know exactly what is happening and the bet is taken on youth. It the gamble goes wrong then youth is disowned in favor of management survival. If the the Kobe earthquake had not happened Nick Leeson may have been a hero – The bank knew exactly what was going on- ‘youth gambles’ and wise men(if all goes to plan) pick-up the profits.
Remember the arrogance of the ‘Flaming Ferraris’ five young City slickers, the son of Lord Archer among them, striding from a stretch limousine to whoop it up at their exclusive Christmas bash. These were the so-called ‘Flaming Ferraris’, the world’s most successful share traders – named after their favorite rum-and-Grand Marnier cocktail. The five would, it was said, bet up to £3 billion a time on a deal, and then expected to share a £5 million bonus. Like many of these young trader’s with little real life experience and the arrogance of youth it ended in tears.
Neil Behrmann’s Trader Jack addresses the City financial youth culture in a great yarn told with a considerable amount of accuracy. It really is a good read and is based on a very real and dangerous City culture.
Trader Jack can be purchased via: Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neil-Behrmann/e/B005HA9E3M:
Australian Photographer – Shane Aurousseau