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Studying Photography at a college in the UK

University guide 2015: league table for film production and photography as found in The Guardian

We run courses aimed at recreational photographers, those people for whom photography is a wonderful creative activity, some people take our courses as a precursor to going to college and study photography in depth.

If you want to become a photographer it seems easy now, digital cameras do it all for you right, well wrong actually. Digital has made it easier for people with limited technical or visual skill to enter the market as a photographer and to work at a low level but if you want to succeed as a professional photographer you should consider going to college and studying as you would for any profession.  Where to Study Photography In The UK is another place to start looking, this new post featuring The Guardian lists a league table of the best colleges. For more information go here


Another take on this can be found from 2012 and an article by  Alex Hare in the Independent “The new academic year is almost upon us and as universities prepare to open their doors to the latest batch of students paying the highest fees in history for their education, we take a look at whether embarking on a photography degree is still a worthy option.

First, let’s consider why someone would want to study photography. I teach one morning a week at my local university and I ask all my year one students what they want to do when they graduate. Everyone says they want to be a photographer. Will they all graduate and instantly become professional photographers? No, and I’d eat my 70-200mm L Series lens if they did. Will some make it eventually? Yes, inevitably, and this doesn’t mean that, for the rest, the degree has been a waste. Not every history student becomes a historian, after all………….But, it’s taken me 10 years to get to where I want to be and Karen thinks a photography degree can drastically cut the time spent getting ‘Life Experience’ down; “a photography degree is not some glorified camera club, we interview and assess candidates before accepting them. We ensure we have the brightest, most committed students and in return we give them a genuine means to an end. The degree opens far more career doors than it shuts and they leave with enough technical knowledge to hold their own as well as a range of intellectual rigour, academic, political and ideological awareness that employers in any industry look for in any graduate…………I’m left wondering what a first year student can do then to give themselves the best possible chances of succeeding, whether they choose to become a photographer or enter a different career path on graduation. Karen says; “they have to live and breathe the subject, not just stroll in, do their lectures and go home. They have to put in time and effort to push their creativity and their intellect beyond what we’re teaching them.”” Read the full article here




Nikon unveils the D4S

Nikon is calling its D4S a “true master of the dark”, offering photographers an ISO range extendable to a record 409,600


Available from 06 March at a retail price of £5200, the new D4S sports a redesigned 16.2-megapixel FX sensor and the Expeed 4 image processor. It has a burst rate of 11 frames per second at full resolution, and is protected by “a tough weather-sealed full metal body”, Nikon claims.
“The Nikon D4S follows the success of the D4 and brings with it a new level of performance designed to meet the needs of the most demanding photographers,” says Hiro Sebata, professional product manager at Nikon UK, in a press statement. “Nikon engineers have taken on board valuable feedback from professional users in order to implement a wealth of improvements that will make all the difference to professionals working in the intensely competitive fields of sports, press and nature photography. Equipped to power ahead in the most challenging environments, the D4S ensures serious photographers stay ahead of the game.”
But by far the most important upgrade is in the camera’s low-light capabilities. The D4S has an ISO range of 100 to 25,600, extendable to “an industry-leading 409,600,” it says. “A true master of the dark as well as of the light, sophisticated localised noise reduction, edge sharpening and tone control ensure the D4S delivers outstanding results in the kind of ‘dirty’ low-light conditions many sports and news photographers are confronted with.”
The D4S also had a new shutter and mirror mechanism that reduces mirror bounce to deliver “a stable viewfinder image with minimal viewfinder blackout when shooting at high speeds,” Nikon explains, a Gigabit 100/1000TX Ethernet port, a Multi-CAM3500FX 51-point autofocus system, a new Group Area AF mode and an anti-reflective 3.2-inch LCD monitor. from BJP

DP Review have a first impressions review here

Nikon D4s vs D4: 14 things you need to know about Nikon’s flagship DSLR


Hasselblad unveils its 2014 Masters



– Fashion/Beauty: Bara Prasilova, Czech Republic

Held every two years, the Hasselblad Masters competition is open not only to users of medium or large format cameras but also active professionals with over three years experience using cameras that offered resolutions of 16MP or above.

This year, Hasselblad received more than 4000 entries from which 12 Masters were selected, each in their own categories.

The winners are:

– Architecture: Martin Schubert, Denmark

– Editorial: Antonio Pedrosa, Portugal

– General: Roman Jehanno, France

– Fashion/Beauty: Bara Prasilova, Czech Republic

– Fine Art: Rafal Maleszyk, United States

– Landscapes/Nature: Hengki Koentjoro, Indonesia

– Portrait: Dmitry Ageev, Russian Federation

– Product: Bryn Griffiths, United Kingdom

– Project/21: Paul Gisbrecht, Germany

– Underwater: Chris Straley, United States

– Wedding/Social: Joseph Goh Meng Huat, Singapore

– Wildlife: Rafael Rojas, Switzerland


Winner in the Portrait category: Dmitry Ageev, Russian Federation


Winner in the Architecture category: Martin Schubert, Denmark

Three giraffes and reflection in waterhole, Etosha NP, Namibia

Three giraffes and reflection in waterhole, Etosha NP, Namibia

See all the winners here

Photojournalists On War: The Untold Stories From Iraq

I watched the BBC program Imagine with the feature on Don McCullin recently,  a most touching and revealing documentary, which I implore you to watch if you can find it anywhere. In the BJP we find out about a book that merits further investigation. As with the earlier post about L1GHTB1TE the stories behind the pictures are often as important as the images themselves and give us an opportunity to understand more of the photographic process.

Photojournalists On War is the result of five years of interviews with some of the world’s leading photojournalists. However, it’s also the fruit of Michael Kamber’s frustration over the harrowing images that were never shown or published before


The longer that photojournalist Michael Kamber spent covering the war in Iraq, the more frustrated he became. His position on the frontline meant he and his colleagues were closer to the war than anyone, other than the soldiers and Iraqi civilians, yet the photos in the Western media didn’t reflect what he saw happening. “They look like sports pictures to me. It looks like a quarterback limping off the field, being helped by his buddy,” he says. “It’s not what these wars look like.”


With his commitment to accurate reporting shortchanged by what he saw as censorship, Kamber began working on Photojournalists On War: The Untold Stories From Iraq in 2008. The book is a compilation of interviews with 39 photojournalists from around the world, accompanied by some of their most poignant and definitive photos. The aim of the book, which will be released on 15 May in the US and later this year in the UK, is to tell the uncensored story to the general public, an audience that hasn’t been privy to much of what went on there.

The photographs in the book are at once stunning and arrestingly graphic. In one shot, by Eros Hoagland, the severed head of a suicide bomber lies in the middle of the frame, surrounded by the crumpled bodies of doves. Other images show the bodies of American contractors strung from a bridge across the Euphrates, children maimed and bleeding, or grieving and covered in the blood of their family members. Until now, many of these images had never reached the general public. 

Read more here

NY Times 2007

NY Times 2007

Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/report/2262550/photojournalists-on-war-the-untold-stories-from-iraq#ixzz2ebOUxUBz
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Photographer Nick Turpin offers his advice for budding street photographers

“I am a Street Photographer because, quite simply, it is the hardest challenge I have found in photography,” says photographer Nick Turpin. “I have shot front page national newspaper images in riots, I have shot glossy magazine fashion spreads, I have shot multi million dollar Ad campaigns in New York and none of these are easy but none of them compare with standing in Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday morning with a small camera and a standard lens trying to make something amazing out of the everyday. That is why over the last 22 years as a professional photographer I keep coming back to the street.”

 He adds: “More than anything Street Photography is an attitude, it is an openness to being amazed by what comes your way, it is unlearning the habit of categorising and dismissing the everyday as being ‘just the everyday’ and beginning to recognise that extraordinary, beautiful and subtle stories are occurring in front of you everyday of your life if you can see them. I actually think you can be a Street Photographer without a camera and without making photographs, it is really just the more insecure Street Photographers like myself that actually have to record and show off their ability to ‘see’.”
Image © Nick Turpin

Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/advertisement/2288116/sponsored-street-photography-tips-with-sonys-rx-cameras#ixzz2blXyhqj9 
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Fujifilm confirms film discontinuations

Just put it out of it’s misery. If it were an animal we would do so…..

Fujifilm has confirmed that it has discontinued a number of its Neopan, Provia, Superia and Reala films. Fujifilm Professional has confirmed that it has ceased production of four of its films – the Neopan 400 35mm black and white film, Fujichrome Provia 400X colour transparency film in the 35mm and 120 formats, the Superia 400 colour negative film in the 120 format, and the Reala colour negative film in the 120 format..….MORE


Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2285219/fujifilm-confirms-film-discontinuations#ixzz2bNp2zpOH
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Photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie recounts Syrian hostage ordeal

On 29 April, Jonathan Alpeyrie, a French-American photographer, was abducted in Syria. Eighty-one days later, he was sold for $450,000 and returned to Paris. He recounts his ordeal to Le Journal de la Photographie and Paris Match.

Jonathan Alpeyrie was on his third trip to Syria when, on 29 April, he fell into a trap and was abducted. “I got into a 4×4 with a Katiba officer, my fixer and two soldiers. We came to a checkpoint where masked men pulled me out of the car, forced me to kneel and pretended to execute me,” he tells Michel Puech at Le Journal de la Photographie.

 In his account, Alpeyrie discusses his 81 days of captivity, which he spent, at times, handcuffed to a bed “with five or six soldiers and two Islamists. One day, a young soldier, who looked crazy and made me uneasy, wanted to execute me because I had gone to the bathroom without asking for permission. He put his machine gun against my forehead but the others yelled at him and sent him away,” he explains……....READ MORE

Jonathan AlpeyrieJonathan Alpeyrie © Michel Puech.


Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2286266/photographer-jonathan-alpeyrie-recounts-syrian-hostage-ordeal#ixzz2bNmQBHkY 
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10 percent of all the photographs ever taken were shot in 2011

Meta-narrative: Fred Ritchin on the future of photojournalism

Ensuring the future of photojournalism rests in more complex narrative formats, believes Fred Ritchin, who spoke with Laurence Butet-Roch ahead of the release of his new essay, Bending the Frame

As the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper was making plans to lay off its entire photography staff, Fred Ritchin was putting the final touches to his latest opus, Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen. Keenly aware of the current dismal state of traditional media, the former picture editor of The New York Times Magazine and professor of photography and imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts prefaces his essay with 16 questions and two pages full of interrogations about the future of news – photography in particular.

 Looking at a world where “image-making has become a form of communication nearly as banal, instinctive and pervasive as talking”, Ritchin asks: “Do we need – even more than we need photographers – metaphotographers who are capable of sorting through some of the billions of images now available, adding their own and contextualising all of them so they become more useful, more complex and more visible?” In other words: “How does today’s image-maker create meaningful media?”

I am not sure I know what metaphotographers are…..

To say that the wealth of images found online is overwhelming is an understatement. Absolute numbers are difficult to aggregate but, according to Fortune magazine, 10 percent of all the photographs ever taken were shot in 2011. The following year, while the Pew Research Center reported that 46 percent of American adult internet users post original photos or videos online, Facebook announced that seven petabytes – that is six zeros more than a gigabyte – of new photos were added to its servers every month. This equates to roughly 300 million images posted every day on Facebook alone. And according to Yahoo!’s estimation, in 2014 alone more than 880 billion images will be taken.


Nowadays, photojournalists – competing for what little work is left – are under extreme pressure to produce an arresting double-page spread at low cost and in a short space of time. “What this does is reduce the visual vocabulary,” says Ritchin. “For example, references to the Madonna holding a child keep coming up in all kinds of pictures because it is recognisable.” Recently, it was Samuel Aranda’s photograph, which won the World Press Photo Award in 2012, of a Yemeni mother cradling her son suffering from the effects of tear gas that was compared to a modern-day Pietà. A few months later, Edouard Elias’ image of a wounded Syrian man was likened to the Deposition of Christ. However effective these images are, their recurrence may well eventually tire the viewer.

Yes this is an interesting article certainly worth ten minutes of your time….READ MORE HERE

An Afghan National Army soldier protects his face from a sudden dust storm at Combat Outpost 7171 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on October 28, 2010.Photographer Balazs Gardi co-created the experimental media project Basetrack, which documents the deployment of the 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, at Combat Outpost 7171 in Helmand, Afghanistan. Image © Balazs Gardi / Basetrack.org

bending-the-frame-coverBending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen, by Fred Ritchin, is published by Aperture; www.aperture.org.

Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/interview/2286634/metanarrative-fred-ritchin-on-the-future-of-photojournalism#ixzz2bNlOW1Ui
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Startups battle for rights to smartphone images

In the last 5 years or so there has been a battle fought over the ownership of images uploaded to social networking sites. This has been fuelled by news organisations asking, “Are you there”, “Do you have pictures” “Send us your photos” This is feeding the apparent requirement for immediacy and the cost of course is quality. Press photographers are professionals, they have not just equipment that is appropriate to the task but they also have skills, experience and follow journalistic principles. This article in the BJP provides clues to the next nail in the coffin for press photographers. A new startup which aims to harness social media technologies to source news story photographs.

The popularity of connected devices and smartphones has transformed each of us into potential news gatherers, and now a growing number of startups are offering services to connect us with media organisations, Olivier Laurent reports

On 07 June, when Santa Monica gunman John Zawahri went on a rampage, killing his father and brother before firing on three other people near a college, CrowdMedia – a new website whose task is to filter through images posted on Twitter – was coming online for the first time. “This happened within 15 minutes of our launch,” says CEO Martin Roldan. “We were able to get the licence for the only images shot from inside the college while it was happening. The photographs were picked up by a couple of news organisations, including the Huffington Post. It showed that CrowdMedia worked.” 

 Based in Montreal, CrowdMedia is the latest startup in the battle for people’s pictures, as smartphone devices have transformed us all into potential press photographers, ready to transmit images of newsworthy events as they happen.

“We built a social media monitoring tool, Ejenio, last year,” says Roldan. “It allowed businesses to monitor what people were saying about them on Twitter and Facebook. While we were working on Ejenio, we realised there were a lot of good, newsworthy images on Twitter, but media organisations often had trouble finding them and getting the rights to use them. We saw a real niche there, so we shifted our focus to photography.”

Launched in June, the platform sifts through more than 150 million social photographs posted on Twitter in real-time. Using geolocation information and keywords entered by staff, CrowdMedia selects 0.03 percent of these images which it deems newsworthy. “We input that information manually, but we’re working on tweaks to improve our algorithm, and soon the platform will be able to detect automatically when something happens around the world, and search for relevant images,” explains Roldan.

“The beauty of it is that, unlike other startups relying on mobile apps that users have to install in the first place, our audience and user base is already there. When we find a newsworthy image, the platform automatically sends a tweet to the user, who just has to click on a link to confirm that the photograph is his and whether he accepts to sell it for half of the proceeds.”


CrowdMedia sells a non-exclusive licence for $20, whatever the image’s content. “After 48 hours, that price goes down to $5 because we are only interested in what is happening in real time,” Roldan explains. “We are aware that $20 is a low figure and this has been the only criticism we have received so far. Of course, we’re listening to what people are saying. But it might be that it’s the right kind of pricing and that people are just not used to that. When an event has global reach, like the recent plane crash in San Francisco, images of the scene can be sold more than 1000 times at a $20 price tag. The copyright owner could easily make $10,000.” I would ask but how many pictures used actually earn any money and how many photo journalists will there be in 10 years time if this becomes the standard.

Newspapers now routinely do not employ photographers, they use freelancers who previously would have been staff, guaranteed a salary, now they are paid on a job basis and usually not enough to earn a decent living. The Fairfax group, Australia’s main newspaper group didn’t send any photographers to the 2012 Olympics apparently.



There are now many ways for newspapers, what an outmoded term that is, news organisations, that is better, to obtain images and certainly in some instances immediacy is important because unexpected events rarely feature experienced photo journalists as onlookers. The problem it seems to us here at OSP Towers (and we are not photo-journalists) is that the whole world is becoming dumbed down. It is obvious to us here that the nature of poor quality, both technically and visually, images just makes everyone more likely to accept less, less in every way. Soon the bottom of the barrel will be the norm. It is happening in so many of the varied creative occupations; decent writing in newspaper/online where ever, is now being superceded by blogs, which rarely have editors or any form of objective control. The creative professional, although hailed as important is being slowly edged out of the way to accommodate lower costs, and in the end the cost to all of us is a demeaned experience.

Read all of the BJP article here

Nikon’s premium compact camera – the Coolpix A – tested

This new Nikon compact camera is aimed seemingly at the advanced amateur or pro market. It has features and functionality that require an understanding of photography and dpreview concluded with this:
The Coolpix A offers DSLR-standard image quality and an excellent 28mm equivalent lens in a well-polished, pocketable camera. Its user interface will be immediately familiar to Nikon shooters and its results are dependably good. It’s not the only game in town, though, and while solid in most respects, it’s not class-leading in any respect.

The review by Jonathan Eastland in the BJP is, I think, more useful. Jonathan is a photographer of many decades and his understanding of the process of photography has been honed by years of shooting on land and at sea. External appearance is minimalist; some might say it’s sleek and neat. At almost 300 grams and just over 11cm long, its thick matt black (also available in silver chrome finish) aluminium and magnesium alloy body cover and top plates exude a sense of robustness and lasting durability. A thin leatherette grip strip on the front face seems almost like a nod to secure handling, and while I would have preferred the grip featured on Nikon’s Coolpix P7700, this narrow strip works in combination with a small rubber thumb pad on the back of the camera.

nikon-coolpix-aJonathan concludes: My view after several weeks of use is that the Nikon A falls short in some areas of handling. Sleek and neat may be a good selling point, but in practice there is simply not enough substance to the front grip to endow a faultless feel-good factor. The freely rotating control wheel works, but would have been better click-stopped and incorporated into a front grip. Minor grumbles aside, image quality, white balance and colour renditions are hard to fault; the camera produces files evenly matched and graded to those of larger Nikon models. Good enough reasons to get the A.

So not a ringing endorsement, in fact he has said enough to put me off buying one but the review is exactly full of the things you want to know before buying. Camera reviews are so often full of technical specifications but so light on what it is like to use the camera and hands-on experience by someone who knows. Read the rest of Jonathan’s review here

Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/test/2286791/nikons-premium-compact-camera-the-coolpix-a-tested#ixzz2bNdMLDi7
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