Reflections on the Course

I came into this course with a very limited view of what landscape photography is about. I saw landscape photography as a continuation of the tradition Romantic Landscape painting. In this view of the genre the aim is to idealise the landscape and to represent the beauty and sublime nature of the natural world. Much of my work in the early part of the course was directed at this model. My influences were photographers such as Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell and contemporary photographers such as Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite and David Noton.

As I  progressed through the course I discovered that the genre is so much more. The final projects about reviewing different styles were so revealing for me. I discovered the work of what I would call documentary landscape photographers. I would number the work of the photographers who took part in the New Topographics under this heading alongside contemporary photographers such as Gabriele Basilico.

I found out more about what might be called 'post modern'  landscape photography. The work of people like John Davies,  John Kippin and Jem Southam where there is an underlying conceptual message within their work.

I also discovered how landscape is used within contemporary art photography. The 'Paradise' series by Thomas Struth for example where he uses complex photographs of jungle scenes which defy reading to engage a contemplative response from the viewer.

I feel that I have learned so much and have really enjoyed the course. My only regret is that I did not discover the broader interpretation of the genre earlier in the course. I am most proud of the work I did 'in the style of Fay Godwin' for assignment five. In this assignment I not only assumed the role of the romantic landscape photographer but also that of the documentary landscape photographer.

Most of my portfolio to date is in the Romantic vein. Perhaps if the discussion on styles of landscape photography had challenged me earlier in the course I might have ended up in a different place. This should not be read as me not being proud of my work. I am. But I wonder if I might have taken a different direction?


Project 42 - man made landscapes

The aim of this project is to take photographs of distinctly man made landscapes. For each image I was to decide on my clear intention with regard to the impression, information and opinion I wish to convey. Here are three images, for each I set out my intentions.

The first image was taken in Watendlath in the  English Lake District. It shows a bridge over the beck which is running in full flow with a wall leading into the background which has trees in autumn colour and the fells beyond. The bridge and wall are made of local stone and so meld into the landscape as if they were part of it. My intention with this image was to show how man can interact with the landscape in a sympathetic manner - man and landscape in harmony as it were.

Watendlath Beck and Pack Horse Bridge, English Lake District 
The second photograph was taken on the Ridgeway in Wiltshire at Segsbury Fort. In this image I how the ancient landscape of the Ridgeway and the fort have been blighted and enclosed by modern man. The fence in the foreground alludes to how the landscape in Britain is now closed off and Didcot Power Station illustrates how planning decisions for such installations are apparently not sympathetic with preserving the natural beauty and heritage of our landscape.

Didcot Power Station from Segsbury Fort, Wiltshire
The final image was taken in Florianopolis in Brazil. It was taken from a high vantage point and shows how man's relentless urbanisation takes over naturally beautiful landscapes. The trees in the foreground and the distant hills give clues to the landscapes once untouched past leaving one regretting mans overwhelming influence.

Florianopolis, Brazil

Project 41 - grain

The idea of this project is to explore how the use of film grain can be used creatively in landscape photography. All film has a degree of graininess but high speed black and white film is particularly noted for its significant grain - particularly when pushed. I do not generally shoot in film but it is possible to simulate grain with digital capture in a number of ways. The simplest method is to set the camera on a high ISO setting which in itself will produce a 'digital' graininess. This is not my preferred approach as I don't find the grain produced in this manner very attractive and also with digital sensors some detail is also lost at high ISO. My preference is to use a low ISO to retain resolution and detail and to add grain later using Photoshop or Lightroom. I can then control the look. To simulate the looked of 'pushed' film I also increase the contrast, clarity and sharpness of the images. Here are some comparisons based on two black and white images I shot for Assignment 5 'in the style of Fay Godwin'.

In these cases I think that the use of grain has a positive creative effect. In both of the images I selected the texture of the landscape is a feature and adding additional texture through the grain has accentuated this effect. Also the images refer to Man's relationship with the landscape by the inclusion of old or in the case of the latter image ancient man made elements. Adding grain has given the images a vintage feel and in the case of the first image has also accentuated the softness of the mist in the background enhancing the sense of mystery that this element provides.

What this exercise has shown me is that grain can be used well for creative effect but that the reason for doing it should be carefully considered within the context of the particular image.


Project 37: ways of dramatising a landscape

This project called for an evaluation of what techniques could be used to make a landscape photograph more dramatic. Here are my thoughts:

1. Inherently spectacular subjects such as mountains, cliffs, sea stacks etc - this is very much in the vein of the work by Galen Rowell who photographed in mountainous areas of the world where the scenery was inherently dramatic. Here is an example...
Last light on Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park

2. Extreme focal length of lens:very wide angle or long telephoto - here is an example of a photograph taken by David Noton using a 15mm fisheye lens which shows a wide perspective creating an image where the full extent of the bay can be appreciated adding to the drama of the scene:
 Port Campbell National Park, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

3. Rich colours at sunrise and sunset - photographing during the magic hour is perhaps the most oft used way of creating dramatic images as in this shot at dusk by David Noton:
Twelve Apostles at dusk, Port Campbell National Park,
Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia. 

4. Backlighting - this inherently creates a dramatic image due to the high contrast nature of the resulting images. Here is a particularly dramatic image taken by Galen Rowell:
God beams and colors of The Glory through prayer flags atop Gokyo Ri, Everest Region, Nepal

5. Unusual composition - by definition this approach can inherently take many forms. Here is an example by Galen Rowell based on over-emphasising the foreground interest relative to the background:
Cuernos del Paine at dawn from Lago Pehoe, Patagonia, Chile

The project requires me to come up with some other examples of dramatic landscapes. Here are some thoughts:

1. Reflections - lakes surrounded by dramatic scenery can create a dramatic image when on a still day the landscape is mirrored in the lake - Buttermere in the English Lake District is a great location for this type of image. Sadly on the two occasions I have been there recently it has been very windy...still conditions are a pre-requisite for this type of image.
2. Dramatic Weather - stormy weather can be very dramatic with majestic cloud conditions and strong light. An image of a storm brewing over a distant landscape is an example of this type of image. 
3. Extended Leading lines - a shot along a beach with the sea tracing a long winding line into the distance has the potential to create a dramatic image particularly if the light and weather add to the mix.
4. Use of unusual aspect ratios - wide panoramic images with aspects ratios above 2:1 can add to the drama of a scene as they can present a perspective not normally seen by the human eye. 
5. Using ND filters to create long exposures - this approach particularly when the photograph has elements within it which are moving can create unusual and dramatic images. This is particularly the case when capturing images of the sea or lake moving over rocks or other static elements. The water takes on a creamy texture and the impression is of movement. The same is true of rivers and streams moving over rocks.

These are a few thoughts and I may add to these at a later stage as ideas come to me. 


David Alan Harvey Workshop Clarksdale Mississippi

It is some time now since I returned from my photo Workshop with David Alan Harvey in Mississippi. The workshop was centred in Clarksdale with the annual Juke Joint Blues Festival as a focal point of photographic interest. There were about 15 photographers on the workshop lead by David.

David is a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum and has had much work published by National Geographic. I admire his work greatly. Whilst his photographs are documentary in nature he places great emphasis on aesthetic quality so form is equally or more important than content per se. He shoots mostly in colour and for many years used kodachrome with its rich colour palette.

He has become a specialist in latin countries often working in Spain and latin America. His subject matter varies from 'street' to sensitive portraits to cityscapes. He often shoots in marginal light and many of his images take on a monochromatic feel with a single colour dominating the scene. The photographs tend to ask rather than resolve questions. Here is an image which features on the cover of 'Divided Soul' one of his books which explores the culture of the latin countries he has photographed for many years.

As can be seen the image has a green/blue hue. The man looks away to the right - what is he looking at, what is he thinking. To the right is a hat on the bench  - who does this belong to. The benches look like church pews but there are no other signs that we are in a church. One is left questioning what the image means but at the same time it is aesthetically beautiful. This is the kind of work I aspire to produce!

The goal of the workshop participants was to put together a joint exhibition called 'Juke' depicting the Mississippi delta and the blues. Juke is a shortened version of the term Juke Joint which is a informal private club- primarily used by african americans in the Delta  and often in someone's home  where people got together to drink, listen to music, gamble and in some cases meet prostitutes. We had a week to put together the presentation. The event turned out to be very intense. I worked 18 hours a day for seven days solid.

Each of us on the workshop gravitated to a particular niche of the overall project. I centred on two elements - urban landscapes in black and white depicting the nature of Clarksdale which is perhaps the largest town in the northern Delta and portraits of people visiting, performing and otherwise taking part in the Juke Joint festival.

The landscape work was inspired by my first impressions of Clarksdale. Looked at dispassionately it is a very run down place. As one walks around one seems much decay and very few if any people or activity. The place had its glory days when cotton was king - this is no more. And today most of what happens in Clarksdale takes place behind closed doors, away from the heat of the day. For the first two days I shot a number of urban landscapes attempting to capture this image of decay and emptiness. These are the four photographs which were selected for the final presentation:
Clarksdale Mississipi - David Alan Harvey Lighting the Blues Workshop 2011

I chose this subject matter because no one else in the group was tackling this aspect of the Delta and I felt it was an important element of the overall scene. It also followed on from the work I had done studying Robert Adams and the other photographers of the New Topographics exhibition. The downside was that it was a long way from the style of David Alan Harvey!!

The second group of photographs were a series of portraits of performers and visitors to the Juke Joint Festival. For this I set up an impromptu studio outside the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale. I taped a sheet to the wall and invited people to step in to have their portraits taken. I was looking to capture a cross section of people taking part in what is a major event in the Delta. To begin with the light was very harsh even though I was using on and off camera flash, but then for a magical 20 minutes the sun set low in the sky, the light turned golden and the moon appeared - needless to say I got my best shots at this  time. Here are a few.

So what did I learn from all this. First of all I learned that I have much work to do if my photography is to reach the high standards of David and indeed some other members of the Workshop. To some extent I found this a little demoralising, but on reflection I now see it as a learning experience. When shooting out on the streets as David does, I now realise that I need to anticipate situations far more effectively, and when I identify an opportunity I need to 'work it' which in David's terms means taking many many shots of the same scene as it develops until the magic moment arrives. For David a photograph has to not only be a photographically complete - it should include all the right elements in the right place, at the right time, with the right light - but also it should capture a moment - a look on a face, an interaction between two people, the right gesture, the right harmony between elements in the frame. It should also ask questions rather than resolve them - the viewer should be intrigued as well as aesthetically pleased. I have much to learn and this will only come with practice and by setting myself very high goals and not accepting second best!


Seasons Portfolio Feedback

I have been away for a few weeks following my other hobby of triathlon racing. Whilst I was away my tutor sent through feedback on my Seasons Porfolio.

My tutor's feedback concentrated mostly on how the photographs worked together (or not) as a cohesive presentation. I must say that I had concentrated more on preparing individual photographs rather than the overall portfolio. This I now realise was a mistake.

My tutor commented on each of the seasons in turn, but her overriding observation was that it was not apparent that I had an underlying theme about what each season means to me visually. She also made comments on how I had sequenced the photographs. In particular she pointed out that in some cases I had presented images side by side which do not work well together and are not linked by being taken in a single season.

Looking back the failure to consider the idea of identifying the key signifiers of each season was an oversight. This is clearly an important lesson for the long run and one which I will keep returning to as my work progresses.

My tutor also suggested that I look at the print submission guidelines before submitting my work for accreditation. This I have done and I am reviewing options for presenting my photographs. I intend to test several different types of paper to improve my presentation.

I have represented the portfolio giving greater thought to sequencing and cohesiveness. I have also added an explanation of how I am perceive each of the seasons visually and how my photographs demonstrate this. In the case of the winter images, sadly, I would like to completely redo the portfolio - this is a project for later in the year.


For me Spring is the season of rebirth. New growth appears throughout the landscape. The days get longer and the skies bluer after the darkness of winter. The predominant colours are pale greens, yellows and pale blues. The three images I have presented all show signs of new growth, brightening skies and have a colour palette of yellows, pale greens and blue.



To my eyes the English summer time is a time of abundant growth (of crops, meadows and pastures, wild plants and flowers and cultivated gardens). Greens and deep yellows are the most prevalent colours.  Sadly the source of this richness is a less attractive feature of our weather - frequent  and heavy rainfall. It is this ironic twist which I have tried to depict in my photographs. I  have changed one photograph from my original submission, replacing a detail shot of poppies with a broad landscape shot of the Manger near Uffington (with dark clouds looming above).


In Autumn the sun gets lower in the sky, the shadows lengthen, the colours are rich yellows, reds and golds and the foliage falls from the trees and plants. My three images embody these elements.


In my set of images I  have depicted Winter as a time of now covered landscapes and in two of the images blue skies. The truth is that this is a cliche of the English Winter and as such I now realise that my depiction is not really how I perceive the English winter. The reality is that winter is more about dark, cold, barren  and sometimes foreboding landscapes! I need to redo my photographs completely  to illustrate this more realistic theme. That said I am not able to do this until later in the year and so for now my depiction of snow clad winter  landscapes with frequent blue skies will remain.

In this revision of the presentation of my portfolio I have drawn heavily on the comments from my tutor. I have learned a significant lesson - one which I plan to put to good use in the future.


Seasons Portfolio

My work on the portfolio is now completed. I forwarded my photographs to my tutor a few days ago. Here are the three images for each season.

This was a very useful exercise. It gave me lots of insight into the challenges of the different seasons. It also became abundantly clear to me why Autumn and Spring are perhaps the best times of year for landscape work. That said Winter also offers great opportunity. Summer is an all round challenge with long days, short nights, hard light and in the UK lots of green and yellow!

The second part of the portfolio was a set of four images taken from the same place. I found this project even more instructive. I had to think very carefully about location selection and to anticipate the conditions not just at the time of shooting but also on future occasions. I learned that one has to think about how the landscape changes, how the sun moves and how the weather impacts on the scene. I even had to think about how I would access the location when the winter weather was at its worst. This was a great learning experience for improving my skills in pre-visualisation. Here are my final four images of Cobstone Hill in the Chiltern Hills.

I await my feedback from my tutor and will post again to reflect on this.

Central St Martins - Art of Snapshot Photography Course

For the last ten weeks I have been attending a night school class once a week at Central St Martins Art College in central London. I was intrigued by the aim of the course which was to help the participants to develop their personal style. The course was run by Karl Grupe who is a photographer and educator whose main business is a company called The Mango Labs.

The course was interesting,  fun and stimulating. I don't think I have come out the other end with a clear view of my personal signature...I have come to realise that this will come with time and only through my work....but I learned a lot.

My key learning points from the course were...

1. We spent a week documenting the in a Visual Diary anything which stimulated us visually...from a picture in a magazine to a piece of rubbish on the street...anything that interested was to be recorded. From this I realised that almost all my visual stimuli are from photographs taken by other photographers. I do not seem to access  my day to day environment as a source of visual stimulus....I need to work on this.
2. We looked at the work of some art photographers such as Uta Barth whose work is conceptual in nature. Barth for example examines visual perception in her photographs. For example she did a series which on the face of it look like a set of out of focus images. Her intent however was to force the viewer to examine areas of the photographic frame which in many instances are out of focus...for example the background of a portrait taken with  a fast lens wide open...My key lesson here was to open my mind to different concepts behind photographs rather than just to look at the aesthetic qualities of photographs in isolation. The photograph below is  Uta Barth Field #9

3. We examined  how high key and low key images can add mood to a photograph, examining the work of a number of photographers. Some interesting images here by Nick Meek who has created a signature style with high key images as in the example below:

4. We completed a couple of exercises to demonstrate how stimulate spontaneous and instinctive responses. One involved shooting an image every 60 seconds in a location (in our case the West End of London) - this approach is an interesting one and I felt that in certain circumstances could be quite effective. For example taking images out of a window on a rail journey could establish an interesting narrative. The second exercise was to shoot blindfold in a location which one had not previously seen. What surprised me most about this was how many usable images came out of it. Here is a sequence of three of my images which I shot blindfold in a basement car park. They have a surprising cohesiveness and sense of mystery.

5. We undertook a project to work in the style of another photographer. This was similar to the assignments I have undertaken for the OCA courses I have completed. The key difference was that I did not get to choose the photographers. One of the photographers we were challenged to emulate was Wolfgang Tillmans - a photographer who does not appear to have a style. Here was an interesting thought - a personal style could be simply to be democratic in one's approach to photography. Some of Tillman's work is still life in nature and he captured images of photographic paper folded over so that one could not see what was on it. I liked this idea of photographing a photograph and transforming it into something else. Here is one of Tillmans works:

And here is one of mine...it is a photograph of a portrait photograph:

6. We also looked at portraiture in two of the sessions. In the first we visited the Taylor Wessing Portrait Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Portrait Museum. It was fascinating to see the huge variety of work on display. This ranged from traditional work to much more inventive styles such as this edgy portrait of Tony Blair by Kalpesh Lathigra.

We also spent some time looking at how Diptychs can be used to explore a subject in portraiture more widely or to convey contrasts. I discovered the work of Mark Laita who has produced a series called Created Equal. This work may well prove to be a great influence on my own work as I pursue my level three studies. Here is one of Laita's Diptychs:

All round this course was extremely thought provoking and I came out of it with a much wider view on how photographers create their personal signature. It gave me lots of ideas for my future photography studies and work.


Assignment 5 - Feedback

I was delighted to receive my feedback on Assignment Five from my tutor. I had gone to great lengths to do Fay Godwin justice in putting together my photographs for this assignment. My work covered a wide geographic area including the Ridgeway in Southern England, the English Lake District, Calderdale in West Yorkshire, Stonehenge and numerous plant nurseries with glasshouses.

My tutor's report was very positive and it is great to have my efforts recognised. I will quote her summary in full:

"Gosh, what a lot of ground you have covered for this assignment! It was well worth the effort. This is a lovely body of work that gives a deep level of understanding of Fay Godwin's work an many layers"

There was only one photograph which my tutor felt was slightly off track and that was one of Didcot Power Station which is situated close to the Ridgeway. She felt that the misty conditions in which I captured my photograph was perhaps too romanticised given that it is meant to be expressing environmental concerns - this is a fair criticism. Here is the photograph:

Didcot Power Station from the Ridgeway

I have included two more images from my assignment below to illustrate my work:

Blea Tarn and Blencathra, English Lake District

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Barnsley 

Recent Developments and Work

It has been a few weeks since I have posted to this blog....it is not because I have been neglecting my photogaphy....

I have been away in the USA attending a Workshop with US Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey...this was a fantastic experience and will be the subject of a full post soon.

I have also been completing my Seasons Portfolio which I emailed to my tutor today. I have a couple more projects to polish off to finish the Landscape course and then I need to pull together all the material for my accreditation. These will be completed in the next few weeks.

I have also completed ten week (one night per week) Art of Snapshot Photography course at Central St Martins Art College - again I will post separately on this shortly..

So lots of influences and lots of learning and much work to do to record my progress....

Here are some of my favourite photographs from the Seasons Portfolio....it will be interesting to see what my tutor thinks of the work.

Sycamore - Spring

Beech - autumn

Poppies - summer

Snow - winter


Assignment Five - in the style of Fay Godwin

I have now completed my final assignment and have sent it off to my tutor today. I enjoyed it immensely as Godwin's work is quite varied, ranging from her 'romantic' black and white landscape, through her documentary work to her intimate colour landscapes.

I will wait until my tutor comes back with my feedback before I make a full report on the assignment. I thought I would show a few of my personal favourite images so that I can compare my view with that of my tutor.....here are my top four...

Avebury Ring Wiltshire

Stoodley Pike Calderdale Yorkshire

Disused minewater treatment plant Todmorden Lancashire

Pinewood Nurseries Buckinghamshire


Influences - Gabriele Basilico

Having had my appetite for documentary landscape photography wetted by my study of Fay Godwin's work I have continued to explore other directions landscape photography has taken outside of the romantic depiction of the landscape. In previous posts I have mentioned a few other influences - John Davies, John Kippin are two whose work has shown me how landscape photography can take on a more influential even political role. I have also been studying the work of Italian photographer Gabriele Basilico. Basilico is one of the best-known 'documentary' photographers in Europe. 

His work, like that of John Davies is directed at the city and industrialised landscapes. He photographs mostly in black and white using a large format 5x4 camera. In his pictures modest buildings and unlikely cityscapes seem to me to become works of art. Basilico trained as an architect and this seems to have  influenced the discipline with which he composes his photographs. His work rarely includes any human presence so one is left to ponder the buildings themselves - how they relate to one another and how they come together to create a sense of place. The image below is a picture of an apartment block in Milan. For me this representation of the building seems to give it far more grandeur and status than one my offer it when casually walking by in the street. Basilico himself likens the image to a stage set which has just been vacated by the actors - I like this interpretation. The eye is not diverted from the buildings by the presence of human interest. 

His industrial landscapes invoke a similar sense of awe. His work is rarely romantic but this image of the port of Dunkirk is perhaps an exception - at its heart though this image is documentary in nature.

His technique is impeccable and the large format movements enable him to straighten the verticals and keep all elements in focus. 

The work of John Davies and Gabriele Basilico has lead me to consider a future photographic project in which I would document how the post industrial economy has impacted on the landscape of Doncaster  - the old mining town where I was born. With the closure of the mines the town is now dependent on shopping malls, call centres, warehouses etc....I would like to capture images showing how this has changed the town by capturing images with both the old industrial and the new post industrial architecture....now sure how feasible this is but it is certainly an idea for me to pursue. Here are a couple of my exploratory images of the old Doncaster....

We Are OCA

I have become involved in a number of discussion streams on the Photography Feed of We Are OCA. I have found this a great food for thought and by participating in the discussions have found myself having to think more coherently about my views on a wide range of photographic subjects. The blog has been considering issues ranging from the link between documentary and art photography, street photography, the work of Cindy Sherman. I will continue to participate in this blog and engage with my fellow students and our tutors who take a lead role in stimulating this activity.


Format Derby 2011

Yesterday I attended an OCA organised visit to The Format Photographic Festival in Derby. The event was well attended with 15 students and four OCA staff/tutors. It was a great opportunity to talk to others about their work and to gain valuable insights from the tutors Jose Navarro and Clive White.

The theme of the Festival was 'Right Here, Right Now' Exposures from the public realm - essentially it was dedicated to street photography. As some of my favourite photographers were exhibiting - Alex Webb, Constantine Manos, Joel Meyerowitz - I had a great day. 

To begin with we visited the Quad Gallery where a great variety of street photographers were on display from all parts of the globe - UK, China, USA, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. 

My eye was immediately caught by the Joel Meyerowitz photographs by the entrance. What was particularly interesting for me was to see how his work had moved on from black and white street work, to colour on the street and then to the use of Large Format for his more recent portrait studies - a photographer must keep moving seems to be the message!

I spent quite a lot of time at the exhibition and had the opportunity to reflect on what drew me to particular photographers. Strong colour and constrast are certainly aesthetic factors, but it I was most taken by those photographers who had drawn their work together under a distinct theme which had some substance to it. My particular favourites on the day were:

- Frederic Lezmi's travelog of a journey from Austria to Beirut. I thought the way the photographs had been arranged as a continuous film-like display worked really well. These two photographs taken through windows both have a sense of mystery about them but both also portray their central characters so well - the strong mature business woman and the beautiful young maid.

- George Georgiou's exploration of Turkey's modernisation and national identity also held my attention. I felt drawn back to the images to look deeper into them.

- Dougie Wallace's reflections on life which showed a series of faces of people on trams about to depart - most are lost in thought leaving one to wonder what this person is about. The images are from all over the globe.

- Zhiang Xiao whose image depict the Chinese coastline - one can see the increasing development and westernisation but the spirit of the people appears to remain intact.  Often the images which contain much information have curious and amusing details within them - the man with the spotted sunburned back, the lady swimming in her dress and such like. The matrix arrangement of the photographs also intrigued - one was tempted to connect the images but left wondering about how to do this.

Jose had also asked us to look at the work by British photographer Peter Dench who has been documenting British society in the 21st century. He describes his work as  'explore[ing] all four corners documenting ethnic diversity, the miserable weather and the many characters [he] met along the way'. to be honest I did not like his work. I felt it was unbalanced, focusing on the worst elements within society often exploiting his subjects at times when they were under stress or at times of weakness, e.g. people living on the streets, people injured in car accidents drunken people etc. His work is similar in some ways to that of Martin Parr but lacks Parr's wit and satirical power in my view. Here is an example of his photography.

We moved from the Quad Gallery to the 'Take to the Streets' exhibition of leading Magnum photographers which is an outdoor exhibit in the square in front of the Quad. As I mentioned at the start of this post, some of my favourite photographers were on show. This exhibition only served to reinforce my opinion of their work. Two stood out for me:

- Alex Webb  has  a very personalised style based on the strong use of colour and contrast. Many of his images are complex compositionally and often he will break up the frame into components using doors, windows, archways shadows etc. Each element then seems to develop a life of its own leading to a multilayered reading of the images. His work is visually attractive and intriguing.

- Constantine Manos's work American Colour is brilliantly conceived in my view. His subjects are people in the streets, but in reality the actual subject is the colour itself. This he finds in abundance in Florida where most of the images are taken. What is also interesting is that one rarely sees the faces of the people in the photographs. They could be wearing sunglasses, be in shade, be turned away, be cropped out etc. This mitigates any sense of exploitation in his photographs and emphasises that the real subject is the colour itself.

From the Magnum show we went on to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The main exhibits that grabbed my attention was the Bruce Gilden work and the In-Publik movie.

- Bruce Gilden has a very distinctive and intrusive style of street photography. He gets up close and personal with his subjects and to cap it off uses a flash to capture them like rabbits in headlights! I watched the movie of him working and it was clear that some of his subjects were less than happy about his approach and felt singled out and victimised. This reinforced my view that my own style should be based on a sympathetic approach to my subjects not a confrontational one. Whilst I feel that many of his images have a strong powerful impact I was slightly disturbed by his approach and do not count myself as a fan of Gilden's work. 

- The In-Publik movie gave a great insight into the thinking of many well regarded street photographers. I took away a numerous thoughts about what they try to achieve with their work....

...humourous juxtaposition - Nick Turpin
...moments of magic - David Gibson
...drama in everyday life - David Solomons
...the world is a beautiful place - Richard Bram
...find structure in situations that are out of control - Gus Powell

Essentially though they are all looking for those 'moments of magic' in everyday life...this seems a great credo for street photography

Our final port of call was MOB Format HQ. Here was the headquarters of the Festival and also the exhibition of work submitted by members of the public. The organisers have set out six themes under which photographs should be submitted:
Street Surreal  
Shoot from the hip  
Decisive moment  
In the crowd
Street noir  
When worlds collide 

These are an excellent structure for thinking about developing a style in street photography and is one which I plan to think about in terms of my own style.

So I had a great day but what did I learn. The key points for me to reflect on are:

·      I have strong preference for colour and contrast - I will probably base my own work around this approach
·      I do not like exploitative street photography - my aim is not to poke fun at people but to find those 'moments of magic'
·      I prefer work where there is an evident linking them....almost a photo essay approach. This theme need not be about the people in the scene it could be something else like Manos's work with colour
·      I need to avoid forcing myself down the track of other photographers. I need to keep shooting and to allow my style to come through naturally
·      I need to take all opportunities to mix with other photographers!!
·      I need to keep learning and keep an open mind!!


28mm Elmarit 50mm Summicron accreditation Alex Soth American West Ansel Adams Art of Snapshot as Assignment Assignment Four Assignment One Assignment Two ball head Beauty Berkshire black and white Brighton Photo Biennial 2010 british museum Buckinghamshire Burnham Beeches Canada Caponigro Central St Martins Charlie Waite city Cliveden cloud Club La Santa collage competition composition course criticism Daisy Gilardini David Alan Harvey davidnoton derby detail Dorset drama dusk exhibition f/64 Famara Fay Godwin Feedback Fernando Gomez figures Filters format framing Framing foreground interest composition Freeman Gabriele Basilico galen rowell Georgia O'Keefe grain Hambleden Harrison Hot Springs hawaii influence ironman Jasper Joel Meyerowitz John Davies Kingston Lacey Lake District Landscape landscape format Languedoc Lanzarote LEARNING LOG-April2010 LEARNING LOG-April2011 LEARNING LOG-August2010 LEARNING LOG-August2011 LEARNING LOG-December2010 LEARNING LOG-Feb2010 LEARNING LOG-February-2011 LEARNING LOG-January-2011 LEARNING LOG-July2010 LEARNING LOG-June2010 LEARNING LOG-June2011 LEARNING LOG-March-2011 LEARNING LOG-March2010 LEARNING LOG-March2011 LEARNING LOG-May2010 LEARNING LOG-May2011 LEARNING LOG-November2010 LEARNING LOG-October 2010 LEARNING LOG-September2010 leica Lely's Venus lenses light Light Science and Magic london LPOY2010 Malhotra man-made Marc Garanger Martin Parr Mirrors and Windows Mississippi Molly Landreth MOMA moon National Media Museum National Trust near and far Nick Gleis OCA one acre opening Overton Hill panorama perspective Phil Malpas photographer polariser Portfolio portrait format portraits post-modern projects Quotation realism Rinko Kawauchi Robert Adams royalphotographicsociety Running seasons Silhouette sky snow soft colour soft light Stephen Gill street street 35mm Summicron Studland style Sunrise Szarkowski team telephoto Terri Weifenbach test Timanfaya trees triathlon tripod TriUK Tutor two UK Urban Development USA water Watlington Hill weareoca West Kennett Western Art Weston wide angle Windsor Workshop Yosemite

About Me

I have been taking photographs since I was young boy some 45 years ago, but only seriously since 2005 when I enrolled to study at the Open College of the Arts. I am working towards a BA in Photography. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society. This log record details of my projects and assignments during my studies. It also records ideas, work by other artists/photographers, notes on books/websites/exhibitions, influences, discoveries, thoughts, research findings and observations as I work through my courses. You can contact me at keith.greenough@btinternet.com or simply leave a comment on one of my posts.

Landscape Photography Bibliography

  • Andrea G Stillman (2007), Ansel Adams 400 Photographs, Little Brown New York USA
  • Andy Grundberg (1999), Crisis of the Real, Aperture Foundation New York
  • Ansel Adams (2007), Examples The Making of 40 Photographs, Little Brown New York USA
  • Ben Maddow(1989), Edward Weston, His Life, Aperture Foundation New York USA
  • Charlie Waite (1989), Scottish Islands, Constable London
  • Charlie Waite (1992), The Making of Landscape Photographs, Collins and Brown London
  • Charlie Waite (1999), Seeing Landscapes, Collins and Brown London
  • Charlie Waite (2002), In My Minds Eye, Photographers Institute Press East Sussex UK
  • Charlie Waite (2005), Landscape, Collins and Brown London
  • Clive Minnitt and Phil Malpas(2009), Finding the Picture, Envisage Books London
  • David Noton (2008), PHOTOGRAPY ESSENTIALS: WAITING FOR THE LIGHT, David & Charles PLC, London
  • Fay Godwin(1985), Land, William Heinemann London
  • Fay Godwin(1990), Our Forbidden Land, Jonathan Cape London
  • Fay Godwin(1998), Glassworks & Secret Lives, Stella Press East Sussex UK
  • Fay Godwin(2001), Landmarks, Dewi Lewis Publishing Stockport UK
  • Galen Rowell (1995), Mountain Light, Sierra Club Books San Francisco USA
  • Galen Rowell (2001), Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, Norton & co New York USA
  • Galen Rowell (2002),Galen Rowell's Vision: The Art of Adventure Photography, University of California Press USA
  • Harry Callaghan (1993), Ansell Adams in Color, Little Brown New York USA
  • Hunter, Biver & Fuqua(2007), Light Science & Magic, Elsevier Oxford UK
  • James Bentley & Charlie Waite (1987), Languedoc, George Philip London
  • James Bentley & Charlie Waite (1987), Languedoc, George Philip London
  • Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite, David Ward, Eddie Ephraums (2006), Working the Light, Argentum London
  • Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite, David Ward, Eddie Ephraums (2007), Developing Style and Vision, Argentum London
  • Joel Meyerowitz (2002), Cape Light, Little Brown and Company New York USA
  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing, Penguin Modern Classics
  • John P Schaefer (2007),The Ansel Adams Guide Book 2 Basic Techniques of Photography, Little Brown New York USA
  • John P Schaefer (2007),The Ansel Adams Guide Book I Basic Techniques of Photography, Little Brown New York USA
  • John Szarkowski (1981), American Landscapes, The Museum of Modern Art New York USA
  • Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 01 (2007), AA Publishing
  • Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 02 (2008), AA Publishing
  • Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 03 (2009), AA Publishing
  • Liz Wells (1996), Photography:A Critical Introduction, Routledge Oxon
  • Liz Wells (2003), The Photography Reader, Routledge Oxon
  • Marc Garanger (1989), Louisiane, Kodak
  • Robert Adams (1996), Beauty in Photography, Aperture Foundation New York USA
  • Robert Adams et al (2009), New Topographics, Steidl Germany
  • Stephen Shaw (2004), Uncommon Places The Complete Works, Thames and Hudson, London
  • Susan Sontag, On Photography, Penguin Books London
  • Terence Pitts (2008), Edward Weston (Icons Series), Taschen
  • TPOTY Awards (2010), TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Journey Three, Travel Photographer of the Year Suffolk UK