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Category Archives: Masters of 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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Swapper – David Hurn Magnum Photographer

I chanced upon this on the BBC website. It is one of the most interesting articles I have ever read about the method and process of being a photographer. Hurn, one of the masters of documentary photography (although that sells him short as his work covered a far greater range) tells the story of how and why he became a photographer, his influences, mentors, and methods. I loved that he would find out when famous photographers were coming to the UK and then offer himself as a driver, guide and assistant. Or that he would find out where photographers he admired lived and would knock on their door and just introduce himself. This is an article you MUST read. It is long and full of images so give yourself time, you will be rewarded.

The Swapper is a story about the internationally-acclaimed British documentary photographer David Hurn; it is a story of a dyslexic, Welsh schoolboy written off as being “a bit thick” and an extraordinary “succession of bizarre coincidences” which would propel him into the ranks of photography’s elite.

A fixture of Sixties London and the Hollywood inner sanctum, his images of Jane Fonda as Barbarella, Sean Connery as James Bond, and the Beatles on the set of A Hard Day’s Night, became icons of the 20th Century.

But they are mere window dressing on a body of work so influential that recognition by him is now regarded as something of an anointing of careers.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/david_hurn_photographer_swaps_magnum

David Hurn, the iconic Bond Imagehim is now regarded as something of an anointing of careers.

 

David Hurn is a luminary of Magnum Photos.

Magnum is the stuff of legends. Being invited to join its hallowed ranks – there are only 62 working members in the world – is notoriously difficult; think of it as a kind of SAS, Harvard, an Olympics gold medal of photography.

“I saw a pattern in how all the most respected photographers approached their work,” Hurn said, “and I believed that these basic principles could be passed onto aspiring youngsters.”

Hurn’s interest was encouraged and he set up the School of Documentary Photography at the Newport College of Art. It would become one of the most sought after courses in the UK and beyond.

The course was run with Hurn’s characteristic pragmatic approach.

There was to be no philosophical navel-gazing about ‘truth’ or the ‘theory of light’, it was about being on time, wearing good shoes – “If you’re walking around for hours taking pictures, you need them” – analysing the contact sheets of successful photographers – “It’s the best way to see how they think” – and, most importantly of all, getting a job.

“It was unbelievable,” Hurn says. “We used to have about 700 applicants for 15 to 20 places.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/david_hurn_photographer_swaps_magnum

Jnr Wales ballroom dance championships, Bargoed 1973, Hurn

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/david_hurn_photographer_swaps_magnum

Pit pony handlers’ rest room, Neath Valley, 1993, Hurn

Book mark this link and go and read this wonderful story

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/david_hurn_photographer_swaps_magnum

Rankin launches social media campaign for World Heart Day

Rankin is one of Britain’s most famous and important photographers, he is the David Bailey of our times and in many ways as influential. He is a photographer who is at the top of his profession as his website shows.    He is also a man, a good man who cares about a wide range of issues and he is putting his considerable prowess and exposure behind a campaign for the “Heart for a Heart” campaign, created for World Heart Day

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The “Heart for a Heart” campaign, created for World Heart Day

The “Heart for a Heart” campaign, created for World Heart Day, is a response to the fact that every three minutes someone dies from heart or circulatory disease in the UK. Its aim is to get people who spend their days tapping the heart symbol on Instagram and Twitter to instead design their own heart-inspired artwork and post it on social media on World Heart Day, on Friday. From The Guardian

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Rankin by Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

“You have great artwork to inspire everybody,” he said. “Everyone can draw a heart, it’s one of the simplest symbols to draw and it works across all cultures and languages. The heart is the universal symbol. It can be romantic, it can be broken, it can be used on T-shirts to profess a love for a city. And, in recent years, it is synonymous with social media. The team and I wanted to make that mean something.”

“I am not an expert,” he said. “I just think it’s important to research these things for yourself. I am definitely a short, fat, very unhealthy bloke so if I can do a little bit, then everybody can do it. This is a fun way of going, ‘It’s important to look after yourself,’ and I like the idea of a social media conceit that is not just liking something.”

The photographer and the BHF are asking people to upload their artwork to social media on Friday using the hashtag #heartforaheart, tagging @TheBHF.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with being a short, fat photographer but I take his point, getting healthy and supporting this good cause is important

So what will you do, will you ignore the request,  or will you upload some artwork to spread the word and share the love?

 

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