Archive for the ‘Regular Update’ Category

Dublin Grand Canal1moonOn the common occasion that I cant get a successful night’s kip I’ll venture out into Dublin’s darkness and see what I can shoot. This helps me use all the unspent energy from the day in the hope that when I return to bed I can finally get my forty winks. I thought I’d share with you the images I have taken over the last year which helped me drift off into a deep coma.

_MG_1660 _MG_1864 Creepy Blue Buildings

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Earlier in the year I ventured out into the Irish rain and tried to document the event of the summer.

In June Bavaria City Racing brought Formula 1 to the streets of Dublin. More than 100,000 spectators were expected to gather for an adrenaline-fuelled afternoon with Superbikes, Super cars, Touring cars, Formula 2, WRC, Drifters, and demonstrations from internationally celebrated F1 cars and drivers.

The map of the taken-over streets

f1

This is what I managed in the midst of the worst weather of the season._MG_6125_MG_6128

_MG_6139F1 McLaren wide1_MG_6157_MG_6237F1 Bavaria Dublin

I shot in three different locations. It was well worth the extra effort to talk to bar-owners in the city centre to let you up to the top of their buildings to allow you to shoot from above.

In keeping with the family connection to explore the notion of how photography inspires us, I asked my sister to recall a story relating to a cousin of ours.

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Lisa. My younger sister.

“My brother asked me to collaborate on his photography post series Monster Under The Bed as in our family we have all witnessed first-hand the superpower of the photograph. Lee sees the world through different eyes and shares his unique view with us all through his captivating photography. I also see the world differently with the help of photographs, and I’ll explain the reasons why”.

Using Photography as a Tool for Emotional Therapy;

Most of us will look through our collection of family photographs from time to time, and remember fondly (or not so in some cases!) the event or occasion that took place when the photograph was captured – reminding us of when it was taken, who we were with, what we were doing, how that event impacted our lives etc. Such reminiscence using photographs is often used as a form of therapeutic treatment in the care of elderly dementia patients, giving them a real sense of belonging, importance and of peace, in a time of difficulty. But it doesn’t stop there – many of us will use photographs for the same purpose, remembering happy times and helping us to maintain or improve our emotional wellbeing, and in coping with life’s challenges.

To put this into context, I’ll share my cousin’s story. By the age of just 15 he had tragically lost both of his parents, my own Aunt and Uncle. His photographs of them became a treasured collection of his memories, captured ‘forever’ in print. However, some years later a devastating house fire destroyed most of these images, leaving him with only one single photograph of his mum and dad together.  This photograph of course became extremely precious to him. He realised that any other photographs of his parents would be like gold dust to come by.

My mother knew she had a photograph of my cousin’s parents in an old album somewhere and wanted him to have it, but despite her hunting high and low and in all the nooks and crannies of every inch of her house, that wee photo completely eluded her grasp. She started to accept that perhaps she had lost this over the years of house moves and life moving on, but she never quite gave up on the idea of what that one single image could mean to my cousin. Very recently she uncovered an old box in her loft containing images from a lost era . One of which was the photograph of my cousin’s parents.

There was an extra sparkle clearly visible in this photograph – it didn’t only include his parents, but also showed that my Aunt was expecting company.

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A simple photograph, and an innocent shot, from a family birthday party back in August 1980.

From the moment I called my cousin to let him know, to the excitement when I sent the email with the scanned photo attached, and to the day I received the text message from him telling me of the joy he felt to see that image– I became inherently aware of the superpower of the photograph – to bring happiness into someone’s world and sooth the delicate emotions from yesteryear. The earliest photograph of his existence so powerfully established in the simplest of their contemporary devices.  Respect fairly due to ‘the snapshot’. As Kodak’s earliest ad’s stated “You press the button, we do the rest”, Do we disagree?

Lisa Huggins.

To all budding Photojournalists, this is an interview with a man who has over 20 years experience as a Newspaper photographer.

 

 

And for those of you perhaps interested in Product or Fashion photography this is a really good interview with Ab Sesay. Which you should definitely watch till the end.

This was a task I was to undertake for college, that I thought I would share. This is the deconstruction of an image using opinions from professionals across the fashion industry.

The Nude

Kate Moss signed up to David Yurman’s company in 2010 to model his new line of jewellery, posing with a ring from his upcoming autumn collection. Yurman himself started out in the art world as a prominent sculptor (Nordstrom, 2012), his wife also shared artistic flair being a recognised painter. The couple realised the importance of classic tradition when it comes to what should be in their advertising campaigns. The collaboration between themselves and an established photographer would make for an attractive and lucrative advertisement. Moss is photographed by Peter Lindberg (Grazia, 2010) on a beach with a few key elements on display. The ring is the main focus of the commission. I selected this particular shot because, in what it is surrounded by, the ring itself becomes redundant. This makes me question who or what is being advertised by the nude. By illustrating naked form in such a way, what cultural assumptions do we make in order to understand such powerful and seductive imagery?

Smith (2004, p56) validates that a client’s shoulders, in order to appear more interesting and less rigid should not form a horizontal line throughout the frame. Moss certainly does appear more alluring and less distant. The pose draws you in and increases the length at which you would normally gaze upon the subject. This seems to be a popular stance for models that want to appear aloof and alluring when on the final turn on the catwalk and indeed this particular pose comes from classical roots. Edward Steichen photographed Gwili Andre in an almost identical method (Ewing 2008, p 253) when she modelled jewellery by Tiffany in Vanity Fair in 1936. This shows that traditional mechanisms are still being used today to attract clients to purchase products.

Steichen suggested (Ewing, 2008, p191) that if you take good photographs the art will follow suit. I believe that Lindberg may have been inspired by this standard, although in order to appeal to a more demanding consumer, he would have had to have added something else. Tobia Bezzola commented (Ewing, 2008, p192)on De Meyer who at the time was the chief photographer of Vanity Fair, to develop a form of fashion photography that itself engages the art of seduction rather than merely serving to document the art of the couturier, meant that the objective qualities of the attire were of scant interest. This suggested that even back in 1914 fashion photographers were beginning to realise the power of the nude to increase the potential value of the model associated in the advertised image. Although this commodifies the naked model, actual, rather than suggestive exposure will increase the market value of the product on offer.

Kate Moss was discovered by the owner of Storm Modelling Agency at the tender age of fourteen in JFK international airport (MCM, 2012). During her career to her mid-thirties she has intrigued her viewers by promoting vulnerability and her dominance as the queen of Heroin Chic. The image directors knew that by placing Moss in an ad campaign on a beach, soaked and appearing fragile that the viewer would feel empowered over her and relate that feeling perhaps to the jewellery that was being advertised. She is after all hiding herself behind the ring. But as we are no longer in the early 1920’s, and the fact it’s just a ring, is she really hiding anything. Or is it in fact she is really trying to promote something else?

Considering other models would have bared themselves for promotion, I looked at the portrait of Demi Moore by Annie Leibovitz (Carter, 2008 p56). Although its popularity with audiences spanning the globe attracted considerable controversy Susan Kandel (Kandel,1992) defended Moore and Leibovitz against traditionalist right wing protesters and sympathised with the progression of the nude in contemporary art. “While the self-righteous on the right lambasted the photograph’s flamboyant immodesty, the well-intentioned on the left hailed its progressiveness. Woman displayed as an expanded object, happily complicit both with her expansion and her objectification.”  Kandel validates that the representation of the female body in twentieth century photography is laden with unease and constant negotiation between the physical and institutional bodies that constitute the very meanings of a women’s self-representation. Athough Kate Moss exposing a single nipple on the magazine advert attracted controversy we should realise that this is the movement of the times.

Many feel that the movement of exposure, in which female nudity is upon us now, stems from an attitude dating back to the early 1900’s. Josephine Baker (Rosetta, 2007) was one such icon which continues to inspire a century later. Famous for barely-there dresses and no-holds-barred dance routines, her exotic beauty generated nicknames “Black Venus,” “Black Pearl” and “Creole Goddess.” Admirers bestowed a plethora of gifts, including diamonds and cars. Even today her legacy exists in live performance, art, photography, fashion and film. With all the glamour attained by baring all for the camera it’s clear to see why culture has transgressed in this direction due to demand and reward from the audience. Contemporary audiences are no different.

John Tagg (1998, p16) observes the socialisation of production and consumption, with the mechanisms of discipline and desire to reveal that, by combining the two notions we are offering a medium by which we have little or no control. The technology of the camera itself is creating a division of power both between the controller and the possessor. Tagg states that within the space of these contradictions there is undoubtedly room for cultural resistance, although dissent rarely develops. Even if in today’s pressing advertisements, there contrives much controversy, there will never be enough negative press to assert a deceleration of such a strong cultural movement. This adheres with the age-old phrase that any publicity is good publicity.

On reflection, this image, even with its controversy, shows us a sign of progression in fashion and advertising. We realise that the nude has immense power in the stimulus of separating ourselves from our hard earned finances. Moss gains acclaim from the fashion world, in keeping with and moving forward the notions of au courant feminism. David Yurman projects his acknowledgement of the movement by the advertising of his products in the current fashion, and society is influenced by what they see in the magazine of this ultra-modern culture. Peter (Lindberg, 1998) proposes that “creativity is really a rebirth, a true tone we feel for ourselves and for our world. All this is a question of how deep we are willing to go”.­­

As mentioned in my “About Me” page and in my previous “Monster Under The Bed” post I hinted upon my Grandmothers collection of photos under the bed. As the first part of this series was a bit heavy on the text side, I’ve decided to be easy on you guys. This is a small collection of the shots which made me want to be a Photographer today. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Bill & Elly Smith (c. 1948)  (1)Bill & Elly Smith (c. 1948)  (2)Bill & Elly Smith (c. 1948)  (3)Bill Smith next to his brother John's grave in Egypt 1942Elly SmithGreat Granny&Grampa SmithJohn (Ernest AJ) Smith (1919-1942)lastscanLinda Smith restored

I wont go into explicit detail as to who, what and where these were taken. I’ll let you make up you’re own mind. I will tell you though, that they span from 1945 to 1967.  From shortly after WWii finished to shortly before the best decade that music ever saw.

My Mother has one, my Grandparents have one and even I have one. There’s a very good chance we all have one. In one way or another we all have a box under our bed. It could be a shoe box or an album, in our hard drives or your Facebook page. We all have a collection of past memories documented in the most basic, yet powerful, form. I’m talking, of course, about our past photographs. Some of the memories we cherish, others we grimmace at. Either way we cant hide from the power that grips us when we are exposed to the monster of our past. The monster of Photography.

So where did it all start, and what genius occurred in order that we could take a photo of granny making an idiot of herself in her Santa hat? I found this timeline which makes for very interesting reading. Credit goes to Philip Greenspun of Photo.net

  • ancient times: Camera obscuras used to form images on walls in darkened rooms; image formation via a pinhole
  • 16th century: Brightness and clarity of camera obscuras improved by enlarging the hole inserting a telescope lens
  • 17th century: Camera obscuras in frequent use by artists and made portable in the form of sedan chairs
  • 1727: Professor J. Schulze mixes chalk, nitric acid, and silver in a flask; notices darkening on side of flask exposed to sunlight. Accidental creation of the first photo-sensitive compound.
  • 1800: Thomas Wedgwood makes “sun pictures” by placing opaque objects on leather treated with silver nitrate; resulting images deteriorated rapidly, however, if displayed under light stronger than from candles.
  • 1816: Nicéphore Niépce combines the camera obscura with photosensitive paper
  • 1826: Niépce creates a permanent image
  • 1834: Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper.
  • 1837: Louis Daguerre creates images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and “developed” with warmed mercury; Daguerre is awarded a state pension by the French government in exchange for publication of methods and the rights by other French citizens to use the Daguerreotype process.
  • 1841: Talbot patents his process under the name “calotype”.
  • 1851: Frederick Scott Archer, a sculptor in London, improves photographic resolution by spreading a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton dissolved in ether and alcoohol) and chemicals on sheets of glass. Wet plate collodion photography was much cheaper than daguerreotypes, the negative/positive process permitted unlimited reproductions, and the process was published but not patented.
  • 1853: Nadar (Felix Toumachon) opens his portrait studio in Paris
  • 1854: Adolphe Disderi develops carte-de-visite photography in Paris, leading to worldwide boom in portrait studios for the next decade
  • 1855: Beginning of stereoscopic era
  • 1855-57: Direct positive images on glass (ambrotypes) and metal (tintypes or ferrotypes) popular in the US.
  • 1861: Scottish physicist James Clerk-Maxwell demonstrates a color photography system involving three black and white photographs, each taken through a red, green, or blue filter. The photos were turned into lantern slides and projected in registration with the same color filters. This is the “color separation” method.
  • 1861-65: Mathew Brady and staff (mostly staff) covers the American Civil War, exposing 7000 negatives
  • 1868: Ducas de Hauron publishes a book proposing a variety of methods for color photography.
  • 1870: Center of period in which the US Congress sent photographers out to the West. The most famous images were taken by William Jackson and Tim O’Sullivan.
  • 1871: Richard Leach Maddox, an English doctor, proposes the use of an emulsion of gelatin and silver bromide on a glass plate, the “dry plate” process.
  • 1877: Eadweard Muybridge, born in England as Edward Muggridge, settles “do a horse’s four hooves ever leave the ground at once” bet among rich San Franciscans by time-sequenced photography of Leland Stanford’s horse.
  • 1878: Dry plates being manufactured commercially.
  • 1880: George Eastman, age 24, sets up Eastman Dry Plate Company in Rochester, New York. First half-tone photograph appears in a daily newspaper, the New York Graphic.
  • 1888: First Kodak camera, containing a 20-foot roll of paper, enough for 100 2.5-inch diameter circular pictures.
  • 1889: Improved Kodak camera with roll of film instead of paper
  • 1890: Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives, images of tenament life in New york City
  • 1900: Kodak Brownie box roll-film camera introduced.
  • 1902: Alfred Stieglitz organizes “Photo Secessionist” show in New York City
  • 1906: Availability of panchromatic black and white film and therefore high quality color separation color photography. J.P. Morgan finances Edward Curtis to document the traditional culture of the North American Indian.
  • 1907: First commercial color film, the Autochrome plates, manufactured by Lumiere brothers in France
  • 1909: Lewis Hine hired by US National Child Labor Committee to photograph children working mills.
  • 1914: Oscar Barnack, employed by German microscope manufacturer Leitz, develops camera using the modern 24x36mm frame and sprocketed 35mm movie film.
  • 1917: Nippon Kogaku K.K., which will eventually become Nikon, established in Tokyo.
  • 1921: Man Ray begins making photograms (“rayographs”) by placing objects on photographic paper and exposing the shadow cast by a distant light bulb; Eugegrave;ne Atget, aged 64, assigned to photograph the brothels of Paris
  • 1924: Leitz markets a derivative of Barnack’s camera commercially as the “Leica”, the first high quality 35mm camera.
  • 1925: André Kertész moves from his native Hungary to Paris, where he begins an 11-year project photographing street life
  • 1928: Albert Renger-Patzsch publishes The World is Beautiful, close-ups emphasizing the form of natural and man-made objects; Rollei introduces the Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex producing a 6×6 cm image on rollfilm.; Karl Blossfeldt publishes Art Forms in Nature
  • 1931: Development of strobe photography by Harold (“Doc”) Edgerton at MIT
  • 1932: Inception of Technicolor for movies, where three black and white negatives were made in the same camera under different filters; Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Edward Weston, et al, form Group f/64 dedicated to “straight photographic thought and production”.; Henri Cartier-Bresson buys a Leica and begins a 60-year career photographing people; On March 14, George Eastman, aged 77, writes suicide note–“My work is done. Why wait?”–and shoots himself.
  • 1933: Brassaï publishes Paris de nuit
  • 1934: Fuji Photo Film founded. By 1938, Fuji is making cameras and lenses in addition to film.
  • 1935: Farm Security Administration hires Roy Stryker to run a historical section. Stryker would hire Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, et al. to photograph rural hardships over the next six years. Roman Vishniac begins his project of the soon-to-be-killed-by-their-neighbors Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • 1936: Development of Kodachrome, the first color multi-layered color film; development of Exakta, pioneering 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera
  • World War II:
    • Development of multi-layer color negative films
    • Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa, Carl Mydans, and W. Eugene Smith cover the war for LIFE magazine
  • 1947: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour start the photographer-owned Magnum picture agency
  • 1948: Hasselblad in Sweden offers its first medium-format SLR for commercial sale; Pentax in Japan introduces the automatic diaphragm; Polaroid sells instant black and white film
  • 1949: East German Zeiss develops the Contax S, first SLR with an unreversed image in a pentaprism viewfinder
  • 1955: Edward Steichen curates Family of Man exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art
  • 1959: Nikon F introduced.
  • 1960: Garry Winogrand begins photographing women on the streets of New York City.
  • 1963: First color instant film developed by Polaroid; Instamatic released by Kodak; first purpose-built underwater introduced, the Nikonos
  • 1970: William Wegman begins photographing his Weimaraner, Man Ray.
  • 1972: 110-format cameras introduced by Kodak with a 13x17mm frame
  • 1973: C-41 color negative process introduced, replacing C-22
  • 1975: Nicholas Nixon takes his first annual photograph of his wife and her sisters: “The Brown Sisters”; Steve Sasson at Kodak builds the first working CCD-based digital still camera
  • 1976: First solo show of color photographs at the Museum of Modern Art, William Eggleston’s Guide
  • 1977: Cindy Sherman begins work on Untitled Film Stills, completed in 1980; Jan Groover begins exploring kitchen utensils
  • 1978: Hiroshi Sugimoto begins work on seascapes.
  • 1980: Elsa Dorfman begins making portraits with the 20×24″ Polaroid.
  • 1982: Sony demonstrates Mavica “still video” camera
  • 1983: Kodak introduces disk camera, using an 8x11mm frame (the same as in the Minox spy camera)
  • 1985: Minolta markets the world’s first autofocus SLR system (called “Maxxum” in the US);In the American West by Richard Avedon
  • 1988Sally Mann begins publishing nude photos of her children
  • 1987: The popular Canon EOS system introduced, with new all-electronic lens mount
  • 1990: Adobe Photoshop released.
  • 1991: Kodak DCS-100, first digital SLR, a modified Nikon F3
  • 1992: Kodak introduces PhotoCD
  • 1993: Founding of photo.net (this Web site), an early Internet online community; Sebastiao Salgado publishes WorkersMary Ellen Mark publishes book documenting life in an Indian circus.
  • 1995Material World, by Peter Menzel published.
  • 1997: Rob Silvers publishes Photomosaics
  • 1999: Nikon D1 SLR, 2.74 megapixel for $6000, first ground-up DSLR design by a leading manufacturer.
  • 2000: Camera phone introduced in Japan by Sharp/J-Phone
  • 2001: Polaroid goes bankrupt
  • 2003: Four-Thirds standard for compact digital SLRs introduced with the Olympus E-1; Canon Digital Rebel introduced for less than $1000
  • 2004: Kodak ceases production of film cameras
  • 2005: Canon EOS 5D, first consumer-priced full-frame digital SLR, with a 24x36mm CMOS sensor for $3000; Portraits by Rineke Dijkstra

 

Where on earth would we be without it? I hate to say it but we would be lost, then forgotten, without Photography. Part two coming soon. In the post I will telling my story of the positives and negatives of keeping a family photographic archive.