Oxford School of Photography

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Monthly Archives: October 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/

Four sisters, 25 years

This is an interesting project followed through fastidiously. A photograph of 4 sisters, one every year for 25 years. The order of the sisters remain the same in every picture. Not only is the perceived passage of time gently revealed but the lack of pretense towards happy smiling families is also absent. This doesn’t mean that as a family there were/are not happy, one has to assume the opposite as being photographed over a protracted period of time requires you to be on good terms with the others in the photograph.

“In 1975, Nicholas Nixon, a professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art, began taking an annual photograph of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters. The four women always pose in the same order: Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie. At the outset the youngest, Mimi, was 15. This year the oldest, Bebe, is 59.”

I have chosen 1975, 1985 and 1995 but do go and look at the rest here

The Disappearing Face of New York

A catalogue of shop fronts fast disappearing from the streets of New York, fascinating in the repetition and similarity as well as the sense of loss evoked in many of these

‘During the eight years it took James and Karla Murray to complete this project, one third of the stores they featured have closed’

Want to see more

Why are my prints too dark?

Still thinking about a new printer and delving further into Keith Cooper’s excellent Northlight Images site I found this article on monitor calibration, dealing with the specific issue of prints looking darker than the screen image. Towards the bottom of the article there are also further links to managing and improving colour output from your printer

One of the questions we often get asked at Northlight is: ‘Why are my prints too dark?”

Often this comes with a query as to whether it’s worth getting print profiling equipment such as the ColorMunki or SpyderPrint.

‘Your monitor is probably too bright’ is our most common answer.

You’ve spent a lot of time getting an image to look just right on your screen, you select your paper, you hit the ‘Print’ button, out comes the print.

Something doesn’t look right. You take the finished print out of the printer and it’s just too dark. That shadow detail you’d worked on in Photoshop – all gone.”

 Keith looks briefly at the issues and suggests some differing approaches to dealing with the problem here.

Canon Pixma Pro-1 A3+ Pigment Ink based inkjet printer

I am thinking about replacing my HP printer, when I first got the B8850 I thought it was the best printer I had ever had but since it has dropped out of the guarantee period and has developed a fault and HP refuse to offer any repair service I am looking again. In the past I have struggled with Epson as well, I suppose all printers have a shelf life due to the nature of ink passing through tubes and print heads, even if you use them regularly they block up. Anyway Keith over at Northlight images has a pre production review on the new Canon Pixma Pro 1 and it does look the business as they say.

  • 12-ink system with exceptional colour gamut
  • Chroma Optimizer for uniform glossiness and crisp, sharp blacks
  • Optimum Image Generating system enhances colour reproduction
  • Stunning black and white prints with 5 monochrome inks
  • New LUCIA pigment inks ensure outstanding photo permanence
  • Create a gallery-quality A3+ photo in approx. 2 minutes 55 sec
  • High capacity ink tanks ensure long periods between replacements
  • Wide range of media support including 356mm (14”) wide and thick media
  • Easy-PhotoPrint Pro plug-in for efficient printing workflowCanon today announced the launch of its new flagship PIXMA Pro series model, the PIXMA PRO-1, which is the world’s first A3+ printer to feature 12 separate inks. Featuring an EOS-inspired design, the stylish model produces the highest possible print quality in colour and monochrome, and is ideal for professional and serious amateur photographers. Exceptional levels of productivity make it suitable for studio use and commercial exhibitions.

    Groundbreaking 12-ink system for superb results
    The unique 12-ink system significantly expands colour gamut in most areas and features new Chroma Optimizer for increased black density and uniform glossiness. Five monochrome inks produce professional quality black and white prints with excellent detail in shadow and highlight areas, as well as smooth tonal gradation and suppressed graininess. Next generation LUCIA pigment inks are used for outstanding image permanence, allowing prints to be sold or exhibited with confidence.

  • The price looks to be about £800 plus VAT so not cheap but a trouble free printer (some hope) with exceptional quality might just be worth so muchMore information here

The 71 Coolest Photography Articles, Tutorials and Links Of The Week

By on 21 Oct 2011 i

“Another fabulous week in the world of photography and Toad Hollow Photography has been busy compiling a list of great links to tutorials, photography and interesting blogs to share.   We sincerely hope you enjoy viewing these great sites as much at the Toad did in bringing this list to you.” on Lightstalking

Here’s a sample


Photography Tutorial – Black and White conversion using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 – a thorough and complete piece shares tips and tricks on how to process imagery using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 product set.

Behind the scene: Godiva liquor splash shot – photography master Alex Koloskov takes us back stage to an incredible photo shoot.  His desire to share his knowledge with all who are interested really shows in his wonderful work, and if you are interested in this style of photography there is something to be learned and enjoyed in this feature for everyone.


Learning to See (Part 2) – last weeks incredible series of images and accompanying post were followed up this week by a truly wonderful piece.  Tom Dinning shares his wonderful perspective of the world with us, both through his lens as well as his wonderful use of prose.  If you read one blog post this week, this should definitely be it.

A real life “Spring Beauty” – John Mead is not just a truly top drawer photographer, but he is also a science teacher in Texas and has a different perspective to share on his subjects.  This pair of images are incredible as beautiful pictures in their own right, and are accompanied by some fabulous anecdotal details.

Say Hello To My Little Toy – sometimes an image is compelling because of what is hidden, and the subject becomes much more dramatic.  This great picture from the studio of Jose Vazquez delivers a great example of this with a really great perspective.

Feelin’ Grey – a black and white panorama with one of the best reflections I’ve seen this week produces a strong and dramatic image.  Jason Hines captured this fabulous image at Tempe Town Lake.

Wild Hare – this will delight and amaze everyone, a truly special photograph!  Aaron Barlow captures a shot of a wild hare, and the reflection in it’s eye sets this picture in it’s own category, well worth the time to visit.

Under the Bridge – a jaw-droppingly awesome shot from the studio of Chris DeAngelis taken under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge with the moon producing a light-flare… it will surely delight and amaze everyone!

Oh, No… I’m Getting Happy Feet! – absolutely stunning in a slightly macabre way, this incredible photo from the studio of Rob Hanson is perfectly composed and processed.  Taken in the attic of a building that is more than 250 years old, Rob has perfectly captured the great details and textures.

Black and White and Read All Over – a picture that just keeps on giving the more time you spend with it.  I love clever use of language, and when the picture adds a further thousand words you’ve got a masterpiece straight from the studio of Mark Garbowski.