Marnova – of and from a wandering mind…

Marnova's musings on life, media and Mongolia

Protected: Horsing around…Chinese New Year 2014

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Written by marnova

February 7, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Personal

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Creativity without foundation

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Eric Traore for Vogue Paris

Recently, a very pro-active photography forum culled a lot of its members. Not just people that were not contributing, but people that were not contributing extremely regularly ie. every day.  I had previously lauded the hands-on management of the group which requested active participation from everyone. It set a different tone and precedent to many groups, but I had my wrist slapped early on for expanding on a comment on photojournalism which is the single area I have real and unique expertise to offer…it wasn’t a creative enough area of photography to be considered important.  To the moderators, creativity had become paramount. Which I totally disagreed with.

At its most basic, photography records a moment in time and this is what photojournalism is…I didn’t really understand how someone could just dismiss one of the bastions of photography as unimportant.  The very thing that I love about photography is that it requires technical, creative and business skills in equal parts. I do not value one over the other. And there is always more to learn. Whilst I can understand some photographers may prioritise any one of these skills over the others, you cannot just disregard them and call yourself a photographer. Someone who creates a creative image but is not in charge of their camera is an artist, not a photographer.

When the admins got rid of the less frequent contributors (ie. professionals that had less time to spend on the group), it was never really recognised that the group lost a lot of talent and expertise in one fell swoop. It became the blind leading the blind – they sought validation from their own inexperienced peer group. I know that working full-time has little to do with creativity and I fly the flag for The Photographer that is equally The Artist, but I don’t think that the wealth that comes with experience in the field should ever be underestimated. Creative process is important, but not anymore important than being a technical master of your camera or sound business acumen.

I pointed this out before removing myself from the group because I felt it had the wrong priorities and the wrong people were being cut out of the group, leaving people that were far from competent photographers. The moderators’ response was “perhaps those without experience can bring more to the group.” The basic message was that being in charge of your camera or knowing how to do business was not important. I would like to think it was not just their impudence that annoyed me, but the fact that they couldn’t even see what they had lost.

Written by marnova

March 15, 2012 at 3:18 am

Free Internet Dating Advice for Men

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Octavio Aburto for National Geographic

Octavio Aburto for National Geographic

  • If you are claiming you are a writer, best check you have spelt writer correctly and can punctuate…and type…and write…
  • …no, text speak is not OK either
  • Best not to include ‘maniac’ in your ID
  • No, pictures of you LARPing (Live Action Role Playing where you dress up as a pixie in the woods) is not a good idea
  • Do not use a movie character you aspire to as your handle, however cool they are…such as Tyler Durden…from Fight Club. AS IF!
  • Try being in the same country for starters “I live in Spain/Algeria/Nigeria…but I can go to visit you in London” SERIOUSLY?!!
  • Try to use a photo that looks vaguely like you if you don’t want your date to sit in stunned silence trying to work out how your photo was taken…
  • Looking normal in your first photo then dressing in your favourite latex cat outfit will only end in confusion
  • No knives, not on the first date anyway. That goes for the gals too, you can ask Willard Foxton all about that (google it…)

Written by marnova

March 9, 2012 at 3:42 am

Posted in Thoughts

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In response to

No one should put anything online they they aren’t prepared for people to ‘share’ (by whatever means) as that is the beauty and main benefit of online media. Although it continues to surprises how much a magazine can do with a low res image from a website, realistically they can’t do anything of real commercial value and have little defence if they have had to chop your watermark off. At least Pinterest provides by default linkback to the source (shame if people pin without this). The world is changing and photographers need to keep up with this, or risk ending up like the music industry ex-fatcats who kept trying to protect their position instead of realising too late the potential of the online consumer and then scrambling to play catchup. Pinterest is a great way for photographers, artists etc to gain exposure with a whole different section of the market. The reality is that IP law in this kind of area is still developing and can be open to interpretation so there’s unlikely to be a clear answer any time soon.

Written by marnova

February 27, 2012 at 3:07 am

In the mood for…film noir

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Those in the know will know my life has been a little eventful of late, so apologies for lack of posts.

You have Rob Heslop to thank yet again for this post. We got together with a bunch of photographer and model friends last weekend and did a fun film noir shoot. The photographers got to direct, the models got to act and the photographers had very little post-processing to do.  Win-win-win! I’ve learnt plenty about controlled lighting recently and a good part of it is with thanks to Rob🙂

This brought me back to my film student days, studying the lighting setups of Orson Wells & Co. Good times.

My setups may not have been strictly film noir, but I was going for the mood…painting with light.


Models: Conner McKenzy, Kate Davies, Iain Gorrie, Helen Drew
With thanks to Rob Heslop, Cam and Peter Tecks

In the shadows


Lighting Up

Waiting, watching

In the mood noir

The Don



Written by marnova

May 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Photography

Warrior days

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Now, I never thought I’d be inspired by anything Clive Owen said or did, but inspired and heartened I was by his views on monogamy and family.

Clive Owen as King Arthur

In this fickle age where marriages can last days or months and relationships come and go faster than fashion fads, commitment is a rare thing. With co-stars like Angelina Jolie and Eva Mendes finding him sexy, it’s refreshing to read that he says he would never have an affair…

“I so value what I’ve got at home with my wife and kids that I’ve never f**ked with that…For me, that’s what it’s about…My relationship is everything to me…I’m often doing incredibly exciting plays and films, but that would mean nothing if I were floating around and didn’t have a solid family behind me. Sarah-Jane is an absolute diamond.”

I’m excited that any modern man can feel like that and honour and cherish their family above all else. Oh, and he is finally turning into a reasonable actor too. Watching his recent turn as King Arthur, it made me wonder where the warriors of our world have gone – those men who fight for love and cause with braveness and integrity. There is no modern day equivalent and all women can weep for that.

Written by marnova

April 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm

An Age of Innocence

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Everything vintage is super in-vogue at the moment.  But vintage means so many things, it can mean anything.  When I think of vintage, I think of muted colours, decorative details, fanciful sweet embellishments and lashings of romance.  Everything that every girl loves in her wedding styling and photography right now.

I’m generally a modern day photographer – photographing and working in our times.  I occasionally veer off into a project inspired by Chinese traditions, but in the main stay quite contemporary.  However, there is still something very attractive about vintage photography and for me, that is capturing an age of innocence, relatively speaking.

Courtesy of Rob Heslop, a local Strobist, I recently had the opportunity to do some studio work in the style of 1950s US pinups.  What I love about this style is that it’s cheeky and saucy,  but not sleazy or slutty.  From a time when women were women and men were men (for better or worse!)  It didn’t help my Mad Men obsession one bit though…for all his flaws, I mourn for the loss of the Don Drapers of this world.

Oh the pictures? Here are a few of my favourites…excuse the lighting if you will, I’m still dabbling. Always learning.

He's on the phone

Heels over head

Up close


Mr President

Come play with me
Jackie O

Street racer

Rebel without a cause

Tip top




In the spotlight


Credits & full set on Flickr


Written by marnova

November 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm