Friday, 25 November 2011

word of the day

I have learnt a new word today. It is pronounced "bunting" and means dog rough or shit... The girls gave this word while playing a quick game of, 'guess the meaning'  this afternoon.  This London street slang was in response to me asking the class about a 'palimpsest'. A very grand word meaning a sign or document, written over or crossed out.

Lewis Hine
Photographer Lewis Hine, who changed the world that we know today through his pictures, is the source of great interest for one of my students. Our current brief is on portraiture and the genre that my learner is looking at is child photography. The above picture was taken less than one hundred years ago and I still find that quite shocking. Childhood is something that we now cherish as a society and understand  the link between these formative years and the adults that we become. Of course I am curious about the girl in the image who looks to be about nine. Surrounded by heavy industrial machinery the dirty shirt indicating the nature of her work. The pdf a collection of his images I found on the internet is moving and shocking. 

'While photographs may not lie, liars may photograph' Lewis Hine

Lewis Hine -  

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Sold! Behind the gare St Lazare a snip @ €433,000

Henri Cartier-Bresson.
For those who love the French master and are fascinated by the mind boggling fees paid for photography this post is for you. If I were an investment banker I would certainly consider spending this kind of eye popping money on such a fine example of 'the decisive moment'. While no expert I would anticipate that this image will increase in value. I am less certain of getting the same return on Rein 11 Andreas Gursky's record breaking sum achieved early this month. If I had the choice about which one I would like to see hanging in my penthouse apartment St Lazare wins every time. 
Andreas Gursky
The Worlds Most Expensive Photographs is a run down of famous pictures sold in recent years.
I am going to check down the sofa for cash to start my collection, all donations gratefully received.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

What makes a good portrait?

My learners are busy working on their portrait assignments (or they should be) so when I read Chris Floyd's  blog about a portrait session; I felt it was worth sharing. This is a great insight into the world of professional portrait photography at the highest level. The link is for a job shot in London with two British actors. The picture of Macca is one of my favorites from his archive.

Chris Floyd
"You don't take a photograph you make it," Ansel Adams

Saturday, 5 November 2011

photographs for research

Nicholas Brewer
Nicholas Brewer

I have spent a couple of hours this afternoon looking through old photographs of the high street in Wimbledon. The Broadway in SW19 has four excellent ghost signs still in existence; during the early 20th century they were everywhere. The earliest photograph that I could find for the sign above was taken in 1908. 'Dining Rooms',  at least 113 years old is looking good. While the commuters of London were using trams to get around; a ghost sign adorned every other wall. Looking through the pictures today I saw one of the first photographic businesses in the area. They were trading from 1900, roughly 60 years after the birth of photography. There were pictures of the other signs I have photographed and there is more research to do. Using photography as away of piecing together a time-line for the ghost signs is a first for me and demonstrates the many uses of the medium.
Gregory Crewson
The 'Genius of Photography', the seminal six part program from the BBC is essential viewing for those wanting to increase their knowledge of photography. While watching the final episode recently Gregory Crewson was interviewed and talked about his method of working. Each image is constructed like a film set with roads closed and street lights turned off. The cost and organisation involved in such a mammoth production is mind boggling. The work has a cinematic quality rich in pools of light bringing out small details that guide the narrative.  The work is very atmospheric and reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting. Crewson's prints sell for about £70,000.

Edward Hopper