Archive for the ‘Photographers’ Category

The Isle of Dogs…

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Thursday night last week I went to the launch of Mike Seaborne‘s book, ‘The Isle of Dogs: Before the big money‘ appropriately held on the Isle of Dogs in Cafe Vert at George Green’s School, a few yards from Island Gardens DLR station.

Mike is an old friend who I met not long after he was taking the pictures in this book, and we then found that we had both been photographing the area at the same time. But while I was just an occasional visitor to the area with a general interest in what was happening across London (and in across Docklands in particular), he became very much more involved in the community of this particular area, as this work shows. Of course, as you can see from his web site, he has also photographed widely across London and elsewhere.

Image Copyright Mike Seaborne

It was good to see this work published by Hoxton Mini Press, who I think have done a fine job with this volume which is a part of their series ‘Vintage Britain‘. You can judge for yourself on their web site, which shows the cover and ten double-page spreads from the work, and says:

“Now home to Canary Wharf and global finance, the Isle of Dogs was once the beating heart of industrial East London. These photographs, taken between 1982 and 1987, show the island just before the big money moved in and the area was forever transformed.”

and of course you can buy a copy on-line.

Mike began to photograph London in 1979 and until 2011 was Senior Curator of Photographs at the Museum of London.  A group of photographers including Mike and myself have also organised a number of shows over the years, and you can still see work from several of these, including ‘Another London‘, on the web, and much more of Mike’s work on his own web site. Back in 2002 we set up a site together to celebrate Urban Landscape photography, featuring our own work and that of other photographers from the UK and around the world.

A few of my own pictures from the Isle of Dogs can be seen in the preview of my City to Blackwell on Blurb, the first of five books in my Docklands series. With both of us wandering around the area at about the same time, there are a few similar images. What photographer could resist this shop-front? Here is one of several pictures I took:

you can see Mike’s in his book, and also on his 80sIslandPhotos.

Mike has continued to be involved with the community he photographed back in the 80’s and this was evident at the opening, from which I’ll perhaps post a few more pictures later.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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


Thieving Artist

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

I’ve written before about Richard Prince and his appropriation of photographs and only return to the case as I’ve just read a post in The Art NewspaperRichard Prince defends reuse of others’ photographs,  by Laura Gilbert which states the defence he is offering to  a federal court in Manhattan about his use for profit of the works of two photographers, Donald Graham‘s photograph, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, and Eric McNatt’s photograph of the musician and artist Kim Gordon. It is a rather longer statement, apparently 15 pages, than his original (and soon deleted) tweet: “Phony fraud photographers keep mooching me. Why? I changed the game. &their wizardry professorial boredom keeps coughing up a vick’sVAPOrub.”

Prince argues that by taking the images exactly as they were on Instagram, but enlarging them and adding his comment to put them on the gallery wall and sell them at high prices he was somehow producing a new original work of art, commenting on the process of communication involved in using social media – and Instagram in particular. As Gilbert writes, his approach is supported byome pretty serious names in the art world, with statements from  a museum director, curator and well-known art dealer to the court. All of course people who profit in some way or other from artists like Prince.

Prince of course profits from all the publicity this and other court cases give him, with many articles -including this one – in newspapers, magazines and blogs significantly raising his profile as an artist, and thus the prices and sales of his work.

Perhaps the photographers whose work has been stolen might think about reclaiming it by appropriating Prince’s, producing copies of ‘his’ images, perhaps ‘transforming’ them by the addition of their signatures. I rather suspect Prince and his dealers would call foul and run to the courts in what would be a rather fascinating copyright case.

There is of course absolutely no need for any of this. I’ve had my work used by artists – and they have come to me before doing so, explained what they wanted to do and we have negotiated a licence with an appropriate fee, and appropriate attribution. It’s an established way of working that avoids controversy – without misappropriation. But the very idea of stealing other people’s work seems to me to be the basis of Prince’s artistic practice. He’s famous for it.

I don’t of course know what judgement the court will finally make – and Prince has got away with it in earlier copyright cases, though I hope at last it will be one that fully respects the rights of the photographer – and leads to them getting compensation for the use of their work as well as the legal costs of taking the case. Prince would still be the winner, with all the publicity from the case aiding his status and sales. The only losers – in the longer term – will be those who have paid high prices for what are works which will almost certainly be consigned to the dustbin of art history, lacking any real worth or interest.

A Forgotten Street Photographer?

Friday, October 12th, 2018

While it’s great to see a film being made about Garry Winogrand which shows some insight into the man and his work, the description of him as a “forgotten street photographer” seems rather lacking in credibility.

Of course most people who think of themselves as “street photographers” nowadays are woefully ignorant of the history of photography including that of so-called street photography, and most people outside the photographic world would be hard put to name any photographer, certainly anyone who has been dead for over 30 years. Perhaps soon we will see a film about another of these “forgetten street photographers” like Henri Cartier-Bresson?

I’ve not seen the film, currently enjoying an extended run in New York, but I have watched the trailer and another introduction to it with more of WInogrand’s voice, as well as the preview – and many other videos about WInogrand, some of which I used in my teaching over 20 years ago. And I think the film will be something photographers should not miss. It will apparently be available later as a part of the ‘American Masters‘ series on PBS.

Vice has an interview This Forgotten Street Photographer Shot Some of Our Most Iconic Images with film director Sasha Waters Freyer which I think makes interesting reading and shows some fresh insight into the man and his work.

I’ve written about him and his work at some length, and have copies of most of his books as well as the most important works on him published since his death, and have been able to talk with one or two people who knew him working on the streets of New York. As well as this article, he gets a mention in 45 other posts I’ve written for this blog (and one other draft, about his work in Picture Post, that somehow never got finished.)

One of the problems with Winogrand is that he took so many pictures – including the many thousands on the undeveloped cassettes found after his death. Many of them didn’t really work as pictures, though without the openness they represent he would not have made those that, sometimes spectacularly, do. I feel sure that there are many images that have been published since his death (and a few during his lifetime) that do nothing to enhance his reputation, and the last show of his work I saw in London had far too many of them. Part of the reason for this lies with the art market, where anything attributed to him sells.

It’s interesting to look at his ‘Women Are Beautiful’ which Sasha Waters Freyer says “really hurt his reputation”. It obviously drew some attacks, but I don’t think he really had a reputation to destroy, and most of the attacks were based on the idea of a man publishing a book of that title rather than the work in it. As she goes on to say, “there are a lot of ways in which it is a celebration of women. It is a really important document of this period when women are entering the workforce and making themselves visible in a way that was completely new in American society.”

Winogrand thought it would sell, calling it in private “The Observations of a Male Chauvinist Pig” and hoping it might appeal to a different market, but it alienated too many and was too highbrow and insufficiently raunchy to attract the ‘Pigs’ he had anticipated. But it remains one of his best books, perhaps because of the focus given it by the problems in his personal life and the film sets out to examine him as a male artist and to understand how his “relationship to marriage and children and family … impacts (his) artistic output.”

Of course there are many other articles and reviews of the film (which has a Facebook page) you can find on-line. One from IndieWire by David Erlich caught my attention for this paragraph:

“Street photographer?” What a sterile way to describe someone who just captured what he wanted — who didn’t wait for permission to take pictures, or require an assignment.

Derek Ridgers at Old Truman Brewery

Thursday, October 4th, 2018


If you are in London this weekend, don’t miss the ‘pop-up show’ by Derek Ridgers at the Truman Brewery, only until Sunday. I went to the opening on Thursday evening and couldn’t resist taking a few pictures – some here but many more on Facebook.


As well as some of the pictures of well-known pop stars he took for the New Musical Express and other newspapers and magazines, there are some of the powerful portraits of skinheads and others, noncommissioned work that is a part of his important documentary of youth culture back in the 1980s and 90s.


I’ve mentioned before that Derek and I both belonged to a small group of photographers who met regularly in West London to criticize each others work, in a no-holds barred way that quickly sorted out a few weaker souls who came but couldn’t stand the heat. We organised a number of shows together at the Orleans Gallery in Twickenham and the Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford, inviting a number of other photographers to take part.


Slightly fewer of the pictures than I had hoped for came out sharp, as somehow the Fuji seems to have ignored the exposure setting I made caerfully at the start at the session, telling it to use Auto-ISO from a minimum ISO400 up to ISO3200, with a minimum shutter speed of 1/200s.


Although the settings appear to be made correctly, halfway through the evening the camera decided to work at ISO 200 and let the shutter speed drop as low as was needed, and I failed to notice the change.

Here are the details:

Fri 05 October 11-9pm
Sat 06 October 11-6pm
Sun 07 October 11-6pm

Curated by FAYE DOWLING  – Presented as part of ARTBLOCK at the Old Truman Brewery

The Derek Ridgers Pop Up celebrates the publication of the artists monograph ‘Derek Ridgers: Photographs’ published by Carpet Bombing Culture 28.09.18

A series of special limited editions prints – signed and numbered by Derek will be available throughout the event.

Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane
G4 Gallery Space. Entrance at Ely’s Yard,
15 Hanbury Street. E1 6Q

More pictures on Facebook


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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


Elswick Kids

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Beautiful work by the late Tish Murtha, (1956-2013), immediately after her return to her home in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne in the late 1970s after studying at Newport to is featured on Flashbak’s article ‘Elswick Kids‘. It is work that could only have been made by an exceptional photographer deeply rooted in the community and celebrates the freedom that kids still enjoyed then – something which I remember from my own childhood in a working class area on the fringes of London, but which by the time she made these pictures had largely disappeared in the more affluent south.

The article comes in advance of a Kickstarter campaign by her daughter Ella together with Bluecoat Press to publish ‘Elswick Kids‘ which launches at 10.30am on October 2nd 2018. Make a note in your diary now! Their previous collaboration was highly succesfull, with the limited edition of Tish Murtha’s ‘Youth Unemployment‘ selling out within three months, and I’m sure this volume will do as well. You can still buy the second paperback edition of Youth Unemployment, and there are also a number of Cafe Royal Books available.

You can see more about Tish Murtha and more of her work on the Official Website of Tish Murtha run by her daughter. A retrospective Tish Murtha: Works 1976-1991 is at the Photographers Gallery in London until October 18th 2018 and some of her pictures are also among the most interesting work in the Museum of London show ‘London Nights‘, which runs until 11th November 2018.

Also worth reading is an article on AnOther, The Forgotten Photographer Who Captured Britain’s Social Crises, by Belle Hutton.

John de Prey’s Notting Hill

Monday, September 17th, 2018

John de Prey‘s pictures of Notting Hill in 1971, made when he stayed for a few months with a friend in Powis Square in 1971, show some of the more interesting sides of daily life down the Portobello Road and elsewhere in an article in the International Times archive, and you can see more of his work on his Flikr site, serious but unabashed, though its a shame there is only one or two more from Notting Hill among the 150 in his ‘United Kingdom‘ album. Not that some of the other images aren’t of interest, though it would be nice to have more information with some of the pictures, including some taken by others.

Most of his other work is in colour and what broadly might be called travel photography, much of it from the Indian sub-continent, and of rather less interest to me. The Notting Hill pictures were I think made when he was fairly young and fairly new to photography and show an appealing freshness and directness.

I suspect I may be around the same age as de Prey, or perhaps a year or two older, but from a rather different social milieu, and it was a total lack of funds that meant I was only really able to start taking photographs seriously in my mid-twenties. And it was many years later that I first went to Notting Hill, though I think it had perhaps changed relatively little by 1987 when I took a few pictures there, including this one on the Portobello Road:

Back in the 1970s, Notting Hill to most people still meant the 1958 race riots and Rachman. The media were always keen to seize on any violent incidents, particularly around carnival and give them maximum publicity, and it was an area most Londoners avoided.

Now it is generally swamped by tourists, and many of the old shops and pubs have gone or been changed out of recognition. The main language I heard on the streets visiting there recently was Italian – and even some of those sitting begging on the streets had notices written in that language. The biggest change came of course with the 1999 film ‘Notting Hill‘, but for some years there had been increasing emphasis on Carnival as a spectacle rather than just the crime statistics. But even when I first went to Carnival back at the start of the 1990s there were people who told me I would get attacked and knifed and have my camera stolen and told me I would be mad to go.

It wasn’t of course true. Though like any large public event it makes sense to be careful and not to make life easy for pickpockets, and to be careful not to antagonise people. But for most people Carnival was a great day out and they came to enjoy themselves and were happy to be photographed – as I think you can see from the pictures in my ‘Notting Hill Carnival in the 1990s‘, still available at only £6 plus postage.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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


Emerging Photographers

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

A nice piece in the New York Times, a paper that has used a great deal of good photography over the years, showcases the work of 12 ‘emerging photographers‘.

My own experiences working for the New York Times organisation were considerably less positive, working for an organisation they took over, I got fired from a job writing about photography and photographers because the editors they brought in thought my work was not commercial enough. I’d been hired to write about photography for professionals and collectors of photography some years earlier, but what the new editors wanted was something that appealed to a well off market in the USA that would appeal to advertisers. I had to stop using British spelling, stop writing long pieces, stop writing about foreign photographers, write everything for people who knew nothing about photography but had just bought a camera to photograph their kids, July 4th and thanksgiving… I should assume my readers knew nothing about photography but should convince them that if they bought the latest new camera it would make them a real photographer, up with the greats.

I’d built up a considerable following over the seven or so years I had written the web site, with photographers around the world reading my articles and writing to me. One article on the photographs from 9/11 got around a million hits in 24 hrs, and the audience figures generally weren’t bad – just as well as I only got paid by results. Though it turned out I and the other writers weren’t actually getting paid what we were promised, and a couple of years after I left I got a couple of thousand pounds more from a class action settlement.

All along I had been writing some things specifically for beginners and also for an American audience, but I also wrote and continued writing more serious articles as well. Using US spelling didn’t worry me, but there was too much I wasn’t prepared to compromise and dumb down on so after an uncomfortable few months I got fired. Which is really how this blog started.

Down the Tube

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

I think it was in 1979 that I first met Paul Baldesare. We had both joined a group set up by the then curator of photographs at the Museum of London, Michael Seaborne called London Documentary Photographers. It was not officially a group from the Museum, but held its meetings there and organised a couple of shows on the premises before moving to hold them elsewhere.

There were around 30 photographers who attended that meeting, and most of us brought at least some examples of our work to show the others. Several people stood out for the quality of their work, and one was Baldesare, who showed pictures from a project he was still making of travellers on the London Underground.

These pictures were all unposed, generally taken without the subjects noticing the man sitting in the seat opposite or just down the carriage with a camera – I think usually a Nikon with the pentaprism removed so he could look down and frame the image on the top of the camera body. Fortunately tube trains are usually noisy enough to drown the rather loud shutter sound.

Soon after the group decided to produce a show on the theme of Transport, which Baldesare’s pictures fitted perfectly. I didn’t have any current work that fitted, and having seen his work on the tube, decided to try my hand at some similar work on London’s Buses. You can see some of the work I produced in an earlier post, On the Buses Again.

Some of Baldesare’s work is now also available from Café  Royal Books, which has just published his ‘Down the Tube Travellers on the London Underground 1987–1990‘, available like my Notting Hill volume for just £6.  You can save on shipping by ordering the two – and other volumes – at the same time. Another recent volume by a photographer I  know that I’d highly recommend is Paul Trevor — India Road.  I’ve long been of the opinion that Trevor was the most interesting British photographer to emerge in the 1970 – bar none.

You can see more of Baldesare’s work on his own web site. Click on ‘Portfolio’ and scroll down the page to find three black and white projects,  his tube pictures, and two others which are due to also come out on CRB, Victoria Coach Station and A Local Event, pictures from carnivals and village fairs in the Surrey Hills.

Andrea Bruce

Friday, August 17th, 2018

According to the NOOR web site, “Andrea Bruce is an award winning documentary photographer whose work focuses on people living in the aftermath of war.” So it perhaps made her an obvious choice as photographer for a recent New York Times article, ‘In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything‘ by Peter S Goodman.

Both text and pictures are interesting and illuminating, though much of what Goodman writes will be familiar to those of us living in the UK. But I particularly admire Bruce’s images and her use of space, as well as the range of images and the research and gaining access that must have gone into the project. She obviously had a very good ‘fixer’, often the unsung heroes of documentary photography.

You can see more of her work on the NOOR web site, where there is also a short biography of this American photographer born in 1973. She also appears on the World Press Photo site for her Soldier’s Funeral which was awarded second prize for single photos in the Daily Life section of the 2014 WPP awards.

Some of you may also be able to access her own web site, but on my normal browser all I get is a white screen with the message ‘Click to enable Adobe Flash player‘ which fails to respond to my clicking. I tried on a second browser and just got a dark grey filling the screen.

There are several videos of her on-line, including one on a workshop she gave in Bali, a shorter one of her talking about her approach and another of her talking about her ‘Our Democracy’ project in the USA.

Notting Hill Carnival- Café Royal Books

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

It’s carnival time, or almost so, though I’m not sure I will be going this year. I came late to Notting Hill, only discovering it in the 1990s but was immediately captivated by it, our largest street festival. For the next fifteen or so years I went every year I was in London, spending two days taking photographs and then a further several days recovering my hearing. Carnival is a hugely visceral experience, where you feel the sound and your whole body vibrates, and I wanted to try and capture something of that in my pictures.

Of course carnival is a very colourful event, and I did photograph it in colour, but somehow it was the black and white images I also took (and some years only took) that somehow managed – at least for me – to convey the spirit of the event.

Some of these pictures were among the first of mine to be put on a web site, Fixing Shadows, back in 1994 or 5. Fixing Shadows was one of the earliest web sites to show photographs on an internet that was only just beginning to display images as well as text. The site is still on-line, though the scans, made on a black and white only flatbed scanner, while effective, are not quite up to current standards.

Later, J David Sapir, who as well as setting up Fixing Shadows, a site ‘concerned with photographs of historic interest and with contemporary straight photography in general‘ was editor of the Visual Anthropology Review, commissioned fellow academic George Mentore to write the leading article in the Spring/Summer 1999 edition (Volume 15 number 1), Notting Hill in Carnival in which, as well as his writing about Notting Hill in particular and carnival in general from an anthropological viewpoint, also featured 20 of my pictures, each accompanied by a sometimes lengthy comment by Mentore.

Those of you with JSTOR or similar academic logins will be able to read it, but those without can only access the first page of the text  – and none of my photographs – without payment. (The issue also contains an excellent article by Darren Newbury, Photography and the visualisation of Working Class Lives in Britain, illustrated by work by Paul Trevor, Nick Waplington and Paul Graham.)

Since 1999 a few of the pictures have appeared here and there and in 2008, twenty of them were a part of a show ‘English Carnival‘ in London’, also still on-line.

I’m delighted to say that Café Royal Books have now published ‘Notting Hill Carnival in the 1990s‘ and for a mere £6.00 you can buy a copy of this 36 page issue with 18 of my pictures, including just a few that I’ve not printed or published before.

Notting Hill Carnival in the 1990s