Friday, 28 March 2008

Philip Jones Griffiths : R.I.P.

Battle of Saigon 1968 © Philip Jones Griffiths, Magnum

I just read in bjp-online that this renown British photo-journalist from Magnum died from a long battle with cancer last week. Battles, though, was what Jones Griffiths was famous for, especially his photographs of the Vietnam war which brought much condemnation and policy changes to the US war machine, which eventually caused a pull-out from the war. His photographs have also illustrated many stories about human suffering, war zones and current affairs.

Philip Jones Griffiths, photo © Graham Harrison
Courtesy :

Philips Jones Griffiths joined the prestigious Magnum photo agency in 1971 as a full member, and in the same year published Vietnam Inc, a book of his photographs captured from the war zones of Indochina. He became committed to Vietnam and Cambodia, making numerous visits there throughout his life and published two more books, Agent Orange (2003) and Vietnam At Peace (2005). May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Mac Air, in the flesh!

I was walking to dinner the other evening in the West End and happened to past by the window of the Apple Store in Regent Street. Lo and behold, the above display caught my eye. It was the MacBook Air, the world's thinnest laptop. Now, I have read all the advertorials about it and seen pictures on TV and the Internet but its strangely cool to see it in the flesh.

The must-see TV advert has a catchy tune to go along with it..

Catch the Ad here TV Advert

It is only 1.94cm thick at its thickest edge and has a 13.3cm widescreen display. The downside is of course, for the price of £1,199.00 its only £100 cheaper than the much more capable MacBook Pro and almost £500 more than the basic MacBook, both of which are 'quite' thin already! But that is not the point. The Air has been designed to proof that Apple has the know how and ingenuity to produce ground-breaking products, just as the iPod nano and the iPhone was. According to Apple, the Air is aimed squarely at people who already have an Apple computer and its role is to supplement the user with its portability and design, sort of like a Mini Cooper and its X5 big brother would.

Apple Store, London


Apart from the cost, the Air only has a limited feature set, albeit a rather good one. There are 2 versions available, the 80GB 1.3Ghz at £1199.00 and a 64GB 1.8Ghz machine costing £829 more! Yes, more for less. The 64GB version has a solid state drive storage (like your flash memory cards) and hence no spinning discs, should be faster and less power hungry. Both versions do not have any form of CD/DVD player due to its size but Apple sells a USB plug-in Superdrive for those wanting to watch DVD movies.

The MacBook Air comes equipped with high speed Wifi connectivity and Bluetooth. Will I get one? The answer is probably no, as I already use a MacBook and find that it is quite portable, although it does weigh a bit, and a 5 year old iBook G3 which whirrs away..slowly.

Monday, 17 March 2008

When Irish Eyes Are Smilin'

Bail รณ Dhia is Mhuire duit!

Last Sunday, London's Trafalgar Square hosted a huge St Patrick's Day celebration, with contemporary Irish folk bands, dancers, Leprechauns, lots of things 'green', Guinness and beer..!

A parade of sorts, marching brass bands and vintage cars waddled down in the pouring rain and wind from Hyde Park Corner to Whitehall. Spectators lined the streets waving their arms at the participants of dancers Irish girls and mad rockers, clowns on stilts and Irish ladies. Because of the dismal weather, the crowds were smaller than usual but the Irish jollity, their love for merriment and friendliness always bring a smile to my face.

Sunday was also Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, where Christians commemorate the entry into Jerusalem by Jesus on a donkey, or a colt being cheered by his few followers by waving palm leaves at him. Next Sunday is Easter Sunday, preceded by Good Friday, the holiest day in the Christian calendar.

Easter week comes early this year in March. According to the calendar, we will have to wait another 80 plus years before we have another March Easter!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Call for Entries : NEW YORK PHOTO AWARDS '08

Calling all photographers who would like to participate in the first ever New York Photo Awards 2008, the event is now open to entries under various categories, to include :

Sixteen Category Winners:
Editorial- Single and Series
Personal Work/ Unpublished/ Fine Art- Single and Series
Advertising- Single and Series
Multimedia- Photo and Video

"Announcing the debut of the New York Photo Awards, the official awards of the New York Photo Festival. Honoring talented photographers from all over the world whose work breaks new grounds visually, intellectually, and aesthetically, the New York Photo Awards is a celebration of outstanding achievements in the world of contemporary photography."

"The inaugural New York Photo Festival (May 14–May 18, 2008) promises to deliver a dynamic, high-quality event in what is arguably the photographic capital of the world. The festival will celebrate both contemporary photography and the creative, inspirational talents of the people who produce this work.

The New York Photo Festival will be headquartered in DUMBO, an off-the-beaten-track, but easily accessible neighborhood on the Brooklyn waterfront between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges."
I will submitting 2 entries in the Book and Personal Work categories but with all these international awards, the challenge is stiff and the talent is great. However, its worth a try...wish me luck!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Will the real Bangsa Malaysians put their hands up!

Although this is not a political blog, it is a social one, and one cannot remain oblivious to the fact of the outcome of the recent Malaysian general elections have stoked much debate and opinions in local blogs. Politics affect everyone in all walks of life whether one likes it or not. With blogging, the voice of the individual can now be heard. Analysis and opinions are bandied about freely from every angle and that can only be a good thing for democracy.

When I traveled across Malaysia last year photographing a cross section of the citizens, I met people of all races, cultures and religions living peacefully side by side. Malaysia is so unique in that sense.

The very nature of politics, however is divisive. Its Us vs Them. Its Known v Unknown. Its Tested vs Untested. In Malaysia, political parties are communal in nature, not unlike Africa, where tribal politics thrive. Its not Right vs Left. The Barisan Rakyat (Peoples Movement) declaration initiated through The People's Parliament and several other platforms, and endorsed by the opposition parties is a start to end communal and race-based parties.

However, Malaysia is still a fledging nation, seemingly unwanting change in the real sense. Self-interest and power is what fails us every time. Prudent politics is governance for the greater good without leaving out the lesser, however this is not what I am seeing from over here. Perhaps my vision for a Bangsa Malaysia is only a pipe dream.