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Category Archives: Masters of Photography

GREGORY CREWDSON: CATHEDRAL OF THE PINES

I find I can rely upon the culture section of The Guardian for many interesting articles about photography. If you have been on my courses you will have found that I talk about Gregory Crewdson, his images are cinematic in many aspects, both the nature of their creation and the sense they provoke. He has a new exhibition called Cathedral of The Pines and it is reviewed in the The Guardian

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‘They were more difficult because they were less spectacular’ … Father and Son, 2013. Photograph: © Gregory Crewdson / Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

In 2013, in retreat from “a difficult divorce”, Gregory Crewdson moved from Manhattan to a converted church in rural Massachusetts. “I had to relocate myself, physically and psychologically,” says the photographer. So he spent his time mountain trekking, long-distance swimming and, when the winter set in, cross-country skiing.

“I was out in the snow one day when I came upon a sign for a section of the Appalachian Trail called Cathedral of the Pines,” he adds. “It stopped me in my tracks, just the resonance of the name. I knew I had to use it.”

The resulting series is more sombre, foreboding and inward-looking than the meticulously staged cinematic photographs that made his name. It opens this week at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, the first time the institution has devoted all its gallery space to a single artist.

Cathedral of the Pines took two and a half years to shoot and, typically for Crewdson, required the kind of preparation that usually attends a Hollywood film: months of casting, location hunting and storyboarding, with an extensive crew to oversee lighting, props, wardrobe, makeup and even some special effects involving artificial smoke and mist.

The new exhibition can be seen from the 23rd at The Photographers Gallery

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Gregory Crewdson The Haircut, 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 × 50 inches (95.3 × 127 cm) Edition of 3 + 2 APs © Gregory Crewdson

“By my standards, it was relatively restrained,” he says, laughing and citing his 2008 series Beneath the Roses, which cost as much as a mid-budget movie and entailed four city streets being closed down for shots that required rain and snow-making machines.

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Gregory Crewdson The Motel, 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 × 50 inches (95.3 × 127 cm) Edition of 3 + 2 APs © Gregory Crewdson

Cathedral of the Pines was challenging in a different way. “These pictures are smaller in scale and, to a degree, they were more difficult because they were less spectacular. You have to create meaning and atmosphere in a more intimate way, which makes lighting, for instance, a lot more challenging.”

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Foreboding … Mother and Daughter, 2014 Photograph: © Gregory Crewdson / Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

see more pictures and read the rest of the review in the Guardian here

find out about the exhibition at the Photographers Gallery here

Paying it Forward: Stuart Franklin on teaching the next generation of photographers

Stuart was a member of the original Photogragraphers Workshop when we were based in St Marys Road Oxford. It was a darkroom and studio hire centre so anyone interested in making their own photographs could come and develop film and make prints. Stuart lived in Oxford at that time and would come to make prints, he is a very friendly and helpful man so I am not surprised as his role as a Magnum photographer he is teaching the next generation.

The urge to document their world photographically is a drive that has undoubtedly been felt by many Magnum photographers; and it’s a practice that Stuart Franklin explores in his 2016 book The Documentary Impulse, charting the motivation to visually tell stories and represent the world far back beyond the invention of the camera, all the way to cave painting. From pre-history onwards he explores a history of photographic representation in visual culture and many of the practical and ethical issues that form the backdrop to the current landscape of the industry. Through teaching, Franklin aims to help a new generation of photographers go beyond the practicalities of technique and understand their practice within the weight of this context. Here, Franklin discusses what there is to gain from a photography education, and explains how he experienced the ‘documentary impulse’ himself. You can read more here

Stuart Franklin Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China 26th May 1999. ©Stuart Franklin

On a personal level, how have you felt or experienced the ‘impulse’ in your own practice?
An impulse or obsession is almost crucial to a life in documentary. I have explored a number of ideas – still working on some today – with an irrational drive, where work that I’m pursuing, and the way I’m doing it, makes absolutely no economic sense. Most of my books evolve in that way: Footprint, The Time of Trees, Narcissus, La Città Dinamica – even The Documentary Impulse. I work on projects because I am impelled to do so.

“In visual storytelling coherence across a body of work is an essential part of authorship”

– Stuart Franklin

Read the full article here and find out about the course Stuart is running

Stuart Franklin is teaching on the Intensive Documentary Photography Course with London College of Communication and Magnum Photos. More information about this course, including details on how to apply can be found here.

Supercharged children– in pictures

yet more startling images found in the Guardian.

Known for his portraits of Spanish miners, Pierre Gonnord has turned his technique to young people, creating portraits that look like oil paintings. Light of the Soul by Pierre Gonnord is at Festival Portrait(s), Vichy, France, 16 June to 10 September. All photographs: Pierre Gonnord; he is represented by the Galería Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid

Pierre Gonnord

Nicola, 2010 ‘I know why I do portraits. For the opportunity of encounters. These life experiences. Learn from others, listen, watch, see, feel, express. It’s to open one’s eyes to the world, to know other universes, other realities in order to go beyond one’s own small frontiers in the urban environment and enter little by little into the sharing and the understanding of humanity’

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Iris, 2011 ‘Installed in the silence of a room, generally a very small space, sometimes with daylight, sometimes with a lamp, a flash, just one spot … in a short distance, in the same living area, I can talk with the individual, my fellow, a chosen human being, and looking at him I repeat once again this old ritual. A very short moment. Probably the most ancient since man has been on Earth. Strip little by little all the details, and in silence try to catch what maybe is under the skin’

Pierre Gonnord

Adriano, 2010 ‘I chose the person, the individual, alone in the margins of his social group,’ says Gonnord. ‘When I travel and meet a community, I have time enough to establish contacts and connections, to know individuals that move me for their charisma, sensitivity, intelligence, shyness, beauty … and this is why I decide to invite them (and no others) to do a portrait’

Pierre Gonnord

Attia, 2010 ‘We are absolutely and irreparably involved in otherness. I would like for my portraits to situate us as spectators in front of this other that is at the same time our spectator. The other exists because we exist’

Remarkable aren’t they? see more here 

Even better go and see his website here

Gods of garbage – in pictures

Fascinating set of pictures found in The Guardian

Fabrice Monteiro travelled to the most polluted places in Africa and created terrifying characters who roamed their midst dressed in eerie debris. They are spirits, he says, on a mission to make humans change their ways

Fabrice Monteiro’s All images courtesy the artist, Photo Basel 2017 and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery

‘Who is fighting for clean water in the US? Native Americans. Who is fighting for land preservation in Australia? Aboriginals. The rainforest in Brazil? Indigenous peoples.’

Fabrice Monteiro’s All images courtesy the artist, Photo Basel 2017 and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery

‘When I started the project, I found out what Senegal’s biggest environmental challenges were and chose nine topics that seemed the most visual.’

Fabrice Monteiro’s All images courtesy the artist, Photo Basel 2017 and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery

The surreal figures wear costumes made in collaboration with Dakar-based designer Doulcy, from items found at each location.

Fabrice Monteiro’s All images courtesy the artist, Photo Basel 2017 and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery

Informed by Africa’s environmental problems, Fabrice Monteiro’s photographs aim to highlight urgent ecological issues all over the world. His series The Prophecy is on show at Photo Basel 2017 until 18 June. All images courtesy the artist, Photo Basel 2017 and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery

See more of these astonishing images here

And visit Fabrice Monteiro’s site here

Global hypercolour: Harry Gruyaert’s world of light – in pictures

From The Guardian a short gallery of the wonderful colour photography by Harry Gruyaert. He is one of the photographers we feature in our Composition In Photography course

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USA, Las Vegas, International Airport, 1982 Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, and the video artist Nam June Paik, inspired a more experimental series of work, TV Shots, where he photographed news shows on a malfunctioning television set

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Belgium, Antwerp, 1988 Using high contrast and rich colour, Harry Gruyaert fills his photography with heat and light. An exhibition, Western and Eastern Light, is at Michael Hoppen gallery, London, 9 May-27 June. All photographs: Harry Gruyaert/Magnum Photos/courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

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Egypt, 1987 His travels gave him a new appreciation for his homeland. ‘I had used colour in Morocco and India, places so vibrant they seemed to demand it. Previously, everything back home in Belgium had seemed grey to me. But when I discovered the beauty of banality, I was able to capture Belgium in colour’

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USA, Los Angeles, 1982 Gruyaert studied at the School for Photo and Cinema in Brussels, before becoming director of photography for a TV channel alongside freelance advertising and fashion work

Harry is a Magnum photographer as featured in the last post, you can see more of his work on the Magnum site here

The rest of the Guardian article is here

Magnum Photos at 70: London Events Program

This year Magnum Photos is celebrating 70 years of contribution to photography and world history with a global events program. Public events across New York, London, Paris and in Asia will give people the opportunity to get closer to Magnum. Through engagement with its archival and contemporary work, the agency is committed to connecting more people to the importance of the image and the need to continue telling the world’s most important stories.

As part of these celebrations, a special fortnight of events will be taking place across London from May 8 to 21, 2017. Ranging from an experimental two-week artist residency to a capsule collection of t-shirts, as well as a series of exhibitions and talks throughout the two weeks. Full details here

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David Hurn The Beatles during filming of ‘A Hard Days Night’. The Beatles film was primarily shot on a moving train. Beatles during shooting. London, England. 1964. © David Hurn | Magnum Photos

Magnum and Me: A Personal View

As the agency turns 70, Magnum’s Executive Director David Kogan offers an intimate perspective on photography and why it matters

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Robert Capa US troops assault Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings (first assault).June 6th, 1944. Normandy, France © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos

David Kogan is Magnum’s Executive Director and a collector of photography, most notably of Robert Capa. Today we accompany this article with a collection of Robert Capa prints on the Magnum Shop.

Magnum Photos is 70 this year. Seven decades of great work, arguments, financial chaos, more arguments, loves, hatreds and big egos. It is a miracle of survival and commitment that has supported generations of talented photographers to do their work.

As someone who only joined the agency three years ago I’m often asked what makes Magnum worth it? What’s the point of keeping it going after 70 years in a world when so many images are created everyday?

It’s partially a personal commitment to photography itself. It’s also a belief that Magnum occupies a place of critical importance in the modern world of photography and photojournalism.

I started collecting magazines and newspapers when I was in my teens; reading Picture Post and Life magazines from the 1930s to the 1960s. The use of photography dominates these journals as does the skill of the photographers. However, my interest was the history. You get a true sense of another world by reading and looking at a magazine published months before the Second World War, when the writers and photographers have little idea what is going to happen. One of those Picture Posts in 1938 featured “the world’s greatest photographer,” Robert Capa, who had covered both the flood of refugees from the Spanish Civil War and the Japanese invasion of China. This was nine years before he helped create Magnum…….

So, why Magnum and why now?

People say that the world of photography has been radically altered by the digital revolution. There are billions of images uploaded every year from millions of smart phones. Everyone can be a photographer.

This is nothing new. Since the earliest cheap cameras were produced photography has been a mass medium. In the 1920s and 30s every household recorded family snaps on mass-produced cameras. We shouldn’t be surprised that the desire to see a single moment frozen in time appeals to the human eye and emotion. We all want a record of what is important to us. The image or photo gives us the easiest way to get it.

But if you believe that in a world of mass production there is still room for quality and talent then you will always have the great artists, the great singers and the great photographers whose work is different. It speaks to a higher level.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson Muslim women on the slopes of Hari Parbal Hill, praying toward the sun rising behind the Himalayas. Srinagar. Kashmir, India. 1948. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos

Go here for full details of these events celebrating Magnum 

Magnum Live Lab (May 8 – 21, 2017)

Magnum Photographers Olivia Arthur, Carl De Keyzer and Mark Power will work alongside each other in a two week residency in the Magnum Print Room, responding to the local area. Transforming the space into a working lab, the resulting work will create an exhibition that stands as a celebration of and an inquiry into the medium of photography and the creative process of making.

Find out more here.

Magnum Photos at 70: 7 Decades of Advertising (May 8 – 20, 2017)

Magnum Photos and G.F Smith Photographic have collaborated to explore Magnum’s long history with the advertising industry, featuring notable archival and contemporary examples of Magnum’s work in this area over the last 70 years. The exhibition will recreate work on corresponding historical papers from G.F Smith and feature work from pioneers of the photographic advertising industry such as Burt Glinn.

Find out more here.

Magnum Photos Now: What is Magnum? (May 10, 2017)

Throughout Magnum’s seventy year history there have been many attempts to define the agency, its members’ vision of photography, its values and its history. This lively discussion chaired by photography critic Sean O’Hagan, and featuring the agency’s Executive Director David Kogan alongside Magnum photographers Jonas Bendiksen, David Hurn and Olivia Arthur, will ask the question, ‘What is Magnum?’ and what is the future of this historic agency?

Find out more here.

70 at 70 in London (May 15 – June 15, 2017)

The 70 at 70 exhibition at London’s Kings Cross charts a potted history of Magnum. The exhibition features 70 pictorial and historical photographic icons, celebrating the diversity of the Magnum Photos agency and how its photographers have borne witness to major events of the last 70 years.

Find out more here.

The Magnum Home (May 17 – 21, 2017)

A London pop-up in collaboration with Plinth and publisher Thames & Hudson will explore youth culture, through an exhibition curated by Ekow Eshun, installations, talks and events, as well as the opportunity to purchase limited-edition products by Plinth that incorporate the work of Magnum photographers.

Find out more here.

Magnum at Photo London (May 17 – 21, 2017)

At this year’s Photo London, Magnum is showing a combination of early and contemporary work. This will include both modern and vintage prints alongside period works from Magnum’s 40th exhibition ‘In Our Time’. Magnum is also presenting a unique installation on Japan by Max Pinckers, in which he juxtaposes his own work with vintage prints by Werner Bischof.

Find out more here.

Magnum Photos x Richardson at Dover Street Market London (May 18 – 21, 2017)

Magnum Photos’ extensive archive has been curated by Andrew Richardson on the theme of resistance and protest to create a project at the intersection between fashion and documentary photography in collaboration with Dover Street Market. The capsule collection of 5 t-shirts will be sold exclusively via Dover Street Market.

Find out more here.

David Hurn’s Swaps (May 18 – 21, 2017)

To celebrate the community of photographers of which he is a part, Magnum’s current President Martin Parr has curated a selection of the print swaps from which David Hurn has built an extraordinary collection for an exhibition at Photo London.

Find out more here.

Join us in celebrating Magnum’s 70th anniversary throughout 2017. Bookmark our anniversary hub to find seminal stories, new work, and discover what Magnum events are happening near you.

View and licence some of the our most iconic pictures from our dedicated 70th anniversary page on Magnum Pro.

 

 

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.

Aida Muluneh

Memory of Libya

Aida Muluneh

Sai Mado. The Distant Gaze

Aida Muluneh

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

Aida Muluneh

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’

Aida Muluneh

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

 

Paddy Summerfield – The Oxford Pictures 1968-1978

It may have taken too long in coming but now there is a book of images by Paddy Summerfield from his early Oxford period. You may not know Paddy but he has been part of the photographic firmament of Oxford for ever. I first met him on June 6th 1982. I had just opened the doors of my new business, The Photographers Workshop, and in strode Paddy. I had heard tell of this mythic man and when he said who he was and could he help I thought this is it, I am on the road. Paddy and I have been friends now for more than 30 years and I cherish that time. I remember the first time I saw his Oxford pictures appearing under the red lights of the darkroom and wondering how this man before me could have taken such brilliant photographs. Prior to seeing his work I had only seen similar in books by people who were really famous, and this man was in my darkrooms.

He shared his passion and knowledge with anyone who would benefit; teaching, mentoring and helping and never for reward, he didn’t want money he just wanted to be involved with interesting images and people.

So to his book, a beautiful edition with many of the pictures from a period when Oxford was still the Oxford of memory. What has amazed me about the book is how close the reproductions are to the prints he would work on in the dark, they have a quality, an intensity that I don’t see from digital work. This is a wondrous thing to behold, I would recommend you find a copy and spend time indulging your love of photography. Do not expect warm, honey coloured stones, this Oxford is much darker and more interesting.

Go to Paddy’s website to find more information http://paddysummerfield.com/

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Paddy Summerfield 1

Paddy Summerfield 2

 

The New York Times no less reviewed this book, go here to see 16 images on their gallery

Sprawled on grass, floating down a river, or gazing blankly into the distance — all the subjects captured, unawares, in the photographer Paddy Summerfield’s new book “The Oxford Pictures” share a certain listlessness. In 1968, having been “thrown out” of Guildford School of Art (“the staff weren’t particularly sympathetic towards my vision”), Summerfield returned to his hometown of Oxford, England. He spent the summers of the next 10 years wandering around the grounds of the elite Oxford University, where he photographed students at leisure.

What he sensed at the university, he says, was an atmosphere that mirrored how he felt about his own life. “I was young,” he says, “It’s a young person’s vision, noticing girls and noticing other people’s relationships — but I was always outside everything.” He recognised a similar nervousness in the subjects of his photos, who hovered between the social rituals of university and an existential uncertainty. At the time, Summerfield was heavily influenced by John Lennon — and there is something personal and deeply melancholy about these images. “I set out to show heartache and disappointment,” he says. “It’s about feeling… well, I suppose, isolated and lonely, and full of sexual anxiety.

A selection of Summerfield’s pictures was shown at the Museum of Modern Art Oxford in 1976. But this month, 40 years later, they become the subject of a new book. Summerfield says that the fashionable British documentary photographers of the time — Don McCullin, David Hurn, Ian Berry, Tony Ray Jones — were more preoccupied with society than with introspection. “They were interested in the world around them,” he says. “I’m interested in the interior world.”

Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali – Exhibition in London

Les jeunes bergers peulhs, 1972. Photograph: © Malick Sidibé Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Les jeunes bergers peulhs, 1972.
Photograph: © Malick Sidibé Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Jeune homme avec pattes d’éléphant, sacoche et montre, 1977. Photograph: © Malick Sidibé Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Jeune homme avec pattes d’éléphant, sacoche et montre, 1977.
Photograph: © Malick Sidibé Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

The first major solo exhibition in the UK of the late Malian photographer. Sidibé is known for his black-and-white images chronicling the lives and culture of the Malian capital, Bamako, in the wake of the country’s independence. The exhibition will present 45 original prints from the 1960s and 1970s around three defined themes: ‘Au Fleuve Niger / Beside the Niger River’, ‘Tiep à Bamako / Nightlife in Bamako’, and ‘Le Studio / The Studio’.

Sidibé was the first photographer, and first African artist, to receive a Gold Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2007. Other significant awards include The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2003, as well as the Infinity Award from International Center of Photography in 2008 and winning the Arts and Entertainments category at the World Press Photo competition in 2010.

Accompanying the photographs, the gallery soundtrack will recreate the spirit and soul of the nightclubs where he shot and his own Studio Malick, where “often it was like a party”. Curated by DJ, presenter and African music expert Rita Ray, it will feature an eclectic mix of music and urban sounds to which Sidibé’s photographic subjects may have listened, from the familiar rock ‘n’ roll, pop songs and fusions of the continent in the 60s and 70s to timeless Malian roots music.

Launching at 1:54, the exhibition will continue throughout the winter season.

6 October 2016–15 January 2017
Monday, Tuesday, Saturday & Sundays 10.00-18.00 (last admission 17.00)
Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays 11.00-20.00 (last admission 19.00)

Terrace Rooms
Free admission

From The Guardian

As a photographer working in Mali just after independence, Malick Sidibé captured the spirit of the post-colonial nation’s new identity, as seen through the changing scene of its capital.

He went on to become the first African artist and the first photographer to receive the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale, and his portrait photography has been shown across the world.

But less is known about the place it all started: Studio Malick, the poky room on Corner 19, 30th Street, in the Bagadadji neighbourhood in Bamako which by the early 1990s had become a local landmark, with queues of customers keen to sit for a portrait.

As the first solo exhibition of his work opens in London as part of the 1:54 African art fair, I went in search of the people who had met the man, to find out more about the setting in which these now famous images were taken……

 

See more pictures here