Friday, 24 April 2009

Blog 12 - Reality Pt1

We were given a piece of reading to do a presentation on called Documents and pictures: two forms of realism from Themes in Contemporary Art (2004), which mainly spoke about Jeff Wall and Allan Sekula. Are these two forms of realism really different and is any form less valid than the other? In the presentation we looked at what a photograph is “The word 'photograph' means 'light writing' also speaks to an underlying concern to control light and time.” (Graham Clarke) The poignant bit for me is this idea of controlling time, people seeing photography as a means to capture a moment in time and it being a definitive, this lead us to look into documentary photography. The dictionary definition of documenting something is to record, register, and archive it, on paper, in writing. On the other side we looked into picture photography to compare the two, documentary photographs it seems are deemed more “real” than other forms of photography and art. What the viewer sees is what they deem to be the entire reality.
There is a famous photography made my Robert Capa called Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, 1936 (below), in which we see what we believe (because Capa or someone named the image so) is a militant man dying. There is speculation as to whether the man is literally dying in front of Capa or whether it was staged, but as Robert Capa is a trusted documentary photographer we only speculate for mere seconds and then believe what we’re previously told.

This is my mate Adooooooom!

And he was loving the attention I was giving him!

One journey...

Experimenting with a journey to my lovely work place, the Admiral Rodney in Wollaton, Nottingham. I couldn't find any music that I thought suited it so it's silent I'm afraid. Inspired by Daniel Kearney...

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Blackpool 4

My final two of the beautiful Blackpool series... everyone loves the rust bucket that is the Blackpool tower!

Blog 11

In a previous blog I slagged off Rankin for his recreations of iconic images that he did for “Seven Photographs That Changed Fashion”, I wondered if his inability to replicate the images exactly were down to his incompetence or the technology but now I’ve realised that there are many other factors that would disable him from making exact copies. Firstly, creating an exact copy of someone else’s photography would be considered a violation of copyright and it would be inappropriate for him to do that, regardless of his status in the fashion industry, and would he be able to anyway? His eye is different to his idol’s. As for the technology, he had access to any photography equipment that he could’ve possibly wanted to use but he chose not to use the same equipment and it does give the images a different feel, that coupled with the fact that all these other factors had changed; lighting, models, make up, clothing, they were all different and there wasn’t any choice in the matter. Now I’ve been away and thought about it I have massive respect for the guy for making those images and he made them with his own style incorporated, as I said before his eye is different, you could look at the photos and see his work, especially with the Guy Bourdin recreation that I looked at. I actually feel it’s important as a photographer to look at the work of others and try to replicate an image we’re curious about, why did the photographer make that photo? How did the photographer make that photo? What lighting did they use? They’re all questions that need answering and the best way to do that is practically and through research. My tutor has given us a mini project to recreate an iconic photograph of our own and I chose to do a Rankin one as I thought it would be only right! As a result of recreating this image I’ve found that it’s a lot harder than I first thought it would be. See the older post for the recreated photograph...

Blog 10

Please note that I wrote this in February before I made my recreation of Rankin's photo and do have a follow up blog...

There was a programme of BBC four called Seven Photographs that changed fashion, in which fashion photographer Rankin recreated iconic fashion images by Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Erwin Blumefeld, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton and finally Guy Bourdin. The latter I had never heard of before and coincidentally I have fallen in love with his work. His ideas are so simple but exectued in such a way that even highly regarded Rankin couldn't even make a decent recreation of one of his works (in my opinion of course). I wonder if photographs (not just Bourdin's) were so hard to replicate exactly because of the photographers use of film rather than digital. Or did he feel bad about replicating it exactly, about "steeling" their shots? Or is he just not competant enough? I mean obviously he's good, he wouldn't be where he is now if he wasn't, but is he just good in the digital age? The image of Cecil Beaton's that he recreated was done on both digital and film and even he admited that Sophie Ellis Bexter's expression was better in the film one as the process is more arduous for the models. I think it would be a shame if film photography ever dies out completely as it;s important for our education at photographers, we have to think about our shots and pre-empt the final result otherwise we'd waste money and time. But I fear that being in the age of technology which, advances so fast, that the artistic element to our photography will suffer.

Blackpool 3

For anyone who's been to Blackpool recently, you'll know about the rejuvenation that the council are doing to the beach front... all they need to do now is the rest of the town.

Blackpool 2

Also, out of season, they like to make repairs to the fairgrounds in preparation for the floods of tourists.


Every time I go out in Blackpool armed with my camera I hope to take nice photographs but when it's out of season it's pretty much impossible... here's some closed shops on the promenade and central pier...

Sunday, 5 April 2009


So, I emailed Rankin with the photo that I recreated and I got a reply "Hi Sam,
Thanks for getting in touch with me. I love hearing from people that are interested in my work. The picture looks great; I hope you continue to be inspired and are successful in what you do." I do wonder however, if he wrote it himself?!?! I guess it's something I'll never know BUT if he did, he said that photo looks "great".... Yay!!