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A group distraction, presented by nige.


The first instalment of Interview52 is now complete! It started on Friday 18th July 2008 and finished on 13th September 2009. A little later than expected, but we got there.


52 mobloggers from around the world...

Some familiar, some not...

Each will publish a unique self-portrait, accompanied by a short interview.

Candid portrait meets candid interview.

The Rules

Every Friday the next interviewee in line will publish a new portrait and interview, consisting of their answers to the ten questions they have been given.

After they have published, the interviewee will then become the interviewer. They will be responsible for finding the next participant, as well as compiling the questions that this next person in line will answer. Interviewers can change as many or as few questions as they like, but they should change at least one before passing them on to the next lucky punter.

Thats it! Simple. More detailed instructions will be given to each interviewee as and when they are approached, so fear not.

The interviewees so far









Jig along



Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri








Jane Doe



Spiderbaby / Freakdog




George w/Blue Eyes






















Strange Little Girl




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The outtakes

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1. Where are you? Tell us the story that got you there.

Hurtling backwards through the Peak District writing this in longhand. Then at some point later I shall be sat at a laptop in Liverpool writing it up and trying to resist the urge to edit.

How did I get to be writing this in transit? Over the last few years I've worked in Sheffield, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool and at present I find myself bouncing about between the most northerly three like a pinball. Still, the scenery is great.

2. Why do you Moblog? And which of the posts on your Moblog are your favorite?

Back in about 1999, perhaps 1998, I signed up for a photography course. It was the sort that involved an old K1000 permanently borrowed from my dad and much use of film and darkrooms. At the time I remember saying that I had always been such a linguistic person and I wanted to learn a new language, ie. to think in pictures.

Cut forward to late 2004/early 2005 and I was doing some research about online photography communities for a work project (A Digital Picture of Britain), ended up talking to Alfie, as you do, and the rest is history.

Now I moblog for lots of reasons ranging from immediacy to history - I've been here for over four years and have over 90 pages of photos - and back again.

My favourites are probably split between shots that encapsulate moments for me and are part of my personal archive - and those that are portraits of loved ones.

Moments like.... the Apparitions I met whilst walking with my pregnant sister in 2005. Feeling abstracted and emotional in 2006 or just plain through the looking glass in 2008.

Portraits: Beautiful wife, Brother, dear friend

And I've not even started on the wedding photos!

3. If you could take a year off, what would you do with it.

Realistically, I'd probably spend the first month panicking and trying to adjust to not having the imperative of work every day. Then.... Travel. Train for a marathon. Learn to do something new.

4. Imagine you would have to spend the rest of your life on a deserted island. Which three items (or people) would you take and why?

Presuming that all the necessaries to sustain life are provided for, I'd like to take my mobile phone, my wife and my cats please.

5. What do you actually do all day long?

Work wise it depends on what project and what role - I'm sometimes more of a journalist and sometimes more of a producer. So any mix of writing, editing, shouting at software (Avid, I mean you!), meeting people, shooting video, having meetings with other organisations to set up partnerships, managing other people, working with designers and developers, doing work with young people.

Outside work you know what I do, if you've seen my moblog. I run. I go to the theatre and gigs and various other arty happenings. I walk up hills. I spend time with my wife, my family, my cats and can usually be found by following a trail of books, newspapers and coffee cups.

6. What trait do you most dislike in yourself and what trait do you
most dislike in others?

In others? Apart from the obvious like fascistic tendencies, racism, homophobia, bullying, dishonesty....

I have the odd little bugbear which I worry away at. At the moment it's the difference between real friends and networking contacts. A few people don't know the difference and treat every personal interaction as a transaction for gain. That doesn't cut much ice with me. I'm a great believer in good faith and altruism. I'm probably very old fashioned.

In myself? Intolerance!

7. What's your motto? Your tagline? Your favorite saying?

But I digress....

8. What is your strongest memory from childhood?

Well if we're going to get all Romantic with a capital R, my strongest memories are probably isolated but terrifying incidents. Like seeing one of my parents grieve terribly when one of my grandparents died suddenly.

But I had a very happy childhood and remember things that were happening perpetually, like being a good big sister and looking after my clingy younger sister, who always wanted to hold my hand. Or being not such a good big sister and dressing my much younger brother up like a doll in the dressing up box.

9. What movie have you most often recommended to others and why, or what's your favorite movie?

There's no one favourite. Recently I've really enjoyed Milk, My Summer of Love and I've Loved You So Long.

Over the last few years I've probably recommended: Orlando, Far From Heaven, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Blade Runner.

If there's a common thread to those, it's probably to do with visual style, artifice and how characters construct their identities through dress, makeup, outward appearance. If you care to look at any of the shots I post of myself, you'll notice that very few of them are "straight" look-at-me shots. As a woman I'm very aware that my appearance is constantly being judged and elided with all sorts of other issues about my social standing, so I always try to subvert the picture somehow.

10. Of all the places you have traveled or lived, is there one in particular that you think everyone should see some time in their lives, and why?

Conversely, is there one you never want to see again?

I'm not well enough travelled to make a pick from the whole planet. But all Brits who haven't already been should head for the North West Highlands and keep going north, up past Ullapool. The vastness, drama and relative emptiness of the landscape is a real eye-opener for all of us small islanders. And with the exchange rate as it is, it's cheaper than Norway.

I was not a fan of Beverley Hills and in fact spent most of my visit to LA being grumpy that I wasn't still in San Francisco.

Posted by OJ

1st May 2009, 11:36   | tags:


nige says:

Great interview. This may be a strange thing to say, but you have such a clean manner of writing that I leave feeling like i've understood every part of what you've written here. Then again, you are a journo, so perhaps not so strange : )

Really glad you posted those links too, because some of those I definitely missed first time around. I remember the portraits of your brother and your good friend very well, mind.

1st May 2009, 12:18

OJ says:

Thanks nige. I was definitely in web writing mode there. I have various other, more longwinded modes of writing too and I sometimes miss them. :)

I had difficulty choosing which pictures to post, I have to say. So many give me pleasure - and not because of the quality of the photographs, because of the memories of taking them.

Talking about the NW highlands I have the sudden urge to look at my Applecross pictures. It's very self-indulgent.

1st May 2009, 12:35

factotum says:

I didn't allow myself to be distracted by the links until I'd finished the interview, but can't resist commenting on the Apparitions first: What an extraordinary series of images!
I enjoyed the resonance of the interview very much too.

1st May 2009, 12:41

OJ says:

Thanks factotum. You know that I value your opinion :)

Those Apparitions shots are possibly my favourites that never got highlighted.

Having veered towards visual thinking for a while, I'm going back more towards words these days and reading poetry again.

The word that springs to mind for those shots now is "supplication".

1st May 2009, 12:52

JokerXL says:

Fascinating, thank you OJ.

*note to self; get yourself up that Northwest coastline, SOON*

1st May 2009, 13:05

OJ says:

Not in the lorry Joker? You'll need something a bit smaller to get to the best bits.

1st May 2009, 13:34

Viv says:

Had to laugh at the idea of Joker taking to the NW in his lorry!

Yes it is a beautiful part of the world - long time since I was up there - before the girls - just loved it though.

Hey your intolerance is only of the crass and annoying - means we all know where we are with you :)

You have such a zest for life - always enjoy sharing your thoughts and feelings

1st May 2009, 14:00

queserasara says:

I'm laughing at Joker in the highlands in his lorry - but also have a visual image of your brother dressed up as a doll! Thank you OJ - great interview - agree with Nige come away with strong sense of who you are - coupled with the links to your archives

1st May 2009, 17:34

JokerXL says:

Well, perhaps not out on the islands, but you'd be surprised where I can get in that Uber-wagon of mine.
Always up for a challenge.

1st May 2009, 18:14

Viv says:

single track roads, steep hills ....mmmmm :)

1st May 2009, 20:32

beth says:

I really like the apparitions shots too

1st May 2009, 20:55

beth says:

Also, Helen Cross who wrote "my summer of love" did some creative writing workshops with us when we were at uni, they were good, I sort of wish we'd done them earlier on in the year though and maybe a bit more work with words and pictures but still I quite like her writing style.

1st May 2009, 21:00

OJ says:

Oh I really like her book. I read it on holiday last year and virtually had to have it ripped out of my hands to go through passport control. I have been recommending it to all and sundry ever since. She has a new one out you know....saw something the other day.

It's probably a good thing no one asked me what books we'd recommend or I'd never have shut up.

What's Helen Cross like?

1st May 2009, 21:07

beth says:

Very astute, demure, calm, thought provoking and wore a nice coat.

It's odd actually because I was thinking of her only the other day when I wrote for microhappy because I changed the person perspective in it which is something we did a lot of with her.

2nd May 2009, 00:30

MaggieD says:

I always look at the pic first and try and guess who the interviewee is .... I was right this time .... you have a distinctive style (and instantly recognisable face, lovely strong features, despite the blur) ... oh yes, and a lovely figure .... then I get down to the important bit, the interview ... I also went back and checked out your archives :) .... and then I came across your reference to Helen Cross and My Summer of Love .... I read it a while ago and, like you, was captivated, not so well up on the Yorkshire dialect, but really taken with the relationship and storyline ...

2nd May 2009, 18:06

Judo-Jule says:

suitcase list for deserted island;

TWO cats

OJ, you cheated. ;-)

7th May 2009, 18:03

taniwha says:

Thanks OJ. You are one of the people I've been aware of but know very little about. So, I appreciated the chance to get more of an insight.

8th May 2009, 07:41

OJ says:

Heh Jule, I was wondering when you'd notice.

In my defence: THEY MADE ME DO IT!

And hello Taniwha. I'm not actually sure how much there is to know or how interesting it is, but glad you enjoyed the post.

8th May 2009, 14:04

OMG I got so involved in my own challenges I missed this completely. I'm so sorry OJ!

On the other hand it was a real treat being able to read this now in a moment of calm

I love the photo and your interview is as rational, clear and balanced as I had imagined it would be. Shame we live in different cities because I'd love to get to know both of you face-to-face better

12th May 2009, 11:29

OMG I got so involved in my own challenges I missed this completely. I'm so sorry OJ!

On the other hand it was a real treat being able to read this now in a moment of calm

I love the photo and your interview is as rational, clear and balanced as I had imagined it would be. Shame we live in different cities because I'd love to get to know both of you face-to-face better

12th May 2009, 11:38

OJ says:

Hey, no need to apologise for not having read an interview!

Rational, clear and balanced. They're going on my CV, thanks :)
Seriously, I've been told I have "integrity" in a couple of times lately and it means a lot.

Young, impulsive, sexy, rich be damned eh ;)

I meant to spend more time in London last year but West Coast Mainline militated against it. Let's catch up soon. I'm best one to one (and with a cup of tea) generally.

12th May 2009, 17:19

nice one OJ! Thankyou.

15th May 2009, 19:57

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