Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Graca Machal at St Anne’s College


one of the benefits of being a photographer is the opportunity to meet remarkable people

Originally posted on Keith Barnes Photography:

You wait all year and then just as it is coming to a close the best event of the year happens. The inaugural Devaki Jain lecture took place today, the guest speaker was Graca Machal and I was fortunate to be the photographer for this event. I go to many lectures where I am photographing but also listening, you learn so much. This was a magnificent lecture by the most articulate, intelligent and charming speaker I have had the good fortune to photograph and hear in 2015. Dealing with women’s rights in Africa, making the case for education and empowerment. Asking that we consider men and women as humans rather than as sub sets and recognising the value of each. Making the case that in education those who can pay should, those who can contribute should do that and those who can’t get it for free, because the world cannot make…

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Amazing portrait photography by young David Uzochukwu

I would like you to read the next few lines and then look at the pictures and ask yourself why you aren’t creating such interesting images if someone so young is

“My name is David, I’m fourteen years old and living in Luxembourg. I started taking photos a bit more than a year ago, and I know that this is what I want to keep doing for the rest of my life- telling stories through pictures, and using photography to put my thoughts to rest.” ~ David Uzochukwu






I know amazing for someone who is only 14 and has been photographing for a year, he has aged two years since this original article but hey what were you doing when you were 16? see the rest from this article here and go to David’s Flickr page here and here is a link to David’s website

These Are the Sounds of Film Photography

The rather amazing gimlet eye of Norman McBeath discovered this and as he and I and many other friends and photographers spent most of our lives with these sounds he thought it worth sharing. If you never visited the original Photographers Workshop or had your own darkroom this will bring back memories, if not this might seem a bit pointless but to all those old enough to have enjoyed the days of darkroom work this will have you sighing.

It’s a 1-minute tour of the different sounds (and sights) that are part of the analog photography process, from opening a new box of film to hanging up film strips to dry after developing them. from Robert Marshall


Black and White Darkrooms, Photographers Workshop, Oxford

the black and white darkrooms, Photographers Workshop, Oxford 1982


The gallery and finishing area Photographers Workshop Oxford 1982

Photographers Workshop 1982

Photographers Workshop 1982 front door

enlarger, black and white darkroom, Photographers Workshop, 1982

enlarger, black and white darkroom, Photographers Workshop, 1982



Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015

The Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year competition is an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography and film.  Honouring amateurs and professionals of all ages, it provides an opportunity for photographers to share images of environmental and social issues with international audiences, and to enhance our understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change and social inequality.


Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year winner – Uttam Kamati, Watering Melon, Teesta Riverbed, India, 2014.


Atkins Cityscape Prize winner – Michael Theodoric, Enjoy, Jakarta, 2014


Atkins CIWEM Young Environmental Photographer of the Year winner – Bhar Dipayan, Families living under the bridge, India, 2014

2015 UK Mountain Photo of the Year.

I had never heard of this competition and given the difficulties involved it attracted rather less entries than many of the other POTY awards I have been featuring recently, this I found on the BBC website

Edinburgh resident Paul Brett has won Trail Magazine’s


Paul Brett beat off competition from more than 500 others to win first prize

After pausing to take the photograph, he rejoined a friend to finish an ascent of Britain’s highest mountain.

On the way up he slipped and had to use his ice axe to arrest a potentially dangerous slide down the peak. 

He told Trail: “It was a perfect spring day with no wind.

“After cresting the summit of Carn Dearg Meadhonach we were rewarded with this amazing view. My friend was already heading up Carn Mor Dearg, which really helped give an amazing sense of scale to the scene.”

He added: “I had to use the pick of my ice axe to stop myself sliding down the mountain on the push to the summit of Ben Nevis, which was very scary at the time – but it was good to know I had the knowledge to do what was needed.”


Snowdon, Snowdonia, by Dave Atkinson


Glyder Fawr, Snowdonia, by Robin Shaw

See more of these mountain images here

Sony world photography awards 2015

In April we had the  Sony world photography awards 2015

The Guardian’s gallery of the winning images included these


Untitled, from the series Aerial Views Adria, by Bernhard Lang, GermanyAerial photographs of the Adriatic coastline between Ravenna and Rimini, Italy, photographed in August 2014. The colourful umbrellas create amazing geometric patterns which contrast dramatically with the golden sand

Winner, travel


Mt Kenya, 1963, by Simon Norfolk, UKThese fire lines I have drawn with a pyrograph indicate where the front of the rapidly disappearing Lewis Glacier on Mt Kenya was at various times in the recent past. In the distance, a harvest moon lights the doomed glacier remnant; the gap between the fire and ice represents the relentless melting. Relying on old maps and modern GPS I have made a stratified history of the glacier’s retreat. This flame line shows the glacier’s location in 1963

Winner, landscape


Untitled, from the series Solar Portraits in Myanmar, by Ruben Salgado Escudero, Spain
Mg Ko, 20 years old, a Shan farmer with his cow in Lui Pan Sone village, Kayah state, Myanmar. Just 26% of the country’s population, at least half of whom live in cities, have access to the electrical grid. Small, inexpensive photovoltaic power systems provide households with 12 hours of light overnight. These portraits depict the lives of inhabitants of remote areas of Myanmar who, for the first time, have access to electricity through solar power

Winner, portraiture


Intimate Room in Targsor Penitentiary, Romania, 2011, by Cosmin Bumbutz, RomaniaOnce Romania joined the EU in 2007, the whole prison system went through a major revamp. The biggest reform was to introduce the right to private visits. A prisoner who is married or in a relationship has the right to receive, every three months, a two-hour private visit which takes place in a separate room inside the prison compound. I started photographing the private rooms in 2008 and I have now photographed the private rooms inside all 35 Romanian penitentiaries

Winner, architecture

You can see the winners on The Guardian site

here is the Sony World Photography site

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’


This article is from an Oxford photographer and friend who understands why we love photography and expresses it so beautifully. I doubt you can read this essay and not want to look up the images mentioned


Originally posted on janebuekett:

Two decades ago, when I first became interested in photography, one of my heroes was Julia Margaret Cameron. She was not fashionable, and is still derided in some quarters for her idiosyncratic approach to the medium — her soft focus, the ‘faults’ in her images, her refusal to retouch. But I loved all the supposed imperfections, along with her sculptural use of light and the stunning humanity of some of her portraits.

At that time, as now, Cameron’s work was not widely exhibited, but I learnt from a Virago profile of the photographer, by Amanda Hopkinson, that the Ashmolean Museum owned a small collection of prints. I made an appointment, went along to the print room, and was handed a pair of white gloves and a box of photographs over 100 years old. How simple it is sometimes to take a small step into a world you thought was closed…

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015: David Stewart wins

We wrote about this award earlier in the year and showed the shortlist, you can see that post here

The winner has now been announced.

London’s National Portrait Gallery announced Stewart won the prestigious £12,000 award for his image that updates a photograph he originally submitted to the annual contest back in 2008.

In Stewart’s original photograph, his daughter and friends were about to start their GCSEs, and in the new version he re-staged the 2008 shot showing the same five girls having just graduated from university.


“I have always had a fascination with the way people interact – or, in this case, fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls,” Stewart says. “While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.”

Organisers pointed out that this year marks for Stewart, from Lancaster, the 16th time he has had an image selected to appear in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

Second prize went to Anoush Abrar’s image of a young boy, inspired by Caravaggio’s painting Sleeping Cupid, while Peter Zelewski claims third prize for his image of a woman he spotted on Oxford Street while working on his series Beautiful Strangers.

Ivor Prickett won fourth prize for his portrait of a displaced Iraqi family who fled their village near Mosul after Isis took control of the area.

All the winning portraits will be on display as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12 November 2015 to 21 February 2016. Admission is £4.

No I don’t get it either although more interesting are the images that are rejected, many of these are collected for The Portrait Salon

International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015

Back in the winter the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015 award announced it’s winners. The Guardian had an article and gallery of the images


The Ballerinas by Magdalena Wasiczek. Overall Winner
‘This stunning image of Hydrangea petiolaris is a worthy winner of IGPOTY. What I particularly like about the shot is the way the photographer has melted the rich purples and oranges of the hydrangea into the out of focus background, creating a delicious melange of colours. The focus on the single delicate hydrangea flower is spot on, creating a striking and unusual winter portrait,’ said Clive Nichols, IGPOTY judge


Parallelism by Jefflin Ling, first place in the Monochrome Photo Projects category


Vineyards, by Albert Ceolan. Winner of the Bountiful Earth category


You can see more of the gallery here

Here is a link to the IGPOTY site

Portrait Salon – Rejected portraits

There has long been a tradition of revering the under dog, supporting the also ran. Portrait Salon describes itself as a salon des refuses – an exhibition of works rejected from a juried art show. So this exhibition is a collection of images rejected from the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, which is organised annually by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), in London. We heartily endorse this enterprise as we generally think the TW prize is a lot of old tosh. I know a bit inflammatory but there you go. You can see our posts about previous TW portrait awards by using the Select Category drop down menu and clicking on Photography Awards.

So to the Portrait Salon, the BBC has an article and images about this and you can see many of the images selected from the rejections. This year’s exhibition features nearly 400 works by amateur and professional photographers. You can see a few of them below.


This portrait of Frank Carter is by London-based Phil Sharp.


Giovanna Del Sarto’s portrait is one from a series made during a trip to Georgia. The backdrop fabric was from a local market and used as a makeshift studio.


Derek Mossop pictured a couple in bed.


Freelance photographer Anne-Marie Arpin’s ongoing series Les Colombophiles aims to document the relationship between a group of pigeons fanciers and their cherished birds and features this portrait of “Marcel”.

There is an exhibition to go with this project: The Portrait Salon exhibition is on show at The Embassy Tea Gallery in London from 19-22 November 2015 before travelling to The Reminders Photography Stronghold Gallery

See more pictures here or go to the Portrait Salon website here


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