Kiss this photographic future

Instagram - I have 2345 photographs on Instagram. I first downloaded the app in 2011. Doing a little mathematics, I see that I have taken about 3 Instagram shots every day over the past two years. How many photographs have I taken with the DSLR in the same time? I doubt I am anywhere near that figure. And why? Well, the iPhone is a multi-functional device and it goes everywhere with me. I pat myself down to check it is with me as often as I check that I am zipped up. It is precious to me; my all-time favourite gadget. As Apple has developed its technology, the camera has improved in quality and with the fun that Instagram has brought to shooting I have fallen in love with it.

Like most photographers, I am constantly seeing frames, seeing moments, seeing people that I just know would make great photographs. So many times in the past these moments passed me by, luckily consigned to memory. Now, with the iPhone with me at all times, I can get that shot. And I can get that shot without having to raise and point a weapon-like instrument that a DSLR is. The iPhone allows you to get great street shots – discreetly. The latest update from Instagram, the one which allows you to later rotate the image makes this even better. Now you can have your phone at any angle and know that later you can flip that image around. No need to have raised directly at your targets. Such fun. And fun is what it is all about with the iPhone.

I keep two Flickr accounts. I set up another in 2011 just for the Instagram shots. I had been posting Instagram shots to this Flickr account for a while, but when I was away in Asia I really got into it and on a 5-week trip I took more than 1500 iPhone shots. Again, doing a little maths you can see that more than half my Instagram shots come from that five weeks. For holidays, I venture to say it is the best camera you can have with you. When we were in Barcelona in August, I hardly used the DSLR at all.

One of the very best things about Instagram is the community aspect. Cast your mind back a few years and try to imagine a scenario where first thing in the morning you could flick through images taken that day (factor in a time difference here) in Shanghai, Tokyo, Ankara and the grand old U.S of A. Now imagine this on a daily basis and you begin to realise how wonderful this is. You get to see the world through the eyes of others. The dream of living vicariously is possible.
And what images they create and share. Each day it is a trip (pun intended) to see how Michael in Tokyo and Mimo in Shanghai find commonalities and beauty in these two Asian mega-cities. Their images elicit a million wows each day. Serap from Ankara presents Turkey with grace, elegance and artistry. Then for sheer beauty and jaw-dropping images there is Trina – Pixelmama, a whole different class of wows! Some of you may follow their streams on Flickr – but I can tell you, you are only getting half the picture. Get an iPhone, download Instagram and kiss this photographic future.
To follow these guys on Instagram: Me – @nadnerb - Michael – @mdkistler -Mimo – @mimokhair - Trina – @pixelmama
Here is a small selection of my Instagram shots that have not been posted to Flickr:
High-Speed train to Tokyo 
Barcelona Airport
Train Station, Cork
Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
A man without a nose
8388354619_985b57e05b_cCoffee shop, UCC, Cork

Blur will save the world

I have often been asked why I shoot blur and what it is about blur that appeals to me so much. I have no stock answer prepared for this. I guess it brings me back to the magic that was analog photography back to the days when you would take limited photographs, a time when each shot was calculated not just in composition but also in cost. Those shots only came to life once developed and more often than not the whole roll could disappoint. If there was one shot from a roll of 36 I would be happy. Very often there would be blurred images or images with light leaks which I would immediately view with disdain only to find myself coming back, studying them, making out what the image might have been – should have been and seeing that in this form there were so many possibilities.
Moving on to digital photography it took a long while to become confident enough to experiment with blur. I remember in my early days on Flickr being so hesitant to post this shot, thinking people would disregard, even ridicule me because of it. Gradually, I found myself looking through the viewfinder, selecting focus, experimenting with depth of field and my eye would wander from the in-focus object to the beautiful blurred out background, to the wonderful and harmonious blend of form and colour.
Trying to see what can be seen and how to see it. It sums up my outlook on photography. Blur is another way to see, and conversely another way not to see. WIth blur ordinary can become extraordinary; mundane – magical. Just look at these shots from some of my favourite photographers. Serap -  Michael –  Nikita_70 - Mimo – Olga 
Mistakes. I love mistakes. The best things in life are the results of mistakes. Blur is often seen as the biggest photographic mistake. “But I can’t see it” people say. Of course you can, I reply. What you see is it!
I don’t know. I sometimes feel guilty. I get to see these amazing places with these amazing scenes, these amazing people, architecture – life at its most electric, and what do I do? I push the auto focus button down and blur it all up.
Sorry! But hey! This is it. This is how I would like the world to be. In some ways, it is how I see the world.
As I became more active on Flickr and as i began to post more and more blur I set up my blur group and gave it the absurd title of Blur will save the world. The group has many active users and some absolutely amazing art. Click through, put on some of your favourite music, pour yourself a cup, a glass of your favourite drink and enjoy the wonderful art there. You won’t be disappointed.
I am a little pedantic on the types of photographs I select from the pending images queue. For me the image must be fully blurred; no selective focus. People have different opinions on what blur is, but for me the group is about fully blurred images only.
As the blog develops I will bring you the best images from Blur will save the world on a regular basis.
For now, click that auto-focus button off and begin to see what can be seen.
And back to the opening question – why do I like blur? Well, blur soothes, blur heals, blur reveals, blur lets you choose. Blur the kiss. Kiss the blur. Blur will save the world…
Here are some of my early blur shots
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