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20 JANUARY 2013

Rough Trade: destination store plugged-in to what its customers want

"'Ignoring technology is to ignore what has become a way of life for our customers,' said Rough Trade Retail director Stephen Godfroy.

The retailer, which has two shops, on Portobello Road and Brick Lane in London, has defied the gloom in a dwindling music retailing market. It generated a like–for–like sales hike of 30 per cent in the year to July 31. Godfroy said Rough Trade has benefited from tourism to the capital.

'Visiting Rough Trade is one of the things to do when you come to London and we're very proud of that,' he said. 'Tourism is an important factor in our success. We're a destination store.'"

(Jason Gregory, 5th January 2011, Retail Week, EMAP Publishing Limited)

Fig.2 Louisa "photobooth in rough trade east" [http://i–still–love––saw–keira–knightley–walking–down.html]




Album Club membership • Brick Lanebricks and mortarCDconcertsconsumer lifestylesdestination storediscoverabilityDVD • dwindling • high street shopsHMV • ignoring technology • in-store experience • in-store gigs • incorporate digitalindie scene • like-for-like sales • London • loyalty card • MP3 downloads • music retailing market • online databasephotobooth • Portobello Road • recommended by the retailer • Retail Week (magazine) • retailerRough Trade • Rough Trade East • Rough Trade Notting Hill • Rough Trade Retail • shift to digitalshopspend timeStephen Godfroysuccessful brand spacethings to dotourism • tourism to the capital • UK • upcoming releases • vinyl recordway of life


Simon Perkins
07 AUGUST 2012

15 Second Film Festival: touring roadshow of micro-short films

"The 15 Second Film Festival is a touring roadshow of micro–short film masterpieces, combining the old–school thrill of cinema–as–attraction with a kitbag of new media trickery. Come round the curtain now for a look behind–the–scenes."

(The 15 Second Film Festival)

This project is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland & DCAL – the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure's 'Creative Industries Innovation Fund', Northern Ireland Screen, Filmbase (Dublin), Raindance (London), Queen's University Belfast – Film & Visual Studies, The Brian Friel Theatre at Queen's and the Queen's Film Theatre at Queen's.

Fig.1 Published on 7 Mar 2012 by 15SecondFilmFestival, "W8ing4Godot", Starring: Donal Galvin; Director of Photography: Declan Keeney; Editor: Declan Keeney; Executive Producers: Colin McKeown, Peter Magic Johnston; Makeup: Julie Laverty and Vince Salentrie; Production Trainees: Martin Bolton, Michael Gibson, Michael Sharpe, Michael Leonard; Art Department: Martin Carter, Danny Kendall, Rene Fehrmann, Paddy Bloomer.



15 Second Film Festival • 4Talent • Arts Council of Northern Ireland • behind-the-scenesBelfast • Brian Friel Theatre at Queens • cinema-as-attraction • Creative Industries Innovation Fund • Creative Skillset • DCAL • Department of Culture Arts and Leisure • Film and Visual Studies (QUB) • Filmbase (Dublin) • micro fiction • micro masterpiece • micro short film • micro short film masterpieces • Mini Mogul Cinema • miniature film festival • Northern Ireland • Northern Ireland Screen • photobooth • picture palace • QUB • Queens Film Theatre at Queen • Queens University Belfast • Raindance (London) • roadshow • Samuel Beckettshort film • smallest cinema in the world • touring roadshow • txtingvignette • W8ing4Godot • Waiting for Godot


Simon Perkins
31 JULY 2012

What is Vernacular Photography?

"The term covers (and promises) a lot, and a quick Google search fills in quite a bit of the territory. One enthusiast snagged the domain name, but there are plenty of others in the game.

One site notes that vernacular photography is ' of the most affordable areas of collecting and therefore offers wonderful opportunities for the beginner to acquire beautiful examples of photographic art at very reasonable prices.' poses the basic question: 'Why would I buy someone else's crappy old photos?', and is another gallery/vendor.

Boston University hosted Vernacular Reframed, 'a two–day interdisciplinary conference examining issues in vernacular photography' in November 2004, but lots of enthusiasts are in the game as well: Square America,, and Junior Bonner blogs about the phenomenon. Some specialize in specific genres, like photobooth and African American Vernacular Photography. Ookpik specializes in Michigan photographs, happy palace has an eclectic (and ever–growing) mix, greywater posts 'photographs from films I processed that I found in old cameras...', and eBay has a Vernacular Photography Enthusiasts group with more than 100 members.

Serious scholarship is not far behind: Electronic Journal of Vernacular Photography may be stillborn, but Innocence regained? Or just another kind of fiction? from eye magazine suggests that there are many who take the medium seriously. One is Geoffrey Batchen who taught a course at CUNY's Graduate Center (there's a video of a lecture he gave at Brown)

Quite a few museums have had vernacular photography shows, including Kodak and the Rise of Amateur Photography at New York's Metropolitan Museum, and this grant proposal from the Indiana University Archives Seeing the Color of America: Digitizing the Charles Cushman Collection is evidence of archival interest in the medium.

My friend Joan Larcom reminds me of one of the authorities who has done the most in this realm, Michael Lesy, and his coinage of the term demotic photography, which I find a good supplement to 'vernacular'. A New York Times story notes that:

'In the past, Mr. Lesy has ruffled some academic feathers by arguing that what he calls 'demotic photography,' like family snapshots or picture postcards, deserves the same level of scholarly study traditionally given only to art photography... 'my whole intention is to subvert the [art photography] canon... There are possibilities that go beyond the safe definitions of what an artist is and what the camera is used for. ...Academics... deal with photographs as aesthetic, intellectual constructs, or as integers in philosophical or linguistic argument. That's not all they are. They're slippery and deeply emotionally charged. A photograph is a thing which, to use an old scholarly word, needs to be 'unpacked.' There's the manifest content, then half a dozen layered contents.'
(NYT 17 Dec 2005 sec B pg 9)"

(Hugh Blackmer,



2004academic journal • accidental documents • amateur cultural productionamateur photographeramateur photographyanonymous • anonymous snapshots • archival interest • art photography • Charles Cushman Collection • City University of New York • CUNY • demotic photography • Electronic Journal of Vernacular Photography • family photos • family snapshotsfound • found films • found photographs • Geoffrey Batchen • Hugh Blackmer • Indiana University Archives • Kodak and the Rise of Amateur Photography • layered meaninglayers of meaningmanifest content • Michael Lesy • New York Metropolitan Museum • newspaper photographs • nostalgia • Ookpik • photobooth • photobooth photography • photographic art • photography enthusiasts • picture postcardspostcardreadymadesnapshotsnapshotsvernacular photography • vernacular photography enthusiasts • vernacular photography shows • Vernacular Reframed (conference)


Simon Perkins

Urbis: capturing visitors through CCTV surveillance

"These themes are reflected in the variety of interactive exhibits on display, the centre piece of which is a room containing cctv cameras where one can see oneself being filmed and where, at a console, one can then produce one's identity card, with basic information about oneself, including likes and dislikes. These can then be stuck on the outside wall of the room and can be read by other visitors. This appears to be one of the most popular exhibits and an example of an interactive display that works. The reason for this success are that it affords absorption or immersion in an activity in ways that most of the other exhibits do not. It makes no sense here just to look, rather one needs to sit down and get involved in a hands on experience so that one can present a snapshot of oneself to others. There is often a queue to use the computers and after a year the wall outside for sticking the id cards on is filling up. Information on the id cards includes a photo taken by the cctv cameras, first name, place of residence and likes and dislikes, these mostly include foods, football teams, family members, pets and celebrities often in both categories."

(Kevin Hetherington, 2004 p.23)

Hetherington, Kevin. 1997 "The Badlands of Modernity: Heterotopia and Social Ordering", London, UK: Routledge.



big brotherCCTVdecal • identity cards • interactive exhibitKevin HetheringtonManchester • Millennium Quarter Trust • museummuseum of contemporary culture • photo id • photo identification • photoboothpublic gallerystickersurveillancetoyUK • Urbis


Simon Perkins

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