Archive for the ‘Photographers’ Category

Not Quite Déjà-vu

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

This morning I took a look at the front page of Café Royal Books, a small independent publishing house based in Southport, England originally set up in 2005 by Craig Atkinson as a “way to disseminate drawings and photographs, in multiple, affordably, quickly, and internationally without relying on ‘the gallery’“.

Since 2012, Café Royal Books has published at least weekly an ongoing series of publications presenting mainly ‘British Documentary Photography since 1960’. As he says on the site:

“This type of work has historically been neglected, in the UK and overseas by major institutions. It is often neglected by the photographer too, possibly because there has been no outlet, as such, for it.”

The publications usually present a series of images by a single photographer on a single project. It may be the work from a single event or representing a much longer project.  CRB has produced some larger works, but these weekly publications are generally between 24 and 40 pages, more a zine than a book, with the aim of building up a comprehensive survey of the area of work. Some photographers are represented by quite a few such volumes, in some cases more than 20, while others have preferred to stop at a single issue.

Atkinson keeps down costs, wanting to keep the issues affordable – currently £6 each for most.  You can get every title (except the special editions etc) with a 60 issue subscription – roughly the annual output – and there are also limited editions in a boxed set of 100 books every 100th title aimed “at public collections, so the books remain accessible.”

Among the photographers who have already had issues published are some very well-known names – including Martin Parr, Jo Spence, Daniel Meadows, Brian Griffin, David Hurn, Victor Sloan, Chris Killp, Paul Trevor and others, but some of the best books are by people you may well never have heard of.

The three most recent titles are Diane Bush — The Brits, England in the 1970s,
Ian MacDonald — Greatham Creek 1969–1974 and Janine Wiedel — Chainmaking: The Black Country West Midlands 1977, each worth a look, and you can page through them on the web site. Another recent title is John Benton-Harris — The English, where I have to declare an interest, as I helped John translate his ideas into digital form. It’s a great introduction to the work of this photographer who came to London to photograph Churchill’s funeral and stayed here as one of our most perceptive observers – and was also largely responsible for the seminal 1985 Barbican show ‘American Images 1945-80‘, providing most of the ideas and contacts and doing much of the legwork for which others were rather better at taking most of the credit.

But the déjà-vu? It came on the back cover of a book by another US visitor to this country, Diane Bush, who was here from 1969 for ten years, becoming a part of the Exit Photography Group with Paul Trevor and Nicholas Battye which produced ‘Down Wapping‘. On the back cover of her ‘The Brits, England in the 1970s’ was a picture of a car parked in front of a fence, using the reflections of that fence. It isn’t the same car nor I think the same fence, nor quite the same treatment, but I immediately thought of my picture when I saw hers.


Parked car, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1978 – Peter Marshall

I don’t think there is much possibility that I had seen her picture when I took mine, but have a nagging suspicion that somewhere, by some photographer, is a similar image that we both had seen before making our pictures.
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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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Pennies for the guy…

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Pennies for the guy who took the picture is the offer to photographers from  National Geographic Fine Art Galleries (NGFA) revealed in the article  Is National Geographic Fine Art a Ripoff for Photographers?  published on PetaPixel. In it Ken Bower writes of how his initial reaction to having one of his landscape images selected to be sold by the NGFA turned sour when he found out more about how the NGFA sales programme works.

The NGFA explained it to him, and you can read their explanation in the Petapixel post. If NGFA sell the print for $1800, 10% of that amount goes to the National Geographic Creative agency – so in this case a miserly $180. That agency then gives half of their cut to the photographer, who ends up with $90 – just 5% of the price the buyer has paid.

Simple maths shows us that the NGFA itself takes 90% of the purchase price – in this case $1620. That’s 18 times as much as the photographer. And although NGFA increases the price of the prints as the edition – of 200 prints – sells, that ratio remains the same. If they sell the whole edition of 200, those pennies for the photographer would however add up to a substantial amount – if nothing like as substantial as that made by the NGFA.

Now I appreciate galleries have costs. In this case they are making the prints, running a web site, conducting the sales etc. I’ve sold a few prints through galleries, and their commissions have ranged from 20% to 35%, and a 50:50 split is not unusual. Some I’m told even take a little more – but even the worst deals I’ve heard of leave the photographer with 40%, eight times what NGFA are offering.

As Bower points out, the NGFA seems to be “targeting photographers who have placed well in Nat Geo photo competitions or who are popular on the Your Shot community” for their sales, rather than the extremely professional and talented professionals whose work is published by National Geographic – who would have a much better idea of the worth of their images.

I’m not a great fan of commercial photo galleries, as regular readers will have noticed. With few exceptions I don’t feel they have the best interests of photographers or photography at the base of their activities. I still think and have often argued that the concept of limited editions is inimical to our medium and am unhappy at the fetishisation of the photographic print and in particular of the ‘original print’ that they foster. Overall I think they are parasitical on photographers and photography, though there are a few I respect for how they have genuinely contributed to our knowledge and understanding of the medium’s history.

But while buying prints from a commercial gallery, or better, from a photographer may at least sometimes be a sound investment as well as a pleasure to be enjoyed, it seems to me that the NGFA is essentially selling high price decor. I’m not dismissing Bower and those who have signed up with them as photographers – his is certainly a decent landscape image – but those with cash to spare will buy it or images like it because it goes with their colour scheme – and the next time they have new interior decorators in, that picture will go out with the trash – or if they try to sell it they will almost certainly find its resale value is far less than they paid, possibly little if any more than the worth of the frame.

As Bower hints, essentially what is being sold are high-price posters. Not printed by the photographer, the printing not overseen by the photographer, decisions about paper etc. not made by the photographer. An edition of 200 might almost as well be labelled unlimited, and the prints are not signed by the photograph but machine-signed with a ‘digital signature’.

There is a poll at the bottom of the Petapixel page asking for readers to rate the deal. When I looked at it, to my astonishment there were 15 people out of a little over a thousand who thought NGFA were offering a great or good deal. It made me wonder if they worked for the company, though on any poll you can get a few random drunken clicks. At the other end of the scale almost 96% thought it a bad or horrible deal. I think you can guess how I voted.

David Goldblatt (1930-2018)

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

One of the first photographic books I bought was ‘On The Mines’ by David Goldblatt and Nadine Gordimer, published in 1973 in Cape Town, and I think purchased from Creative Camera’s bookroom in Doughty St, which played an important role in my own development as a photographer. Unlike many books, I still have that first edition hardback, and can still find it and am sitting looking at one of Goldblatt’s best-known pictures on its back dust-jacket, “Boss Boy”, taken in 1966 and from the essay ‘The Witwatersrand: a time and tailings’ with Gordimer’s text and Goldblatt’s pictures and captions which is the first of three parts of the book – which continues with his ‘Shaftsinking‘ and ‘Mining Men‘.

So far I’ve read five obituaries of Goldblatt, though doubtless many more will be published, and I may even look out a dust off a short piece I wrote about him perhaps 20 years ago, though probably not, as certainly others knew him far better and probably wrote more perceptively about his work. Of course, back when I was growing up we all knew about apartheid and condemned it – and as a teenager I remember acting a part in a play about it, and later joining the Anti-Apartheid Movement and going on marches and protests.

But Goldblatt’s photographs, often very calm and carefully composed like that superbly framed ‘Boss Boy, the tips of the folding rule in his top pocket a fraction from the tope of the frame and his presentation ‘Zobo watch presented by the company for his safe working at the bottom edge, and on his left arm the company’s three star rank ‘Boss Boy’ metal badge touching the right edge of the picture, along with the texts strikingly brought home the realities of living under the Apartheid regime.

The five articles I’ve so far read are in the New York Times, The Daily Maverick  and Mail and Guardian from Zambia,  Al Jazeera and The Guardian.

 

 

Lange & Winship at the Barbican

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Opening shortly at the Barbican is ‘Dorothea Lange / Vanessa Winship – A photography double bill‘, with Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing showing together with Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds in the Art Gallery there from 22 June —2 September 2018, presenting the work of two photographers I greatly admire.

I’ve several times printed a copy of Lange’s best-known picture, ‘Migrant Mother‘ from the high-quality large Tiff file that I years ago downloaded from the Library of Congress, and have written on several occasions about this and other works such as her ‘White Angel Breadline‘ from 1933 which prompted her career as a documentary photographer.

The show apparently has a large section on this work, and you can read more about it and see the some variants on a page at the Library of Congress, where you can see all her work for the FSA (a search using the term ‘Lange, Dorothea’ yields over 4000 items, though not all are photographs), and find more about various shows of her work. On the Library of Congress they reproduce Lange’s own story about how she made the picture, written for Popular Photography in 1960:

“I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.”

But apparently Florence (Owens) Thompson, the woman in the picture saw it differently, according to her grandson’s recollection (I think recorded in Anne Whiston Spirn’s book on Lange Daring to Look, and mentioned in my 2008 post on that)

 “a well-dressed woman jumped out of a smart newish car and started taking pictures, getting closer with each shot. Florence decide to ignore her.

After taking the pictures, Lange is said to have told Florence who she was and that she was working for the Farm Security Administration and to have promised that the pictures would not be published. Next day they made the front page of all the newspapers.”

Lange gave a long interview to Richard Doud in 1964, a year before her death. You can hear 12 seconds of her voice and read the lengthy transcript  in the Smithsonian Oral History Collection.

Some brief biographical details I wrote almost 20 years ago about Lange may be of interest:

Dorothea Lange was born in New Jersey. She gave up training to be a teacher to become a photographer, working part-time in the portrait studio of Arnold Genthe before studying with Clarence White.

She moved to California, meeting Imogen Cunningham and opening her own portrait studio. In the early 1930s she began to take pictures of people suffering from the effects of the Depression, such as the ‘White Angel Breadline‘ in San Francisco in 1933.

The following year she met sociologist Paul Taylor who she was to marry (after divorcing her first husband, painter Maynard Dixon) and began to work for various Government projects, most notably the Farm Security Adminstration.

Her career was interupted by illness for almost ten years from 1945, following this she travelled extensively around the world with her husband before settling down to photograph things ‘close at hand‘ around her home and family.

One single picture she took for the FSA stands as an icon of the depression. ‘Migrant Mother‘ shows a mother looking worried into the distance, as if wondering what future there is for her. One child lies sleeping on her lap, two older children frame her, turned away from the photographer with their heads bowed. Lange recorded that the mother was aged 32 with 7 children; they were migrant pea-pickers but the harvest had been ruined by frost so there was no work. They had already sold the tyres from their car for food and were now living in it, keeping alive on wild birds the children caught.

Surprisingly the article in yesterdays Observer, Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing review – a visionary whose camera never lied by Laura Cumming fails to even mention that the show is on together with Winship’s, though possibly this was made clear elsewhere in the print edition. I’ve long been a fan of Vanessa Winship, and have several times mentioned her work here (I think this is the 15th.)

The best of these posts is I think  Sweet Nothings – Vanessa Winship written in 2009 which included a couple of her portraits from Turkey.  In a more recent post, I quoted from Sean O’Hagan’s blog in The Guardian:

“From Mississippi to the Black Sea, Winship’s poetic, masterful photographs show how hard it is for people to belong … so why don’t British galleries acknowledge her as this large Madrid retrospective does? She deserves it”

At the time I commented: “Though I’m afraid the explanation is unfortunately rather simple. She is a real photographer, and there is no major British gallery with a real interest in photography.” It is great to see her work acknowledged at last in the Barbican show.

 

Weegee the Unknown

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Arthur Fellig, the self-styled ‘Weegee the Famous‘ is certainly one of the oddest figures in the history of photography and his best images of his New York have a remarkable raw power. I’ve tried to write about his on various occasions with varying success, and one of the great problems has always been to separate the facts from his inventions.

Writing a biography of the man would seem to be a rather Herculean task, and one not attempted before but it looks as if Christopher Bonanos’s ‘Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous‘ is a remarkable effort. I’ve not read the book, but there is an excellent long article about it in the New Yorker which I’ve just enjoyed by Thomas Mallon, Weegee the Famous, the Voyeur and Exhibitionist. As Mallon says, all we have had before is “a host of fragmentary recollections and the loudmouthed, unreliable memoir, ‘Weegee by Weegee’, published in 1961.” And of course the pictures, available in various books of which Weegee’s own ‘Naked City’, published 73 years ago is still possibly the best. But to go with Bonanos’s book you need a rather wider collection of his work since he refers to too many of this pictures to be included in the biography.

As well as various more recent publications, some listed in The New Yorker, there is also the web, and the ICP has quite an extensive archive of his work on-line. For a better short introduction I would recommend the 42 images at Amber, which also has a short version of his life. A Google Images search also throws up an interesting collection of pictures, though not all by Weegee. It also led me to the graphic novel, Weegee: Serial Photographer, by Belgian cartoonists Max de Radiguès and Wauter Mannaert, now translated into English and published last month, and the hour long “documentary” from 1993, The Real Weegee, not in great quality, but the few scenes I’ve dipped into have been, as one comment says, “Terribly produced and horribly executed.” As well as using his photographs it is based around footage of Weegee himself acting out an extremely silly script of a fake story of his life.

I’m never quite sure how much knowing more about a photographer’s life helps us to understand his work, though certainly in Weegee’s case it does answer some of the questions that have long bothered me about some of the pictures. There are also some photographers whose work would never have emerged into the art world had it not been for their biography. But sometimes I find myself thinking that I wish Minor White or Edward Weston had written less and had less written about them, and perhaps rather more about their actual pictures.

David Douglas Duncan (1916-2018)

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Vietnam was the perhaps the greatest war for photojournalists, the last war where photographers were allowed the freedom to work and report what they saw with relatively few restrictions. The coverage in magazines and particularly on TV in America had a powerful effect on public opinion, stimulating the anti-Vietnam War movement there and across the world.

While the iconic images by Nick Ut and Eddie Adams are seared into our minds, there were many, many others and so many fine photographers, many of whom made their names there. And too many who died there, as had Robert Capa years earlier in 1954 when we knew it as Indo-China and it was the French colonial power who were fighting and losing.

There were far too many photographers of note in Vietnam to mention them all, but two stand out for the body of work that they produced and also for the books they published. One was the greatest Welsh photographer of the century, Philip Jones Griffiths, with his ‘Vietnam Inc‘, published in 1971 and the second, a man twenty years older than Griffiths, was David Douglas Duncan, who died on Thursday. His ‘I Protest!‘ (1968) was also a denunciation of US policy in Vietnam.

Duncan had made his name as a photographer in an earlier war, in Korea, and his book ‘This Is War!’ is a classic of photojournalism which Edward Steichen called “the greatest book of war photographs ever published.” It was a view very much from the position of the fighting man, reflecting his own past in the Marines, aiming to see war through their eyes. He went on to photograph many other things, and to produce a remarkable document of the life of Picasso as a friend and resident photographer.

You can read more about this remarkable photographer and his life in the TIME Lightbox celebration of his 100th birthday in 2016 and in the New York Times obituary.

The Corners

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

I first got to know Chris Dorley-Brown when I was curating a photography show for a now defunct organisation, London Arts Café in 2000. Cities of Walls, Cities of People included work by eight photographers, some of whom I had known for some time and worked with before and two I found when planning the show, including Chris. He was suggested to me by Mike Seaborne, also in the show and at the time Curator of the Historic Photographs Collection at the Museum of London. Dorley-Brown’s work in the show was a number of paired images of council estate tower blocks from a group of images ‘Revisits 1987-2001’ showing how these blocks had altered in that time period. The web page for the show has one of these pairs and my brief text on him and the work.

I was pleased to read a post on BJP Online by Diane Smyth, Chris Dorley-Brown’s singular vision of East End London, which looks at some of his more recent work which is being published by Hoxton Mini Press as The Corners.

As it says on the web site:

These hyperreal photographs of East London street corners are a unique documentation of an ever-changing landscape. Using multiple exposures, Chris Dorley-Brown plays out different narratives simultaneously, creating dream-like scenes that lie somewhere between fiction and reality.

Although I’m impressed by these images – and there are many more on the web (this link goes direct to his galleries rather than the front page of his site which my browser seems to have a problem with) not just from the East End but elsewhere, I find them rather disturbing.  Firstly there is something about the tonality that makes them seem to me more like paintings than photographs – truly as the blurb says they are hyperreal.

But it is the figures caught on the multiple exposures that worry me most,  and the whole idea behind these pictures. As he says in the BJP, “I don’t have a journalistic bone in my body” and it seems to me that this way of working subverts the whole idea of photographic truth which lies behind the realism that has always been central to my own work. Of course photography can be used in many different ways, and such methods are unquestionable in, for example advertising photography, but in the BJP article it states that his work is filed under ‘documentary’ which I find worrying.

Brixton Portraits and GDPR

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Rather fewer photographers now have shops with windows to display examples of their work, and of course it was only those who made a living from social photography – weddings, portraits etc – who sold their services to the general public for whom it made sense. Now, most people take their own portraits, apart from those usually hideous examples produced by school photographers which parents are blackmailed into accepting so that schools can have a photographic record of their pupils (or rather ‘students’ now that you graduate even from nursery schools.)

Of course there are parents who like them, but when I was a teacher I was opposed to them on principle; not just because they generally had the same degree of originality as a photobooth, but because I knew that they put parents on low incomes into the position of having to either pay for them and go without necessary food or clothing or disappoint their child and force them to take the pictures back to hand in at school.

But good social portraiture is a rare skill, and during the late 1980s and early 1980s I carried out a project that involved photographing in and through many shop windows across London, and this included many photographer’s windows. I photographed a detail on one in Landor Rd in 1989 which I think must have been Harry Jacobs studio window; the caption states 4/6/89 Landor Rd 305758, where the 6 figure number is a Grid reference, though these were not always correct to the last figure. The image is a scan from a commercial enprint, which I could locate quickly as these are filed by the 1km grid square in which they were taken.

I’m sorry that I don’t appear to have taken a wider view of the shop front, but this picture is unusual for me and I think means that I realised the value of his work. As with many of the pictures in this series it was taken on a Sunday morning, when most shops were closed as this usually enabled me to work undisturbed. I do remember thinking that it would be worth going back and finding out more about what appeared to be a remarkable social record, but I never got around to doing so. And perhaps a little over ten years later I noticed the shop no was no longer there.

Soemone from the Photographers’ Gallery had clearly also noticed the work, and three years after Jacobs retired in 1999, with an archive of almost 60,000 photographs they put on a show based around his work in 2002, discussed in The Guardian. His son wrote a short piece, My Father the photographer which was published in The Evening Standard.

The Photographers’ Gallery apparently decided at the time that for photographs taken before the 1988 Copyright Act they had to get permission from the subjects to exhibit them. I’m not sure that was true, but although we have had no such problems from then until now, it is possible that things may be different again under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But you can rest assured that the GDPR allows processing for the purposes of journalism, and I think for art. The problem with the work by Jacobs was that it had been taken as a commercial agreement between the sitter and photographer and the sitter’s permission was probably required for it to be shown as art or documentary. My photograph above is clearly a work of art!

The Freelance Branch of the NUJ (a union to which all journalists in the UK should belong) has published an excellent guide to the GDPR for Freelances, which is generally reassuring, though it does point out we should all have registered as data controllers under the Data Protection Act 1998 and should continue to pay the £40 per year this involves.

You are also required to take proper steps to protect your data, which would include using strong passwords or physical locks on devices including computers, backup disks and memory sticks etc. The article makes clear that as journalists you can use the exemptions for free expression to avoid giving any information in response to ‘subject access requests‘ and that journalism is explicitly exempted from the ‘right to be forgotten‘. Something which may upset some is that the advice suggests that there may be problems under GDPR in using cloud storage.

Back to Harry Jacobs. My reason for mentioning him is that Lambeth Council are for once doing something I approve of, with a show of his work in the Town Hall. A Snapshot of Brixton: Harry Jacobs and the Empire Windrush opened on Friday 25th May and runs until Friday 6th July. Open M – F, 09.00 – 20.00

Framework History

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

One of the many things I talked about with the late Terry King the last time I met him, not long before his untimely death, was the possibility of an exhibition to celebrate the activities of Framework, a West London based photographers group which existed from 1986-92.

I was reminded of this recently by a mention of Framework in the London Independent Photographers magazine by Peter Jennings (not currently on line.) Peter, who took part in a couple of Framework shows, gets most of the details wrong. The group wasn’t run by me, and the only meetings at my house were specifically to plan exhibitions and not the main meetings, which were in the first years at community associations in East Twickenham and Kew, but latterly at the Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford.

Apart from the special meetings to plan particular shows, sometimes in my house, sometimes at Terry King’s in St Margarets, Framework held regular monthly meetings at which the photographers were expected to arrive with their most recent work for criticism – and to take part in criticising work by the others. These were small meetings, usually around half a dozen of us, and with no holds barred, Quite a few people came once but couldn’t stand the criticism, but the central core of those who attended grew from it. Of course not all the criticism made sense, but it was what people thought, and sometimes things did get pretty heated.

The LIP satellite groups were my attempt later to get something similar going inside LIP, though I don’t think any have quite lived up to their predecessor. For a while the Twickenham group which met at Jim Barron’s home came close – and most of those taking part were former Framework members.

Not that Framework had a membership or a constitution. You just came along and did it. We collected a sub from those taking part in exhibitions when we needed money (and it was the cause of some bitterness when one member refused to come up with the cash, leaving me out of pocket, but otherwise worked well.) Terry King did most of the organising of the meetings, inviting a number of photographers to come along and talk to us at various times as well as to take part in our critiques.

The group had its origins in the Richmond &Twickenham Photographic Society, where I met Terry and others including Randall Webb. The RTPS had regular large meetings with speakers, club competitions and the like, but had also spawned a number of small groups which members could attend. When someone decided to form a group which took a wider view of photography than the club world, I suspect for political reasons they didn’t want to give it a name which reflected this, and as there were at the time already five groups, they gave it the name ‘Group Six‘.


Poster, logo and photograph © 1984, Derek Ridgers

When I first went along, perhaps around 1975, Group Six was run by Vincent Oliver, who was I think the first person to get a photograph accepted in the Royal Academy Summer Show and much later ran the Photo-i web site, but it was soon taken over by Terry King. As well as meeting for a monthly discussion, often with guests (one such was Martin Parr) who would critique our work, we also organised monthly outings to take photographs. These took me to some remote rural creeks in Kent which Terry favoured, and also to Avebury and Southwark and a couple of longer visits to Portland and the Welsh Valleys. I got hauled before the RTPS committee, who had no sense of humour, for articles I wrote about some of these for Amateur Photographer.

We decided to hold shows of work by Group Six members, the first of which was in 1982 at the Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham. We went on to produce further shows at the Quay Arts Centre in Newport on the Isle of Wight and a second show at the Orleans Gallery. We were preparing for a further show at the Orleans Gallery, when the RTPS committee put their foot down and decided that they would take this over for a general RTPS show.

We set up separately from the RTPS as Group Six Photographers, organising our own large show at the Hexagon in Reading – by six photographer; later in 1985 we had another show at the Poole Arts Centre, and at both I showed work from my ‘Homage to Atget‘ (now on-line as part of Paris Revisited and in the Blurb book In Search of Atget.)

Although I had more or less left the RTPS, others in the group, including Terry King were still active members, and were getting hassled by the committee over our continuing use of the name ‘Group Six’. Although I thought we had earned the right to continue to call ourselves by that name, having established a reputation for it quite separate from the RTPS, I came up with the name ‘Framework‘.

Framework organised quite a few shows in the next six years, though I’m not sure I can remember them all. The first was at Parkshot in Richmond (where the RTPS had also moved to hold their meetings) and was followed by another at the Hexagon, where I showed 28 prints from my ‘German Indications‘, along with the half dozen or so texts which accompany them (now online mainly in black and white and also rather better as a Blurb book.) Next was another at the Orleans House Gallery, there were one or two small shows at the college where I was working and then a series of at least five shows at the Watermans Arts Centre.

One of the advantages of leaving the RTPS is that we were able to invite other photographers to join Framework, and those who came and attended the meetings and showed work included Carol Hudson, Peter Jennings, Jim Barron, Townly Cooke, Tony Mayne, Virginia Khuri, Yoke Matze, Robert Claxton, David Malarkey and others whose names will be familiar to at least some LIP members. We also had guests who showed work with us, including several of those who Terry persuaded to come and talk to us, such as Jo Spence. Unfortunately I don’t think a full record of the shows and certainly not of the meetings exists, and though I started to put together a web site with the information I had to hand in 1997, I never completed it – though the unfinished work is still on-line.

Framework basically worked by having a whip-round when we needed money – and I think we had a notional fee for coming to the meetings, though were seldom good at collecting it. But one thing we did buy was a large and expensive portfolio case to take work to galleries. And it was this portfolio, with work from Framework people, that was taken to the Mermaid Theatre to get the venue for LIP’s first exhibition.

LIP never quite replaced Framework, which closed down a few years after LIP was formed. LIP was a larger group but lacked the independence that had been an essential part of Framework – which for example never used external selectors for its shows, but battled it out amongst ourselves. And though LIP enabled the Photographers’ Gallery to stop running its ‘Young Photographers’ group, which I wasn’t the oldest still taking an active part in, which had become something of a trial for its education officer who frankly wasn’t up to the job, LIP never really received the support from the gallery that it had apparently been promised.

But I think also, the key people in Framework had moved on the time we decided to quit. Terry was increasingly involved internationally in the alternative processes world, and into the RPS Historical Group which he ran for some years, Derek Ridgers was enjoying great success working for the NME and other publications who flew him across the world to photograph music icons, and I was involved in London Documentary Photographers and their shows, though I still took part in LIP events and shows for more than 10 years – including around five years as editor of the LIP magazine, then called LIPService, until pressure of work writing about photography and taking pictures made it impossible. Others remained more firmly in LIP, some until the present day.

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Loss, Lauds, Leaps & Lazarus

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Of Loss, Lauds, Leaps, and Lazarus is the title of a yet another interesting post by Professor Larry J Schaaf, the Project Director of the Talbot Catalogue Raisonné at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.  I’ve mentioned the catalogue before and it is truly a magnificent project on one of the founders of our medium, one which I very much wish had been available when I had to write a few articles on W H F Talbot and the Calotype process.

Among the items covered in the latest weekly post is one on a process that Talbot experimented with prior to 1839 that I’d never heard of before, the lo-type, which has now been recreated by Grant Romer, involving the printing-out of images by extended exposure on iodised surfaces of copper or silver on glass, not dissimilar to the work of Daguerre in France.

Unlike Daguerre he did not break his thermometer and thus discover the use of mercury to ‘develop’ these images, instead using greatly extended exposures that produced both a positive metallic silver image and also some fairly strong colours from interference patterns. The colours are unrelated to the colour of the subjects, most of which were leaves and similar specimens in contact with the copper or silver surface.

Another topic mentioned in his note is the 209th anniversary of the birth of Anna Atkins on March 16th 1799, though it is actually the 219th anniversary if my maths is correct. She was the only daughter of a well known scientist of the time, John George Children and very close to him as her mother died when she was only a few months old. He brought her up and encouraged her as a scientist and she continued her scientific work after marrying a railway promoter in 1825.  She of course is deservedly famous for producing the first photographically illustrated book, Photographs of British Algæ: Cyanotype Impressions, its blue images produced exposing the specimens in contact with sheets of paper senswitized using the cyanotype process which had recently been developed by the man who proposed the term ‘photography’,  her friend Sir John Herschel and who had sent the details of his work to her father. Schaaf has some interesting news about new publications and exhibitions of her work later in the year.

More sadly, there is also an obituary for Peter James (1958-2018), “Head of Photography at the Library of Birmingham for more than 25 years until his job was criminally swept away in 2015.”  As well as his own thoughts, Schaaf also has those of a number of well-known people in photography who knew him.  I only met him on a few occasions, and we had once briefly discussed the possibility of working on a project together.  I was impressed as others were by his knowledge, appreciation and enthusiasm for photography and his early death is a great loss for phtoography in the UK.