Archive for ‘Extra Curricular’

May 29, 2014

On to the new, last post on this blog

by Suzy Walker-Toye

It’s assessment time for the OCA modules so there will be no more updates to this blog. I will now be exclusively continuing my OCA studies on a new blog for module two: Digital Film Production: Creative Concepts.

Thank you to all the students and tutors who helped me with this module and to those of you following this blog, you may wish to follow the newer one, or my personal blog over at

I hope to be writing up a review of Saturdays study visit to this years Prix Pictet exhibition and to my visit to this years Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in the next few days on my video course blog.

March 28, 2014

Imaginative Fashion Photography Workshop

by Suzy Walker-Toye


Last weekend I caught a couple of days of the Miss Aniela – Imaginative Fashion Photography workshop on creative live. I like to see her finished work on Facebook or flickr so this chance to see behind the scenes was fascinating.

It was a 3 day course in which the Miss Aniela team did two fashion shoots live online and walked you through the process from beginning to end. The first, the lowfi shoot, was with modest equipment, lighting and model, the other, the hifi shoot, was an all-out experience with a whole production team collaborating. I found it really interesting the amount of creative input the other members of the team have after the initial idea of a shoot has been posited.

Miss Aniela comes in with mood-boards (more about these later) and the ideas for the shoot evolve from the location, the design of the dress, the direction of the hair & make up and the backstory that everyone on the shoot has in mind. After the shoot Miss Aniela takes the photos into photoshop and decides what artistic direction to take them in that fits in with the original photo (whether simple post process of the look & tone of the image or an all out surrealistic do over). She often pulls in other photos of objects & locations she’s photographed at other times (such as the sea in the above promo image), she sometimes brings in parts from old paintings (after checking that the they are old enough for the copyright to have expired of course).

She also talks about inspiration and where we take inspiration from. This is an iPhone screen grab of one of her slides from this segment where she just lists out some of hers:


Its interesting to note how most of those are not other photographers but actually outside the photography discipline altogether. I think it might be an interesting exercise to have a think about what mine would be when paired right down to a list like that.

In the same segment she goes onto to introduce the concepts of mood boards as the “physical version of the papier mache of inspirations”. They can give us a clearer view of the direction we might want to take a particular project is. I think this is what many creative people use pinterest for. This is another screen grab where images on the left are the mood board and images on the right are the resulting images from Miss Aniela.


Moodbaords essentially help you communicate with others your intentions of the shoot and make everyone aware of the inspirations. Also, when combined with the pitch document you might par pare for a client they help keep your aims real & motivated.

Overal I found this course interesting & inspiring. You can of course buy the download version if it here.

October 16, 2013

Everybody Street… a new documentary about street photography

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Really enjoyed this trailer for the forthcoming documentary on street photography

See it directly on Vimeo here.

“Everybody Street” illuminates the lives and work of New York’s iconic street photographers and the incomparable city that has inspired them for decades. The documentary pays tribute to the spirit of street photography through a cinematic exploration of New York City, and captures the visceral rush, singular perseverance and at times immediate danger customary to these artists.

Featuring: Bruce Davidson , Elliott Erwitt, Jill Freedman, Bruce Gilden, Joel Meyerowitz, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, Jeff Mermelstein, Clayton Patterson, Ricky Powell, Jamel Shabazz, Martha Cooper, and Boogie, with Max Kozloff and Luc Sante.

September 24, 2013

Olympus Image Space @ The Loading Bay

by Suzy Walker-Toye

This weekend Olympus was doing a very special event to celebrate the launch of my camera‘s big brother the EM1. I went along to the free workshops and they were a great chance to try out some types of photography I’d never done before. Studio lighting with a model and Indoor urban performance photography. And there was a photographic exhibition on in the space – Women of Iceland by Gabrielle Motola. It was especially good given that the current chapter I’m doing for TAOP is ‘Light’. Here are some of the shots I produced.

Studio Lighting with Damian McGillicuddy:

Damian basically set up the lights and talked up thought the choices he’d made and why he’d set the lights up like this. He had two FL-50r speed lights (with some sort of little lighting sock on them so they didn’t light up the white columns they were next to) behind the model for a back/rim lighting. The main light was another FL-50r behind a soft box into the models face from the side. He then got the model to stand ‘like an innocent little girl’ which to be honest given what she was wearing I found a bit creepy. I got her to do the same pose to see if I could get similar photos to Damian but she looked so sad that when Damian was busy with something else I got her to be a bit silly – which she seemed to enjoy – doing aeroplanes 🙂 Here are the photos…

Setting up – I wanted to take a few shots when no flashes were going off and I actually really like these:
Setting up

Damian’s assistant Matt took the light meter readings – all the flashes were on manual mode:
Matt taking a light meter reading

I took this shot before I changed to square format. You can see that they’d moved one light a bit so they ended up slightly asymmetric, maybe its ocd but I really wanted to go over and change it!
Wide shot

On Damian’s advice I set it to square format (thinking I’d be able to choose the crop again later since I’m shooting raw, but for some reason it only showed me the square format in LR and I could get back to the original, not doing that again, I’d prefer to crop in LR if I’m going too):

You can see the light flare in from one side where the light was nearer on one side that the other – it does look quite cool but I would have preferred it if it was intentional.

Aeroplanes 🙂

Urban Performance Photography with R. Cleveland Aaron.

We actually arrived just as one session was finishing – with some cool acrobats doing flips etc but I wasnt standing in the right place for this one. I really wished we’d been there for the whole session with them. As much as the next session was really good, I have less than zero interesting in football.

Urban performers Urban performers

Our session was with football freestyler Colin Nell. He was very talented. If you like football tricks. They work better in video than stills though.

Football freestyler

Football freestyler

I did get to test the ISO capability of my camera though because downstairs it was very dark – only lit by those LED lights so to get a reasonable shutter speed with my not so fast lens I was up at 4000!!

Here is a 1:1 of a portion of that image with no noise reduction on it – ouch:
High Iso 4000

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

I switched to video which worked much better to capture his actions:

We then went upstairs for another round with a bit more light (thank goodness)! Where Colin demonstrated the same stunts with a hat, a tennis ball and lastly a golfball. He finished off by catching that one in his mouth – eek.

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

Football Freestyler

As talented as he was (and he was very skilled, not one ball came bounding over to the photographers) I still would have preferred to be watching the previous people backflip.

Women of Iceland Exhibition by Gabrielle Motola.

More infor about this in my paper log.
Women of Iceland Exhibition

Here is another review of this event.

September 23, 2013

David Bailey & Bruce Weber Private View

by Suzy Walker-Toye

‘Everyone is an artist’
David Bailey

To celebrate the new Nokia Lumia 1020 phone, Bruce Weber & David Bailey each took one around Harlem. Mike & I went to the private view of the resulting exhibition: Bruce Weber x David Bailey by Nokia Lumia 1020

“For this project, old friends David Bailey and Bruce Weber spent 24 hours in Harlem, New York to capture the spirit of the area using our newest phone, the Lumia 1020, which has the most advanced camera capabilities of any smartphone ever made. The 41 MP camera with optimised image stabilization means it captures images of gallery-worthy quality. “

Reflecting the content of the exhibition the event had a New York theme with American-style canapés, free wine and several chaps with Lumia 1020s to play with. There was also a choir & some girls doing fingernails.

‘It’s the new folk art – digital photography’
David Bailey

I very much enjoyed myself and used my own phone (not a Nokia shhhhh) to document the evening.

‘It makes u relook at things u take for granted ‘
David Bailey

Here are some of the Bailey & Webber photos in situ at the exhibition and some general photos of the event:

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

My Husband

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

People at the event

Split out phone

People at the event

People at the event

Head phones for listening to the videos (below)

My Husband

The event

Some videos:

Other reviews for this event:

September 7, 2013

Venice Biennale 2013

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I got married at the end of August and to my delight the Venice Biennale was still on during our honeymoon. Before we went I caught the culture show’s coverage of it – which is uploaded to youtube here & here in two parts.

We were only there for a few days so we didn’t make it all the way over to the Giardini delle Biennale near Arsenale but, as my new husband is a street photographer, we did walk pretty much everywhere else. We caught many of the periphery pavilions and exhibitions. Unlike here, except for a few places, mostly they allowed photos to be taken so here is my rundown…

We were staying near Campo S. Stefano so we’ll start with the Azerbaijan pavilion.

Azerbaijan. The national pavilion presented Ornamentation, an exhibition commissioned by a foundation headed by Azerbaijan’s First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva and curated by Herve Mikaeloff. I saw the installation in Palazzo Lezze, Campo S. Stefano, which is adorned with traditional, decorative patterns across the walls, lamps, tvs, furniture etc.


Ukrainian national pavilion featured the The Monument to a Monument show by artists of the younger generation, Mykola Ridnyj, Hamlet Zinkovskyi and Zhanna Kadyrova. I thought it was somewhere near Campo S. Stefano too but this site reckons this was at Palazzo Loredan.

The Ukrainians displayed sculptures and drawings (a wall full of match boxes with tiny portraits sketched inside them which Mike is regarding in the photo below), installations (a video camera with a beam of light made of concrete), and videos filling rooms with glimpses of Ukraine’s turbulent recent years, with the destruction of the utopia of the past and history manipulation as some of the motifs. The drawings and tiny matchbox portraits stole this one for me.

The Monument to a Monument

The next one we saw was Richard Mosse‘s The Enclave at the Irish-via-the-Congo pavilion. His exhibition features photos & videos of rebel-filled forests made using military surveillance film that turns the world psychedelic colours. The first room of giant scale photographs were a beautiful counterpoint to the traumatising videos in the next room. I picked up a leaflet for this one, in my paper note book for reference, with the curators statement – here is a quote:

Death is plainly observed by the ca,era, which pans over twisted bodies lying on the side of the road, already bootless, looted by passersby.

Not really honeymoon material but powerful nonetheless.




Here is a video;

Some of the Collateral Exhibitions were, as far as I could work out, unaffiliated with a national pavilion. Culture Mind Becoming is one such, although filled with Chinese artists. It was spread over two locations, we managed to visit both, Palazzo Marcello, San MArco and Palazzo Mora, Cannaregio. The first, featured work from Fang Lijun – A Cautionary Tale.

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Some I really liked such as the one pictured above but I wasn’t so keen on the gruesome disease series pictured below and the ones with all the many many babies in them.

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

I really liked seeing these exhibitions in such unusual settings, usually art gallery spaces are very modern and austere but throughout these exhibitions the backdrop of these old Palazzos was rather refreshing. Quite often they had the patio doors & windows open so we could lean out for some sneaky photos of views venice while we were there. I’ll be blogging my main photos over on my personal blog at some point.

Culture Mind Becoming

Palazzo Marcello

The second part of Culture Mind Becoming, featured many artists. Click on this image to be able to read the introduction text from the Curator for section 1:
Culture Mind Becoming - click for larger

Culture Mind Becoming - Xu Bing

Xu Bing – Phoenix: The Interior of Urbanization. Made from 3D printed animation.

Culture Mind Becoming - Xu Bing

Culture Mind Becoming

Ye Yongqing: Painting a Bird, above. See the detail shot below.

Culture Mind Becoming

Hua Qing: Destiny – The 12 Zodiac Animals. 12 silkscreen prints.

Culture Mind Becoming

Zhou Chunya: Peach Blossoms Series – Flower Blooms, Flower Fades, Year after Year.

Culture Mind Becoming

Down the centre of the exhibition was this huge model pagoda on its side. When you walked past it sections from within would glow different colours.

Culture Mind Becoming

Click on this image to be able to read the introduction text from the Curator for section 2:
Culture Mind Becoming - click for larger

I liked this: Still Life No. 1, Huang Hsin-Chien, 5 pieces made from Lucite with eroded stainless steel embodiments. Each piece was so delicate.

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Fan Angel: Secret Garden – No.2.

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Culture Mind Becoming

Zhang Kai: The beauty in my heart. According to this site this painting was sold in 2012 by Triumph Art Space for RMB 200,000 (approx. USD 31,900).

Next up is New Zealand – with Bill Culbert’s Front Door Out Back. This was one of my favourites that we visited, see my paper notebook for the map of the installation.

Bebop 2013:
Front Door Out Back - Bebop

Walk Reflection 2001/2013 – this one one of a pair of light skewered wardrobes, the other being called Walk blue:
Front Door Out Back - Walk Reflection

Daylight Flotsam Venice 2013:
Front Door Out Back - Daylight Flotsam Venice

Front Door Out Back - Daylight Flotsam Venice

Level 2013: This is a clever piece positioned to reflect whatever passes the doorway on the canal
Front Door Out Back - Level

Front Door Out Back - Level

HUT, Made in Christchurch 2012:
Front Door Out Back - HUT

Where are the other two? 2013
Front Door Out Back - Where are the other two?

Here are a couple of youtube videos about the exhibition:

Rhapsody in Green

In an adjacent exhibition, Rhapsody in Green, we saw the most meticulously painted green fields I’ve ever seen.

Rhapsody in Green

Huang Ming – Chang: Paddy in Autumn.

Rhapsody in Green

Huang Ming – Chang: Paddies in the Wind 2.

Rhapsody in Green

Not just paintings though, This is made from painted iron & steel wool.
Kao Tsan – Hsing: Mid-Summer Night.

Rhapsody in Green


One that both my Husband and I really enjoyed seeing was Ai Weiwei’s Disposition. On April 3, 2011, Ai was secretly detained by the police for 81 days at the Beijing Capital International Airport while on his way to board a flight to Hong Kong. He was released on bail on June 22, 2011 upon fabricated tax charges. Although the bail was lifted after a year, the authorities have not returned his passport and he remains prohibited from travelling outside China.

Installed inside a church (Salizada S. Antonin), Disposition is a set of 6 dioramas set inside large metal containers from Ai Weiwei’s 81 days in prison. There are viewing windows in the top and from the sides so you can see in. Its claustrophobic and disturbing and this is entirely the point. Here is the blurb that was printed at the entrance:










The top viewing windows were jammed open with a little plastic cover – these mush have been added afterwards because I remember in the culture show (above), them commenting on the nice prison clang they made when opening and closing the hatch. In one way this plastic cover took away from the experience of interacting with the show because a) you couldn’t hear that clang, and b) the plastic made it hard to see through the reflections caused by a bright church. In another way though, it enhanced it, the reflections were reflecting the church onto the scene – and there was a reason why he put this into a church in the first place.


You can watch an interview with Ai Weiwei here:

Another one nearby our hotel, just off Campo S. Stefano is Ink Brush Heart: Xi Shuang Ban Na. Artists Simon Ma & Julian Lennon show off a range of sculpture & paintings.

Ink Brush Heart

In the foyer we are met by a paint-splattered winged fibreglass horse-creature by Simon Ma entitled Lighterning.

Ink Brush Heart

Ink Brush Heart

The rest of the large sculpture pieces are outside in a cool sort of crumbing courtyard.
Ink Brush Heart

Ink Brush Heart


Ink Brush Heart

Ink Brush Heart

At the end of the courtyard is an enclosed bit with inflated plastic versions of the teardrop shape with different colour liquids in the bottom. There was one guy polishing them and another guy getting ready to inflate some more. Could it be that they need to inflate and fill these every day?

Ink Brush Heart

Ink Brush Heart

Ink Brush Heart

Up on the first floor landing are some pictures by Julian Lennon. They are listed as Archival Giclée Print + Ink. The print is inside a plastic box and the ink is painted on the outside. They are hung in front of lights to show off the shadow caused by the dual surface.
Taken + Wind 2013:
Ink Brush Heart - Taken + Wind 2013

Ink Brush Heart - Taken + Wind 2013

Blaze + Phoenix 2013:
Ink Brush Heart- Blaze + Phoenix 2013

Silver Linings + Lost Feather 2013:
Ink Brush Heart - Silver Linings + Lost Feather 2013

Aurora + Duet 2013:
Ink Brush Heart - Aurora + Duet 2013

Homeland + Return 2013:
Ink Brush Heart - Homeland + Return 2013

The Palazzo Pisani is really a lovely building. Up one more flight of stairs for the rest of the exhibition.
Ink Brush Heart

Simon Ma:
Peacock Dance, 2013. Rice paper & Ink.
Embrace, 2013. 18k White Gold, Copper Alloy, Malachite, Emerald, Garnet, Yellow Diamond, Sapphire & Mother of Pearl
Ink Brush Heart Ink Brush Heart

Simon Ma: Harmony, 2013. 18k White Gold, Copper Alloy, Malachite, Green Abalone & Blue Chalcedony
Ink Brush Heart

Simon Ma: Black Shadow, 2013. Rice paper & Ink.
Ink Brush Heart

There was some blurb about the artists collaboration too…
Ink Brush Heart

A Remote Whisper

A Remote Whisper

Down yet another random backstreet we found Palzzo Falier which houses the Pedro Cabrita Reis exhibition A Remote Whisper. Up several flights of stairs inside I wasn’t sure what to expect but this is what I found…

A Remote Whisper

Click on the images below to open the gallery:

Here is a video interview with the Artist and Curator (watch larger on Vimeo here):

By this point in the blog post you might be getting a bit arted-out, however, I’d urge you check out these links which explain a little more about this extraordinary installation.

I ended my trip around the Biennale on a little bit of a disappointment. I just couldnt get into the work in the Scottish Pavilion. After all the amazing art I’d seen, little trays with water in them and half finished mosaics weren’t really worth the 2 or 3 flights of stairs up to see them.



In fact the view out of the window here held my attention for longer… sorry chaps.

One exhibition that wasn’t part of the Biennale that I really enjoyed was in a shop on San Macro square, Impossible Venice by L De Luigi. Reminded me of Dali I think, which is probably why I liked it.

Impossible Venice

Impossible Venice

Impossible Venice

June 23, 2013

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013: Study Visit (15th June)

by Suzy Walker-Toye

As soon as I see any study visit that I can get to in London I sign up for them. They are great. They allow students to go to exhibitions they may not have gone to and bounce ideas off each other. Having said that, as this one drew near and I did the pre-reading (see links at the bottom of this post), I started to not really look forward to it. The day came and I’d convinced myself it was going to be a huge disappointment. Why? Well a couple of reasons, one, the reviews linked to from the pre-reading didn’t really sell it as very interesting and two, it was at the photographers gallery. I haven’t been to the photographers for a very long time (in fact I’d never been to it at its new location) but each time in the past I’d always come away feeling disappointed that the photography on display was poor/dull/unpleasant/uninspiring, take your pick. So I’m very pleased to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this study visit despite all the odds. Whether the photographers gallery has just got better at picking photography or I’ve become more questioning of what “interesting” photography actually is, I’ll leave to the reader to decide 😉

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize is an annual prize of £30,000, which awards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012.

The exhibition was curated over the top two floors, 4 & 5 of the photographers gallery. It didnt seem to make any difference which you saw first so I’ll introduce the nominations in the order I saw them in the exhibition, floor 4 Mishka Henner & Chris Killip, then floor 5, Broomberg & Chanarin and Cristina De Middel. I think the things that really turned around the exhibition for me were the interviews with the artists (short videos which you could listen to on headphones on the 4th floor) and chatting with the tutor Simon. He challenged us to think about what is relevant for photography today. I’ve managed to find the interviews on vimeo so I’ve included them here for reference.

Mishka Henner – No Man’s Land (Exhibition)

Mishka Henner is nominated for his exhibition No Man’s Land at Fotografia Festival Internazionale di Roma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (20 September – 28 October 2012). No Man’s Land presents google streetview images of prostitutes from all over europe to a soundtrack of birdsong from the various regions.

See this on vimeo here.

Mishka Henner, Carretera de Fortuna, Murcia, Spain, 2012 Mishka Henner, SS98, Cerignola Foggia, Italy, 2012

Mishka Henner, Contrada Vallecupa, Colonnella, Abruzzi, Italy, 2011 Mishka Henner, Carretera de Gandria, Oliva, Valencia, Spain, 2011

Despite Simon playing devils advocate and challenging our attitudes, I think most of the students agreed that this was the worst nominee, although the most controversial and therefore the most debated in the context of the study visit. Many of us were confused by the message in this one, and I think when you see the video above, this is because the artist isn’t coherent on what the message really is. Some students thought that he’d done this simply because he could get away with it, the “emperors new clothes” of photography. Some students didnt like it because it isn’t photography. It’s technically appropriation and curation of googles images and some amateur birdsong recordings. Many of the conversations were around the copyright implications of this one too. There were some students who were fine with the use of the google images, in fact one student mentioned going to Yosemite:

“Do we really need another photo of Yosemite? This guy using public domain images to express his vision instead.”

Whether he took the photos or not isn’t the problem I have with this work. My issue with it is that it isn’t an original idea to use google street view so if you are going to do it you should have a good foundation, a solid concept. It just seems like he’s jumping on the band wagon. The write up on the wall suggested that the work highlighted issues of surveillance and voyeurism, all well and good and so the work does, but is that something the curators of the photographers gallery felt compelled to write up there to give the work a bit of gravitas? Why doesn’t he express that in the video interview?

In the video, he was mostly talking about the process of the how he did the work he presents and not the why. He goes into more detail than you would think about the google process of image capture. He says that he uses forums where they talk about sexworkers but “he’s not really bothered about what their motivation is”, he just gets the coordinates of the girls to plug into google. He even says “there is no narrative underpinning to this work”. He’s interested in the sequence of images, how they happen every 5m etc and the possibility that they’d go on for ever. He tacks on the parallel that this hints at the oldest profession in the world but it seems like an afterthought. Some tiny way of explaining why he choose prostitues rather than just for the controversy that this might elicit. However, the tutor brought our attention to an interesting last comment in the video talking about the volume of an issue, is he hinting at the broader issue of surveillance and voyeurism? For me it didn’t hang together nicely, too many unresolved questions, fuzzy explanations and something smelt fishy about his motivations.

Chris Killip – What Happened: Great Britain 1970 –1990 (Exhibition)

Chris Killip is nominated for his exhibition What Happened – Great Britain 1970 –1990 at LE BAL, Paris (12 May – 19 August 2012). What Happened – Great Britain 1970 –1990 presents a series of black & white street photography images of working people in the north of England.

See this on vimeo here.

Chris Killip, Youth on Wall, Jarrow, Tyneside, 1976 Chris Killip, Boo and his rabbit, Lynemouth, 1983

Chris Killip, Helen and her hoola-hoop, Lynemouth, Northumberland, 1984 Chris Killip, Rocker and Rosie going home, Lynemouth, 1984

For me this was the least interesting to talk about in terms of the prize. Beautiful street photography, but I was left wondering why this had been nominated now? These images are 20-30 years old and have probably been in many exhibitions that would have been eligible over the years. The only conclusion I could come to was that there context had come back into public focus with the death of Maggie Thatcher. When I mentioned this to the tutors they seem to think this was likely and didn’t offer any competing explanation.

The video interview less interesting to me than the others probably because the work is self evident. There doesn’t need some grand explanation of the concept. Straight street photography from a bygone era which is pretty much what he says. A couple of interesting thoughts about these came up during our chats in the exhibition & over coffee, for example: does this style of photography still have relevance today? And it was interesting to see that Killip was immersed in local culture & known by people when he took these photographs (and, that he actually took these photographs!) This gave different side of photography than other nominees. I was also interested to note that floor four seemed to present images as fact, real historical documents (bring up photography as truth arguments) and were both based from exhibitions whereas all the next two, from floor five, play with fact & fictions and were presented as books. Clever and subtle curation on the part of the photographers gallery there to present different facets of the prize. As to the first question, yes, I think street photography will always have a place in contemporary photography because people will always want to document what other people are doing now and we love looking back on what was done then. I think the beauty of street photography only comes with time when the now passes into history and we can look back on it as then. In 30 years time, street photography taken today will be that much more exciting than those taken in 30 years (if we’re still using cameras and not some other whizzy gadget) will be to the people looking at it.

Winner: Broomberg and Chanarin – WAR PRIMER 2 (book)

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are nominated for their publication War Primer 2 (MACK, 2012). And this entry won the prize.

War Primer 2 is a limited edition book that physically inhabits the pages of Bertold Brecht’s 1955 publication War Primer. Brecht’s photo-essay comprises 85 images, photographic fragments or collected newspaper clippings, that were placed next to a four-line poem, called ‘photo-epigrams’. Broomberg and Chanarin layered Google image search results for the poems over Brecht’s originals in 100 books.

See this on vimeo here.

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Plate 12, 2011 Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Plate 23, 2011

I first came across the two winners when I blogged this early last year: what is conceptual photography. I found this an interesting continuation of their ongoing quest to explore how war is imaged and what the “truth” is. Also interesting to note that while the other students were disputing Mishka Henner’s right to be nominated for the prize with google streetview images they were strangely quiet about this one, which is also essentially found images appropriated for the artists own message, as was the original book. In this case though, there is a real message which is I think the crucial difference. The original book depicted found war images and expanded and explained them with mini poems and captions. The new images, silkscreened over the top of the originals extend or play with the poems and you can see hints of the original images beneath.

This project deserved to win (despite my preferring the the Afronauts – see below), the parting quote from the video above says its all…

“There is a moment that gets photographed and it is a moment of somebody suffering, and then that moment is turned into a photograph and then that photograph becomes a piece of currency that is then distributed around the world”

You just have to look at p51 of their book for just one example and there are many others. You can download your own copy of the war primer 2 free here.

Cristina De Middel – The Afronauts (book)

Cristina De Middel is nominated for her publication The Afronauts (self-published, 2011).

In 1964, after gaining independence, Zambia started a space programme in order to send the first African astronaut to the moon, the Afronauts blends fact and fiction with beautiful photographs.

See this on vimeo here.

Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts, 2012 Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts, 2012

Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts, 2012 Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts, 2012

This entry was my favourite. The tongue in cheek nature and playing with fiction and reality are what really attracts me to this. Its so creative and original. This injects some much needed fun into series of academic nominations. What is ‘real’? This is an analysis on truth in photography, and I think draws parallels with the winners who are also talking about photography as an inaccurate document which need interpreting with the ‘poems’.

“The pictures I was taking for newspapers were not true.”

My favourite image is the one that appears in the video at 02:00 of the man dreaming of the space race with his eyes closed and all the cut out stars behind him on the crumbling wall. Since this is her first book I am again wondering about how the nominations get chosen? How does a first self-published book get ‘seen’ to be nominated? It would be interesting to find out more information on how that side of the prize is worked out. Although she is entered in a number of other prizes. The photographers gallery blurb had this to say:

In addition to personal projects, De Middel has worked for publications such as Foam and Esquire, as well as various NGOs. Her work has been recognised by the National Photojournalism Prize Juan Cancelo (2009), Fnac Photographic Talent (2009) and the Humble Arts Women in Photography Project Grant (2011). She was a finalist at Open Call Guatephoto, Guatemala (2012), the winner of Photo Folio Review at Recontres de la Photographie, Arles, in 2012 and returned there as a participating artist this year. She was also a finalist at FotoPress, La Caixa, Spain this year.

The Afroanuts iPad app is available to download via and I really enjoyed going through her projects and features on her website.

Previous winners of the prize are listed here.

Here are a few other write ups from the visit that I found online, I haven’t read them all yet but I look forward to going through them when I have some time:
We Are OCA

ps: if anyone reading this is the lady or gentlemen who were taking photos of me while I was with headphones on listening to the interviews I’d love to see how that came out so please get in touch 🙂

April 1, 2013

Not Slacking Off…. But Not Doing Course Work

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I know it must seem like I’m slacking off because I haven’t posted to this blog for a while, but I’m not. Honest. My personal blog has been humming with new photographs. In fact since I last posted here I’ve made over 30 posts on there. I’ve been thinking about starting the next chapter (colour) which is quite a difficult one however in my assignment two feedback my tutor told me not to focus so much on underwater photography (because level one is all about being varied). The problem with that advice is, although while perhaps good advice for passing the course its not good advice for me because underwater photography is where I find my passion, my interest and my inspiration for all other photography. So the course fell slightly flat and I put it on the back burner while I went off to do a personal project in Raja Ampat, Indonesia (where, I might add, I would have been able to finish the colour chapter had I not been asked not to use underwater images in assignments)!

Anyway here are some images from that Project so you can see what I’ve been up to, there are many more on the blog posts from my personal blog….

That project has also inspired me to use lighter gear (because I had to borrow someones camera) and I’m selling all my nikon stuff here. In the mean time I have been taking some colours photos for the exercises on my iPhone which I shall write up in due course.


December 29, 2012

Photographer Josef Fischnaller reenacts the “Old Master Paintings”

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Following on from thing about the seduced by art exhibition – this caught my eye:

Austrian-born Josef Fischnaller takes pictures of scenes from old paintings with a modern twist. One of his favorite artists to be inspired by is the Italian painter Caravaggio.

Josef Fishnaller´s website: here.

Watch on youtube directly: here.

December 10, 2012

Weaving narratives in Museums and Galleries

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I watched this on thursday and have been meaning to find it online a post a link to it ( I was actually thinking quite a lot about it throughout the study visit too). Its a really interesting talk on the role museums and galleries play…

Thomas P. Campbell: Weaving narratives in museum galleries

As the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Thomas P. Campbell thinks deeply about curating—not just selecting art objects, but placing them in a setting where the public can learn their stories. With glorious images, he shows how his curation philosophy works for displaying medieval tapestries—and for the over-the-top fashion/art of Alexander McQueen. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

Yet another really interesting TED talks. You should subscribe to the post casts if you dont already.

December 9, 2012

Seduced by Art: Study Visit

by Suzy Walker-Toye

On friday I went to the National Gallery to see the exhibition Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present

as a study visit with the OCA. Its a great exhibition and you should go and see it. If you do, dont forget to check out the extra photographs dotted about the main national gallery gallery spaces.

Study Visit

We had an excellent lecture beforehand and I’ve written up my review on the exhibition in my PDF learning log (Part 2, 7th Dec entry) but there were a number of videos in the exhibition so I needed to blog. I especially enjoyed these two…

“An Ode to Hill and Adamson, 2012” by Maisie Broadhead and Jack Cole

“Big Bang” by Ori Gersht

November 18, 2012

What is conceptual photography?

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I picked this up on twitter and really enjoyed watching these three videos, I hope you find them interesting too.






November 4, 2012

Writing reviews for Exhibitions

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I wanted to write a quick blog post about this because I’ve been surprised by a few related things recently. Firstly how many people turn up to study visits with a camera. I’ve only been on a couple of OCA study days now. On my first study visit I was surprised at the number of people snapping away, at each other, at the work on display – everything. My first thought, “I thought we were here to study”, my second, “what a good idea” if the gallery owner doesn’t mind (and in the Saatchi gallery they don’t seem to stop you – this has been where my two visits have been so far). I was expecting to use the photos as an aid-memoir for my write up and to put that write up in my private learning log. I have been surprised by the number of students who’ve actually used those photos in their public blog – thus demonstration a basic lack of understanding (or perhaps just a disregard) of copyright law. As digital artists our work is subject to those same laws so I would have thought we’d like it respected? I certainly do. My first study visit photos were in a private learning log so I could happily talk about the work (I’m a visual person, I have great respect for those who can read or write about a photo without looking at it or showing it but I’m not really one of those people – or at least, its not a skill I’ve yet developed) because the Saatchi Gallery never got back to me about a press pack.

This is the second thing that surprised me recently, the number of people I spoke to who didn’t know what a press pack is. And mainly the reason for this post. I used one for my recent Prix Pictet  and Wildlife of the year reviews.  Basically a press pack is a pre-prepared set of information and or some images (and the license to use them) that the PR company supply to members of the press who want to review/write about of otherwise promote their event. When a gallery make an exhibition they need to promote it, so it makes sense when you think about it. When I go to an exhibition that’s worth visiting I want to share it with the world so I contact the gallery or sponsors press team and ask for the press pack. Although not technically accredited members of the press, bloggers are an important promo tool for event markers and as long as you adhere to the terms & conditions of the press pack you’ll often get access to photos and captions and other information to use with permission. All legal & above board. The main terms to note are usually how & where they want you to list the copyright for the images. And that your post is all about the exhibition (and not using the images for some other random usage).

My request is usually an email or filled in contact for that is simple and to the point and not trying to be something I’m not – here is an example I’ve used recently:

Subject: Press pack for blog use?

I would like to inquire if you have available a press pack for the <insert exhibition name here> exhibition. I am writing up a review on my blog and would like to use some photos with credit & permission within it?
many thanks

I hope that clears things up for a few people but feel free to comment or contact me if you have any questions. Also worth checking out is this post by Amano on Photographing Study Days.

October 29, 2012

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Not a study visit per say but I wrote a full review of the exhibition over on my other blog:

October 27, 2012

Prix Pictet 2012: Power – exhibition overview

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Following on from my previous post on our recent OCA study visit to the Saatchi Gallery, I said then that I would keep my review of the Prix Pictet exhibition private unless I could get permission to use the photos from the exhibition publicly. Well the good people at granted me access to a press pack in order to write my review including photos with permission & credit, so thanks guys.

So first a little about the point of the exhibition… according to the Saatchi Galleries press release:

“The mandate of the Prix Pictet is to use the power of photography to raise public awareness worldwide to the environmental and social challenges of the new millennium. Launched in 2008 by the Geneva- based private bank Pictet & Cie, the Prix Pictet has rapidly established itself as one of the world’s leading photography prizes. The Prix Pictet has two elements: a prize of CHF 100,000 awarded to the photographer who, in the opinion of the independent jury, has produced a series of work that addresses most powerfully the theme of the award; and the Commission, awarded by the Partners of Pictet & Cie, in which a nominated photographer is invited to undertake a field trip to a region where the Bank is supporting a sustainability project.”

The winner was Luc Delahaye with his “Various works: 2008 – 2011” and the following three were shown in the gallery space on nice big prints (© Luc-Delahaye © Prix Pictet 2012):

I deliberately didn’t read anything about the competition or the short listed artists before the study day. Yeah, I know it was recommend but I wanted to know my true feelings about the work presented before it was clouded by outside influence. How else will I learn if my inner assumptions & attitudes are really valid opinions on art or if I’m being subconsciously subtly nudged in a direction by something I’ve read? On the visit, for each artist I’d look at the work & think about the theme (Power). Then I’d read the little blurb about the work & reassess. The work in the first room of the exhibition really hammered the theme home which was encouraging.

On the whole I’m pleased with my original thoughts but for some of the more conceptual work I did need the blurb the really understand what I was seeing and how it fit into the theme. Most times the deeper context made the work even more interesting. However, in the case of the winner (above) I just don’t get it. So much so, I came back home and went on the website to try and understand what I’d missed and why he’d won for this theme above all the other shortlisted artists. I still don’t get it. The work isn’t a result of one series and although some of the work fits the theme, the images feel too disparate and unconnected for me to understand why he won. Some powerful images to be sure, such as the tanks in the dusty street in “Ambush, Ramadi”, the first photo above, and the chaos reining at the “132nd Ordinary Meeting of the Conference”. But what of the other one displayed in the gallery: door to door. I don’t get what it has to do with power, or sustainability. Who is that random man, why does he have a bandage on his finger, what is he going door to door for? It caused only frustrating questions for me, perhaps due to my woeful lack of knowledge of world events? It seems as though I’m not the only one though (which made me feel slightly better). Sean O’Hagan of the guardian doesn’t agree with the winner either:

If I was to pick my favourites of those short listed I’d have to say the oil slicks & the board rooms, Daniel Beltrá and Jacqueline Hassink. For me the aesthetic of the photo plays a large part in a successful photograph. I know that sounds silly to say because a photo is a visual medium but in so many of the top competitions clever ideas & natty concepts win out over the beauty of the final image. To me, a truly great photograph has both. A slick concept but a boring looking image just does not do it for me. Maybe that makes me critically underdeveloped or too sensationalist but I guess that’s what this art of photography course is for to develop my critical palette. So bearing that in mind here is my run down of the images from this show, with my favourites first of course!


Daniel Beltrá – Series: Spill (© Daniel Beltrá © Prix Pictet 2012):

This guy would have been the winner had I been choosing… They are so hauntingly beautiful and emotionally provoking. Maybe I’m bias because they hit me where it hurts (the ocean! See my other blog: Memoirs of an underwater photographer). They abstract the catastrophe of the oil spill, they don’t even really look like photographs, more paintings when on display in the gallery. Once you realise what you are looking at you feel a wave of shame & guilt that you could find them so attractive. Easily the best photos in the show in my opinion. Plus I although thought these fit the theme very well on many levels  (mans power to devastate nature, power in for form of oil, the sustainability of the fossil fuel industry etc etc).

This is the artists statement:

Series: Spill
“The oil-stained, blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico swirl in my mind’s eye like a grotesque painting.

I worked off the coast of Louisiana during the spill, where approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf waters. The resulting photographs were taken from three thousand feet above, giving perspective to the environmental devastation below.

On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 crewmen and injuring 17, becoming the world’s largest marine oil spill. More than 600 miles of coastline were affected and show lingering signs of oil and dispersant. Layers of crude are still spread thick on the ocean floor, radiating far from the wellhead site. Scientists have determined that up to 75% of the oil from BP’s disaster remains in the Gulf environment.

The Spill series is a first-hand account of this tragedy, and reveals our society’s obsessive dependence on petroleum. Every day in the United States, we use four times the volume of the oil released into the Gulf.

“Oil is the lifeblood of America’s economy,” says the U.S. Department of Energy website; this statement has become an ironic metaphor for our current culture of consumption.

We live in a finite world, yet treat its resources as if they were infinite. We pollute the ecosystems we depend upon for survival by pursuing food, fuel, and industry in unsustainable ways. In trying to harness the power of Nature we instead unleash it with dreadful consequences, failing to heed the sobering lessons of the past.

Our knowledge and ingenuity could give us the power to realise and implement a sustainable future. ”

Daniel Beltrá.

My second favourite shortlisted artist was Jacqueline Hassink for her series Arab Domains: (© Jacqueline Hassink © Prix Pictet 2012):

This series focuses on Arab women business leaders, aiming to reveal a different reality to the stereotypical images of Arab women often seen in the Western media. These women permitted Hassink to photograph their office boardroom tables and their dining tables at home. I found these fascinating, not only for promoting powerful women from traditionally male dominating socialites but seeing two sides of peoples lives – the public and private, the work and home. This is one of those instances where a natty idea and a beautiful photograph collide. What I also really liked is beside each photograph there was a little bio of the women of the following format: Nationality, Primary Residence, Date of birth, place of birth, religion, martial status (and dependants), position, industry, revenue in a particular year, date of the photo. Just factual information but it coloured how you perceived each space.


Edmund Clark – Series: Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out – © Edmund Clark © Prix Pictet 2012:

Photographs with a strong political agenda usually leave me a little cold, what do you think? Here is the artists statement for this series…

Series: Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out
“The continuing existence of the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay symbolises the imbalance of power that is the Global War on Terror. Since President Bush claimed the authority to indefinitely imprison anyone deemed an ‘enemy combatant’, hundreds of men from all over the world have been shipped to Guantanamo. Many have been imprisoned for years, subjected to interrogation abuses and denied fundamental due process rights. A handful were driven to suicide. It is in the daily process of their incarceration that the exercise of absolute power over the individual is most clearly seen. Every detail is controlled: whether a detainee is allowed toilet paper, mail or a pen, or whether his cell is in constant light or darkness. A man deemed non-compliant can be moved hourly from cell to cell or kept in solitary confinement; one who refuses to eat will be strapped to a chair and a tube forced down his nose. Of the 779 men detained, six have been convicted by military commissions. Despite President Obama’s pledge to close the camps, 171 remain incarcerated with little prospect of release or trial. Working under military censorship, this series explores the spaces and objects of power and control at Guantanamo.”
Edmund Clark.

However having come home and re-reviewed the images (and the rest that weren’t shown in the gallery) they have grown on me as a set. They are much more clean and ordered that you’d expect and everything is so bright, which is especially creepy given the title of the series.


An-My Lê – Series: 29 Palms – (© An-My Lê © Prix Pictet 2012)

This series of (practice) war photographs frame a tension between the vast natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields. It depicts the United States Marines preparing for deployment, play-act scenarios in a virtual Middle East in the California desert. However I think they would have been much more impressive if they had been printed up super large. They were taken with a large format camera and would have been stunning. I don’t think the display of them on screen or in the gallery really do them justice.

Rena Effendi – Series: Still Life in the Zone – (© Rena Effendi © Prix Pictet 2012):

Focusing on the long-term effects of the nuclear disarter at Chernobyl this powerful series of images bring us a glimpse into the lives of the people who live in the area. Here is the artists statement which sums it up better than I ever could…

Series: Still Life in the Zone
“Twenty-six years after the disaster, the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident are both visible like scars and invisible like air. While access to the area surrounding Reactor #4 is restricted with barbed wire and police checkpoints, more than 200 people – mostly elderly women – inhabit the 30 km area around it, now called the Zone of Alienation. These women survived the famine of Stalin’s blockade, Nazi occupation in WWII, and only days after the worst nuclear accident in the world’s history chose to return home. “A pigeon flies close to its nest! Those who left are dying of sadness…” – explains Maria Vitosh, one of the survivors.
Focusing on still life images – victuals, household items, relics of the disaster – I use the prism of Nature Morte to portray both the long-term effects of this nuclear catastrophe, and the power and persistence of the human spirit in the face of devastation. I am also fascinated by the earth’s ability to teem with life, not long after annihilation. The death-infused lives of the Chernobyl women, as seen through objects from their daily life, personify the promise and paradox of power – in reference to the dangers of nuclear energy and the awesome human will to survive. The story of Chernobyl turns Nietzsche’s dictum on its head – that which makes us stronger can also kill us.”
Rena Effendi.


Mohamed Bourouissa – Series: Périphérique – (© Mohamed Bourouissa © Prix Pictet 2012):

Unlike the photos about peoples lives that I’ve listed so far from the other artists – this series actually features photographs of the people themselves. The artists statement explains…
Series Périphérique:
“‘What I am after is that very fleeting tenth of a second when the tension is at its most extreme. We have all known those imperceptible moments when the tension seems more violent than the confrontation with the other . At that extreme point where anything could happen, or nothing.’ Mohamed Bourouissa has produced a number of works exploring social reality, working within contemporary urban environments to explore the stereotypes surrounding geographical and social spaces. Périphérique is a series interested in the territories and issues of the suburbs in France where he grew up. A burnt out car, a playing field, a cafeteria, a housing project, a concrete slab – all become a theatre in which groups where meetings bring forth ambiguity, disquiet, a latent dormant violence which comes with no actual sign of violence . Often considered to be the violent border of progressive society, Bourouissa places these suburbs in the field of art, treating them as a visual, conceptual object. His photographs reference historical paintings thus rendering them deeply connected to art history, and places the subjects in the vernacular of the French Revolution, each scene working to address the reality of the prejudices within society. His pictures are staged like cinema shots and are rich with references to painters such as Caravaggio, Delacriox, Gericualt and photographers such as Jeff Wall and Garcia di Lorca.”


Guy Tillim – Series: Congo Democratic (© Guy Tillim © Prix Pictet 2012):
Politics in the Congo – here is the artist statement:

“In modern times, the territory that has become known as the Democratic Republic of Congo began by being the object of imperial expansion and colonial dominion.􏰁The nature of these conquests set the tone for the calamities that have followed: the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko and civil war. The recent UN-sponsored elections are undermined by mistrust. These images trace some aspects of the individuals and institutions that have been in power in the Congo.”


Joel Sternfeld – Series: When it Changed (© Joel Sternfeld © Prix Pictet 2012):

I really liked this series, its such a great idea and the images really bring the point home… Joel explains here in his artists statement why everyone looks so shocked and appalled:

“In November of 2005 I went to Montreal, Canada to attend the 11th United Nations Conference on Climate Change. Like most Americans at the time I was confused about the subject. Even though I considered myself to be a landscapist with an abiding interest in seasonality, and even though I had clipped articles about the possibility of “global warming” from the newspaper since 1989, the information and disinformation surrounding the subject left me, and the American public with a vague sense of discomfort about the subject but little to help formulate a concrete understanding. Those were the days before Al Gore had published An Inconvenient Truth.
What I heard and saw in Montreal shocked me as nothing else. I went there wondering if climate change existed but most of the twenty thousand delegates were already considering the possibility that it not only existed but was about to become irreversible. I took photographs of the participants at moments when the horror of what they were hearing about ecological collapse was most visible on their faces.
To match the sense of anxiety and urgency seen in these faces I created a text culled from newspapers and journals and presented in the form of wire service transmissions. It was meant to provide a chronology of climate change as it had occurred in the previous twenty years—in the thinking and predictions of scientists and climatologists; in the actions of governments and non-governmental organizations, and in the landscape where dramatic events were increasingly occurring.
By the title: When it Changed I also meant to refer to the possibility of a hopeful turning point. In the past few years increasing recognition of the danger has lead to many positive responses across the globe to confront humanity’s greatest challenge. If these efforts are successful then this current period will be the time when the essential human—earth relationship changed.”

Robert Adams – Series: Turning Back (© Robert Adams © Prix Pictet 2012):

These images on Clear cutting (a controversial forestry practice in which most or all tree in an area are uniformly cut down) I personally found a little underwhelming. The prints were very small and they were situated right at the end of the exhibition right by the exit. Its a bit of a shame since deforestation is an important issue for sustainability:

Philippe Chancel – Series: Fukushima: The Irresistible Power of Nature (© Philippe Chancel © Prix Pictet 2012):

This series of images were of a fairly standard documentary style depicting the devastation wrecked by the tsunami and outbreak of nuclear contamination around Fukushima. I liked the way these were presented, with the area maps beside each one.

Carl De Keyzer – Series: Moments Before the Flood (© Carl De Keyzer © Prix Pictet 2012):

Last but not least, I really liked the photos in this series, they made me smile. They took a serious subject like climate change and rising sea levels and almost added an “Evan Almighty” take on it. Here is the artist statement:

“It seems to be an accepted fact that the sea level will rise dramatically before the end of the century as a result of climate change, partly through the fault of us, humans. Prognoses vary from a few decimetres to a few metres. Moments before the Flood is a visual, photographic investigation into how Europe is coping with this difficult-to- gauge threat. The coasts of Europe are the areas in which the repercussions of this threat will be felt. This is the zone in which the mainland no longer feels as “main” as it once did, where the Old World is foundering and where the future is a threat to the past. The coast is the question mark of the mainland. And that’s what makes it such a fascinating subject for photographic research that tries to depict uncertainty. This project doesn’t just focus on a possible future hazard; it also takes in the various forms of coastal protection in Europe throughout history and how today Fortress Europe copes with other swells and floods.
The 65,000-kilometre-long coast of Europe is dotted with useless coastal defences from bygone days. Many represent enormous investments in materials and man-hours, but most never served any purpose, either because the “enemy” didn’t show up, or, when the enemy did appear, the construction proved hopelessly outdated.
Is Europe prepared for the possible dramatic rise of the sea level and to what extent will its efforts eventually prove futile? Eventually the threat was not so serious, or was it perhaps because we were so well prepared for it? To a great extent, this research programme is all about this latent tension, the incapacity to define just how real a threat actually is and how efficient are our defences against it.”

well done for making it all the way through my rather long review. I hope you enjoyed reading about it and I urge you to go and see the exhibition in person if you are able at the Saatchi Gallery although tomorrow is the last day so be sure to hurry! Please don’t use any of these images from this post – they are all copyright the artists and Prix Pictet 2012.

October 20, 2012

“PRIX PICTET ‘POWER'” Saatchi Gallery Study Visit

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Today I went on another OCA study visit to the Saatchi Gallery. This time to see the Prix Pictet results. Unless they get back to me about a press pack I’ll be leaving my review private for my tutor.

So after we finished looking around the prix picket exhibition, while the others were finishing off Ashley and I popped downstairs to the little black jacket exhibition. I really enjoyed this one. If you have a chance to go to this you should. If I was going to take fashion photos I’d love for them to be like this 😉

Also worth checking out on the top floor is the Jon Rafman: The Nine Eyes of Google Street View.


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September 11, 2012

Inspiration – David Doubilet

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I know this is old news (April 2012), but its new to me so I’m sharing it here. Full of lovely photos, I’ve only just read this interesting article about one of my favorite photographers – David Doubilet.


Photos that move and flow….

….While technique and planning are the bedrock of successful underwater photography, preparation alone isn’t enough.

“You’re after a feeling, a moment, almost a wistfulness,” Mr. Doubilet said. “You have to think poetically.”….


Very true. Thanks Mr Doubilet for putting it so elegantly.

July 15, 2012

“Out of focus” Saatchi Gallery Study Visit

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I went to the Saatchi Gallery group study visit yesterday to see the Out Of Focus Exhibition. Yes, thats me in the image above captured by Mike when we went back in after the study group had left – click the image to go to his website. As the first study visit I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a large group of 23 students & 3 tutors. We each got OCA badges so we’d be able to recognise other members of the group as we toured the gallery which worked well and we all chatted about the photos on the way around. It might have been nice to have name badges as well though because I have actually no idea of who anyone was because hardly anyone said their names.

As we went in I picked up an exhibition guide because the information on the wall by the photos was almost non existent, pretty much photographer name, print type and title. It gave some nice context when the work wasn’t self evident. As I went through I’d look at the work. Then read the guide and re-view the work. This way I got my first gut reaction, then my informed reaction before I formulated an opinion. For each one I then marked in the guide what I thought. I have put this guide in my paper logbook for reference.

The following were the highlights in my opinion:

Gallery 1 was Katy Grannan’s photos of random people in San Francisco and it was a good set of work with which to start of the exhibition as theres a lot to consider about it. In fact we had a rather lengthy dissection of it afterwards when we all had coffee (kindly paid for refreshments too). I had mixed reactions to the work, some I thought were amazing portraits but for some I thought she was not portraying the subjects at their best (and that’s putting it kindly). For each though, their personalities shone though for better or worse (for them). Also although they were all against a white wall they weren’t all against the same white wall. There were subtle differences in the wall to bring out different aspects of the photos, for example one was all chipped & broken with an angry looking punky woman, one had subtle graffiti and a big hairy, burly looking man who’d look at home on a Harley, some had the light hitting it from a different angle for more texture. One in particular, the woman’s hair was over her face (so she really was ‘anonymous’ – the title of them all) but all the textures were emphasised, the swishy material of her skirt, the fluffyness of her fur stole and the harsh light bringing out the texture in the wall.

Gallery 3 – don’t miss the amazing black & white collaged maps of Paris, Toyko and New York by Sohei Nishino. I could have spent hours looking at those. And the faces in the rocks of Matthew Day Jackson’s work. I couldn’t discern all of them. One of them especially looked like a UK electric plug more than a face.

Gallery 6 – look out for the first two by Ryan McGinley – tiny naked figures in incredible landscapes.

Gallery 10 was dominated by a triptych of mosaics (by Mat Collishaw) of horrible things happening (which is best viewed from the viewing platform above so you can see all three), however them gem for me in this gallery were the two photos by Noemie Goudal. Look closely at what you are seeing.

Gallery 12 – if I was going to be a street photographer I’d like to do something like the work of Hannah Starkey. I love her bold choice of backgrounds where the figure if incidental but integral to the photograph.

second floor lobby: Berndnaut Smilde – Nimbus II and underwater still from a commercial shoot by Phoebe Rudomino.

Also of interest the google photography prize on the top floor and the amazing oil installation by Richard Wilson on the lower ground floor – unfortunately they’ve closed the access to the viewing area which gives you a little vertigo trip when you stand right at the end (I suspect too many people were getting oil on themselves), but you can still get a good view of the work.

I only got around to seeing up to half of gallery 12 before we all trooped off for coffee but I went back in afterwards with my boyfriend to see the rest of the exhibition and the google prize. I really enjoyed my study visit and I urge anyone who isn’t sure to take the plunge and go on one! I’m also very glad that not many people took a camera, there only seemed to be one guy constant taking photos of everyone, hopefully he’ll edit them savagely and only show the super flattering ones (if any)!

July 14, 2012

Lunchtime walkabout

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I went for a walk yesterday lunchtime across Southwark bridge. I didn’t realise how close to the Tate I am so I’ll have to pop in there more often. I walked all the way to the Golden Hinde. Who says I can’t take a shipwreck on land?

The dynamic range from sky to land was very high when the sun came out so on the bridge on the walk back I tried the HDR pro app where it takes two photos – one light and one dark, and blends them for you. Here are my two views from the bridge:

June 26, 2012

Lunch break Walkabout

by Suzy Walker-Toye

So theres a London festival of Photography on this June – who knew? I didn’t see any adverts about it anywhere. So at the end of June I see the link. Figures. Since there’s still this week left of June I made a mission to see at least one exhibition. Luckily the Frederick Wilfred exhibition of London Photographs is in the Museum of London (until 8th July), which despite being only minutes from my office I have never been to. For shame. I went yesterday lunchtime. The exhibition itself is only small, less than 10 photos but it was lovely to see the old views of London. I especially liked the one with the butcher staring out at the photographer past all the meat in his shop window.

My tutor sad I should try some street photography, so on the way there and back (and cheekily inside the museum) I took some shots with my iPhone.

Make Love Not War:
As I came back I saw a bunch of dressed up Army guys with massive guns crossing the road, called Love Lane. I wanted to get both the sign and the group of men in the shot.

Museum of London:
The architecture around the museum is quite nice, this view of the museum is from the foot bridge over the road. I like all the zigzags lines and many block shape windows. Pity the iPhone blew out the sky, but it was pretty sunny.

Inside the museum they had this amazing 1930s Bronze lift that used to be in Selfridges. This part of it caught my eye.

There were quite a few little school parties of kids all being taught about our great cities history. These guys are learning about the time before the Romans got here.

GuildHall Flags:
They were having some fancy todo at the guildhall (I asked someone and thought thought perhaps a flag was being raised). All the preparations were out, ambulances, union jacks, microphones, chairs for the old folks etc etc. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the main event as I had to get back to work.

Anyway, I hope to bring you more lunchtime wanders. You never know I might even get to more of those exhibitions this week!

June 13, 2012

Introducing my bookshelf page

by Suzy Walker-Toye

With the course comes a reading list (as you would expect). I’m currently slowly making my way through the list. I’ve added a bookshelf page to this blog where you can track what I’m reading now, what I have read and what I’m reading next. As I finish each book I shall update the links from the books (they currently link to where you can buy them on amazon) to a short review post. Not all the books I read will be from the reading list but hopefully they’ll all tie in and be interesting. You can fund my page in the menu above.

June 7, 2012


by Suzy Walker-Toye

I watch a lot of podcast videos and videos online. I’ll list them here for now:


TED talks. David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence.


Google Hangout with 5 underwater photographers

very gear focused chat between 5 photographers but interesting to watch the first live google hangout by wetpixel.

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