Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Digital SLR cameras explained: 10 things every new photographer must know

On our Understanding Your DSLR Camera course we explain all of these things so it is good to find them in one place and available for all those poor people who don’t live in Oxford and so can’t attend our courses. This comes from Digital Camera World

Digital SLR cameras are the preferred tool of most professional photographers and they’re the first choice of camera for enthusiast photographers for decades, but what is a digital SLR, how do they work and why are they so popular? Our head of testing, Angela Nicholson explains all you need to know.

Digital_SLR_cameras_explained

Digital SLR cameras explained: 1. Why Single Lens Reflex?

The name single lens reflex camera seems rather odd today, but there was a time when twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras were very popular – there are still one or two models on sale today.

The two lenses of an TLR have the same focal length and their focusing mechanisms are linked, but they are used for two different tasks.

The ‘viewing lens’ is used for focusing while the photographer looks in the waist-level viewfinder, while the ‘taking lens’ sits in front of the film, ready for exposure in a separate chamber.

The word ‘reflex’ in the name stems from the fact that TLR and SLR cameras have a reflex mirror, essentially a mirror at 45 degrees, that reflects light from the lens into the viewfinder.

In a TLR the mirror is fixed and the scene is visible in the viewfinder throughout the exposure.

In a digital SLR camera, however, the mirror flips up during exposure to allow the light to reach the film or sensor, this blanks out the viewfinder for the duration of the exposure.

See the rest here

Canon Roadshow Comes to T4 in Witney

The last remaining camera shop in Oxfordshire is to host the Canon Roadshow. This is an event with limited places so if you are interested you need to register and book with those nice people over at T4.

The event is on Tuesday 26th May 2015, there are 2 sessions, morning and afternoon

roadshowHTML

To register call  T4 on 01993-702687. Their address is 50 High Street, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 6HQ

Also their shop in Swindon has a special day coming up

5pot49

DEUTSCHE BÖRSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE 2015

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 is an annual prize established by The Photographers’ Gallery, London in 1996 and in partnership with Deutsche Börse Groupsince 2005. The annual award of £30,000 rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which is felt to have significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2015.

 

This year’s shortlist reflects a diversity of attitudes towards the medium underpinned by an exploration into new and unexpected modes of presentation incorporating video, text, object and wall-based photographic displays.

Nikolai Bakharev’s ambiguous images of Russian bathers on public beaches in the 80s and 90s, at a time when photographs of nudity were forbidden, play on the tension between acceptable and unacceptable imagery,  public and private realms.  In the work of Zanele Muholi, the personal and political are also interwoven in her tender, unflinching portraits and testimonies of the South African LGBTI community.

South Africa further provides a location and point of political departure in the work of Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse.  Their collaborative publication presents a, ‘photo/graphic’ album of images and text which uncover the history of a once elite, now abandoned high-rise apartment block in Johannesburg.  Finally, Viviane Sassen’s sculptural, abstracted, darkly sensual images continue to effect the blurring of genres, which characterize her work and position her as a leading force in contemporary art photography.

Viv_3_547ddaf0e7a95

Viviane Sassen (b. 1972, Netherlands) has been nominated for her exhibition Umbra at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (8 March – 1 June 2014).

Encompassing abstract photography, drawings, light installations the work is accompanied by specially commissioned poems from artist and poet, Maria Barnas.  Sassen’s distinctive and experimental approach to image foregrounds vivid colour alongside stark contrasts of light and shade in sculptural compositions where form and content verge on abstraction.

05_Press_Image_l_DBPP15_l_Mikahel_Subotsky___Patrick_Waterhouse_l_Ponte_City_from_Yeoville_Ridge__2008_547de0c1ccb97

Mikhael Subotzky (b. 1981, South Africa) and Patrick Waterhouse (b. 1981, UK) are nomimated for their publication Ponte City (Steidl, 2014).

The 54-floor apartment block in Johannesburg was built in 1976 for white sophisticates under the apartheid regime. During the political transition in the 1980s and 90s, it became a refuge for black newcomers to the city and immigrants from all over Africa before decline and neglect led to it being positioned as the prime symbol of urban decay in the city and the supposed epicentre of crime, prostitution and drug dealing.

01_Press_Image_l_DBPP15_l_Nikolai_Bakharev_l_Untitled__5_from_the_series_Relation__1991_1993__547dd8b6958e6

Nikolai Bakharev (b. 1946, Russia) has been nominated for his exhibition at the 55th Biennale of Art in Venice (1 June – 24 November 2013).

Bakharev trained as a mechanic before working as a Communal Services Factory photographer in the 1960s. Bakharev’s portraits of bathers on Russian public beaches blur the boundaries between the public and private and set up a tension between composed and spontaneous groupings.

07_Press_Image_l_DBPP15_l_Zanele_Muholi_l__Lungile_Cleo_Dladla_KwaThema_Community_Hall_Springs_Johannesburg_2011_547ddd731f87f

Zanele Muholi (b. 1972, South Africa) has been nominated for her publication Faces and Phases 2006 – 2014 (Steidl, 2014).

A self-titled visual activist, Zanele Muholi’s black and white portraits offer an insight into black LGBTI identity and politics in post-apartheid South Africa.

Emphasising a conceptual and personal approach, the uncompromising images and accompanying first-person testimonies reflect the impact of homophobia, discrimination and violence, most notably the ‘curative’ rape of black gay women, which often results in murder. Muholi’s archive of photographs forms an important force in female gay activism.

Bill Armstrong photographs from the infinity series

I came across Bill Armstrong in a round about way that doesn’t warrant explaining but it does highlight that there is so much more out there than we can ever know. His work is all about colour, almost nothing else, although there are things going on in his pictures it is the colour that makes the difference.

His work definitely falls into the bracket of

“One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photo out of focus are a style.”

 

BillArmstrongFilmNoir1433

 

BillArmstrongFilmNoir1405

this is what he says about The Infinity Series

My unique process of appropriating images and subjecting them to a series of manipulations—photocopying, cutting, painting, re-photographing—transforms the originals and gives them a new meaning in a new context.  Extreme blurring makes the edges within the collages disappear, so the photographs appear to be seamless, integrated images. This sleight of hand allows me to conjure a mysterious tromp l’oeil world that hovers between the real and the fantastic. It is a world just beyond our grasp, where place may be suggested, but is never defined, and where the identity of the amorphous figures remains in question.  It is a world that might exist in memory, in dreams, or, perhaps, in a parallel universe yet unvisited. 

The nature of visual perception intrigues me: how the eye continually tries to resolve these images, but is unable to do so, and how that is unsettling.  And I am drawn to the idea that we can believe something is real, while at the same time knowing it is illusory; that the experience of visual confusion, when the psyche is momentarily derailed, is what frees us to respond emotionally. 

At the same time, the subject of these collages is color.  Extreme de-focusing enables me to blend and distill hues, creating rhapsodies of color that are meditative pieces—glimpses into a space of pure color, beyond our focus, beyond our ken.

BillArmstrongFilmNoir1432

BillArmstrongFilmNoir1401

You will have either hated or loved these images, I doubt there is a halfway house, as a photographer you either want pictures to represent things, objects, moments in time or you want your pictures to hint at atmosphere, emotion and thoughts.

Bill Armstrong is running a workshop at The Photographers Gallery on 25th April, here is a link to the rather sparse information

 

4 ways to get a studio look without a photo studio

On our Portrait photography course we spend a lot of time explaining about light, how to use daylight rather than needing to invest in some form of studio lighting. Remember how we all thought digital photography was going to be free once you owned a camera? This article via Digital Camera World offers another way to set up a home studio and in general everything here is valid and the advice would help you to be a better studio, portrait or still life photographer.

Few amateur photographers can afford the luxury of a dedicated studio, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take top-quality images that look like they were taken in a studio. In their latest guest post the team at Photoventure show you  how…

Find-some-space

Magnum and the Dying Art of Darkroom Printing

There is a very interesting blog called the literate lens and it honestly does what it says, it is wonderfully literate, well written, engaged and precise and not about the general stuff you see on every other photography blog. This article on wet processing (darkroom printing) and Magnum, the world famous photography agency. The article is by 

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Pablo Inirio, master darkroom printer at  Magnum Photos in New York. I was thinking about that interview recently as I heard the news of Kodak’s bankruptcy and pondered the precarious status of “old media” like books, film and silver gelatin prints.

As Magnum’s printer, Inirio gets to work with some of photography’s most iconic images. In his small darkroom, the prints lying casually around include Dennis Stock’s famous portrait of James Dean in Times Square (right) and a cigar-chewing Che Guevara shot by Rene Burri. Intricate squiggles and numbers are scrawled all over the prints, showing Inirio’s complex formulas for printing them. A few seconds of dodging here, some burning-in there. Will six seconds be enough to bring out some definition in the building behind Dean? Perhaps, depending on the temperature of the chemicals…….I was curious to see how the last few years of digital progress have affected things at Magnum, so I checked in with Inirio by phone this week. He was still there, bubbling with the good cheer that, along with his darkroom skills, have made him a favorite with Magnum photographers. In the three years since we met, he said, surprisingly little has changed at Magnum. He had to switch to Ilford paper when Agfa closed, and he hopes Kodak doesn’t take his stop bath away—but otherwise, things are the same……

Magnum has been digitizing its archive, but so far, Inirio hasn’t been tempted to transfer his skills to the digital realm. “Digital prints have their own kind of look, and it’s fine, but fiber prints have such richness and depth,” he said.  He thinks darkroom printing will always be with us—after all, he pointed out, “people are still doing daguerrotypes.”

Read the rest of this interesting article here

H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II

oxfordschoolofphotography:

From our old friend Ander McIntyre

Originally posted on Ander McIntyre:

hrh2

View original

6 things you didn’t know about focusing, but probably should

I found this on Digital Camera Magazine, an article about focusing issues.

portrait lenses on wall portrait in the background in landscape

Your camera and lenses are likely to suffer from front focus and back focus problems

There may be times when the camera confirms it has locked focus on a subject, but that subject appears out of focus in the final photo.

This is because some camera and lens combinations suffer from either front focus (where the photo is in focus in front of the focus point) or back focus (where the photo is in focus behind the focus point).

To improve focus accuracy, manufacturers include Autofocus Micro Adjustment (AFMA) as a menu option in many DSLRs.

AF Micro Adjustment enables you to compensate for front focus and back focus errors. You can make your own autofocus calibration test to help with the process, or use dedicated autofocus calibration software such as FoCal.

You’ll need to calibrate the AF for every combination of camera and lens you own, as well as saving AF Micro Adjustment settings for both the widest and longest settings on a zoom, as focusing errors are usually different at each focal length.

No I was unaware of this problem too, might need to check out my lenses

The photographer who broke the internet’s heart

_82017055_fullsizerender

It cannot be denied that the internet throws up many confusions. So much of what we understand to be true may not be so, or may be partly so, or completely true. This is an example of how the receiver or in this case viewer applies their own expectations upon an image

Thousands online have shared an image of a Syrian child with her hands raised in surrender – but what is the story behind it?

Those sharing it were moved by the fear in the child’s eyes, as she seems to staring into the barrel of a gun. It wasn’t a gun, of course, but a camera, and the moment was captured for all to see. But who took the picture and what is the story behind it? BBC Trending have tracked down the original photographer – Osman Sağırlı – and asked him how the image came to be.

It began to go viral Tuesday last week, when it was tweeted by Nadia Abu Shaban, a photojournalist based in Gaza. The image quickly spread across the social network. “I’m actually weeping”, “unbelievably sad”, and “humanity failed”, the comments read. The original post has been retweeted more than 11,000 times. On Friday the image was shared on Reddit, prompting another outpouring of emotion. It’s received more than 5,000 upvotes, and 1,600 comments.

Accusations that the photo was fake, or staged, soon followed on both networks. Many on Twitter asked who had taken the photo, and why it had been posted without credit. Abu Shaban confirmed she had not taken the photo herself, but could not explain who had. On Imgur, an image sharing website, one user traced the photograph back to a newspaper clipping, claiming it was real, but taken “around 2012″, and that the child was actually a boy. The post also named a Turkish photojournalist, Osman Sağırlı, as the man who took the picture.

Read the full explanation here

 

EXHIBITIONS \ Alexander Gronsky

I like to keep you updated on interesting looking exhibitions, it doesn’t matter where there are as we have followers all over the world, so if you can’t get to see them on the wall you can see them here. I was alerted to this photographer by someone we have featured before, Jane Buekett.

The Wapping Project Bankside is pleased to announce Estonian photographer, Alexander Gronsky’s first exhibition with the gallery.

Gronsky’s Pastoral series of large format photographs of Moscow’s suburban areas are reminiscent of the arcadian images created by 19th century landscape painters and reconstructs them in a way that jars with the romantic representations of a bygone era. Once defining borders becomes blurred in these photographs – the divisions between urban and pastoral, utopian and dystopian and the actors within these spaces are rendered ambiguous. Gronsky’s arresting use of colour and intelligent compositions are alluring, but these layered works are a study of how people inhabit a territory and what becomes evident in these images is the effect human life has on the environment in this Apothocene age.

Included in the exhibition are three works from Gronsky’s Reconstruction series that documents reenactments of historic Russian battles whilst simultaneously rendering them anachronistic with the inclusion of onlookers into the frame, constructed as triptychs, these works are filmic in nature and alludes to a panoramic view of an important battle whilst titles such as “Siege of Leningrad”are reminiscent of a Hollywood film. Continuing Gronsky’s study of perspective, in these works it appears formal whilst the colouring offers a certain flatness to the photographs.

gronsky-07

gronsky-05

gronsky-06

The images are very reminiscent of the work of Nadav Kander who I really appreciate, we have also featured his work before here and here , you can see more of Kander’s work on his site here

This link will take you to Alexander Gronsky’s site

The exhibition is here

The Wapping Project Bankside
Top Floor, The Bishop’s Palace
Ely House
37 Dover Street
London W1S 4NJ

14th April – 29th May 2015

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,609 other followers