Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Daily Archives: April 20, 2011

Paul Graham: Photographs 1981-2006

This long article discussing the merits of Paul Graham’s photographs is rather full of the ideas that many people consider art double speak, it poses the question what is photography within the context of contemporary art, not quite in those words but that is my assessment of the long discourse. This is certainly not photography for everyone, many of the images seem banal and without merit, that could have been taken by a small child randomly pressing the shutter release on a camera. I don’t doubt that much the same was said of Van Gogh,  Monet, Picasso, Pollock etc, in other words artistic innovators. I am not saying at all that I understand or even like Graham’s pictures but I think anyone interested in photography; that is the subject of photography rather than just their pictures or the decorative images of others, should at least try to understand the work of those seemingly operating at the margins of the medium. I suggest you look at the pictures, read the article and work out if, for you, it has any value, how will you know if you do not look. here it is

Photo Books Competition

What do you do with your images, do they languish on your computer, only seen when you are looking for something else. Maybe you make the occasional prints or post them to your flickr site. I think all photographers should take the opportunity now offered by the ability to make photobooks to show their pictures in an organised and very professional way. If you have never considered this then why not? It is very easy, there are lots of sites where you can make books of your photos. I have used Blurb, Photobox, Aperture, iphoto but there are many more.

Now there is a competition for photobooks with very handsome prizes $25,000

Photography Book Now

PBN is an international juried competition celebrating the most creative, most innovative, and finest self-published photography books – and the people behind them.

There are lots of categories

Fine Art

Entries in this category should be books driven by the personal, artistic interests and concerns of the photographer. Successful submissions will add up to more than just the sum of their parts, whether the work is conceptual or stylistic, the aesthetic is deadpan or modernist, or the artistic practice is in the world of expressive arts or the world of performance.


Entries in this category are books rooted in the documentary tradition or based on a long-term narrative project. It may be a broader project that evolves out of an assignment, or a personal project arising from your own interests. Successful submissions will be artfully made and tell a compelling story, whether personal or journalistic in nature.


Entries in this category are books about journeys that observe the world at large. Books about exploring far-flung places – or truly seeing what’s in your own backyard with the fresh eyes of a traveler. Successful submissions will convey a sense of curiosity about recognizing, investigating, and honoring places where life in all its complexity happens.


This category is open to full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate college students. The work submitted may fit into any of the three professional categories: Fine Art, Documentary, or Travel. Student submissions are not restricted to a particular subject matter. Successful books in this category must have a clear thesis, be well-edited, and exhibit strong photographic talent and skills.

Full details are here

Even if you don’t want to enter a competition you should consider making your own books try Blurb or Photobox

How to Take the Perfect Spring Flower Macro Photograph

Here is another tutorial from Christopher O’Donnell

“The warmer weather means more opportunities for one of my favorite styles of photography: macro images of flowers. With a dedicated macro lens (or specialized filter), you have the means to create some artful photographs using only the environment your backyard provides.”……..more

How to Win a Photography Contest (by Somebody Who Has)

From Lightstalking, a useful post if you are considering entering some photo competitions.

Entering a photography contest is a great way to not only gain exposure for your work, but to also win some fantastic photography gear that you can add to your collection. Additionally, your photo may be published in popular magazines, advertisement campaigns, etc. – which looks great on your photographic resume.” …..more by Christopher O’Donnell

These images are from The National Geographic Competition 2010