Posts tagged ‘street photography’

November 5, 2013

Exercise: Rain Magazine Cover

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p181 is to create a magazine cover on the subject of rain. Here is mine:

Rain cover

I did take this other image at the same time but I think the one I chose it better. Rainy london.

Alternative Rain

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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 25, 2013

Exercise: Outdoors At Night

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p152 is all about photographing at night in the city centre. The aim of this exercise is to explore the variety of lighting effects and colour in artificial light. To include in our list of image were the following:

  • A floodlit building (where the lights are hidden)
  • A brightly lit storefront
  • A large interior such as a shopping centre
  • And a view of a busy road where we can create light trails of the car lights rushing by.

The view skyline would look much better at dusk where there is a hint of light in the sky however I usually go home before its dark at this time of the year or I’m out for a reason until it’s full dark – this time I was at the David Bailey and Bruce Weber exhibition. Although having said this – London has so much light pollution it is never really black anyway.

Floodlit

Closed Tube

The Tower

City lights

City Lights

The Gherkin

Office

Triangles

Lit Walkway

Triangles & Lights

Office Block

Stairwell

Outside seating

Liverpool St Station

Busy Street

Empty Street

Traffic

Traffic

Traffic

Traffic

Hairdressers

Shopping Mall

Liverpool St Station

Liverpool St Station

Upturned Spotlights

Shiny building

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:

August 8, 2013

Exercise: Cloudy weather and rain. Part 1.

by Suzy Walker-Toye

This exercise (p146) comes in 3 parts. The first is a comparison between sunny and cloudy weather for three types of scenes, the second is finding opportunities for best using the diffuse lighting that comes by overcast weather and the third is rain. This post covers part 1 only, part 2 & 3 to follow shortly.

So, for part one we are to take a street scene, a building and people, shoot them (with the WB set to sunny) when the sun is out and when the sun is behind clouds and see what the differences are.

Firstly, two photos of a building (these are straight out of camera with no adjustments in LR).
Building under cloud
ISO 200, f11 1/250

Building in the sun
ISO 200, f11 1/500

Theres an obvious difference in exposure (1 stop) but also the building under cloudy weather is much less warm in tone despite being shot with the same WB. The contrast is higher and the shadows are deeper in the sunny photo.

Secondly a street scene,

Cloudy street scene
ISO 200 f8, 1/200

Sunny street scene
ISO 200 f11 1/320

This time there is a larger difference in exposure: 1-2/3 stops. The overcast photo looks very dull and flat compared with the sunny one. Again you see the sunny one is warmer in tone.

Lastly, people, they didn’t hang around so long in the sunny area so I have different sets of people walking through the same area.

People lit when the sun is behind clouds
ISO 200 f9 1/200

Person in the sun
ISO 200 f11 1/400

This again was about 1-2/3 stops difference in exposure (by the way I was using this nifty little stop difference calculator here). This time we see that the cloudy one is nicer because the people are squinting less against the sun. There are less harsh eye-socket shadows in the cloudy photo too (although it was still quite bright). And although the buildings seem less warm the peoples skin seem ok in colour in both photos.

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 www.ubicuostudio.com 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
Ashley
Tad
Siegfried
Richard

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 20, 2013

Exercise: Colour Relationships

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p114 is in two parts. Part one is to produce photos with the following colour combinations and ratios:

  • Red & Green, Ratio 1:1
  • Orange & Blue, Ratio 1:2
  • Yellow & Violet, Ratio 1:3

I decided to make this into a little set (click them to see them larger)…

The second part is to use colour combinations that appeal to me. I’ve noticed that I tend to go for colour combinations that include blue or yellow or both.

November 20, 2012

Exercise: Rhythms & Patterns

by Suzy Walker-Toye

On p99, the last exercise for part 2 is of patterns & rhythms. Photos with Rhythm lead your eye in a pattern to a beat. And for photographs with patterns your eye can imagine the pattern continuing on out of the frame.  Following on from yesterdays post these photos of rhythms & patterns are also all from central London buildings.

There are quite a few so I’ve put them into this clickable gallery, click the images to see larger. As you can see there are some triangle influences here too…

my favourites are #1 and #9. Next to do is the assignment for this section.

November 19, 2012

Exercise: Real & Implied Triangles

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The section on shapes end with an exercise on real & implied triangles (p92). Does anyone else think of the Eddie Izzard sketch about Darth Vader eating triangular food? No? Just me then. Ok, so I went for a walk in Central London to take photos to cover this, the previous (with the Batman building) and the next exercise. As it turns out I really enjoyed taking photographs of bits of buildings! I thought they’d look better in black and white but as usual I just couldn’t part with the colour for most of them.

The one above is triangletastic, looking up into a triangular section which is reflected in the shiny windows causing even more triangles. The one below is part of a construction saw I saw on the walk to work (one of the few here not from the south bank).

The one below is also looking up and if I had been shooting with a wider focal length would have made a giant triangle so this one is an implied triangle with little real and reflected triangles in it too.

This is another looking up one, I thought the negative space of the sky made an almost implied triangle but there are other triangles by perspective in it too.

The one below is another from the 1/2 finished building. In this one the inverted triangle leads your eye down to the little worker men at the bottom. I should have taken more time over this one, the men are a little close to the edge of the frame for my liking but it was touch and go for getting to work on time at it was. This is why you should never take photos in a hurry.

And now for something completely different….

The last part of the exercise very clearly states that it has to be a photo of 3 people arranged in a group such that their faces (or bodies) make an implied triangle. Well luckily for me it did not state 3 living people! Here is a family portrait from the Acme Family Portrait Studio of my kitchen table:

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.

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

Taught:
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!

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