Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Daily Archives: April 7, 2014

Don’t Look Away: Diane Arbus

What would the world do without Faded + Blurred? Here is another instalment from their Spotlight series, this time Diane Arbus. Her story is as compelling as her pictures. Her life was depicted in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, a movie starring Nicole Kidman. Some call her a photographer of freaks, some called her an artist, and still others call her a photographic genius who was ahead of her time. Although her career was cut short by the tragedy of suicide in 1971, Diane Arbus is often placed among the great photographers of the 20th century. She made a name for herself photographing the people no one really wanted to see, the outcasts of society, the ones who make us uncomfortable. In her images, she dares us not to look away. There is no barrier of comfort or, in some cases, even propriety between us and the subjects of her portraits. Arbus’s career as a photographer seemed to be almost driven by a need to look for the reality she had missed growing up. She needed to see and feel life as it was really lived. Although she was born in 1923, she did not have to suffer through the Great Depression like most. Her parents owned Russeks, an upscale department store on 5th Avenue in New York and she grew up in an upper class Central Park apartment. She was raised with nannies, butlers, maids, and chauffeurs. These other adults in her life almost took the place of her parents, who were rarely there, physically or emotionally. She would often talk of her childhood as having a sense of unreality.  “The family fortune always seemed to me humiliating. It was like being a princess in some loathsome movie set in some kind of Transylvanian obscure Middle European country.”….READ MORE boy-with-hand-grenade arbus-untitled1 socialite Diane Arbus MD 1970, Tattooed man at a carnival diane-arbus-title   Don’t look away, see more here

Steve McCurry Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs

Published on 14 Apr 2013

Steve McCurry Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs takes an unprecedented look at the work of Steve McCurry, one of today’s finest and most daring imagemakers. This is the first book to fully explore how the world-renowned photographer finds, takes and develops his uniquely iconic photographs. Presenting a personal archive of material, Steve McCurry Untold features the very best of McCurry’s most beautiful and powerful photo stories, taken from around the world over the last thirty years. Each story is illustrated with never-before-seen notes, images and ephemera – saved by McCurry from his extensive travels – and over 100 lavish, full-colour photo plates of McCurry’s most significant work. Brought to life by newly commissioned essays, the stories offer a critical narrative and give new insight and ideas into the background, experience and ideas behind McCurry’s unparalleled photography. Together, these fascinating documents reveal a new and exciting view of the story behind the story.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 14.51.45

Tracing the narrative behind 14 of McCurry’s most important assignments, each story provides a behind-the-scenes look at McCurry’s adventures, from first publication to their afterlife in the world, creating a documentary record of his remarkable career. The featured work covers his entire oeuvre and focuses on a broad range of themes, such as rail travel in India (1983), the plight of the Tibetan people (2000–6), the effects of the Monsoon (1984) and the events of September 11th (2001), alongside his lesser-known bodies of work on the Hazara Tribe in Afghanistan (2007), Yemen (1999), and the environmental fallout from the Gulf War in Kuwait (1991). Richly illustrated and explained, this book provides an inside perspective on Steve McCurry, creating a living biography and archive of one of photography’s greatest legends. MORE INFO HERE

Watch Steve here talking about this new book



Helen Levitt – photographer

Helen Levitt (1913-2009)

One of the most important figures in contemporary photography is the New Yorker Helen Levitt. For over 60 years her quiet, poetic photographs made on the streets of the city she has inhabited for most of her life have inspired and amazed generations of photographers, students, collectors, curators, and lovers of art in general. Throughout her long career, Helen Levitt’s photographs have consistently reflected her poetic vision, humor, and inventiveness as much as they have honestly portrayed her subjects—men, women, and children living it out on the streets and among the tenements of New York.

Born in In 1945-46 she shot and edited the film In the Street with Janice Loeb and James Agee, providing a moving portrait of her still photography. Levitt’s first major museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, and a second solo show, of color work only, was held there in 1974. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at several museums: first in 1991, jointly at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; in 1997 at the International Center for Photography in New York; and in 2001 at the Centre National la Photographie in Parisn”> Paris.

More recently, Helen Levitt has been featured in three international shows: in 2007, “Helen Levitt: Un Art de l’accident poetique” at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris; in 2008, the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany chose Ms. Levitt as the recipient for the Spectrum International Photography Prize which was accompanied by a major retrospective; and FOAM Museum Amsterdam, mounted another major retrospective in October, 2008. She is a 2008 recipient of the Francis Greenburger award for excellence in the arts.









Further reading and pictures here