Worst Portraits Ever.

Worst Portraits Ever.

This is not a joke, apparently.

Professional photographers and those in the business of photography alike appear to be stunned at the unbelievable rate of what is being hailed as the worst portrait session of all time is being shared online and going viral.

Bad Portraits

Lee Morris, writing for Fstoppers, admits that he’s seen his fair share of bad portraits but nothing on the scale of the likes of this. He claims that there is a plausible story behind the photos and why they are so bad but initially questioned their authenticity– they’re so bad that they can’t be real, surely?

The photos in question are family portraits that were posted on Facebook by a regular wife and mother called Pam Dave Zaring, who spoke out to complain about the quality of the portraits which were taken by what she thought was a professional photographer.

In her post she wrote:

“Ok. This is NOT a joke. We paid a photographer, who claimed to be a professional, $250 for a family photo-shoot. Please see these FOR REAL photos she delivered to us … She said the shadows were really bad on the beautiful, clear, sunny day and that her professor never taught her to retouch photos. Feel free to share, I literally have not laughed this hard in YEARS! You can’t make this stuff up … again, this is NOT a joke.”

What followed were a set of incredible images that accompanied her dismay.

 

image

 

Post-Production

Even a professional photographer may not know exactly how to recreate the unimaginably bad effect that appears to be the work of post-processing, a technique not uncommon in the production of professional images. Because the photos are so unrealistic, many have questioned the motive behind the photos and suggest whether they’re the work of a Photoshop expert who purposefully wanted to create a viral campaign– it’s either that, or, literally, someone who has no idea what they are doing.

Seeing The Funny Side

Pam waited months to actually get the shots after paying $250 and is adamant that this is not a joke on her part. Many comments were left to her post on Facebook and reading through some of the comments on her shared gallery points to their hilarity, with one user suggesting that Pam should place the photos on her Christmas cards in future because they are just so funny.

Check out one of the pictures below to see why:

 

 

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This blog post originally appeared on www.photographybymatthewjames.com

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Getting the Shot: RaiseNow Group Portrait

Somebody once asked me, “Do you find that it’s always the first idea that works?” in regards to planning and executing a photoshoot.

I admit I had to think about it. Sometimes definitely, and in these scenarios you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Go home, stick the kettle on, and binge-watch a Netflix-Original series. But most of the time, it’s most certainly not the case at all.

On a recent shoot here in Copenhagen I was tasked with photographing a group from Switzerland, who were in the city on a business trip. They wanted to have a portrait taken, showing them all in a neutral location close to the water, with some modern architecture in the background. Time was limited for them, so their hotel by the harbour would have to suffice – or at least somewhere close by. So I headed there an hour earlier to go scouting for ideas. And with the weather forecast looking unpleasant I had my fingers crossed for a modern-looking lobby or staircase overlooking the water.

Receptionist says no

You can imagine my dismay, then, when a man on reception told me that it was forbidden to take photos onsite without prior permission! And he wasn’t authorised to give it, either. In hindsight I should’ve known better: it’s not uncommon these days to get a hand in the face as soon as a large camera appears.

Instead I was forced to head outside to search for a dry location before the rains came, which arrived less than five-minutes later. I was slightly annoyed (and wet) to say the least.

Eventually I found a spot that looked good enough, and when I went back to meet the team we immediately set out with umbrellas to start shooting. Everything was going just fine, even though I was without an assistant – something I’ve grown quite used to over the past few months. But I managed to get by and take some safe, well-lit portraits of the group, who managed to stay dry and warm throughout. And then the sun finally came back out again.

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I was grateful, too, as the pictures on the back of my camera certainly weren’t the best I’d ever taken. Time was still ticking, so we rushed over to the next location and attempted shot number two. This one went slightly better, but now it was the sun causing the problems. The glare was too much for some of the group, who were squinting and grimacing and generally looking uncomfortable. The solution here was to ask them to close their eyes, and open them on the count of three. It worked just fine (people can tolerate a bit of light in their eyes for a split-second; long enough for me to fire several rounds of SLR film).

image

Throughout all of this my mind was racing. I was constantly thinking of ideas and poses for the group, which gets easier and easier as you get to know them better. Granted we weren’t best buddies all of a sudden, but there was enough humour and understanding between us, which makes my job a lot easier. And one by one the images were improving, to the point where I actually found myself hollering with joy. I was hoping they were feeling reassured by my cries of passion and not put off!

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I still wasn’t finished, though, and by this point we were really close to the deadline. I felt I had one more trick up my sleeve, so we marched over to location number three, which was now in the shade of a building. Not to worry, I thought; I do have my lights and softboxes with me.

But sadly not an assistant, and this is where it would have been nice to have not been alone. The wind had really started to pick up, and I’d not brought any sandbags with me to weigh down the light stands. This naturally meant that the whole setup kept blowing over in the wind, which eventually led to the destruction of a socket on my wireless receiver attached to the flash head.

With seconds left to spare, I decided to abandon the lights and shoot free – some intelligent post-processing would have to satisfy my demands instead.

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And so here we are, a couple of weeks later and a batch of edited group portraits all ready to go. What interests me the most is that the final shot is by far my favourite; the one without the lights. Not only does it capture the team’s requests of architecture, water and a neutral location, but the light is great and everyone looks happy and friendly. (For those tech-heads out there, settings are 160th at f16, ISO 800).

The entire shoot, from start to finish, took just 45 minutes and was riddled with challenges. Rain, sunshine, wind and broken equipment… it was no different than any other shoot, and being prepared was key.

This blog post originally appeared on www.photographybymatthewjames.com

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Danish Imports: The Neuropyschologist

Danish Imports: The Neuropyschologist

This blog post originally appeared over at matthewjames.dk

Grasia Maria Banegas initially moved to Denmark from Honduras in Central America as a volunteer for MS (Action Aid Denmark), to join an educational program called Global Change, where she trained to become a campaigner and youth facilitator.  

Coming from one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the world, Grasia fell in love with Denmark’s social security and equality.

After finishing her BSC degree in Psychology in Honduras she moved to Rhode Island in the USA and took a Masters in Neuropsychology at Brown University – one of America’s top Ivy League Universities.

She was then recruited by Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck, who specialise in brain disease research. Here she works developing research about neurotransmitters and gaining data that hopefully one day will help control senile disorders. According to Grasia, Lundbeck recruited her because there are very few Danes trained in this area. For this reason, Grasia feels that she is contributing greatly to Danish society.

The 23-year-old, who lives on Østerbro with her Danish parter, speaks fluent Spanish and English, though admits that her Danish is ‘terrible.’ This is something she plans to rectify in September, when she starts her Masters in Cognition and Communication at Copenhagen University.

On living in Copenhagen, Grasia loves the variety of entertainment the city has to offer and its beautiful sights, but finds the language barrier a bit of a problem. The fact that Danes speak English makes things a lot easier for her.

Grasia feels that she has integrated well in to society, but can’t help noticing getting a lot of stares on the street. “I’m brown, with dark hair and brown eyes,” she explains bluntly. As most people she meets don’t know her full story, Grasia thinks people see her as ‘just another migrant.’ She hopes to continue her education and research and maybe one day permanently move to Denmark. Coming from a third world country, Grasia believes that statistically the Government views her as just someone who came to live off the Danish welfare system without really contributing to it.

danish imports, portrait photographer in copenhagen, portrætfotograf i københavn

Getting the Shot

I should probably admit that I was rushing to get this exhibition ready by the time I photographed Grasia, and that my ideas were starting to run a bit thin. But don’t let that fool you; I still had some good ones.

Teaching photography workshops in Copenhagen meant that I knew a lot of places like the back of my hand – and the Marble Church (Marmor Kirke) was one of them. It hadn’t been my first choice, however. I’d actually asked her if she could get permission from her employers at Lundbeck to photograph on-site, but they had declined the request due to the theme of the exhibition. The company were keen to distance themselves from any independent comments or feelings regarding society, so we were forced to go to Plan B. I still managed to persuade Grasia to wear her labcoat, however.

It was perhaps one of the fastes photo sessions for the exhibition, and all I really wanted to achieve was a nice, clean portrait with no distractions. I knew that the light inside the church was fantastic at a particular time of day, so there’d be no need to use flash or anything fancy.

So, I threw on a 50mm lens f1.4 and just started shooting. And being a naturally beautiful girl, it was quite easy to get Grasia to relax and sit “normally.”

We were in and out within minutes, and all I could think about was just how quick and easy it is sometimes to get a great picture. Other times you can screw around with light stands and reflectors for 15 minutes until you get it right, but on this occasion less was most certainly more.

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Danish Imports: The Psychologist and her son

Due to some technical issues we’re running a little behind here, so let’s get back on track with our Danish Imports exhibition from last year’s photo exhibition. Today we take a look at the life of Chilean Psychologist Paula and her son.

image

Paula Cavada gives multiple reasons for moving from Chile in South America to Denmark four years ago. Nevertheless they all united in the deep believe that Denmark was the right place to start a new life.

Paula lives on Amager with her ten-year-old son, Ignacio, and is currently studying for a PhD in Development Psychology. “Learning about child development and learning in Scandinavia is a unique experience in itself,” she tells me, “so professional learning was one of the reasons I moved here.”

When it comes to her own well-being and that of her son’s, Paula is in no doubt about what Denmark has to offer. “I don’t feel that my gender makes me a target of material and symbolic violence to the extent that it does in South America.

“I also want my son to grow up in a country that gives us time and possibilities of being, regardless of our origins, income or social positioning. If you haven’t lived outside of Denmark, it’s hard to think that children don’t bike to school because it’s unsafe: traffic, pollution; even the risk of being assaulted.

“I like to think that I follow and share the same values that sustain the Danish Welfare System & this is how I’ve integrated in to society.”

But Paula stresses that this doesn’t mean she isn’t critical of the system. “Denmark is lacking a more cosmopolitan sense in understanding who participates in its society,” she explains. “Many of us bring an extremely rich diversity that goes beyond our race, social layer, income, and so on. Thankfully the gaps to fill are much smaller than the ones back home.”

This last comment seemed to resonate amongst many of the Danish Imports that I spoke to leading up to this exhibition – a feeling of never really being able to fit in, despite their contributions to the country and its society.

And on the subject of contributions, Paula is fully aware of her own. “Besides the direct outcomes of my work, I also contribute by learning and by bringing in elements from my own culture.”

Her biggest challenges have been visa issues, winter darkness and finding the patience to make friends. “It takes time,” she says.

Paula’s plans for the future are simple: “Get another job, polish my Danish, and learn to dance tango!”

Paula and Ignacio speak Spanish, English and Danish. “English is the hardest,” says Ignacio.

Getting the Shot

Even though this image might look relatively simple, it actually took a while to plan and execute. When I first moved to Copenhagen I lived in place called Islands Brygge. My partner and I liked to run, so we’d often just go out and explore the area. One of the best places to go was a place called Amager Fælledparken – a green oasis right in the middle of a redeveloped area on the island of Amager.

On one occasion we discovered what I can only describe as a ‘hill’ and used it for hill training. The views of the city were pretty cool, and I knew it would make a great spot for a photo one day. So it might’ve been an intelligent idea to actually remember how to get there!

Fast forward a couple of years and my conversations with Paula. When she told me she lived on Amager I started using Google Maps to try and find the mysterious hill, but to no avail. Indeed it took me a couple of attempts on my bike to physically locate the structure, but when I did I can assure you that I made a mental note of how to get there.

On the day of the shoot I met Paula and Ignacio and off we went towards the hillock (a much better word). The problem was, the sun was now creating problems for us. I needed the city in the background, but every picture had them squinting in the sunlight, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

So I turned my back on them for a moment to see what magic I could discover in my camera bag, but when I turned around again the pair were having a tender moment together and dancing as if I nobody else was around. They continued to have fun together whilst I slowly raised my camera to my eye and continued to photograph them. In the end I had way too many pictures to choose from, and narrowing it down to the final one for the exhibition was tough.

During the exhibition, Paula came over to me to say how pleased she was with the final image. Now I have to say, that I don’t get too optimistic when I’m asked to do family portraits, but I think I managed to document a very personal and natural mother-and-son moment. And I quite like it, too.

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Piccadilly Circus’ Neon Lights Reflected By Shiny Cars: the Photography of Nick Turpin.

    Advertising Reflecting. In London’s Piccadilly Circus vehicles are caught reflecting advertising to show how modern life embraces consumerism as shown by photographer Nick Turpin in his latest series, “Autos.” “Shiny new vehicles passing through the city...

Nobody Talks About The Problem With Camera Phones.

The camera itself was the biggest problem with camera phones once upon a time.   Released in 2000, the J-SH04 was one of the world’s first camera phones. Things have come a long way since then. Tiny 0.11 megapixel images was all it could shoot. To give their...

What Is The Focus of Your Photography?

Does your photography have a point? And how can your images engage with more viewers?   You can help define your photography by implementing these few very helpful following techniques, especially if you have reached that stage where it may be a struggle to...

Capturing Cancer: Tumour Cells in Action.

Every year, researchers submit extraordinary images to the Science and Medical Imaging competition which tells the story of pioneering work and its benefits for patients. Replicating cancer cells invade the blood vessels.     Each year, The Institute of...

Selfie Harm.

Selfie Harm. Witness the scary results of Photoshopped portraits done by teens at the behest of professional photographer Rankin as part of his project called “Selfie Harm.”     Unnaturally Perfect. Unnaturally perfect social media photos are being made...

Young Marketing Guru Who Helped Photo of Egg Go Viral on Instagram.

Going Viral Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks you should be fully aware of the photo of an egg that went viral and claimed the top spot for having the most liked photo on Instagram. The simple photo of an ordinary, brown egg has garnered...

The Story of the Desert as Told by the Dubai Photography Exhibition: Inhabited Deserts.

Dramatic Landscapes. Some of the most dramatic landscapes across the world have been captured by UAE-based explorer Max Calderan and Italian photographer John R Pepper through their much renowned collaboration. It was never going to be the usual desert landscapes when...

What Is The Best Aperture and Focal Length For Portraits?

Get The Basics of Portrait Photography Right. You’ve probably asked yourself what is the best aperture and focal length to use if you’re just getting started in portrait photography. You can produce very different effects with your subjects by changing the aperture...

Psychedelic Images of Tokyo by Jean-Vincent Simonet.

Psychedelic Experience. Tokyo at night can be a near-psychedelic experience in itself, and this is echoed in the warped images created by Swiss photographer Jean-Vincent Simonet who prints onto plastic paper then washes the photograph with chemicals, all part of his...

The $90.3 Million Painting That Reveals Unique Photography Methods.

A Masterful Piece of Art. The 1972 painting entitled “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” by legendary British painter David Hockney fetched the highest auction price ever for a living artist as it sold for a jaw-dropping $90.3 million last month. A man in...

X-Ray Apparatus & Concrete Pyramids: Guy Hollaway’s Photography Studio.

The Process Gallery. Distinctive works are created using X-Ray equipment, housed in a concrete pyramid chamber, by British photographer Nick Veasey, who has had a studio built and completed by Guy Hollaway Architects.     Inquisitive. Designed to be an...

Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards Reveal Hilarious Winning Images.

World’s Funniest Animal! And the world’s funniest animal photograph of the year goes to a squirrel who thinks he’s Tommy Cooper, writes The Express. The world’s funniest animal photograph of the year has been judged to be what appears to be a cheeky squirrel pictured...

Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards Reveal Hilarious Winning Images.

World’s Funniest Animal! And the world’s funniest animal photograph of the year goes to a squirrel who thinks he’s Tommy Cooper, writes The Express. The world’s funniest animal photograph of the year has been judged to be what appears to be a cheeky squirrel pictured...

Vanishing From The Museums.

Confronting the absent. Largely absent from Parissien museums are works and faces of photographic pioneers who have become invisible; so, curator Fannie Escoulen is inviting visitors to walk across the city and confront it.   “The history of photography has been...

Analogue Limelight

In an increasingly digitalised world, why is there still a special place for the physical? After connecting on Instagram around two years ago, James Moreton and Raph Hurwitz conceived AllFormat - a global photography collective. After developing a loyal community of...

A Career Shaped By The Photograph

Starting Out For more than three decades the biggest names in show business have been photographed by Derek Ridgers, but it all began by chance, one night in Finsbury Park, north London. With a Miranda SLR slung over his shoulder, Ridgers walked into the Rainbow...

Facebook Bans a Photographer Who Innocently Posted About ‘Shooting a Few Christians.’

Double Entendre When it comes to the word “shooting,” photographers can be subject to endless jokes. So when you post about “shooting a bunch of Christians,” the double entendre is there; this is what happened to one London photographer who found himself faced with a...

Further To The NorthSide

From one island to a peninsula From one island of Denmark to a half island of Denmark (otherwise known as a peninsula); a total of 116 miles, on a train that goes under the sea in a tunnel as well as above the sea on a bridge, we travelled from Copenhagen to Aarhus...

Jacob Cockle: in Life & in Death.

A life lived in the sea was a favourite past-time of one Jacob Cockle. Whilst learning to walk at a tender young age he also began to learn to swim and his natural element became water. Any opportunity to film surfing was the best of all options because he loved it so...

How a Shot Went Viral is Revealed by The Royal Wedding Photographer.

Viral popularity and huge amounts of praise were received for one particular photo during this past weekend as the world's attention was captured by the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The details of how the picture in question came to be have now...

Behind The Scenes: Royal Run.

Keep the diary open Whether it was wishful thinking or simply experience, when I first heard about the Royal Run back in 2017 I decided to keep the 21st May available in my calendar. “We won’t be needing you for that particular race,” I was told, but a voice in my...

Future King of Denmark Joins In Birthday Celebrations With The Royal Run.

In merely a few days time the future king of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik, will be celebrating his 50th birthday and all over the country flags will be at high mast. A total of five Danish cities are involved in celebratory shenanigans which began on May 18, and...

Wildlife Photos Reveal Dirty Tricks as Insiders Spill: “There’s a lot of fakery.”

From trained tigers to glued insects many photographers are revealing the fakery in this niche as one such photographer lost an award for allegedly using taxidermy in a shoot. Inauthentic Capturing a shot at the entrance to a national park was how Brazilian...

One in a Trillion Shot Captures Food Chain in Action.

“What can you shoot with that thing?” “What can you shoot with that thing?” This was a question that photographer Doc Jon was asked when a passerby noticed his Canon 6D camera with 500mm lens attachment as he was walking along the boardwalk of Madeira Beach in...

Danish Imports: The Opera Singer

Danish Imports: The Opera Singer

We’ve come to the end of our revisit to the Danish Imports exhibition, and today we’re finishing off with somebody who I’m very fond of.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these interviews and the images that accompany them. A lot of love and time went in to the planning of the exhibition itself, and there were many people who DIDN’T get to see it. Friends and family back home in the UK, for example.

So hopefully this has been an opportunity for everyone around the world (because all of my subjects come from somewhere other than Denmark) to find out just how it feels to move to, live in, or work in the happiest country on earth.

We finish with Gabriella’s story; a story about love, gangs and singing in the opera.

image

“I feel very safe and free here in Denmark,” Gabriella Pace tells me. The award-winning opera singer was born in Palermo, Italy, but raised in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo – a city she describes as very violent and crowded. Just weeks after telling me her story, Gabriella’s father was abducted by Sao Paulo gang members and driven around the city for four hours. Meanwhile the gang stole his car, mobile phone and wallet, and withdrew all of his money from ATMs before leaving him in a deserted part of town with enough money to take a taxi home. Despite ‘surviving’ the ordeal unharmed and in one piece, Gabriella is understandably concerned that the trauma could catch up with her father at some point in the future.

Gabriella moved to ‘calm yet cosmopolitan‘ Copenhagen in April 2011, after falling in love with a Dane and marrying him in July 2013. They now live together on Vesterbro and Gabriella is still very active in the Opera scene, particularly in South America where she has made a name for herself since starting out professionally back in 1998. She made her Ålborg debut back in March and wants to sing more here in her adopted Denmark.

The Danish language and the small cultural shocks of everyday life have been the biggest challenges for Gabriella, but she feels that she is integrating well in to society. According to Gabriella, her Latin views of the world differ from the Scandinavians’, and this, she says, is her contribution to Danish society.

Gabriella speaks Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, English, basic Danish and French.

Getting the Shot

This one really was one of the easiest ideas to pull off. Ever! It was Gabriella’s wedding day (which is how I met her in the first place) and the weather was gorgeous. I had quickly figured out how friendly, happy and relaxed she was to be around, and there was nothing particularly traditional about her big day. So I suggested we hop on a bike and cycle down some cobbled streets. She loved the idea, so we got on with it as quickly as we could.

This picture required no fancy lighting arrangements or photoshop, just a long lens (70-200mm at f2.8) and a smiling bride in a white dress. And within two minutes we were done.

Copenhagen Photographer Casper Sejersen’s One, Two, Three, Four.

Casper Sejersen Debut Exhibition. Set to the beat of a drum, Copenhagen-based photographer Casper Sejersen takes us on an unsettling visual journey in his debut exhibition.     Alluring Yet Uncomfortable. Copenhagen-based Danish photographer Casper...

Photos Reveal Copenhill Ski Slope on Amager Bakke Plant.

    Copenhill Ski Slope atop Amager Bakke Plant. Coloured in vibrant shades of green an artificial ski slope on the roof of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen has been captured in images by Danish photographer Rasmus Hjortshøj.  The centre...

The Five Best Photo Locations in Copenhagen.

  A summer break in Copenhagen is highly recommended if you have never been to Denmark. The sun and heat is enjoyed by all the locals.   As an introduction to the most common places you must visit we’re presenting you with this 3-hour photo walk. If you wish...

And Slash Makes Four

It’s not everyday one gets to say this, but I do believe I’ve completed my to-do list. In this case it’s a list that involves four musicians, who I always hoped I would one day get to photograph. Copenhell Festival Last week saw the rock festival Copenhell return to...

Further To The NorthSide

From one island to a peninsula From one island of Denmark to a half island of Denmark (otherwise known as a peninsula); a total of 116 miles, on a train that goes under the sea in a tunnel as well as above the sea on a bridge, we travelled from Copenhagen to Aarhus...

Behind The Scenes: Royal Run.

Keep the diary open Whether it was wishful thinking or simply experience, when I first heard about the Royal Run back in 2017 I decided to keep the 21st May available in my calendar. “We won’t be needing you for that particular race,” I was told, but a voice in my...

Future King of Denmark Joins In Birthday Celebrations With The Royal Run.

In merely a few days time the future king of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik, will be celebrating his 50th birthday and all over the country flags will be at high mast. A total of five Danish cities are involved in celebratory shenanigans which began on May 18, and...

Master Class: Visual Language For Tech Leaders.

Tech Workshop Last Wednesday, bestbrains.dk ran a Master Class: Visual Language For Tech Leaders workshop which Matt went out to shoot. Participation in this event was strictly limited to a mere ten people and they were vetted by an entry assignment. Sorting the wheat...

Worst Portraits Ever.

This is not a joke, apparently. Professional photographers and those in the business of photography alike appear to be stunned at the unbelievable rate of what is being hailed as the worst portrait session of all time is being shared online and going viral. Bad...

Copenhagen wins international climate prize

Reducing the Carbon Footprint Reducing our carbon footprint means saving energy as well as the planet. With the recognition of Copenhagen as a cultural centre comes strict monitoring of energy consumption in schools and daycare institutions alike. With this...

Game of Thrones Star Joins Climate Change Talk

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau returns to his home country to take action An overwhelmingly massive wall of ice on regular display is one of the many stunning visual images in the popular television series Game of Thrones in which Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays...

Nordic Race: A mudfest for my camera

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Calm sea; rough ride

From the Archives: My experience moving to Copenhagen in 2012 I grew up in a small town 40 miles south of Manchester - home of Smiths, Oasis, and other great High Street retail outlets (insert smiley). And it was from Manchester Airport that I left England for what...

Britain’s Prince Harry Visits Copenhagen

Special Request Back in September of this year Kensington Palace announced Prince Harry's official visit to Denmark. The Prince is in Copenhagen today (Wednesday 25th) and tomorrow, and Matthew has been placed in a special press pool to gain access and provide...

PBMJ: Now we are 2

I've only got one pair of hands... until now! Finding a solution to doing everything myself has long been at the top of my long list of priorities. I've found over the years, that it's definitely getting easier to outsource some of the work I do, especially when...

Getting the Shot: RaiseNow Group Portrait

Somebody once asked me, "Do you find that it's always the first idea that works?" in regards to planning and executing a photoshoot. I admit I had to think about it. Sometimes definitely, and in these scenarios you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Go...

Following in the footsteps of Obama

Where would a former President of the United States go to eat when in Copenhagen? For my first blog post in nearly two millennia I thought I’d tackle something a little light-hearted. Despite never really pursuing a career in food photography, it appears it has found...

Who needs a photo education anyway?

Is it really worth paying to learn to be a better photographer? ”Sixteen hundred kroner!” So cried the partner of one my clients recently when she found out what he was paying me to teach him. More than once this week the conversation has turned towards education....

No Man is an Island

Finding solitude amongst Denmark's hidden gems Words by Joe Miller, Pictures by Matthew James Harrison It’s always hard in life to accept it when you lose friends, family or anyone close to you. People change, they move on and find pastures new. We live, we die… but...

Aarhus: European capital for culture 2017

Words: Joe Miller, Photos: Matt Marsh Every year, two European cities receive the prestigious title of ‘European capital of culture’ and in 2017, we welcome Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, as the holder of one of these two titles. Over the next year, fascinated...

Fact: Danish Newspapers don’t care about swans!

How a chance encounter with a big white bird didn't really amount to much In this industry, every day is a fresh start. Sure, you have the usual amount of daily tasks – social media, sending invoices, archiving images – but the commute to work every morning is a...

Recreating the sunset…without the sun

I made absolutely no secret of the fact that I got my very first National Geographic Traveller commission earlier this year. It was, without a doubt, the proudest moment of my career so far, and I’m not ashamed to say so. I wrote a lengthy piece about it for the...

Being Part of History

Original Photograph Featured on Postage Stamp When was the last time you received a letter in the post with your own stamp stuck to it? This was the scenario for me back in summer, when an envelope dropped through the letterbox addressed to the business....

Best Instagram Photos of Copenhagen 2016

Copenhagen has to be one of the world's best places to photograph I’ve been fortunate enough to live in many special places around the world over the years: France, Australia, many parts of the UK, and of course Denmark. Each and every one of these places has been...

Using Lightroom to edit your iPhone photos

Even with the new iPhone 7 causing a stir with its brand new camera functions, the old iPhone 6 is still a heavy-hitter when it comes to High Quality images I always tell those who join me on my Beginner's Photography Workshops that activating the shutter is just the...

Back to Copenhagen

It's been a while... Hi folks, what's going on? Jesus, it's been a while, hasn't it? I bet some of you are even tired of me saying something along those lines. Anyway, I just wanted to say 'hi' and tell you what to expect from us here at PBMJ in the lead-up to...

Remember: You don’t know EVERYTHING

How a recent photography workshop taught me how to focus ”The D800 isn’t very good for sports photography,” said my very unreliable source. It was my first summer here in Copenhagen and I was working for a company photographing running events. I didn’t know it at the...

Journal Challenge Day Two

This blog entry first appeared over at www.photographybymatthewjames.com Work, sunshine, work, parties, repeat Day Two of the Daily Journal experiment, and I’ve had to force myself to start writing. I’ve got exactly 97 minutes before I need to be somewhere else, and...

Danish Imports: The Neuropyschologist

This blog post originally appeared over at matthewjames.dk Grasia Maria Banegas initially moved to Denmark from Honduras in Central America as a volunteer for MS (Action Aid Denmark), to join an educational program called Global Change, where she trained to become a...

Danish Imports: The Psychologist and her son

Due to some technical issues we're running a little behind here, so let's get back on track with our Danish Imports exhibition from last year's photo exhibition. Today we take a look at the life of Chilean Psychologist Paula and her son. Paula Cavada gives multiple...

Teaching Photography in Copenhagen

This entry was originally posted on my main journal over at www.matthewjames.dk One area of photography I don't shout about too much is my Shooting Copenhagen Workshops, but after this week it's probably about time I gave myself a pat on the back and shared the story...

Danish Imports: The Opera Singer

We've come to the end of our revisit to the Danish Imports exhibition, and today we're finishing off with somebody who I'm very fond of. I hope you've enjoyed reading these interviews and the images that accompany them. A lot of love and time went in to the planning...

Danish Imports: The Freaks

"I won't tell you the name I was born with, because what's a name, anyway?" These are the words of wisdom from the polite, baratone vocals of the tattooed gentleman that is Enigma. Covered from head to toe in jigsaw puzzle tattoos and sporting a pair of silicone horns...

Danish Imports: The Neuropsychologist

Grasia Maria Banegas initially moved to Denmark from Honduras in Central America as a volunteer for MS (Action Aid Denmark), to join an educational program called Global Change, where she trained to become a campaigner and youth facilitator.  Coming from one of the...

Danish Imports: The Psychologist and her son

Due to some technical issues we're running a little behind here, so let's get back on track with our Danish Imports exhibition from last year's photo exhibition. Today we take a look at the life of Chilean Psychologist Paula and her son. Paula Cavada gives multiple...

DO IT FOR MOM (Do it for Denmark)

It's highly unlikely that you've missed this one, but if you're reading this from outside Denmark then you might want to read on. This is the new tagline for a funny commercial that came out recently in Danish media. It’s a video that starts off with an older lady...

To refugee or not to refugee, that is the question

Today I wanted to open up the floor to a close personal friend of mine and fellow expat, Michelle Exarhos. Michelle was born and raised in the United States but is, in fact, half Danish. Here she shares her views on the recent refugee scenario playing out in Denmark...

Danish Imports: The Boxer

The next story from last year's Danish Imports photo exhibition comes from Michal Jezierski, who had a very long and interesting story to tell about his move to Denmark. Michal Jezierski is perhaps one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and is full of positive,...

Copenhagen Half Marathon Pictures

So did you take part in yesterday's Copenhagen Half Marathon, or know anyone who did? The streets were absolutely alive, especially for the first half of the race where optimism was high and the mood was positive. There were no less than 23.786 runners taking part and...

Danish Imports: The Journalist

Continuing the Danish Imports theme, today we take a look at Brazilian Noemia Colonna's story. “Sometimes it's good to be like the Brazilians," is Noemia Colonna's advice to the Danes. "We're easy-going, more flexible and and not too obsessed about planning and...

Danish Imports: The Journalist

Continuing the Danish Imports theme, today we take a look at Brazilian Noemia Colonna's story. “Sometimes it's good to be like the Brazilians," is Noemia Colonna's advice to the Danes. "We're easy-going, more flexible and and not too obsessed about planning and...

Danish Imports: The DJ

This is the third instalment of my Danish Imports blog posts, looking at the stories behind people's decisions to live, work or visit Denmark. Today's story focuses on Danish DJ, Nikolaj Yu Andersen. You can read previous stories about Meriel or Luke if you'd like a...

Danish Imports: The DJ

This is the third instalment of my Danish Imports blog posts, looking at the stories behind people's decisions to live, work or visit Denmark. Today's story focuses on Danish DJ, Nikolaj Yu Andersen. You can read previous stories about Meriel or Luke if you'd like a...

Danish Imports: The Architect

Today I'll be sharing the second story behind one of my Danish Imports subjects, Luke Lorimer. If you missed the first post then you can read it here. These images were used for my first exhibition, Danish Imports, which was held at Generator Hostel in Copenhagen...

Danish Imports: The Architect

Today I'll be sharing the second story behind one of my Danish Imports subjects, Luke Lorimer. If you missed the first post then you can read it here. These images were used for my first exhibition, Danish Imports, which was held at Generator Hostel in Copenhagen...

Danish Imports – One Year On

Exactly 12 months ago I was celebrating my very first photo exhibition here in Copenhagen. It was something I'd been thinking of doing for a couple of years and it was a definite learning curve for me. Not only was I under pressure to include a selection of images I...

Danish Imports – One Year Later

Exactly 12 months ago I was celebrating my very first photo exhibition here in Copenhagen. It was something I'd been thinking of doing for a couple of years and it was a definite learning curve for me. Not only was I under pressure to include a selection of images I...

It’s Marathon Time

You can't really miss all the maps, posters and warnings that are dotted around the city at the moment. That's right; it's that time of year again where 12,000 people put themselves to the test and run for 26.2 miles. The Nykredit Copenhagen Marathon (to give it its...

Same-Sex marriage in Denmark

Or, how Sasha and Anthony got one step closer to happiness written by Antoaneta Borisova This is the story of Sasha and Anthony, a lovely gay couple, who have been struggling to be together for more than six years now. I use the word “lovely” not because I want this...

Denmark: the land of pork, windmills and same-sex marriage

Or, how Sasha and Anthony got one step closer to happiness written by Antoaneta Borisova This is the story of Sasha and Anthony, a lovely gay couple, who have been struggling to be together for more than six years now. I use the word “lovely” not because I want this...

Danish Imports: The Freaks

Danish Imports: The Freaks

“I won’t tell you the name I was born with, because what’s a name, anyway?” These are the words of wisdom from the polite, baratone vocals of the tattooed gentleman that is Enigma. Covered from head to toe in jigsaw puzzle tattoos and sporting a pair of silicone horns to boot, Enigma and freak show partner Serana Rose stopped by in Copenhagen for the city’s 2013 Ink Festival. “I’m very expensive,” he tells me.

The interior of a Scandic hotel was as much of Copenhagen that Enigma got to see during his stay, but he’s no stranger to Denmark, having performed once before at the Roskilde Festival. And as well as performing on stage with musicians such as Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie over the past 20 years, Enigma has also starred on The X-Files and countless talk shows around the world.

An artist and trained classical pianist, Enigma’s gentle off-stage persona was a true paradox of his touring self. And the queue of people waiting to be photographed with him said enough about his strange, exotic appeal. But I would have loved to have photographed him glaring menacingly outside Amalienborg during the Changing of the Guard, with a chainsaw in one hand and an empty black bin bag in the other. I think it would’ve caused quite a scene.

The Danes in the audience didn’t look massively impressed with the show, even when Enigma sliced in to an apple, placed carefully in to Serana’s mouth, with a chainsaw. The lack of crowd support made the show uncomfortable to watch, for all the wrong reasons. I wondered whether our generation has seen it all and is hard to please these days.

Enigma and Serana Rose (who was equally polite and charming) now appear in their own comic book called Show Devils. The misadventures are best described as ‘Scooby-Do meets Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects .’

Getting the Shot

It’s true that this story deviates slightly from the original theme, but I still felt it was important to include. And although Enigma and Serana Rose don’t live in Denmark, technically they’d come here to work, and they had a good reason for it.

Backstage there wasn’t much to use in terms of props or backdrops, but it just so happened that this pair had everything I needed. Plus they were used to being photographed, so it was almost too easy. I simply nudged them in to the right spot to get everything looking just right, and they did the rest.

The lighting wasn’t anything special either. Standing against a non-reflective black surface and covered in ink and make-up, a simple light source was enough here, and it was a speedlight sitting in a hotshoe softbox. I held it in my left hand high above my head and to the left, and started shooting. As always, I moved the light around as I snapped, because most of the time the perfect light is just a few inches out. So by shooting non-stop and moving the flash I was able to “shoot and prey.” One of them would work, I thought, and I was right.

Copenhagen Photographer Casper Sejersen’s One, Two, Three, Four.

Casper Sejersen Debut Exhibition. Set to the beat of a drum, Copenhagen-based photographer Casper Sejersen takes us on an unsettling visual journey in his debut exhibition.     Alluring Yet Uncomfortable. Copenhagen-based Danish photographer Casper...

Photos Reveal Copenhill Ski Slope on Amager Bakke Plant.

    Copenhill Ski Slope atop Amager Bakke Plant. Coloured in vibrant shades of green an artificial ski slope on the roof of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen has been captured in images by Danish photographer Rasmus Hjortshøj.  The centre...

The Five Best Photo Locations in Copenhagen.

  A summer break in Copenhagen is highly recommended if you have never been to Denmark. The sun and heat is enjoyed by all the locals.   As an introduction to the most common places you must visit we’re presenting you with this 3-hour photo walk. If you wish...

And Slash Makes Four

It’s not everyday one gets to say this, but I do believe I’ve completed my to-do list. In this case it’s a list that involves four musicians, who I always hoped I would one day get to photograph. Copenhell Festival Last week saw the rock festival Copenhell return to...

Further To The NorthSide

From one island to a peninsula From one island of Denmark to a half island of Denmark (otherwise known as a peninsula); a total of 116 miles, on a train that goes under the sea in a tunnel as well as above the sea on a bridge, we travelled from Copenhagen to Aarhus...

Behind The Scenes: Royal Run.

Keep the diary open Whether it was wishful thinking or simply experience, when I first heard about the Royal Run back in 2017 I decided to keep the 21st May available in my calendar. “We won’t be needing you for that particular race,” I was told, but a voice in my...

Future King of Denmark Joins In Birthday Celebrations With The Royal Run.

In merely a few days time the future king of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik, will be celebrating his 50th birthday and all over the country flags will be at high mast. A total of five Danish cities are involved in celebratory shenanigans which began on May 18, and...

Master Class: Visual Language For Tech Leaders.

Tech Workshop Last Wednesday, bestbrains.dk ran a Master Class: Visual Language For Tech Leaders workshop which Matt went out to shoot. Participation in this event was strictly limited to a mere ten people and they were vetted by an entry assignment. Sorting the wheat...

Worst Portraits Ever.

This is not a joke, apparently. Professional photographers and those in the business of photography alike appear to be stunned at the unbelievable rate of what is being hailed as the worst portrait session of all time is being shared online and going viral. Bad...

Copenhagen wins international climate prize

Reducing the Carbon Footprint Reducing our carbon footprint means saving energy as well as the planet. With the recognition of Copenhagen as a cultural centre comes strict monitoring of energy consumption in schools and daycare institutions alike. With this...

Game of Thrones Star Joins Climate Change Talk

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau returns to his home country to take action An overwhelmingly massive wall of ice on regular display is one of the many stunning visual images in the popular television series Game of Thrones in which Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays...

Nordic Race: A mudfest for my camera

My first Nordic Race photography experience I don't know about you, but personally I like to be warm, dry and clean at this time of year. It's the reason I wear nice thick gloves, waterproof trousers and jackets, and a pair of boots every time I leave the house. On...

Calm sea; rough ride

From the Archives: My experience moving to Copenhagen in 2012 I grew up in a small town 40 miles south of Manchester - home of Smiths, Oasis, and other great High Street retail outlets (insert smiley). And it was from Manchester Airport that I left England for what...

Britain’s Prince Harry Visits Copenhagen

Special Request Back in September of this year Kensington Palace announced Prince Harry's official visit to Denmark. The Prince is in Copenhagen today (Wednesday 25th) and tomorrow, and Matthew has been placed in a special press pool to gain access and provide...

PBMJ: Now we are 2

I've only got one pair of hands... until now! Finding a solution to doing everything myself has long been at the top of my long list of priorities. I've found over the years, that it's definitely getting easier to outsource some of the work I do, especially when...

Getting the Shot: RaiseNow Group Portrait

Somebody once asked me, "Do you find that it's always the first idea that works?" in regards to planning and executing a photoshoot. I admit I had to think about it. Sometimes definitely, and in these scenarios you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Go...

Following in the footsteps of Obama

Where would a former President of the United States go to eat when in Copenhagen? For my first blog post in nearly two millennia I thought I’d tackle something a little light-hearted. Despite never really pursuing a career in food photography, it appears it has found...

Who needs a photo education anyway?

Is it really worth paying to learn to be a better photographer? ”Sixteen hundred kroner!” So cried the partner of one my clients recently when she found out what he was paying me to teach him. More than once this week the conversation has turned towards education....

No Man is an Island

Finding solitude amongst Denmark's hidden gems Words by Joe Miller, Pictures by Matthew James Harrison It’s always hard in life to accept it when you lose friends, family or anyone close to you. People change, they move on and find pastures new. We live, we die… but...

Aarhus: European capital for culture 2017

Words: Joe Miller, Photos: Matt Marsh Every year, two European cities receive the prestigious title of ‘European capital of culture’ and in 2017, we welcome Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, as the holder of one of these two titles. Over the next year, fascinated...

Fact: Danish Newspapers don’t care about swans!

How a chance encounter with a big white bird didn't really amount to much In this industry, every day is a fresh start. Sure, you have the usual amount of daily tasks – social media, sending invoices, archiving images – but the commute to work every morning is a...

Recreating the sunset…without the sun

I made absolutely no secret of the fact that I got my very first National Geographic Traveller commission earlier this year. It was, without a doubt, the proudest moment of my career so far, and I’m not ashamed to say so. I wrote a lengthy piece about it for the...

Being Part of History

Original Photograph Featured on Postage Stamp When was the last time you received a letter in the post with your own stamp stuck to it? This was the scenario for me back in summer, when an envelope dropped through the letterbox addressed to the business....

Best Instagram Photos of Copenhagen 2016

Copenhagen has to be one of the world's best places to photograph I’ve been fortunate enough to live in many special places around the world over the years: France, Australia, many parts of the UK, and of course Denmark. Each and every one of these places has been...

Using Lightroom to edit your iPhone photos

Even with the new iPhone 7 causing a stir with its brand new camera functions, the old iPhone 6 is still a heavy-hitter when it comes to High Quality images I always tell those who join me on my Beginner's Photography Workshops that activating the shutter is just the...

Back to Copenhagen

It's been a while... Hi folks, what's going on? Jesus, it's been a while, hasn't it? I bet some of you are even tired of me saying something along those lines. Anyway, I just wanted to say 'hi' and tell you what to expect from us here at PBMJ in the lead-up to...

Remember: You don’t know EVERYTHING

How a recent photography workshop taught me how to focus ”The D800 isn’t very good for sports photography,” said my very unreliable source. It was my first summer here in Copenhagen and I was working for a company photographing running events. I didn’t know it at the...

Journal Challenge Day Two

This blog entry first appeared over at www.photographybymatthewjames.com Work, sunshine, work, parties, repeat Day Two of the Daily Journal experiment, and I’ve had to force myself to start writing. I’ve got exactly 97 minutes before I need to be somewhere else, and...

Danish Imports: The Neuropyschologist

This blog post originally appeared over at matthewjames.dk Grasia Maria Banegas initially moved to Denmark from Honduras in Central America as a volunteer for MS (Action Aid Denmark), to join an educational program called Global Change, where she trained to become a...

Danish Imports: The Psychologist and her son

Due to some technical issues we're running a little behind here, so let's get back on track with our Danish Imports exhibition from last year's photo exhibition. Today we take a look at the life of Chilean Psychologist Paula and her son. Paula Cavada gives multiple...

Teaching Photography in Copenhagen

This entry was originally posted on my main journal over at www.matthewjames.dk One area of photography I don't shout about too much is my Shooting Copenhagen Workshops, but after this week it's probably about time I gave myself a pat on the back and shared the story...

Danish Imports: The Opera Singer

We've come to the end of our revisit to the Danish Imports exhibition, and today we're finishing off with somebody who I'm very fond of. I hope you've enjoyed reading these interviews and the images that accompany them. A lot of love and time went in to the planning...

Danish Imports: The Freaks

"I won't tell you the name I was born with, because what's a name, anyway?" These are the words of wisdom from the polite, baratone vocals of the tattooed gentleman that is Enigma. Covered from head to toe in jigsaw puzzle tattoos and sporting a pair of silicone horns...

Danish Imports: The Neuropsychologist

Grasia Maria Banegas initially moved to Denmark from Honduras in Central America as a volunteer for MS (Action Aid Denmark), to join an educational program called Global Change, where she trained to become a campaigner and youth facilitator.  Coming from one of the...

Danish Imports: The Psychologist and her son

Due to some technical issues we're running a little behind here, so let's get back on track with our Danish Imports exhibition from last year's photo exhibition. Today we take a look at the life of Chilean Psychologist Paula and her son. Paula Cavada gives multiple...

DO IT FOR MOM (Do it for Denmark)

It's highly unlikely that you've missed this one, but if you're reading this from outside Denmark then you might want to read on. This is the new tagline for a funny commercial that came out recently in Danish media. It’s a video that starts off with an older lady...

To refugee or not to refugee, that is the question

Today I wanted to open up the floor to a close personal friend of mine and fellow expat, Michelle Exarhos. Michelle was born and raised in the United States but is, in fact, half Danish. Here she shares her views on the recent refugee scenario playing out in Denmark...

Danish Imports: The Boxer

The next story from last year's Danish Imports photo exhibition comes from Michal Jezierski, who had a very long and interesting story to tell about his move to Denmark. Michal Jezierski is perhaps one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and is full of positive,...

Copenhagen Half Marathon Pictures

So did you take part in yesterday's Copenhagen Half Marathon, or know anyone who did? The streets were absolutely alive, especially for the first half of the race where optimism was high and the mood was positive. There were no less than 23.786 runners taking part and...

Danish Imports: The Journalist

Continuing the Danish Imports theme, today we take a look at Brazilian Noemia Colonna's story. “Sometimes it's good to be like the Brazilians," is Noemia Colonna's advice to the Danes. "We're easy-going, more flexible and and not too obsessed about planning and...

Danish Imports: The Journalist

Continuing the Danish Imports theme, today we take a look at Brazilian Noemia Colonna's story. “Sometimes it's good to be like the Brazilians," is Noemia Colonna's advice to the Danes. "We're easy-going, more flexible and and not too obsessed about planning and...

Danish Imports: The DJ

This is the third instalment of my Danish Imports blog posts, looking at the stories behind people's decisions to live, work or visit Denmark. Today's story focuses on Danish DJ, Nikolaj Yu Andersen. You can read previous stories about Meriel or Luke if you'd like a...

Danish Imports: The DJ

This is the third instalment of my Danish Imports blog posts, looking at the stories behind people's decisions to live, work or visit Denmark. Today's story focuses on Danish DJ, Nikolaj Yu Andersen. You can read previous stories about Meriel or Luke if you'd like a...

Danish Imports: The Architect

Today I'll be sharing the second story behind one of my Danish Imports subjects, Luke Lorimer. If you missed the first post then you can read it here. These images were used for my first exhibition, Danish Imports, which was held at Generator Hostel in Copenhagen...

Danish Imports: The Architect

Today I'll be sharing the second story behind one of my Danish Imports subjects, Luke Lorimer. If you missed the first post then you can read it here. These images were used for my first exhibition, Danish Imports, which was held at Generator Hostel in Copenhagen...

Danish Imports – One Year On

Exactly 12 months ago I was celebrating my very first photo exhibition here in Copenhagen. It was something I'd been thinking of doing for a couple of years and it was a definite learning curve for me. Not only was I under pressure to include a selection of images I...

Danish Imports – One Year Later

Exactly 12 months ago I was celebrating my very first photo exhibition here in Copenhagen. It was something I'd been thinking of doing for a couple of years and it was a definite learning curve for me. Not only was I under pressure to include a selection of images I...

It’s Marathon Time

You can't really miss all the maps, posters and warnings that are dotted around the city at the moment. That's right; it's that time of year again where 12,000 people put themselves to the test and run for 26.2 miles. The Nykredit Copenhagen Marathon (to give it its...

Same-Sex marriage in Denmark

Or, how Sasha and Anthony got one step closer to happiness written by Antoaneta Borisova This is the story of Sasha and Anthony, a lovely gay couple, who have been struggling to be together for more than six years now. I use the word “lovely” not because I want this...

Denmark: the land of pork, windmills and same-sex marriage

Or, how Sasha and Anthony got one step closer to happiness written by Antoaneta Borisova This is the story of Sasha and Anthony, a lovely gay couple, who have been struggling to be together for more than six years now. I use the word “lovely” not because I want this...