Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Brighton Biennial Photography Festival

There are only 3 days to go, here is the website

I went down to Brighton last weekend to see family and have a look around the festival of photography taking place there. Brighton is a very cool, cultural , funky place and the photography festival reflects that. There was a much wider range of photography on show than there was at our own festival of photography here in Oxford last month. That is not a criticism of Photography Oxford but it was a marked difference. In Oxford the exhibitions were all that, solid and somewhat a little boring exhibitions with a capital E whereas in Brighton there was much more fluidity to what was on show and how it was shown. I didn’t see anything there that rivalled the excellent Pentti Sammallahti but I did see much more that was challenging and inspiring.

One gallery I didn’t get in to because it was closed was One Eyed Jacks, I mention this because they have an open submission for entry in an exhibition in January

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Brighton-based gallery One Eyed Jacks is offering photographers the chance to compete to have their work shown in a month-long group show in January 2015.

The Open Call, with a top prize of £500, is open to both professional and amateur photographers working across all genres of photography. There is no theme, and all portfolios will be considered.

“Discovering new work and reaching out to new talent is the greatest buzz for a gallerist,” says gallery director Matt Henry. “We’ve decided to launch our first Open Call to unearth new gems and to create a fantastic and eclectic group show.”

Instead of inviting a jury to oversee the submission process, Henry has decided upon a single individual to curate the exhibition. “This Open Call will mark the first of many submission-based shows that allow one person to execute his or her unique vision,” says Henry. “British Journal of Photography’s Gemma Padley will curate our first show.”

The deadline for entries is 01 November 2014. For more information, and to enter, click here.

If you get the chance to visit Brighton over the next three days and have restricted time I would head to the Circus Street Market for Return To Elsewhere,Nigel-Green-DSC_7771

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and The Fourth Floor Collective and in the same building  BPF14 VANTAGE POINT: COLLECTIVES’ HUB

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KURT COBAIN: THE LAST PHOTO SESSION

On Hunger Tv 

On Friday the 23rd of July, 1993, Kurt Cobain is at the height of his fame. A phalanx of journalists and photographers is in New York for the launch of In Utero, Nirvana’s first album of new material since the global success of Nevermind. The group is scheduled to play a showcase New Music Seminar concert that night at Roseland, the famed swing-era ballroom in Midtown Manhattan. Nirvana is the biggest group in the country and expectation is at fever pitch. The glare is intense, but Cobain is hiding from the light.

Taken that day, Jesse Frohman’s portrait “Kurt Cobain: Standing with Evian Bottle” captures a young man of twenty-six with the sagging posture of middle age……MORE

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Hunger Tv

Travel Photography – A Different Point of View

Tom Dining, on Lightstalking this time, is one of our favourite contemporary writers on photography and the difference he has between most of the others is that he is a photographer too, always worth reading his wise words

Who doesn’t like to travel. Certainly none of the photographers I know. New experiences, new opportunities, new photos with which to bore the relatives on your return home.

But are they boring? Are they purely descriptive? This is where I went, this is what I saw, this is what I did. How many shots of London Bridge or the Opera House have you seen already?

So, then you go searching for the new angle and find another dozen or so photographers are also there. They must all subscribe to Light Stalking.

Here are some suggestions that might make your photographic experience just that bit more enjoyable as a photographer.

1. Create Interesting Content in Your Frame

Although there is a tendency in the excitement of the moment to get close and crop in the frame so you have no doubt what the subject is, you can always include the personal touch by including yourself or someone or something else in the foreground to add to the story and provide a viewing point for the viewer.

2. Get Some Detail

Someone famous once said: “If you’re shots aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”. Although, I suspect, this could be the cause of his very demise, it is worth considering if the territory is safe. How close? As close as you dare.

 

Want more….go here

Wildlife Photographer of The Year 2014

 

 

That time of year again, here are the results of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 201460

Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, USA

Nick is a photographic artist and journalist who uses his skills to tell stories about environmental issues and our relationship with wildlife. His career, much of it with National Geographic, spans more than 35 years, and his work has been published in numerous books and magazines. The mass of accolades he has received reflects the international recognition reputation he has earned.

Photograph Details

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

Grand title winner

Winner 2014

Black and White

Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, USA

The last great picture

Nick set out to create an archetypal image that captured the essence of lions in a time long gone, before they were under such threat. The Vumbi pride in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park are a ‘formidable and spectacularly co-operative team,’ Nick says. Here the five females lie at rest with their cubs on a kopje (a rocky outcrop). Shortly before he took the shot, they had attacked and driven off one of the pride’s two males. Now they were lying close together, calmly sleeping. They were used to Nick’s presence as he’d been following them for nearly six months, so he could position his vehicle close to the kopje. He framed the vista with the plains beyond and the dramatic late afternoon sky above. He photographed the lions in infrared, which he says ‘cuts through the dust and haze, transforms the light and turns the moment into something primal, biblical almost’. The chosen picture of lions in Africa is part flashback, part fantasy. Nick got to know and love the Vumbi pride. A few months later, he heard they had ventured outside the park and three females had been killed.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 24–70mm f2.8 lens at 32mm; 1/250 sec at f8; ISO 200.

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Carlos Perez Naval

Carlos Perez Naval, Spain

Carlos has been taking photographs seriously for the past three years (since he was five) and has already won prizes in Spanish, Italian and French competitions. He loves nature, whatever and wherever it is, and spends as much time as possible out photographing the plants and animals around that live near his home in Spain.

Photograph Details

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

Grand title winner

Winner 2014

10 Years and under

Carlos Perez Naval, Spain

Stinger in the sun

This common yellow scorpion is flourishing its sting as a warning. Carlos had found it basking on a flat stone in a rocky area near his home in Torralba de los Sisones, northeast Spain – a place he often visits to look for reptiles. The late afternoon Sun was casting such a lovely glow over the scene that Carlos decided to experiment with a double exposure for the first time so he could include it. He started with the background, using a fast speed so as not to overexpose the Sun, and then shot the scorpion using a low flash. But he had to change lenses, using his zoom for the Sun, which is when the scorpion noticed the movement and raised its tail. Carlos then had to wait for it to settle before taking his close-up, with the last of the light illuminating its body.

Technical specification

Nikon D300 + 105mm f2.8 lens (28–300mm lens for the background); 1/320 sec at f10; ISO 320; flash.

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Photograph Details

Winner 2014

Mammals

Alex Badyaev, Russia/USA

The mouse, the moon and the mosquito

Alexander was taking his daily hike along a trail in the Blackfoot Valley, western Montana, USA, when he noticed a giant puffball mushroom starting to inflate. Squirrels, chipmunks and mice began exploring and scent-marking the surface of the oversized fungus leaving it covered with tiny prints. Alex returned to the spot during a full Moon, when the puffball had reached its maximum size. He lay on the ground, watching and waiting, entertained by the dozens of small animals exploring the puffball. The most frequent visitors were deer mice, which scampered around, sometimes pausing to check on their surroundings. To avoid disturbing the animals, and to preserve the sense of place, Alex used the Moon as his backlighting. He relied on a long exposure and a gentle pulse of flash to show the curve of the fungus and to capture the frantic activity. When one deer mouse paused for a moment to investigate a persistent mosquito, the perfect midnight puffball scene was created.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 105mm lens; 2.5 sec at f14; ISO 250; Canon 430EX II flash.

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Winner 2014

Birds

Bence Máté, Hungary

Herons in time and space

Bence had set up his hide to overlook Lake Csaj in Kiskunság National Park, Hungary. He had a specific image in mind and had planned to use both artificial and natural light. His subject was the shy grey heron. To overcome the various technological challenges of a night-time shot, he had built two timing devices for his camera to execute the single exposure. One device moved the focus, while the other adjusted the aperture within a single frame, so both the herons and the stars were in focus. It took 74 nights in the hide before the conditions were right and it all came together. The surface of the lake was still, reflecting the stars, and the sky was clear and motionless. Just after midnight, the seven stars of the Plough (part of the Ursa Major constellation) slid into position above the glow of a distant town. Bence took the shot, with both the stars and herons sharp, but with traces of the birds’ movement leaving ghostly impressions against the sky. Blending technology and passion in a masterful manner, Bence had finally created a picture that he had planned for many years – of herons imprinting their images in time and space.

Technical specification

Nikon D800 + Sigma 15mm f2.8 lens; 32 sec (1 sec at f10, then 31 sec at f2.8) + two custom-made gadgets; ISO 2000; four flashes; tripod; hide.

See all the winners here

 

Photography Award – Freedom to Love

“No one should be afraid to walk down the street holding hands with the person they love” (B. Obama 2013)

Photographic Award by Accademia Apulia UK

With the support of The Royal Photographic Society, and under the patronage of Amnesty International, the European Commission and the British Council,

FREEDOM TO LOVE aims to raise awareness on the difficulties many people endure every day worldwide, as they try to express the most powerful and constructive human quality – love. The judges are looking for photographs that testify that love is universal. Participants are invited to submit images of love, communion and friendship that cross established social boundaries, be they racial, religious, gender, age, or any other identifiable boundary.

II. Artwork

1. Each applicant will need to submit a photographic essay, social reportage consisting of three themed digital images.

2. Images may be digitally enhanced for colour/contrast/brightness, but cannot be manipulated.

3. Applicants must warrant that the photographs they are submitting are their own work and that they own the copyright for them.

4. Each applicant will retain full copyright of their own work.

III. Fees

There are no fees to enter the competition.

IV. Participants

The Award is open to photographers of all nationalities worldwide. Only one entry per person. Illegible or incomplete entries will not be accepted. Please note that proof of transmission will not be accepted as proof of receipt.

Full details are available here

 

CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year 2014 – winning images

The theme of this year’s competition – Cities at Work – challenged photographers from around the world to capture the beauty and day-to-day reality of working life. The overall winner of the CBRE sponsored competition was German photographer Marius Vieth with his striking image ‘Masks of Society’

I found this in the Guardian, these images are all worth your time, go and have a look here

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Overall winner – Urban Photographer of the Year
Mask of Society  Photograph: Marius Vieth

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1pm: Beijing, China
Nappers  Photograph: Aron Suveg

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Winner – Europe, Middle East and Africa region
Dancing in the Street  Photograph: Carlos da Costa Branco

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7pm: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
An Exhibition Photograph: Manuel Paz-Castanal

These are all so good you have to go and look at the others here

this is a link to the organisers website

How to improve your pictures with Photoshop

You know you make good pictures but you also know they could be better, they don’t quite look as good as those you see on the web, we all suffer from this. There is an answer, post production or Photoshop to you and me.

Many people find PS confusing and difficult to use because they have never had the basics explained to them, once you understand the fundamentals of the program learning becomes so much easier. Sure you can buy a book but having a teacher show you exactly what you need to know in small packets of information, then giving you time to try it for yourself whilst having your teacher on hand to answer your questions and show you where you are going wrong is much easier than reading a book.

Our course details the most efficient way to learn, breaking down the various sections so at the end of 6 lessons you have control over how your pictures look. Have a look at this simple picture. The camera has underexposed the subject because of the bright rays of sunlight in the centre of the image, but by using a few simple PS tools we can bring back it’s sparkle and the magic of the original scene.

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Which do you prefer? PS is not just about making a picture look better it can also be about removing or adding something to a picture to improve it. Have a look at these, can you spot the difference?

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We have been teaching students how to improve their pictures using Photoshop for years, in fact all the way back to CS1 (that is a long time ago). Now we recommend most people get the Elements version it is really versatile, easy to use and we teach it on our Introduction to Photoshop course starting on the 22nd October. Come and join us and find out how much better your pictures can be.

We have a few places left on our Photoshop course starting on the 22nd October, it is 6 sessions, 2 hours each and the cost is £97. If you don’t have PS I would recommend the Elements versions 12 is still available and is only about £75, look here for details to buy

If you would like to join our course send us an email now and we will reserve you a place

52 Colorized Historical Photos That Give Us A New Look At the Past

I’m not sure there is any real justification for turning black and white images into colour, I mean what is wrong with black and white? Here are some from the site but go here to see all 52

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People standing in line Louisville, Kentucky 1939

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Marilyn Monroe

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Winston Churchill 1941

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Claude Monet in 1923

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Samurai Training 1860

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Charles Darwin

see more? 

It would seem there is quite an industry in turning black and white into colour, if you are interested here is another set of images

Leica Recreates 35 of the Most Iconic Photos Through History in Brilliant 100th Anniversary Ad

In this ad Leica claim ownership for inventing the idea of photography as displayed below and in the video….hubris springs to mind, watch out Leica

The award-winning ad agency behind the moving Leica ad “Soul” from last year have created another masterpiece. It’s called “Leica 100,” and it celebrates 100 years of Leica photography by paying tribute to 35 of the most iconic photographs of all time in an incredibly creative way.

Published by the Leica Gallery Sao Paolo and produced by agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad traces a path through some of the most memorable and powerful photographs ever captured, all the while making the case that, while not all were captured with a Leica, all owe something to the Leica.

Admittedly, this might not be a particularly popular assertion with somebody — the tagline of the video is that, while Leica didn’t invent photography, they invented photography — it’s hard to argue with the goosebump-inducing nature of this brilliant piece of advertising.

Below we’ve included a few screenshots of some of the most recognizable photos recreated in the video: See the video here

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Robin Hammond – Named Winner of 3rd Annual Dr. Guislain “Breaking the Chains of Stigma” Award

Robin Hammond exhibited at Photography Oxford, the recently ended festival of photography in Oxford, so it is very good to report that he has received a substantial award for his photography of mentally ill people in nations such as the South Sudan, Liberia and Uganda documenting the struggles faced by patients with brain disorders in many developing nations. The resulting images, many of which are striking and unsettling, have been published in a photo book entitled, “CONDEMNED-Mental Health in African Countries in Crisis.”  The information about his award and the awarding organisation is here

The pictures from this project are disturbing but sensitive to the condition of the subjects, here is text from Robin’s website regarding the work

CONDEMNED – Mental Health in African Countries in Crisis

Where there is war, famine, displacement, it is the most vulnerable that suffer the greatest.

Abandoned by governments, forgotten by the aid community, neglected and abused by entire societies. Africans with mental illness in regions in crisis are resigned to the dark corners of churches, chained to rusted hospital beds, locked away to live behind the bars of filthy prisons.

Some have suffered trauma leading to illness. Others were born with mental disability. In countries where infrastructure has collapsed and mental health professionals have fled, treatment is often the same – a life in chains.

I started documenting the lives of the mentally ill in African countries in crisis in an attempt to raise awareness of their plight. I travelled to war ravaged areas of Congo, South Sudan, Mogadishu and Uganda. I spent time with the displaced in refugee camps in Somalia and Dadaab. In Nigeria I went to see the impacts of corruption on facilities for the mentally ill.

After 12 years of documenting human rights issues I’ve never come across a greater assault on human dignity. These people are unseen and therefore their suffering ignored. This project is being produced in the hope that no longer will ignorance be able to be used as an excuse for inaction.

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Many Somalis will take their mentally ill relative to traditional or Khoranic healers for treatment. The 20 year long conflict has ensured the collapse of mental health services and leaves them few options. Mogadishu, Somalia

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Severely mentally disabled men and women are shackled and locked away in Juba Central Prison for years on end. The new nation of South Sudan faces a tremendous challenge to build a modern country capable of caring for all of its citizens. Juba, Sudan

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Abdi Rahman Shukri Ali, 26, has lived in a locked tin shack for two years. He stays with his family in Dadaab in Eastern Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp, where Somalis fleeing conflict and famine have sought safety. Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya

See the rest of the project on Robin’s website here

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