Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Andy Lee photographer Iceland landscapes

From Bored Panada

As amazing as Iceland’s natural sights are, the sheer amount of photographers that visit there means that a lot of their photos end up looking fairly similar. UK-based photographer Andy Lee, however, has used an interesting technique to ensure that his photographs of Iceland’s stark and proud landscape are especially dramatic and atmospheric.

Lee’s stunning photos, which are from “Blue Iceland” and several other Iceland-focused series, resemble Romantic-era paintings because of their moody atmosphere and dramatic lighting. They were created by shooting with a camera that can pick up infrared light and/or a filter that filters out some or all visible light (emphasizing infrared wavelengths). Digital SLR cameras react to IR light, but many have blockers installed to minimize it. This means that one would either have to remove the blocker or use a darkening IR filter (for more tips on how to use this technique, check outthis article).

This technique can produce very interesting effects, blocking light from some visible wavelengths, emphasizing light from others, and picking up light from some wavelengths invisible to the naked eye. The natural features in Lee’s painting-like photographs stand under a black sky and are eerily illuminated by a seemingly faint and distant sun.

Iceland, a country rich with roaring volcanoes, monolithic glaciers, icy mountains and deep fjords, has become a mecca for photographers looking to capture the raw, mystical power of its natural northern beauty. The ruggedness of and stark contrasts present in Iceland’s landscapes makes them irresistible to photographers like Lee.

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If you like Andy’s landscapes go to his 500px site here, you will not be disappointed

The death of professional photography – another nail in the coffin

Most Of The Pics In Ikea’s Catalog Are Computer Generated

The Huffington Post tells us that now cameras and photographers are irrelevant to making images of products

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Most of what you see here is not a real photo. | CGSociety

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The same kitchen, designed to appeal to three different nationalities

Those picturesque still-life scenes in Ikea catalogs aren’t real.

Up to 75 percent of the Ikea products in catalog displays are computer-generated images, according to CGSociety, an Australian graphic-design group. That’s up from25 percent just two years ago.

An Ikea spokeswoman did not respond to a request from The Huffington Post for comment. A spokesman for CGSociety did not return a call from HuffPost to ask whether the group had a business relationship with Ikea.

 

The transition to computer imagery started in the 2006 catalog, with a single image of a blond-finished wood chair called “Bertil.” As the company’s reach spread around the globe, with different products in various markets, traditional photography became expensive and difficult to manage. Making tweaks to products for certain local markets would require new catalog photos for each market, for example.

Instead of doing that, the company built up a digital library of 25,000 three-dimensional models, which may have helped Ikea speed up the phasing out of its photography.

Ikea last year used these 3-D models in a new “augmented reality” feature for the app version of its catalog. The feature lets customers superimpose 3-D images of Ikea products wherever they point their smartphone cameras — into an empty kitchen or living room, for example.

See the full article here

Photography theory: a beginner’s guide

Bewildered by Berger? Stumped by Sontag? We read the essential photography theory so you don’t have to. Putting this simply here is a digest of the writings on photography by the great photography writers as seen in The Telegraph  Here is an example of what is on offer to give the chance to work out if you want to delve further

“The decisive moment”, an idea that has defined street photography and photojournalism as we know it, was first outlined in the preface to a book of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson. The essay starts with Cartier-Bresson charting his life so far as a photographer – from messing around with a Box Brownie as a child to co-founding Magnum Photos – before talking through his approach to photography.

According to Cartier-Bresson, there is an almost magical split-second in which events in the world – interactions between people, movement, light and form – combine in perfect visual harmony. Once it passes, it is gone forever. To capture such moments as a photographer you must be inconspicuous, nimble and attentive; working on instinct; responding to reality and never trying to manipulate it.

Composition cannot be planned, nor can it be added in afterwards. Cropping will invariably make a good shot worse and is unlikely to make a bad shot better. Camera settings shouldn’t be something the photographer even thinks about – taking a photograph should be like changing gears in a car.

In his own words:

“We photographers deal in things that are constantly vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can bring them back again.”

“Composition must be one of our constant preoccupations, but at the moment of shooting it can stem only from our intuition, for we are out to capture the fugitive moment, and all the interrelationships involved are on the move.”

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.”

How to sound as if you’ve read it:

Be ready and reactive. Don’t get hung up on kit and, most importantly, keep it real.

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Want more? go here

Photography websites of the week

Each week The Telegraph finds another best photography website of the week, of course this is arbitrary but having looked through some of them whilst having a coffee break I thought it a useful page to book mark and so I share it with you. It goes back forever it seems so you can see the photography website of the week from 1853 if you want

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The Argus C3 from Ilott Vintage http://www.ilottvintage.com

A helpful article on how to get your first book published as a photographer

Week beginning 18 August

Super Massive Black Hole is an online magazine, focusing on contemporary photography, which is available to download as a PDF three times a year

Week beginning 11 August

Cultural interviews and text on photography at Papercuts

Week beginning 4 August

Video: Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank, 2005

Week beginning 28 July

This new tool by Calumet allows assistants to promote themselves and professional photographers to find photography assistants.

Week beginning 21 July

Magnum photographer René Burri takes us on a journey through six images from his archive.

Week beginning 14th July

Erik Johansson talking about how he goes about creating his famous Surrealist Photographs

Week beginning 7 July

James Jowers‘s images of New York City in the 1960s

Week beginning 30 June

A series of images by Maja Flink who photographed generations, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons.

Week beginning 23 June

Top mobile photographers share their tips for stunning images.

 

Go here for the rest

Photoshop Effects: recreate the look of a medium format portrait

From Digital Camera World comes this comprehensive tutorial

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Colour, or the absence of it, plays a crucial role in portraiture. By manipulating colour and tone to create different Photoshop effects you can create striking portraits that really stand out from the crowd. Here, we’ll show you how to give your portraits an edgy, stylish, ultra-detailed finish often seen in modern portrait photography. We’ll use subtle variations in saturation, brightness and contrast to achieve similar results. What you’ll need is Photoshop CS4 or higher.

While some tonal tweaks will be applied universally, the emphasis here is on selective adjustments. We’ll start by working on our raw image in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) with the Adjustment Brush. This is one of the most powerful tools that ACR, or indeed Photoshop, has to offer, allowing you to paint an area that can be edited with various sliders. It’s quick and easy to boost contrast, lower colour saturation, add a touch 
of clarity or darken highlights.

Once we’re in the main Photoshop interface, we’ll mimic the effects of a shallow depth of field by adding blur to parts of the image that are behind the point of focus. This helps to give the portrait a softer feel and draws attention to the eyes – we’ll give them special attention with the Dodge and Burn 
tools to make them really pop.

We’ll also make use of Photoshop’s HDR toning command and shift the colours in Curves to give the image a final polish. Here’s how it’s done…

The best new compact cameras 2014

The market is so saturated with cameras it is almost impossible to decide which is right for you. There is almost as deep a pile of review sites giving you their version of what to buy. This article in The Telegraph at least tries to cover the full gamut in camera type and price

The best point-and-shoot cameras on the market, for everything from cheeky selfies to heavy-duty travel photography

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Sony Cyber Shot RX 100 II, available in black, RRP £649.00 

For a camera with so many intricate settings, the Cyber shot RX100 is surprisingly easy to understand. As you scroll between the major modes (Auto, Aperture Priority, Macro and so on), a sentence on the screen will appear to tell you what that program does and when you might use it. There’s also a handy spirit level to show you when you’ve got the camera completely straight.

Once you are in and shooting, there is even a “help” button which brings up practical advice on capturing difficult subjects: dusk, for instance, or the greenest leaves.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5, available in black, blue, orange or silver, RRP £249.99

It’s sacrilegious to compare anything to a Leica; but it’s also an open secret that Leica’s digital lenses are made by Panasonic. If you dream of owning a digital Leica, complete with famous red-spot logo, then you’ll have to set aside at least £500. But if the quality of the photograph is what matters to you, you can get your Leica lens for less with a Lumix. It’s what quite a few professional photographers carry around with them

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Sony TF1 -available in red, black and blue, RRP £140.00

This relatively cheap camera is slim and light and sits easily in the hand, with rubberised edges to keep your grip secure. I was initially befuddled by the placement of the lens in the top-left hand corner of the camera – which is where I suppose you would expect to find it on a cameraphone. But with a largeish screen, when your finger strays into shot, which it inevitably will, you can see it and readjust accordingly. The zoom button on the top of the camera is ridged, which makes it easy to get hold of; the zoom is internal, not telescopic, which makes it more robust – if you dropped it, there probably wouldn’t be dire consequences.

See the rest of the reviews of these cameras and the others recommended here

BRIGHTON PHOTO BIENNIAL 2014

My previous experience of the Brighton Photo Biennial, the UK’s leading curated photography festival, promoting new thinking around photography through a commissioned programme of events and exhibitions, has always been very positive. Great exhibitions in appropriate spaces, the excellent Fringe exhibitions, accessible talks and workshops. Here is an early heads up from Photography Monthly  4 October – 2 November 2014

This year will mark the sixth occurrence of the Brighton Photo Biennial, with some incredibly curious events having taken our eye…

The BPB is the UK’s largest international photography festival and will take place across various venues in Brighton and Hove from 4 October- 2 November. Unlike other photo events, the BPB has no single curator and instead relies on the collaboration of 45 photographers, artists, collectives and partners.

In an official press release, the BPB describe the festival best: “From collusion and intrusion in paparazzi photography, to the sinking of a boat to create an artificial reef; diverse explorations of national and local photographic archives to questions of custodianship; ambitious public participatory projects, to photographers collaborating with environmentalists, scientists, young people, online communities and each other, the 2014 edition will see a focus on photo-collectives, as well as showcasing the results of practitioners invited to work collaboratively for the first time.”

Here are some things which caught our eye in the program:

• Real Britain 1974: Co-Optic and Documentary Photography will celebrate forty years since the launch of Co-Optic group’s Real Britain postcard launch, comprising of emerging photographers of the time, the likes of Martin Parr and Paul Hill.
• The Mass Observation Archive consists of thousands of anonymous submissions from the general public since 1937, documenting their every day lives with “autobiographical accounts, diaries, photographs and flip books.” For the first time, this will be open to the public in The Mass Education Project.
• Some Like You: Erica Scourti uses the non-human algorithms of ‘similar image’ searches to find and collaborate with work and artists online to explore the possibilities of shared authorship.

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How to Build the Confidence to Photograph People

This article starts in a way that makes it sound like a self help book but then goes on with very sound advice. If you are interested in photographing people on the street then reading this would be most instructive. The main points I agree with are: engage with your subject; know your equipment; practise with people who trust you; shoot with groups.

This is from the pages of Lightstalking, a site I would recommend to you. This article is by

Karlo de Leon is a travel and lifestyle photographer. He has a knack for understanding how and why things work, taking particular interest in lighting, composition, and visual storytelling. Follow him on The 4AM Chronicles where he shares his insights, ideas, and concepts on photography, travel, and life in general.

Portraiture, lifestyle, street, and travel photography – these are some of the genres that feature people as main subject. For some, these are enjoyable activities, being able to interact and communicate with people. Including a human element in photographs can bring a bit more life into their art. For others, it can be a disastrous nightmare, perhaps. The idea of talking with someone they don’t know very well, or being confronted by strangers they’re trying to photograph can be a bit too daunting.….READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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all images ©Keith Barnes

back to the article here

 

Henri Cartier-Bresson Just Plain Love (Documentary)

Gordon Parks’ 1950s Photo Essay On Civil Rights-Era

From The Huffington Post

Going to church. Playing around the house. Window shopping. These are the types of everyday, seemingly innocuous activities that wound up before the lens of iconic civil rights photographer Gordon Parks. Parks, a self-taught artist, believed in the photographic medium as a weapon of change, capable of awakening people’s hearts and undoing prejudice.

An exhibition of Parks’ rare color photographs, entitled “Gordon Parks: Segregation Story,” will go on view this fall at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The photos capture a particularly disturbing moment in American history, captured via the lives of an African American family, the Thorntons, living under Jim Crow segregation in 1950s Alabama.

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The images, originally titled “The Restraints: Open and Hidden,” were first taken for a photo essay for Life Magazine in 1956. The essay chronicles the lesser-seen daily effects of racial discrimination, revealing how prejudice pervades even the most banal and personal of daily occurrences. Parks doesn’t photograph protests, rallies, acts of violence or momentous milestones in civil rights history. No, he prefers the quieter moments in and around the home.

Some photos focus on inequality — a “colored” line at an ice cream stand or black children window shopping amongst all white mannequins. Others hint ominously at violence, as one child plays with a gun and another examines it solemnly. Such images are especially haunting in retrospect, considering the recent death toll of American black men in this country, over half a century after these photographs were taken.

Yet the majority of Parks’ photos focus on the positive over the negative, showing a different breed of civil rights documentation. In the image below, for example, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Thornton sit firmly, proud and composed, affirming their existence. Instead of highlighting discrimination here, Parks emphasizes the similarities that bind all Americans: spending time in the home, being with family, exploring nature. Parks’ images revealed what so many Americans struggled to understand: the human link that connects us all.

See the full set of images here

 

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