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  • #15064
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    …the front page is currently carrying two statements of what we have next week and one errant underlining. (When he reads this Ian will no doubt correct that).

    Looks like you’ve already managed to put that right, as I can’t see any errant underlining. 🙂

     

     

    #15043
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    121 Clicks have just published ‘Great Black and White Photos – Part 5‘, which I’ve added for completeness to the original post above.

    #15036
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    I’ve now skimmed through all 5390 entries for the 2017 RPS International and found more of the same, so I have no reason to revise my remarks in the last post. But I did come across some fine portraits that I wanted to share here.

     

    “Veteran” © Ruobang Wang

    (Click picture for large view)

    This picture seems to me to say so much about this man. The tension in his pose, and the way he looks away at the moment the photographer chose to press the shutter release somehow suggest great modesty and reserve, despite the achievements hinted at by the honours pinned to his uniform shirt. You get the impression that he does not often show people this side of his life history – his uniform has clearly been brought out of long storage especially for this picture. A gentleman with stories to tell – if only he could be persuaded to tell them. And a fine portrait photograph, with a simple background whose colour complements the green shirt, and whose rough texture complements the old man’s craggy features.

     

    “Kira and Taya” © Peter Zelewski

    (Click picture for large view)

    Peter Zelewski, a photographer who works in London, entered portraits from several of his acclaimed series. These often investigate some wider aspect of society or community rather than merely being nice pictures of individual people. Originally a designer by profession, Peter started out by taking street portraits of interestingly dressed characters in Soho, often on his lunch breaks. He quickly developed a particular style of photographing with the subject centred in the frame against a background comprising the recession of a narrow quiet street behind them, whose converging parallels create an X-shaped compositional geometry. But what has always marked out Peter’s pictures is his wonderful use of colour in sublimely harmonious colour palettes, created by his carefully chosen locations to suit precisely the colouration and clothes of his subjects, whom he would ask to accompany him to some nearby street he had scouted earlier to provide the just right colours as well as suitable textures and patterns. All that, and then the intense direct, unsmiling gaze of his colourful and characterful subjects. And everything done in natural light, outside in the street.

    How’s that for attention to detail? (As a result, his work, published in book form, has gained an international reputation, and he has had many exhibitions and commercial assignments. He now works full time as a professional photographer.)

     

    #15035
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    I’ve looked through about half of the 5390 pictures entered. The majority are ‘competition pictures’. (Well, it is a competition, isn’t it?) But you know what I mean: the sort of pictures you’ve seen over and over in competitions – some ‘pretty’, certainly, but often more because they have pretty subjects than that they are beautiful photographs of those subjects; or dramatic-looking, but more because they’ve been burned and dodged and contrast-enhanced into it, rather than because the pictures were ever themselves dramatic; or carefully got up, contrived to be ‘artistic’ or ‘impactful’ in ways that rarely engage you for more than 30 milliseconds.

    The abiding feeling is that you’ve seen most of these pictures somewhere before, or ones exactly like them. To me, the one by Jane Lines seems somewhat of that sort – one of a large-ish company of entries that look like take-offs (very good take-offs, I hasten to say) of illustrations you’ve often seen while skimming idly through old copies of Nat Geo in doctors’ waiting rooms. (These entries include lots of ‘Steve McCurry portraits’, Buddhist monks, people of various ages from exotic places in picturesquely exotic costumes, some doing exotic things. And valleys. And mountains. And lakes. And lakes in valleys with mountains surrounding them. And so on, and so on.)

    After working your way through a lot of this stuff, you urgently want to fix the photographers with a steely gaze and ask “Why? What could you possibly have meant me to get from that picture?” And one imagines the answer could only be ‘Nothing really; I just thought it was the sort of picture that would win a competition.’ Which, of course, is mostly why it didn’t.

    But the photograph by David George that John has posted above isn’t one of those. It’s from his series of night pictures made in out-of-the-way parts of South-East London in an area around Southwark and Lambeth that I assume gives the series its name: “nine square kilometers”. The pictures are of seemingly ordinary places. But they are empty of people; and that absence, together with the strange night-time light, helps the pictures convey that sense of ‘otherworldliness’ that you might actually experience when walking in these deserted streets at night.

    The reality of lives lived is what marks the quality of the gold award winning series by Margaret Mitchell, represented by “Liam”, the picture that introduces this thread. There are, of course, loads of portraits among the five thousand plus entries. But most look staged, posed, created for competition – pictures that seem designed largely to let you know you how good the photographer is. Very few seem to say much about the people pictured, what their lives might be like, what little, ordinary, every-day human triumphs keep them going. But the portraits from Margaret Mitchell’s series ‘In This Place’ do. (Play the slide show; read the captions.)

    The same can be said of the portraits by Silvana Trevale from her series ‘Nosotras’

     

    Dianas © Silvana Trevale

    (Click picture for large view)

    Trevale says that this series of portraits of the women of Venezuela celebrates the collective, modest but real-life heroes of her homeland.

     

    Something similar might be said about the portraits from Christina Kougiou’s series, ’Sunless Days’ about young people in Georgia, passed by and left behind by the changes that followed the break up of the Soviet Union.

     

    from ‘Sunless Days’ © Christina Kougiou

    (Click picture for large view)

     

     

    Winogrand said that the only thing a photograph can do is describe accurately. So finally, here’s a powerful, poignant picture that by means of simple, detailed description shows how much can be conveyed with a single frame.

     

    “Silent Waiting” © Jun Tan

    (Click picture for large view)

     

    You don’t get many of those in an RPS competition.

     

     

     

    #14942
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    I’ve had an email from John, in which he tells me that he can’t get a good enough signal to connect with the CPS site, so he can’t comment at the moment. But he briefly says that the problem is to do with blown highlights, which are more obviously visible in the print than they are in the smaller version on the web site.

    #14902
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Hi Wallace

    For my money, No 2 (the red bike) is the best. It has more drama than No 1 (a technically good, but rather literal, description of a bloke on a motor bike driving round a bend); it has better ‘context’ than No 3 (the one with the green bits), because No 3 removes all the informative stuff by being too tight, and thus finishes up as a picture of a tyre and disc brake; and it is clearer – less cluttered – than No 4, which doesn’t show the form of the rider’s knee very well, and has rather too much busy and distractingly irrelevant detail (which is coloured an even more distracting red!) on the ground at bottom left.

    So No 2 evokes the speed and danger of man and machine cornering hard, with inches separating the rider’s knee from the ground. And it does this by means of a dynamic composition – the wheel along the descending diagonal, at right-angles to a line through the rider’s right knee that’s parallel to the ascending diagonal, the tension between the two lines communicating the drama of the situation.

    (And goodness knows what a rider’s eye’s are supposed to add to a powerful photograph – unless they’re rolling heavenwards in disbelief at the judge’s inanity!)

     

    #14851
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

     “It’s the kind of photography I would love to achieve, but only rarely get anywhere near with a lucky shot.”

    I think Cartier-Bresson might have agreed with you, Peter. (And it’s why he hated showing people his contact sheets!) I console myself with the thought that it’s a matter of luck in the same way that luck made Luis Suárez the highest goal scorer in the 2012-13 season with 24 goals out of 143 shots. If you know when to point your camera in the right direction, and press the button at the right time, sometimes you get lucky! 😉

    #14805
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Ken >>> I find that if I’m going to write a long post, it’s safest to write it in a text editor on my computer, rather than directly into the forum editor. (I guess a Windows user would use Notepad, assuming that’s still the default text editor in Win 10.)

    Then, when you’ve typed, revised, spell-checked and saved your text, copy the lot to the clipboard. (Ctrl+A selects all of it; then Ctrl+C copies it.)

    Go to the forum post editor window, and select ‘Text’ at top right. Click in the window and use Ctrl+V to paste your message. (Click ‘Visual’ at top right to see how it’s going to look on screen, and do any tidying up you wish.) Press ‘Submit’.

    If you try to type and make alterations in the forum post editor directly, there are so many ways you can accidentally lose the lot. If you’ve written and saved it in Notepad, you can always get it back from there!

    Happy posting! 🙂

    (PS – I thought Tom’s post was a very comprehensive description of the effect on cherished anachronisms of the vagaries of social and technological change. Thank goodness no one donated a really expensive ‘Valet’s Cup’ for the best wet-plate collodion print by a manservant! 😉  )

     

    #14785
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Wow! The drone video is brilliant – and Wallace’s appearance in full photographer’s kit, including hat, is icing on the cake! 😉

    Thanks for posting the link, John.

     

    #14765
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Lovely work, Ken. I particularly like the detail picture of the artist’s materials and work in progress – a classic documentary shot.

    (And just a quick note regarding your concern about children. Although, under UK law, you may photograph anyone in a public place, the folk at Cheshire East don’t use pictures of identifiable children in material for general publication without written parental consent.)

     

    #14761
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Here’s the link to Wallace’s Flickr set:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/140166215@N06/sets/72157685614798644

     

     

    #14669
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

     

     

     

     

     

    #14535
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    “Clubs are to blame for calling snap shots portraits.”

    Or Cartier-Bresson. 😉

     

    #14454
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    It turns out that I, too, am unable to go to this event, so it would be good if someone could volunteer to take some photographs on the Saturday for the Community Development folk at Cheshire East Council.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ian McNab Ian McNab.
    #14415
    Profile photo of Ian McNab
    Ian McNab
    Keymaster

    Indeed – but it also gets tricky if, unlike the guys in the old “I’m sorry, I’ll read that again” sketch, you really are living in a shoe box!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 1,356 total)