'Carlos' - i-D online in August www.i-donline.com/i-spy/carlos

National Geographic's Photography Contest 2010

The annual National Geographic Photography compettition (2010) closed it's doors to submissions at the end of the November and the winner will be announced in the next few days. There are hundreds of fantastic photographs - it's going to be a tough job choosing the best. I think they all deserve to win! Below are one's that stood out for me... you can view the others at www.nationalgeographic.com

'A Ghost' by Julien Legrand

'Child's Play' by Carl Bertram

'Lightening Strike NY Harbor' by Jay Fine

'Inside a Hot Air Balloon' by Bakhtiyor Rasulev

'Supercell Thunderstorm' by Sean Heavey


'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas' (and don't I bloody know it)

For a few months now I have been living with my Mum's new dog. I am not naturally a canine lover; the smell, the constant attention and the jumping up are not qualities I have the patience for. With Skat (the dogs name - 'darling' in Danish) though, I have had to compromise. He is now a fixture of our home and has come to dominant our lives. It would be impossible and impractical to ignore his existence - I live in a basement flat so his presence (even if he is not visible) is always felt.

Looking at him he is the picture perfect puppy. A little black Labrador that you would find on a postcard. He does an adorable little dance around you when you're about to give him his food. He comes bounding up to you when you shake his treat box. And when he's waiting for his treat he always looks up at you and cocks his little head, his soft ears shaping his beautiful face. It is hard not to allow your heart to melt into his stare.

However, a lesson I quickly learned, is that he is not looking deeply into your eyes and thinking what a lovely creature you are too - these little moments of calm are not because you are sharing a special 'bond'. Rather, he has momentarily been hypnotised by the possibility that soon he will have something delicious in his stomach. He is a 'dog driven by food' as our trainer puts it (and nothing else it seems). In fact, Skat will eat pretty much anything in sight; socks, plastic, nails, wood and even his own business have all made appearances in his digestive system.

I am more of a cat person. So on his first display of 'anything goes' in terms of whats edible, my initial reaction was 'how unsophisticated'. You would never see a little kitty munch on some of the things the dog will. And this is pretty much how our relationship has continued. He lacks charm and class, he just thunders into a room, wreaks havoc and then charges off. He will respond to anything that can be eaten and never enjoys or seems to want to enjoy the 'quiet moments in life'. Perhaps this is because he is still a puppy (we're nearly celebrating his sixth month mark) and hopefully this is true.

What I must add though, that with all his lack of elegance, he is one of those things you love to hate. He can be the most irritating, tiresome and tactless of animals, but he is ours now. We must embrace his 'odd ball' qualities and love every inch of his dark fur. As the days pass by, this is getting easier to do. He is beginning to at least hesitate before he charges off after something while you are screaming his name and telling him to stop in his ear. This, however small, is an improvement that we must take as encouragement. Although I would never admit it, I do hope he manages to stay on after Christmas...!