Oxford School of Photography

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Daily Archives: April 30, 2012

The highs and lows of life as a documentary photographer

In the Guardian…..

On the road for six months of the year, covering everything from the Iraq war to Agent Orange, Ed Kashi writes home to his wife

aleppo, syria

Taken 13.04.09

Aleppo, Syria (above)

“Today in Aleppo, it’s a brilliant, crisp sunny day, after a night of thunder and rain. I’m always coming and going from home. This constant state of flux creates the sense of being suspended between worlds and always feeling isolated on some level, since I can’t ever get grounded or fully connected either at home or on the road. One of the issues at home is how distracted everyone is, whether from your work or the digital gadgets and friends of the kids. And, of course, you all must live your own lives, so you are not in sync with my rhythms and moods.”

Zululand, Africa

zululand, africaTaken 21.09.97“I am once again facing the demons of a tough fixer, the loneliness of the road and less than perfect conditions. But my problems pale when I think about our new baby on the way. It was a shock when I first got the news but now I’m jumping out of my skin with excitement. Who knows what we’ll have? I know you want a girl this time. I just want a healthy baby.

Today we went out at dusk to photograph the cane fields being burned. It was exciting, and I had a near miss. Hot embers were flying everywhere and they had these Zulu workers armed with big sticks to bat the embers down as they tried to fly to an adjacent field not ready for burning. That would be devastating for the farmers. I was on the fire break road that separates the fields, trying to photograph the worker swinging at the embers, when a bunch of them fell on me. They burned holes in my clothes, caught my forearm and left a small mark.

Every night I go to sleep thinking of your swollen belly and all the magic that’s inside. I can’t wait to meet our new child. Only a few months left.

I love you so dearly and deeply”.…..MORE at the Guardian



GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2012

The Guardian newspaper features images from the German Nature Photographers annual awards.

“The Society of German Nature Photographers (GDT) has announced its Nature Photographer of the Year 2012 – and the winner was Klaus Tamm. Dozens of images made it through to the final round for consideration, in the categories: birds, mammals, other animals, plants and fungi, landscapes, nature’s studio, and this year’s special category, marine habitats in Germany.”....MORE

This photo of a capercaillie by Klaus Echle was sixth place in birds Photograph: Klaus Echle/GDT

Photographer the Jack of All Trades SASHA GiTiN

This is an interesting article by a professional photographer who has made every effort to become successful as a photographer by emersing themselves in many the aspects of what it takes to be a professional photographer with all the experience necessary.

“There are numerous photographic niches and styles. Here at Learn My Shot we always aim at sharing tips on how to photograph anything. But one day when your wings get strong you will pick one area of expertize and fly away to develop your own style. Having a distinctive style or a strong focus on a particular niche of photography has proven to be a successful path for commercial and fine art photographers. Being really good at one thing one is considered as a master. While being good at everything is often compared to not being good at anything. But is it really true?

Early in my photographic career I focused on learning how to shoot anything. I spent about 5 years assisting photographers from diverse industries, portrait, lifestyle, fashion, wedding, event, paparazzi, product, architecture, real estate and still life (That’s how I met Robert Grant – assisting him on a product shoot some years back). When I learned to fly on my own, I chose Food and Beverage as my specialty and took another 5 years to master that particular skill. Often, especially at times when cash was really tight, I asked myself did it ever make sense to spend years experiencing other niches in depth, prior to focusing on one specialty? The answer came in clear recently when I landed a Grey Goose account.

The job required photographing mixed drinks and bartenders in action making those drinks. There are a lot of beverage photographers out there and there are 100 times as many portrait photographers. But being able to shoot both environmental portrait and beverage equally well was something unique to my style and it got me the job.However, the skill required to shoot this job went far beyond the standard norms. The job had to be performed during the filming of Beyond the Bar series on Sundance Chanel. While the job of the film crew involved filming interviews with top national bartenders, my job required to create photographic images of drinks and bartenders in action in between filming sessions. The images where intended to be used for Sundance Chanel website, advertising and point of sale.”…MORE

How to Avoid Common Scams to Steal Your Camera Gear and Rip You Off

In the last 30 years I have had my camera gear stolen 4 times, once from my car when parked, twice from my studio at night and once from my car when I was sitting in it! Does that make me sound stupid, well actually it probably does. I had driven to Barcelona from Oxford to photograph the Christmas festivities in the year 2000. I had been there to party on the millennium new year (the year before) and as I had too much party and not enough photography decided to go back the next year. I was sitting in my car in the centre of Barcelona at traffic lights on Christmas eve, I noticed a guy walk towards my card with his hand out and I thought he was begging, next thing I knew he had opened the passenger front door, I leant over, grabbed the door handle, slammed it shut, the traffic lights changed and I sped across the interchange thanking my luck thinking he was after my phone, wallet and passport which were sitting on the passenger seat. Only when I got across the junction did I notice that the back door behind me was open. I stopped and realised my worst fears. My camera bag with everything I had needed for a 6 day shoot in the city had gone. The ‘beggar’ had been a decoy and I had fallen for it. It was a long and boring Christmas and new year without my cameras. I had been very stupid, now I never travel in my car with anything of importance inside the cabin of the car, everything goes in the boot, out of sight and I hope safe.

This article from Jason Row at Lightstalking has a whole host of tips to help you avoid theft and loss of your camera equipment

“For most of us, base jumping Go Pro photographers excepted, photography is a pretty safe hobby or profession. However sometimes we forget that the pride and joy hanging around our neck, is in fact, an expensive, hi-tech piece of equipment that may have cost several thousand dollars. The aim of this article is to inform but, not scare you, of some of the more frequent scams, both out on the streets and online. Being forewarned is being forearmed and understanding what is going on has helped me on more than one occasion.”..…MORE

We consider this issue important, as more and more people travel with expensive camera gear we become targets for those who would rob us. We spend some time in out Travel Photography course considering this.

Whilst researching this article I also found this excellent article dealing with the same points in more detail recommending specific camera bag systems. “If your photography gear has been stolen, you probably know how frustrating it is. Many professional photographers carry equipment that is worth thousands of dollars. Photographers have found many tricks that help them camouflage their expensive gear so thieves and pickpockets won’t notice that they carry expensive cameras and lenses. There is no doubt that pickpockets do their homework very well. They know how to spot travelers who carry expensive camera gear and know that exact time to move in. If you are traveling with your camera and won’t to avoid losing your precious camera gear, here are some useful tips to come back home safe (with all your gear).

Professional pickpockets will spot a professional camera gear from far away. If you have taken you Canon 5D Mark II with battery grip and a large white L-lens, do you think that a pickpocket can miss that. This is a delicious launch for him, and he will try to do its best to grab a hand on your equipment. In order to prevent yourself being a victim of theft, here are my tips for the naive photographer.….MORE