Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Barry Feinstein – Photographer

The photographer Barry Feinstein, who died last month shot some of the most enduring rock music images of the 1960s. His portrait of Janis Joplin taken the day before she died graced the cover of her album, Pearl, while his image of George Harrison sitting on a chair surrounded by garden statues appeared on the ex-Beatle’s solo album, All Things Must Pass. His best known work is probably the monochrome image of an unsmiling Bob Dylan on the 1964 album, The Times They Are A-Changin’. Feinstein began his career shooting portraits of film stars for Columbia but branched out taking more candid pictures of the stars outside the studio. After meeting Dylan, he became the singer’s official photographer on his 1966 tour and chronicled Dylan’s switch from acoustic to electric music. “Musicians are actually easier to photograph than movie stars,” he once said. “They’re just not as uptight.”

The American photographer Barry Feinstein, who has died aged 80, made his most famous series of images when he accompanied Bob Dylan and the Band on their controversial tour of Britain in 1966. On stage, Dylan was aloof to the point of imperious, a dandy in shades and a sharp suit, willing his new electric music on disgruntled audiences who wanted the familiar folk singer they knew and revered.

When Feinstein’s fly-on-the-wall photographs of the tour finally appeared in his book Real Moments, published in 2008, Dylan emerged as an even more complex figure. Often he looks gaunt and fragile, his eyes hidden behind ever-present shades, his body hunched against the cold British winds and the imploring eyes of his faithful. One such image of Dylan waiting for the Aust ferry to take him across the Severn was used as the poster for No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese’s epic 2005 documentary on Dylan.”...more of this obituary by Sean O’Hagen

Giles Duley’s portfolio

From the pages of the Guardian.

A fashion photographer who left celebrity behind to capture humanitarian issues, earlier this year Giles Duley lost both his legs and an arm during a landmine explosion in Afghanistan. Here he talks through his best shots.….more

To see more of Giles’ work visit gilesduley.com
To contribute to Giles’ fund and aid his rehabilitation visit gilesduley.org

South Sudan 2009
‘A Nuer woman in delivery at the moment of her child’s death. This reflected the dire need for better healthcare in South Sudan; as the nurses were limited, I’d had to help the doctor. I stopped for a moment to take this. It was so private but I felt it should be recorded. In the horror of such an event, there was a strange sort of calm. I’m not a religious man, but that was the closest I’ve felt to something spiritual. Months later, the photo won an award and I felt incredibly uncomfortable about that’

Britain’s photographic revolution

Fascinating article in the Guardian/Observer by at the weekend regarding the state of photography as considered as art in Britain. O’Hagen is one of the most impressive writers on photography in Britain and the article absolutely to the point.

“The big art institutions here are finally catching up with their American counterparts, with a new photography gallery at the V&A, increased prominence at the Tate and exciting plans elsewhere. We asked four leading curators about the state of the art……..The September issue of the art magazine Frieze ran a glossary of “keywords” in contemporary art and culture. Under “Photography” the compilers wrote: “The first photograph was produced in 1826. In 2009 Tate advertised the following job for the first time: Curator (Photography and International Art). Discuss.” The question invited was: why had it taken so long for photography to be viewed as a serious art form in Britain? The Museum of Modern Art in New York, for instance, appointed its first curator of photography, Beaumont Newhall, in 1940.”.………….more


Snap happy: leading curators (l-r) Martin Barnes (V&A), Brett Rogers (Photographers’ Gallery), Simon Baker (Tate Modern) and Charlotte Cotton (the Media Space). Portrait by Suki Dhanda for Observer New Review

9 Tips for a Perfect Portrait Background

From one of our favourite sites Photo-Tuts comes this tutorial on better portrait photography by managing the backgrounds. We teach this is our ever popular Portrait Photography course but you may not live near Oxford

Flatter your portrait subject with the perfect background, even if you don’t have professional backdrops or lighting. A little exposure and composition know-how can get you a long way toward a beautiful portrait background.

 This tutorial is a grab-bag of helpful ideas for photographers of any level. I’ve written them with the idea that once you master them all, you will have a bag of tricks at your disposal. Pull out one or combine several, and you’ll be able to quickly adapt to all kinds of lighting and subject situations and walk away with a wonderful portrait. Many of the techniques, however, work best with just one or two subjects. As a group becomes larger, you’ll find your available options becoming fewer. Such is the life of a portrait photographer”.…more

Katia Vastiau

The Ultimate Guide for Buying Your First Digital SLR

“Let’s assume that you’ve been shooting with your “point and shoot” for a while now, and you’ve taken some pretty nice snapshots. But maybe you are starting to feel a little limited by what the camera is capable of doing. You’ve read up on photography, and there are things you want to work on. You feel it is time to step up!

This guide will help you to understand some of the basic features of Digital SLR cameras (DSLRs), and hopefully help you find one that fits both your needs and budget.”“…..more

Pictures of the Week: October 21, 2011

Our ever popular Denver Post blogs brings another set of remarkable images, the full set of images are here

An Irish traveler resident holds up a cross for the media, in front of a burning barricade during evictions at the Dale Farm travellers site, near Basildon England, 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of London, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011. Police in riot gear used sledgehammers to clear the way for the eviction of a community of Irish Travellers from a site where they have lived illegally for a decade. A large force of police and bailiffs faced resistance from several dozen residents and supporters who threw bricks and struggled with officers. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Two Red Deer stags ‘rut’ in the early morning mist in Richmond Park on October 15, 2011 in London, England. Autumn sees the start of the ‘Rutting’ season where the large Red Deer stags can be heard roaring and barking in an attempt to attract females known as bucks. The larger males can also be seen clashing antlers with rival males. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Novice Bhutanese monks Sangey, 6, and Tenzin, 7, and Tandin, 4, and Pembar, 10, rest after hours of prayer at the Dechen Phodrang monastery October 18, 2011 in Thimphu, Bhutan. About 375 monks reside at the government run monastery that also doubles as a child care facility for under privileged and orphaned males. The monks average about 10 hours of study a day waking up at 5:00am. Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion, although in the southern areas many citizens openly practice Hinduism. Monks join the monastery at six to nine years of age and according to tradition many families will send one son into the monk hood. They learn to read chhokey, the language of the ancient sacred texts, as well as Dzongkha and English. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)


Magnum Photos to hold contact sheets symposium

“To coincide with the release of its Magnum Contact Sheets book, Magnum Photos is organising a high-profile symposium in London

Magnum Contact Sheets “presents an unparalleled wealth of unpublished material, revealing the story behind many iconic and historical images of modern times taken by the world’s most celebrated photographers,” says Magnum Photos. “The book shows their creative process and also acts, in the words of Martin Parr, as an ‘epitaph to the contact sheet’ as it marks the end of the analog era as we move to a digital generation.” writes Olivier Laurent in the BJP


To coincide with the launch of the 508-page book, Magnum Photos is organising a symposium with the photography department of London College of Communication. The one-day event, held on 26 November, will see editors, curators and photography experts discuss the importance of contact sheets in understanding a photograph’s meaning and context.

Foto8 Seminars – Business seminars from the makers of Foto8

Foto8 runs a programme of seminars for photographers, in which speakers share experience and production in particular areas, such as creating a photo book or putting together a photo story.

With a mix of speakers, several important aspects are covered, and attendees are limited to a small number to keep the event as intimate and informal as possible. And with our new series of seminars, participants are able to receive direct feedback on their work from the prominent industry professionals involved.

“Foto8 is holding three day-long seminars between November 2011 and March 2012, inviting industry speakers to give photographers an insight into the business of image-making.

Making It Happen, on 26 November, will explore practical business models for those with work to publish, while New Documentary Forms, on 28 January, will examine the intersection of aesthetic and testimonial concerns in documentary photography. Different Contexts, on 03 March, will consider the demands of editors, agencies and NGOs, and how photographers can best meet them while creating work with its own integrity. ” As reported in the BJP

26 November 2011

90 Photography tutorials, links and great images

Thanks for this listing to Toad Hollow via Lightstalking

“Check out the Toad’s photo blog and gallery of Canadian Fine Art and Landscape Photography.

What a huge week we’ve had here in the wide world of photography, and Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy compiling this very comprehensive list of tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share.  You will find some great links here taking you off to see some fabulous works by some truly talented people.  We hope you enjoy visiting these links as much as the Toad did in bringing them to you.”

Here are some tasters for you


Getting The Perfect Portrait Every Time – a great piece from master photographers outlining tips and tricks on how to achieve that perfect portrait, every time you get behind the lens.  David Ziser hosts this fabulous tutorial, making it widely available for everyone to enjoy and gain some behind-the-scenes information from.

Make Your Own Canvas Portrait – a short but awesome post on how to create your very own canvas portraits.  Even if this is something you don’t have an immediate plan for, this great post is highly informative and left me personally with a lot of new creative ideas.

Lighting Basics: Hard Light and Soft Light – an absolutely detailed and highly informative article on different lighting, how it effects photography and how best to employ it.  This is an in-depth article, sure to shed some light on this subject for most photographers, if you’ll pardon the pun.


Learning to See (Part 3) – seriously profound, this series of pictures and accompanying story will leave you feeling something, no doubt about it.  Master photographer and writer Tom Dinning shares a personal story that is punctuated with the most incredible imagery, sure to move all those who take it in.  As the story unfolded, I had a strong sense I knew where we were going with it, but each and every word, each and every picture, was taken in like the finest square of chocolate or a sip of the finest whiskey.

Pyestock – The Gates Of The River Styx – easily one of my picks of this week, Mark Blundell roars onto the photography scene with this picture that will leave you with as many questions as answers.  Incredible photography and processing merge to create this absolutely incredible piece.  A great accompanying write-up explains the setting, leaving the viewer yearning for much, much more.

If you want to see all of them go here
Here is a picture of the beautiful city OSP towers calls home, freshly baked for you this morning

Photowalks Day at Rutherford Appleton Lab, Abingdon

We get some odd requests to post about, this one I think has some great photo opportunities as well as the chance to see the insides of a world renowned lab.

Amateur and professional photographers will be able to enjoy unprecedented access to some of the most remarkable science and technology currently being undertaken in the UK, as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is to hold a series of ‘Photowalks’ across its impressive sites at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, its Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire and its Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire, on 22, 23, 24 November respectively.

Places on the Photowalks are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. On registering, applicants will be sent a full information pack including factsheets on the facilities that will be visited during the tour. All participating photographers must be 18 years old or over.”

Further details of the photowalks are available at http://www.stfc.ac.uk/Public+and+Schools/37355.aspx

Dr David Evans takes a close look at tracks from a simulated collision in ALICE.