Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Tag Archives: British Journal of Photography

One week left to enter BJP’s International Photography Award

There’s just one week left to enter British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award, which offers photographers a chance to win a two-week exhibition at one of London’s best-respected contemporary galleries.

Chloe Dewe Mathews - a Panos Pictures photographer - has won this year's International Photography Award - run by British Journal of Photography - for her series Caspian

Chloe Dewe Mathews won the 2011 International Photography Award (series category) for a project called Caspian, which included this shot of two sisters running down to the underground mosque in Beket-Ata, Kazakhstan. Image © Chloe Dewe Mathews/Panos Pictures.

Brian Griffin on Corporate Photography Thursday 7th August

The Social is back at The Photographers’ Gallery on Thursday, and this time we’re proud to have Brian Griffin speaking on corporate photography……

From Eurostar to Rekyjavik Energy, Brian Griffin has shot some of the biggest and best corporate commissions in the business. So who better to talk through corporate photography at The Social this Thursday? BJP and The Photographers’ Gallery are proud to announce that Brian will be joining us to talk through his experiences in this field and discuss how to get creative within this underrated area.

Also joining us will be photographer Brijesh Patel and project manager Franck Jehanne, who founded the Kalory Agency last year to specialise in creating photography and marketing content for the luxury, fashion and beauty industries. Now a team of eight people, Kalory has picked up lucrative contracts with Jaeger, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Mikimoto.

The Social is run by The Photographers’ Gallery and the British Journal of Photography, and takes places once a quarter at The Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW from 7pm-9pm. The Corporate Photography special will take place this Thursday, 07 August.

The Photographers Gallery Events and Talks

From the Guardian’s Best Shot Series we have this from Brian Griffin

Four years ago, I was doing a big project in Iceland. It meant travelling all round, and at one point I went to the small town of Höfn, in the southeast corner. It has 1,500 people, one bar, one hotel. It’s like the end of the world – there’s nothing there. It looked like the most difficult place on earth to take pictures. So I decided to spend a month there, to see what I could do, even though this was before the crunch and Iceland was frighteningly expensive.

In May 2007, I housed myself in Höfn’s hotel. In that month, no one there made any attempt to even talk to me. No one bought me a drink, or invited me for a meal. I spent every single day on my own, except for the times when my wife Brynja, who’s from Iceland herself, came for a visit. As we drove around one day, I noticed this extraordinary-looking farmer.

While Brynja was asking if he’d mind being photographed, she spotted a newborn lamb and offered the farmer £350 to spare its life. She christened it Steinunn, a common woman’s name in Iceland. It struck me as the perfect way to shoot the farmer, so I brought out my lights. I shot in black-and-white on a Hasselblad. Looking at the sky, I think the rain was coming in. Iceland has extraordinary light quality: the cloud structure changes rapidly, the sunlight cascades through.

I didn’t have anything planned. It just occurred to me to ask him to lie down. I’m always looking for the unusual. There’s something spiritual about this picture: Christian iconography always seems to be hanging around in my work. “I want to make sure the lamb lives a complete life and won’t be slaughtered,” my wife told the farmer at one point. “You’re not going to kill it and eat it.” Brian Griffin

The Photography Blog: Full-time photography is an endangered species, but so what?

Something I have written about before and has garnered some agreeing nods from not just photographers but people who care about imagery is highlighted again in this article by Alex Hare in The Independent. The reduction of quality in images used by the business world.

The problem is not just about the fact that it is becoming extremely difficult for anyone to earn a living as a photographer but also the reasons include the acceptance of really poor quality images by the advertising world and those involved with promotion of business and the impact that has on all of us as we become accustomed to and finally inured to crap images. This is dumbing down, we see it in all areas of journalism, we see it in the media, everywhere we look now there is a reduction of quality and professionalism gives way to the expediency of the bottom line. Sure no one can run at a loss and if there are cost savings to be made they are likely to be welcomed. But how businesses present themselves to their customers and potential customers, their professionalism, their intent on quality indicates what they consider their worth and that conveys to their customers. If a company does not think it is important to show off what they do as well as possible why should you trust them?

The British Journal of Photography carried an interesting piece about the photographer that has just won the prestigious World Press Photographer award.

It reported that the photographer in question, Samuel Aranda, was staring at his finances wondering how he was going to pay the next month’s rent when he received the call confirming his win.  On one level I find this slightly reassuring but, on another, very depressing.

Reassuring in that it means I’m not alone in wondering where the next pay cheque will come from, but depressing that even someone contributing regularly to major publications and providing us with important photo journalism of world events is under the financial cosh from doing so.

This anecdote is indicative of the experience of many of us in full-time photography.  No one can recall a time when there was less money available for photography whilst a demand to fill all the pages in our papers, magazines, websites or PR and advertising campaigns remains so strong…….

I found this cheap-skate, corner cutting photography insulted my intelligence and it seemed to me that if they couldn’t be bothered to show the country at its best in their advertising, then I couldn’t be bothered to go there.  It obviously costs less than commissioning some quality photography of what is undoubtedly a stunning country but, and I kid you not, it made me decide to got to Greece instead that summer in protest!

The bottom line is, I think we are at risk of losing something here.  I don’t mean some fancy, creative career for people like me that do photography full-time, rather a stream of quality photography that can only be produced by someone putting in the (full) time and dedication required to do it.

This has nothing to do with the amateur Vs. pro debate, by the way.  There are stacks of great photographers in the amateur category but they have other jobs and their work is therefore sporadic and limited in volume.  The issue is that without photography being valued enough to make it pay a full-time job, how can we have the flow of good photography the market is capable of carrying if the majority of the image suppliers are just dabbling, albeit to a high standard, during their weekends and summer holidays?...READ the full article here

Every week I get requests to offer an ‘exciting opportunity to my students’ this always entails an organisation or company asking if I will promote their event to my students. The events are usually commercial events and often not very exciting; vintage fairs, unusual theatre productions, fashion events and a whole host of other things not worth mentioning. These offers almost always expect to be provided with images from the students at no cost, sometimes including full copyright and no payment is offered for attending the event (one even suggest that the photographers might want to pay £20 to photograph a play!). They are saying ‘basically we want someone to do something for nothing’ and the benefit, ‘to improve their portfolios’. So, one, they are cheapskates, they should budget for a professional photographer if they need images, secondly they are prepared to use potentially poor or lesser quality images from students to promote their company or event, so what does that say about how they think of themselves. I get similar requests from charities that are holding funding events and these in general I do promote through this blog assuming the charity is doing something worthwhile.

Read the article join the debate, although we will never stop the rot completely we might manage to slow the slide towards mediocre images pervading our lives.

To end on a lighter note when searching for a photograph to illustrate this article I found sites just full of bad photography, here are a couple, click on the photographs to find more

Bad Paid-For Photos – Ellen Degeneres Photo Gallery

You Are Not a Photographer | Exposing fauxtographers since 2011

Four photographers win Birmingham’s big commission

In the BJP by Diane Smyth

Brian Griffin, Michael Collins, Andrew Lacon and Stuart Whipps have all won a place in Reference Works, the largest photography commission ever undertaken in Birmingham.

The four have been commissioned by Birmingham Library and Archive Services’ Photography Department to photograph the existing Central Library and document its transition and relocation into the newly-built Library of Birmingham next year. Collins, Lacon and Whipps have been asked to focus on the architecture of the old and new buildings, while Griffin will concentrate on photographing the people involved with the project. The images will go on show in the new gallery, along with photographs from the Library’s archive charting the history of Birmingham, and will also be published in a commemorative book.


Brian Griffin will take portraits of the people involved with building Birmingham’s new city library, in a major commission established by Birmingham City Council and supported by the Arts Council. This image shows Charles Baldwin, Project Director, and Simon Dingle, Operations Director, Carillion, from the Library of Birmingham. Image © Brian Griffin.


Canon pulls out of Focus On Imaging

In a shock announcement, Canon has decided to pull out of the UK’s largest trade show – Focus on Imaging – two weeks before its start  Read more:

No point going there to see the new 600D then