Hello Kitty Cafe, Seoul

•July 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It’s been almost two years since my sister and I were in Seoul, South Korea, and I just realised I never did a post on one of the best things we found near our hostel - the Hello Kitty Cafe!

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We got there just before it opened and waited eagerly.  We thought we’d be the stereotypical Western tourists taking photos of everything (well, we were) but there were also locals who got there at opening time and proceeded to take photos of everything too, so we weren’t the only ones.

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The cafe is decked out in pink with Hello Kitty motifs everywhere, complete with pink furniture and chandeliers.  The cakes and sweets are all shaped in Hello Kitty faces and even the coffees have Hello Kitty on top.

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If you’re as obsessed with Hello Kitty as I am and you’re ever in Seoul, take a trip to the cafe at 358-112, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu.  You can buy souvenirs (I got a sparkly pink foil Hello Kitty face shirt) too.

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x Kitten of Doom

Wandering around Melbourne

•July 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I got an expired UniChem 100 film developed the other day.  I’m down to my last roll of expired film from a huge batch I bought a few years ago.

It can be hard to find the right conditions to shoot with such film in winter, as periods of good sunlight are usually only brief.  I also don’t have a battery for the lightmeter in my Pentax right now, so all exposures are short.  You just have to make the best of it.

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x Kitten of Doom

Another Melbourne school bites the dust

•July 10, 2014 • 5 Comments

Are there any Melbourne schools still operating?

We visited the heavily-vandalised Pembroke Secondary College last week, although this has been abandoned since late last year.  Furniture, computers, art supplies, gym equipment – all left behind.  I was especially stoked to find a full-size gymnastics balance beam.  Sadly, I am not as fit and agile as I was back in my gymnastics days.  No flips on the beam for me.

Why do these buildings remain abandoned for so long?

Sorry this post is a little image heavy.  It’s a big school.

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Schools are closing down at a rather fast rate these days.  Which school do you think will be next to go?

x Kitten of Doom

 

 

Abandoned school video shoot with Birdz for ‘Supabrotha’

•July 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I took Melbourne hip-hop artist Birdz to an abandoned school last week to shoot a video for a new tune he’s just released, Supabrotha.  There were a couple of guys who appeared to be looking for things to steal, who were quite curious as to what we were doing; perhaps they thought we were cops or news crew at first.  I have been asked before if I am “from the news” because I’ve been holding a large camera.  It’s quite funny considering what I wear is far from work attire.

It was difficult to find places with enough light to shoot, and it only got more overcast as the afternoon went on.  Of course, as soon as we finished, the sun came out in full force.  Thanks, Melbourne.

Birdz released Superbrotha last night, coinciding with the start of Naidoc Week and also a year since he released his debut EP.  You can download it for free here, and check out the video below.

x Kitten of Doom

Selfies: one of the most obvious symptoms of low self-esteem

•June 29, 2014 • 3 Comments

I have taken the odd selfie and posted it on Instagram, but I can’t stand it when people repeatedly post selfies on social media.  I unfollow those people, even if they are people I am actually friends with.

Why?  I have thought about this in depth, and the most concise answer I can come up with – aside from selfies being boring as hell – is: they’re blatantly attention seeking, and nothing else.  They don’t really make for interesting pictures, and people generally look the same in every selfie.   The completely unrelated captions that are added to selfies (purely to suggest that the poster has some reason for uploading the shot other than fishing for compliments) are particularly eyeroll-worthy.

But attention-seeking isn’t necessarily bad, right?  Of course not.  It depends on the reason for the seeking of attention.  Some selfies are there for a reason, for example, the university graduate in their robe who has just graduated from their course, is proud of their accomplishment and maybe wouldn’t mind a bit of recognition.  That’s all well and good.  They want attention for an exceptional achievement.  We all want attention for achievement and that’s natural.  The mother who’s x-months pregnant and posts a baby-belly pic for her friends to see.  That’s also an achievement and not an everyday occurrence for her.

The selfies that annoy me aren’t these type of selfies.   The annoying selfies are a very “look at me, look how good I look” thing, the purpose of which is to garner attention for the poster without them having done anything to warrant that attention.  General selfies appear to be posted for no specific reason, and are generally just a close-up of their (usually heavily made-up) face accompanied by a random caption such as “dying for nachos right now!!!” or – even worse - an extremely deep song lyric.

I don’t think posting the odd selfie is a problem.  I’d like to make that clear, before I am denounced as a “selfie-hater”.

The point where it becomes a problem, per se, is when someone is uploading selfies on a very frequent basis, often as a substantial amount of their entire social media feed.  We can excuse actors, models, musicians or anyone whose job it is to promote themselves and/or whose job is based on their appearance. I’m not talking about them here.  I’m talking about your regular girl/guy-next-door.

So why do people feel compelled to seek attention through selfies?  I’ve thought about this for quite a while now and I’ve considered this to be primarily a symptom of low self-esteem, coupled with the competitiveness of an image-driven consumerist society - the one in which talent isn’t valued anymore, but looks and having the right aesthetic is.  I doubt I’m the only person who thinks a high level of selfie-posting directly correlates with a low level of self-esteem, either.  A spoof article claiming the American Psychiatric Association had decided that “the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self  and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy” (and is now a psychiatric condition known as “Selfitis”) has been doing the rounds.  The satire piece hit the nail on the head.  The condition is false, but the description as a symptom is accurate.

Is it necessarily an issue of low self-esteem though, or one of being self-absorbed?  It can be difficult to differentiate between the the two sometimes.  My guess would be that people who are self-absorbed need less validation and, as I find selfies to be a reaction to a need for validation, recurrent posting of selfies would suggest a low self-esteem rather than an inflated ego.  It could definitely be both of those things for some people.  I am interested to see what the future research on this topic looks like.

I look back at some of my selfies and wonder what were my real reasons for posting those shots.  I’m not going to deny the fact I’ve posted attention-seeking selfies.  I’ll annotate a few.

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I posted this because I thought I looked cute.  I know my night beforehand wasn’t super-fun.  I can only imagine I posted it on Instagram because I needed some positive affirmation after a disappointing night.  The caption is pointless.  Conclusion: Attention-Seeking Due to Low Self-Esteem.

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I thought I looked less like a homeless bum for once and that this was worth a social media post.  Conclusion: Attention-Seeking Due to Low Self-Esteem.  Do you like the angst-generated caption?

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I had just had my hair professionally done and it will never look like that again because I generally cannot be bothered doing my hair, so I was damn well gonna post a pic.  Conclusion: Low self-esteem or just wanting to record a good haircut?  Jury’s out.  The caption’s fairly pathetic (attention-seeking) though.

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I know I took this out of boredom.  Unemployment will reduce you to this.  I’m pretty sure I needed attention, and getting likes and comments on a picture of you on Instagram is a way of getting attention.  And it’s kind of arty, right?  Conclusion: do I need to tell you?

So are selfies an obvious symptom of low self-esteem?  I think the reasons behind posting selfies and also the regularity of doing so are going the be key.  But in my opinion, regular uploading of selfies is a symptom of low self-esteem.

And the people who lap up these selfies?  That’s another blog entry for another day.

x Kitten of Doom

PS. The irony of posting four selfies in one blog post is not lost on me…

Shane Thoms – Haikyo Photography

•June 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Following on from my previous post about our trip to Chernobyl, let me just share with you my friend Shane’s website, Haikyo.  ‘Haikyo’ means ‘ruins’ in Japanese.  Shane was on the Chernobyl trip with Andrew and I, and also went to Chernobyl the previous year.  It was great going to not only Chernobyl but also Kiev with someone who had been before.  Shane was a wealth of information for things like getting around in cabs..!

Like me, Shane has a penchant for photographing abandoned locations, and he has been to many around the world.  He recently returned to Melbourne from another trip to Japan, and with many more beautiful photographs of forgotten places.  He has also seen many of Europe’s prime abandoned spots.

 

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Above photos copyright Shane Thoms.

Shane photographing in Chernobyl 2012.  Photo: Kitten of Doom

Shane photographing in Chernobyl 2012. Photo: Kitten of Doom

You can follow Shane on Instagram here.

x Kitten of Doom

Video of our trip to Chernobyl

•June 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I don’t think I ever posted this. This is a video Andrew made from footage he took during our trip to Chernobyl in May 2012.

You can read my posts (with lots of photos) about our trip here.

x Kitten of Doom

 
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