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Category Archives: Art Photography

The Why and How of Gregory Crewdson

When I went to see the Gregory Crewdson exhibition in London earlier in the summer, it was the opening day and I had a strange experience. I went with my friend David and we were looking at these fantastic images and I was trying to explain to David how I understood Gregory worked and the use of symbolism and atmosphere in the pictures. I was eulogising the work and the man, I think he is a genius. Then as I was explaining a man started to invade our space, he was in a suit but creatively scruffy, long hair and with a friend following. You know how it is at exhibitions, you sort of want the space to yourself and as I was in full flow was a touch put out by the intrusion.

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Gregory Crewdson The Haircut, 2014 © Gregory Crewdson

We moved on the next picture and in a short while here was the man again, more lacking in exhibition etiquette I thought in my very British way. The man and his companion had moved to the 3rd picture on the wall so David and I hopped to the 4th. I was leaning in close to admire the exquisite detail in one of the images when they appeared again, the companion leaned in and pointed to exactly where I was looking and turned to the man and said, “That is so beautiful, you are so clever”

I had been irritated by the presence of a master, how stupid of me. I didn’t say hello, a bit embarrassed but I wish I had now.

Yesterday I found this film on YouTube where Gregory talks about his process and motivations and intentions, I so wish I had head it from him in person. The 30 minute film shows him orchestrating the actors, environment and atmosphere to capture the remarkable images he makes.

This is such a brilliant 30 minutes I would really recommend you watch

If I had seen this first I would have recognised him and maybe not have made a fool of myself by explaining to the master his works!

The great man at work

Sadly the exhibition of his recent work Cathedral of the Pines has now ended at the Photographers Gallery

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Wim Wenders on his Polaroids – and why photography is now over

Wenders, too, now regards photography as a thing of the past. “It’s not just the meaning of the image that has changed – the act of looking does not have the same meaning. Now, it’s about showing, sending and maybe remembering. It is no longer essentially about the image. The image for me was always linked to the idea of uniqueness, to a frame and to composition. You produced something that was, in itself, a singular moment. As such, it had a certain sacredness. That whole notion is gone.”

The article in The Guardian is not one that will explain to you in detail why photography is now over, it is more the sense that for Wenders it left him behind when he gave his Polaroid camera to Patti Smith. The article is littered with the sounds of names crashing to the floor when dropped.

Why the Photographers Gallery would be bothered with showing pictures by someone who never thought of themselves as a photographer is beyond me. However, what do I know, I am sure all those names littering the floor and on the wall in the 3″ x 3″ white iconic frames will be enough to have hordes of people wanting to visit and buy a book or a postcard

If you want to read the article it is here

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/oct/12/wim-wenders-interview-polaroids-instant-stories-photographers-gallery

Heinz, 1973, by Wim Wenders Photograph: © Wim Wenders

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Ephemera … Campbell Soups, New York, 1972. Photograph: © Wim Wenders

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/oct/12/wim-wenders-interview-polaroids-instant-stories-photographers-gallery

‘They were made from the gut’ … Valley of the Gods, Utah, 1977, by Wim Wenders. Photograph: © Wim Wenders/Courtesy Deutsches Filminstitut Frankfurt

 

‘I take portraits of gods’: Nobuyuki Kobayashi

With his gorgeous and patiently realised black and white images, Kobayashi searches for a spiritual dimension in the calm beauty of nature. Using a large-format 8×10 camera, the platinum palladium printing technique and sumptuous paper, Kobayashi fills his nature photography with a deep sensuality. An exhibition of his work, Portraits of Nature: Myriads of Gods, is at Sway Gallery, London, to 28 March. All photos: Nobuyuki Kobayashi

As seen in The Guardian

'I take portraits of gods': the photography of Nobuyuki Kobayashi – in pictures

Kodou Platinum prints allow for deep dark tones and create a beautiful matte finish

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Souzou Kobayashi prints on Hosokawa paper, a product that has been made in the same way since 1642. He says he uses this paper to add a ‘Japanese identity’ to his work

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Zen ‘I just keep walking around until I can find a place that incites my emotions,’ says Kobayashi. ‘I feel as though I am not the one who finds places to shoot but am led there by places’

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Shin ‘Strength, beauty and nobleness: all characteristics reveal themselves to me’

See more here

The body art of Aida Muluneh – in pictures

Sometimes the most startling things show up and it is with thanks to the Guardian this time. Aida Muluneh is a photographer and film-maker from Ethiopia.

Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Aïda left the country at a young age and spent an itinerant childhood between Yemen and England. After several years in a boarding school in Cyprus, she finally settled in Canada in 1985. In 2000, she graduated with a degree from the Communication Department with a major in Film from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

After graduation she worked as a photojournalist at the Washington Post, however her work can be found in several publications.

Her work is beautiful and surprising in colour and presentation and also quite wonderful.

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Memory of Libya

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Sai Mado. The Distant Gaze

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The Morning Bride Muluneh has had an uprooted existence since her birth in Ethiopia, living in Yemen, the UK, Cyprus, Canada and finally the US, where she worked as a photojournalist for the Washington Post

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Age of Anxiety She has since returned to Ethiopia, a move she describes as ‘a lesson in humility, and what it means to return to a land that was foreign to me’

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Denkinesh Birth on Ground These works are from her series The World Is 9, named after a saying of her grandmother: ‘The world is nine, it is never complete and it’s never perfect’

See more of these images here on the Guardian page

Visit Aida Muluneh site here

Unhappy families: Weronika Gesicka’s warped Americana – in pictures

As seen in The Guardian

These rather disturbing but fascinating images are by Weronika Gęsicka

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Gęsicka is a guest artist at the Circulations festival for young European photographers, Paris, until 5 March. All images: Weronika Gęsicka

Polish photographer Weronika Gęsicka takes corny American photography and manipulates it into something surreal and uncomfortable.  Weronika Gesicka, born in 1984 in Włocławek (Poland). Graduated from the graphics department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the Academy of Photography in the same city. She received a scholarship from the polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Weronika is doing projects about memory and its mechanisms. She is interested in the scientific and pseudoscientific theories, mnemonics and various disorders concerning it. Her main field of activity is photography, but she also create objects and artifacts, often in collaboration with craftsmen and sometimes with other artists. An important part of her art is working with archive materials of various sources. These are both image banks or images found on the Internet and police archives or old press photography.

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‘Who are, or were, these people in the images? Are they actors playing happy families, or real persons whose photos were put up for sale by the image bank? That is not fully clear’

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‘Who are, or were, these people in the images? Are they actors playing happy families, or real persons whose photos were put up for sale by the image bank? That is not fully clear’

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Polish photographer Weronika Gęsicka takes corny American photography and manipulates it into something surreal and uncomfortable

See more from The Guardian article here

 

Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2016

I know you have been waiting for this, now the winner has been announced

FIRST PRIZE: Claudio Rasano

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Katlehong Matsenen 2016 from the series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare by Claudio Rasano, February 2016
© Claudio Rasano
First Prize: £15,000

Swiss-Italian photographer Claudio Rasano was born in 1970, Basel, Switzerland. The portrait, which is part of the series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare was taken in Johannesburg, South Africa and focuses on issues of preserving individuality in the context of school uniforms. The photograph was shot in daylight, outdoors and in front of a plain white paper background. The sitter for this particular pigment print is eighteen year old Katlehong Matsenen.

 

any comments about school photography gratefully accepted

here is a link to the TW award site

Shortlist announced for Taylor Wessing portrait prize

The Taylor Wessing portrait prize is one of this country’s premier photography awards. It is always controversial with those outside the art firmament. If your idea of a portrait is something that flatters the subject then the annual winners of this award will disappoint you. Long ago I gave up trying to understand or justify the shortlist and winners and so now like just to alert you to what is coming in Taylor Wessing world.

Three photographers have been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The prize winners and the winner of the John Kobal New Work Award will be announced at an award ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery on Tuesday 15 November 2016.

The Guardian is one of the outlets that regularly features TW and so this article and images come from there

Sternbach’s #1 Thea+Maxwell was created using early photographic processes. Photograph: Joni Sternbach/PA

Sternbach’s #1 Thea+Maxwell was created using early photographic processes.
Photograph: Joni Sternbach/PA

Tilly and Itty, Beitar Illit, one of two images shortlisted from Kovi Konowiecki’s series Bei Mir Bistu Shein. Photograph: Kovi Konowiecki/PA

Tilly and Itty, Beitar Illit, one of two images shortlisted from Kovi Konowiecki’s series Bei Mir Bistu Shein.
Photograph: Kovi Konowiecki/PA

Matsenen 2016 by Claudio Rasano, from a series focused on uniforms. Photograph: Claudio Rasano/PA

Matsenen 2016 by Claudio Rasano, from a series focused on uniforms.
Photograph: Claudio Rasano/PA

The shortlisted photographs were chosen from 4,303 submissions entered by 1,842 photographers from 61 countries.

The annual prize, which began in 1993, is considered one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world and is judged anonymously. It is open to professional and amateur photographers.

After the winner of the £15,000 prize is announced on 15 November, the shortlisted works will form part of a wider prize show at the National Portrait Gallery between 17 November and 26 February.

Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the gallery, said: “In an exhibition remarkable for its range of subjects and styles, the quality of this year’s shortlisted works reflects the outstanding level at which photographers across the world are working today.”

You can read the Guardian article herehere is a link to the NPG and exhibition details

here are some links to previous Taylor Wessing Awards

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/taylor-wessing-photographic-portrait-prize-2015-david-stewart-wins/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/taylor-wessing-photographic-portrait-prize-2014/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/taylor-wessing-photographic-portrait-prize-2013-shortlist-announced/

 

Magical Land Art By Andy Goldsworthy

I have been a huge fan of Andy Golsdworthy for many years and have a number of his books. He is a sculptor who creates such ephemeral works that only photography can capture them before they dissolve, melt, blow away or sink back into the waters. Here are some of his works but you can see more on Bored Panda

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Andy Goldsworthy is a British sculptor, renowned in his field, that creates temporary installations out of sticks and stones, and anything and everything else that he finds outside. The son of a mathematician, Goldsworthy grew up working on farms before eventually getting his BA from what is now the University of Central Lancashire. “A lot of my work is like picking potatoes,” he told the Guardian. “You have to get into the rhythm of it.”

Much of Goldsworthy’s work is transient and ephemeral, leading many to view it as a comment on the Earth’s fragility. But for Goldsworthy, the picture is more complex.

“When I make something, in a field or street, it may vanish but it’s part of the history of those places,” he says in another interview. “In the early days my work was about collapse and decay. Now some of the changes that occur are too beautiful to be described as simply decay. At Folkestone I got up early one morning ahead of an incoming tide and covered a boulder in poppy petals. It was calm and the sea slowly and gently washed away the petals, stripping the boulder and creating splashes of red in the sea. The harbour from which many troops left for war was in the background.”

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see more here

Andy Goldsworthy

Melt

Andy Goldsworthy – Land Art video

 

Alec Dawson Photographer

In his series of untitled photographs Nobody Claps Anymore, the Mexican-American photographer Alec Dawson portrays ordinary people in their homes in a downbeat, ultra-stylised manner. Nobody Claps Anymore by Alec Dawson is on show at Perugia Social Photo festival, until 28 March, which focuses on photography around social issues – this year with the theme of ‘blindness’ . Dawson, who works as a civil engineer and has no formal training in photography, keeps the houses of his subjects largely unchanged, but brings in cinematic lighting to throw sharp shadows and dramatic highlights on them

The series’ title, Nobody Claps Anymore, was inspired by an emotional realisation that I experienced when my plane landed in Melbourne. Hundreds of tons of metal, carrying hundreds of passengers, silently flared momentarily before the tires collided with the runway. The nose of the plane heaved forward. The reverse thrusters roared and rapidly decelerated the plane. As the plane turned off the runway onto the taxi-way the individual joints in the pavement were perceptible as the plane lumbered to the gate’ Eventually the plane parked and I heard the sounds of belt buckles, zippers, and the rustling of bags. It all happened in silence. Not a word uttered. No applause. The audience had forgotten to clap’

Every so often by wandering around the web something special pops out. Today it was Alec Dawson. I know his work is somehow reminiscent of Gregory Crewdson except that Dawson shoots real people in real situations rather than constructing a set. He just adds dramatic lighting and I don’t doubt manages the location and people a bit. The images are remarkable for that, their reality, is this a truth. The idea that these are true representations forces the question what is truth. Anyway I am always willing to applaud great creativity and just wish I had thought of it first although I doubt Oxfordshire would have presented such characters.

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Originally found in the Guardian, this is a good place to see interesting photography and worth checking on a regular basis. The Guardian Alec Dawson

 

Saul Leiter: Retrospective

If you don’t know Saul Leiter where have you been? His colour photography has been the delight of many photographers for years. There is a retrospective of his work at The Photographers Gallery but only until April 3rd

It seems an irony that Saul Leiter always considered himself more a painter than a photographer. Firstly, because it was the latter that made his name. Secondly, because he was pretty bad at the former. Leiter moved to New York in the 1940s, soaked up the abstract expressionist scene, and occasionally showed his twitchy, garish, overworked paintings in galleries in the East Village.

Fortunately, alongside the art exhibitions, he also visited a show of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photography in 1947. Soon after, he bought a Leica and started taking pictures on the city’s streets. And out of an alchemical relationship between the two disciplines, there came a long and astonishing body of photographic work defined by a kind of elegant, painterly formalism.

Some people might be drawn to the people in these pictures: the kissing couples, the stooped men in raincoats. But Leiter was always more poet than documentarian. Taking his cues from Mark Rothko’s colour fields, Leiter’s photographs became increasingly defined by broad, abstracted planes of colour. This reached extremes in images like ‘Purple Umbrella’: the webbed rim of the umbrella fills just the upper quarter of the image; the rest is an out-of-focus sidewalk. It’s stark, bold and astounding.

Leiter’s other great achievement was making an aesthetic virtue of all the advertising that filled the Big Apple. Pictures of neon signs shimmering in puddles and billboards reflected in shop fronts make for an exquisite kind of shorthand for the urban experience. It’s never quite a human New York that he captures. But it isn’t half stylish. 

Venue name: Photographers’ Gallery
Contact:
Address: 16-18 Ramillies St
London
W1F 7LW
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; Thu 10am-8pm; Sun 11.30am-6pm
Transport: Tube: Oxford Circus
Price: £3, adv/concs £2.50, adv concs £2