Saturday 25 February 2012

A City at War

This video is probably one of the best reports to come out of Homs in Syria. 

Taken by a French photographer, who uses the name Mani to protect his real identity, the footage has been put together by Channel 4 News in the UK and follows the fierce fighting between the Free Syrian Army and the security forces of the Assad regime. It is a remarkable piece of reporting.

An interview with Mani can be found here.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

The Long Hard Look

Photograph by Samuel Aranda

There's been plenty of discussion and criticism of this year's World Press Photo winner.  A great couple of posts dealing with the subject can be found on the Russian Photos Blog and on David Campbell's blog. A read through the comments is also recommended. If anything, Samuel Aranda's image has stirred up a debate that goes to the very heart of photojournalism and photography itself. 

Personally, my attitudes to the photo have changed over the last week or so. I wasn't that taken with the photograph when i first saw it, but the composition of the image does work for me now. The way we view and understand images is often a complicated process. I often revisit work to try and figure out why i don't like it. Usually i come away with my verdict unchanged, but the Aranda image started to work the more I viewed it. I just had to look harder and make the effort to understand why the image worked.

I had similar problems with Martin Parr's work. I still have some reservations regarding certain Parr images  but at least I've changed my attitude to the composition of his photographs. I do admire Martin Parr's skill as a photographer now, though it's taken me the best part of a decade to fully turn around my opinion. Simple, photography ain't. Sometimes it takes time and effort to fully understand.

A great collection of links discussing Samuel Aranda's image can also be found here.

Friday 10 February 2012

The Best Photography???

General News, 3rd prize singles, Toshiyuki Tsunenari

Congratulations must go to all the World Press Photo (WPP) winners announced today, but I do have a number of reservations about this year's winners.

I have a routine where, each year, i go to the book store to potentially buy the current World Press Photo year book. I open up the book, carefully look through the photographs and if the photography makes an impact, I'll buy the book. Somehow I don't think that this year's WPP book won't be on my bookshelf.

I've never have been the biggest fan of competitions - probably because i never win anything - but the release of the winning photographs from this year's World Press Photo left me somewhat underwhelmed - I'm especially thinking of this year's World Press Photo of the Year by Samuel Aranda. Photo of the Year? Really??? Does it have that special emotional and visual power? It seems I'm not alone in thinking that it does not.

There are great images among the winners (like the photo above), but for a while now, I've thought that the winning photography has become increasingly formulaic in nature. Even the usually strong sports photography category seems rather dull and lifeless this year. With over 101,000 images submitted to the contest, are the winning entries REALLY the best press photographs from around the world???

Check out the 2012 World Press Photo winners HERE

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Pigeon Recon

Not a bad photograph... for a pigeon! Don't believe me?

The Photography News have a great blog post about the fascinating pigeon camera and its inventor Julius Neubronner. These feathery aerial photographers were used for aerial reconnaissance during the First World War and later.

Check out the pigeons, their amazing cameras and the great aerial photos they took HERE