Oxford School of Photography

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Monthly Archives: February 2012

David LaChapelle exhibition in London

David LaChapelle, known by most people as a photographer whose work is the bedrock of fashion and celebrity photographs has had a change of direction as  explains in the Guardian

“For years David LaChapelle was the go-to photographer for the world’s biggest stars. But in 2006 he ditched fashion for fine art. As an exhibition of his work opens in London, he talks to Elizabeth Day about death, divas and decadence”  Read this interesting article here

From the press release for the exhibition we have this information

ROBILANT + VOENA are pleased to announce a major exhibition of acclaimed American artist DAVID LACHAPELLE
opening in February across three European locations – London, Milan and St.Moritz:

Dates: 14 February – 24 March 2012
Reception for the Artist – Monday 13 February
Public Lecture by the Artist – Tuesday 14 February
Location: ROBILANT+VOENA Gallery, 38 Dover Street, London W1S 4NL
Open: Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat 11am – 5pm

“In this new series of ten works DAVID LACHAPELLE (Born 1964) explores the vanity of life and beauty. With titles such
as “Springtime”, “Late Summer”, “Early Fall” and “Deathless Winter” the works refer to the four seasons and allude to
the life cycle: from birth to death.
The title of the series is a quotation of the poem “Hamatreya” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, in which flowers are the
earth’s laughter at the arrogance of human beings who believe they can rule the earth, although they themselves are
transient and must return to it. The title of the exhibition can also be read in the sense of the Baroque vanitas
portrayals. The meaning of the Baroque floral still life was always related to the human hubris and transience of
earthly existence, with the classical still life often containing many of the following: flowers, fruits, vegetables,
animals, insects, mask, candles, watches or skulls. These symbols denote the fugacity and limitations of human life
and the meaningless nature of vanity. Just like wilting flowers, albeit their beauty, we will all fade away.
Whilst LaChapelle shows an explicit compositional affinity to Baroque floral still life, he transfers the genre from
painting to photography. The artist employs art historical visual traditions, but he also translates them into visual
metaphor of and for our time. On second glance the viewer will discover objects of contemporary society in the
blooming and fading flower arrangements: burning cigarettes, newspapers from yesterday, old mobile phones,
plastic, Barbies, a Manga mask, medical devices, a burning American flag, a model of an airplane, balloons, tins,
collages, throw away dinnerware or a tattered dollar bill. These are the metaphors of vanity in our era of an affluent
though seemingly troubled society. The often bizarre and excessive symbolical imagery does not fail to remind us
however, as in the traditional vanitas, to follow our virtues and to celebrate life before it‘s over.” the gallery website is here


Black and White Landscapes – Enriching Tones and Textures

Tom Dining is one of our favourite photography bloggers, His sage words are always welcome. This comes from the Lightstalking site, another favourite and worth bookmarking for regular visits.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning. Check out Tom’s free book offer on his site.

“I’m partial to a bit of colour as much as the next photographer. Blue skies, turquoise ocean, verdant pastures all make for picture post card stuff………But when it comes to emphasising textures, tones and forms of the landscape there seems nothing like a black and white image to draw out the best in these elements of composition.”………MORE from Tom

We have a Black and White Digital Photography course starting March 6th

“Light glorifies everything. It transforms and ennobles the most commonplace and ordinary subjects. The object is nothing; light is everything.”—-Leonard Misonne

Yes light is what photography is about, if the light works then almost anything can be your subject so learning to see light and to appreciate the qualities it has to illuminate a subject is a photographers task. These images on the Lightstalking website show the value of working with back lighting, or contre-jour as it is often named.

“Having a scene lit from behind can serve to bring out the shape and form of subjects in a beautiful way. Sometimes it can also diminish them. These examples of backlit and rim-lit photographs show that, with a little bit of skill, the results can be quite stunning. For some primers on how to achieve a great effect like these examples, check out our articles: “Do You Make These Mistakes When Using Backlighting?” and “How to Capture Stunning Backlit Portraits During the Golden Hours.

all images ©Keith Barnes

‘The Ruins of Detroit’ by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre

We are aware, because of the popularity of our posts on the subject, that many people are entranced by buildings slowly falling into decrepitude. We have featured a number over the recent months, the first nearly a year ago was Forgotten Detroit – 100 Abandoned Houses then more recently we came across the Urbex groupings, people who seek out such locations to photograph, Urbex (urban explorers with cameras) and Urbex – Talkurbex. Now there is another chance to see such fascinating images at an exhibition in London from the 24th February.

An exhibition at Wilmotte Gallery at Lichfield Studios: 133 OXFORD GARDENS, LONDON W10 6NE 24th February – 5th April

Full details from this web site

“Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.” Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre Tristan Hoare and Julien Dobbs-Higginson are pleased to present a selection of photographs from the much acclaimed body of work The Ruins of Detroit (published: Steidl, 2010). Photographs from this series have previously been exhibited in Ville Fertile, Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Paris and Metropolis, Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen. They will be shown in the UK for the first time. The Ruins of Detroit is a five year collaboration between French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. Together they have documented Detroit’s abandoned buildings, thus bringing to light the current state of ‘Motor City’ through a cinematic series of starkly beautiful photographs. Shooting with a large format, custom made camera, taking advantage of natural light and using long exposures, the images embody the unique atmosphere of each location. Marchand and Meffre’s work retains a formal quality and is conceived as a document, giving the viewer a surreal glimpse of Detroit’s former glory. Like the great civilizations of the past, we interpret them through their remains. Once one of the wealthiest cities in the world, Detroit produced the single most important consumer product of the modern age; the automobile. At its peak, it was the world capital of car production and home to two million people. One factory, The Ford River Rouge Plant, employed more than 90,000 workers and its assembly line extended for almost a mile. This monumental success attracted the great architects of the period and the eclecticism of the city’s building programme reflected every fashion of the day. Yet the American dream soon turned into a nightmare. The 1950s saw machines replace workers and, in the following decades, hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost as the international car market changed beyond recognition and foreign car manufacturers successfully competed for their share of the US market. The images bring to mind a Biblical disaster; it is as if all Detroit’s citizens had fled. The abandoned factories and buildings, vacant schools and derelict ballrooms, to name but a few, are a poignant reminder of the fragility of the modern world and, possibly on a different scale, of a now ‘broken America’. These beautiful, but disturbing, images look un-compromisingly at the remains of the once-astonishing Detroit, as a then global center of capitalism and its following, even more extraordinary, descent into ruin. One is reminded of Detroit’s prophetic motto: Speramus meliora, resurget cineribus (“We hope for better things, which shall rise from the ashes”)

Kodak phases out digital businesses, keeps film alive

So Kodak are planning to continue making film, I am sure they have good reasons for doing so but it is beyond my comprehension.

Less than a month after announcing that it would seek bankruptcy protection in the US, Kodak has announced that it will stop the production of digital cameras and picture frames, as well as pocket-size video cameras.

“For some time, Kodak’s strategy has been to improve margins in the capture device business by narrowing our participation in terms of product portfolio, geographies and retail outlets. Today’s announcement is the logical extension of that process, given our analysis of the industry trends,” says Pradeep Jotwani, Kodak’s chief marketing officer. writes Olivier Laurent in The BJP


New photographic grant launched for women photographers

To finance the establishment of a new photographic grant dedicated to European women photographers, the founder of the Firecracker online platform has released an exclusive 2012 diary featuring the work of 12 photographers writes Olivier Laurent in The BJP

“The Firecracker Photographic Grant will be awarded to a woman photographer to assist the completion of a project in late 2012. The award will be open to entries this summer and will be judged by a panel of jurors that include BJP’s deputy editor Diane Smyth, as well as Jessica Crombie of Save The Children, Shannon Ghannam of Reuters News Agency and Francesca Sears of Panos.

Launched by Fiona Rogers in January 2011, the Firecracker platform is dedicated to supporting European women photographers. “During my career in photography, the under-representation of women photographers struck me on several levels,” says Rogers, who is also the cultural and education manager at Magnum Photos London.”...MORE


Image © Mona Simon / Vea Collective.

Win a place on a sports photography workshop


This action shot of Thierry Henry is by Reuters photographer Eddie Keogh, who has shot seven World Cups and several sports photography prizes. He’s running a sports photography workshop in Barcelona in May, and one lucky BJP reader can win a place for free. Image © Eddie Keogh/Reuters.

This summer the Olympics comes to the UK – which makes it a great time to brush up on your sports photography skills. BJP has teamed up with the Eyes in Progress workshop to give one reader a free place on its sports photography masterclass, which takes place from 23-26 May in Barcelona.

The workshop will be led by Reuters photographer Eddie Keogh, who has shot seven World Cup finals and won many awards for his work. Nine participants in total will get hands-on practice at football, hockey, athletics and BMX events plus photograph a diving session at the Montjuic swimming pool in Barcelona’s former Olympic park. Participants will also be given group critiques, tips on editing and portfolio reviews.”

I always recommend my students find a theme to work towards, this very simple idea of brothers and sisters, although I don’t doubt just siblings would do, is a great idea and one that most people could manage. You may remember our post 4 Sisters, 25 Years which was about a photographer, Nicholas Nixon, who as the title says photographed the same 4 sisters every year for 25 years. Sometimes the simple ideas are the best.

Photographing Bhutanese Dance: the Michael Aris Collection

There is an event at The Pitt Rivers Museum this weekend that might be of interest to photographers.

Michael Aris was a leading authority on Himalayan Studies and worked in Bhutan during the 60s and 70s. His photographs show this mountainous kingdom before the arrival of planes, tourism and television. The talk will explain elements of Bhutanese dance traditions by teasing out stories captured within the frozen frame of these still images. More recent film footage will be used to show the context of the dance images.”

©Michael Aris

The times are 2.30 – 3.30 on Saturday 18th. Full details of this event can be found on the BBC website here is the link