Posts Tagged ‘Stuart Freedman’

East End Artists

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

I’m not a huge fan of portrait photography as it is generally practised and for example exhibited in the annual prize event at the National Portrait Gallery. Occasionally a decent picture creeps in, but most I find rather ordinary, occasionally worse.

Of course there are many photographic portraits I do admire. Bill Brandt took some truly splendid ones, mainly on magazine commission, and there are some good photographers now whose work appears regularly in newspapers and magazines.

Most of the pictures I take now have people in them, sometimes concentrating on an individual or small group, but usually because of what they are doing rather than to make some kind of statement about them as a person. Certainly I don’t think of myself as a portrait photographer though I think I have taken some pretty decent pictures of people.

I’ve mentioned the Spitalfields Life blog here before, and some time ago its author published EAST END VERNACULAR, Artists Who Painted London’s East End Streets in the 20th Century with work by many artists, many of whose work I knew as I’d worked in some of the same streets, and including a few I’ve met over the years. It is described as presenting “a magnificent selection of pictures – many never published before – revealing the evolution of painting in the East End and tracing the changing character of the streets through the twentieth century.”

Now an article on the same blog, Artists of East London Vernacular has some fine portraits of some of those featured by photographer Stuart Freedman who I’ve also mentioned here on several occasions. I think they are fine examples of photographic portraits, taken with great thought and care, a dozen quite different images. You can see more of his portraits on his web site, and I think some of these are among his best.

Doing what you want

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

I’ve long been an advocate of doing what you want in photography and I’ve seldom done anything else.

So the title of Stuart Freedman‘s latest blog post, The importance of doing what you want, struck a chord. He’s always an interesting writer as well as an interesting photographer and I recommend this article to you all.

You can also follow his work on Twitter and Instagram. Stuart isn’t a prolific blogger – too busy as a photographer and his previous post was in April 2018 – but his posts on Umbra Sumus are always worth reading and superbly illustrated.

If you had a classical education (I didn’t though I did pass O Level Latin) you will know the line from Horace, “Pulvis et umbra sumus” ‘We are but dust and shadows’. And set high on the south-facing wall of the Jamme Masjid Mosque at the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier St is a sundial with the text ‘Umbra Sumus’ and the date 1743 a thumbnail of which appears at the top right of the blog.

As you probably already know, Brick Lane mosque was built as l’Eglise Neuve, a Protestant Church for Huguenots in 1742, was sold in 1809 to the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews, who moved to Palestine Place in Bethnal Green in 1809 a few years later and passed it on to Methodists. From 1897 to 1976 it was the Spitalfields Great Synagogue, (Machzikey Hadath or Machzikei Hadass) .