Daily Archives: May 20, 2010

Wenlock and Mandeville

Callers to the BBC Five Live radio breakfast show this morning seemed dismissive of the new London 2012 Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville.

What do they want? Another cuddly teddy bear?

Take a look at the history of Olympic mascots – not much that is inspiring in that list is there? And not much purpose to the mascot, other than to have a cute cartoon character for merchandise.

Here’s three reasons why I think the London 2012 organising committee has done a fantastic job unveiling Wenlock and Mandeville to the world:

1. The focus is entirely on children. The purpose of these mascots is not just to look nice on a T-shirt, it’s to get kids interested in the Olympic games and sport in general.

2. There is an entire back-story to their creation. They are two drops of steel from the last girder that went into the construction of the Olympic stadium. Michael Morpurgo has written about their life so far and no doubt he will develop the story as we head to 2012. Click here to watch the film about their life so far.

3. They are designed with a multimedia future in mind from the start. They are designed to be customised and shared. Because they are made of steel, their skin can change colour and reflect the world around them. So kids will be able to go online and adopt the character of their choice and customise the colours, creating avatars that reflect their own interests – even changing them to be the colours of their favourite football team for example.

I think the committee has done a great job of focusing the mascots on kids, encouraging the future of sport, and thinking hard about what it is that kids will want to do with the mascots over the next two years.

Forget the teddy bears, I’m following Wenlock and Mandeville online now!

Creative Commons

If you take a look at my Flickr page right now, there are over 10,500 photographs. I’ve also got about 1,000 ready to be uploaded – I just haven’t had enough time to get them all tagged. Almost all my photos are uploaded and tagged with a description of the content and then licensed as Creative Commons – meaning they are free for anyone to use provided I get credited as the photographer.

I just had an email from the Museum of London telling me that they are setting up an exhibition that will be there for the next ten years and they are planning to use one of my photos – this one.

That’s just the latest use of my photos.They have featured in magazines in the USA, Japan, and across Europe. My Rothko photo has been used by many artists and art academics. My Ajanta photos from India have ended up in a very detailed academic book on the subject of cave carvings.

I am forever finding my own photos on blogs and in Wikipedia. I once noticed a photo in Wikipedia that looked familiar and found – after a bit of digging to find the credit – that it was my own.

I enjoy seeing my photos being used all over the world by people for all kinds of reasons and I’ve no problem with people using them for purposes that may even be profitable for them – so long as I get credited. I once found someone selling coasters and bags on eBay featuring pictures of dogs – one of the dogs was my own pet and these products were all using my photos! When I contacted the seller asking where they got the photos, I was told to sling my hook… when I showed them my Flickr account, they removed their products and slunk away tail between legs.

I’m just a snapper. I’m only capturing images using a camera-phone, but I might upgrade soon to a decent camera. There are many photographers populating these repositories of stock photos and doing it in a more professional way than I am – what does that mean for the future of the *paid* stock photo library?
Rothko - Black on Maroon