Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Tag Archives: Black-and-white

The Secrets to Successful Black and White Portraits

This article on Lighstalking by   gives sound advice on getting better black and white portraits. We run a very successful Black and White digital photography course that covers all this and more, details are here

“Black and white photographs can portray a higher level of timelessness than color images. The lack of color also gives us a better sense of the time and mood behind a portrait.  Because of these characteristics, black and white photography has maintained a strong presence in portraiture. Since the eye perceives black and white photography differently than color photography, the process behind creating compelling black and white portraits is also a little different.” Here are a few pointers to get you started:

©Keith Barnes

©Keith Barnes

Black and White Landscapes – Enriching Tones and Textures

Tom Dining is one of our favourite photography bloggers, His sage words are always welcome. This comes from the Lightstalking site, another favourite and worth bookmarking for regular visits.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning. Check out Tom’s free book offer on his site.

“I’m partial to a bit of colour as much as the next photographer. Blue skies, turquoise ocean, verdant pastures all make for picture post card stuff………But when it comes to emphasising textures, tones and forms of the landscape there seems nothing like a black and white image to draw out the best in these elements of composition.”………MORE from Tom

We have a Black and White Digital Photography course starting March 6th

Black and White Landscapes: How to Capture a Proper Tonal Range

Light Stalking’s New Short Photography Guide
And it’s FREE! Black and White Landscapes: How to Capture a Proper Tonal Range is the second in our line of free photography guides. Download it now and start learning the art of black and white landscapes!

We teach this on our Black and White Digital Course, new dates shortly

Just go here for this free download

Black & White Photographer of the Year

The Printspace 74 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DL

is showing the results of the Black and White Photography Magazine photographer of the year. Here is some information

We’re proud to exhibit the winning entries from the prestigious Black+White Photographer of the Year 2011 competition!

The annual competition is organised by Black+White Photography, a magazine for everyone who’s passionate about monochrome photography. Binh Trinh’s set of three nudes has won him the prestigious title in this year’s competition which attracted thousands of images. There were also winners in the Single Image categories, where entrants had to submit images on the themes of Land, City, Journey, War, Home, Technology, Time and People. The winner of the Young Black+White Photographer of the Year award will also be exhibited in the show.”

All winners in detail:

Black+White Photographer of the Year 2011: Binh Trin (New Zealand)
Young Black+White Photographer of the Year: Kat Waters (Epsom, UK)
Home: Madelene Collins (Blackrock, Ireland)
Land: Paul Schot (Vienna, Austria),
City: Andrew Jones (County Kilkenny, Ireland)
Journey: Sheppard Keller (Uxbridge, UK)
Technology: Les Forrester (UK)
Time: Artur Sikora (Dublin, Ireland)
Work: Irmina Banak (Leicester, UK)
People: Rafa Uniszewski (Bognor, UK)

Congratulations to Binh Trinh from New Zealand who is the overall winner and information concerning this photographer is scattered over the web but hard to pin down with regard to his winning portfolio, this site seems to offer some detail of the wedding photography offered but most information is here

We run a Black and White digital photography course, the next date will be in the spring of 2012

Where to study photography in the UK

Over here at OSP towers we offer a wide range of courses which are aimed at recreational photographers, so we don’t offer courses with qualifications. However many people use our courses as a means of getting skills and a portfolio together to start formal photography study. On this basis I regularly get asked about further study and degree courses and although this might be a bit late for this year, maybe not here is a good place to start looking.

We have a new series of courses starting this term, we have already kicked of with our very popular Understanding your DSLR Camera, don’t worry if you missed it because we have more of the same running this term. Here is a list of the courses we have on offer before the end of the year.

Understanding Your Digital SLR:start dates: 7.9.11, 4.10.11; 2.11.11; 5.11.11(Saturday morning)

Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera – starts: 1.11.11

Introduction to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements – starts 13.10.11 6 sessions, (there is a mid course break on 3rd Nov.)

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures – starts 6.10.11

Portrait Photography: – starts: 5.10.11

Intermediate Photography – starts: 3.10.11

Black and White Digital Photography – starts new term 2012

Travel Photography starts 3.11.11

One Day Understanding Your DSLR – 25.09.11; 22.10.11; 27.11.11

Most courses are 4 sessions one per week, (Photoshop and Intermediate Photography are 6 sessions) all run on consecutive weeks from start dates. 1 Day DSLR is a one day course, there are 3 dates this term

To book a place please send us an email with the course title and start date you wish to attend

The reference to OSP towers was of course fanciful, we do not have towers but  most suitable premises in the heart of trendy East Oxford. We also use the facilities at Oxford Brookes University for some of our courses



Very Ralph Gibson – photographs by Vernaglia

Black and White Architectural Photography this Brazillian photographer, Vernaglia,  has a series of black and white images that are very reminiscent of the work of Ralph Gibson, and that is not a bad thing here is a link

Sin Tiempo By Michael Crouser

This is a very nice series of images by Michael Crouser, the title implies no time but I think of it as more without time or out of time the full gallery is here

Photography Course Dates Oxford May/June

Here is the list of course for which we still have places during our summer term. Full details on our web site

Understanding Your Digital SLR: start dates  – 4th May;  21st May;  9th June
Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera -Due to the many Bank Holidays in May we are unable to run this course but it will be back in the autumn
Introduction to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements – starts 4th May
Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures – starts 5th May
Portrait Photography – starts 9th May
Intermediate Photography – starts 3rd May
Black and White Digital Photography – starts 13th June
Travel Photography starts 9th June
One Day Understanding Your DSLR – 7th May; 19th June; 10th July; 6th August
Garden & Plant Photography 12th June

To book a place please send an email and we will make a reservation for you and ask you to call with payment details so that we can confirm your place. Payment will not be taken until a week before the course starts.

Photography Exhibition by Caroline Seymour and others in Oxford

Caroline is a long time friend of the the Photographers Workshop in the past having used our darkrooms to hone her black and white printing skills. When we closed the darkrooms and converted completely to digital she bought a couple of enlargers and set up her own darkroom. She has an exhibition of black and white prints at The North Wall Gallery in north Oxford,

Caroline Seymour : Pilgrimage into the Body
Caroline Seymour presents a new series of work; in her own words, “a meditative exploration of the body: a pilgrimage to its many sites, which attempts to express the intimacy of experience of another human being.”


More information here


For those without access to a darkroom but still wishing to gain expertise in black and white photography we run a Black and White Digital photography course starting 13th June

Dorothea Lange ……..the greatest American documentary photographer

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) has been called the greatest American documentary photographer. She is best known for her chronicles of the Great Depression and for her photographs of migratory farm workers. Below are pre-World War II photographs, taken for the U.S. Farm Security Administration (FSA), investigating living conditions of families hired to work in cotton fields and farms in Arizona and California. Many of the families had fled the Dust Bowl, the lengthy drought which devastated millions of acres of farmland in Midwestern states such as Oklahoma.

Lange was educated in photography in New York City, in a class taught by Clarence H. White. She was informally apprenticed to several New York photography studios, including that of the famed Arnold Genthe. In 1918, she moved to San Francisco, and by the following year she had opened a successful portrait studio. She lived across the bay in Berkeley for the rest of her life. In 1920, she married the noted western painter Maynard Dixon

With the onset of the Great Depression, Lange turned her camera lens from the studio to the street. Her studies of unemployed and homeless people captured the attention of local photographers and led to her employment with the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), later called the Farm Security Administration (FSA).

In December 1935, she divorced Dixon and married agricultural economist Paul Schuster Taylor, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Taylor educated Lange in social and political matters, and together they documented rural poverty and the exploitation of sharecroppers and migrant laborers for the next five years — Taylor interviewing and gathering economic data, Lange taking photos.

From 1935 to 1939, Lange’s work for the RA and FSA brought the plight of the poor and forgotten — particularly sharecroppers, displaced farm families, and migrant workers — to public attention. Distributed free to newspapers across the country, her poignant images became icons of the era

Lange’s best-known picture is titled “Migrant Mother.” The woman in the photo is Florence Owens Thompson.

In 1960, Lange spoke about her experience taking the photograph:

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.

In 1941, Lange was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for excellence in photography. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she gave up the prestigious award to record the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to relocation camps, on assignment for the War Relocation Authority (WRA). She covered the rounding up of Japanese Americans and their internment in relocation camps, highlighting Manzanar, the first of the permanent internment camps. To many observers, her photograph of Japanese-American children pledging allegiance to the flag shortly before they were sent to internment camps is a haunting reminder of this policy of detaining people without charging them with any crime or affording them any appeal. 

Her images were so obviously critical that the Army impounded them. Today her photographs of the internment are available in the National Archives on the website of the Still Photographs Division, and at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley.

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965)