Thursday, October 21, 2010

A composition and bad manners

click photo to enlarge
This morning I went to answer the phone, and as I did I looked at the LCD display to see the caller's number. There wasn't one. Instead it showed the word WITHELD. I don't know about you, but I am seriously tempted to ignore any phone call where the caller does not allow their number to be shown. Why? Well, I consider it to be downright rude. With any phone call we take it on trust that the person who speaks is who they say they are, and that they are being honest. I am MUCH more likely to believe this to be so if they are not hiding their number from me. The fact is, I don't conceal my number when I phone someone, so I don't expect others to conceal their number from me. That sort of openness, give and take, call it what you will, is just good manners. There will be reasons why companies do this sort of thing, all of them in the interests of themselves rather than the customer. But there will also be those who do it because they want a dialogue only on their terms, with no opportunity for the customer, once they have collected their thoughts, to get back to them. As I say, witholding your phone number is bad manners.

In my experience this has spread from telephone advertising into more reputable companies, and is being extended into departments of government. This is unfortunate because, were I to follow my inclination and refuse to speak to anyone phoning me from a "withheld" number, I'd be cutting off my nose to spite my face. Yet, how else am I to get the message across that this practice is unacceptable.

I mention this in the accompanying text to a photograph of a vase of flowers in a sunlit room with deep shadows because I was processing this image around the time I took the call. It's one of my wife's quick and effective arrangements in our living room. As we were talking on the sofa we both saw the possibility of a photograph in the composition. I had thought to convert it to black and white, but then I tended to lose the yellow of the flowers, and it is this, alongside the very sepia-like colours elsewhere in the shot, that make it for me.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 55mm (110mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On