Vivian Maier

I decided it would be good to look at the work of some women street photographers. The first one I chose to look at was Vivian Maier.

Maier was a professional nanny from 1950s-1990s. She took over 100,000 photos worldwide but didn’t show them to anyone. After her death. Historian John Maloof bought a box of negatives and printed and published them.

Her work is mainly black and white and captures many of the aspects of city street life in Chicago and New York City in the second half of the 20th Century. She liked to take photos of street children playing and adults going about their daily lives. She had a knack of getting close to people, and her work often uses high contrast to accentuate the subject matter.

http://www.vivianmaier.com/ [Last accessed: 30/09/2017]

 

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Magic Party Place by CJ Clarke – Derby, 2017

Magic Party Place by CJ Clarke is part of the Format Festival in Derby.

This exhibition was in two pieces: one was black and white images shown on old 70s’ style portable televisions showing black and white stills of the reality of a New Town Utopia, where the modern-day concrete reality is very different to how the new towns were marketed post-World War II.

The other part of the exhibition was a set of black and white photographs depicting the area “… it is middle England territory, a town dominated by skilled manual workers … whose values, habits and preferences are believed by both left and right to hold the key of electoral success.”

The pieces show the state of the country in a post-BREXIT vote England. The desolation in a once new town and how the people still have a small sense of community. Black and white always seems to be the choice when showing the depressed political state of the country!

 

Ahead Still Lies Our Future – Derby, 2017

Ahead Still Lies Our Future is part of the Format Festival in Derby in March 2017. The photographs in this exhibition are from a variety of photographers and each piece challenges the viewer to question what they’re really seeing regarding the depicted habitat.

Hannah Darabi’s Waiting Grounds features a town in Tehran under construction. The photos are intended to show “the state of waiting for a suspended future in a country where history has been rewritten over and over again, and where each revised history has its own glorious past, in turn becoming an example for a potential future.”

I didn’t enjoy this collection. I found it flat and lacking in interest.

Sadie Wechsler’s work was more interesting. Her use of superimposing images on other images led to a series of images that both confused and questioned the brain as to what was real and what was not. I’d like to investigate more of her work and the techniques used to build the final prints.

Ester Vonplon’s photographs of Swiss glaciers covered in sheets during the summer were fascinating. The dark blotches on the cloth are from glacier milk which then keeps direct radiation from the ice on sunny days. The photographs “reveal the use of the cloth as a desperate attempt to counteract the effects of climate change.”  The images also remind the viewer of shrouds protecting a human body – the loneliness and helplessness of a dead body.

 

 

http://www.formatfestival.com/events/ahead-still-lies-our-future [Last accessed: 30/09/2017]

Three Songs, No Flash – Loe Beerens

I received this book as a birthday present as I enjoy gig photography. I didn’t learn a great deal from this book as I have six years of experience photographing gigs. However, as in all aspects of my photography i am keen to improve and to make my work look more creative. The author raises some good points regarding capturing interactions between the lead singer and other band members, and also between the lead singer and the audience.

To summarise, this book is useful for someone starting out in concert photography, but doesn’t have a lot to offer someone who’s experienced in the field.

 

Manuel Alexandre – Lagos, 2016

Whilst on holiday in The Algarve, I stumbled upon an exhibition of Manual Alexandre’s work in a museum in Lagos.

His black and white images are very atmospheric showing an infinity of depth as he focuses on his foreground subject matter and lets the background ‘melt’ into white. Many of his photographs feature rivers or the sea, and harsh/strong reflections of the subject matter. The images evoke a sense of stillness and calm.

This style is very different to my own. At some point, I’d like to emulate this work – though I’m not sure I’d capture the same air of tranquility and beauty in my part of England!

https://www.alexandrephotography.com/algarve [Last accessed: 30/09/2017]

The Street Photographer’s Manual – David Gibson

‘Photography can be taught only in part – specifically, that part which deals with photo-technique. Everything else has to come from the photographer’ (Feininger, 1968).

‘How many other forms of photography essentially have “wonder” at their heart? That’s what makes street photography almost a spiritual process for many because it is so personal and so akin to a king of photographic enlightenment. Street photography helps me understand (Nick Turpin )

This book is great to dip in and out of to get a better idea of how the perspective from where the shot is taken can influence the shot.

One area of advice I particularly liked was the chapter on shooting from behind. Gibson points out how it’s easier to take photographs from behind, and often easier to capture body language this way.

I will bear much of Gibson’s advice in mind should I take more street photographs in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

The Complete Photographer, Andreas Feininger, 1968

Gathered Leaves by Alec Soth – London, 2016

I visited Gathered Leaves by Alec Soth at The Science Museum, London in March 2016.

This exhibition features works from Soth’s collections Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), Niagara (2006), Broken Manual (2010) and Songbook (2014). The exhibition showcases Soth’s documentary style, taking the visitor through each collection book by book. Each person Soth photographed looks like they have a story to tell, and many of their stories are included in the books that are also displayed in cases.

Soth pulls no punches in how he shoots his photographs. Each person is shown in their own habitat – often in their own rooms or outside their houses. he depicts a life of loneliness and, in some cases, misery/unhappiness for his subjects. Each image wanting the viewer to know more about the subject – though we wouldn’t necessarily want to visit or meet the people concerned!

One of the things I admire about Soth’s work is his persistent search for a new person to photograph, and how he appears to quickly gain their trust for them to share their stories and to let him into their ‘world’ for the photograph.