Sunday 30 October 2011

All about Eve

Marilyn Monroe, 1955 |  Photograph by Eve Arnold

This isn't going to be backed up with any scientific proof, but i did make a rather interesting observation when i was at an exhibition on Friday . The exhibition in question was 'The Photographers' at Nunnington Hall, a rather grand little country Manor not far from where i live.

The observation wasn't anything to do with the excellent exhibition itself but rather the collection of exhibition catalogues on sale on a table nearby. Nunnington Hall has exhibited photography for a number of years and the work displayed has often been by one or a number of photography's top name talents.

On the table next to the exhibition spaces were around 10 or 12 different high quality exhibition catalogues from previous shows dating back a number of years.  All were available to buy, however, some appeared to be far more popular than others. The top seller was obvious - Steve McCurry - just one, slightly over handled catalogue left. The other photographers seemed to have faired pretty well too with well over half of the catalogues gone for Bruce Davidson, Lord Snowdon, Bailey and a multitude of others.

Who wasn't popular? Well this surprised me - by a landslide it was Eve Arnold. The wonderfully talented Eve Arnold! Poor Eve had a full compliment of catalogues piled high. Now this observation in popularity is based purely on what i saw on the table at that time yesterday afternoon. Maybe Eve's catalogue had sold out the day before and the staff had added a new stack of Arnold catalogues from the stock room.

On the other hand, did that that table reflect that the exhibition viewing public are more receptive to Steve McCurry's colourful and exotic photography? Maybe it is no coincidence that the top selling catalogue on that table featured colour images - the others all contained black and white imagery.

Maybe the general viewing public just prefer the bright colour of McCurry's India to the monochrome tones of an Eve Arnold portrait of Marilyn Monroe. I don't know. I do know that I'll be back in a week or two for another exhibition and I'm going to take another look at that table.

Sunday 23 October 2011

iPad Edition

My photography book Sea, Sky, Sand and Street, featuring over 70 photographs shot in locations around the fabulous English county of Norfolk this summer, is now available for the iPad and iPhone for just £3.49

To grab a copy go to

Saturday 22 October 2011

Data Based

"These pictures show several sides of global human activities," said 34-year-old Felix, from Montreal, Canada. "We see everything from paved and unpaved roads, light pollution, railways, electricity transmission lines. All the way to submarine cables, pipelines, shipping lanes and air traffic. 

The representations are not to scale, however, as electrical wires could not be seen from space. But it shows the extent of our civilisation, the patterns of our global sprawl, how human-influenced our planet now is."

The images are made up from real data collected by Felix Pharand-Deschenes from various US government agencies. Although not to scale, the resulting photo-illustrations are impressive visualisation of how human activity has influenced the Earth.

Take a look at a fascinating collection of Felix Pharand-Deschenes's images HERE

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Suspicious Photo?

Suspicious photo? Potential Terrorist? Of course not.

When does a family photo stop being a family photo? The answer is when it turns into the image that fuels a PR disaster. Yes, yet again there has been a case of photographer equals enemy of the state, this time at a Glasgow shopping centre. Yet again the terrorism laws have been cited and abused in the name of privacy.

The crime in question was for a dad to photograph, using his mobile phone, his daughter enjoying her ice cream. Staff instantly reported this activity as suspicious. They called security, who called the police which finally led to one idiotic police officer threatening to delete the Dad's family photo under the misguided believe he could do so under terrorism legislation - you actually need a court order to do that in the UK. The photograph had already been posted on Facebook so it was too late anyway.

A Facebook campaign combined with extensive coverage on Twitter and the news websites turned a ice cream photo into a major pr disaster for the Braehead Shopping centre. There's been so much criticism aimed at Braehead that Capital Shopping Centres, who own the Braehead centre, have even decided to change their policy on photography within the 11 shopping complexes they own around the UK. If they had acted in a more thoughtful  and subtle way in the first place, all of the furore that ensued could have been avoided. Yet again it seems to be poor training and communication compounded by ill-informed security and police who abuse laws set up to protect the public. It needs sorting out!

The questions that have to be asked are why do public places impose such stupid rules in the first place? Why is it OK now to take photographs in the Braehead shopping centre when it wasn't before? A public place where families and friends meet up and they expect no one to take photographs during their visit? It seems a ridiculous thing to ask in an age where most people carry a mobile phone capable of taking images or video.

Privacy is an important issue for us all, but more and more it seems the rules are bent, abused or applied in situations that just make a mockery of the law. Is a shopping mall a private place? I would say not. What is even more ironic is the fact that the Braehead Shopping centre is probably bristling with CCTV cameras (like most of the UK) watching the shoppers for 'security' purposes. Where is the privacy in that?

Sunday 2 October 2011

SoFoBoMo Project Closes

Yep... it's true. The Solo Photo Book Month project will disappear at the end of this year. That was the sad news tweeted today by the SoFoBoMo team. After four great years the project staff have decided to wind down the project. They released the following statement

'Solo Photo Book Month has been running for four years. And what a fantastic four years they have been. All good things, however, come to an end. And this is the end for SoFoBoMo. The small group of us who organise the annual event have looked long and hard at the future and have, reluctantly, decided that without proper (i.e. expensive) web development and without proper (i.e. expensive) promotion we cannot go on. We believe that participants over the years have, well, grown a little.

The experience of proving that you *can* (can try, can finish, can see your book, can hold your book) has been energising. People have written to us to tell us that. We've felt it ourselves. We would like to give our grateful thanks to everybody who has volunteered, everybody who has donated, and everybody who has participated. The website will stay online until the end of 2011 and we encourage everybody to explore the range of books available. Goodbye. The SoFoBoMo team.'

Of the four years that the Solo Photo Book Month project took place, I only missed taking part the first year, 2008, due to discovering the project too late to take part. I liked what i saw. SoFoBoMo was well organised, the website informative and there was a relaxed, friendly attitude towards participants in the project. Then there was also the challenge of making a photography book. I learned a lot.

I will miss the Solo Photo Book Month Project.