Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

iPhone Streetphoto Project

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

As a bit of fun I’ve started using my iPhone to do some street photography. To be honest it’s a very different experience to using my regular axe – a Leica M and a 50 – but, as I say, it’s a bit of fun.

Bloomsbury, London. January 2012

I’m uploading the pictures using the Instagram service. If you have an iPhone you can follow my project as it develops.

Green Man

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Does this count as street photography? Dunno, it’s just one of those things you see when all you’ve got with you is an iPhone.

Green Man

Green Man

Wouldn’t really work in black and white anyway.

Robin Bell’s Silver Footprint: The Movie!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Richard Dunkley invited me to a screening of the film he made about the printer Robin Bell, at Calumet Euston on Monday afternoon. Richard’s done a great job with this – I highly recommend you see it if you’re interested in black and white printing.

As you probably know, I’ve known Robin for several years and have great respect for him as a friend and as a printer.

The DVD of Richard’s film The Silver Footprint contains over 40 minutes of extras, apart from the documentary itself, with Robin demonstrating the craft of black and white printing. If you print yourself you’ve got to see this! Robin is the best in the business and he gives a masterclass.

You can order the DVD from the website and, if you’re interested in black and white photography, I suggest that you do.

At last! Digital photography comes of age.

Monday, November 21st, 2011

One of the reasons I’ve never been interested in digital photography for serious work is that, aside from convenience, I couldn’t see the point. It was basically just a different way to do the same thing. That is about to change.

As from next year digital photography will finally break free from simply mimicking film and capturing light as it falls on a single plane, and as it does so it will create a totally new art form. It took seventy years for photographers to stop imitating painting and recognise that the camera’s unique strength was it’s ability to capture a moment in time in two dimensions: next spring digital photography will make a similar leap away from photography as we know it, for as from “early 2012″ you’ll be able to buy a Lytro.

I urge you to follow the link and check out this thing for yourself, since I can’t explain what happens inside the box, but simply put – the Lytro doesn’t capture an image on just one plane, but all the light that enters the camera. This means that, for instance, you can change the focus after you have taken the picture. Take a second to think about that.

There’s a sample picture on the website and there have been some opportunities for members of the public to play with these things, so it seems this isn’t an early April fool. It’ll take a while for me to even begin to figure the possibilities of this device, but I have a feeling photography is just about to change irrevocably.

It’s Taylor Wessing time. Yawn.

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I do find it dreary when people moan on and on about the kind of work that is selected by prize juries, I really do, and I know the worthies involved feel the need to surf the zeitgeist, keep the prize relevant, all that. But I’m sorry, I think this is going to be a rant.

Flicking through the shortlist for this year’s Taylor Wessing Prize makes my heart sink. When are we going to break away from this lazy, Düsseldorfian approach to portraiture? I’m not saying there aren’t some great portraits there, Jill Wooster’s piece is stunning for example, but the jury insist on packing the list with pictures that could have been taken by one photographer.

Have we really reduced photographic portraiture to the level of mundane formula? Where is the sensitive use of light? Why are the subjects stripped of all context? And – God forbid – movement? Why do they all make me feel just so bloody glum?

There are some photographers doing great portrait work out there. Laura Hynd, for instance, or Leonie Hampton – I’m sure many of the shortlisted photographers have work that is more interesting than what was chosen.

Sadly, though, the jury serves up the usual.

Set aside and discovered: a picture of Elle

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

These days I don’t use contacts any more – who does? – everything gets scanned and filed away in Lightroom. An early step in this process is the rating of pictures, and those that get a low rating can often be hidden from view forever.

This is generally a good thing – who needs to see bad pictures? Sometimes though a diamond disappears into the depths of the low-rated only to be, with a bit of luck, rediscovered later. This is one of those:

Walworth Nude 164

Walworth Nude 164

It’s from a test Elle Black did with me in August. I’ve just found it by accident on a quick flick through Lightroom. I like it a lot.

Harold Lloyd: Movie star… and pin-up photographer

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

This has to be my weirdest discovery of the day.

I think anyone familiar with the silent period of Hollywood’s comedy output loves Harold Lloyd. If you’ve never seen him in action then I’m sure a couple of minutes on YouTube will show you what you’ve been missing.

What I didn’t know was that when he retired from the silver screen he took to photography.

Marilyn Monroe in Black Penoir 102 ©Harold Lloyd

Marilyn Monroe in Black Penoir 102 ©Harold Lloyd

Why do I find this surprising? I don’t know really, perhaps it’s the jump from 1920s acrobatic comedy to 1960s sex sirens.

Roni at Monument Valley ©Harold Lloyd

Roni at Monument Valley ©Harold Lloyd

More here:

Has the Düsseldorf School killed photography?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I am indebted to Grant Scott at the UK’s Professional Photographer magazine.

In the 18th January edition this year – which I’ve only just seen – he writes a heartfelt opinion piece entitled Has The Düsseldorf School killed photography? As anyone who knows me will have heard me say, no doubt ad nauseam, I find the whole Düsseldorf imitation business frustrating and depressing. I encourage you to read Scott’s piece in its entirety, but here’s the summation:

I am personally fed up with seeing portraits of people without emotion of any kind: portraits of people staring dead-eyed into a photographer’s lens, or avoiding the camera altogether. I am fed up with seeing images of American highways, petrol stations and diners. I am fed up with seeing images of blighted industrial and urban scenes in muted tones. I am fed up with seeing deliberately amateur snapshots documenting ‘everyday’ life. I am fed up with seeing nightmarish visions of our present and future. But most of all I am fed up reading the explanations of why these images are important. Why am I fed up? Because I want to see and enjoy all forms of photography. I want to see true personal expression, not a personal expression wearing the shackles of an aesthetic. I don’t want the world of photography to become alienating and difficult. Photography is not only about challenging perception, it should also explain, provoke myriad emotions and embrace all aesthetics. Commissioned work is just as important and serious as personal projects or exploration.

Couldn’t agree more!

John Gay

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Just come across the work of John Gay, a German photographer who fled the Nazis in 1933 and lived in England most of his life.

A group of black-faced sheep in show coats at the Royal Show, Bristol. July 1958. © John Gay

A group of black-faced sheep in show coats at the Royal Show, Bristol. July 1958. © John Gay

When he died in 1999 he left behind 40,000 negatives. He clearly loved taking pictures of Britain, or what my German wife likes to call the “funny little island”.

He was a true craftsman.

Anders Petersen video interview

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

The Photographers’ Gallery have posted an interview with Anders talking about his current project in Soho, and about his work in general.

I’m becoming more and more interested and impressed by this guy.