Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: March 2013

Photos: Pictures of the Year International Photo Contest 2013

A selection of prize-winning photographs from the 70th annual Pictures of the Year Internationalphotojournalism contest. Judging of this year’s POYi competition commenced last week with hundreds of photographs receiving recognition across multiple categories.

Pictures of the Year International is a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. The mission of POYi is to promote and extend the reach of documentary photographers by engaging citizens with documentary photography. POYi is a non-profit, academic program dedicated to journalism education and professional development. From The Denver Post


POYi First Place – PORTRAIT (Daniel Ochoa De Olza/Associated Press) Juan Jose Padilla waits before making the traditional ‘paseillo’ or ritual entrance into the arena, in Brihuega, Spain on Saturday, April 14, 2012.


POYi First Place – SPORTS PICTURE STORY (Casper Hedberg/Freelance for Kontinent) A chapandaz who managed to drop the dead carcass in the “halal” circle can win anything from one hundred to several thousand u.s. dollars. The prize is awarded directly, and then the game starts over again.

"The siege of Aleppo"

POYi First Place – NEWS PICTURE STORY (Javier Manzano/Agence France-Presse) Two rebel soldiers stand guard in the Karmel Jabl neighborhood of Aleppo as more than a dozen holes made by bullets and shrapnel pepper the tin wall behind them. The dust from more than one hundred days of shelling, bombing and firefights hung thick in the air around them as they took turns guarding their machine-gun nests. Both sides (the Free Syria Army and the regime) rely heavily on snipers – the cat and mouse game of Aleppo’s front lines. The Karmel Jabl and Al-Arqoob neighborhoods are strategically important because of their proximity to the main road that separates several of the main battlegrounds in the city from one of the largest rebel-controlled regions in Aleppo. It is widely believed that if the regime ordered its infantry (most of it is largely composed of Sunni Muslims) to charge the rebels, a large number of the soldiers would defect to the opposition. For this reason, face-to-face combat is rare. Instead, the regime relies mostly on tanks, indirect fire (mortars and artillery), airplanes and snipers. Snipers can hold a line of several streets and can take weeks for the rebels to locate and neutralize.

'hunters' - David Chancellor/INSTITUTEPOYi – WORLD UNDERSTANDING AWARD (David Chancellor/INSTITUTE) Huntress with buck, South Africa. As boundaries are declared with walls and ditches, and cement suffocates the land, the great herds of the past become concentrated in new and strange habitats. Densities rise, the habitats are diminished, and the land itself begins to die. Imbalance is compounded. Man and animal now more than ever find themselves competing for both food and space

See all of these remarkable images here on the Denver Post pblog site

Photographer Collection: William Hacker’s Portraits

Photographer William Hacker started taking pictures at age 21. Originally from Leslie, Missouri, Hacker now lives in Brooklyn, New York and works primarily with black and white analogue film.

“With film, I immediately felt more involved both mentally and physically with the entire photographic process, because there was a tangible object I could physically touch and hold. With digital, I never seemed to be completely satisfied or proud of the photograph I had taken, even if the content and composition was what I wanted or intended it to be.”

Hacker processes all of his own black and white film and makes his own prints in his darkroom which doubles as a bedroom in his small apartment.

“The fact that we live in a digital world makes it that much more difficult to shoot analogue because the supplies aren’t nearly as readily available as they once were – although I consider myself lucky because there is still a strong analogue presence in NYC compared to most cities. The analogue process will continue to be not only an increasing financial burden, but also very time consuming when compared to the quick workflows of digital. However, I will always greatly prefer a print made either in the darkroom or with another alternative process to a print made from a digital file.” This wonderful set of images is from The Denver Post, go here to see all of the portraits


Portrait of my father as he sits on the front porch of the 19th century log cabin he restored after nearly 100 years of vacancy. The cabin was first built in the 1850’s.


Portrait of a set of triplets. The photograph was taken shortly after a look-alike competition at the annual Twinsburg Festival located in Twinsburg, Ohio. For over 30 years, hundreds of twins gather from around the world to participate in the annual festival.


Portrait of a young boy dressed as a werewolf in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. Halloween was delayed in most areas of New York due to Hurricane Sandy.

all images William Hacker, see the rest here

The 10 best … photographic self-portraits

OK these are not our choice but that of  writing in the Guardian. Sean is a really excellent writer on photography and whenever we feature one of his pieces we get comments both in agreement and opposition. This list is by our consideration controversial and seems to miss some of the obvious and maybe that is the point. We would ask, where is Robert Mapplethorpe or more importantly Cindy Sherman but that is something you might completely disagree with. Do go and have a look and either nod sagely in agreement with Sean or howl at all you think he has missed.

From Andy Warhol in drag and Giles Duley’s ‘broken statue’, to John Coplans’s back and Gillian Wearing as her father

Andy Warhol<br /><br /><br />Andy Warhol: Self-portrait in Drag, 1981

Andy Warhol: Self-portrait in Drag, 1981. Photograph: The Andy Warhol Foundation

Warhol’s pop art depended on photography. He used found photographic images as the basis for many of his silk-screen paintings, but he also took thousands of Polaroids. Some became the source material for his commissioned portraits, but most were filed away in his archive – a kind of intimate visual record of his life. His most famous self-portrait features an exaggerated version of himself in a fright wig, but the series of self-portraits he made of himself in drag in 1981 is both more restrained and more formally accomplished. Here, the persona of celebrity blankness he so carefully cultivated is refined to an almost self-parodic extent: a mask of a mask.

See the other 9 best here

Did North Korea photoshop its hovercraft?

The many uses of Photoshop are obvious but world domination is not common however as The Guardian reports here those naughty NK’s have been at it again

It appears North Korea has doctored pictures of its military to make it look more impressive than it is – and not for the first time, read the full article with diagrams and explanations here


This picture released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on March 26, 2013 and taken on March 25, 2013 shows the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597 at an undisclosed location on North Korea’s east coast.   Rather thrilling it is too!



A Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Coaching Clients

Lightstalking is a site that offers lots of advice and ideas for photographers. Often we find that what their contributors writes about directly echoes what we teach in our classes so we feel we are in touch with what Lightstalking has to say. This article by Tiffany Mueller, a professional music and fine art photographer, she blogs at Life Is Unabridged,  is about helping clients to pose better when they are having their portrait taken.

In our Portrait Photography course starting on June 6th we spend quite a bit of time explaining how important this is, we give tutorials on how to pose people and how to show people how to pose, that sounds the same thing but it isn’t. You might not be lucky enough to live in Oxford and so have the chance to attend one of our courses so this article by Tiffany will be of help.


©Keith Barnes   Portrait of John Duggan

Click Here: A Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Coaching Clients

Is It Worth Sticking With Flickr?

Flickr is fast approaching it’s ten year birthday and has had over 8 billion photographs uploaded to it but in recent years it has been overtaken by services like 500px, Instagram and even Facebook when it comes to deciding where to share your photos on the web. It’s not so much that Flickr was offering a bad service, it was just offering almost the same service as when it started up.

After rumours that Yahoo! may be looking to let Flickr go or even close it down a new CEO, Marissa Mayer, was appointed mid-way through last year and things have started to change. So is it worth sticking with Flickr? Let’s look at the pros and cons…read more here

On Lightstalking  Mark McGowan writes. Mark is a UK based urban landscape and architectural photographer, looking for the hidden details of city life, trying to show the city from a different point of view. You can visit his website here.

Alison Ryde

Alison Ryde

The Oxford School of Photography Flickr group can be found here

Click Here: Is It Worth Sticking With Flickr?

Brand New Website

Whilst the snow falls and the wind howls over here at OSP Towers we have been beavering away building our new website and very pretty it is too. Redesigned and laid out to be even better at providing all the information you need at a click of a button, go an have a look and tell us what you think


Landmark: The Fields of Photography Exhibition

Oil Spill, 2010

Daniel Beltra, Oil Spill, 2010. Aerial view of oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico

This novel exhibition will be the first of its kind anywhere to show both the harsh, even brutal realities of the changing environment, as well as its enduring and stunning beauty, is a wide-ranging and ground-breaking exhibition featuring more than 70 of the world’s most highly regarded photographers from North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, with many of them showcasing previously unseen and recently completed works.

Focusing on our rapidly changing planet the exhibition will feature more than 130 original works of art taken by enterprising photographers employing technology ranging from 19th Century plate-camera techniques to the use of planes, drones, robots and even satellites to capture vivid images of earth’s varied terrain – and even distant planets.  Many of the major names in photography will be represented…..go to the Somerset House website here for more details

14 March – 28 April 2013
Daily 10.00-18.00 (Last admission 17.30)

East Wing Galleries, East Wing. Terrace Rooms & Courtyard Rooms, South Wing
Free admission

 Terminal Mirage 18

David Maisel, Terminal Mirage 18

Nickel Tailings no. 34

Edward Burtynsky, Nickel Tailings No 34Photograph: Edward Burtynsky/courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto/Flowers London

Para, Brazil, 11 February, 2012

Daniel Beltra, Brazil 3, 2012. Aerial view south of Santarém and along the road BR163 of the rainforest in the Tapajós River

You can see more images from this exhibition on the Guardian website here

Nadav Kander awarded First Prize in Staged Portraits Singles

One of our favourite photographers over here at OSP towers is Nadav Kander, it is good to see he has won 1st prize in the World Press Awards for a staged portrait.


Nadav Kander’s portrait of English actor Daniel Kaluuya has won him a World Press Photo prize.

Lauren Heinz at the BJP speaks to him here

Iraq 10 years on: a photographer’s story – video

Iraq 10 years on: a photographer's story – video | World news | guardian.co.uk.

Award-winning photographer Sean Smith describes the experience of being on the frontline in Iraq and explains why he was driven to return again and again. Smith follows the progress of troops battling against opposition and sectarian attack. His photos are a bloody and unmediated record of the Iraq war and a reminder of the importance of photography

• An exhibition of Sean Smith’s Iraq photographs are on display at the IWM North in Manchester until 29 March