Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Mimi Mollica

Photography Oxford Festival Exhibitions Highlights Part 2


The pick of the festival  part 2 Mark Laita

This week I decided to take my time looking around the exhibitions in the centre of Oxford. The venues were not as varied as the first week as they didn’t include any of the colleges and so the work was displayed as you might expect exhibitions to be and this definitely changes the response to images. We started off at The Jam Factory. The Selektif Competition based on entries on the subject of Glass were displayed in the cafe there. This meant that it was necessary to lean over people eating their lunches, talking intently, having meetings and so was not ideal. I understand why cafes offer their walls as exhibition spaces, it gets punters in, it decorates the space but I am not sure why artists chose them as venues. Anyway I was suitably surprised at the quality of some of the images, truly there were some interesting and worthwhile photographs. There were also some dreary, obvious and uninspiring images too but that is to be expected. I liked Martin Lau’s second placed image, it’s simplicity and obscurity worked together



I also liked this by James Sutton


and this by Fred Corcoran


On another note I had been recommended the Mimi Mollica, to be found in the Boiler Room at the Jam Factory. What a disappointment, grabbed pictures, looking like from cctv of people on buses, really, seen it before, adds nothing and in my view don’t waste your eyes. It goes to show that awards, grants, exhibitions means little.

The Maths Institute has a selection of very ordinary portraits of mathematicians and lawyers, it is worth a visit however because the image quality is exceptional and there are one or two surprising and enlightening images, I particularly liked the picture of Kwame Anthony Appiah, the best in the show and the one used to promote this exhibition by the festival, here it is


Mariana Cook

Ovada has images that I suppose we would call out-takes from a cruise ship photographer. I quite enjoyed these simply because what would normally be discarded have been given exhibition status by being printed large and presented as in a gallery and so forces the viewer to look again and reconsider what makes a picture worth keeping. Frippery but fun. There is also a slightly bizarre opportunity to be photographed standing by a poster of a famous landmark with a description of what to do, here is a friend doing the Pisa


The O3 Gallery has work by two German photographers, Matthias Heiderich & Dietmar Eckell. One has buildings in bright colours and intense composition and the other crashed aeroplanes. I know it doesn’t sound inviting and there are not many pictures to look at but both are worth the effort, what effort? it is a short hop from the Ovada exhibition, if you are doing the rounds make a brief stop here


Matthias Heiderich


1000-500_b9a96e16ba1efbe04863a89265bf3f831364036459Dietmar Eckell


The snakes, beautiful, colourful, surprising, The Old Fire Station has far too few pictures by Mark Laita, in fact why did they bother with the colourful but by comparison, (it was cruel), butterfly wings, they could have doubled the numbers of snakes.





all by Mark Laita

Final stop was the Story Museum on Pembroke Street, here in a small room were about 5 or maybe 6 large prints by SUSANNA MAJURI I am not sure what to make of these, these are in part intriguing and visually confusing but at the same time beautiful and with enough going on to keep you looking. As a last stop before ice creams at G & D’s this is definitely worth the little time it takes to look at them all, unless like me you become more absorbed and stay a little longer

susanna-majuri-largeSUSANNA MAJURI



György László at  L1GHTB1TES keeps finding gems to tantalise us with, this one is from his first post.


GL: Your pictures from Dakar are currently on display at the Somerset House in London. When I saw them I sensed a mixture of immediacy and formal discipline. How did you take these pictures?
MM: While working on En Route To Dakar, I was lucky enough to be mentored by Mr. Martin Parr, whom I like to call Mr. Martin. Once, as he was commenting on my photographs, Mr. Martin told me, to spend much more time on taking my photographs. “Mr. Martin, more than one hour per photograph?”, I asked. “One hour? Mimi, you must stay one day, one week, one month on a photograph… until it is good!”
So I went back to Dakar and applied the methodology suggested by him. This picture must have been taken in March 2008. There was this spot along the motorway, where a bridge was to be built, but at that moment people still had to just cross the highway to go from one part of Dakar to the other. Every day from early morning until the evening, commuters, school kids, vendors, women… Everyone was flowing from one side to the other and I thought this was pretty symbolic, important for my story, and mostly, it was visually compelling!
I waited in the middle of the carriageway and stayed there all morning and the day after all afternoon and the following day from morning until late afternoon and so on… I have a lot of photographs of people jumping across the highway. This is one I am quite happy about. I like the colors, and I like the posture of this lady imposing her elegant and eloquent figure on my frame.
GL: How do you get ready for such moments mentally? And how do you make sure that the image is going to be okay technically?
MM: Generally speaking, I believe in the photographer’s expertise to be able to catch volatile moments, to be able to render them universal in a photograph. This is what is exciting about reportage/documentary photography. Only by doing so can you maintain a good honest balance between you, the photographer, and the reality you are trying to capture.
It’s a bit like fishing. If you go out to the ocean, place a bomb into the sea, detonate it and then come and collect the dead fish, this is not what I call fishing, this is plain and simple mass murder! But when you go out and spend a day with your rod waiting for the good catch, not only you’ll feel more in balance with nature, but you’ll have thought a great deal during that day. That’s why fishermen and photographers are usually wise people, because they learn to observe and to listen. The means are as important as the end!
I am always aware of the moments I would want to catch with my camera, even if for some reason I do not have the camera with me. This is my natural attitude towards life. Yes, I do go to places where things are more likely to ‘happen’ but photographs are virtually everywhere!
As far as the technical aspect of capturing the right image, here you need some skills, you need to know your tools, you have to master your camera and be ready to capture the moment without hesitation. I must admit that I did loose a few photographs along the years, but this is also part of the game. If it is true that you learn from your mistakes, then I must be very clever by now!