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insights into photography
April 10, 2019Posted by on
There is no doubt that the faded, dissembled life of a town returned to nature is attractive. There are so many sites that explore ‘urbex’ photography and it is no wonder that Pripyat offers such poignancy.
Every student of photography would benefit from understanding the way to introduce atmosphere into their pictures and looking at David’s pictures would be a good place to start
The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 forced the evacuation of nearby Pripyat, home to 45,000 people. David McMillan has journeyed there 21 times since to record abandoned homes and buildings as they are reclaimed by nature
March 7, 2019Posted by on
This set of pictures takes the idea of beauty in decay to a whole new level. These images are so impressive not just because of the decay but because of the effort that has been taken to dress each room and produce images of extreme poignancy.
Melbourne artist Rone transforms a deserted Art Deco mansion called Burnham Beeches in his most ambitious takeover yet. The installation runs from 6 March – 22 April. Left vacant for more than 20 years, this sprawling 1930s mansion sat neglected, in a state of ruin. It saw a condemned family home in suburban Alphington transformed into a gallery and installation piece before it was demolished.
Finding the friction point between beauty and decay is a thread that runs through much of Rone’s work. As a street artist best known for his haunting, stylised images of women’s faces, he understands better than most that beauty can be fleeting. Seeing his artworks gradually worn away by natural and human elements has taught him to appreciate the unexpected beauty of an image as it begins to blend back into its more prosaic surroundings.
February 26, 2019Posted by on
“Photographers love to travel but sometimes it pays to look at what is close at hand and document the community you live in. Richard Beaven has done just that, turning his lens on the residents of Ghent, about 120 miles north of New York.
Beaven has worked on the project for a year or so and in that time he has made 275 portraits, about 5% of the population of Ghent.
“The catalyst for the project was the town’s bicentennial in 2018 and creating an archive for it,” says Beaven.
News of the project spread through the town, with one shoot leading to another and only a handful declining the opportunity to take part.”
It reminded me of Martin Stott, a long time friend from the old days of the darkroom. He has recently rediscovered his photography by embracing digital and has been on a few courses with me. I always preach that finding a project is the way to make your photography important to you and to others. Martin lives on Divinity Road in East Oxford and has started a project to photograph everyone who lives on his street. If you know Divinity Road you will know this is no mean feat.
Back to Richard…Each portrait is accompanied by the subject’s name and the amount of time they had spent living or working in Ghent at the time of being photographed….”The portraits are of individuals. While I take care to select appropriate environments, I provide minimal direction in terms of clothing or what the subjects happen to be carrying at the time.”
So what is stopping you from doing this? You live somewhere, a street, a village, a block of flats, where you live is a place you can build a project around. For Richard the motivation was “The catalyst for the project was the town’s bicentennial in 2018 and creating an archive for it,”
But for Martin it was as much about meeting the neighbours he didn’t know and to build a picture of where he lives,
“My aim with this project is to photograph everybody who lives on Divinity Road, Oxford, over about a two year period. I started in July 2018. This may be as individuals, couples, families or groups of people living in the same house such as students. Divinity Road is a long street and a diverse one. As a resident for over 31 years I still only know a relatively small proportion of the people who live on it. As well as making a photographic record this helps me to get to know more of my neighbours.”
February 6, 2019Posted by on
There is a retrospective of Don McCullin’s work at the Tate starting tomorrow. It will be one of the great exhibitions this year and I would recommend you find the time to go. It will be tough, his war photography is uncompromising but he is a man of genuine compassion. As he said in a recent Guardian article while in conversation with Giles Duley…DMcC It’s about the emotional – we’re not just photographers, we gather emotionally. A camera doesn’t mean a toss to me. I just put it in front of me and transfer the image through that piece of glass and that film. But I’m using my emotion more than I’m using that piece of equipment. And at the same time there’s a thousand thoughts going through my brain saying: “Is it right do this?” I’ve seen men executed and I haven’t photographed it and I thought my God, if my editor knew that I hadn’t pressed this button he’d give me the boot. But it’s my moral duty not to take that picture because the man who’s about to be killed hasn’t given me his permission…….When a man is standing in front of you about to die, you can’t help him. He’s crying and he’s looking at you. He’s looking up to where he thinks God is and he’s scrambling around like mad to this last chance to keep alive and you’re standing there, you can’t help him. You are ashamed of humanity.
It is a dangerous mistress, and it’s one of those love affairs that never ends, you know. It just never ends. You’re totally captive to photography once it gets a grip of you.
January 28, 2019Posted by on
I have recently returned from Cuba where on every street, or hat, t-shirt, flag or poster there was one image. That image was of Che, taken by Alberto Korda a Cuban photographer. This image is perhaps the most reproduced photographic image in the world, I can’t think of another that is so ubiquitous.
The story of this image, when and why it was taken and it’s passage to iconic status is fascinating.
The Che image was made on March 5, 1960, at a funeral service for the 136 people who were killed when a French ship carrying arms to Havana was sabotaged and blown-up. Crowds filled the street of Havana, and Korda was there working for the newspaper Revolución. As Castro’s funeral oration droned on Korda approached the speakers’ platform. With Castro were other leaders of the revolution, the French writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and, of course, Che. When Korda got close to the platform, he noticed that Che — who had been standing in the back of the stage — had moved forward.
“I remember his staring over the crowd on 23rd street,” Korda says. Staring up, he was struck by Guevara’s expression which he says showed, “absolute implacability,” as well as anger and pain. …..
The “viral” effect
This all changed one day in early 1967 when an Italian publisher, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, came with a letter from the Cuban government asking Korda to help find him a portrait of Che. Korda pointed to the print hanging on the studio wall, saying that it was the best one he had ever taken of Che…..
The tipping point
But the tipping point for the image was in October 1967, when Che was executed in Bolivia. Demonstrations broke out around the world condemning the murder and Feltrinelli printed up thousands of Che posters and sold them to protesters. The photo was now called Guerrillero Heroico, and it next surfaced in 1968 on New York City subway billboards as a painting by artist Paul Davis advertising the February issue of the Evergreen Review magazine.
October 3, 2018Posted by on
from this year’s award and they are worth 5 minutes of your time
September 12, 2018Posted by on
I was sent this rather excellent article by Jen Reviews about the different types of cameras and how to understand why they are different.
I have published similar articles in the past but this one is really comprehensive and his you are thinking about buying a camera this will help you choose the type. We then have on this blog posts about the best cameras in any particular range, just go to the Categories Drop down menu on the right and scroll down to new cameras. I am sure you will find this article and the earlier posts useful
By the way while you are thinking about a new camera you should also consider one of our excellent courses, we have a new series starting this autumn, here are the dates
August 8, 2018Posted by on
I know, we are still in the heat of summer, so thinking of autumn and grey short days is not something we want to countenance, but it is coming and so is our new schedule of courses. If you haven’t yet, you should make sure you have signed up on our GDPR compliant mailing list:
If you sign up here you will receive the new dates when they are available. We will only ever use your information to tell you about our courses. We will never share or sell your information to anyone else. You can un-subscribe at any time
Here are the new dates
Understanding Your DSLR Camera Saturday Morning Class £85
4 sessions 10 – 12 start 3.11.18
Understanding Lightroom £85
4 sessions 6.30 – 8.30 start 3.10.18
Introduction to Photoshop and PS Elements £97
5 sessions 6.30 – 8.30 start Monday 29.10.18
Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures £85
4 sessions 6.30 – 8.30 start 30.10.18
Portrait Photography £85
4 sessions Please email to register your interest
Flash Photography £85
4 sessions Please email and register your interest
April 10, 2018Posted by on
Paddy was the first person to walk through the doors of the original Photographers Workshop in June 1982. He has been my friend and teacher ever since. I learned from Paddy that a photograph doesn’t have to be about a thing, it can be just about a feeling.
His latest book ‘Empty Days’ is a testament to the idea that art is about feeling and not necessarily decorative. Like Nan Golding or Richard Billingham Paddy does not shy away from showing “the tragic lives he encountered, lives that touched him because they reflected his own struggles, he made images that would tell their stories, his own story.”
From his publisher:
… a sustained enquiry and search for understanding and meaning in a sometimes-bleak interior landscape … the great success of ‘Empty Days’ is in drawing the viewer fully into Paddy’s world… and as in life, it is both rewarding and on occasions disturbing.
– John Goto in Photomonitor, March 2018
“I would say Empty Days is my road trip, through the places I know – on foot.”
In run-down streets and shabby cafés Paddy Summerfield found his pictures for Empty Days. Among the tragic lives he encountered, lives that touched him because they reflected his own struggles, he made images that would tell their stories, his own story.
“This is the world I know, it could be anywhere, a place we have all seen before. I am sad, the world is sad. I don’t know if I take photographs to embrace sadness or or push it away.”
For Empty Days Summerfield has found emblems of the great themes: religion, sex, and death. Yet among the bleakness of various addictions, the ravages of drinking, of pills, he shows no spiritual comfort, no sexual joy, only the search for love in an unloving world, an unsatisfied spiritual longing. Along pavements and pathways, in claustrophobic rooms or open spaces, he finds the isolated figures, lost in thought or caught in a flash of emotion, to express the yearnings and pain that so many of us share. And where no people are shown, the human traces – an abandoned bicycle, a fallen doll, a tangle of nettles and barbed wire – continue themes of loss and melancholy. Yet however powerless or worn down the people and places shown, these pictures offer compassion, not judgement. A handful of troubling portraits, suggesting powerful and complex emotions, punctuate Empty Days, and intensify our sense of a narrative, albeit elusive and incomplete, as the photographs lead us through a fragile and fragmented world to an ending that suggests the possibility of hope.
Oxford-based, Paddy Summerfield, trained at Guildford School of Art in the Photography and the Film departments. His work has been shown in many galleries, including the ICA, The Barbican, The Serpentine Gallery, and The Photographers’ Gallery. His work is in the collections of the Arts Council and of the V&A, as well as in numerous private collections. Empty Days is his third book published by Dewi Lewis. His earlier book Mother and Father(2014) was widely acclaimed, and featured in several lists of the ‘Best Photobooks of The Year’.
March 8, 2018Posted by on
My last post was by another photographer who had the ability to see those things others miss and this post has more images that are clever and witty.
Pau Buscató is a street photographer who has a knack for capturing playful moments in which subjects and scenes come together in curious ways for brief moments of time. Many of his pictures are illusions that may cause you to stare a little longer to understand what it is you’re actually seeing.
“My approach to street photography is very intuitive and I’ve always liked to let my work grow freely, without me forcing any direction or themes,” Buscató writes. “It’s a very open process that demands full awareness and fresh eyes, to see the ordinary things of our everyday not just for what they are, but also for what they can become, when photographed.
“There is a strong sense of play in my street photography. It’s a game for me, and the city is my playground.”