Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: December 2010

The last darkrooms

“Richard Nicholson spent three years photographing commercial photographic darkrooms in London. When he began his project in 2006, there were more than 200 thriving darkrooms dotted around the city; when he completed it in 2009, there were 12.”

The Photographers Workshop was one of the very first darkroom and studio hire centres to open in Britain. We established in 1982 and for about 20 years everything stayed the same and was simple. Then the change came and as we had to leave our beautiful old building in St Marys Road Oxford because of property developers we downsized to smaller darkrooms in a new home in Cave Street Oxford. As the use of our darkrooms reduced we increased our use of digital and then when property developers again moved us on we found our new home in Collins Street Oxford but had no space or need of darkrooms.Now as you will be aware we concentrate on our commercial photography and teaching.

In some ways it is sad that there has been such a loss of demand for film based image making but I think that digital is just another development in the history of photography. We have seen continual changes to equipment and processes throughout the life of photography and although I don’t refute the values of film it will eventually only have the nostalgia value of any of the old photographic processes mostly followed by those who admire and craft of image making. This article includes an interesting interview with Brian Dowling of BDI in London. He argues with great persuasion about the performance that is part of making a print in a darkroom.

“Making a complex print in the darkroom is physical activity and it is often accompanied by a burst of adrenaline as the printer races against the clock,” says Nicholson. “With digital, there is post-production interpretation, but it can’t be called a ‘performance’. Photoshop work is non-linear and is not time-restricted. And, once that work is done, each print is identical.”





Analog – review | Art and design | The Observer.

Lomo Look

A while ago there was a great interest in poorly engineered Russian cameras that gave distortions in terms of colour and sharpness to the images it produced. The Lomo camera became a short lived star towards the end of the film era and the main factor affecting the way it produced images was the plastic quality of the lens. Even today there are many websites that laud Lomo images, there are fans and followers of things Lomo. In recent years the company was bought to save it from extinction and of the basis of the cult of Lomo has had significant success in many ways including introducing a range of film based cameras that could take multiple images at the same time.


The Lomo look is coveted by some digital users and there are many tutorials on how to get the Lomo look. As the choice of film and processing had a great impact on the way that the image looked it is less to do with the camera than the process so there may be many different Lomo like tutorials. These two are a before and after on one type of photoshop conversion and here is a YouTube vid tutorial on how to achieve the result.

Bruce Elder, journalist, Sydney Morning Herald

What do you think? Is this a technique that might freshen up some of your images? Let me know if this tutorial is useful and the sort of thing you want brought to you via this blog.

Where do you really want to go with your photography in 2011? | Silber Studios

“Let’s talk about where you really want to go with your photography in 2011. I doubt you’d even be reading this if you didn’t have goals you wanted to achieve.  If you’ve been paying attention to my show you know that the pros are always pushing themselves to the next level.  A sure sign of failure is thinking one has achieved it all.” 


Ansel Adams

This is not you. I know you’re looking for that next level and want help getting there. So let’s talk about it.

Where do you really want to go with your photography in 2011? | Silber Studios.

Photography Books Of The Year

Long Lens Landscape Photography







Long Lens Landscape Photography.

25 Spectacular Light Painting Images





25 Spectacular Light Painting Images.

Todd Hido

welcome back, hope you had good holidays. This article comes from the Kodak website and is about an interesting photographer Todd Hido. His work has a definite style that you either get and like or don’t, not especially challenging in concept but stuffed full of atmosphere, here is a quote from the article

“Like most of my work, it emanated from place. I remember very clearly I was scouting around during the day for places to go back to at night to shoot. I remember stopping and all this water had rushed down my windshield, and I thought, “This is a beautiful scene in front of me,” because it was partially covered and partially not covered. I shot the photograph and it was one of those pictures that sat on my contact sheet for a while, and then I decided to print it. And I ended up really liking it a lot. I really liked the idea that there was an aspect of playing around with pictorialism and making my pictures painterly in some way. It’s interesting to explore what the boundaries of blurriness are, the ways you can take an image and make it into something. You smudge this and move that, or you move your camera and the location of what’s in and out of focus changes. That’s how I got started with that work. I really enjoy being out in the landscape like that, driving around — going somewhere and the weather’s not good, and you’re driving around in the car and you’re finding these places. It’s extremely satisfying. “

16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas

It’s just a few days until Christmas so I thought a quick tutorial on the topic of Christmas Photography might be appropriate. Hopefully this will give you some good Christmas photo ideas.

Here are 16 Christmas Photography tips and ideas to try that come to mind for digital camera owners wanting to capture the big day:

Read more here


This is a very popular competition and regularly attracts beautiful images. If  you have an interest in garden and plant photography have a look at the winners, here are a couple

Overall Winner

Marianne Majerus
Layered landscape: a moment captured

What the judges said:
“This is a magical moment in the garden, perfectly seen and brilliantly captured. From one corner of the frame a fan of sunlight slants down through the early-morning mist. The spiky flowerheads make another diagonal leading off into the opposite corner. The sharp foliage in the foreground makes a contrast with the hazy trees behind. Altogether a delicious picture.”

Colin Roberts

Tree-lined landscape

Southern England

Tree-lined landscape Trees in a stretch of rolling English landscape, photographed at first light in spring. The trees follow the hedge-lines between the fields, decorating the landscape with their rounded shapes. The misty atmosphere diminishes the tones of the most distant trees, helping to convey a feeling of depth in the scene.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2010