Wednesday 30 May 2012

A Walk in the Park

A portrait of Rehman by Lana Slezic 

The image above comes from a superb series of portraits of Delhi street kids who all frequent an area of ground called 'the park'.

As the photographer Lana Slezic explains 'The street kids I photographed in Old Delhi call the place where they live “the park.” Not a strand of grass has the misfortune of growing there. The ground reeks of urine and burning rubbish. Sniffing glue is the center of this world. Shoeless children play happily in the scorched dirt, flicking marbles for money so they can eat, their tummies grumbling with hunger. This park bears no resemblance to that of my youth' 

What dignity is displayed in the faces of the children. They are tough... they have to be! Yet we sense the character and strength that they all possess is combined with a fragile quality. Many look confidently, almost defiantly at the camera. Overall though, you come away from viewing the images with a feeling of immense sadness. No child should have to live like this.

 Lana Slezic's excellent series of portraits titled 'A walk in the park' can be found HERE

Thursday 17 May 2012

Photographing Oil

Bonneville #1 Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA, 2008

The Guardian website recently featured a great gallery of work by the photographer Edward Burtynsky who has spent fifteen years working on a project looking at the complicated world of oil.

What didn't come across in the small selection of 16 images featured on the Guardian, was the sheer depth of the photography project. Burtynsky has divided the project into four distinct sections - Extraction and Refinement, Detroit Motor City, Transportation and Motor culture (from which the above image is taken) and the end of oil. Virtually every aspect of our relationship, our dependence and our addiction to oil is covered in this extensive project. Even the design office of the Model T Ford has been photographed.

Shipbreaking #13 Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2000

The impact on the environment seems a common theme thoughout the project. Images of the Oxford tire pile taken in California in 1999 gives us an uncomfortable reminder that there is a hefty price tag for consuming oil - often a price we choose to ignore.

Many images from the 'the end of oil' gallery have the distinct look of a post apocalyptic world, a landscape of waste not that far removed from scenery in the Mad Max film series. Mountains of waste litter the tire dump and a beach in Bangladesh is covered with the strange metal debris sculptures of scrapped ships.

Edward Bertynsky's photography provides a fascinating broad insight into the world of oil that we are all consuming in some shape or form.  The photographs provide a chilling visual record that we waste, destroy and contaminate huge amounts of our planet and its resources, just so we can fill up at the petrol pump. What's worse is that the demand for oil is growing daily.

Sadly there are no direct URL links to the various galleries, but you can find the oil series of images along with more great industry related photography projects in the works section of the photographer's website.

Edward Bertynsky's photography can be found on his website at

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Insights into Photojournalism

If you have any interest in photojournalism, then this discussion with Jamie Wellford is a essential listening!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

The Old Life

If you enjoy documentary films, then a click over the Side TV website may be worth your while. It certainly has plenty on offer to watch.

Several documentary films, made during the turbulent years of change in the North East of England, are available to watch there. Especially recommended are the films 'Launch' about the launch of an oil tanker called 'World Unicorn' in 1973 and  'Ship Tyne Main' which focuses in on a pub on Tyneside in 1967.

Launch captures the activity around a shipyard in Wallsend and features a marvelous scene with the oil tanker sliding out of view in a scene framed around a terraced street. People lived and worked under the shadow of these giant ships, so the launch was an important day for the community. Looking at the footage you realize that we have very few events these days, if any, that take place on a similar impressive scale.

Ship Tyne Main focusses in on The Ship Hotel pub on Tyneside on a somewhat dark and wet Sunday. The film beautifully captures the various characters who drink in the pub and the industrialized surroundings of the busy river Tyne. We see into a world that was starting to disappear as the industrial and economic decline started to take hold in the 1970's. Gritty it may be, but this is how many people lived at that time.

Both films give a brilliant insight into the communities and lives of people living in North East of England - a way of life that has long since vanished. As social documentary film making goes... you can't get much better. The films on offer change each month so make sure you catch both of these documentary gems before they vanish.

Side TV can be found at