Oxford School of Photography

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Don McCullin Retrospective

There is a retrospective of Don McCullin’s work at the Tate starting tomorrow. It will be one of the great exhibitions this year and I would recommend you find the time to go. It will be tough, his war photography is uncompromising but he is a man of genuine compassion. As he said in a recent Guardian article while in conversation with Giles Duley…DMcC It’s about the emotional – we’re not just photographers, we gather emotionally. A camera doesn’t mean a toss to me. I just put it in front of me and transfer the image through that piece of glass and that film. But I’m using my emotion more than I’m using that piece of equipment. And at the same time there’s a thousand thoughts going through my brain saying: “Is it right do this?” I’ve seen men executed and I haven’t photographed it and I thought my God, if my editor knew that I hadn’t pressed this button he’d give me the boot. But it’s my moral duty not to take that picture because the man who’s about to be killed hasn’t given me his permission…….When a man is standing in front of you about to die, you can’t help him. He’s crying and he’s looking at you. He’s looking up to where he thinks God is and he’s scrambling around like mad to this last chance to keep alive and you’re standing there, you can’t help him. You are ashamed of humanity.

It is a dangerous mistress, and it’s one of those love affairs that never ends, you know. It just never ends. You’re totally captive to photography once it gets a grip of you.

There is a review of the exhibition here

x78Screenshot 2019-02-06 at 15.05.57Catholic Youths Attacking British Soldiers in the Bogside of Londonderry 1971, printed 2013 by Don McCullin born 1935Cyprus 1964, printed 2013 by Don McCullin born 1935

Shell-shocked US Marine, The Battle of Hue 1968, printed 2013 by Don McCullin born 1935

All images Don McCullin as seen at Tate Retrospective

The extraordinary story behind the iconic image of Che Guevara and the photographer who took it

I have recently returned from Cuba where on every street, or hat, t-shirt, flag or poster there was one image. That image was of Che, taken by Alberto Korda a Cuban photographer. This image is perhaps the most reproduced photographic image in the world, I can’t think of another that is so ubiquitous.

The story of this image, when and why it was taken and it’s passage to iconic status is fascinating.

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The moment
The Che image was made on March 5, 1960, at a funeral service for the 136 people who were killed when a French ship carrying arms to Havana was sabotaged and blown-up. Crowds filled the street of Havana, and Korda was there working for the newspaper Revolución. As Castro’s funeral oration droned on Korda approached the speakers’ platform. With Castro were other leaders of the revolution, the French writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and, of course, Che. When Korda got close to the platform, he noticed that Che — who had been standing in the back of the stage — had moved forward.

“I remember his staring over the crowd on 23rd street,” Korda says. Staring up, he was struck by Guevara’s expression which he says showed, “absolute implacability,” as well as anger and pain. …..

The “viral” effect
This all changed one day in early 1967 when an Italian publisher, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, came with a letter from the Cuban government asking Korda to help find him a portrait of Che. Korda pointed to the print hanging on the studio wall, saying that it was the best one he had ever taken of Che…..

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The tipping point
But the tipping point for the image was in October 1967, when Che was executed in Bolivia. Demonstrations broke out around the world condemning the murder and Feltrinelli printed up thousands of Che posters and sold them to protesters. The photo was now called Guerrillero Heroico, and it next surfaced in 1968 on New York City subway billboards as a painting by artist Paul Davis advertising the February issue of the Evergreen Review magazine.

Read the full article here

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Architectural Photography Awards 2018 shortlist

The BBC has a gallery of images

from this year’s award and they are worth 5 minutes of your time

 

How to choose a camera

I was sent this rather excellent article by Jen Reviews about the different types of cameras and how to understand why they are different.

How to Choose a Camera – A Comprehensive Guide

I have published similar articles in the past but this one is really comprehensive and his you are thinking about buying a camera this will help you choose the type. We then have on this blog posts about the best cameras in any particular range, just go to the Categories Drop down menu on the right and scroll down to new cameras. I am sure you will find this article and the earlier posts useful

By the way while you are thinking about a new camera you should also consider one of our excellent courses, we have a new series starting this autumn, here are the dates

Entry Level DSLR Cameras

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New Course Dates for the autumn

©Keith Barnes Photography

Catching up on a good book, Dorchester Cathedral

I know, we are still in the heat of summer, so thinking of autumn and grey short days is not something we want to countenance, but it is coming and so is our new schedule of courses. If you haven’t yet, you should make sure you have signed up on our GDPR compliant mailing list:

If you sign up here you will receive the new dates when they are available. We will only ever use your information to tell you about our courses. We will never share or sell your information to anyone else. You can un-subscribe at any time
Here are the new dates

Introduction to Photoshop and PS Elements £97
5 sessions 
6.30 – 8.30 start Monday 29.10.18

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures £85
4 sessions 
6.30 – 8.30 start 30.10.18

Portrait Photography £85
4 sessions Please email to register your interest

Travel Photography £85
Start date 3 sessions 6.30-8.30 start 4.10.18

Flash Photography £85
4 sessions Please email and register your interest

EMPTY DAYS PADDY SUMMERFIELD

Paddy was the first person to walk through the doors of the original Photographers Workshop in June 1982. He has been my friend and teacher ever since. I learned from Paddy that a photograph doesn’t have to be about a thing, it can be just about a feeling.

His latest book ‘Empty Days’ is a testament to the idea that art is about feeling and not necessarily decorative. Like Nan Golding or Richard Billingham Paddy does not shy away from showing “the tragic lives he encountered, lives that touched him because they reflected his own struggles, he made images that would tell their stories, his own story.”

Paddy Summerfield Empty Days

Paddy Summerfield Empty Days

From his publisher:

… a sustained enquiry and search for understanding and meaning in a sometimes-bleak interior landscape … the great success of ‘Empty Days’ is in drawing the viewer fully into Paddy’s world… and as in life, it is both rewarding and on occasions disturbing.
– John Goto 
in Photomonitor, March 2018

…………….

“I would say Empty Days is my road trip, through the places I know – on foot.”

In run-down streets and shabby cafés Paddy Summerfield found his pictures for Empty Days. Among the tragic lives he encountered, lives that touched him because they reflected his own struggles, he made images that would tell their stories, his own story.

“This is the world I know, it could be anywhere, a place we have all seen before. I am sad, the world is sad. I don’t know if I take photographs to embrace sadness or or push it away.”

Paddy Summerfield Empty Days

Paddy Summerfield Empty Days

For Empty Days Summerfield has found emblems of the great themes: religion, sex, and death. Yet among the bleakness of various addictions, the ravages of drinking, of pills, he shows no spiritual comfort, no sexual joy, only the search for love in an unloving world, an unsatisfied spiritual longing. Along pavements and pathways, in claustrophobic rooms or open spaces, he finds the isolated figures, lost in thought or caught in a flash of emotion, to express the yearnings and pain that so many of us share. And where no people are shown, the human traces – an abandoned bicycle, a fallen doll, a tangle of nettles and barbed wire – continue themes of loss and melancholy. Yet however powerless or worn down the people and places shown, these pictures offer compassion, not judgement. A handful of troubling portraits, suggesting powerful and complex emotions, punctuate Empty Days, and intensify our sense of a narrative, albeit elusive and incomplete, as the photographs lead us through a fragile and fragmented world to an ending that suggests the possibility of hope.

Paddy Summerfield Empty Days

Paddy Summerfield Empty Days

Oxford-based, Paddy Summerfield, trained at Guildford School of Art in the Photography and the Film departments. His work has been shown in many galleries, including the ICA, The Barbican, The Serpentine Gallery, and The Photographers’ Gallery. His work is in the collections of the Arts Council and of the V&A, as well as in numerous private collections. Empty Days is his third book published by Dewi Lewis. His earlier book Mother and Father(2014) was widely acclaimed, and featured in several lists of the ‘Best Photobooks of The Year’.

You can buy this exquisite book here

The Playful Street Photography of Pau Buscató

Petapixel is a site worth following, there are often interesting articles and great finds, like this photographer Pau Buscató

My last post was by another photographer who had the ability to see those things others miss and this post has more images that are clever and witty.

Pau Buscató is a street photographer who has a knack for capturing playful moments in which subjects and scenes come together in curious ways for brief moments of time. Many of his pictures are illusions that may cause you to stare a little longer to understand what it is you’re actually seeing.

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You can find more of Buscató’s photos on his website, Instagram, and Flickr.

You can find more of Buscató’s photos on his websiteInstagram, and Flickr.

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Pau Buscató

“My approach to street photography is very intuitive and I’ve always liked to let my work grow freely, without me forcing any direction or themes,” Buscató writes. “It’s a very open process that demands full awareness and fresh eyes, to see the ordinary things of our everyday not just for what they are, but also for what they can become, when photographed.

“There is a strong sense of play in my street photography. It’s a game for me, and the city is my playground.”

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Pau Buscató

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Pau Buscató

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Pau Buscató

https://www.buscato.net/colour/

You can find more of Buscató’s photos on his websiteInstagram, and Flickr.

 

 

Casablanca Not the Movie – in pictures

I saw this in the Guardian and had to share it with you. A few weeks ago I was taken to see Casablanca, the movie, by some friends. I am not sure I had ever seen it in it’s entirety before but it was enjoyable in a noirish sort of way. These pictures have nothing in common with the movie and all the better for it

There’s no sign of Humphrey Bogart or the stereotyped images found in travel guides in Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui Ismaili’s photographs of Casablanca. His images are full of energy and surprise, and show what the city is really like. Casablanca Not the Movie is at Riad Yima, Marrakech until 30 June 2018

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Moulay Rachid, Casablanca, 2015

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Sidi Othmane, Casablanca, 2017

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Old Medina, Casablanca, 2017

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Hay Hassani, Casablanca, 2015

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Ain Diab beach, Casablanca, 2016

see more of Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui Ismaili’s photographs of Casablanca here

or better visit his website here

Lewis Hine, photographer who changed lives

Twenty-four photographs from the Lewis Hine archive have been auctioned in New York. The rare prints were from the collection of the late New York photographer Isador Sy Seidman.

American sociologist Hine was one of the most important documentary photographers of the 20th Century. Because the notion of photojournalism and documentary did not exist at the time, Hine called his projects “photo stories”, using images and words to fight for the causes he believed in.

The prints span Hine’s career and many are from his most well-known projects, centring on the poor and disadvantaged from the Carolinas, New York and Pittsburgh. from the BBC

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Mechanic at Steam Pump in Electric Power House, circa 1921. The rare print of this photograph sold for just over $80,000 (£57,000).

Hine spent years dedicated to his many projects, creating photographs that depicted his subjects with dignity and compassion. In 1904, he began to document the immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.

His aim was to give a human face to the newly arrived families, who were often feared by New Yorkers.

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Mother and child, Ellis Island, 1907.

After asking his subjects’ permission, Hine would set up his shot and ignite the flash powder, which would go off with a loud bang, producing lots of dramatic black smoke.

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Hot day on East Side, New York, 1908.

See more of these fascinating images on the BBC website here

Garden Photographer of The Year

When I am teaching I always recommend those students who are interested in garden and plant photography to check out this site. It has such a wide array of different photographic subjects and styles and is really inspiring. The 2018 prize has been awarded so you can go and visit the site here

Gardens and landscape scenes from all around the world have also been commended in the competition, showing nature in all seasons. From rolling hills of golden rice in China to a flower-smelling hamster in Austria, take a look at a selection of winning images.

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Marcio Cabral of Brasilia, Brazil, scooped the award with his winning image entitled Cerrado Sunrise.

Tyrone McGlinchey, managing director of IGPOTY said: “Marcio has captured a spectacular vision of plant life in the Cerrado, displaying the beautiful flowers of Paepalanthus chiquitensis, stretching out on countless filaments towards the first light of the rising sun.”

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Mark Bauer spotted a carpet of purple heather in Stoborough Heath National Nature Reserve, Dorset.

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Yi Fan shot this endangered medicinal plant growing wild in the mountains of Yunnan in China.

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A wild European hamster smells a flower in Vienna, Austria, photographed by Henrik Spranz.

You can see many more on the BBC website here

An exhibition of the winning photos can be seen at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, from 10th February to 11th March 2018.

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Alison Staite shot these sunlit Pulsatilla flowers at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London.

go here for the IGOPTY site