The power of images to catch our eye, make us hungry and stir emotion

Masterchef is fond of saying, “We eat with our eyes first”, but there is actually research to back it up.  Many studies have shown that when we find food more appealing, not only do we enjoy it more we also absorb more nutrients from it (weird huh?!).  Subsequent studies have validated this finding!

I follow Jamie Oliver on instagram because I enjoy torturing myself, he puts up great images of food and really cute pics of his gorgeous family. I find pictures of food to be so appealing that if I see something that looks amazing and I’m hungry, I have to drop everything and go and eat it. This is the powerful effect of #foodporn.
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SUCH CUTE KIDS!




Gelato Messina in Sydney are another tortuous example:


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 Peanut butter gelato with chocolate brownie and dulce de leche… NEED IT NOW!
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Blackforest: Chocolate gelato with kirsch soaked choc sponge, cream and cherry jam… WHO ARE THESE MAGIC PEOPLE?


Also, my favourite restaurant in the world, Hartsyard in Enmore (Sydney AUSTRALIA) constantly put up great images, these are some of my favourites (hope you’re not hungry!):
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Famous fried chicken with buttermilk biscuit, low country sausage gravy…
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House made duck prosciutto, rye crisps, endive, beets and horseradish cream.
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Chocolate and caramel pie with peanut biscuit base, flourless chocolate cake, dark chocolate and caramel mousse, carrot marmalade and salted popcorn ice cream.

YOU HAVE TO GET TO HARTSYARD! SERIOUSLY! My fav restaurant in Sydney. 

Anyway. Why put up these photos?

Firstly, I am super hungry! Secondly I wanted to point out this act that has become a great marketing tool and social media and blogging and ‘folk journalism’ (see previous post on blogging) tool. It is no doubt that Instagram has taken off, with about 83% (not real figures) of all Instagram traffic being food related images. Many restaurants have taken to posting images of their food, especially if their menu changes a lot, on different social media platforms – it is a good idea because even if it’s not a $10,000 camera it can still look good, mainly because the dishes look so good.

This esquire report here find the negatives of it, and there are plenty of people (my mum for example) who find it annoying. But phooey to them – get with the times, this isn’t the 60s, this is the digital revolution, and you’re either with it or you’re not. We are in the VISUAL age – people my age, let alone even younger, have short attention spans. I think this is why I much prefer reading online and struggle nowadays to do my academic readings. This is why my generation and I  love PHOTOS because, as they say, a photo tells 1000 words – we are VISUAL sponges, we area a visual generation (and the digital generation, and the millennial generation etc…)

I believe that headings, images and layout is one of, if not THE most important for newspapers to invite the audience in, if you have a dedicated reader who has been reading SMH for decades then maybe not, but these are the most eye catching things, especially pictures. But that’s just me, I think visually.

The difference between photojournalism and amateur instagramalism is, according to one of our readings, a photojournalist: “must only photograph what has happened, when it happened and not recreate a situation because they didn’t get there on time.  They must not move things around on the scene of an event to make the pictures look better.   They must not alter their photographs on the computer or in the darkroom, like take an ugly telephone pole out of a picture.  The photojournalist must also tell the truth, just like the reporter.”

Where as your average instagrammer will edit and make things look pretty all the time with filters and blurs. Obviously there is a difference between a magazine/feature image and a news image. I was photographed for a feature I was mentioned in on Internships by Fenella Souter last year for Good Weekend. Trust me, that photography session was VERY planned (2 hours it took for one photo), and it looks it. They said they were only going to grab a quick headshot!

Why are photos so important? This site here explains that photos are needed to:

  • Brighten the page <– most important to catch attention
  • tell the news <– most important for quick readers
  • show what the thing/situation/scene looks like <– most important for in-depth readers wanting an image for clarification/visual reference

The recent event of the Boston Bombings was interesting because there were many chances to get photos as there were already lots of photographers there, and many photos were certainly got, ones which are now ‘iconic’, and many which are extremely graphic. Images of masses of blood, missing limbs, limbs hanging off, open flesh wounds – perhaps doesn’t seem that bad after watching a few episodes of Game of Thrones (that said I can’t even watch movie/tv gore) – but why were these images allowed to go up?

Thankfully most have warnings of graphic content so I have been able to avoid it, but thanks to high-definition cameras it just looks really gross, would images like these have been allowed to circulate in the past? was there a difference between what was printed and what went online? How would it feel to go from being sent out on a boring marathon race to covering a terrorist attack? CNN go into it a bit interviewing one photographer John Tlumacki, and another personal recount of his here, in which he tells of a police officer saying to him: “Do me a favor. Do not exploit the situation.”

That is another good question – at what point did photojournalism turn into the paparazzi? or did they always mutually exist? And then of course there is the age old question: when do photographers go too far? Incidents like the paparazzo who was run over and killed while snapping Justin Bieber’s ferrari (ironically he wasn’t even in it), or Princess Diana’s death (although there were other reasons as well). But there are many indications that this won’t happen anytime soon. 

Now I thought I’d finish with some BAD examples of photo/headline layouts:

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There are plenty more where that came from

 

 But here are some of the more memorable ones. In Australian media I tend to find the tabloids (Sun Herald, Herald Sun, Telegraph etc) use lots of big dramatic headings and images, and they tend to write in a sensationalist tone. I also find the shorter the heading, the more dramatic it is.

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These are mostly American, talk about bad news but they are eye catching.

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More here

Now to end the post for today, seeing as we’re talking about eye-catching, I thought I would add a video of a SUPER CUTE KITTEN, being easy on the eyes. This clip, being true to the blog name, involved a kitten and a teacup. Smothered. With cuteness.

Sport, sexual assault and a woman’s word

ImageImage from National Museum of Australia site: http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/league_of_legends/the_exhibition

In the last week or so, many awful things have happened regarding sexism in this country, please see here, here and here for various background info, details and opinions.

In light of recent events regarding the alleged indecent assault by Blake Ferguson (NRL) and the alleged four counts of rape by Ben Milne (AFL), I’d like to go on to the Australian sporting industry and its rape culture and in particular, discuss this notion of women ‘crying rape’. There are many different things to consider in regards to this very sensitive topic. In the media, especially regarding the sports industry, the implication that women are lying, fabricating and sensationalising incidents with men, especially if they are famous men.

Examples of cases that push this image of women lying include: the ‘St Kilda Schoolgirl’, where a 17 year old lied about several different situations with the St Kilda Football club – including getting pregnant; Katie Lewis who has alleged that NRL Souths Player Ben Te’o punched her and fractured her eye socket, withdrew the claims, then reopened the complaint; The 19-year-old ‘Clare’ involved in the Cronulla Sharks 2002 group sex scandal was accused of gloating about sleeping with the players (including Matthew Johns) and then lying about being there being no consent; AFL player Andrew Lovett was accused of raping a woman, dropped by St Kilda, and later acquitted; and Brett Stewart who was accused of kissing and digitally penetrating a 17-year-old girl without consent, which turned out to be not true (Stewart being drunk as all hell was true) and Stewart paid dearly for it.

In Stewart’s case, it is a shame he had his name dragged through the mud. Most are in agreement that he was certainly unfortunate to be dragged into this situation, but I really home this outcome doesn’t become, as David Penberthy writes, a defence for the guilty. Some say that Matty Johns did not deserve the punishment of losing his job on the Footy Show and as a coach – he did nothing illegal they say. But the whole idea of group sex personally creeps me out, but if you wish to CONSENT and engage in such things then by all means do so, but I imagine that Channel 9 wouldn’t want such imagery and ‘questionable morals’ associated with the family-friendly channel. Furthermore, even if ‘Clare’ did consent, this notion of pack sex — while not uncommon amongst NRL players — (I personally think) it is just bizarre and just promotes an unhealthy animalistic attitude towards women and sex and an unhealthy sex culture, something that the NRL is desperately trying to distance itself from. It really is no surprise he was fired.

Why those who do lie, sensationalise or fabricate do so, I don’t know. But it is not common, it is very rare, despite many reported and further sensationalised cases in the media the percentage is around 2-3% of total assault cases — about the same rate as other crimes. In the UK a recent report showed it was low as 0.6%.

I would like to make a disclaimer that  I am just a simple student who is just analysing and discussing different sides of things. I do NOT claim to represent, be an authority on or even understand what it must feel like to be a victim of rape or sexual assault. I am not insinuating that all women ‘cry rape’, I am analysing why women are accused of that and how it affects the portrayal of female victims.

I completely acknowledge there is an unhealthy culture of sex, drugs and alcohol in our sporting industry, especially AFL and NRL. I believe sport holds a very important and unique position in our national identity, something which I plan to go into in another post (I will link when written). What I am interested in is looking at that controversial idea of the ‘grey zone’ in the sporting industry and how media deals with it.

I read three very interesting things online, one was called: Women in the “Grey Zone”? Ambiguity, Complicity and Rape Culture by Deb Waterhouse-Watson and Adam Brown, which analysed the concept of the ‘grey zone’ and the representation of sexual assault to do with Australian football in the media. It discusses a 2009 Four Corners episode called “Code of Silence” in which ‘Clare’ (who I mentioned above) talked about how she was traumatised from the group sex incident that occured with Cronulla Sharks players in 2002. To quote the article:

If, as “Code of Silence” suggests, footballers’ practices of group sex are abusive, whether the woman consents or not, then it follows that such a “gang-bang culture” may in turn foster a rape culture, in which rape is more likely than in other contexts. And yet, many women insist that they enjoy group sex with footballers (Barry; Drill 86), complicating issues of consent and the degradation of women.

These other women they are referring to include Charmyne Palavi, who appeared in the same episode explaining her pursuit to sleep with rugby players. Waterhouse-Watson and Brown argue that the program portrayed Palavi as ‘cheap’, ‘promiscuous’ and even subtly imply she was party responsible for her rape, she claims, by a well known rugby player. What makes it more complicated is that despite being raped she still continues to pursue rugby players and furthermore, she continues to ‘organise sexual encounters between women and players, despite her knowledge of the “dangers,” both to herself and other women.’

This ultimately makes her a ‘grey zone’ figure according to Brown and Waterhouse-Watson. Of course, the whole concept of ‘grey rape’ is controversial, some people disregard it completely, some people agree that there are various strange areas when it comes to ‘consent’.

In reading this article ‘Sometimes women lie about rape’ by Anna Rittgers, a a lawyer and senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, I thought she was overall quite callous and aggressive, but I found the following sentence interesting:

In the church of radical feminism “Women don’t lie about rape,” so it would be heretical to afford any man accused of rape a fair trial.

In articles like Rittgers’, I strongly criticise even the suggestion that women sometimes lie about rape because promotes a detrimental excuse that can be applied to all women even though it is such a minuscule amount of people who do that. It also gives idiots like Todd Akin  the excuse to say shit like: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (Really?!)

The image of women lying about rape conjures up the imagery address in this article:

There’s this idea that a false allegation of sexual assault is the one weapon that shamed women wield. Men have fists and cash and the threat of death; women have this. A shy call to 999 on a Monday morning that leads to the slow sirens of police arresting her ex at work, a sorry officer shielding his head as he falls into the car.

When a trial by media and social media is a constant risk, women will continue to not report. 

I’m against trial by media and immediate assumption before anything has been announced or anyone has been charged or found guilty/innocent, particularly when the full story isn’t known or evidence is not overwhelmingly strong. I think everyone should be afforded a fair trial or an attempt at a fair trial.

But this applies in every situation. Including the most recent example I can think of, the Nigella Lawson case and and those ‘choking’ photos. I question the way the media exploded and obsessed over it and automatically assumed it was a domestic violence case. I am not saying what Saatchi said was correct, it really doesn’t look like a ‘platfull tiff’. But I also don’t understand why the media rushed to a unanimous assumption of the worst from a couple of photos before any statement from either of them, especially Nigella.

Is Saatchi’s explanation completely implausible? Would he be so stupid to assault such a famous wife in public? Now Nigella is apparently the face of domestic violence, before she has said anything about the incident herself. On the other hand, sometimes secretively abusive relationships need to be outed before something can be done about them — being silent is sometimes the worst option and if this brings attention to domestic violence then Nigella’s situation needs to be treated with care, dignity, not speculation and drama. Sigh, sometimes I think the media just has no patience.

Maybe it is just an expectation now that the media will dramatise everything and anything — but I generally like to think I am not being taught bad ethics in my Journalism course. Some people will argue differently, but I believe rape cases are not all black and white, but this ‘grey zone’ is a very dangerous zone to even talk about because it will be taken advantage off more often than not. I believe the media reports too much on women that have falsely accused others of sexual assault especially in sport and even if Brett Stewart had a year or so of his career sidelined, he had to pay a large number of legal fees he probably could have afforded, even if the funny Matty Johns was stood down, I don’t believe it is worth the majority of sexual assault cases that are genuine being jeopordised.

Anna Krien wrote about in her new book Night Games about the ‘grey areas’ of no meaning no, or maybe, or well, OK, but not with all your friends, that make both sexual assault cases and the relationship between young footballers and their female fans so complex and challenging and need greater consideration (listen to an interview here with Dominic Knight on ABC 702). In an interview with Mamamia, she follows a highly publicised case of rape allegations against a junior footballer, in which he was eventually acquitted. She talks about the pack sex mentality and how both men and women are victimised in this culture. “Court, it seems, is not where progress is made,’’ Krien writes. “It’s just where things end up.’’.

Now, to brighten our lives, here is a kitten in mittens from the TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia:

 

In the beginning…

Hello. 

I am currently  22, feeling old, female, and a student. I live in the magnificent Sydney after a 3-year stint in rival Melbourne. I have decided to start a blog.

As the blog name suggests I am often quite lazy so I generally avoid doing extra intellectual engagement unless it’s for uni, I am being paid or doing an awesome internship, then I am all guns blazing.

I frequently call myself a lazy perfectionist, and annoyingly, both lazyperfectionist.wordpress.com and thelazyperfectionist.wordpress.com were taken by people who haven’t blogged in a while, one of them has a total of TWO posts from 2008 (surely WordPress, these blogs can have have a time limit after a long period of no engagement?). However, I was inspired by this website here to choose a name a little more lighthearted, and seeing as I love tea and kittens, I ended up with Tea, Kittens and a Lazy Perfectionist.

Anyway, why am I here now? Why did I finally jump on the blogging bandwagon? I guess there are a few reasons.

1. I study journalism, which I kind of fell into by mistake – a longwinded story I will post about later – so I have learnt a lot about writing in the last year and a half and have come to enjoy and appreciate the skill of writing well (not that I yet possess it, but I hope to). I know a few people who blog and I think it is a really good way of honing in on your writing skills and building up a collection of writing, as well as developing a ‘voice’ so to speak. My favourite online sites that I read regularly are Mamamia and especially Pedestrian TV – I wish, how I wish, that I was witty enough to write like they do.

2. I whinge a lot, I debate, I argue and I have an opinion all the time, sometimes uneducated sometimes education, and I thought instead of annoying my friends, family and  other people’s facebook and twitter newsfeed, I could express my opinion here in my blog. That way a smaller majority aren’t exposed to my ranting. In a job I recently left, I worked with the Not Quite Nigella blogger Lorraine Elliott, who is a very successful blogger, on her recent book of the same name as her blog. But learning about her and how she started really kind of gave me insight into the blogging world and how many people do in fact read blogs and so maybe it isn’t just a wasted cause?

3. I realised that blogs don’t have to be that long. I guess I avoided starting a blog because I thought I would have to write thousands of words, when actually blogs shouldn’t be that long because the attention span of the avid internet user is very short. I should know because my attention span is really short. I did an analysis on an essay written in the early 2000s when blogging was just starting that was really interesting and is still quite relevant that I will share later on.

4.  I actually have TIME… for now. The first three months of this year I was going crazy studying full time and working part time – I barely slept and it was pretty shit because I was doing badly at this job and badly at uni, I felt really down, I vowed I would do so much when I had free time and thankfully I pulled the plug on the job and have literally been catching up on sleep the last few weeks. I hope that I will continue having time and contributing to this doesn’t end up like every time I join a gym and give up after a month or so because I’m so damn lazy.

5. Relating back to that future post I will write about how I ended up studying journalism – I have dabbled in many different things. I am unsure of what I want and when I am sure it lasts for a fleeting second and then changes. I blame most of this on my insecurity and anxiety of which I have a lot of, and my dominating anxiety is what people think of me and whether I am good enough. I don’t know what I want to do with my career, where I want to end up and what I want to be doing, I just want to be good at it and right now I don’t really think I am great at anything. In the process of writing this blog I hope to channel my thought process and perhaps get some clarity. In short, to quote Arj Barker, I need to take a filing cabinet to the toilet, and sort my shit out.

What to expect from my blog?

Please note that the following themes will be frequently visited in this blog: posts about Australian politics, analyses on Australian media, sharing and thinking about interesting articles I find, opinion pieces, reviews, travel writing (when I actually have the money to go somewhere), the occasional feminist post, the anti-homophobia post, a life story, a recipe here and there, new ideas, the meaning of life, ponderings on the life of my gorgeous but naughty cat, and of course many hilarious images, gifs, videos and memes (especially kitten themed ones), because that is what the internet is made for.

Many thanks to those who read my blog. Although it will probably just be me and a random cross-country skier in northern Sweden.

And now, as promised, a happy moment to end my first post. Here we have my favourite video of the week, probably one of my all time favourites: Kitty Refuses to Leave Hot Bath.