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Oxford School of Photography
insights into photography
Category Archives: Architecture Photography
More Urbex from Chernobyl
April 10, 2019Posted by on
There is no doubt that the faded, dissembled life of a town returned to nature is attractive. There are so many sites that explore ‘urbex’ photography and it is no wonder that Pripyat offers such poignancy.
Every student of photography would benefit from understanding the way to introduce atmosphere into their pictures and looking at David’s pictures would be a good place to start
The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 forced the evacuation of nearby Pripyat, home to 45,000 people. David McMillan has journeyed there 21 times since to record abandoned homes and buildings as they are reclaimed by nature
Beauty In Decay
March 7, 2019Posted by on
I have changed the title of this piece from that used in the Guardian because many people see beauty in decay, see the many Urbex projects that revel in decay.
This set of pictures takes the idea of beauty in decay to a whole new level. These images are so impressive not just because of the decay but because of the effort that has been taken to dress each room and produce images of extreme poignancy.
Melbourne artist Rone transforms a deserted Art Deco mansion called Burnham Beeches in his most ambitious takeover yet. The installation runs from 6 March – 22 April. Left vacant for more than 20 years, this sprawling 1930s mansion sat neglected, in a state of ruin. It saw a condemned family home in suburban Alphington transformed into a gallery and installation piece before it was demolished.
Finding the friction point between beauty and decay is a thread that runs through much of Rone’s work. As a street artist best known for his haunting, stylised images of women’s faces, he understands better than most that beauty can be fleeting. Seeing his artworks gradually worn away by natural and human elements has taught him to appreciate the unexpected beauty of an image as it begins to blend back into its more prosaic surroundings.
Architectural Photography Awards 2018 shortlist
October 3, 2018Posted by on
The BBC has a gallery of images
from this year’s award and they are worth 5 minutes of your time
Abandoned places: the worlds we’ve left behind – in pictures
September 22, 2016Posted by on
There is a great interest in what is known as Urbex Photography. This is the discovery and photography of abandoned buildings, usually in an urban setting, we have featured these images often as they are so popular. New photographers are entering this arena and coming with their own take on the meme.
Kieron Connolly’s new book of photographs of more than 100 once-busy and often elegant buildings gives an eerie idea of how the world might look if humankind disappeared. Here are 10 evocative, stylised images of nature reclaiming the manmade world as seen in The Guardian
The 40 best photos of London ever taken from Time Out
March 16, 2016Posted by on
This is an interesting and varied mix of images found in Time Out magazine. Hard to know the criteria by which they have been deemed the best images of London ‘ever’ as there seems to be no discernible link or structure to them. In one instance a memorable news picture, Thatcher leaving Downing Street, in the next a man on the underground with nipple clamps. Clearly some have been chosen because they were taken by famous photographers and others because of the moment but the randomness is fun. Have a look, let me know what you think.
London, you’re beautiful. No, scrap that. London, you’re wild. Angry. Delicious. How do you sum up a city that changes its look as often as its underwear and always has plenty to say? That’s the challenge we set ourselves when we decided to draw up a definitive list of the best photographs ever taken of the capital. In making our selection we had help. Serious help: Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller, Nick Waplington, Dorothy Bohm and Eamonn McCabe are among the world-famous photographers who shaped our selection. We also picked the brains of the top London photography brass at museums including the Tate, V&A, Museum of London and Imperial War Museum. The result: a celebration of London’s architecture, its icons and its geography, but also of us: Londoners at work, at play, protesting, rising to a challenge and always ready for our close-up.
Ken Lennox: Margaret Thatcher leaving Downing Street, 1990
Downing Street has witnessed major political events, of course, but the actual drama mainly happens behind closed doors. Not so with Margaret Thatcher’s tearful, final departure from Number 10 in 1990, when it was hard to know which was more startling: the suddenness of her ousting, or the Iron Lady displaying human emotions.
© Ken Lennox/Mirrorpix
Mo Farah winning the 5,000 metres at the London Olympic Games, 2012
We screamed a lot during the 2012 London Olympics: at the telly, at home, in pubs, and at each other. But nowhere was the din as loud as in the Olympic Stadium when Mo Farah claimed his second Olympic gold by winning the 5,000 metres. The sound of the 80,000-strong crowd was so loud that the camera at the finish line started to shake, warping the image. ‘Nothing captures the fervour, the noise and the enjoyment of London 2012 more than this image,’ says Time Out photographer Rob Greig. ‘It’s a picture taken by 80,000 people.’
Bill Brandt: Francis Bacon, 1963
German-born Brandt produced mainly portraits and landscapes – and this study, ostensibly of the painter Francis Bacon, shows his mastery of both. It’s hard to tell which aspect is the most severe, the most sullenly evocative: the dark, stormy sky; the angled stripe of pathway up Primrose Hill; or the glowering snarl across Bacon’s face.
© Bill Brandt Archive
Tom Hunter: Woman Reading a Possession Order, 1998
Bathed in a beautiful morning light, Tom Hunter’s young woman looks likes she’s stepped out of Johannes Vermeer’s seventeenth-century masterpiece ‘Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window’. The narrative, though, is pure late twentieth-century. Fillipa is a squatter reading an eviction notice from Hackney Council. Hunter, at the time a fellow member of Hackney’s squatter community, shot the image for his ‘Persons Unknown’ series. It went on to win the John Kobal National Portrait award and has shown around the world. ‘I never envisaged this response to a photograph I took of my neighbour and friend in a squat one sunny morning in Hackney,’ he says. ‘But its intimate depiction of the mother and child in a moment of vulnerability seems to resonate in a universal way.’
© Tom Hunter
Charlie Phillips: Notting Hill Couple, 1967
A cool shot of a stylish couple. What could be simpler? Taken at a party in Notting Hill in 1967, this isn’t the most immediately momentous of Charlie Phillips’s photographs, which include images of global icons such as Muhammad Ali and the first images of a fledgling Notting Hill Carnival, as well as intimate photos of Windrush-generation west Londoners. But it’s a picture that speaks volumes about London living and loving. As Phillips remembers, at the time being in a mixed-race relationship meant you’d get ‘louts shouting “nigger lover” from the windows of their cars as they passed’. Thankfully, those days are gone, but issues of race, visibility and Notting Hill’s heritage still occupy the photographer. ‘What really pisses me off,’ Phillips told us when we spoke to him last year, ‘is when they made that horrible film, “Notting Hill”. There wasn’t even one person of bloody colour in it!’
© Charlie Phillips/www.akehurstcreativemanagement.com
Eve Arnold: One of Four Girls Sharing an Apartment, 1961
London in the early ’60s, before it began to swing, was really more like the ’50s: a little bit dismal, a bit pokey and dowdy – still dusting itself off from its postwar blues, not yet ready to embrace the Technicolor future. Arnold’s wonderfully moody photograph seems to capture that in-between era perfectly.
© Eve Arnold/Magnum
Tim Peake: London from Space, 2016
We’ve all been high on a Saturday night but, orbiting 400 kilometres above the earth, British astronaut Major Tim Peake takes the (freeze-dried) biscuit for altitude. Shot from the International Space Station at midnight on Saturday January 31, 2016, his image of London, its skeins of twinkling lights shining brightest around Oxford Street and Regent Street, is the most recent image in our top 40 and the ultimate establishing shot. ‘I’d rather be up here… but only just!! #toughcall,’ Peake told Twitter as he flew past at 17,150 miles per hour.
See the rest of the 40 best ‘ever’ here
This looks more interesting photography in London, exhibitions, competitions etc
World city panoramas transformed into 360-degree globes
March 26, 2015Posted by on
These are pretty and amazing, so pretty amazing. I have an app, as we all do, but this one I have is called Small Planet and it creates worlds from pictures taken with my phone, impressive. Then again there are these images which go far beyond my clever little app.
As see on The Guardian Website The stereographic projection technique was used to convert aerial panoramas of cities including Paris, Sydney, Shanghai and Chicago into mini-globes.
Paris, FranceThe Champs-Élysées
The 360-degree aerial panoramic photos were taken for AirPano, a Russian not-for-profit project created by a team of enthusiasts
St Petersburg, RussiaPeterhof palace
Sao Paolo, BrazilOctvio Frias de Oliveira Bridge
Sydney, AustraliaSydney Opera House
The original photograph was usually taken from a helicopter, although sometimes the team used a plane, hot air balloon or drone
Want to see the rest of these rather wonderful images go here
Here are some of mine using Small Planet, no helicopter, plane or drone required
Radcliffe Square, Oxford
Sydney Opera House
Oriel Square, Oxford
How I shot an abandoned asylum – An interview with an Urbex Photographer
January 20, 2015Posted by on
I found this on the photography pages of The Telegraph,
Urban explorers (Urbex) and their photographs have become extremely popular over the last few years, each post we make about the subject becomes one of our most popular at that time. It is hard to know why such images of desolation and decay are so riveting but they have great currency, at the end of this post I will list our other Urbex posts for you to follow if you wish
Fabiano Parisi talks to Lowenna Waters about photographing crumbling and deserted locations.
Born in Rome in 1977, Fabiano Parisi began photographing abandoned mental asylums as part of his Psychology degree. It triggered a love affair with deserted locations that has taken him to the United States, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe and Russia. He’s snapped everything from a disused swimming pool in Woodridge, Illinois, to a derelict church in Żeliszów, Poland.
The series, titled ‘Il Mondo Che Non Vedo’ (‘The world I do not see’) has gained Parisi widespread critical acclaim, including winning the Celeste Prize International in 2010, and the Arte Laguna Prize in 2012. He participated in the 54th Venice Biennial, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Young Master Arts Prize in 2012 and 2014.
Find our links to other Urbex posts here
10 pro tips you can use in any genre of photography
December 13, 2014Posted by on
From Digital Camera World, words of wisdom, or it’s obvious really but still worth saying
It doesn’t matter whether you like to shoot landscapes, portraits or still life photography, these ten tips from our guest bloggers at Photoventure Jeff Meyer will help you improve your images time and time again…..
1. Keep it simple
As a rule it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. In the studio this may mean using two lights (or even just one) rather than three, or including fewer props, but it’s also a useful thing to remember when composing landscapes and still life.
Avoid complex, confusing scenes and look for compositions that have clean lines and nicely spaced elements.
When large format cameras were more common, many photographers claimed the fact that they showed the scene upside down and laterally reversed helped them improve their composition because they stopped seeing the subject as a recognisable object and instead saw a collection of shapes to be photographed in an attractive arrangement.
Modern cameras show the image correctly orientated (usually even if you review a shot and turn the camera upside-down) so you have to use your imagination to see images as shapes and patterns of light rather than objects.
See the other 9 tips here
Abandoned America: Amazing photos of a nation’s ruins
December 8, 2014Posted by on
By Fiona Macdonald on The BBC website
There is a great interest in abandoned buildings, they somehow speak to our own fragility and remind us of what happens where we don’t look after things. The finding of and photographing derelict buildings is often called Urbex, (urban explorers) their motto is take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints
“People love to use Detroit as a poster child for the abandoned urban landscape … but it’s not just Detroit that is suffering from the loss of urban infrastructure. The collapse of industries has torn holes in the identities of many major cities,” says Matthew Christopher. The photographer began exploring abandoned buildings when looking at the history of mental health care in America, but soon widened his search. A new book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences, brings together his images of prisons, hospitals, churches and hotels. Christopher aims “to connect the dots, to show that it is not simply one type of structure or one geographic location that is affected”. His photographs reveal both decaying industrial giants and derelict domestic spaces
more posts on Urbex here
Treasure trove of 60 barn-finds includes ‘lost’ Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
30 abandoned structures that evoke more than just decay
‘The Ruins of Detroit’ by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Urbex – Talkurbex
Treasure trove of 60 barn-finds includes ‘lost’ Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
December 5, 2014Posted by on
we get a lot of hits for our urbex posts and here, pictures of dishevelled buildings, but these pictures of the automobile equivalents will have petrolheads salivating with these exquisite images from Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver
“Never again, anywhere in the world, will such a treasure be unearthed,” says Pierre Novikoff, motor car specialist at Artcurial auction house. He’s describing a staggering collection of 60 barn-find cars that have been discovered after lying hidden for 50 years.
And if you think he’s exaggerating, then let me quote our photographer, Rémi Dargegen, who reported back to us right after the photo-shoot, saying, “It’s amazing, just amazing. The place is incredible… the most impressive thing is the sheer quantity of cars hidden in the barns.”
It all began with the grandfather of the family that currently owns the collection: back in the 1950s, he dreamed of conserving the heritage of pre-War cars in museum surroundings, focusing on the great French brands and famous body shops. This gentleman was an entrepreneur with a transport company in the west of France and he was a serious enthusiast: he even exhibited a roadster that he’d built himself at the Paris Motor Show in the 1950s. Sadly, during the 1970s, his dream fell apart when his business suffered a setback and he was forced to sell some 50 cars. After that, the rest of the collection stayed totally untouched, all these years, until its very recent discovery.
Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2014
See all of these wonderful old cars and read the jaw dropping histories here