Blog posts tagged ‘london’ - for Picture Tags click here

Open Studios, Winter 2011

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Pullens Open Studios, Winter 2011

Pullens Open Studios, Winter 2011

My studio is located in an old Victorian artisan’s workshop in Iliffe Yard, South London. The yard was built by a Victorian builder and developer called Pullen as a kind of live/work unit, though sadly the doorway through to the adjoining flat has long since been sealed off.

Iliffe Yard is one of three yards, the others being Peacock and Clements, collectively known as the Pullens yards.

All the yards are now occupied by artists, artisans, media professionals and architects, and twice a year we throw open the doors and encourage people to come in and have a look at what we do. Members of the public can have a chat and also buy examples of our work direct from the studio.

We’re open from 6pm to 9pm on Friday 2nd December, and 11am to 6pm on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th. I hope you’ll drop by unit 1a Iliffe Yard at some point and say hello.

Vivian Maier

Friday, July 8th, 2011

There’s some great work on show as part of the London Street Photography Festival these days. I attended the opening of the much heralded Vivian Maier: A Life Uncovered at the Gymnasium in Kings Cross with an open mind – was she really as good as everyone says?

(If you don’t know the Vivian Maier story then this is a pretty good place to start.)

"Late 1956" Courtesy vivianmaier.com (© Vivian Maier)

"Late 1956" Courtesy vivianmaier.com (© Vivian Maier)

Well, after all the hype, it was my turn to be impressed. There is a wonderful spread of work on show in this exhibition, including some of her 8mm movies, but it’s the square Rollei work that is the most impressive. This was a woman who really knew what she was doing – the technical prowess is superb. Street photography at its best.

"Untitled, Unknown" Courtesy vivianmaier.com (© Vivian Maier)

"Untitled, Unknown" Courtesy vivianmaier.com (© Vivian Maier)

An extra delight on seeing the show is the breadth of her repertoire. She didn’t just take observational street pictures but also fascinating portraits. I highly recommend a visit. The show closes on 24 July.

"Untitled, 1956" Courtesy vivianmaier.com (© Vivian Maier)

"Untitled, 1956" Courtesy vivianmaier.com (© Vivian Maier)

London buzzing with photography

Friday, May 13th, 2011

It really does seem that there are so many photography events in London these days it’s impossible to keep up. Last night was the launch of Léonie Hampton’s book In the Shadow of Things at an empty factory in Islington.

In the Shadow of Things

An item from Léonie's installation at the launch of her book 'In the Shadow of Things', London 2011

Léonie had made a fascinating installation out of items involved in the story of the book, and we all gathered round and drank home-brew. Fabulous!

There is another side to this buzzing photographic coin though. The astute reader of this blog will have noticed fewer posts about my own work and more about other people’s. While it’s clearly not a bad thing to engage with what other practitioners are doing – quite apart from being a lot of fun – I think I need to focus inside my own studio for a while. I need to make some new work.

As you’ll be aware, my work is defined by my approach rather than the genre in which I exercise it. Whether you call it fine art, journalism, documentary or shooting fish in a barrel, I approach it the same way. The sad fact is, though, that I haven’t been doing enough of it for too long. It’s time to change that.

The first step is going to be working through my backlog of exposed but unprocessed films to see if there are any gems lurking.

ASA Collective: Pictures by women

Friday, May 6th, 2011

To the Nomad Club on Old Street last night for the monthly ASA Collective slideshow. This time all the shows were by women photographers, and there was some fabulous work to be seen.

From: In The Shadow of Things by Léonie Hampton

From: 'In The Shadow of Things' by Léonie Hampton

There were eight different shows to see but I’ll only go into the four that really stood out for me, which were In The Shadow of Things, a thoughtful and heartfelt piece about her mother by Léonie Hampton, The Letting Go, personal work by Laura Hynd, a documentary about the homeless in New York entitled The Urban Cave by Andrea Star Reese, and Helen Rimell’s work on the The Forgotten Houseboats of Kashmir.

I’ve posted just one picture from each of these pieces here but I urge you to follow the links and check out the full work, it’s worth the effort.

From: The Forgotten Houseboats of Kashmir - Sunset over Nageen Lake after a monsoon storm.

From: 'The Forgotten Houseboats of Kashmir' - Sunset over Nageen Lake after a monsoon storm.

Some of the work is good straightforward journalism, some of it much more personal and intimate, but all of it shows the quality that can be expected from gifted photographers at the peak of their talent. It’s very frustrating to know that work like this struggles to get the audience it deserves.

From: The Letting Go by Laura Hynd

From: 'The Letting Go' by Laura Hynd

Last night was the first time I’ve been able to see the whole of an ASA event but I’ll make the effort to keep the evening clear next time. It’s quite a social event – the bar is open throughout and there are DJs going once the shows are done. Keep an eye on the ASA website and their twitter feed, and get down to the Nomad next time.

From: The Urban Cave by Andrea Star Reese

From: 'The Urban Cave' by Andrea Star Reese

Thanks to everyone for a great night and best of all luck to Léonie with the launch of her forthcoming book In The Shadow of Things on 12th May.

Bruce Davidson

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Visited the opening of the wonderful Bruce Davidson show at Chris Beetles Gallery last night.

Bruce Davidson: CATHY FIXING HER HAIR IN CIGARETTE MACHINE MIRROR WITH ARTY AT THE OCEAN TIDE BATHS AND BAR, CONEY ISLAND, 1959

Bruce Davidson: CATHY FIXING HER HAIR IN CIGARETTE MACHINE MIRROR WITH ARTY AT THE OCEAN TIDE BATHS AND BAR, CONEY ISLAND, 1959 (©Bruce Davidson/Magnum)

There’s not much to say about Bruce’s work that hasn’t already been said, but as ever it is a great pleasure to see real prints of such great work, and respect is due to Giles for putting on a fine show.

Davidson’s mixture of humility and perseverance, and his genuine affection for people, glow out of every picture here. No exhibition can ever encompass in full the long term projects Bruce engaged in – the two years of East 100th Street for instance – but selection is always the curators greatest skill, and the essence of his work is captured well here.

Bruce Davidson: MAN AND WOMAN REFLECTED IN CAR WINDOW, LONDON, 1960

Bruce Davidson: MAN AND WOMAN REFLECTED IN CAR WINDOW, LONDON, 1960 (©Bruce Davidson/Magnum)

It was another of those times when I wished my bank balance could absorb the price of a print. I reckon, for what it’s worth, that these prints are great value for money. I can’t see Bruce’s work doing anything but increase in value as the years pass.

Black and White London

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Since the use of film in photography has dropped away to a minute fraction of what it was even ten years ago, and most of the darkrooms and suppliers have closed down, we’ve apparently reached a point where it’s found it’s own level now.

Many students are showing a keen interest in both black-and-white and colour film processes. Secondhand darkroom equipment prices, for so long in free-fall, are now on the rise. Even new films and papers are being developed.

Even so, now that there are only a few specialists about, it can be difficult to find the right supplier when you need them. So I thought it might be useful to make a list of the establishments I use in London. This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just people that I use on a regular basis.

If you can recommend any other places please add the details in a comment – I still haven’t found somewhere to do full frame 35mm neg scans, for example, and I’d be very interested in hearing about anywhere!

I haven’t included the obvious places like Calumet and Jacobs largely since, even though they still stock some film related stuff, their emphasis is digital nowadays. Also I reckon everyone knows about them anyway.

Darkroom Services – hand processing and printing

Robin Bell – Robin is one of a kind. If you want the best exhibition or museum quality black-and-white prints make your way down to the little mews in Fulham.

Alan Robertson – One of the old school photography industry professionals, Alan is a great printer and knows all the tricks of the trade. Whether you need an old print restored, a film processed, a new print made – anything in fact – Alan will sort you out. It’s just sad to think that there don’t seem to be any youngsters learning the ropes – what are we going to do when Alan, and everyone like him, has retired? Alan is my neighbour in Iliffe Yard.

Darkside Photographic – A very good professional lab in Clerkenwell.

Rapid Eye – Good professional scanning services. They have a good reputation for colour work too, but I don’t know about that stuff.

Suppliers of Photographic Materials

Silverprint – Suppliers of all things analogue, as well as a wealth of advice. I buy paper and chemicals here, but they do much more.

Process Supplies – If you can’t get what you’re looking for here then you probably can’t get what you’re looking for.

Equipment Hire

Photofusion – They have an Imacon scanner you can use on an hourly basis, along with a wealth of other services available. You must pay a fee to join, but it’s well worth it if you frequent the place.

Fixation – They hire out film scanners, and a lot more.

I think that’s about it for the moment. I’ll add more if and when I think of them – but please feel free to add your own recommendations below.

Emily Allchurch and Laura Noble

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Visited the Diemar / Noble Gallery last night to see Emily Allchurch talking about her work Tokyo Story with Laura Noble. Emily has recreated a series of prints made by the 19th century Japanese artist Hiroshige for the collection One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.

Tokyo Story 3: Night Harbour (after Hiroshige)

Emmily Allchurch, Tokyo Story 3: Night Harbour (after Hiroshige)

As usual, you can find out everything you need to know about the project by the application of a little Google so I won’t go into it here.

Hiroshige 'Tsukudajima from Eitai Bridge'

Hrioshige, Tsukudajima from Eitai Bridge (2nd Month, 1857), from the Brooklyn Museum - click on the picture to visit the museum website

I recommend a visit to the gallery before 7th May to have a look at the pictures for yourself. They’re worth it. I enjoyed the thoughtful, playful nature of the work and hearing Emily talk eloquently about the project was a rare bonus.

Colour street photography!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Peckam Multi-storey Car Park

Peckam Multi-storey Car Park

Okay, so occasionally I can’t resist taking the odd street picture in colour (or “color” – whatever) when the only camera I have to hand is my phone. I came across this one by accident just now. I rather like it. Taken in south London’s most notorious neighbourhood, Peckham – although I’ve never found it so bad. This is in the multi-storey car park at the end of last summer.

No interest at London Photo Fair

Monday, February 21st, 2011

We live and learn.

What I learned last week was that the collectors of photography are a very diverse bunch. The London Photo Fair, it turned out, was focused almost entirely on 19th century vintage photography, and if you’re a dealer of such work it’s an event you must attend – with several dealers coming from continental Europe and the U.S..

However, if you are trying to sell contemporary photography, or even 20th century work, you won’t get much interest. I learned yesterday, as I gather several other photographers and dealers have at previous events, that people who are very happy to pay good prices for 19th century prints won’t even look at modern work.

stall at London Photo Fair

The PHC Photo corporate stall at London Photo Fair, complete with rare visitor spending a fleeting second regarding the prints

I had a table at the end of a long line of vintage print dealers and often there would be a solid line of people checking out the works on offer, moving slowly down the line, until they got to my table – at which point they’d simply walk past. It was as if I was trying to sell flower arrangements at the Motor Show.

This wasn’t a case of not having interesting work, or not displaying it well, or simply being crap. People were just not looking at it. At no point was there even the slightest chance that anything would sell.

So, there you go. A lot of effort in planning and presentation, not to mention the exhibition fee for attending the event, with not a thing to show for it. Live and learn.

Packing for the Fair

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

So I’ve taken all the prints that I usually have hanging in frames on the walls of my studio out of the frames and into plastic sleeves. I’ve made sure everything is editioned correctly. I’ve planned how I will use my 9 foot by 2 foot table, and how I’ll stand the framed items up. I’ve packed everything – well, almost everything – into bags so I can get on the bus tomorrow morning and go to the Fair. The London Photo Fair at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury.

Now all I need is for everyone who reads this to come along and buy a print. All of you now!