Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Category Archives: Faded + Blurred

The Grace Of Nuance: Dan Winters

Another helping from the excellent Faded + Blurred, this time the wonderful portraits by Dan Winters

Some people might say that Dan Winters has an amazing photographic style, that you can tell at first glance if he took a particular photograph. His signature lighting style, the red and green tones he uses and the dramatic expressions he gets from his subjects are all part of how he shoots. He would say it is more of a sensibility than a style, however, saying that a style relates more to the technique and materials used. A sensibility would be what you bring to every shoot no matter where it is or what tools you use. Whether you call it a style or a sensibility, though, you can’t deny Dan Winters is an artist.

I found Dan Winters’ work fairly recently. I think the first image I saw of his was his portrait of Tupac Shakur. Even though Tupac wasn’t looking into the camera, I found the image mesmerizing. Image after image in Winters’ portfolio captivated me. Though he is well known as a celebrity photographer, his portraits of “regular people” are every bit as engaging and are treated with the same level of care and reverence, a word Winters uses often to describe his work. “I like the word reverent for portraits”, he says “and I think we need more of that reverence for people and for their own experience and their own path and the way that they’re represented.” Though I am not a portrait photographer, if I were, I would love to be able to take the kind of portraits that Dan Winters takes; portraits you can get lost in. I love that Winters avoids the stereotypical “look at me, I’m famous” celebrity portrait. Rather, he tries to do something purposeful, something unique. Whether he’s catching Stevie Wonder without his glasses or carrying Sandra Bullock on his shoulders to place her in a tide pool or capturing Brad Pitt playing Rock Band. Each photograph reflects not only the time and effort he puts in, but also his profound love of the creative process. With his years of experience it would be easy for him to just stick with what he knows and make every shot the same, but he takes each portrait assignment as a very personal challenge…..READ MORE

 

dan-winters-08

dan-winters-16

dan-winters-04

dan-winters-05bMore to see and read here

 

Sublimely Mundane: Uta Barth

On the ever interesting Faded+Blurred I found this for you, you will either get it or you won’t

uta-barth-04

uta-barth2

At first glance, the photographs of Uta Barth may not make much of an impact on you – then again, you may find them to be utterly compelling abstractions of color, form and texture. Since first discovering her work a couple years ago, I have found myself to be in the latter category. I am fascinated by her work, much in the same way I am by the work of people like Mark Rothko or even some of the work of Willem de Kooning from the 1940s – it’s the lack of any concrete Something that I find interesting, though Barth is really the only photographer that I can point to that affects me in the same way as the aforementioned painters. Bill and I discussed her on an episode of On Taking Pictures as part of a larger discussion around what does and does not constitute photography. While her work may be easy for some to dismiss, it is exactly the deceptive simplicity of the work that gives the photographs their strength – challenging the viewer to immerse themselves in their own perception to fully engage with them.

“My work is always first and foremost about perception.” – Uta Barth

In 2012, Uta Barth became a MacArthur Fellow, which is a prize awarded annually by the MacArthur Foundation to those individuals who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work. Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $500,000 (raised to $625,000 in 2013) that is paid out over five years. Past winners have included artists, writers, biologists, economists, composers and in 2011, Jad Abumrad, the co-host ofRadiolab, one of my favorite podcasts. For more than 14 years, Barth has used the internal environment of her home as her exclusive source of inspiration and subject matter. “If I am interested in light and perception and this visual acuity to the mundane, fleeting, ephemeral everyday kind of information,” she says, “there’s no point in me going out to seek that out.”

uta-barth-09

uta-barth-featured

Read more on this article here

Leibovitz. Leibovitz. Leibovitz.

The documentary film about her life begins with celebrities simply saying her last name one after another. Leibovitz. Leibovitz. Leibovitz. Not only is her last name as unique as the photographs she creates, Annie Leibovitz has become synonymous with the profession that has made her nearly as famous as the people she photographs. Her images have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris. She has been given the Barnard College Medal of Distinction and the Infinity Award in Applied Photography from the International Center of Photography and was also designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. In short, Annie Leibovitz is an icon of modern photography…..READ MORE AT FADED + BLURRED

 

annie-leibovitz-royals

annie-leibovitz-keith-richards

annie+leibovitz+disney+6a

annie-leibovitz-nicole-kidman

annie-leibovitz-angelina-jolieThere is more to see and read at Faded + Blurred here

 

In Touch With Fragility: Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon is an all time favourite because of the variety and vision, a real master of photography and in the Spotlight here from Faded + Blurred.

“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
– Richard Avedon
Though he is known mostly for his minimalistic portraits; intense and often brooding subjects surrounded by white, it was the world of fashion that provided the backdrop that helped make Richard Avedon one of the most celebrated, controversial and sought after photographers of all time. Fashion photography simply didn’t exist before Richard Avedon, not modern fashion photography at any rate. Before Avedon, fashion photography was static and flat, models were stiffly dressed and rigidly posed. Avedon took fashion out of the studio and into the streets. He injected movement, life and a vitality where none had existed before. If a particular scene he wanted did not exist, Avedon created it, building sets, bringing in models, or, as was often the case, enlisting the help of onlookers or passers by. Avedon was both an ardent observer and a passionate creator, fascinated with what he called “the human quality”. It was this fascination that led him to constantly explore and reinvent what it meant to be a photographer and an artist. For nearly 60 years, from Paris fashion to celebrity portraits to a five year project chronicling the working class people and drifters of the American West, Richard Avedon not only defined generations of photography, but also inspired countless photographers to look to his work to bring life to their own. Irving Penn once said of Avedon “I stand in awe of Avedon. For scope and magnitude, he is the greatest of fashion photographers. He’s a seismograph.”

Born in 1923 in Manhattan, Richard Avedon was just 21 years old when his photographs first appeared in Harper’s Bazaar. He had dropped out of high school and joined the Merchant Marine, where he served as a photographer.”I must have taken pictures of maybe 100,000 baffled faces,” Avedon once said, “before it ever occurred to me that I was becoming a photographer.” Upon returning, he was hired as a photographer for a department store. His work was seen by Alexy Brodovitch, the art director for Harper’s Bazaar, who saw something unique in Avedon’s work. “His first photographs for us were technically very bad”, Brodovitch remembers. “But they were not snapshots. It had always been the shock-surprise element in his work that makes it something special.” Brodovitch would go on to play an enormous role in Avedon’s life and career, serving alternately as mentor, father figure and friend. Avedon soon became chief photographer for the magazine and, by 1946, owned his own studio and was also shooting for Vogue and Life. ….READ MORE

 

richard-avedon-37 richard-avedon-27 richard-avedon-23 richard-avedon-06 avedon-featured-3-620x420

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

Capa In Color

Here from the pages of Faded+Blurred is a review of a new book about Robert Capa

capa-in-color-01c

Until recently, I had no idea that iconic photojournalist and co-founder ofMagnum Photos, Robert Capa shot anything in color. Like many of you, I knew him mainly for The Magnificent Eleven, his gritty black & white war photos taken on D-Day at Omaha Beach. Capa actually covered five wars over the course of his career and according to Cynthia Young, curator of the Capa in Color exhibition currently at the International Center of Photography in NYC regularly shot in both black & white and color. “Capa’s talent with black-and-white film was extraordinary, and starting color film halfway through his career required a new discipline, but it also opened up new opportunities,” she says. ”He really had two cameras around his neck at all times — three even, often in two different formats.”  READ MORE?

In Plain Sight: Vivian Maier

The unusual story of Vivian Maier seeped out just a few years ago, I became aware of her work through a documentary on the tv. It is refreshing to find her here featured in the Faded + Blurred Spotlight series

When we talk about street photography, most of us think of names like Robert Frank, Diane Arbus or Garry Winogrand; these are the iconic names, the photographers you go to when you want to see great examples of that genre of photography. There is another name, however, that is coming up more and more often, which, up until three years ago, was never heard before in the world of photography: Vivian Maier. I remember watching the story of Vivian Maier unfold. I was riveted (and still am) by how the story of her life and work has turned into a worldwide sensation, seemingly overnight. Her photographs have won critical acclaim and are excellent examples of what street photography is all about – the images are honest, have impeccable timing, and the detail, light and composition all work beautifully together to create wholly compelling images. There is no doubt that Maier knew what she was doing; she definitely had a gift. All the more remarkable is the fact that she rarely shared that gift with anyone.

Vivian Maier Vivian Maier

The story of Vivian Maier began to unfold a few years ago when John Maloof, a Chicago real estate agent, bought a box full of negatives at an auction in 2007. He wanted them because he was working on a book about Portage Park (a neighborhood in Chicago) and he noticed these negatives seemed to have various Chicago neighborhoods in them. He was hoping he would be able to use some of them. Although none ended up being usable for his book, what he did find has changed his life. The box turned out to contain over 30,000 negatives. As he started looking through them and scanning some onto his computer, they spoke to him and began to create a portrait of the photographer who took them. He began to get curious. Who was the photographer? Could he find out?….READ MORE

 

vivian-maier-spotlight-01

vivian-maier-spotlight-02b

vivian-maier-spotlight-14

vivian-maier-spotlight-07

vivian-maier-spotlight-18A remarkable, ordinary person taking pictures

 

Photographer Spotlight – Jill Greenberg

Here at OSP Towers we have been great fans of Jill Greenberg for some time and have featured her work before but this in depth article with great pictures on Faded+Blurred caught our attention and we just had to share.

greenberg1211

Social and political commentary has long been reserved for artists and musicians, rather than fine art photographers. Aside from photojournalists, perhaps, whose whose very work exists as commentary, of sorts, fine art photographers, by and large, shoot solely for art’s sake, not necessarily to make a statement on society. Photographer Jill Greenberg, however, seems to be an exception to this and is known in many circles for the controversy surrounding her photography as much as her photography itself. Indeed, she seems to be almost comfortable when heated discourse accompanies her work. She calls herself “Manipulator”, a nickname taken from an 80′s German culture magazine of the same name. It’s a fitting moniker, since she has been manipulating her images using Photoshop since1990. Then there are the messages, the meanings, the underlying ideologies behind her photographs. She has strong opinions and chooses to use her art as a means of political expression as well as a creative endeavor…..I saw Jill Greenberg’s work for the first time a few years ago, shortly after her “End Times” series came out. This series became the first of several controversies of which both she and her work were the center. I remember looking at some of the photos and wondering how she got those kids to cry with such intensity. I couldn’t imagine that it would have been done on purpose, that anyone would purposely make kids cry like that for a photograph. I was wrong. She got the idea from a previous shoot she did involving children. One of the kids became hysterically upset. She said it reminded her of the helplessness and anger she felt with the Bush administration. She decided she wanted to do something with those feelings, with that intensity. Like any artist, she wanted to be able to express her outrage through her work.  READ MORE HERE

 

jill-greenberg-end-times-4-more-years-620x420

greenberg9

greenberg371

jill-greenberg-1

greenberg301See the full article here and here is a link to Jill’s site

 

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-walker9

tim-walker20

tim-walker12b

tim-walker-01b

tim-walker-05bsee more here

 

The Addiction of Photography: Rankin

Rankin is one of my favourite photographers because he tackles everything from high fashion to style magazines to charity work, all with exceptional skill, vision, wit and understanding. I have featured him before on these pages but this Spotlight on Faded + Blurred has so much more.

“There’s a time when people say your work is revolutionary, but you have to keep being revolutionary. I can’t keep shooting pop stars all my life. You have to keep changing, keep pushing yourself, looking for the new, the unusual.” – Rankin
Allowing ourselves to be inspired by the work of others is important to any artist. I am always looking to other photographers for inspiration and to help me explore different styles and techniques. There are those that I look at and think, “I could do what they do”, and then there are those whose work seems to be flawless and I think I should just take my toys and go home. Or, as Jeffery would say,”He makes me want to go work at Starbucks.” Rankin is one of those photographers.

When I first looked at Rankin’s work, I noticed several things. Of course his lighting is perfect, and his use of color is amazing, and his black and whites are stunning. But beyond the technical details , Rankin is an expert at capturing the character of the people he shoots. If I had to pick one thing that I love about his work it would be the eyes. They seem to jump out at you in almost every shot.

My favorite of the campaigns he has done for charities is the one he did for Oxfam. In 2008 he visited the Democratic Republic of Congo to highlight the forgotten conflict in the country. He took a series of portraits of people who had fled the conflict and were living in refugee camps. The expressions on some of their faces are priceless. “I went with the idea of making them human beings,” he says, “It was a liberation to do photographs that were purely about the subject. An artist of any description becomes very self-obsessed. You just do.”….READ MORE

 

CITIZEN 08

 

Influence Book / WKTPR / Published By Penguin

rankin-heidi

Rimmel Advertising

rankin-devil

Heidilicious Book / Personal / Syndication / RETROSPECTIVERead more here