Archive for the Reading/Exhibitions/Web Category

Simon Roberts

Posted in Reading/Exhibitions/Web on June 26, 2011 by Judy Bach

I went to see an exhibition of his work today @ the Mac, Cannon Hill Park Birmingham.

We English

On looking at this collection I was amazed at the intricate detail visible in his large scale work which is printed at 50 x 40.  It is great to be able to get really close up to work like this as there is so much detail within the frame that is not immediately noticeable, tiny dots turn out to be human inhabitants of the landscape scaled images . He uses a 5 x 4 Ebony plate camera, “a brand new traditional old design“. Once the film is in the camera he is unable to see and compose through the lens, he comments that any human subjects therefore cannot be too sure if he is actually shooting them as his eye is not looking at them through the viewfinder. Additionally he uses a cable release frequently held behind his back. The camera forces him to work slowly, he has to ” look and study” carefully to compose , this slowness he feels helps  “crafting a photograph” .These are not quick, candid, images, they are thoughtful and studied images of the British landscape that just happen to also include people. My favourite was of Saunton Sands, Devon, 23/5/2008. The frame is filled with soft beige neutral tones and gentle curves, with tiny, just visible, black dots of surfers.

The Election Project He was chosen as the 2010 Election Artist and his images capture the disparate nature of what is
Britain in the 21st Century. In an age where digital images are beamed around the world instantaneously his use of old traditional photography forces the viewer to slow down and really look at the rich diversity captured by his seemingly old fashioned methods.


Lise Sarfati. The New Life

Posted in Reading/Exhibitions/Web on March 9, 2011 by Judy Bach

The New Life / La Vie Nouvelle Lise Sarfati, Twin Palms Publisher 2005.

This book arrived from Amazon yesterday costing £40.80p but I feel really worth it.  I have been wondering whether to present my final assignment in colour or black and white , I have been processing two versions of each shot , but after looking  quickly through this book I may decide to use colour. Her images of teenagers use rich tones that I really like. She seems to have has carefully chosen each setting for its hues, which are never oversaturated, but still manage to be sumptuous. The book  is printed on beautiful paper and contains 50 colour images  examining the complicated and ethereal world of adolescents that adults no longer inhabit. Few of her teenage subjects make eye contact with the photographer, most gaze away from the camera, none smile. Lise Sarfati is a member of Magnum.Product details

  1. Hardcover: 120 pages
  2. Publisher: Twin Palms Publishing,U.S. (July 2005)
  3. Language English
  4. ISBN-10: 1931885451
  5. ISBN-13: 978-1931885454
  6. Product Dimensions: 27.3 x 33.7 x 2.5 cm  

Lee Miller

Posted in Reading/Exhibitions/Web on February 23, 2011 by Judy Bach

Mark Haworth-Booth “The Art of Lee Miller”  V&A Publications, London, 2007.

Born in 1907 Lee Miller led an extraordinary life. Her father was a keen photographer and she continued to pose nude for him well into her twenties. Over the course of her life she graduated from being a Vogue model to Vogue photographer, covering events in Europe as a war correspondent during the second world war. Her images of Buchenwald and Dachau are truly distressing .

Moving to Paris in 1929 she became Man Ray’s student and lover, collaborating with him to create surrealist images, he taught her dark room techniques showing her   “how to achieve a more engaging or surprising  result” pg 77. She “photographed Paris in many ways —–with amusement , pleasure, and lyricism , but also with the radical doubt of a surrealist” pg 56.During her time in Paris she worked as a medical photographer, two images taken by Miller are published for the first time in the book. A severed breast following a mastectomy is shown on a dinner plate, “cutlery is arranged for a meal” pg 88. Its an unpleasant image a reminder “that their author was a woman of remarkable daring and capable of challenging the most forbidding taboos” pg 88.

Moving to New York in 1932 she opened  a studio along with her brother. Following marriage in 1934 to an Egyptian she relocated to Cairo. The contact prints of street images taken there “show that , having no darkroom, she composed very precisely in the camera ” pg 122. Becoming dissatisfied with her life the book suggests images taken at this time by Miller reflect her feeling of being “trapped in Egypt” pg 124,using photography as a means to express her innermost thoughts and feelings. She left Egypt in 1939 to embark on yet another chapter of her life and begin an “artistic collaboration” pg 132 with her lover and second husband the artist  Roland Penrose  .

Following her war time exploits she became an alcoholic. Her son, born in 1947, “was later to appear in a Lee photograph in Edward Steichen’s epoch- making exhibition The Family of Man (1955)” pg 203. She moved with her family to Farley Farm, Sussex, in 1949 , where she began her final work  ” Working  Guests ” documenting her visitors activities.

She died in 1977 , a truly inspiring woman who contribued greatly to the art of surrealism .


Posted in Reading/Exhibitions/Web on February 13, 2011 by Judy Bach

An  OCA Blog discussion  queries that perhaps photographs are manipulated, not digitally,  but by what, and how , the photographer chooses to shoot , what is framed.  I usually have a definite idea of what I want my images to look like and how they might be interpreted,does this count as manipulation, am I in fact altering the truth ? This is a difficult question, I believe most photographers,  by the very fact they are controlling what is seen, can influence how the final image is going to be interpreted. Additionally the real truth behind any photograph will always be open to interpretation, the understanding of it will  be influenced by cultural and social mores.

Truth or fiction?

Posted in Reading/Exhibitions/Web on February 3, 2011 by Judy Bach

Documentary photography is purportedly the reporting of the truth, the camera never lies, but it does. In a digital age it is easier than ever to manipulate the truth. However this is not a new phenomena , Stalin had political rivals removed from photographs to try and deny their existence .


and after:

Photographs have always (and will be)manipulated. Magnum founder Robert Capa’s  iconic image “Loyalist militiaman at the moment of death” 1936   taken during the Spanish civil war has been reputed to have been faked, but does this make it unrepresentative of the essential truth?

 As I was mulling these thoughts over I checked my email box, the weekly e-bulletin from OCA contains some interesting thoughts on the subject. I will return to this as it is quite pertinent for my upcoming final assignment.

Rankin. Shooting the Hollywood Stars

Posted in Reading/Exhibitions/Web on January 12, 2011 by Judy Bach

Shooting the Hollywood Stars BBC2  Saturday 8/1/2011

Watched this television programme  showing the British photographer Rankin re-creating iconic Hollywood portraits ,which involved very careful planning and expert lighting techniques.  A  really interesting programme, Rankin  commented that “photography has sustained the icons over the last century“. He  discusses the challenge the harsh LA sunlight caused, preferring cloud cover or the “fragile light” of early morning.  Watching him review his contact images and choosing the best frame brought back to mind exercise 6,Best of a sequence. His aim is “to take you on a journey” and create an image that “evokes an emotion” .

Magnum Stories

Posted in Reading/Exhibitions/Web on January 12, 2011 by Judy Bach

 Magnum Stories, Edited by Chris Boot, Phaidon Press Ltd, London 2004.

This huge book was delivered from Amazon on Monday, recommended by my tutor , to look through prior to commencing assignment 5.It looks at the work of 61 Magnum photographers who selected  the lay out and text to accompany their chosen photo narrative and how it should be presented in the book. Magnum    is a high-status photo agency formed in 1947 enabling photographers the freedom to follow personal projects.

This book is really useful to browse through and see how individual  photographers approach their projects and  assignments.

I still find approaching complete strangers an ordeal, but take comfort in the fact that even a photographer like Bruce Gilden, who shoots close up with a 28mm lens, feels uncomfortable “believe it or not ,I’m basically shy and it’s not my style to make advances and talk to people if I don’t feel comfortable” pg 186 Magnum Stories.