Genius of Photography – Snap Judgements

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

New Brighton by Martin Parr

1. How many photographs are taken a year?

It is estimated the 80 billion photographs are taken a year.

2. What is Gregory Crewdson’s modus operandi?

Gregory Crewdson is a photographer who doesn’t actually use a camera himself, he has a disconnection to photography and doesn’t like holding a camera. Instead he stages large scale scenes to create still photos

3. Which prints command the highest price and what are they called?

Vintage photographs that were printed by the photographer themselves, and closest to the time the picture was taken demand the highest price.

4. What is a fake photography? Give an example and explain how and why it is fake?

A fake photograph is one that is not all it appears to be, It has been edited of manipulated or something has been taken away or added.

An example of this is ‘The Cottingley Fairies’ – two girls took some photographs of themselves supposedly sitting with fairies. The fairies were cardboard cutouts, but the end results made the photographs seem real.

5. Who is Li Zhensheng and what was he famous for?

Li was is a red solider photojournalist who covered the Cultural Revolution, he has to hide his photos and they are still not shown in China.

6. What is the photographer’s “Holy of holies”?

Magnum Photography Agency.

7. Which famous photograph was taken by ‘Frank Mustard?’

The River France.

Genius of Photography – We Are Family

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Dad on Bed, 1985 Larry Sultan

1. Who said “ The camera gave me the license to strip away what you want people to know about you, to reveal what you can’t help people knowing about you”, and when was it said?

Diane Arbus, during the early sixties she released this statement.

2. Do photographers tend to prey on vulnerable people?

Some people say that argue that photographers prey on the vulnerable, but it depends on the intention behind the image.

3. Who is Colin Wood?

Colin Wood was the seven year old boy Diane Arbus photographed, ‘Child With Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.’

Child With Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park – Diane Arbus

4.Why do you think Diane Arbus committed suicide?

Some say that Arbus’ work portrayed her own anxieties and that within her work she was trying to be someone else.

5. Why and how did Larry Clark shoot “Tulsa”?

Larry Clark took portraits of the life around him, most of this revolved around drink, drugs and sex.

6. Try to explain the concept of “confessional photography” and what is the “impolite genre”?

Confessional Photography – photos that are open and truthful, don’t manipulate to make it look nice.

Impolite Genre – not hiding anything, created to make you feel uneasy.

7. What will Arkai not photography and why?

Arkai refused to photograph the things he didn’t want to remember as he only wanted to remember the good things.

8. What is the premise of Postmodernism?

Postmodernism focuses on the idea that our world revolves around media imagery; it shows us how people believe we should our live our lives.

Genius of Photography – Paper Movies

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

1-8 Yuma by Stephen Shore


1. Why did Garry Winogrand take photos?

He wanted to see what the world looked like.

1x1.trans 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

Central Park Zoo, New York – Garry Winogrand

2. Why did the citizens evolve from blurs to solid flesh?

As technology evolved within photography, it changed the way in which people were seen.


3. What was/is the “much understood theory”?

The Decisive Moment is the much misunderstood theory, many photographers try and make a situation happen before they capture their image and others try and find situations to capture – being at the right place at the right time.


4. Who was the Godfather of street photography, in the USA?

Garry Winogrand was considered the Godfather of street photography, he had ‘an appetite for life’ stalking people to get his images.


5.  Who was Paul Martin and what did he do?

Paul Martin was a British photographer who captured the English sea side and people having fun on the beach.

Paul Martin 

6. Who said “when I was growing up photographers were either nerds of pornographers”?

Ed Ruscha, an artist. He said that there was no redeeming social value to somebody who had a camera who takes photographs and that they were about things rather than people.


7. Why does William Eggleston photograph in colour?

Eggleston’s photographs are brightly coloured which makes them unreadable. Colour is also more dominant than black and white and it has the power to change the content.


8. What is William Eggleston about?

Eggleston considers himself as a lonely photographer who captures the world as it is today.


Genius of Moving Image – Chris Cunningham

Friday, March 1st, 2013

1. How did Bjork and Chris Cunningham collaborate on the ‘All Is Full Of Love’ video?

The two met through mutual friends, after it was suggested that Bjork should use Cunningham, sge sent him the track. He loved the song and agreed to help; Bjork had an idea that she wanted the video to be very white to envisage some kind of heaven, she also had some Chinese statues that  she wanted to melt – from hard to something soft. Cunningham built off this idea, he had been obsessed with engineering as a child and wanted to use some form of robotics oppose to the statues; Bjork liked this idea and the this became the foundation of their collaboration.

2.  What techniques were used on the ‘Portishead’ video to create unusual slow effects? Research this.

The Portishead singer and the actors involved in the video were in a tank of water; this created slow motion hair, they were then super imposed into an alley without the water to create a supernatural floating scene.

3.  What other music video directors have gone on to direct feature films? Name two and the feature films they have made.

David Fincher :

Music Video – Express Yourself by Madonna (1989)

Film – Fight Club (1999)

Michael Bay:

Music Video – I’d Do Anything for Love by Meat Loaf (1993)

Film – Bad Boys (1995)

4. Which famous Sci-Fi film did Cunningham work on before he became a director?

Artificial Intelligence.

5.  What makes his work different or original compared to other similar directors?

His work is different and original because he does something different each time; it makes his work more refreshing.

Genius of Moving Image – Cinematography

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

1. What is the role of a cinematographer in film making?

The role of a cinematographer is to work alongside the director and help to make decisions; the choice of film stock, lens, filters and most importantly the look and feel of the film.  It is up to the cinematographer to ensure their contribution to the film puts an idea in the audiences mind. The three elements that a cinematographer sticks to are; light, composure and movement.

2. What did director Roman Polanski insist on using hand held camera in the film Chinatown?

He did this to create a sense of intimacy, but also to create a natural relationship between the people on-screen and off-screen. He liked to push camera very close up to the actors’ faces, intimidating them but also capturing ‘honest’ emotion and reactions.

3.  Name two films which use colour in a very symbolic way, and describe what they suggest.

The Great Gatsby – The colour transition of Daisy goes through; white to pink, to gold and then to yellow shows how she is viewed as a character. The beginning colour of white represents her innocence and naivety, this colour changes to pink when she adopts the role of a lover. The transition into gold shows the real side to Daisy and her need for social approval and materialistic goods. The colour yellow portrays Daisy’s fickleness – how she treats her lovers. The choice of colour is used to symbolise her personality that isn’t always shown.

Schindler’s List –Spielberg’s reason for shooting this film in Black and White was because “Virtually everything I’ve seen on the Holocaust is in Black and White, so my vision of the Holocaust is what I’ve seen in documentaries and in books, which have largely been stark Black and White images.

Although the film is in Black and White in various parts of the film, a ‘Girl in a Red Coat’ is shown in colour; the symbol behind this was to the show the girl’s significance. Black and White is a way to show sadness, by emphasising the girl’s presence by colour it takes away some of the sadness as she becomes a symbol of hope. But equally the use of colour can symbolise the little girl’s innocence, creating much more sadness.

In terms of the storyline, the symbol of the girl initiates Oscar Schindler’s want to help, it opens his eyes to the cruelty around him. However toward the end of the film, when Oscar sees her body he wishes that he could have just saved one more person – this a question the audience are left to ponder on; did he mean the girl and is that why she was shown in red, to stand out?

4.  In the film Raging Bull why was the fight filmed at different speeds?

The fight scene in Raging Bull is filmed at two different speeds; changing between 24 and 48 frames per second. The reason behind this was emotional impact, as a viewer of the scene it is easy to see the difference of feeling and action between each character as they fight. The slower frames portray more of an emotional impact whereas the faster frames show the more physical impact.

5.  Who is the cinematographer for the film Apocalypse Now, and what is his philosophy?

Vittorio Storaro.

His philosophy is that cinematography is a community art form, unlike photography which is a single art form similar to that of fine arts.

Genius of Photography – Right Time, Right Place

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Playing as Ghetto Policeman, 1943 , Henryk Ross

1. What is described as “One of the most familiar concepts in photography?”

“A Decisive Moment” was one of the most familiar concepts in photography – the photographer purposely chose a certain moment to capture the image. Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson is an example of the concept, he purposely chose to wait for the image’s subject to leap over the puddle.

1x1.trans 10 Things Henri Cartier Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography

Henri Cartier-Bresson – Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare

2. Should you trust a photograph? (1.38m G3)

Photography has always been a way to capture reality, so to believe something that is real and in front of our faces is a human instinct. However photographers can manipulate and stage a photo to their advantage, making it ‘fake’ as it were. This depends wholly on the photographer and their style.

3. What was revolutionary about the Leica in 1952?

The Leica was a compact and quiet camera for its time; this allowed photographers to take photos freely.  This camera became a revolutionary tool for war photography, for those who needed to take photographs quickly whilst carrying weaponry.

4. What did George Bernard Shaw say about all the paintings of Christ?

He said, “I would exchange every painting of Christ for one snapshot.” He related to how much people trust in what they see in a photograph and how it is used as real evidence.

George Bernard Shaw

5. Why were Tony Vaccaros’ negatives destroyed by the army censors?

Tony Vaccaros wasn’t a professional war photographer, but just a regular soldier. His photos were destroyed because some were photographs of dead G.I’s – this was something the world wasn’t ready to see so they were destroyed.

German Soldier Returns Home – Tony Vaccaro

6. Who was Henryk Ross and what was his job?

Henryk Ross was a photographer who worked as an official propaganda photographer in Nazi Ghettos. He created identity cards for the Jews, and documented how the Jewish people lived – he showed not only their suffering but their family life and happiness.


Henryk Ross

7. Which show was a “sticking plaster for the wounds of the war,” how many people saw it and what “cliché” did it end on?

The T.V show, ‘Family Man’ was the walk through version of LIFE Magazine containing 500 images created by 273 photographers. It had 9 million viewers and was the most photographic show of all time. The show ended on the cliché ‘they all lived happily ever after.’

8. Why did Joel Meryerowitz photograph ground zero in colour?

He believed that photographing ground zero in black and white would keep it as a tragedy – there is a tragic element in photographing not the war but destruction.

The North Tower

Aftermath – Joel Meryerowitz 

Genius of Photography – Documents For Artists

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

1. What are Typologies?

Typologies in photography are the classification of types; an example of this would be Anna Atkins’ catalogue of algae.

Anna Atkins –  Cyanotypes of British Algae 

A while after Atkins, the use of photographic typologies was used by the police to capture criminal mug shots.

Most recently, Bernd and Hilla Becher have started a catalogue of industrial themed architecture such as water towers and blast furnaces. The way they have created their own niche within the typology bracket makes them different from everyone else, as is the way they capture the structures.

Bernd & Hilla Becher - Gas Tanks

 Bernd and Hilla Becher – Gas Tanks

2. What was “The Face of Times?”

The Face of Time was a series of human typologies by August Sander, his attempt was to categorise the portraits of people according to different social types; for example grouping together Farmers, then sub categories –head farmers, young farmers, their wives and children. His work showed how people wanted to be seen rather than how they were made to be seen.


August Sander – Bricklayer

Which magazine did Rodchenko design?

He designed the ‘USSR Construction’; the magazine glorified the achievements of the Soviet Union. Rodchenko took photographs with freedom rather than conventional photography. He wanted to show that he was photographing the world differently.

3. What is photo-montage?

A photo-montage is the process of making a merged photograph by cutting and joining two or more photographs.

5. Why did Eugene Atget use albumen prints in the 1920’s?

Eugene’s work was criticised for not using modern techniques that all the other photographers of the time were using, he chose to stick with albumen prints because he was comfortable with it and he didn’t know how to use the modern techniques.

Image: Eugene Atget, Interior of a Photographer, Atget's Apartment, 17 bis rue Campagne-Premiere, 1910–1911, Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris

Eugène Atget – Interior of a Photographer

6. What is solarisation and how was it discovered?

Solarisation is the effect achieved by exposing the negative to a white light whilst it is developing. The tones in the print invert and create what looks to be a robotic effect. This method was discovered by Man Ray’s assistant, Lee Miller.

7. What was the relationship between Bernice Abbot and Eugene Atget?

It was Man Ray that introduced Bernice Abbot to Atget’s work; Abbot then photographed Adget in the way that made him seem an old fashioned man to coincide with his photography techniques.

8. Why was Walker Evans fired from the FSA?

Walker Evans was fired from the FSA in 1937 because his work suited his own visions, which did not meet the requirements of the FSA’s subject matter.


Genius of Moving Image – Sam Taylor Wood

Friday, February 15th, 2013

1. List two specific key relationships between Sam Taylor Wood’s photography and film work?

Sam Taylor Wood’s work is personal and autobiographical; her work consists of human emotion in both fields of work.

2. How does the use of multi-screen installation in her work reflect narrative?

She allows the audience to become a part of the video; it makes them feel as if they are witnessing what is going on, first hand.

3. What other photographer use film as an integral part of their work, list two examples?

Annie Leibovitz. She used fairy tales from Disney movies as part of her inspiration; Alice in Wonderland for Vogue and various Disney movie characters as part of the Disney Dream Portrait.

Man Ray. He applied his ‘Rayograph Technique’ to some of his moving image work like Anémic Cinema.

4.  Research three other video artists and explain their working philosophy?

Tim Walker – he is a photographer however he uses film as a major part of his work. His work is based on his philosophy that, whilst working with stills you are able to see the beauty of it, but you’re unable to work with it. With a film you are able to capture movement and the way people move, speak and express themselves.

Pipilotti Rist – her work contains alternations in colour, speed and sound and only last a few minutes. The themes in which her work is based on and around are usually related to gender, sexuality and the human body.  Some of her work is executed in such a way that she portrays a sense of happiness and simplicity –her work is regarded feminist.

Tony Oursler – he is known for his fractured-narrative handmade video tapes. His work consists of elaborate soundtracks, painted sets, stop animation and optical special effects created by Oursler himself.

5.  Show an example of a specific gallery or a specific site location where a video artist or film-maker has created work, specifically for that space and been influenced by it.

James Cameron’s Avatar was inspired by many things:

The deep jungles of Pandora were envisioned from Disney film, Tarzan.


The film’s floating “Hallelujah Mountains”  were inspired by many different types of mountains,  but the main inspiration was Mount Huang in China.


The human mining colony on Pandora, was built on Noble Clyde Boudreaux, an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.


Genius of Photography – Fixing the Shadows

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Meudon – André Kertész – 1928

1. What is photography’s “true genius”?

‘How can something that reveals so much, keep so much to itself?’ This quotation taken from the documentary, states that although photography is able to capture a moment in time, not all is seen.  The true genius of Photography is, to make us think; something that evokes a feeling or a thought that is then spoken about and shared.

‘Shellshocked US Marine’ – Don McCullin – 1968 

The way that this photograph was perceived by a nation changed history, the thoughts that were evoked when seeing this image shocked the world. As an audience we cannot begin to fathom what the soldier has been through, the photo ‘keeping so much to itself’ yet at the same time we are able to see that the soldier has gone through so much trauma he looks almost lifeless, this ‘revealing so much’ as it’s effects changed history and helped to end the war.

2. Name a proto-photographer.

Henry-Fox Talbot. His experimentations with silver salt covered paper led him to invent the Calotype process – the process that used the idea of positive and negative prints.

 Henry-Fox Talbot

3.  In the 19th century, what term was associated with the daguerreotype?

‘Mirror with a memory’ – the daguerreotype, was one of the earliest examples of a time and place that had been frozen for eternity.

Frederick Douglass

4. What is the vernacular?

Vernacular in photography is a type of photography created for purposes that are outside of art. It is a genre of photography that contains journalistic, touristic, scientific, forensic, legal and every day family and friend photographs; basically all things except art.

Square America 

5.  How do you “Fix the Shadows”?

It was found that in the 1830’s there were certain chemicals that were light sensitive, for example silver chloride and silver nitrate. What was needed was to find a way of ‘fixing’ the image to stop the exposure; however it was something that proved to be difficult.

Henry Fox Talbot had a method of fixing the shadows, it was through camera obscura; he had a mouse trap camera set up that held the negative and the paper but it only exposed for a short amount of time.

Camera Obscura

Louis Daguerre also had a method of fixing the shadows; he created the daguerreotype in order to stop the shadows. The basic process of this was to fix his images on a mirrored metal plate.


6.  What is the “carte de visite”? 

Carte de visite are small photos printed on pieces of card, their purpose to exchange between family and friends. Due to their size it was easy to send through post, and a lot cheaper than large format prints.

7. Who was Nadar and why was he so successful?

Gaspard Felix Tournachon , also known as Nadar was a successful artist turned photographer. The name Nadar was created as his ‘franchise’ – with a personal touch of red lettering it became his own brand, this making him one of the most well-known commercial photographers.


Nadar – Self Portrait

In the studio, Nadar had mastered the ‘natural expression’ within portraits, something that was unknown in the 1800’s. Nadar photographed upcoming artists and celebrities, the way he photographed them, was to make them seem as natural as possible – photographing them to be equals. Without the conventional mock up settings other photographers used, Nadar was able to capture his clients in an authentic and beautiful manner, capturing the real them. This method of his created the best portraits of the time.

File:Franz Liszt by Nadar, March 1886.png

Nadar – Franz Lisztn 

8. What is pictorialism?

Pictorialism is the genre of photography that was created by fine art artists, to use against the Vernacular photography that was becoming ever so popular. The Pictorialism artists focused on the style of photography as oppose to the content; they created fictional words making situations that didn’t exist. The photographs projected an emotional intent into the viewer’s imagination. This genre of photography was a visual appealing movement and it lead photography in the late 19th/early 20th century.

Elias Goldensky –  Portrait of Three Women 

How to Develop a Black and White Film

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

How to Develop a Black and White Film

The loaded reel then needs to be placed into the developing tank.

As the film is secure in darkness, it is okay to go back into the light.

washing film in-tank

To start with put some water into the developing tank, let it stand for a minute and then pour it out.

You will need the correct temperature for the developer, 20°C is standard . The developer will need to be in the tank for 7 minutes.

17 agitate 2 Develop b/w film at home 101

Agitate the tank slowly every 30 seconds  then 30 seconds once every minute,  be sure to tap it on the side – ensures the air bubbles are released.

Fill the tank up with the stop bath, agitate it for 1 minute, then pour it out. Repeat twice.

15 pour chem Develop b/w film at home 101

Pour out the stop bath and replace with fixer. Agitate the fixer for 30 seconds and then 30 seconds once every minute for five minutes.

washing film in-tank

Wash film under running water for 20 minutes .

20 dishwashing Develop b/w film at home 101

Add film to wetting agent and leave for a minute. Then wipe off all water residue with a film squeegee. Hang negative up to dry for 24 hours.