Posts tagged with Photographers


Just been looking at Simon Butterworth’s impressive black and white images of Redcar steel works which looks like it will soon be no more, along with so many jobs.

I knew of his name as the winner of Landscape Photographer of the Year a couple of years ago but I don’t think I’d ever seen his web site. There’s some fine photography there, and having recently visited Cwmorthin I particularly enjoyed see his series on Welsh slate. There’s a lovely abstract half way through.

It makes me remember how landscape photography shouldn’t just mean pretty views (or the currently-fashionable tangles of trees!).

Faces in the crowd

Yesterday I met up with a friend at the Harp, an excellent recent discovery, before we went along to the big David Bailey show at the National Portrait Gallery. The show runs until early June, so if you find yourself in central London there’s plenty of time to nip in and see it.

Just be prepared for crowds. After all, has any other name been as synonymous with British photography as Bailey?

While you’ll have seen many of the portraits before and no probably not find too many many surprises, it’s rare to see quite so many of Bailey’s prints in one place. You can see the range of the show from how many rooms were dedicated to it, though I wasn’t sure I cared much for the four sets of reportage – Sudan, Naga tribes, Australian aboriginals, Delhi – or for the other non-studio projects. Usually I’d favour these, as for me photography is about hunting for a picture rather than constructing it in the studio, but I didn’t feel one’s appreciation of Bailey was improved by including them.

Of course, there are . . .

Decision time

This morning a friend and I took almost the last chance to see the Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour show before it closes over the weekend. Brown and white?

Some lovely black and white images are at Adrian Davis’s site, or rather:

Actually, brown and white! I like color images too, but for personal, fine art work, I prefer monochrome with a slight warm tone. I print exclusively on Hahnemuhle Torchon, which is a highly textured surface. I like to think of, and refer to my prints as, “Neo-Vintage” as they looked slightly dated but use a modern, digital process. On many occasions I’ve been asked if my prints are Platinum on textured papers! I get a big kick when asked this question by the viewer!

His site’s slightly-odd organization means the best starting point is here and there’s next-to-nothing about him. Best to see this interview at ND Magazine.


Ian Bramham

Ian Bramham is an architect and photographer based in the Peak District but seems to prefer coastal regions for his mainly black and white work.

This was my favourite, from Ravenglass in Cumbria, but also see his Morecambe Bay

Killip retrospective

The Guardian notes that Chris Killip’s retrospective is being held in Essen and asks “why is great British documentary photography overlooked at home?”

Surely, too, a group retrospective of the above-named pioneers of British photojournalism [Tony Ray-Jones, Graham Smith, Chris Steele-Perkins and Brian Griffin] is long overdue? My instinct is that this kind of work has long been out of fashion with our arbiters of culture in Britain. It is black-and-white, gritty, hard hitting and politically provocative – the photography critic, Gerry Badger, correctly described In Flagrante as “taken from the point of view that opposed everything Thatcher stood for”.

I’m not sure it’s true that we’ve lost our appetite for that kind of work – maybe some of it’s now under the “street photography” umbrella. But with the film, the economy grinding along the bottom, and the Argies getting one-eyed about the Falklands again (let’s see if they give the pampas back to the native peoples), it does seems the right time for a Thatcher-era retrospective.

Anyway, Killip is one of my long-time favourites, so much so that I still remember . . .

Head for the hills

Based enviably close to the Lake District,  I wasn’t sure if Stewart Smith‘s web site was a fell-walking blog as there’s so much about climbing half a dozen fells before breakfast and camping at 2500 feet, while his excellent photographs seem to be most easily accessed by clicking links in the tag cloud.

 … principally concerned with catching the fleeting and dramatic light that can play across the crags and ridges of the mountains at the extreme ends of the day; light that is capable of transforming an already enthralling scene into something remarkable and almost surreally beautiful.

The interpretation is of an almost primal landscape devoid of human intrusion, the Lake District mountains as they have been for thousands of years and will continue to be for thousands more.

Not a lot of black and white but I do like this view of the Langdales.

Peter Hogan

Peter Hogan seems to be a black and white guy – at least, calling his site is a pretty convincing clue. No doubt I enjoyed his site all the more for its having a decent number of Lake District scenes, like this one from near Ashness Gate on Derwentwater.

I suspect the pictures are quite a lot better than they appear from the rather poorly-compressed soft versions on the site.

Alex Nail

Alex Nail’s Pavey Ark from Blea Rigg

I’ve been stuck indoors recording a tutorial about Photoshop’s wonderful Mixer Brush for the last few days. Fun though it was, it took me a while to get to grips with Camtasia and much longer to become at all happy with the sound of my own voice. Combining a vaguely-Mancunian nasal drone with my background asthma doesn’t lift my confidence, so maybe next time I’ll pretend I’m John Cooper Clarke and give Photoshop the full Beasely Street treatment?

Anyway, stuck inside when we’ve had a couple of light snowfalls has given me itchy feet, even more so when I know there’s been snow up in the Lakes and when I see this gorgeous shot from the Langdales by Alex Nail. There aren’t nearly enough Lake District shots on his site, but this one alone is worth a visit.

Passing away

Today’s helping of black and white goodness is Elin Hoyland‘s reportage work, particularly her Brothers series which I think I first noticed in a magazine somewhere. If I remember – because her site doesn’t contain much info – it depicted two Norwegian brothers on a remote farm and I still find it an incredibly sad set of pictures:

As Harald said, they chopped wood, carried wood and burned wood. At least twice a day, they also fed wild birds in the twenty bird boxes that they monitored. Their days followed a predictable and comforting routine. In their free time they each listened to a radio or read the local paper. In the 1960s they had rented a TV for a one month trial but returned it after deciding that it took up too much time. Little changed from year to year, though Mathias once said that changes were happening the whole time and it would probably end up with them getting an inside toilet with running water.

Also see here wonderful sand-dune rally in Qatar.

John Gravett

I’ve decided that each day this month I’ll try to link to web sites featuring great black and white work, so today it’s a nice coincidence that this morning I saw that John Gravett of Lakeland Photographic Holidays has a new site.

This scene is somewhere between Blea Tarn and Little Langdale and is just one of many pictures that has me itching to get back up there.

Blea expectations

Blea Tarn by Colin S Bell

You’d be forgiven for thinking this site has recently become fixated with the Lake District in general and Blea Tarn in particular. You would be right, as I have felt rather that way since the two weeks I spent up there in November and especially since the morning when I had the place entirely to myself.

That day it all came together – after an hour’s drive I was there for dawn, rolling mists and autumn colours reflected in the tarn’s still surface – and apart from a single dog walker it was all mine, mine, and not another photographer in sight. Funnily enough, once the fog eventually lifted and the breeze picked up, I moved on to nearby Slater’s Bridge and did immediately walk into a pack of 10 photographers with LPS’s John Gravett. John had first introduced me to the tarn’s photographic potential and often takes his guests there, so that morning I’d been a lot luckier than I’d thought. Much as I can be sociable, and know I can  remove other photographers . . .

Adam Burton

Adam Burton‘s Lake District pictures contained some lovely angles on Blea Tarn. And while here he’s talking about the Langdales in general, I rather feel his comment could apply to this one little spot.

This iconic location is probably my favourite part of the Lake District.  As long as the weather plays along, a photographer could easily spend a week and more photographing the Langdales and never get bored.

John Parminter

Having recently spent a couple of weeks up in the Lake District, I obviously can’t get enough of the region and was thinking about places to go next time. So I found myself browsing one or two sites until I came across John Parminter’s which has some lovely scenic work both of the Lakes and Scotland.

This is one of my favourite lakes, Wastwater, but taken from an angle I’d never seen before and which really expresses the power of those impressive scree slopes along the other side.


Peter Gabriel’s new album New Blood just arrived – yes, I do still buy CD’s and no, I don’t want to download compressed mp3 files for the same price – but for the last week or so he’s been trailing the album on his site and as well as lapping up the new versions and the interviews about the songs there was a strange graphic and it was only with the arrival of the CD that I could find out what it was. I’m sure it would have made an impressive LP cover back in the day….

Well, it turns out to be a photograph, of an embryonic stem cell on the tip of a needle, and was taken by retired scientific photographer Steve Gschmeissner from Bedford using a scanning electron microscope which magnifies subjects by up to a million times. Not much about him online though, apart from a stock library and his spiders and other insects.

[Update] Steve has contacted me to say he now has a web site at

[Update] What do I think of the album? OK, I’m . . .

War photographers talk

See The shot that nearly killed me, a Guardian special report where war photographers talk about their profession (not sure that’s the word). There are some horrific pictures and lots of comments like “I’d just finished a master’s in photojournalism and thought I’d go to Pakistan to cover the elections.” or “This is the last picture I took before I got shot”, but probably the most shocking words were from João Silva who continued taking pictures after stepping on a mine:

I’ve spent enough time out there for my number to come up. I was one of the few who kept going back to Iraq. People think you do this to chase adrenaline. The reality is hard work and a lot of time alone. Firefights can be exciting, I’m not going to lie, but photographing the aftermath of a bomb, when there’s a dead child and the mother wailing over the corpse, isn’t fun. I’m intruding on the most intimate moments, but I force myself to do it because the world has to see those images. Politicians need to know what it looks . . .

Ragnar Axelsson

Last night I found myself watching an excellent documentary on BBC4, Last days of the Arctic, and thinking Ragnar Axelsson’s excellent b&w work seemed familiar. It’s mainly about his pictures showing the fast-vanishing farming communities of his native Iceland and the hunting people of Greenland, but it also covers other areas of his work (he’s a press photographer) such as last year’s volcanic eruptions. Here’s his web site.

The programme’s well worth watching if you’ve access to BBC’s iPlayer or there’s an extract on YouTube.

And his work was familiar – mentioned here back in 2006.

Edible images

I’m not sure if’s Spotlights is new (via) but it’s a good excuse to link to Carl Warner again as he is one of the featured photographers and is interviewed here about how he creates his wonderful food pictures:

The whole junk was then placed on a large tabletop covered in Pak Choi, which is a Chinese cabbage leaf, and this formed the turbulent waters of the seascape. Once dressed, this set formed the largest part of the image and covered a tabletop of about fifteen feet at the back to four feet at the front and around nine feet deep.

I wanted to capture the feel of that low golden sunlight that breaks through after a storm has passed, so I used a warm tungsten light source with minimum fill in light. For the sky I used kai choi to become the swirling, slightly spooky and mysterious looking cloud formations. The leaves were shot separately to form the second element of the composite, which were assembled later in Photoshop.

Carl Warner’s web . . .

An optometrist and a photographer

Enjoying an excellent pint of Hesket Newmarket‘s Catbells at Buttermere’s Fish Inn this afternoon – reward for a walk round Crummock Water – I had last month’s Black and White Photography with me.

It’s not the magazine it used to be, which is why it’s taken me weeks to get round to reading it – but luckily I happened to open it at a double page spread with Larry Louie’s gorgeous picture of Djenne mosque.

The following page had other pictures from Mali and also some from China and I made a mental note to see if he had a web site. He does, here, and there’s lots of wonderful black and white work.

I suspect you’ll enjoy this link.

Unfamiliar landscapes

I was originally drawn to Jonathan Andrew’s web site by a link to his pictures of WW2 concrete defences but his other landscape work really caught my eye. When you’ve seen a lot of landscape pictures I feel you tend to accompany a new set of images with “ah, Iceland”, “hm, has to be Scotland”, “yep, Dolomites”, “aha Borrowdale”. So it’s even more enjoyable when the comfy familiarity of recognising old friends is brushed aside by pictures like this which make you wonder where in the world they were taken. In this case, it’s certainly not an over-photographed location. In fact, I doubt I’ve ever seen any pictures taken in Montenegro.