Archive for the ‘Photographers’ Category

The Conversation

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

I’m often critical of the BBC, and they way they promote an establishment view in many of their news programmes, often failing to report or minimising stories which would embarrass the government and, as academic studies have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, being extremely biased in their treatment of trade unions, Jeremy Corbyn and class issues generally.

It is a very middle-class institution, and employs too many people as commentators who come from highly privileged backgrounds (with private education and Oxbridge), but does produce some excellent programmes. And one whole area that particularly stands out is the BBC World Service – which also covers the news more neutrally than the internal services, which often follow the lead of the UK newspapers which are owned by a small handful of billionaires including of course Rupert Murdoch and reflect their perspective on matters.

On Monday morning this week the BBC World Service broadcast in their series ‘The Conversation’, which looks at the experiences of women across the world on “image, work, relationships, equality, migration and working lives” had presenter Kim Chakanetsa talking with two women, Mexican photographer Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier and Ami Vitale from the USA.

It was a lesson in sensitive presentation, with Chakanetsa encouraging the two women to talk with pertinent questions (unlike some BBC programmes which end up being more about the interviewer than the guests), and in the roughly half-hour programme there were some interesting reflections on photography, on women photographers generally, on news, on ways of working and more, much of which as they state applies to photographers whatever their ethnicity or gender. You can listen to the programme online (along with 169 other episodes of the series) or download it from the page.

Both women are photographers for National Geographic, and Mittermeier’s recent video of a polar bear starving without the ice it needs to hunt has attracted global attention to the problems of climate change. She is also the founder and President of SeaLegacy, a non profit organization working to protect the oceans. Ami Vitale’s ‘Pandas Gone Wild‘ won her second prize for Nature Stories in the 2017 World Press Photo – to add to her many earlier awards.

I first wrote about Ami Vitale many years ago as one of the more interesting photojournalists around, and it was a great delight to meet her in Poland in 2005.


Ami Vitale (in red) at Alcatraz, Bielsko-Biala, Poland

You can read more about that event, the first FotoArtFestival on My London Diary, which links to my own diary of the Festival.

Like you’ve never been away

Monday, December 4th, 2017

I got quite excited this morning when a parcel arrived and I unwrapped it to find a signed copy of the new edition of Paul Trevor‘s amazing pictures of children in Liverpool in the mid-70s, ‘like you’ve never been away‘. The first edition, which sold out pretty quickly, was published as an exhibition catalogue in 2011, and was a rather unsatisfactory portrait format, with pictures split across the gutter, and the new edition’s landscape format is a great improvement.

I’ve always regarded Paul Trevor as the most interesting of the whole batch of British photographers who became known in the mid 1970s at exactly the time I was myself coming to photography, and there were some other impressive talents, some of whom are very much better known. Some were rather better at self-publicity.

I wrote a little about the first edition when it came out, and still have it on my shelves, but I was pleased to be one of the 193 supporters of the Kickstarter campaign which closed on 28th October andt enabled this re-publication (though I didn’t pay the extra to have my name included or get the very reasonably priced prints on offer.)

The new edition is of a thousand copies, of which half are hardback and the rest softcover. It isn’t yet listed for sale at the publisher, Bluecoat Press, and the link at Amazon is still to the unavailable First Edition, copies of which secondhand now cost roughly twice as much as as the new and far preferable hardcover edition.

I’m sure it will soon appear on sale, though perhaps not for long as quite a few copies will have been sent out to those supporters. The hardback is ISBN 9781908457387 and the cover price £25 it might make a good Christmas present for someone with an interest in photography. I’ll try and comment or update on this later.

Brooklyn’s Sweet Ruin

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Sixteen years ago, with Mike Seaborne, who was then both a photographer and Senior Curator of Photographs at the Museum of London, I agreed to set up a web site dealing with one of our great shared interests, photography of the urban landscape. I had some web space for it, wrote the site registered the domain urbanlandscape.org.uk in December 2001 and the site was online for the start of 2002, with pictures by Mike and myself.

It was never our intention that the site should be limited to just our own work, and from the start there was an invitation to submit work, both photographic essays and theory, that fitted our ideas of urban landscape photography, and I tried hard to include some definition of what we were looking for.

As well as the ‘contribute’ page which was a part of the original site, which began with the message:

We welcome critical essays on urban landscape and small bodies of urban landscape work by photographers, although we are unable to offer any payment.

and continued to give some details, at the start of the following year I added another page, which attempted to explain my definition of urban landscape, with some example images.  We had added a few of the many submissions Mike and I had received, but far too many were just from people who made pretty pictures in the urban environment without any real intention to say anything about the city.

But there have been other submissions over the years which have have given us a great thrill to receive and one of earliest of these was by Paul Raphaelson, whose work ‘Wilderness‘ we added to the site in 2005.

So I was delighted to get an e-mail from Paul a day or two ago announcing his new book, Brooklyn’s Sweet ruin.

Books

You can see some of the pictures from this project on Paul Raphaelson’s web site, along with more of his work, and they appeal to me greatly. I’ve long had an attraction to decaying former industrial sites – which you can see in some of my own work both on Hull and in London’s docklands and estuary – and Paul’s images have a clarity and elegance that I admire, along with some fine colour. I’ve not seen the actual printed book, but it appears to be a fine publication, available from Amazon through various UK suppliers.

Both Mike Seaborne and I have moved on considerably since we set up the site, and although it is still on line and still open to new contributions, we haven’t really been keeping it up to date. As readers of this blog will know photographing protests around political issues have been engaging much of my time, and this year I’ve been putting another image from my work in Hull in the 1970s and 80s on line every day as a contribution to Hull’s year as UK City of Culture both on the Hull web site and on Facebook. Next year as well as adding some more images on the Hull site I also hope to put a new site about my work on London Buildings from 1986-2000 on-line, most of which has not previously been published.

f8 and Be There, plus …

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

f8 and Be There‘ is a famous quote attributed to ‘Weegee‘, the New York press photographer Arthur Fellig whose brutal flash-lit exposures documented the seedier side of the city’s life and crime in the middle years of the last century, and is often quoted as the maxim for photojournalists and street photographers.

Weegee got to many crime scenes before the police, not because he used a Ouija board as the nickname implied, but at first because he hung around in the Manhattan Police Headquarters and watched the teletype, rushing out to take photographs when a crime report came in. He started without any police permit, but from 1938 because he was the first journalist to get permission to have a police-band short-wave radio, which he kept in the boot of his car along with portable darkroom facilities. He would get to the location, rush in with his 4×5″ Speed Graphic camera and bulb flash, take a picture, develop and print the sheet film, stamp the back with ‘Credit Photo by the Famous Weegee’ and have it at the newspaper or agency hours before other photographers.

Despite the quote, Weegee seldom if ever worked at f8. You needed greater depth of field for his work, and he would generally have his camera set at f16, with the focus at 10 ft and the shutter speed of 1/200th, probably the fastest speed to synch the flash bulbs with the lens he used. It worked, and he didn’t have to think about technique, just get in the right place and press the button.

Of course not everything needed to be done at such a rush, and despite the impression of naked emergency given by the flash and the often slightly dynamic framing, as with other newspaper photographers many of his pictures were posed. He was a photographer who knew what he wanted and made sure he got it.

Photojournalist‘ is an overused term in photography, as too is ‘street photography‘and I don’t think Weegee was either, but essentially a news photographer. His work was certainly effective and his simplified technique worked well.

Much of the time many professional photographers now use the ‘P’ setting on cameras, often derided as for amateurs and newbies (including by me in years long past.) It generally works well and enables you to concentrate on framing and content and let the camera get the exposure more or less right. And should you need a faster shutter speed or greater depth of field a control dial is there under your finger or thumb to give it – and automatically adjust the other exposure parameters (these days we can use shutter, aperture and ISO) to retain correct exposure in P* mode. Though should you be using flash (other than for fill), S seems to be a better choice, at least with Nikons.

‘f8’ simply means the technical side of making an image, not the literal aperture, though I often do work at f8, though in winter more often at f4, or whatever the maximum aperture of my lens is, stopping down one or two stops if light allows – or for greater depth.

‘Be There’ is of course a sine qua non, but it isn’t sufficient. To make good pictures you have to be in the right position – sometimes with almost millimetric precision, with the right lens and the right framing. Often there will be dozens of photographers at an event, but only one will get a great image. Even good photographers take plenty of pictures that are marketable without being of any great merit, and many feel that if they get paid that’s all that matters. It’s one area where I find myself in agreement with Ofstead; when taking pictures, ‘satisfactory‘ isn’t good enough.

But ‘f8 and Be There’ still isn’t enough, though it may make for the financially successful newspaper photographer – so long as they can also get the pictures in before the next photographer. Perhaps the word I’d choose to add is ‘attitude‘. It’s what you need to have to know which is the right place, the right framing and the right moment, even if you may not always be able to catch it (for that you usually need a little luck as well.) Unless you have a point of view how can you know how to express it through your pictures?

Though it may well not help you financially. When Kertesz went to the USA in 1936 attracted by an offer from the Keystone agency, the editors complained his images “speak too much” and they soon parted company. In his pictures Kertesz said he interpreted “what I feel in a given moment, not what I see, but what I feel.”

You can see some of the best of last year’s press photography in London now at the Royal Festival Hall, where the 2017 World Press Photo Exhibition is on show – free to view – until 20th November 2017.

An Exodus of Pain

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

I’ve written many times about seeing things from different viewpoints, and in particular about getting away from seeing things in the often blinkered viewpoint imposed on much of our mass media by the small group – a handful – of billionaires who own and control our media.

Even if we pride ourselves on the independence of the BBC, its news agenda is largely driven by the major newspapers and its close relationship with the British establishment often determines the line it takes on issues.

I first reported on the Rohingya and their mis-treatment by Myanmar over 5 years ago, but the story then was hardly taken up by the UK press. I didn’t go there, but was alerted to what was happening largely by overseas media and in particular by a group many in Britain say should be banned, Hizb ut-Tahrir, who protested outside the Bangladesh High Commission. Bangladesh was then blocking of aid to Rohingya refugees by NGOs and sending them back to be oppressed in Myanmar (Burma.)

It wasn’t a great protest to photograph, and Hizb ut-Tahrir were often rather suspicious (with some justification) of the media, but I wrote a fairly lengthy piece about the situation on My London Diary.

Of course things have changed since then and the situation has deteriorated greatly for the Rohingya, and the story has been taken up again world-wide. A few days ago I wrote a post about some of the photographic coverage in The Salgado Effect, and it’s good now to see a view from Bangladesh itself, photographed by Shahidul Alam of Drik/Majority World with text by Lyndall Stein, An Exodus of Pain half a million people driven from their homes.

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The Salgado Effect

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Like me you have probably seen the set of pictures by Kevin Frayer published by The Guardian Documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis – in pictures.

They are a powerful set of pictures and I have a great deal of admiration for the photographer having gone to document the situation and managing to photograph scenes such as this. But I also found myself feeling a little uneasy at certain aspects.

I think I remember years ago Don McCullin discussing the dangers of aestheticising scenes of violence and death, I think in relation to working in Biafra. Obviously we need to produce powerful images using the tools at our command, but there comes a point where making pictures out of scenes conflicts with showing the brutal realities.

I’m also a little disturbed by the use of black and white rather than colour in these and many other sets of images, the huge majority of which are actually made in colour. Perhaps Frayer worked in black and white either on film or on that Leica M Monochrom but the images have a look that owes much to software. With many photographers conversion to black and white is simply an affectation that makes them think their work is more documentary, or perhaps reflect their admiration for the work of photographers such as Salgado (whose work sprang to my mind looking at some of these pictures), Frayer (or his post-production team) certainly take full advantage of its possibilities, much too full for my taste.

Photographers have long taken advantage of the possibilities offered in the production of their images, whether in darkroom or with Silver Efex. Where would Gene Smith’s Spanish Wake be without the hours (and the ferricyanide and whisky) in the darkroom? But as Horacio Fernández comments on this image, the selection of pictures for Time’s 1951 Spanish Village essay (one of the landmarks of photojournalism) were made “paying more attention to beauty and emotional meanings than to information and political commentary.”

Of course, as Smith said, “The honesty lies in my—the photographer’s—ability to understand…I will retouch.” And we all do to some extent. Some of my pictures have a little help from Lightroom’s ‘Clarity‘ brushed delicately on faces or elsewhere (though mainly I work rather less aggressively with a little added exposure and contrast – it’s something that has enabled me to largely move away from using fill-flash.) But in these images it has been applied with a shovel not to enhance what was there but to create a deliberate and to my eyes un-photographic effect. Some of these images are well onto the way to becoming film posters for the crisis rather than exposing it to the world.

In How not to photograph the Rohingya genocide in the making… Suchitra Vijayan examines these pictures and also features a lengthy YouTube video of a talk with writer Maaza Mengiste, Unheard of things – the vocabularies of violence. I’ve not listened to all 88 minutes, but it is worth starting as I did at 38:10.

And here’s another set of photographs – also in black and white – of the crisis. Less dramatic, less aestheticized, less post-produced but I think that Greg Constantine work is somehow more real and tells the story better. And there are other pictures both black and white and colour that do so too.

MOMA Clearout

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

If you have rather more than £50 to spare and feel like indulging yourself, then the news (from PetaPixel) that MOMA is having a clear-out sale of prints it no longer needs may come as good news.

Over 400 prints are up for sale, mainly on-line through Christies – and you can browse the lots on-line, though the news has come a little late as by the time you read this the auctions for the October sales will probably be over. The site lists the schedule for the sales:

October 2017
MoMA: Pictorialism into Modernism
MoMA: Henri Cartier-Bresson

December 2017
MoMA: Women in Photography

January 2018
MoMA: Garry Winogrand
MoMA: Bill Brandt

April 2018
MoMA: Walker Evans
MoMA: Tracing Photography’s History

The 400 pictures includes some of the better-known images by many of the photographers included, and the prices are likely to be high. But its a good opportunity to view a great set of images on-line.

And if, like me, you can’t afford to bid for ‘HENRI CARTIER–BRESSON (1908–2004) Behind the Gare St. Lazare, Paris, 1932’ for which, as I write the current bid is USD 35,000 (£27,741) then you can console yourself with the thought that its actually much better to own a whole book of his pictures, such as ‘The Decisive Moment‘, republished in 2014/5, which you can still buy on the web for a little over £100 including postage. Or if that is beyond your budget, you can buy the perfectly adequate though not quite as desirable Photo Poche or Aperture volumes of his work secondhand for little more than a fiver.

£50 Lottery

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Although it’s for a good cause, I probably won’t be buying one of the 1,250 tickets available matching the number of postcard-sized photographs showing from 12th- 25th October at Theprintspace in Shoreditch. Though it would mean getting a unique print will be an edition of one with a signed certificate of authenticity I’m not sure what I would do with it, and although there are some excellent pictures in those I’ve so far seen, there are also a number I certainly wouldn’t like – and this is a lottery.

But I also don’t like the idea of limited editions of any size in photography. I’m happy to get photographs from other charities I donate to, but they come in mass-printed magazines and handouts that, after reading and appreciating I happily recycle. But I’d find it hard to put a limited edition print in the rubbish, and feel if I intended to sell it on eBay that maybe it isn’t charity but a money-making exercise.

Of course The Hepatitis C Trust is a worthy cause, and their aim to eliminate Hepatitis C from the UK by the year 2030 deserves support. And if this exhibition encourages more people to donate £50 its a good thing, but somehow it just doesn’t feel my thing. I kind of hope it is yours, which is why I’m writing about it.

I read about Photography on a Postcard today on It’s Nice That, an organisation that “believes passionately that creative inspiration is for everyone” and publishes on the web and in print and organises events including a monthly Nicer Tuesdays in Bethnal Green, London.

I’d also read about it earlier on the British Journal of Photography, which has a longer article with more pictures, but which rather put me off the idea of buying a ticket.

I can’t find anything about it on Theprintspace web site, though I’m sure it will appear their shortly. I’ve several times used them to make prints and always been satisfied with them and the prices are pretty keen, though not the cheapest. You can actually buy three of my Bow Creek prints from the Cody Dock show through them, though rather more expensively than the postcards – but they are larger prints.

You can see all the photographers and around half of the cards (some photographers donated several images) at the Photography on a Postcard site, where you can also buy your £50 lottery ticket. The computerised draw is on on Monday 30 October.

Perhaps I might…I think I’ve almost persuaded myself. But don’t delay as I’m sure the tickets will sell out soon – probably by later today after I publish this!

Walker Evans at SFMOMA

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Another feature on the BJP site that caught my eye recently was Walker Evans’ love of the vernacular at SFMOMA’s enormous retrospective by Diane Smyth. The SFMOMA show, Walker Evans, opened on September 30 and continues to February 4, 2018, and was organized by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Smyth’s feature is well-illustrated and contains extensive quotes from a phone interview with curator Clément Chéroux, and is rather more informative the the SFMOMA site, which does however have some excellent links if you scroll down the page.

Walker Evans and in particular his 1938 book ‘American Photographs‘ appealed to me greatly when I first came across it as a relatively new photographer, so much so that I followed his example in writing myself a script for my own colour work similar to one of his which I carried in my wallet for years (it may still be there), and I probably spent far too long telling my students about it when I taught a photography history module. In 1999 I tidied up my notes into a short essay for publication, and, with a few very minor changes here it is now:

Walker Evans, American Photographer

Like many newspapers, the Guardian (once the Manchester Guardian – arguably the best of the UK’s serious dailies) is currently busy reviewing the century. Earlier this month the weekly feature was devoted to photography, giving a reasonable if understandably brief and fragmentary overview of the first thirty or so years of the century before jumping erratically to TV, Warhol and computer manipulation. Somewhere along the line the author’s argument had missed some vital links, enabling her to disregard much of the photography of the second half of this century. One of the key pieces missing in her jigsaw was undoubtedly Walker Evans.

Evans seems generally to present a problem to writers on photography in the UK particularly and often elsewhere, largely because he is known almost exclusively for a small selection of his work for the FSA and the book co-produced with writer James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Of course the simple and powerful portraits of Alabama sharecroppers and their living spaces in this is certainly a compelling body of work, but it far from exhausts the contributions Evans made to photography. Restricting one’s vision in this way allows his work to be dismissed as a simple extension of the socially committed photography of Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine, similar in nature if distinguished in content to much of the photojournalism of the time.

To get a deeper understanding we need to examine where Evans came from. His background was a literary one, and he only drifted into photography after an unsuccessful attempt to become a writer. His friends included a number of leading figures on the American literary scene, including poet Hart Crane and critic Lincoln Kirstein. Evans was certainly aware of the work of other photographers of the time – including those artist-photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Edward Weston, but he found little to interest him in it, although he did acknowledge the contribution of Stieglitz to the development of photography in America. What attracted him more than these artistic photographers were the often anonymous records of small-town America, postcards, portraits and old photographs that recorded scenes and events unselfconsciously – the ‘vernacular’ tradition in photography.

Evans combined this straightforward and often frontal approach to the medium with a sophisticated analysis of the content of images, their relationships with other pictures and their cultural context which derived from literary models. Essentially he was a photographer of ideas. In preparation for taking photographs he wrote lists or ideas and themes that interested him – sometimes in very general terms, but at other times going into specific details. He was also generally a careful recorder of scenes as he found them, scrupulous in not altering the details, photographing what he found to make a good photograph; unlike some other photographers he did not arrange or construct to heighten the effect.

Evans’s great work – one of the volumes that every photographer should own – was ‘American Photographs‘*. This book was carefully designed in every way from the typeface and its bible-cloth binding to the layout and particularly the sequencing of its images. First published – and panned by most critics in 1938 – it has been made available in various editions over the years since then.

The first plate of American Photographs shows the ‘Licence Photo Studio’ on a street corner in New York in 1934. Much of its curious two storeys are covered with boards and adverts promising ‘Photos in 5 minutes’, as well as its sidelines of auto licence applications, driving school, licence plates and Notary Public, and a hanging sign repeats the message. Two large painted hands direct us from either side of a dark open doorway direct to dimly visible stairs leading up; another set of steps runs diagonally from the bottom left on the front of the structure leading to a door on the upper floor almost immediately above the first. On either side of one of the hands is graffitied Mae West’s ‘Come up and see me some time’.

Obviously the picture is an invitation to go in further to the book and to look at its photographs, but it is more than that. With this picture Evans announces some of the major themes of the book; clearly it is dealing with the vernacular, it is about how things are represented in photographs, about the car and it is about choices and putting things on public record.

Turning the page we find a ‘Penny Picture Display’ from a photographer’s studio door in Savannah, the word ‘Studio’ superimposed on a grid of some 70 examples of the photographers work. This is the American people, or, more precisely, a representation of them through vernacular photography. The next picture shows actual people, two workers on the street in Pennsylvania, behind them an out of focus crowd. Standing together the gaze past each other in opposite directions. Plate 4 is another window, with flowers and a drawn portrait of a politician framed in one of its panes.

Next is the amazing ‘French Opera Barber Shop’ in New Orleans, with crazy stripes on its frontage, post on the pavement in front of the door and lamp echoed in the striped jumper of the woman standing in its entrance. The anarchic stripes contrast with the ornate formal ironwork of the balcony at top of picture, and the woman in the doorway contrast with the idealised face in the advert in the neighbouring drug store. Here also, as in the first picture, we have some problems with space, the differing angles of the stripes on the almost flat frontage tending to make us misread it in perspective, and the square barber pole on the pavement moving visually into the same plane as the other similarly striped surface, creating a kind of tension that enlivens the picture.

The remaining 45 pictures in Part 1 of the book continue the story, and you will find them worth study. They do include many of his best-known images, including some of the Alabama sharecroppers, but they are here set in the context intended by their author. As Lincoln Kirstein wrote in his lengthy essay in the original publication ‘Looked at in sequence they are overwhelming in their exhaustiveness of detail, their poetry of contrast, and, for those who wish to see it, their moral implication. Walker Evans is giving us the contemporary civilisation of eastern America and its dependencies as Atget gave us Paris before the war and Brady gave us the War between the States.’

Of course there is more to Evans than this one book – he continued working for many years, extending the ideas here and also working in new areas, including the series of subway portraits taken in the 1940’s with a concealed 35mm camera and only published some 20 years later. There are also many fine pictures from his early work for which there was not space in the book or which would not have contributed to its sequence – you can view over 1200 from the FSA work alone on the Library of Congress site, some at high enough resolution to enable you to make better prints than his if you would like a Walker Evans on your wall. American Photographs, however, provides an unparalleled insight into the way that Evans saw his own work, and it represented a considerable enlargement of the complexity and possibilities available to the photographer, one that many later photographers – notably Robert Frank and Lee Friedlander – were to pick up and exploit.


*’American Photographs’ has been since published in various editions, and you can download a good preview PDF of the best of the republications, the 75th anniversary version, on the MoMA site. You can also watch the pages of the first edition being turned on Vimeo. While you can pay anything from £1500 up for the first edition, the 75th anniversary publication is still available for well under half the cost of the exhibition catalogue, and should be on every phtoographer’s book shelf.

British Journal revisited

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Back in the old days, the British Journal of Photography was the main trade weekly paper of UK photography professionals including photographers, keeping them up to date with the news in the industry, and also widening their view with reviews of photography books and shows and listings of exhibitions. It also published a year book which was mainly a good collection of recent work by British photographers along with a technical section at the end with developer recipes etc. I had a few pictures in what turned out to be the last issue, the BJP Annual 1988, though I don’t think I can be blamed for its demise.

With news increasingly breaking on the web the audience for a weekly trade paper diminished and so too presumably did sales. Perhaps too the problem was partly editorial, as throughout the time I was a subscriber as well as publishing much worth reading it also gave space (and paid by the word) to some of the most turgid prose ever written in some of its reviews, probably far too boring for even the editor to have read to the end before publishing.

BJP changed direction and relaunched as a monthly, moving more into covering the art world and since I already subscribed to several overseas magazines that seemed to be doing a rather better job of that I let my subscription lapse. Occasionally I’d look at its web site to see what it was doing, but there was seldom a great deal of interest for me.

But in the last week or so there have been several articles which have attracted my attention and which have been well-illustrated online. The first of these was about the show Illuminating India: Photography 1857-2017 which is showing at the Science Museum until 31st March 2018 and since entry is free I’ll certainly go in and look at if I have some spare time and am around South Kensington.

Back in 2003 I wrote a series of long articles on the early years of photography in India for the web, none of which are unfortunately still available (though parts live on, pirated on other web sites.) I began with ‘Photography in India: The Early Years‘, including the work of British photographers such as John Murray, then ‘India – The Late 1850s‘ looking at the work of Felice Beato and Robert and Harriet Tytler, going on to ‘Linnaeus Tripe‘, ‘Samuel Bourne: Search for the Sublime‘, then ‘Indian Photographs‘, a consideration of whether there was a specifically Indian way of photographing in the earlier years. Perhaps the best of the articles was on the ‘Prince of Indian Photographers’, court photographer to the Nizam of Hyderabad Lala Deen Dayal, and the last in that short series was on the Irish photographers ‘Burke & Baker‘.

Indian photography was certainly one of the many areas I would have returned to had I kept my job on the web, but probably the main reason I was sacked was for writing too much about such things, which were thought not to be of much interest to US readers and US advertisers – though it was exactly in line with what I was hired to do by a previous management and the articles attracted considerable interest.