Monday, 30 April 2007

Golden oldie

This is an image that dates back to the early 1990's but the great thing about it is the fact that it was taken with a camera that dates back to 1937.

The photo was taken in Conwy, North Wales using a Zeiss Ikon Nettar 518/2 camera (6x9) bought in a shop in Llandudno. I dived in at the deepend and put some Fuji 120 transparency film in the camera as a way of finding out how accurate the shutter speeds were. Remarkably the film showed that the shutter speeds and apertures were about spot on, giving reliable exposure. Not bad for a camera that was 55 years old at the time.

The old thing has been retired now and sits next to the computer, but it did introduce me to the world of medium format photography and remained in my camera bag for quite a few years.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Mr Blue Sky

A great expanse of blue sky and some colour on the trees marks the start of the spring/ summer. A time to get the camera out and photograph the world coming to life again after its winter sleep.

The next couple of months are great for photographing landscapes and nature as the foliage is very fresh and very green, giving a bright patchwork effect to the countryside.

This shot was taken in the back garden using a Nikon D2H and a 28-135mm lens.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Profile: Larry Burrows

My interest in photography started because of two entirely different events but both were key in developing my interest in the subject.

The first was the purchase of my first camera, a 126 format Hanimex 88x and the second was a 1979 BBC film about Vietnam war photographer Tim Page that was aired one afternoon when i was off school sick.
The Hanimex camera offered the technical start i needed but the Vietnam images shown on the TV introduced me to a new type of photography that was visually powerful and instantly the photography and the photographer's stories fascinated me.

Vietnam produced many great photo-journalists like Tim Page, Henri Huet and Philip Jones Griffiths. The war, however, took its toll on the press with 135 photographers dying during the conflict. One such photographer was Larry Burrows who I regard as one of the best Vietnam war photographers. Maybe even THE best !

Burrows started out as a tea boy at LIFE magazine's photo lab in 1942 and finally became a working photographer in 1945. By the early 1960's, Larry was working in Vietnam where US miltary advisors were involved helping the South Vietnamese fight the Vietcong.
Larry's experiences during the war altered his attitude towards the US involvement in Vietnam but his photography remained true to its subjects; politics aside, the bravery of the troops was always admired but Larry would be quick to point out military mistakes.

His greatest piece of work, and one i would recommend to any student of photojournalism to study, is One ride with Yankee Papa 13 which follows a crew member of a helicopter rescueing a downed US pilot. The crew, during a flight to drop off a group of soldiers, successfully rescue one of the downed helicopter pilots shot down during the mission, but his wounds are so severe that he dies and the frustration felt by the crew of the helicopter at the loss of life suffered that day is clearly shown in the images. The pictures were published in LIFE Magazine in April 1965.

Although Larry Burrows will always be connected with the Vietnam war, he did actually photograph other conflicts and news events around the world including India, the Middle East and The Congo. It was while in India on assignment that Larry learned of the invasion of Laos by south Vietnam and it was to the war that his name will always be connected that he returned one final time.

Larry Burrows was killed in February 1971 when the helicopter he was travelling in, was shot down after becoming lost.Three other photographers including Henri Huet, another veteran photographer of the war, were killed.

The loss of the helicopter saw the beginning of the end of the golden era for the photojournalist in Vietnam as it became increasingly more and more difficult to operate. By 1971, the US military refused to transport the press making transportation to the stories difficult. After the US pulled its remaining troops out in 1973, Vietnam became a war that most people wanted to forget and it remained like that until Saigon fell to the communists in 1975.

Vietnam was the last war where the press had true freedom of movement and expression. Most conflicts since Vietnam have been carefully stage managed by the military power involved. The US realised far too late the power that the photographic image could have over the folks back home. The mistakes concerning the handling of the media during Vietnam were noted by governments around the world and the media found itself under tight control during the conflicts that followed Vietnam. After three decades of carefully stage-managed conflicts, modern media like the internet and digital photography, is starting to make it increasingly tougher for governments to control the message with bloggers and video diarists using the web to publicise the stories. Just look for the various blogs that cover the Iraq conflict to see how just about anyone can be a photojournalist in the 21st century.

A book of Larry's work called Larry Burrows: Vietnam is available to buy from Amazon and other retailers.

Visit an online gallery of Larry Burrows work at: http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0302/lb_intro.html

http://www.life.com/Life/burrows/burrows.html

http://www.vwam.com/papa13/yankeepapa13.htm

Top and middle images by Larry Burrows
Bottom image by Sergio Ortiz

Top image:
F-102 jets with their afterburners alight on a dawn bombing mission along the Vietnamese coast, 1966 .

This image appeared on the front cover of LIFE magazine in February 1966 , one of 15 cover images Larry achieved over a ten year span from 1958 - 1968.

Middle image :
Coming into the landing zone, Farley returns fire. Burrows triggered a motor-driven Nikon with 21mm lens by remote cable as he crouched out of sight behind Farley. Mounted only three inches from the M-60's muzzle, after eleven missions over six days the front of his lens shook loose and fell.


Bottom image:

Photographers Larry Burrows (centre), Henri Huet, Keisaburo Shimamoto and Kent Potter in a helicopter minutes before it was shot down over Laos in February, 1971. There were no survivors.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

10% discount

The RF Photography blog has been running a few months now and I'm rather enjoying having a blog where i can post images and the details about how they were taken.

This summer Richard Flint Photography is offering a 10% discount to anyone using a RF Photography service for the first time. All you have to do to is mention the blog or an article/image you've seen on the blog page.

Click here for contact details

Thursday, 12 April 2007

More speedway

Nine new images have been added to the speedway portfolio page to complete the online speedway portfolio.

Several of the galleries on the website have a complete portfolio of images where photos have been added that weren't included in the final selections. Some just slipped off the radar but are now included for the first time.

Click here or on the image to go to the speedway portfolio.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The odd shot

Every now and again an image comes along that just seems to reflect a place, event or period in your life.

While putting together a few more images for the new B&W section i thought about a photo i took while on Anglesey, North Wales in 2003. As i wandered along the coast i came across a pair of boots that had obviously been washed overboard from a boat and found themselves on the pebble beach. How far they had floated is anyone's guess but they could have travelled miles along the welsh coast with the strong currents that flow in the Menai straits. The fact that the boots were still together obviously gave them buoyancy.

The photograph wasn't the best taken that day but for some reason i always remember it and it always brings a smile to my face. The pair of boots were left for the next tide to take and who knows....maybe someone else photographed them further down the coast, washed up yet again by the tide.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

B&W portfolio

A special black and white photography section has been added to the website that can only be accessed through the blogpage.

During my photography student years, 95% of my work was shot on B&W film and I came to love the monochrome images of the world without the distractions of colour. I shoot about equal amounts of colour AND black and white these days but B&W is a great film format that can make you look at the world in a different way and also help you learn the basics of photography.

The images range from landscape to reportage and were taken at various locations around the UK. Some are over ten years old and other are more recent. Over the next few months the B&W portfolio will have new images added to it including some new project material to be shot over the summer.

The image of the couple above was taken at Beaumaris, North Wales in 2003

Monday, 2 April 2007

Privacy debate email

A interesting email came through a few days ago concerning the UK privacy law debate that photographers have been keeping an eye on for some time.

A few weeks back i signed a petition via the downing street website to voice support for those photographers who want to keep the right to photograph whatever and whomever they want.
The email actually clarified the nature of the proposed bill by stating that it would only be put in place in areas of a sensitive nature i.e schools etc. How exactly the decision will be made on what to include and exclude has not been mentioned.

Yet again we will have to wait and see......
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