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insights into photography
Tag Archives: www.keithbarnesphotography.co.uk
March 18, 2016Posted by on
Photographs from a 100 years of Vogue at the National Portrait Gallery, London
Many of the truly great photographers of the last century contributed to Vogue so just to see the works of some masters would be worth the visit. I do suppose it depends a bit on what you think about fashion in general. I am sure with two minutes to spare I could come up with some pointless cynical views on the subject but no doubt I would be in a minority, which is where I generally prefer to be.
Now as you may imagine I know little about fashion photography so here is a review in Time Out of the exhibition by someone who gives it 5 stars
Not just a pretty face – the style bible is a reflection of our times.
Fashion may be fickle, but the fashion photographer’s lens is also a mirror. ‘Vogue 100: A Century of Style’ is as much a reflection of a hundred years of our history as it is a celebration of the original glossy.
Born in 1916 during WWI, when shipping the US magazine became impossible, BritishVogue has always been more than a fashion mag. And this exhibition is so much more than a collection of pretty models in pretty clothes – Boris Johnson has found his way on to the walls, for goodness’ sake! JG Ballard and Aldous Huxley have both written for Vogue. A pre-fatwa Salmon Rushdie has shared an issue with John Galliano, years before the latter’s fall from grace. Both Queen Elizabeth and her boozy mum have appeared. And, of course, most of the century’s best photographers have shot for its pages. Exhibition curator (and contributing editor to British Vogue) Robin Muir gave Tim Walker, the man responsible for many of today’s most fantastical Vogue shoots, his first job in the 1990s: archiving Cecil Beaton’s work for the magazine from the 1930s.
In this thoughtfully arranged show, it’s the little details that make the difference – from the cocktail style menu of credits in the 1930s room to the wall of seemingly disparate portraits of actress Helena Bonham Carter, milliner Stephen Jones and model Ben Grimes-Viort – united by a colour scheme of feathery pink. A side room shows a series of slides from the ’40s to the ’90s; as though you’re in the cutting room, you watch images go from picture to page.
There’s a charming library of bound copies in which you can survey the century of Vogue as a physical thing. A peek at the pages reveals coverage of major events with far-reaching consequences, like the bloody Alsace campaign at the end of WWII, as reported by Vogue’s very own war correspondent (and former model) Lee Miller. There are also moments of fashion history that reflect societal leaps, such as the launch in 1947 of Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’, which celebrated the end of austerity with its extravagant layers of fabric. Or Donyale Una becoming Vogue’s first black model, gracing the cover in 1968 – a whole ten years before US Vogue would do the same. British Vogue has been around for a century and, in one way or another, it has documented it all in the most beautiful fashion.
On until the start of May
March 17, 2016Posted by on
If you don’t know Saul Leiter where have you been? His colour photography has been the delight of many photographers for years. There is a retrospective of his work at The Photographers Gallery but only until April 3rd
It seems an irony that Saul Leiter always considered himself more a painter than a photographer. Firstly, because it was the latter that made his name. Secondly, because he was pretty bad at the former. Leiter moved to New York in the 1940s, soaked up the abstract expressionist scene, and occasionally showed his twitchy, garish, overworked paintings in galleries in the East Village.
Fortunately, alongside the art exhibitions, he also visited a show of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photography in 1947. Soon after, he bought a Leica and started taking pictures on the city’s streets. And out of an alchemical relationship between the two disciplines, there came a long and astonishing body of photographic work defined by a kind of elegant, painterly formalism.
Some people might be drawn to the people in these pictures: the kissing couples, the stooped men in raincoats. But Leiter was always more poet than documentarian. Taking his cues from Mark Rothko’s colour fields, Leiter’s photographs became increasingly defined by broad, abstracted planes of colour. This reached extremes in images like ‘Purple Umbrella’: the webbed rim of the umbrella fills just the upper quarter of the image; the rest is an out-of-focus sidewalk. It’s stark, bold and astounding.
Leiter’s other great achievement was making an aesthetic virtue of all the advertising that filled the Big Apple. Pictures of neon signs shimmering in puddles and billboards reflected in shop fronts make for an exquisite kind of shorthand for the urban experience. It’s never quite a human New York that he captures. But it isn’t half stylish.
March 9, 2016Posted by on
This is an early starter for the awards season. I found this on the BBC website
A picture of people photographing the summer solstice at Stonehenge is the winner of this year’s British Life Photography award. The image, titled Past Present, was taken by Elena Marimon Munoz and triumphed in the Brits on Holiday category.
The competition, which aims to showcase “the essence and spirit of British life”, was open to both amateur and professional photographers.
“By the time the sun started to rise above the stones, hundreds, if not thousands of people, had gathered inside the stone circle, phones and cameras up in the air ready to record the magical moment,” says Marimon Munoz. “In the picture, I wanted to capture the mixture of ancient history and modern technology, fused together – past and present.”
Street Life Winner: Sam Mellish
“I was out in east London documenting the streets. Walking along Holywell Lane, famous for street graffiti, I stumbled across this team freshly designing a unique urban fresco,” says Mellish.
“I really like the symmetry between the artists in relation to the characters they are painting.”
Portraiture Winner: Claudia Janke
“George, 84, has lived in this flat for 42 years. He shared it with his sister Doris until she was moved into a care home. George has also moved into new accommodation as a result of a regeneration programme.
“This image was part of an installation challenging common prejudices about people living on council estates, as well as exploring the sense of loss and gain that irreversible change brings with it,” says Janke.
An exhibition of some of the best work that was entered for the 2015 BLPA competition runs from 7 – 13 March 2016 at Mall Galleries, London. British Life Photography Awards Portfolio 2 is published by Dewi Lewis Publishing
March 7, 2016Posted by on
She remembers the moment. The photographer took her picture. She remembers her anger. The man was a stranger. She had never been photographed before. Until they met again 17 years later, she had not been photographed since.
The photographer remembers the moment too. The light was soft. The refugee camp in Pakistan was a sea of tents. Inside the school tent he noticed her first. Sensing her shyness, he approached her last. She told him he could take her picture. “I didn’t think the photograph of the girl would be different from anything else I shot that day,” he recalls of that morning in 1984 spent documenting the ordeal of Afghanistan’s refugees.
The portrait by Steve McCurry turned out to be one of those images that sears the heart, and in June 1985 it ran on the cover of this magazine. Her eyes are sea green. They are haunted and haunting, and in them you can read the tragedy of a land drained by war. She became known around National Geographic as the “Afghan girl,” and for 17 years no one knew her name.
In January a team from National Geographic Television & Film’s EXPLORER brought McCurry to Pakistan to search for the girl with green eyes. They showed her picture around Nasir Bagh, the still standing refugee camp near Peshawar where the photograph had been made. A teacher from the school claimed to know her name. A young woman named Alam Bibi was located in a village nearby, but McCurry decided it wasn’t her.
No, said a man who got wind of the search. He knew the girl in the picture. They had lived at the camp together as children. She had returned to Afghanistan years ago, he said, and now lived in the mountains near Tora Bora. He would go get her.
August 30, 2015Posted by on
Sean O’Hagan on photography in The Guardian is always a good place to start when looking for something intriguing, interesting and often challenging. You are not likely to find Sean talking about sunsets, flower or wildlife photography and in this article he highlights an exhibition by Keith Arnatt.
Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self, 1969-72, by Keith Arnatt. Photograph: © Keith Arnatt Estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2015/Courtesy Sprüth Magers
Keith Arnatt liked to photograph things “everyone else thinks aren’t worth photographing”. These included discarded toys, dog poo, detritus from rubbish tips and the various notes his wife, Jo, left around the house for him.
Seven years after his death in 2008, Arnatt remains a singular – and bafflingly undervalued – presence in British art. A small but illuminating show at Sprüth Magers in London, called Absence of the Artist, provides a glimpse of Arnatt’s early use of a medium he would later embrace with the obsessive devotion of the convert. It is a survey of Keith Arnatt, the pioneering conceptual artist, before he became Keith Arnatt, the pioneering photographer.
Arnatt had already made a name for himself as a mischievous artist when he went to a lecture in 1973 entitled Photography or Art? by David Hurn, who had just set up the photography department at Newport College of Art, in south Wales. “When the lecture was over,” Hurn later wrote, “a man came over and introduced himself, saying ‘I’m Keith Arnatt. Would you help me become a photographer?’”
Intriguingly, Arnatt had already been using photography in his art practice, making extended pieces like Self-Burial, on display here, which comprises nine images of him slowly disappearing into the earth. Inspired by Hurn’s lecture on the work of Diane Arbus, August Sander and Walker Evans, Arnatt suddenly embraced photography by “mucking in with the students”. As he immersed himself in the history of photography, he started making work that was all his own: odd, slyly humorous and provocative takes on the everyday that were both acutely observational and absurd.
Keith Arnatt, from the sequence Self-Burial, 1969. Photograph: Courtesy Sprüth Magers/© Keith Arnatt Estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2015
SEPTEMBER 01 – SEPTEMBER 26 2015 Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm
The SM website says The Absence of the Artist betrays the artist’s deadpan wit, wholly characteristic of Arnatt’s response to the various conflicts stimulating the art world throughout the late 1960s. The viewer is presented with a paradox: a sign, posted on a brick wall and photographed in black and white, declares the absence of the artist. Yet by denying his absence, he thrusts himself forward, seemingly emphasising the artist’s role. The Absence of the Artist highlights a fierce ambivalence about the artist’s role that was prevalent at the time. As more sceptical, pluralist ideas about art were starting to replace modernism – and its pantheon of great artists – the role of the artist was subjected to constant investigation. What divides the artist from his work or the ideas that it might produce? Do we even need the actions of an artist to declare something an artwork?
August 27, 2015Posted by on
We are always keen to help out right and like thinking folks to ourselves and have agreed to test out this new function on the Photocrowd site. It allows us to set a challenge to which you can contribute pictures. It is great fun and for Photocrowd a learning experience. You never know it might become a regular feature. Have a go, send in some pictures we would love to know your way. Go here
The challenge we have set is titled THE WAY
You can interpret this in any way that interests you, it could be a path, a thoroughfare, a process (the way to do something), or something more spiritual; how you interpret and what you produce is up to you. Photography is more than simply recording what is in front of you, it is your unique way of seeing, showing others your vision is what makes being a photographer such a thrilling experience. Before you start shooting think about what you would like to say and how you would like to do that. It might be that an image with lines leading somewhere speaks to you, think of the wonderful Bill Brandt landscapes; or you might like to consider something more esoteric and represent your ideas about a spiritual way. Making pictures is about you and not anyone else so think about what matters to you. For this challenge you do not have to shoot new pictures, we would be happy for you to reconsider images you have in your archive and send us those.
Our purpose is education, that is what The OSP is for and there are no better teachers than the masters of photography. Here are some ideas from the greats of photography
Henri Cartier Bresson
July 28, 2015Posted by on
As found in the Guardian
Before she was the queen of hardcore photography, Nan Goldin was a normal American girl suffocated by the suburbs. As a teenager, she had her first exhibition in her hometown Boston, full of shots of the drag queens she had started hanging out with. Now, she’s opened up her archive to share these unseen early images – the first step in a career defined by shockwaves
July 16, 2015Posted by on
There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children.
There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected,
that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want
and that they can grow up in peace.
– Kofi Annan
June 18, 2015Posted by on
From Jason at Lightstalking we get this article addressing the problems of image storage when travelling. I think all his options are good, as with everything to do with photography all options are ultimately a compromise of some sort. I have found that travelling with a card reader and a stack of data sticks is the answer. They are suitably cheap now, 7 Day Shop have 64gb USB sticks for less than £13, I usually download in an internet cafe or hotel computer and put my images on 2 sticks for back up and keep them in different places in my luggage. Anyway here are the 5 suggestions from LS
Travelling with your camera is one of the great pleasures in life. Capturing the sights and emotions of far flung cultures is a great way of learning and understanding the world around you. When you are travelling, photography seems somehow easier, you take more images and often lose the self consciousness that you may have at home. However, with this glut of new shots, how can you manage them whilst on the move? I am sure many of us have experienced the pain of a failed card or drive, a pain that would be intensified if it were to happen on a trip of a lifetime. So what are your options?
Laptop and a Spare Drive
This is perhaps the most efficient option but also the heaviest and, of course, there is the risk that your laptop could get stolen. However, with small form factor and powerful laptops available such as the Apple Air series, combined with software such as Lightroom and a spare external hard-drive to back up to, this can be a great option. Some of the advantages here are not having to worry too much about hard drive space, the ability to catalogue and keyword your shots whilst away and being able to do some image post production work, the last two being significant time savers for when you return home.
June 16, 2015Posted by on
In his new series in Digital Camera magazine and Digital Camera World, the legendary Scott Kelby reveals some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of some of his favourite images. This month Scott explains how to get a pro-level look to your portraiture without resorting to complex lighting, using just a simple one-light portrait setup.
Words and images by Scott Kelby. You can follow Scott and his work on his blog or on his live photography talk show The Grid. You can also find Scott and his KelbyOne team on their Facebook page and on Twitter as @KelbyOne.
Photo Recipes is inspired by the chapters in my books where I show a photo and discuss how to take a similar shot: what lighting equipment was used, the camera gear and settings, and so on. Here I can expand on what I did in the book, share behind-the-scenes photos, and even talk about the post-processing when appropriate.
Last time we looked at a very simple technique for rigging a remote camera for sports to cover areas that are either hard to access, impractical or unsafe to have a person standing there (Of course, it can also be used for weddings or any occasion where you need a second shooter but don’t have one). This time, we’re lighting a portrait.
When it comes to lighting, I’m really one of those ‘less is more’ guys. My lighting set-ups tend to be mostly one light. In this case, we’re going to do a really simple one-light shoot – perhaps the easiest one you’ll find, because it would really be hard to position the light incorrectly using this set-up.
The idea behind this look is to create the bright shadowless look of a ring flash, without the harsh light and dark halo shadows usually associated with a ring flash – and even without actually using a ring flash.