Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Unconsciously Graceful: Lillian Bassman

I love Faded + Blurred so much, I think I could spend days just reading their spotlight articles. I had never heard of Lillian Bassman so thank F+B for this

“I am completely tied up with softness, fragility, and the problems of a feminine world.” – Lillian Bassman
When you think of iconic fashion photographers, chances are you think of names like Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, or, perhaps Cecil Beaton. However, a name that should not only be on your list, but somewhere very near the top, is Lillian Bassman, who, for more than 60 years defined not only fashion, but the role of a fashion photographer. Ms. Bassman, although shooting women, was living and working in a man’s world but she did not let that to hold her back. Instead, she spent her career pushing the boundaries and breaking the standards of traditional fashion photography and, in the process, created a brilliant style that was uniquely her own. Lillian Violet Bassman was born to very bohemian parents in 1917. She and her sister were given freedom to do what they wanted as long as they ironed their uniforms and took a bath every Saturday. Other than that, they were completely independent. At the young age of six, she met nine year old Paul Himmel, the son of her mother’s boss. They quickly became close friends, which eventually turned into a romantic involvement, and, at 15, her parents allowed her to move in with him. Within a short time, they were married and ended up spending the next 73 years together, until Paul died in 2009. READ MORE







lillian-bassman-18Thank you Faded + Blurred


Children of the Omo

More genius from Steve

Golden Meaning: graphic artists depict the golden ratio – in pictures

Fascinating…….in The Guardian by Alex Bellos

A selection of images from Golden Meaning, a book project in which 55 of the world’s top graphic designers illustrate the maths of the golden ratio

Read his blogpost about the book here


Graphic designers Bibliothèque decided to come up with two visual mnemonics for the golden ratio, which is the number 1.618. When a 0-100C thermometer is divided by this number, the mercury reaches to about 38C, the temperature of blood in humans. When a clock is divided into two sections so that their angles are in the golden ratio, one solution is 12.23, which is an easy number to remember. All photographs: Richard Hubert Smith/GD&


George Hardie poured wine into three specially designed glasses, which are each full with golden ratio proportions – the ratio of wine to emptiness is 1.618.

See more here

in winter sunlight …

finding things to captivate even when it is raining

Words + Images

I sat in the hallway trying to find some focus as I shifted between writing projects.  But focus was not coming and so at last, a bit agitated, I started to rise.  That’s when my eyes fell upon a clear vase.  In fact it was a drinking cup that I’d turned into a vase after the plastic had begun to crack.  It held an inch or so of water and a few sprigs of baby’s breath.

The sunlight shone through it magnificently, and somehow that light brought a great sense of calm.

I shook the vase to let the light dance.

Then some petals fell in casting their shadows.

And then I could not resist … I dunked in several sprigs, curious to see what new shapes would emerge.  New shapes did and so did several rainbows.

Soon the light shifted as it always, eventually does.  I crumbled the baby’s…

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A World Sublime: Tim Walker

More from the archives of Faded & Blurred

Magical. Captivating. Eccentric. These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe the imaginative work of Tim Walker. Like Gregroy Crewdson, Walker’s photographs are not just made, they are meticulously crafted. From the kernel of an idea in his mind to the building of the sets, he is there every step of the way taking care to make sure every detail is exactly where he wants it. His photographs are filled with beauty and a sense of whimsy. They seem to have the ability to entrance anyone who looks at them……READ MORE HERE





tim-walker-05bsee more here


Master of Moments: Henri Cartier-Bresson

From the rather wonderful Faded + Blurred

The decisive moment. If you have studied photography even in the slightest bit, you will likely have heard that saying. Just about every hobbyist and professional knows that you always need to be on the lookout for the precise second when you know you should press the shutter. It has become a philosophy, particularly of street photographers; an idiom to live by. What’s ironic is the man to whom that saying is credited to didn’t actually like it. The phrase, “The Decisive Moment”, came from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s book, Images à la Sauvette, which, when published in America was renamed. The actual translation means “Pictures on the Run”. Cartier-Bresson, while known for his spontaneous shooting style, didn’t particularly care for the saying because he thought it was used to pigeonhole him. He just did what he did, and although he would agree that there is a certain decisive moment, he did not want that to define who he was. He said, “Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”….READ MORE





HCB-2see more here



Here is another link to L1teb1tes by György László.

The more pictures I look at, the less I am able to say why I feel attracted to some images. Sometimes the answer is not so much in the image itself but in the emotional attachment that forms between me, the viewer and the photo. It’s a strange umbilical cord that ties me to what I see, it has the power to turn me into the photographer who took the picture.
GL: Two pairs of feet, one black and white, the other color, two pictures from two different series but there’s some playfulness and intimacy that they share…..read the interview with Annalisa here




About Street Photography in East London


There are two dates for this walk – the 15th March and the 12th April. To book tickets for either, please click on the ‘BOOK TICKETS’ button.

David Gibson is one of the founding members of iN-PUBLiC, the international collective of street photographers. For nearly twenty-five years, David’s territory has been London and in particular the East End. His work was featured in the popular book Street Photography Now.

The day will begin with a slide-show presentation of street photographers who have recorded this ever-changing part of London, from celebrated to lesser-known photographers, including David himself. David will then lead a three hour photo-walk around East London, revisiting the locations of some of the images discussed. David will offer his personal insight into the aesthetics and meaning of street photography, while providing a quirky history of a very diverse area of London from the 1930’s to the present day.

David will impart his knowledge of street photography and general photographic technique whilst walking with you, providing plenty of opportunities for you to take photos along the way.

The photo-walk is for intimate groups of no more than 12 people.

Please note: This is a photo-walk and appreciation of street photography—not a workshop as such. There will be plenty of opportunities for feedback from the teacher as you go, and from the group when you break for lunch, but we will not conclude with a show and tell. Participants will have the option to upload their photos to share with the group afterwards.

Please use the booking link at the top of the page in order to reserve your place on this photo walk. If you have any problems or questions, or wish to book more than two tickets at a time, please send an email to hello@fotoura.comand a member of the Fotoura team will assist you…..MORE HERE

Between Moments: Gregory Crewdson

I have featured Gregory Crewdson numerous times because I think his work is fascinating and visually exciting. This article on Faded + Blurred gives much greater insight into his methods and ideas and there are many more pictures than we have found before.

“My pictures must first be beautiful, but that beauty is not enough. I strive to convey an underlying edge of anxiety, of isolation, of fear. ” – Gregory Crewdson
Few photographers have had such a dramatic impact on photography as Gregory Crewdson. Like Richard Avedon or Henri Cartier-Bresson before him, Crewdson fundamentally changed not only the photographic language, but also the process of creating images and, in doing so, established himself as one of the most visionary photographers of the last decade. His photographs hang in museums, galleries and private collections all over the world and can sell for upwards of $100,000, but seeing him on the set of one of his productions, you might think he looks more like a film director than what has traditionally been the image of a photographer. In fact, he rarely even presses the shutter button. “I prefer not to be behind the camera,” he says, “because I want the most direct experience with the subject as possible.” Creating one of his photographs means dozens of crew members, unbelievably large budgets, and magnificent environments that require sets to be built or streets and neighborhoods to be temporarily shut down. Large in scale and obsessively detailed, they are made even bigger by what the viewer doesn’t see. “In all my pictures,” he says “what I am ultimately interested in is that moment of transcendence or transportation, where one is transported into another place, into a perfect, still world.” READ MORE







What camera should I buy?

I get asked this a couple of times a week. Sometimes it comes with the proviso, I want to have a career in photography but that opens another can of worms. Buying a camera, the right camera is important because if you get it wrong you may never enjoy the experience of taking pictures and so end up just using your phone, heaven help you! Anyway this really useful article on Digital Camera World looks at the four main types of cameras and in a simple way makes observations that seem appropriate to me. If you are thinking of buying a camera then read this first. It won’t tell which model to buy but it will help you to buy the right type for you, which is a good start point. Should you buy a dslr, maybe a bridge or compact or even the kid on the block a CSC (compact system camera) [who thinks up these names?]

 “What camera should I buy?” Truth is, it can be tricky to decide what camera to buy because we like to shoot different subjects which have different needs. In this jargon-free buyer’s guide our head of testing Angela Nicholson has some advice that will put you on the right track.

_DSC6932.NEFRead the full article in Digital Camera World here