Back in 2004 a friend of mine, Rachel Jones from Instrata, took part in a UK government Technology Mission to the US looking at Future of User-Centred Design. When she got back she alerted me to two new services she’d seen (delicious and flickr) that she felt I’d enjoy because of the close links between their feature growth and the availability of their public APIs. Both recommendations proved valuable. Those who know me won’t be surprised that I quickly became obsessed with flickr. I started posting photos there in autumn 2005, but one of the joys of flickr is the groups: the community features are as exciting as the photo storage features. If you imagine a style of photography or a subject you enjoy photos of then you can bet that there is an active flickr group about it. Wonderful. My favourite group is the Through the Viewfinder group, though my route to finding it was convoluted. Another friend of mine (Matt Williams of ecru) mentioned that a designer he knew (Andy Gosling) was into a style of photography whereby one used a digital camera to take a photo “through” an old camera.
Since then one of my hobbies (should that read obsessions?) has been Through the Viewfinder (TtV) photography. There’s a great flickr group all about it, complete with links to detailed instructions on how to build your contraption (mine’s pictured above). It’s wonderfully experimental, with people trying new cameras, new subjects, new contraption constructions all the time. TtV is also growing in popularity, so much so that the group photo pool is difficult to keep up with. Hence they started regular “best of month” threads in the group’s discussions where people can post their favourites, as long as they are not posting their own work. I’ve long hoped to get one of my TtV pictures posted into a “best of the month” thread and in May I did. Alan organised a meeting at the The Møller Centre which is in Churchill College. I took the opportunity to take my TtV kit and spent some time afterwards taking shots on the roof, like this one.
But the real fun came after that. I knew that Churchill College Chapel had some John Piper (and Patrick Reyntiens?) stained glass and since I administer the Contemporary Stained Glass Windows group on flickr I was eager to go and photograph them. The chapel is locked, so I had to get a key from the porter, but it was well worth it. An understated, leaky, but beautiful modern chapel. And lo, one of my TtV shots of the Piper glass was posted by Friendly Joe to May’s “best of the month” thread. I’m sooooooo chuffed. Here it is.