Friday, 29 April 2011


I decided to practice compiling a bibliography and there are some questions I think I will need to ask with regards to when the details in the book state it is a revised edition but not which edition? Do you say "Revised Ed." and leave it or do you not state it's a revised edition? Also when a book is a compliation with a writer for the text and a credit for the compiler. Do you just state their names or what their contribution was? Here is my attempt...but this has highlighted the need for checking out this kind of thing for when a requirement of essays written at level 2. I also gleaned information from many websites and they were accessed on the date of the blog entry. Links directly to the pages viewed have been included on the actual posts so for the purpose of this compilation, on the whole, the main webpage has been noted.


Alsheimer, L and O’Neil Hughes B (2009)  Black and white in Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop Lightroom London: Elsevier/Focal Press

Andrews, P and Butler, Y, J  and Farace J RAW workflow from capture to archives London: Elsevier/Focal Press

Andrews, P and Langford M (2007)  Langford's starting photography Revised 5th ed. London: Elsevier/Focal Press

Barnes M author (2010) Shadow catchers camera-less photography  London: Merrell Publishers Ltd

Barthes R (2000) Camera lucida London: Vintage

Beardsworth  J (2007) Advanced digital black and white photography London: The Ilex Press Ltd

Berman N (2008) Homeland Great Britain: Trolley Ltd

Busselle, M and Freeman J (1989)  Photographer's handbook Revised ed. London : Octopus Books

Canfield J (2005) RAW 101 better images with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements London: SYBEX
Davis H (2010) Creative black and white digital photography tips and techniques London: Wiley Publishing Inc

Evening M (2004) Adobe Photoshop CS  for photographers London: Focal Press

Fraser B (2005) Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS London: Peachpit Press

Freeman M (2007) The photographers eye London:  Elsevier/ Focal Press

Gartside T (2006) Digital night and low-light photography London: The Ilex Press Limited

Hurn, D and Jay B  (1999) On looking at photographs London:  LensWork Publishing

Hurn, D and Jay B (2001) On being a photographer Revised 3rd Ed. London:  LensWork Publishing

Lowrie C K (2007) Digital Rebel XTi/400D digital field guide Indianapolis : C Wiley

Peterson B (2003) Learning to see creatively London: Amphoto Books 2003

Slinkachu (2008) Little people in the city- the street art of Slinkachu London: Boxtree/ Pan- Macmillan

Roberts S (2009) We English London: Boot C

Seaborne  M (2011)  London street photography 1860-2010 (Museum of London) London: Dewi Lewis Publishing

Sieveking  A (1994) How to photograph babies & children  London: Harper Collins

Sontag S (1979) On photography London: Penguin Books Ltd

Wells L (2002) The photography reader London:  Routledge

Westerbeck C (2005)  Joel Meyerowitz Revised Ed. London: Phaidon Press Limited 


Rounding Up and Reflecting

Course completed this is the chance to sit back and reflect on what I have achieved and learnt since October last year. A few days ago I scanned through my learning log from the very beginning to check that all websites and books were noted down in my bibliography. When finished I looked at the long list and thought "Did I really look at all those websites?" Yes I had...though I must admit to not remembering all the details from some but at least I now have a compilation of the research and a great point of reference when I want to refresh my memory or think "now who was that photographer, what was that great website that had tutorials and hints?"

I think that I have learnt some invaluable lessons, not all related to the technical side of photography. Some of it is philosophical, some is related to my own personal interaction with photographs, not only my own but also when viewing others and in learning how to critique my own work a little more objectively, being able to take on board advice and recommendations for improvement.

Having completed other photography courses I had already been introduced to many of the aspects of the course requirements but enjoyed the increase in the level of knowledge and experimentation needed to completed the exercises throughout DPP. I had never really thought about the dynamic range of my camera or how that knowledge could be applied to improve the exposure of my images, likewise I knew how to read a histogram at a very basic level but when taking images to produce either high or low contrast was surprised to find that some scenes didn't give the results I had expected.

On a personal level knowing I tend to put off doing exercises that I think I will struggle with or don't fancy the idea of doing made me figuratively kick myself to carry on and have discovered that they never are as bad or as difficult as I assume. This gave me a little more confidence in what I was trying to achieve.

Before starting DPP I had always been told and read that the more in touch you are with the subject the easier it is to photograph it and the better the results. I used to scoff slightly at this premise but decided to try it out and made several of my projects revolve around me, objects with great sentimental value or important moments to me. Due to this choice of themes I wanted to do the subjects justice not produce images just "because" and in doing so not only found it easier to photograph the familiar but also discovered that my audience empathised with the images. Even if they did not read into them my own emotional attachment they put their own experiences onto them, thus proving the theory correct. Also the other idea that once you release your image into the wild (so to speak) you no longer have the control over the intentions or meanings that will be derived by the viewers.

I have also learnt to be a magpie with research and ideas. Read everything, look at everything and take on board as much as you can. Use what is relevant and put aside what will come in useful at a later date. The weekender bulletins for me are brilliant. They showcase other students work and it is very useful to see how others approach projects and study, and not only the photography students. The articles and debates are interesting as well as educational and relevant to some of the coursework we undertake. I recognised that for quite an out-going person, when it came to showing my work or having an opinion I tended to hide but after receiving positive feedback from my tutor and meeting some fellow students at the recent study day have felt more confident about raising my hand and saying "Hello. Am here." Therefore an area to work on for personal progression is get involved in the debates; rather than sitting there shouting at the author or silently agreeing I shall dare to dip my toe into the arena.

Feedback is a fantastic opportunity to take stock of where I have been and where I could go with my photography. The majority of the time I can see that the alterations do improve the final images and make me think more about composition, for example using the rule of three/rule of odds. Occasionally I don't quite agree, however I try the amendments, wanting to remain open to new ideas and interpretations, again can see the benefit of changing the photographs. Hopefully, on the rare occasion where the original shot remains I have adequately justified why I did so.

An avid reader I have been dipping into some theory books; On Photography, Susan Sontag, Camera Lucida Roland Barthes and Liz Well The Photography Reader....dipping being the operative word because some of it is hard going with new academic and philosophical vocabulary. Some parts I have to re-read to make sure I fully comprehend it, gradually I have been grasping the points being made but think I need to investigate further before deciding to agree/disagree with some of the ideas being put forward. Another path to continue down.

Taking in many exhibitions and looking at various photography books/photographers has influenced how I plan and compose my images, hopefully changing them from "nice snapshots" to photographs that stimulate interest and provoke an emotional response even if not the anticipated one.

In particular I enjoyed learning and applying different techniques for black and white conversion and thinking about the ethics of manipulation. The main hurdles I have come across are my own demons about reading the meanings of iconic images, trying to grasp the punctum (to borrow from Barthes) or making sense of the blurb written about them. Worrying about how my own would be perceived, was I working along the right lines.This tied me in knots for a while but am gradually coming around to the fact that I won't always necessarily see their point; attending the Deusche Borse exhibition brought home that you can break rules and still produce a valid and interesting, even if controversial (to my eyes) body of work. Hopefully this is an ethic I can carry forward as I progress through the other courses and will free me to experiment even more.

To sum up I ask have I learnt things that I can now apply to my own work? Have my images improved? Have I a better understanding of how to produce the final image from the initial idea? In conclusion looking at my journey from the first set of images to the last, the answer has to be yes, however I can see that I still have a path to travel and am looking forward to continuing the journey.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Changing Face of Photography and Society.

Looking at the older images at the London Street Photography reminded me that I have some scans of old family photographs dating back to the early 1900's. My family were not well off so I am amazed that we have as many as we do. My Mum's cousin allowed me to borrow and scan her album. Sadly my scanner has seen better days.When I get around to it and finances allow I shall invest in a new one. Some of the images at the Museum of London struck a chord with the photographs I have stored so I thought I'd look at them again in a different light. After writing this post I received an email from about dating and understanding our old family photographs which was interesting to read so am adding it here too...Family photos | findmypast blog

Studying them chronologically you can see how technological advances allowed for the staid "sit still and don't move" poses to the freedom to be out of the studio and eventually walking around quite freely. Snaps came into being, informal grab shots of days out not just formal occasions. I love these images for the historical value as well as the personal. Family shots can inform and inspire as much as formal, professional exhibitions.From the streets of London | Photography | Agenda | Phaidon

Great Aunt Kate Brown

This is the oldest photo I have. It was taken in Camberwell in the very early 1900's maybe about 1903. The young girl at the gate is my Great Aunt Kate born in 1897 and I'm guessing she is about 5? The ladies in the doorway are my great grandmother and great great grandmother. My Great great grandfather, known as Farby, is standing with Kate. Aunt Kate featured heavily in my childhood and died in 1991. The first mass-marketed camera , the Brownie was produced in 1900. For me this image has many similarities to the photographs taken by John Galt of the poorer areas of London and Paul Martin's shots around London streets.
Photograph by John Galt Assembling Match Boxes at Home.
Egbert Brown  holding Dolly
Great Uncle Egbert and Dolly

No idea when these two images of Egbert were taken. My Great Uncle Egbert was a cartman who delivered coal. The cart and horse (who I know was called Dolly) were decorated  for a festival of some kind. Egbert was born in 1905 and died fairly young in 1941. Again I noted the similarities with John Galt's Cat's Meat Man and the images of Paul Martin.

John Galt Cat's Meat Man c1901
Going forward in time slightly the next two images are of a family wedding. Albert Ponder (the groom) was my great grandmother's half brother, although we believe that she had no idea that she was illegitimate...skeletons appear when you trace your family tree! Albert Ponder married in 1918 and this is a formal studio shot complete with faux backdrop. From roughly 1860 to 1920 painted photography backdrops were a standard feature of early photography studios. Generally of rustic or quasi-classical design, but sometimes presenting a bourgeoise trompe-l'œil  they eventually fell out of fashion with the advent of the Brownie and Kodak cameras which brought photography to the masses.

Albert Ponder and Louise Ponder nee Willis September 1918
The family group taken in a back garden. The gentleman in the huge flat cap is my great grandfather also an Egbert Brown. The fashions of the day are amazing and the soldiers uniform helps date the image. Wedding dresses didn't fall to the ground completely and these images have a value in fashion history as well as photographic.

Ponder/Brown family and friends 1918
I found it difficult to find any 1918 professional "famous" photographers to compare these images with, but came across many other personal images that had been uploaded, however interestingly found a Kodak advert from 1918 with just as fetching head gear! Those poor children.....

This website made for interesting viewing Vintage Photography/ Camera Ads of the 1920s (Page 8)

My other Great Great Grandparents Attley and Florence Ponder
Attley and Florence Ponder emigrated to Canada and this was one of the images they "sent home". Though some things don't alter and recently my daughter did a photoshoot at DoubleTake studios in Manchester, complete with flock wallpaper and piano ;o)

Close up of Great grandfather Egbert Brown in 1918 am so loving the cap....
The hat, the suit, the 'tash.....the image below was on display at the exhibition, would seem that male fashion didn't alter that much in 10 years...

Anonymous, Passer-by walking along Sutton High Street (c1930) London,UK
Observing the Street 1930-1945

Another back garden shot. This one before a working mans day out. My great great grandfather was a coal man so this probably was the only suit he owned which came out for "best". Presumably the same goes for the others in this photograph.
Working Mans Club Day Trip
The Gentleman on the very end of the back row on the righthand side is Egbert Brown Senior (yes there were generations of them) would hazard a guess at c1920's or very early 30's as Egbert died in 1937. Below, artist unknown, is an image of a working mans day out from Durham c1920.

Durham City, Crossgate, Working Men's Club outing
Durham Working Man's Club c1920
Another studio shot, this of my great great grandparents was probably taken mid 1920's as Augusta died in 1928. Note the pretend sea-side backdrop to match the deckchairs. Unfortunately I have no idea who the other 2 in the image are. Portraits are still very formal as the next set of images will show.

Egbert and Augusta Brown

Frances Brown with Albert Brown c1920
Am guessing c1920 as Albert was born in 1917 and he looks about 3 years of age. Oh dear what DID they dress young boys in to be photographed? I take it he looks unhappy as he had to wear that outfit and then stand still for a long period ;o)

The Ponders in 1921

My Grandparents George and Augusta's wedding in 1925. George (known as Tom) and Ernie Hunt,were brothers and married sisters Augusta and Annie Brown although 10 years apart; Annie was 7 years younger.

George Hunt and Augusta Hunt nee Brown 1925

Formal Brown family group c1925

Ann Brown
Kate Brown - My Great Aunt Kate.

Although studio portraiture remained formal, family snaps started to be taken as this snapshot of my Great Aunt Ann and Great Uncle Albert show. Albert as I say, was born in 1917. Guessing he is about 10ish here puts this to be about 1927. Fully clothed on the beach......

Popular in the 1910s and 1920s was the postcard-format photograph, distinguishable from the private snapshot by an order number; good examples of this for comparison, are the three images below. The first of my Great Uncle Fred and then girlfriend Flossie (who later became his wife) and Great Aunt Ann with Ernie.The second, an informal shot taken about the same time if not on the same day and the third, of my Great Aunt Ann with Great Uncle Ernie walking along the seafront with a friend. I think this final image maybe toward the 1930's though I maybe wrong. However Ann looks older than the first shot and her clothes reflect this. These images show how camera technology had moved on as people could be captured walking with no motion blur. The depth of field shows there is also a certain degree of aperture control. I find myself more and more drawn to looking at the backgrounds of these pictures, due to the positioning and attitude of the onlookers in the background I am led to believe that is is more a set up shot.


Ernie, Fred and Albert
What I noticed with this one is the suntan line on Albert's thighs indicating he always wore shorts.

Below another postcard shot in the early 1930's. This time of my grandmother (Augusta Brown) and her son (my Uncle Tom born in 1926) with Great Aunt Kate . Once again you can see the order number which indicates this was taken by a beach photographer. You don't find too many of those about now :o) It is also interesting to note the tones of black and white and sepia in these older images.

Nanny, Aunt Kate and Uncle Tom

Cyril Arapoff was taking photographs of London during the 1930's and I can see the cheeky faces and fashions of the time in his images echoed in my family album.

Cyril Arapoff Children in a London Street.

Fred and Flossie's wedding 1933

Looking at my Aunt Ann's outfit you could have plonked her down in the 1970's and she wouldn't have looked out of place!

Ann and Ernie's wedding 1935

They were so cruel to bridesmaids! Another family group taken in the garden. Looking back and comparing wedding photo the format has remained the same for a very long time, only recently has the photobook and more a informal, contemporary style started to creep in. I wonder what William and Kate's informal album will be like (I doubt if we will get to see that one) And call me old-fashioned but I don't like the boudoir packages that some photographers offer. I chose this site at random....sure has moved on from my ancestors day. Denise Winter Wedding Photographer Surrey

Gradually colour photography started to be introduced but prior to this some images were hand-tinted. Hand-tinting wasn't new and Daguerreotype's were coloured pre 1900. Hand tinting was most popular from the 1900's to the 1940's. In the 1950's colour film became more readily available. This picture is of my granddad's half sister Lilian which I estimate to be about 1943.

Lilian Lowe

Obviously my parent's photo album's and later my own then reflect what was being taken during the 1950's, 60's and to date. The sizes, shapes and colours vary so much.

Grandmother Lou Firmin holding Aunty Pat c1941

Roger Mayne's images of London Teddy Boy's c1956 reminded me of my Dad and uncles when they were younger.

Ernie Firmin (on the left) 1950's with a friend
 The slicked back hair of my Dad, Uncle's and their friends showing the teddy boy influence of the late 50's and my Dad's uniform is indicative that conscription still existed; he served during the Korean War.

Uncle Albie Firmin and my Dad in uniform in the centre of the group 1950's

Uncles Jim and Dave c1956

Grandmother Lou Firmin in Greenwich Park 1950's
Ordinary everyday trips could be captured with candid and informal shots.

As a child I used my mum's old box camera complete with wind up film and upside down viewer. I was the laughing stock of the kids at school with their small compact Instamatic's, but I loved it. I owned a disc camera, a Pentax, a Pentax SLR (until divorce and it went with him) a small Olympus digital camera before going the Canon DSLR route. 

I've seen styles come and go, attitudes towards photography change, as a hobby as well as the public attitude towards being photographed, and have always found it fascinating. Maybe that is why I am here doing this today :o) Some people complain about the sloppiness of camera phones and the ease of which images can be uploaded online to flickr and facebook. Personally I love it. It means I can see what my kids get up to (in an interested way) With my daughter being away at Uni I get to see her friends, the fun she has. Her generation's memories will be catalogued in a way that no other has been. Tagging will help you get over the problem of asking "now who WAS that!" As long as facebook still exists or the images are backed up somehow for future viewing, along with all notes relating to them. Even the rubbish, blurry, random things that get posted show a way of life, how students work rest and play and the accessibility of the medium. Not sure how it will continue to evolve but it shall, and I am glad to be part of that evolution even if my images will amount to nothing more than generations ahead saying "OMG they wore THOSE?".

Looking at these older prints I am even more convinced that there is no other way to appreciate photographs other than their printed physical form, seeing the parallels of my own personal collection to those on display has reminded me that sometimes you don't need to look so far or so hard for ideas, inspirations and historical references. I refuse to consider my childhood photos as "historical" though no doubt they are...I just don't want to think I'm that old!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Physical Learning Log

At the beginning of this course I also decided to keep a physical learning log seeing that some things that I had looked at or random thoughts might not translate directly into my Blog. I also hoped to gather images and visit exhibitions which although I intended to comment on in full on-line would be a suitable way of filing all the "paperwork". Also an excellent place to keep the correspondence between myself and my tutor.

I started it not quite knowing how it would turn out or if I was headed in a direction that would work both for me and also at assessment level. It was great when a video of Rob's log was shown on WeAreOCA because it made me feel confident I was along the right lines.

Having spoken to some fellow students on the study day I promised I would upload some images of what my log looks like...the kind of things I had included and how, so here it is a rather fat A5 spiral note book with random jottings and scribbles....

In the beginning was an A5 spiral notepad....

Which gradually got filled with "stuff" and became fatter...
Notes of useful websites or things I found amusing that were relevant, some were printed out and I commented on why I liked them...
Extracts from books with highlights and things I wanted to take on board...
Linking to exercise 1 and portraits, some shots I had previously taken of people unaware in Convent Garden trying to capture character...
More observations on the different styles of capturing portraits taken from local and national papers...
Comments on Project 2 and the lighting set up I used indoors....
Observations on exhibitions visitied either last year or previously which connected with the Paul Graham video on the OCA website...
Using extracts from Posing Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios I compared their ideas to a recent shoot my daughter had had done at one of these makeover places...they have a lot to learn ;o) It showed me some useful pointers too..
Research on magazine covers for Project 4

Research on "posing" shoes for my final project..
More research on shoes and a print out of images by Joy Gregory who I used as an influence/reference.
Exhibition visited...

Another Exhibition visited....

Printed out images for sharpening exercise which the results can't really be seen when images uploaded to blog...

The rest is more or less the same, observations on exercises, exhibitions seen comments on photographs or philosophy and what I have learnt or hope to learn all rolled into one. My online blog is more organised, methodical and completed in full sentences. Items were stapled in, glued in or masking taped in depending on what seemed most appropriate. My notes are more scribbled and random but hopefully together show my progression with learning from beginning to end, how I got where I am now and where I hope to go next :o) Hope this post is useful to others.