Saal Digital UK - Photo book | Review


4 AUGUST 2018


Saal Digital UK - Photo book | Review

As many of you surely know, a few months ago Saal Digital was looking for photographers to test their products and printing services. The company would give out a voucher in exchange for a review of a product of your choice. This would be my second time using Saal's services, so I chose the 15x21 photo book.

Saal Digital is a professional photo lab specialized in high-quality photo products, including photo books, photo prints, calendars, etc, so, as expected, the photobook I ordered had the high-quality printing and binding. The images were sharp and true to their colours which, if you've ever tried to print pictures before, you know it's something hard to achieve.

Saal's services are something I would definitely recommend, whether you need a photo book, a poster or a new business card.

Saal Digital Portugal - Álbum digital | Review


19 JANUARY 2017


No passado dia 9 Janeiro encomendei um álbum digital através da Saal, uma empresa de impressões fotográficas alemã já conhecida por muitos pelos seus anúncios nas redes sociais. O objetivo dos anúncios seria encontrar fotógrafos para testar os seus produtos: álbuns digitais, calendários, quadros e entre muitos outros. Após ler o feedback da Cláudia decidi arriscar e testar por mim mesma.

Encomendei o álbum quadrado 19x19 composto por 26 páginas em papel fotográfico mate e capa brilhante. Um género de coffee table book, pequeno, mas ideal para um portfólio físico facilmente transportável.

O processo de criação do álbum é simples e bastante rápido graças ao software que não só é prático, mas bastante eficaz. Existem já layouts pré-definidos que ajudam quem não é designer friendly.

Quanto à impressão, os pretos nas imagens são ligeiramente escuros, no entanto, não é nada alarmante e que não seja compensado pelas cores brilhantes no resto da fotografia.

Com preços acessíveis a partir de 19,95€ e um prazo de entrega entre três a cinco dias, os álbuns da Saal são, sem sombra de dúvida, o novo melhor amigo de qualquer fotógrafo.

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Is the pill yesterday’s method of contraception?


14 DECEMBER 2017


 The Pill is known to have contributed to the death of over 553 years since it was first sold to the public

The Pill is known to have contributed to the death of over 553 years since it was first sold to the public

Even though more than 50 years have passed, the pill has barely changed. Can this be affecting millennials’ opinions on the beloved contraceptive miracle?

According to the NHS, the number of women using the pill between 2005 and 2013 dropped by more than 13 percent. These numbers tend to include mainly millennials (born roughly between 1982 and 1999), but why do the numbers keep dropping?

As faithful internet users, it doesn’t take long to link the pill to its dangerous side effects like blood clots, depression or, worse case scenario, cancer. Only a few clicks away is the explanation for the symptoms women experience daily: heavy blood flow, drastic mood swings, weight gain and so on. As expected, along with the search for symptoms, it is a matter of tabs until someone falls into the trap of auto-diagnosing themselves.

Hannah Witton, a 25-year-old Youtuber known for her sex-positive channel, created the hormone diaries, a series where she describes her adventure on getting off the pill. She starts the first episode (uploaded on 9 August 2016) by taking her pill one last time, after taking it for 7 years non-stop. “I just want my body to do its thing,” she says.

On the course of these episodes, Hannah describes how not taking cerazette (the oral contraception she was put on since she was 17), was impacting her physical and mental health: “I was recently in LA and, one day, I was just like “Oh there’s the pain, it hurts again” and I just had this feeling of like ‘No, not again!’ and if this is how I am mentally and emotionally reacting to my cycle, then maybe I should stop them.” After coming to that realization, Hannah made the decision of getting the merina coil.

Maria João Soares, a doctor from Porto, explains: “Even though the pill is one of the cheapest and easiest methods of contraception, it has its inconveniences. The coil is cheap (can be inserted for free on an NHS clinic) and it lasts up to 10 years. There are two types of contraceptive coil: the IUS (intrauterine system), which is a small plastic device that slowly releases a hormone called progestogen, and the IUD (intrauterine device) which is made of copper and does not contain any hormones. The coil can also be an advantage when you don’t have to worry about taking it every day at the same time, and a lot of young women leading busy lives commonly forget to take their pill.”

Inês Gueifão, a NOVA University medical student, adds: “The coil is an amazing device usually recommended to younger people with troubled lives and/or families. It is a great alternative to the pill, even though there might be some risks when inserting it, as it is advocated to women who have been pregnant before.”

Even if the pill continues to be someone’s oral contraceptive of choice, the seven-day break is, according to Professor John Guillebaud, still “outdated” and “should be consigned to history” since it had been made 60 years ago, and based “arbitrarily on the calendar, and not on science.”

The pill is now known to have contributed to the death of over 553 women and, if these numbers keep growing, it is believed that the number of young adults taking it will keep lowering.

 

Written for Introduction to Broadcast Journalism
(BA) Journalism at London South Bank University

Is the pill yesterday’s method of contraception?


28 June 2017


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From ghost stories to broken amps and acapella covers, the concert was far from perfect – which also made it one of the best I have ever experienced

About 2 weeks ago I headed to Oxford Circus to watch Sondre Lerche and his band perform at The Borderline. For those who have never heard of Sondre, he is a Norwegian indie rock/jazz(ish) musician that has just released his 8th studio album, Pleasure. The new record features a varied number of styles: while I Know Something That’s Gonna Break Your Heart reminds us of the psychedelic rock of Tame Impala, songs like I’m Always Watching You or Soft Feelings give us more of an 80s disco vibe.

I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now, so to finally see him perform live got me really excited as from the moment I bought those tickets (yes, tickets. I somehow managed to drag a friend with me (thanks Rita)).

Anyway, as I was saying, I went to The Borderline and, just like always, got there way too early. The opening act only started at 8pm, as the shy keyboard player Alexander Von Mehren walked on stage, accompanied by David Heilman (the drummer) and Chris Holm (the bass guitarist). The feeling that they were as excited to perform as we were to watch was eminent on the smiles they all carried. The three played some tunes from Alexander’s album, Aéropop and, as they were doing it, Alex explained the thought process behind each and every song he wrote. With funny lyrics that talk about Norwegian politicians and winter, the hour passed as if it had only been five minutes.

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When the time came, everyone had already forgotten the actual reason we were all there. The trio left the stage wearing bigger smiles than the ones they walked in, knowing they were coming back to a crowd that will happily welcome them once more. The time that separated Sondre from us was getting shorter and you could feel the excitement and enthusiasm sinking in the room as the minutes passed.

Everyone walked back to the stage, but there was still no sign of Sondre. The band then began to play what seemed like an odd beat with a lot of drums. “Soft Feelings”, I whisper to my friend. You could see everyone’s head turning round to see where he would come from. Jokes on all of us, he came from right behind the stage curtain.

With his very own dance moves, Sondre performed Soft Feelings and Legends with passion and dedication, as if it were the first time. Everything was going according to plan when something very unexpected happened: right when he was about to start Phantom Punch (his most punk rock hit), the amp broke.

And now what?
We all had the same question.

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To keep us distracted and entertained, David, the drummer, told us some ghost stories about the hotel room they were staying in. The tension was still noticeable but everyone was laughing and enjoying the uniqueness of the moment. As they realized they weren’t going to be able to fix it themselves, they had to call someone. Even though everything seemed to be going down, Sondre didn’t quit right there, and so sang acapella. That’s when I knew, not only was he talented as a musician and music producer, but also as an artist.

The amp couldn’t be fixed, but the show couldn’t stop either, so some sort of “technological revolution”, as David Heilman proudly called it, was made and everything went on like nothing had happened in the first place. The remaining setlist had the regular amount of Pleasure, a bit of Please and a taste of Two Way MonologueTo wrap the night, Sondre, by himself, presented us with an acoustic version of I’m Always Watching You, a performance that sent shivers down every single person’s spine in that audience.

Shortly after that everyone got kicked out of the venue by the security guards (who were just really doing their job, no hard feelings) and, even though we barely had time to talk to Sondre or the band, I’m sure we all went home with an overwhelming good feeling and our hearts full of pleasure.



Written for Side Stage Collective  

Are the Oscars genre biased?


12 MAY 2017


Are the Oscars genre biased?

Since the Oscars first premiered, they have always been known for their presumably biased choices. However, movies can also help with that matter

The Oscar bait, a well-known term by the film community, is what we call a movie that appears to have been produced only for the sole purpose of being nominated for an Academy Award (commonly known as an “Oscar”).

When a film wins an Oscar, the profit made is beyond imaginable. According to IBISWorld the best picture for the last 5 years has had an average budget of $17 million, and a profit of $82.5 million at the box-office. These numbers could easily influence producers on creating something that is believed to have a higher chance of earning a nomination. Let's take the example of Damien Chazelle, the young film director from LA. Damien had written La La Land previous to Whiplash, however, he knew that a musical like that would only ever see the light of day with a bigger budget. With that being, he wrote Whiplash that, not surprisingly, ended up being nominated for best picture in 2015, which gave him the exposure and funds to finally start producing his dream musical, La La Land.

It is possible that Damien knew Whiplash would be nominated because of the Oscars' genre bias. When asked if the best movies win, Thelma Adams, a film critic, laughs and says "God, no, that's the simple answer. American critics are biased, they are majority white and are looking at movies through a highly educated, professional class, white male lens." Movies like Whiplash, serious dramas with weighty inspirational themes are the ones that are most likely to win, even though real-life inspired events and blockbusters also have a very high chance of being nominated. On the other hand, the least likely to be nominated for best picture are foreign-language films, only having 3 nominations since 1973 which are Life Is Beautiful (1997, Italian), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Taiwan), and Amour (2012, French.)

It is more than clear that the best films don't win the Oscars, but how far will the Academy go? In the last 13 years, 62% of the nominations were dramas, from which 61 ended up winning. Every best picture winner since 2010 has fallen into one of two camps: they have either been a real-life story about characters who battled some sort of adversity or injustice (Spotlight, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The King's Speech), or else they've been the film industry (Birdman, The Artist, Argo again).

Whoever wins the awards, there is one thing we can be sure of - the Oscar brand is real. Movie directors and producers that know how to get to the 500$ golden statue will profit from it, a lot.

Written and designed for Digital Journalism II
(BA) Journalism at London South Bank University