I regularly watch out for documentaries that are photography related so when I heard the revue of ‘Bill Cunningham – New York’ on Five Live’s movie revue show so I thought I’d give it watch.
Firstly, it really isn’t about photography but it is very much about a photographer, and one very passionate about his specialist subject – street fashion. Don’t watch this if you want to hear about techniques or gear! If you’ve never heard of Bill he has a regular column in the New York Times where he features the latest fashion trends worn by real people, not the catwalk.
Photograph by Georg Petschnigg, courtesy of Wikipedia
It’s clear from the outset he’s a very dedicated individual; now in his eighties and living in the Carnegie Hall in a room with none of the normal amenities we expect in homes – just storage for his photographs. He isn’t a digital guy…
It was interesting to see how approached people as despite his NYT column, he’s very much a street photographer and like me he rides around on his bike with a camera. That’s one big advantage of film SLR’s – they are smaller and lighter than many current top-end DSLR’s and one of the reasons I’ve invested in a compact system as well as my full-sized gear.
Bill is so unassuming and very easy for people to accept and it was fascinating how well known he was and also how keen people were to be photographed by him. His notoriety also gets him access into some great places and events which just goes to show that trust and reputation can go a long way – I get the impression Bill never let a bad picture of someone make it to print.
The film shows how Bill works, examples of his printed features and has interviews with him, his friends and subjects. It’s an interesting social piece and would be an ideal watch for those interested in fashion and fashion photography.
The movie is avaiable on DVD and for rent; info on it can be found on wikipedia and IMDB
A shot from a visit to Borough Market, London
Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post. Poorly family members, open heart surgery (not me!) and a busy time at work have all taken their toll. Not to mention dropping my new camera and losing for weeks while it was repaired, then sent back and repaired again!
While the coursework has suffered, I’ve continued to take photographs of course, as well as reading and keeping my eye to the media. Some write-ups to follow…
One new shot to the left, taken on a visit to Borough Market. I only got chance to take a few snaps but it”s a dream place for a photographer.
I used a slower shutter speed and relied on the camera’s image stabilisation to get the shots sharp but retain some moment. It worked better in some shots that others; careful examination here shows the boy chomping on his slice of melon…
I came by this list and thought I’d share it:
While everyone will find something they disagree with I believe everyone will also find something that will make them smile and say to themselves ‘that’s a good point, I should do that’.
I think I’ll still delete photos and until camera phones improve I think I should carry my camera more.
What an amazing opportunity for a photograph – the bus that has come to symbolise the fight against segregation with the first black president sitting on board.
Photo a linked from the photoblog site on msnbc.com
The photograph itself says a lot about the journey America has taken, but I can’t help thinking it could have been a bit better. Obama said he took the time to sit in the bus to “ponder the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history.”
While it’s very poignant, I just feel it’s a missed opportunity. Obama looks a bit like a waxwork model and the angle it’s taken from isn’t particularly inspiring. I’m sure the lighting doesn’t help and the shot may have a been a little hurried or impromptu – the president is a busy guy! I think I’d just liked to have seen the shot taken from the right side, lower and framed a little tighter on the president Obama. Looking at his expression though, it does make you wonder what he’s thinking…
I tend to keep my Adobe software up to date – Lightroom and Photoshop – so when Lightroom 4 was announced at the new lower price, I thought why not? The feature list looked OK and pre-release reviews seemed to like it. I’ve used the book option in iPhoto and as Lightroom is my primary photographic app I thought it would be useful to have the book option right in there.
However, I can’t say I find the new highlight and shadow sliders an improvement, I prefer the old way it worked (recovery, blacks etc.). Playing with the book option was disappointing, a little inflexible too. Then there is the geo-tagging – nice for those that travel but for photographers with DSLR gear, GPS is still the exception rather than the rule. Having said that I must say it is easy to use manually.
Soft proofing looks interesting – I have a Pantone system in place right now but I will have a play with it to see if it’s a real alternative. This stuff generally takes quite a bit of time…
Initially I was pretty ambivalent about the upgrade after trying it out myself, despite the positive reviews. Then I had a play with the localised changes. It’s fantastic! To perform dodge/burn functions right now means 32bit TIFF copies fired into Photoshop, taking up lots of space with destructive modification. Now that Lightroom does this as part of the normal work-flow is excellent. At first I found it a little confusing to use – for a start with the initial brush strokes you can’t see what you’ve done. However, once you make a small change it becomes clear and you can erase the brushing really easily with a smaller brush if required. When you hold the cursor over the initial brush point (it’s marked) the masked areas shows-up in red, too. The transition is really smooth and just like other Lightroom develop functions it’s non-destructive i.e. the actual image isn’t altered.
Fantastic feature. Upgrade worthwhile!
Original Shot - the lower right building is dark and uninteresting
+1 Exposure 'brushed in' - the building now has detail and adds to the shot
It’s worth noting that performance is a little down on Lightroom 3 at the moment, but I expect the 4.1 update that is currently in Beta to improve things. It’s not terrible, just a touch slower at the moment.
AKA James Jarché
Picture linked to site: Dr. S.D.Jouhar (1901-1963) - A Retrospective
The post references UK actor David Suchet’s ITV documentary about his grandfather’s life as a photographer. It’s name I hadn’t heard of before but I was absolutely blown away by James’ life – not just because of his amazing photographic talent but the things he had seen and managed to capture in such a unique way.
In the documentary David Suchet took James’ 1936 Leica and used it to re-create some of the pictures his grandfather took in modern Britain. However, what he also did was go back through some of his memorable press photographs with a modern eye and also from a photographic perspective rather than just for their news value.
All of the work featured was very impressive but I particularly liked the graffiti shot taken in Berlin after the war and the workers on the Shell building in London. There are many other excellent shots, many of which I can’t find to post links for. The picture to the right has a little more background if you go to the site.
The Shell building shot is framed beautifully framed – it has fantastic perspective with the workers in the foreground and the famous sights of the Thames drifting into the background. All of James’ shots seem to have a nice tonality to them (film I guess!) and I like the way they are framed. The Berlin shot particularly, as well as the Policeman chasing the naked boys by the Serpent in London.
You can catch the show for a while on ITV Player, for those in the UK only though.
What a tremendous book! Light Science and Magic (ISBN – 10 0-240-80819-3, Focal Press, Hunter Biver, Fuqua) is probably the best photographic reference book I’ve read in a long time.
Cat picture - I know! Please remember I was practising technique...
I find that most photography related books tend to offer a lot opinion, but in this case and with regard to lighting it’s all based on fact. Well, physics to be precise. I should point out that this book is only relevant to people that want to learn about studio lighting or have some sort of artificial lighting need; if this is the case then I think this guide is indispensable.
The shot to the right gave me what I wanted – a good level of detail and an element of rim-light, as well as maintaining a nice 3d appearance. It’s harder to position an animal than a person so the rim light is more of a side light in this case. The brolly provides reasonable contrast but it would be nice to try see the difference on fur with a grid/honeycomb light. Others in the sequence showed the rim effect much better.
This shot was taken with a brolly front right and a small dish rear left.
It makes me want to want photograph all sorts of things and I’m sad to say spend more money! I really need to sort out my polariser strategy for multiple lenses. I also want to play with more ways to modify the light source than just my softbox and brolly….
Still, it’s less money than golf. I hope.