Look At This Picture

Tal Afar Murder

It’s of a little Iraqi girl. Her parents have just been murdered, shot dead by US soldiers. Their crime? Failing to stop at a roadblock. Maybe you’re asking, ‘why didn’t they stop?’ I don’t know. Maybe they were scared of getting hauled off to Abu Ghraib and tortured to death like their fellow countrymen. Maybe it was too dark for them to see the hand signals. As for the warning shots, we’ve only got the US military’s word they were fired and we know how honest they are.

All I ask is that you put yourself in that Iraqi family’s position. Your country has been invaded by the most powerful military in the world, representing a president who you know hates your religion. It’s bombed your country flat, letting chaos ensue, whilst securing all the oil facilities. Both its troops and troops of its ally, the UK, torture and beat your countrymen to death, with impunity.

The soliders carrying out the torture say they’re only following orders, just like the Nazis used to.

Their superiors say no such orders were issued. It seems no-one is to blame for these war crimes. Meanwhile, your life is worth nothing to these defenders of truth and justice. They can riddle your car with bullets, injuring your children and killing you. Your little girl screams as she looks at your blood on her hands.

And no-one cares. It’s just more dead Iraqis to add to the pile of 100,000. Here’s what the US military says:

The statement also said that military officials extended their condolences for this “unfortunate incident” and were investigating.
(Source: BBC News)

An “unfortunate incident” is dropping a cup or bumping into something as you’re parking. That the US military thinks that murdering two civilians and injuring a child is merely an “unfortunate incident” shows how cheaply they regard Iraqi lives.

This story wasn’t on the TV news. Why bother? It’s just the daily reality of a country under a brutal occupation my torturing, murdering invaders. This occupation is our fault. If we protest enough, if we march enough and campaign enough, we can stop it. The question is, can we be bothered?

Here’s the source of the above photo: Tal Afar Murder

First Lensbaby Test Shots!


This morning my Lensbaby arrived from America. It was sunny when I did the first shots at home so I thought I’d pop into town and give it a tryout. Of course, as soon as I got in, typically grey Derby weather arrived.

After a day of shooting with it, I’m already in love with it. The only downside so far was that I was whacked with a twenty-three quid import charge. I’d looked around the web but couldn’t find an English supplier so I bought it direct from the manufacturer. Fifty quid for such an amazing lens is a bargain but once you add the courier and the import duty, it almost doubled the cost (though I could have chosen far cheaper delivery options and Lensbabies can’t be held responsible for our taxes).

I’ve seen many examples of the gloriously blurry, impressionistic images it produces on the net but what I wasn’t prepared for was how sharp and contrasty it could also be. Being able to move the sweet spot around was great fun, as was the totally manual focussing:

Sadler Gate

I had so much fun today with this little lens. I know some people may wonder what the attraction is of a basically blurry lens, why not just create the same effect in Photoshop but they’re missing the point. When you use a Lensbaby, it makes you take photographs differently. No more auto-aperture, no more auto-focus! It forces different choices which means you take different pics. And I don’t think I could ever reproduce the beauty of true extreme chromatic aberration that Lensbaby produces.

All the shots in the following gallery were taken at f5.6 mainly cos I hadn’t managed to prise the rubber grommet out of the lens to change the aperture ring!

Click here for the pics!