Nutty Photo Project: Locks on Toilets


For the past five years or so (with variable amounts of passion – usually low-level, when-I-can-be-bothered. When I bought an iPhone, more often), I’ve been doing an odd little photography projects titled ‘Locks on Toilets’. What is it? Well, it does precisely what it says on the tin: It’s a relatively large collection of photographs of devices that lock the toilet door so nobody can barge in on you while you’re attending to your business.

It’s an odd little project, which I came up with when I was hideously drunk one night – like all great ideas, in other words, and I just sort of continued doing it. Of course, it’s a lot more fun if it’s a collaborative project, so I hereby invite you to join in the slightly odd fun…  

So, what is this all about?

I could spin you a line about how the one thing that all humans have in common is the need to relieve themselves, and how that’s a beautiful thing. Of course, it’d be a complete load of shite (if you’ll forgive my contextually-appropriate french).

Thing is, I don’t have any idea why I’m running this project – I just know I’m having fun doing something that’s so completely and utterly pointless that it becomes awesome.

Show me some examples!

Well of course I will:


Boeing 777 somewhere over Russia.
Boeing 777 somewhere over Russia

Covent garden
Locked with a padlock!

Paddington train station, London, England
London Paddington

Portmellon, Cornwall, UK
Portmellon, Cornwall

Pub in Bath
The no-lock lock in a pub in Bath

Puzzlewood in Forest of Dean
Puzzlewood in Forest of Dean

How can I get involved?

First off, you may wish to join the Locks on Toilets group on Flickr – there’s currently nearly 450 entries there, but there’s always space for more! In the group, look at some of the submissions, and submit your own if you fancy it. The group will accept any and all submissions, but it’s cool if you, in the title, add the name and place of the establishment, and it’s cooler than a penguin’s plums if you also geo-tag the photos, so I can eventually do a mash-up plotting all the photos on a map.

Now, I can totally understand if you can’t be bothered using your main pride-and-joy flickr account to do this – I don’t do that either. My main account on Flickr – Photocritic – I keep for stuff I’m actually proud of in some capacity, and I use my alternate account – isharq for stuff which I’m not too fussed about, including this account, so if you fancy it, you can set up a second account.

Go on, it’s all just a bit of fun!

Tell me about your nutty projects

I’ve written about other weird projects before, but I’m curious… What floats your boat?

Have you got any crazy ideas / projects / things you do when you think photography is in danger of getting just a little bit too serious? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about ‘em!

Philip Bloom's laptop challenge


The lovely Philip Bloom has a super-powerful HP laptop up for grabs, going to the young and talented film-maker who rises to the challenge he’s just posted – in a video, of course – on his blog.

You need to be under 18 and you have to have a passion for film-making. More than that, you have to express your passion for film-making, and why you deserve to be the new owner of the HP EliteBook, in a video. Well, Philip is one of the leading dSLR film-makers, so what did you expect?

Entries need to be posted to the competition’s Vimeo group by 22 January 2011, after when they’ll be judged by Philip and a panel of, ehm, judges.

Want to know more? Watch Philip’s video.

Win a high powered HP laptop! from Philip Bloom extras on Vimeo.

Picking an SLR camera


Back in April, I did a Top 15 entry-level camera round-up, and it’s one of those posts where the comments stayed relatively calm, but I got tonnes of e-mail afterwards, with suggestions, comments etc. I was surprised at the level of passion people had about that one single article, but it got me thinking: I love trying to come up with interesting ways of doing photography, but what if people really want some buying advice? I discovered long ago that this particular blog isn’t really the place, but still… I figured I could do better than a top 15…

So I decided to launch a new website to help you out.


Every week, I get a huge stack of e-mails from readers (well, I get lots of e-mails, I don’t actually print them out and put them in a stack, that’d be ludicrous) who want some help finding a Digital SLR camera. Every time, I have to send them away again, because, well, I’ll be honest with you: While I love, and know a fair bit about photography, my knowledge of actual cameras is limited.

Sure, I’ve used most of the DSLR cameras Canon have launched over the years, and I’ve probably given Canon more than their fair share of my money in the past decade, too, but the truth of the matter is that I’m reluctant to give people advice. I don’t want to re-spark the age-old Canon-Versus-Nikon debate every time I do so either, because frankly, cameras are so good nowadays, that it’s unlikely to be the camera that’ll be the bottleneck in your creative process – it’s the photographer.

On the other hand, I hate sending people away – I like to pride myself on being useful and helpful, and it bothered me that I was unable to help. So I decided to come up with a solution.

Some of you may have noticed that a list of D-SLR cameras appeared on the right of this page – well, that was part of a testing phase, which now is finished, and I’m proud to launch Photocritic SLR.

For every dSLR currently on sale, I have:

  • Researched it, and written an introduciton
  • Gotten a photo of it from the manufacturers
  • Found out what it costs, roughly
  • Found some of the best reviews of each camera out there

As I said, I willingly admit that I can’t give particularly thorough advice, but there are dozens of websites out there that can. As such, the Photocritic SLR site gives you a chance to get a rough overview of the market, and delve into the details in all the reviews that are out there.

Best of all, if you, in your journeys, come across a brilliant review that I’ve somehow missed, you can add the review to the right camera yourself! Fabulous.

So go on, if you’re in the market for a camera, check out Photocritic SLR. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Do you enjoy a smattering of random photography links? Well, squire, I welcome thee to join me on Twitter -

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