Oxford School of Photography

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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rankin: ‘I see the person, not the celebrity’

Rankin is undoubtedly one of my favourite photographers. Not just because he makes wonderful pictures but also because he is a truly right on bloke. I found this interview with him in the Telegraph By


The moment Rankin glimpsed the Queen laughing with one of her staff, he knew that was the shot he wanted. “I watched her walk down this long corridor at Buckingham Palace with a guy who must have been at least 6ft. She’s tiny, and she was looking up at him, smiling and chatting, and I thought, ‘You’re exactly what I want you to be. You’re a real person’. ”

But the photographer, who shot Her Majesty back in 2002 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, had only five minutes, and was desperate to make her laugh again. “So I started saying ‘Ma’am’, like ‘jam’. ‘Ma’am, you have to smile, please’ – I was like Austin Powers. And she just laughed at me. She was really funny, making a lot of jokes – very dry. Photography is all about collaboration – and she gave it to me.”

The end result is the Queen grinning in front of the Union flag. “She wrote back to me, having seen the shot, saying, ‘I love the stitching on the flag’. That’s the Queen’s way of not having an opinion. That’s classy. It’s like saying, ‘I like the photograph, I’m just not commenting on myself’.

“David Bailey took a photograph of her last year and he made her laugh as well,” he adds. “His is better than mine. I was quite young when I took mine. He’s a bit nearer her age. His is so brilliant. But then, I made her laugh first!”

In much the same way that Bailey documented the Sixties, Rankin catalogued the Nineties, befriending the celebrities he shot – Jude Law, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue – dating models and generally having a very good time. This was partly aided by Dazed & Confused, the style magazine he launched in 1992, which was at the forefront of popular culture.

Read the full article here

Other articles about Rankin






The best photography exhibitions on now

There are a few photography exhibitions on at the moment in London, The Telegraph has listed them here,

Discover the best photography shows throughout London and the rest of the UK with The Telegraph

I have chosen this by Chris Stein to highlight, the others you can find here


Chris Stein’s photo shoot of Harry for Creem magazine in 1976. “With Chris’s style, the way he shot things, everything was chunky and bold. It was a documentation of an attitude,” Harry says Photo: CHRIS STEIN


Where: Somerset House
Address: Strand, WC2R 1LA
Until: January 24

In a nutshell: A few decades ago, up-and-coming punk-pop star Debbie Harry had a photographer on hand to chronicle her every move – her friend, bandmate and lover Chris Stein.

Read The Telegraph’s interview with Chris Stein

More here


My favourite photo books of 2014

This article caught my eye because at number one it featured the famous Oxford photographer Paddy Summerfield. I have been lucky enough to know Paddy since 1982 and it is with great joy that I see he is getting recognition for his emotive imagery.


Mother and Father by Paddy Summerfield – £30

I have to thank a sentimental Sean O’Hagan for introducing me to Paddy Summerfield’s moving series, Mother and Father. It is a tender documentation of the last ten years of his parent’s marriage as Alzheimer’s came to claim them. The touching photographs, shot in black and white, allow us to see their love and tenderness in huge measure. They are deeply personal photographs but we can all identify with the emotional content.

Summerfield’s poetic description “I recorded my mother’s loss of the world, my father’s loss of his wife and, eventually, my loss of them both” describes his melancholy and moving journey.

Photographed in the neatly kept garden at their home in the Welsh countryside, Summerfield’s moving, gentle narrative captures subtle gestures of love revealing the bond formed during their 60-year marriage. The couple, their bodies gently bent in unison, tenderly hold hands, or link arms behind their backs, and stroll though the place they love. Eventually nature reclaims the garden, and the garden chairs become a poignant memorial to happier times.

Nikon D5500 vs D5300 vs D5200 vs D5100

From the rather excellent Digital Camera World


Nikon has announced a new camera in its beginner line-up at CES, the annual consumer electronics show over in Las Vegas. The D5500 sits alongside the other D5XX cameras in its range. At the time of the D5300’s release, Nikon announced the older D5100 and D5200 models would continue, and while the company is yet to confirm whether all four will stay in the line-up, all four should remain available to buy for some time yet.

As such, all of them are now intriguing options in Nikon’s Nikon’s DX DSLR range, but which is best for your needs? Our extensive Nikon D5500 vs D5300 vs D5200 vs D5100 comparison looks at what each camera can offer.

This piece examines all four cameras, fully updated to include the D5500 and its new specifications. At first glance, it would seem like the D5500 is merely an incremental upgrade from the D5300, and with this piece we’ll be examining whether that’s true or whether it’s worth the upgrade.

All four Nikon cameras are aimed at creative amateurs and people upgrading from compact digital cameras, all four share a compact, lightweight design with flip-out LCD display, and all three offer quite sophisticated photographic controls and effects.

So here is a blow-by-blow Nikon D5500 vs D5300 vs D5100 vs D5200 comparison of key specifications so that you can see the differences and decide what’s most important to you.

Need more?

Better photo tips: 60 of the best

From Digital Camera World comes this leviathan of help, tips only just scratches at the surface of what you will find here.

Following on from our popular 77 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything post, we’re bringing you this list of 60 incredibly useful bits of photography advice.

If you’re new to photography, this resource of surprising camera tips and time savers provides an invaluable shortcut to better photos and a smarter workflow. If you’re a more experienced photographer, there’s still plenty of technical and technique refreshers here.

We’ve separated the advice into three key sections, covering camera settings, composition and exposure, and general photography tips. If you find the advice useful or you want to share your own little-known photography trick, please leave a comment below…

Tip 01: Zoom first, focus last

Tip 02: Set the Neutral Picture Style for RAW

Tip 11: Avoid the smallest aperture on the lens

Tip 13: Your camera’s display is lying to you

just 4 of 60 and these are only about camera settings

Tip 36: Fill-flash in daylight

Tip 43: Research the position of the sun

Tip 42: Wear old clothes

OK you could just come on our courses, and you would get more than 60 tips, you would learn how to make great pictures. Here are a couple by John Wilhelm from an earlier post here to keep you going




want to see more of the 60….HERE


Why does your camera see things differently than you?

On DPS  By: Anne McKinnell

Do you ever see a beautiful scene, take out your camera, take the shot and then wonder what went wrong? Why doesn’t the display on the LCD screen look at all like the scene in front of you?

Do you ever stand next to another photographer and wonder how they made an image that is better than the scene you see with your own eyes?

Understanding how the camera “sees” is the key to figuring out why this happens and what you need to do to take charge of your camera and make the images you envision.

If you’re already dreading the mathematical calculations, don’t worry! I’m not going to start measuring my eyeballs and pupils and trying to figure out what kind of lens my eyes are equivalent to in focal length, f/stops, and ISO, or how many megapixels my eyes see. That’s not what this is about.

It’s just about understanding how a camera works differently than our eyes.


When the camera’s “eye” is better than our own

Sometimes the best images show the very thing that we cannot see with our own eyes.

Low Light Levels At low light levels our eyes are less sensitive to colour than normal. Camera sensors, on the other hand, always have the same sensitivity. That’s why photographs taken in low light appear to have more colour than what we remember.

Depth of Field

One thing that is somewhat similar between a camera and a human eye is aperture, but only if you hold it steady. For example, if you stare at one word in the middle of the this sentence and do not move your eyes, you can perceive that the other words are there but they are not clear. The part that is in focus is only the centre portion of your field of view.

That is the same as a camera with a small aperture. The difference is that you can’t actually look at the out-of-focus part. As soon as your eye moves to the out-of-focus words they instantly become in-focus.

Whereas if you are looking at a print or an image on your screen you can look at the out-of-focus part which is something we cannot do with our eyes. That’s why shallow depth of field images are so interesting to us.


see the whole article here and understand what you see is not always what you get

FREEDOM TO LOVE photography award 2014

We publicised this award earlier in the year and now the results are known, from Accademia Apulia UK who are a  non-profit organization based in London willing to share aspirations, inspirations and experiences. Our efforts celebrate multi-culturalism, support social integration and promote human rights.

Winner Liza Van Der Stock from Belgium.

Liza Van Der Stock highlights the life of male sex workers in Zanzibar, a predominantly muslim island, burdened by the double stigma associated with sex work and sexual orientation. Members of this community find it impossible to openly express their true identity.

Liza Van der Post 1- winner

Lisa Van der Post 2 - winner

The two runner-ups are Shahria Sharmin and Gordon Welters. An award-winning photographer from Bangladesh, Sharmin’s work gives an insight into the world of the Hijras’ Third Gender communities who live on the margins of society, whilst disability has been  the focus of Welters’ work. The photographer from Berlin captured a glimpse of hope expressed thorough the selfless love of a volunteer at a day centre in Russia.

With the support of The Royal Photographic Society, and under the patronage of Amnesty International, the European Commission and the British Council, FREEDOM TO LOVE aims to raise awareness on the difficulties many people endure every day worldwide, as they try to express the most powerful and constructive human quality – love.

Shahria Sharmin 1- second place

Shahria Sharmin 2 - second place

Shahria Sharmin

Gordon Welters 1 - third place

Gordon Welters 2 - third place

Gordon Welters

The exhibition will be open to the public between 12/1/15 and 17/1/15
Elephant & Castle
London SE1 6SB
Opening times Mon-Sat 10am -6pm

Colors of Afghanistan

Colors of Cuba

Steve in Cuba, lots of colours for him to play with

The Box Brownie

The BBC has an article on the first point and shoot camera, the daddy of them all.


It doesn’t look very exciting – a cardboard box about 5in (13cm) tall, covered in leatherette, with a small round opening at the front. You might have some trouble working out what it was for if you didn’t know. But the Brownie might be the most important camera ever made, writes the BBC’s Stephen Dowling.

Before it appeared in 1900, cameras were distinctly unwieldy, if not downright cumbersome. Early cameras tended to be made of a great deal of brass and mahogany and took pictures on to large glass or metal plates, often requiring exposure times measured in minutes.

To photograph far-flung places, porters and pack animals were often needed to carry the equipment. Photography was an activity involving patience, toxic chemicals, and brute strength. It was not something the ordinary people indulged in.

The Brownie democratised photography simply through the sheer volume of sales”

Michael Pritchard

US inventor George Eastman took an important step forward in the 1880s, when he popularised a flexible film that did away with the need for weighty plates. His first “Kodak Camera” went on sale in 1888, pre-loaded with enough film to take 100 photographs. When the last picture was taken, the entire camera was sent back to Kodak to be developed.

It was an uncomplicated box but it cost $25 – a significant amount of money. It was still a device for the wealthy.

The revolution came 12 years later. The Kodak Brownie, designed by Edward Brownell, looked similar to the original Kodak, but the film could be taken out of the camera after shooting and developed via Kodak stockists, chemists or even at home…..…MORE?




Bert Hardy captured two Tiller Girls using a Brownie in Blackpool in 1951

“The Brownie range became the best-selling camera range of all-time ‒ and the name is part of popular culture even though it has not been used on a camera from some 35 years,” says Pritchard

The man who brings Brownies back to life

Restored Kodak Brownie Hawkeyes

Randy Smith is a camera repairer based in New York who specialises in restoring toy cameras – the plastic-lenses, cheap and cheerful cameras that have become something of a craze with hipsters. He also modifies and restores Kodak Brownie Hawkeyes, a Brownie model from the late 1940s....MORE