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peta

Months ago I was looking for a tiny book to fill with instagram photos of a trip to Melbourne. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted – little enough to feel true to the instagram format, and full bleed images. I had a difficult time finding exactly that anywhere, so I was happy to see viovio offered them in packs of three and thought they would be a great wee product to review for the Beyond Snapshots blog.

A fair bit of time has actually passed since doing the books, and I have heard the software has been updated since. This is great, because I found it a little bit fiddly, but not too difficult to work out. They don’t link up with instagram, so I saved all my photos to the computer and uploaded them as I would if I were making a book from regular camera photos. I just saw that they have introduced an ipad app, which would be great if you store photos on your iPad, I’d love to see an iPhone version of the app so you can pull photos straight from the camera roll.

Customer service was great, and shipping was speedy.

Here is the book next to the iPhone for a size comparison. Such a great little size

The book and cover became a bit bowed after a few flips through, but it is understandable at such a small size and doesn’t bother me too much

The cover is nice and thick and glossy, I’d love to see it in a matte finish

The inside pages are a great weight for such a small book, usually I prefer a thick page for a full size book, but the thinner weight is better for a tiny flip book format.

The printing is wonderful and true to colour. My favourite thing about the books.

The viovio mini books are only sold in packs of 3 or more, and at $59 for a 3 pack of 100 page books. I am not sure that I would purchase them at full price (this set was in exchange for the review). I’m sure there is a reason for the minimum order of 3 books, but I would be much more likely to purchase the books individually at $20 each than to have to get duplicates every time I wanted a book, which I don’t really have much need for. That said, they are a lovely little book, and I was super impressed with the printing and love having it sitting on my coffee table as a reminder of a great trip!

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Meet Tricia King. She takes AWE-some photos of her life, and posts them to her super addictive blog – The Itchy Eyes. Prepare to be blown away by the way she documents life in her uniquely creative and awesomely honest way.

Where are you from?
I was born in Swindon, Wiltshire in England.  Swindon is best known for being the place where The Office was set but also heralded the band XTC.  My immediate family came to Australia when I was 6.  We left behind cousins and grandparents and uncles and brothers – and whilst one part of me wishes I could have lived the big city London life and gone to St Martins art college or the likes, the other part of me realises that if I would have stayed in England I wouldn’t have travelled the path which led me to photography and my husband (met at art college whilst both photography students) and my girls so I have to be at peace with it.

Where do you currently live?
I currently live in Brisbane, Queensland in Australia with my husband, two daughters, three cats, three chickens and a really healthy vege patch with about a thousand worms.

How long have you been shooting?
I started in early high school.  They had a darkroom tucked under a set of stairs and one of the older girls showed me how to process film and develop prints.  It was magical.  I shot for the school newspaper and did whacky arty projects for myself.  Every school project I somehow turned into an art project.  We had to do an economics project – mine had accompanying photographs.  For an English literature project I made my friends act out scenes which I photographed and submitted along with my written deconstructions.  I was in love with it and passionate from the start.  I can remember vividly that moment when I first saw a print develop in the darkroom.  It was – quite obviously – life changing.

 Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
Self taught for about four years and then schooled.  My guidance counsellor in high school asked me what I wanted to do and I said “go to art college” he told me to drop that stupid idea right that second.  I submitted my portfolio to three colleges (two in Sydney and one in Brisbane) and got into all three.  My parents persuaded me to stay in Brisbane.  I have to admit, art college was great because I got to do what I loved all day long, but it baffled me too.  I knew what the lecturers liked and it was hard not to shoot to get good grades.  I constantly battled with myself about that.  It was a relief when it was over.  The best thing was the people I met there. There were some people who really expanded my thinking in terms of what is art.  And the art swapping – we gave each other prints all the time so I have some nice prints from some very talented artists now.

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
I spent years as an exhibiting photographer holding down a crappy day job.  One certainly doesn’t pay a rent as an exhibiting artist (only the lucky few)!  Then two or three years ago I started to pick up some editorial work – which I loved – and slowly swayed me to the idea of shoot for someone else.  From this emerged a new love of “the client” and I’ve turned this around to embrace family shoots and weddings.  I would have never have been ready to have the confidence in myself to shoot for others all those years ago – it took me a long path to hone my style and my skills to be able to meet a new client and assess their wants and needs and desires and capture that in an image.  So now I’m transitioning from being an exhibiting artist holding down a day job to being a full time portrait and wedding photographer.  I will be dropping the day job bit for good very soon.  Have you heard the Ira Glass piece about how you have to work every day at your art but it may take you years of not quite making the art you want to finally find your voice?  I think I’ve finally found my voice. (FYI watch this if you haven’t already: http://youtu.be/PbC4gqZGPSY).

What is in your camera bag?
I have a 3Annies camera bag which I stock with my Canon 5D M2 which pretty much always has my 35mm lens on it.  I have other lenses but this is the way I see.  I carry my 50mm and 28mm lens, lots of back up cards (I shoot constantly in life and work), spare batteries, my purse, my phone, my iPad, my hard copy diary (I need to write things down, I haven’t found an online to do list or calendar which works for me).  Had you have asked me six months ago I would have said film and a film camera but that hasn’t been so much the case lately.

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
I shot film exclusively for 20 something years.  Right up until last year when I started picking up more family portraits and weddings and decided I should probably explore digital.  I have my own b&w set up at home which I’ve used to varying degrees over the past five years.  I’ve had two children in the past five years and I won’t be around the chemicals when I’m pregnant – so in those times I’ve not processed at home.   I did the whole deal – bulk loaded my b&w film, processed it myself and printed it.  So it seems strange to have lost that side of my this past year but at the same time digital has pushed my boundaries further.

If both, what do you find both positive and negative about shooting in both formats?
As much as I’d like to say I’m shooting both formats I think it’s time to admit to myself I’m not.  I constantly fought myself regarding my change to digital but  I should embrace it as it has many positives and I believe its the right tool for me right now.  There are some amazing film labs these days – and more opening up which is awesome – but it wasn’t so for my last five years of shooting so I took it all on myself (processing and printing film) and I think towards the end it did become a bit hard.  I do miss using my half-frame cameras (which were the loves of my life) but I think my vision has changed.

Why do you love Digital or Film?
For me, I have become a better photographer since shooting digital because it’s been so much more accessible for me.  I know that’s not the case for everyone. Digital lends itself to clicking the shutter profusely and hoping the shot happens in front of you – which you simply cannot do with film – but because I shot film for twenty-something years I don’t do that.  I know the shot and I take it.  I’m economic.  Digital is rad if used right.  I think film is awesome to teach discipline on and everyone would benefit in their shooting to go back and learn the CRAFT of photography.  I am sad that art colleges these days no longer even have darkrooms.

How did this project come about?
I have always endlessly documented.  It’s what I do.  Where ever I go, I take my camera.  The way I now approach photography is reactive in that I respond to what is before me and capture the moment authentically but with my presence in the timing, framing, processing etc. Since having children I’ve had a focal point in my personal life to document.  When my eldest (Cody) was born I took a polaroid of her every two weeks for two years.  When my youngest (Mika) was both we started shooting a roll of 120 medium format of a head shoot of each of us so that we could see how all of us were changing over time.  Digital allowed me to move to daily life.  Film for personal use was too expensive.  So I started shooting mages every day of my girls and in 2012 I decided to start putting them on my blog.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
I’ve done a lot of different projects and series over time but of course none have ever been as personal as photographing my children.  For me, it’s just critical and important.  I have no photographs of myself as a child so that alone marks its importance to me.  The very interesting thing which has arisen from this project is how memory is now preserved.  For example, my daughter vividly remembers the painting on the wall in the house where she first lived – although we moved out when she was two.  Having images refreshes her memory constantly and never allows it to forget.  Their worlds are so detailed now.

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
That beauty and art and importance is everywhere, even in the smallest moment, so best not blink.

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
I am always shooting different projects for one reason or another.  I have at least three semi-formed projects which I am working on.  I say semi-formed as I’m shooting for them but they haven’t quite reached maturation so I’m still at critical stages in their development.  I would be nothing without a zillion different projects at one (I’m one of those awful people who thrive on a chaotic stress).

If so, what is the goal you are trying to achieve from that project?
To keep moving forwards.  Walking towards the mountain and not away from it.

 How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
By shooting all day every day.  I think the daily project is challenging – to shoot the same subject in an interesting way every single day (and after a long day its very hard to not have a “dinner shot” or a “bath shot”).  I’m also starting a blog called Hearth (hearthloves.wordpress.com) which is about how art is everywhere if you just look for it, and I’m using that as a vehicle to push myself outside my comfort zone by doing some non-traditional portraiture.  I think I push myself hard and am super critical but most of all I love what I do so I will always find ways to do it.

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We are excited to introduce the new Work Spaces feature to Beyond Snapshots, showcasing all kinds of photography related spaces, from studios to home offices. We are sure these places will inspire, whether you are in business or happy snapping away at home.

There couldn’t be a better candidate for the first feature of this section than the wonderful studio space of Joyce Smith. She has transformed a dreary office unit into an beautiful and fresh natural light photography studio. The perfect place to create those gorgeous light, airy images she has become so well known for.

The before and afters need to be seen to be believed!

clearly you have a great love for mid century modern furnishing, what piece are you most excited to use in your photo sessions?
It’s funny, because I studied Victorian literature in graduate school and used to have a great love of the frou-frou.  Now I adore the clean lines of midcentury modern furniture and have been redoing my whole home over the past two years (much to hubby’s chagrin) and, of course, having a field day with the studio. I’m excited about the white Eames rocker and the green Eames elephant.  I’ve never been a prop kind of girl, but already the elephant has proven it will work as I’d hoped–capturing the attention of a busy two year old and giving me a prime headshot opportunity!

what’s next on your shopping list?
New canvas samples and new packaging goodies are on the way.  I’m still looking for perfect throw pillows.  I don’t think any more furniture will fit!

what was the most difficult part in the process of creating your studio?
Envisioning what it could become was difficult. After signing the lease I was thrilled for all of ten minutes and then utterly despondent at all that remained to do.  It was a mess!  In a dark hour I even entertained the crazy notion of paying for the year’s lease to get out of it and continuing the search.  Deciding how much money to pour into what might be a temporary space was tricky too.  My landlord paid for the paint so the electrician’s bill (gulp) and floors (double gulp) were on me.

and the most exciting?
The shopping!  I love nothing more than researching something into the ground and this was no different. It was tough because I did have a fairly short time frame and didn’t want to wait for 16-week turnarounds.  Oh, and I am annoyingly picky and indecisive–always wondering if “the one” would be right around the corner.

the papercut dividers are so beautiful! where are they from? they look so delicate, are you not afraid of them and other things like them being broken by little hands? or is that something you have come to accept as inevitable?
Thank you!  They are the work of Dutch-born, London-based designer Tord Boontje and they are actually made of Tyvek! They are the only items in the studio that gave me pause as potentially not child-friendly, but they have already withstood the fury of a few toddlers.  So far so good! I looked at every possible room divider. Most were cheesy.  Some were $12K.  Some were available only on German websites with no US distributer. It was maddening. My favorite, which would not work because of the track lighting, was Parametre by 3form. Maybe in my next studio!

all the white is so calm and fresh. did you know from inception you wanted to go with this kind of colour palette?
Sort of.  I didn’t want EVERYTHING white, which at this point it mostly is, but I knew that I needed white floors to transform the space (and bounce light!) and that I wanted splashes of color. The splashes of color are still a work in progress, but I have some cute Fauna pillows and some bla bla animals on the way. The canvas samples should provide some color as well.

are you finding more people are booking studio or on location sessions?
At this point I have not advertised the studio at all, other than to place images on the blog and add one line to my new client inquiry response.  And yet, I’ve had three sessions at the studio in the two weeks or so that it’s been officially ready. It’s a little surprising to me, actually, since I am obviously known for location work. Once the first two workshops at the studio are finished, I hope to host an open house for my clients.


will your studio get good natural light year-roud? if not, have you considered using lighting in the greyer months?
It does get enough light.  I would not say that it’s an abundance of light a la the perfect industrial loft with rows of six foot windows of which I’m still dreaming, but it is plentiful even on grey February days. A typical reading near the big window on a cloudy, dark March day was f 2, 100 iso, 1/400.  I don’t usually get those kind of readings in private homes. One interesting feature of the studio is that you enter on the first floor (the only ground floor space I saw) but the back, northern-facing windows are on the second story which makes the light even better–no color casts, buildings, or trees anywhere near those windows.  I may consider using lighting. I do have a simple lighting set up at home that I’ve never used for clients, just to learn for my own satisfaction. For quite some time now, though, I’ve had in mind a different sort of session offering for clients–a more commercial, heavily stylized shoot with studio lighting.

how is the studio set up? one big open space or are there different rooms?
One big open space of almost 700 square feet.  It’s not a perfect rectangle–there’s a small inset in the back–but it is very open. There’s a small powder room and one closet–not enough!

have you noticed a change in your style between studio and on location sessions?
Not yet. Time will tell, but this is definitely something I have wondered about during the process. I think I will get bored pretty quickly (sssshh!) so of course I will always offer on-location sessions as well. I really, really, really do not want to continue to drive as much as I do now, though . . . hence the studio!

we have seen all the gorgeous furniture, but what other things do you do to set the mood of your space? The non-visual… music? scents?
One of the first things I bought was a Bose iPhone dock more to cover up the sounds of the business next door (and, ahem, some cigar-smoking construction workers who like to chat out back under my windows, oy!!). I’ve been cueing up Pandora and plan to add a “favorite musical artist” question to my client pre-session questionnaire.  That way I can have their custom Pandora station playing when they arrive.  I’ve kept up the lovely fresh flowers for a few weeks but I see low-maintenance, less sweet-smelling cacti and moss spheres in my future.  ha ha!

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The response to our last poll on locations for a possible teaching tour was really wonderful.  Clearly there are a lot of you who would like to learn more and we have a much better feel for where we are considering holding these classes.  We would love to hear from you now about budget and time.  If you would just take a minute to answer this super short poll, we would appreciate your thoughts.

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As photographers, we find inspiration not only in photos, but all sorts of cool, creative stuff.

We thought it would be fun to showcase some of our favorite places to whittle away the hours online.

First up, is a tiny tour of some of our favorite kid related design blogs. Grab yourself a coffee or tea and get comfy, you could get lost in these for a while!

ohdeedoh is the baby of apartment therapy, the awesome and hugely successful home design blog. It is a wealth of endlessly inspiring ideas for kids room/nursery design, and all kid-related design from toys to dinnerware.

dos family is a Swedish interior design blog run by two friends. Dos focusses on family homes, all are beautiful, quirky, livable and completely awesome.

lmnop focuses on pulling the best of kid fashion and accessories from the biggest tradeshows in Paris, New York and Tokyo and bringing them to your living room.

grosgrain’s author, Kathleen describes herself as an artsy craftsy, penny pinching, party planning, playdating, fashion finding, sci-fi loving, stay at home mommy who always keeps her sewing machine plugged in and loves all things charming. There is so much DIY sewing inspiration and give aways for those who are less craft-inclined. One of our favorites is the last minute frock tutorial, throwing together a dress in less time that it takes to run a load of laundry, that’s a novel idea!

Inchmark is chock full of fabulous home DIY and craft ideas. Author Brooke is a book designer and former art director at Martha Stewart. She is always coming up with ingenious creations and twists on every day things. It’s a little early in the year, but we especially love her home made Halloween costume collection

Modern Kiddo is another fabulous blog that features all things kid related and awesome… wardrobe features, party ideas, craft tutorials… endless inspiration. Alix and Dottie know their cool stuff. Look out for them in the launch issue of MAEVE magazine next month (another cool thing we are super excited about! More on that later)

We left Etsy out of this round, because there is just too much there. That will be a post for another day!

What are some of your favorite kid related design blogs? We would love to see!

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Does your camera take great pictures?  Well, have we got a coffee mug for you.
Can’t stop taking photos of your baby?  There is a onesie for that.

Beyond Snapshots has teamed up with the AWESOME, fantastic, Jodi Walker, the talented designer behind Itch Design to come out with a line of fun, quirky, photo-themed goodies for your enjoyment. We are beyond thrilled with what she has come up with and we think you will love it too!

There is something for everyone. We love that all the American Apparel tees are organic and we are really excited about the cute SIGG bottles and the adorable journals (it will be perfect for jotting notes for our book!)

Head over to the store to see the full range

More fun designs will be rolled out soon!

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Announcing the winner of The Lola bag by Epiphanie!

#11 :: Janine Coveney

Congratulations, you are going to love that bag!

Thank you all for taking the time to enter this contest and for sharing your images!  We love seeing people interpret a theme and we will be doing more of that soon.

This contest was a random draw for the winner, but looking through all the links, we found some amazing photographs and we wanted to share just a few of our favorites with everyone.  Please enjoy some of the entries for the “red” theme!

Left                             Right

Jodi Palmer           Tomi Omololu
Charlie Jones        Vanessa
Candice Renee      Corina
Maggie Otharan    Tania
Lisa G                      Kelly West Mars

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CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

We will be selecting the winner via Random.org in the next day.  Due to the close of the contest falling on Easter here in Australia, please allow for a few extra hours before we post the winner!  We know everyone is excited, but there are some Easter baskets to be filled!

Maile Wilson has donated a red Lola epiphanie camera bag for our latest contest here on Beyond Snapshots!  It is a gorgeous bag and we are excited to have this chance to share with our readers!

This is another photo contest and in honor of the red Lola bag that is up for grabs, we want to see your red themed photos.

Here is what you need to do.  Take a photo (or pull one from your archives) that represents red.  Get creative, the photo does not have to be all red, nothing but red…we are looking for something that means red.  Once you have your photo, you need to post it on your own corner of the internet…your blog is best, but it could be facebook, flickr, just somewhere where we can see it. Make sure you tell everyone about the contest on your post and spread the word about epiphanie bags and beyond snapshots!

Once you have posted your red photo, come back here and click the link that says “you are next” to enter your details. You will need to provide the url of your photo post where it says “blog url” so that we can see it!

You have until April 2nd to enter. The winner will be announced on April 3rd. We’re looking forward to seeing what you have for us!

Want extra chances to win? If you follow us on twitter, join our facebook fan page or retweet our contest tweet, you can come back and leave another entry!

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and we are talking about a GORGEOUS epiphanie camera bag! Ours arrived just a few weeks ago and they are even better than we had imagined.  Maile Wilson, the photographer/designer behind these awesome new camera bags generously sent us our choice of her range to review…  Rachel went for the Lola, a bright red funky shoulder bag.  Peta opted for the brown tote, Ginger.  The best part of this, Maile sent an additional one (a Lola just like Rachel’s new bag) for us to give away to one lucky reader!  They both look nothing like any camera bag we have seen! (In a really good way)

First, lets talk camera bags!

Maile has set the style bar high from the very moment you open the box.  The bags arrive in their own branded protective case (wrapped in plastic for the ride) in a color that matches the interior of the bag.  It was a little worrying at this point that the bags might be just nice looking and not strong camera bags, but one zip later when the actual bags were revealed, there was no doubt of their strength and beauty.

The red bag is quite tall.  It fits Rachel’s D3 with a lens (currently the 50mm f/1.4G, but has also been successfully tried with bigger lenses and there were no issues) and an additional lens, wallet, small makeup bag and iPod.  All safe and easy to find in the soft lavender interior.  There is also a zipped pocket that is the perfect size for some extra CF cards and the White Balance cap.  Rachel tucks her keys in one exterior pocket and her BlackBerry in the other.

Peta has less stuff to cart around than Rachel, so the Ginger bag is MORE than enough bag for her Canon 5D with the 24-70mm f/2.8L lens attached, wallet, makeup bag, iPod and more.  This bag has more spots to store things than most carry-on bags, yet it looks almost smaller than Rachel’s red one.  This is a bag for someone who loves to divide and organize with 4 exterior zipped pockets and one on the inside.  It is a lovely chocolatey brown with a bright robin’s egg blue interior.

Both bags come with long, padded, detachable shoulder straps in case you want to wear it slung over the body.  They are made of a rich feeling and looking faux leather and are so well constructed.  Both come with removable velcro dividers so that the interior can be set up to fit the gear you carry.  No detail has been left out with the choice of hardware and even the silver camera bag tag.  I think the thing that struck both Rachel and Peta is the fact that even though the bags are packed with the camera, extra lens and personal stuff…they somehow feel lighter than carrying the camera alone.  Not sure if it is the slight elasticity that the handles seem to have  that allows for this, but it is great and was the surprise bonus of this bag.  Great looking and super comfortable to carry.  These are impressive camera bags and it shows that these are the product of a long and careful design process.  We asked Maile a few questions just to give our readers a bit of back story.

Give us your story in an elevator pitch…the quick and dirty…was there an “a-ha” moment or did this come about in a more fluid way? When did the idea came about and then how long it took for you to get the bags designed and produced? Any major things you learned in the process that made these even better than you imagined they could be?
The idea for a camera-handbag came about when I realized I had so few decent pictures of my own life. As a professional photographer, that felt like a sacrilege. And I knew it was for the simple (albeit lazy) reason that I hated carrying a camera bag. Even though I’m pretty hard on my equipment, it always felt like a gamble to be wrapping up such expensive gear in a hand towel, and then shoving it into my purse.

When I realized there were no camera bags on the market that could truly pass as a hot handbag, I set out to create one. It took a little over two years, and if I’m honest, the process was grueling. I could go on forever with stories about the many times it all seemed impossible. But I really believed in what I was doing. I knew I was creating a product that women photographers needed. So when I got to the road blocks (after a few tantrums), I just moved as much as I could in that moment. Because even an inch gets you that much closer to your goal. And after a while, the inches add up.

How did you name the bags?
I named them because the whole idea of creating stylish camera handbags seemed like an “aha” moment (an epiphany). I had never seen it done before, but the idea in itself is relatively simple. I used the French spelling, mainly because I just thought it looked better in the logo, and wasn’t so literal.

I also really like the concept of “epiphanie” because it plays out in so many ways. It’s my goal to build this business on more than camera bags. But to also have it be a catalyst for people to find inspiration, as well as their own “epiphanies”.

How did you decide on the colors?
I’ve gotten this question a lot. Basically, I love color and I just selected what I would personally use. I don’t think there’s a color in the spectrum which can’t be paired with either turquoise or red. Then again, that’s me. :)

And we’ve been pretty overwhelmed with requests for a little black Lola. So, of course we’re listening, and she will make her debut sometime around the end of summer.

Will the new styles replace the old ones or will they be in addition to these 3?
The original styles will stay around/expanded on with different colors as long as they’re selling consistently.

Where is the farthest these bags have traveled? That you know of.
Hmm.. Singapore? Australia :) ? I’m not sure. But it’s definitely been a dream come true to watch them fly out the door, and all over the world.

When will the new styles be coming out, and how many new styles are there?
We are hoping for the end of summer/ beginning of fall. I’m not sure about details right now because we’re still going back and forth with the sample process and a lot can change. But we’re always eager to hear ideas and (constructive) feedback. We read every single suggestion that is sent in, and we’re working really hard to make more products that are as functional as they are fashionable.

What do you want people to know about these bags and yourself?
That’s hard. I guess I’d want people to know that they are labor of love, and a testament that one foot in front of the other can eventually make magical things happen. I’d also want our customers to know that we’re truly grateful for them.

Next post on Beyond Snapshots… Instructions on how to win your own Red Lola Epiphanie Camera Bag here!

You can find Epiphanie bags at their website, blog, facebook and twitter

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We are working with Melissa to take this show on the road. Since this workshop is for you, first question… Where you would like to join us?

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