Month: October 2016

Book review: Street The Human Clay. Lee Friedlander

This excellent review by John Meehan kicks off a series  of posts by guest publishers. Hardcover: 224 pages Images: 209 duotones Publisher: Yale University Press (4 Oct. 2016) Language: English Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 2.5 x 24.9 cm Price paid: £40.50 (from Amazon, UK) _________________________________________________________________ Lee Friedlander’s Street The Human Clay is the third in a projected six book series entitled ‘The Human Clay’ published by Yale University Press started in 2015. Each title in the series gathers together images of people grouped thematically. So far we have seen a volume on Children and one of Portraits.

Exhibition Review: Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970’s

The Photographers Gallery 16-18 Ramillies St London W1F 7LW W: The Photographers Gallery  E: T:   +44 (020) 7087 9300 Opening hours:  Mon – Sat 10.00 – 18.00, Thu 10.00 – 20.00 during exhibitions, Sun 11.00 – 18.00 Admission to Exhibitions: Exhibition Day Pass £4 (£2.50 Concession) Advance Online Booking £2.50 Free admission before 12.00 every day Title of Exhibition: Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970’s Exhibition run:  from October the 7th 2016 until  15th January 2017 Website for the exhibition: Feminist Avant-Garde of the 70’s To get a clear idea of just what this exhibition is about you can watch an interview with Gabriele Schor, Director of the VERBUND Collection and Anna Dannemann, Curator, The Photographer’s Gallery here…  In this interview, Schor talks about her thinking behind the collection. She makes it clear the Verbund chose the budget and she chose the art. And Dannemann talks about how she curated the exhibition and her decision process related to the layout of the art in the galleries. Dannemann says of the exhibition… “Focusing on …

Opening night at the Argentea Gallery, St Pauls Birmingham

New photo gallery opens in Birmingham.

  The Argentea Gallery opened for business in St Pauls Square in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Not, as you might think to sell jewellery but to exhibit contemporary photography. Set at the top of this refurbished 18th and early 19th century square with St Paul’s church at its centre the gallery fits in with re-purposing of the square’s fine buildings. It’s perfectly positioned to bring added culture to this fine square.

Snapped by a street photographer

I am not a street photographer.

In an e-mail conversation with John Meehan, a founding member, contributor and the editor of the f50 collective, I was rambling on, attempting to explain why I am not a ‘Street Photographer’.   John asked me to flesh  out my view a little and publish, so here it is. I’ve never been happy calling myself a ‘Street Photographer’. There’s something about the term that makes me shudder – especially when the short form ‘togs’ is used. I’m old enough to remember street photographers at seaside towns and in cities across England. See the image above. My great Aunt and her family ‘Snapped’ by a street photographer at a seaside resort.

image credit; Laura In Black Oil on Linen 508 x 406 20/09/2015 © Joshua LaRock

Exhibition Review: BP Portrait Exhibition

It’s rare we here in Lincoln, in the east of England,  get the chance to see the results of a prestigious, International competition and award. We tend to be a bit of a backwater where the arts are concerned. If you are minded  to view international portraiture at it’s best now’s your chance. And it’s a rare and fleeting chance at that. Running from 12th September to the 13th November 2016 the BP Portrait exhibition is being hosted in the Usher gallery in Lincoln city.

Vest Pocket Autographic Kodak (VPK)

The first of the soon to be ubiquitous cameras using 127 film, the Vest Pocket was Eastman Kodaks best selling folding camera. 1,750,000 (some say more) were made between the years 1912-1926. This particular camera was made around 1919. It’s not a very good example of the camera. It’s very far from mint. I suppose that’s OK though as I paid only 30 pence for it at a car boot event 30 years ago. Supposedly one of these cameras went to the top of Everest with Irving and George Mallory. Though Mallory’s body was found in 1999 there was no sign of the camera which would have had the missing proof Irving and Mallory were indeed first to the top. The British Journal Photographic Almanac said about the camera… “In the very excellent design and finish of the apparatus we see the familiar determination of the Kodak makers to produce always the best type of a given article. The Vest Pocket Kodak, though taking a very small picture, is nevertheless a thoroughly reliable instrument, and not …

Navvie Birmingham

Four connected portraits.

I have chosen 4 of my pictures, all of which are over 40 years old, in order to show ‘related’ images. Odd you may think, but this choice reflects my desire to return to what I saw then. Not what I actually saw, you understand, but more my ability to see something else. Yes, they are out of focus. Yes, they are grainy. Yes, they may have been treated with a heavy hand when scanning and printing. All of these are faults by modern day standards. And yet, for me,  these images manage to contain some of what todays ultra-sharp, perfectly exposed and wonderfully printed images lack, That ‘Je ne sais quoi’ that I’m struggling to regain. Perhaps it’s the magic of time passing which has provided that curious, mysterious essence. Or maybe it’s just that these characters aren’t around anymore; disappeared from our more homogenised society. Who knows. It goes without saying they were shot on film. All Black and White. One, the Navvie, was shot on 6×6 the others on 35mm. And all …

Vernak camera made in Birmingham.

Don’t Talk Cameras. Use them.

I saw a small piece recently that had a clip by Hunter S. Thompson on focusing too much on the “technicals of photography”. You can read it for yourself here… But this is the element which chimed with me… “When photography gets so technical as to intimidate people, the element of simple enjoyment is bound to suffer. Any man who can see what he wants to get on film will usually find some way to get it; and a man who thinks his equipment is going to see for him is not going to get much of anything” I’m probably going to upset colleagues when I say… “Don’t talk cameras. Use them”. I admit to once being beguiled by the  equipment. Still, today, I collect cameras – of all types. I have dozens but I’m not really interested in them photographically. I just like old cameras. I shall be putting a few up on this blog from time to time just to share my obsession and to show, by comparison, I suppose, where we have come from and how we …

Book Review: Retrospective. Phil Cosker

Photographer: Phil Cosker Book title: Retrospective Size: 250mm X 210mm X 18mm (Landscape format) Images: 128 pictures each sized 210mm X 140mm Weight: 906g Dust cover?: No Boxed?: No Loose Print included?: No ISBN: 978-1-36-726937-8 Purchase price: £45.00. Described as a ‘retrospective’, Phil’s new book spans a 50 year period up to the present day. Beautifully observed pictures from a half-century of looking. The images in the book currently (Late 2016) form a series of exhibitions throughout Lincolnshire; some grouped together, like the ’Snaps’ Exhibition at the Sam Scorer gallery in Lincoln, and others on their own, printed large, very large even and exhibited in churchyards around the county. Phil’s work comprises both black and white and colour  images derived from film and digital cameras, though the landscape pictures were made with an  old half plate camera using glass plates, demonstrating  the detail you would expect from that medium. I visited the exhibition in Lincoln and have so far been to 3 churchyards to see the landscape images. The landscape images when rendered in the …

Tommy Mesham riding an Indian Motorcycle on the Wall of Death 1970's

It was the wall of death that did it.

Back in the late 70’s I was at the Tulip Festival in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park. There was a Wall of Death booth. I was fascinated. I had my camera with me and I took a few frames. This being the one that worked. I used a friends darkroom to print the image. The picture came out of the liquid in the red light.  It was probably the first picture I had made which had that ‘quality’ to it. That certain something I had seen in the pictures of others. I loved it and still do. Is it my favourite? As Elliot Erwitt says when asked about his favourite picture  “I hope I haven’t taken it yet”. And that’s the case with me. Still trying after all these years. Peter Barton.