Oxford School of Photography

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Daily Archives: October 25, 2011

Landscape photographer of the year 2011

Robert Fulton has become the fifth person to win the £10,000 Take a View landscape photographer of the year award with a shot of frost-covered trees in Stirlingshire. More than 100 of the best images will go on display in a free exhibition at the National Theatre in London from 5 December more details are available here

The overall winner. The photograph, entitled Winter Field, Stirlingshire, Scotland, is by Robert Fulton from Cumbernauld Photograph: Robert Fulton/PA
The winner of the ‘classic view’ category. The photograph of Rocquaine Bay in Guernsey during a winter storm is by Tim Harvey, who is from the island Photograph: Tim Harvey/PA
The winner of the ‘living the view’ category. The photograph, called Round the Island, was taken at Hurst Castle by Baxter Bradford, from Hampshire Photograph: Baxter Bradford/PA


New Photographers Gallery at the V & A

On 24 October 2011, the V&A’s new Photographs Gallery will open to the public. The gallery will have an inaugural  display of works by key figures of photographic history including Victorian portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron and significant works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Afred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus and Irving Penn.

The Photographs Gallery will draw upon the  V&A’s internationally renowned collection of photographs, and will chronicle the history of photography from 1839 up to the 1960s. In 1858, the V&A became the first museum to exhibit photographs, and the new Photographs Gallery is able to showcase some of the most technically brilliant and artistically accomplished photographs in its collection. Temporary displays, primarily showcasing contemporary photography, will be shown in the V&A’s existing photographs gallery.

more on this article here

there is also an interesting article in The Guardian by

Photography is a mechanical art. The photographer points a lens at an object, records the image on a plate or film or, today, in digital memory. Therefore all photographs should be similar, the hands of individual photographers unrecognisable. Yet the new Photographs Gallery at the V&A, which opened on Monday to showcase the world’s oldest museum collection of photographs, reveals the apparently limitless variety of the art and the utterly personal genius of great photographers.

A photograph of a steam train taken by Alfred Stieglitz in 1902 hangs near Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s 1932 picture Behind Gare St Lazare, Paris, on the blue-painted wall of the long, elegantly restored, Victorian gallery.” ....more of this here

Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the Launching Chains of ‘The Great Eastern’

Robert Howlett (1830-58), ‘Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the Launching Chains of ‘The Great Eastern”, 1857. Museum no. PH.246-1979

Roslyn Chapel

Roger Fenton (1819-69), ‘Roslyn Chapel’, 1856. Museum no. 290-1935

Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Postmodernism Exhibition at The V & A

11 August – 27 November 2011 admission free

“This display explores photographs that make reference to themselves, other media and texts, and demonstrates how such Postmodernist approaches to photography have persisted for over 30 years.  Spanning the mid-1970s to the present day, it shows work by some of the most influential artists associated with Postmodernism, such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, alongside more recent work by Anne Hardy, David Shrigley, Clare Strand and others.”

So that is what postmodernism means,……. photographs that make reference to themselves, other media and texts

Clare Strand, from the series Signs of a Struggle, 2002. Gelatin silver print.

Getting down with dogs – 25 great pictures

One of the things a photographer should do is show the world from a different perspective. On our Intermediate photography course one of the assignments is to have students photograph fro the perspective of their dog, small child, car bump other, in fact anything other than their usual viewing height. This does often involve spending time on their knees. In the past we have had some fantastic assignments produced, one that immediately comes to mind is from the perspective of a mouth. Very inventive.

I digress, this post has 25 images of dogs, those that love dogs will just enjoy the pictures, the rest of us can learn from the viewing angle that the photographers have taken to produce their images. Here is the link if you fancy getting down with the dogs

“In this post we showcased 25 wonderful and awesome pictures of dogs. The photographer has done excellent job capturing these wonderful moments of dogs. It’s silly to expect you’ll get the perfect shot you want with one click of the camera. You need patience to coax the look out of your dog that you are looking for that day. With dog photography, natural light is best which is why outside shots often produce dazzling results.

The following pictures of dogs are dedicated to dog lovers. To learn more about photograph and photographer and to see the larger version of the dog pictures, be sure to click on the images.”

Shooting Into the Sun

I find that photography has fashions in the way that food, music, and of course clothes do. Not so long ago the pages of glossy magazines were full of images that employed very shallow depth of field, just the very edge of the raddicchio in focus please. More recently off camera flash has been the thing, just about every aspiring photographer has decided that portraits out side with dark smouldering skies and a subject illuminated by harsh off camera flash is what is needed to be creative. In the last year or so it looks to me as if lens flare is where you need to be to be hot. Lots of hexagonal globes of orange light, flare so strong you can only just make out the subject, the feel of hot blinding light. I have nothing against these trends, I do find their over use and the band wagon jumping tedious, it is as if the young guns of photography are waiting to be told what the next big thing is before they can make inspiring pictures.

Anyway, I found this well constructed site called Great British Landscape, I think the title explains. Here I discovered a very full and well written article by Tim Parkin on lens flare, how to remove it rather than how to get it. There is an introduction by Joe Cornish

“Almost unbelievably now, it isn’t that long ago since camera and film manufacturers encouraged would-be photographers to take pictures with the sun ‘over the shoulder’. Quite simply (and understandably) they knew that there was a better chance of the picture ‘coming out’. What they did not say was that it was also a far less interesting way to use light!

Today, modern cameras make a mockery of the exposure problems facing our photographic forebears. Nevertheless, shooting into the light still brings with it a multitude of problems. Excessive contrast is one, while lens generated and exacerbated flare is another. In this article Tim describes and provides various methods for mitigating or eliminating most of the major flare types.

Why should we worry? Well, self-evidently flare is a distraction, an unwanted blight on the picture. Flare draws attention to the fact that the image was generated photographically by a lens. So it screams, inelegantly, !π@&*>photograph<§Ω! If we notice the flare we are not so engaged by the subject matter.

As always in any form of expression, there are exceptions. Film-makers have deliberately used flare for decades as a way of evoking a sense of blinding light, and heat… but in many cases that may have been because they had little choice. Light sources in the image area are always prone to creating flare, especially with complex multi element lenses like the zooms that film-makers typically deploy. There may be some circumstances to keep the flare, and let it play a role. But generally this will be for artists self-consciously referring to the process, to the medium.

Hopefully Tim’s article will inspire you to confidently take the risk of going ‘into the light’. In landscape photography especially, no other lighting is able to potentially create so much emotional resonance.”

Read the article here http://www.landscapegb.com/2010/09/shooting-into-the-sun/