Light & Silver

'Mood constitutes how we see'

Category: On Photographers

Working the Landscape

Mention ‘landscape photography’ these days and many would immediately think of that style of photography that looks to the ‘beautiful’ or to the ‘sublime’ or to the ‘picturesque’ in our countryside. Perhaps we have Edmund Burke’s ‘A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful‘ to blame for that.

Romanticism in landscape photography is nothing new of course. 19th century Romantic photography provided a position which enabled a counter-reaction into Modernism.

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In praise of Thomas Joshua Cooper

No other photographer comes closer to what I aspire than Thomas Joshua Cooper. It’s not the pictures per se, or his photographic expeditions or his success that motivates me. It’s something more intangible. The closest I can come to describing the feeling of his work is ‘spirit of place’, although this phrase doesn’t quite encapsulate everything that I feel in his pictures.

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Manual Alvarez Bravo

The Photographer’s Gallery‘s exhibition of Manuel Alvarez Bravo has me reaching for my copy of ‘Manuel Alvarez Bravo – Photopoetry’, a detailed study into his photography. I have long been an admirer of his work, but what really strikes me about Alvarez Bravo (“AB”) is his ability to keep all the genre plates spinning.

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The man who lived in his eyes

There is something to learn from Edwin Smith’s attitude to photography. His partner Olive Cook, said “Edwin never tried to impose his will on a theme: it was again a question of ‘co-operating with the inevitable'”.

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Wright Marion Morris – Déjà Vu

Wright Marion Morris is better known as an American Gothic writer than a photographer….

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Photographers to research

I look at lots of photographs. I really look at them…

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Eugène Atget

It has taken me a long time to really appreciate Eugène Atget. Cartier-Bresson is easy ‘to get’. So is Frank, Friedlander, Kertész, Ray-Jones, Parr, Brandt, Stieglitz even. In a way, they are all story-tellers. But Atget?

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Learning from James Ravilious

In an era of self-referentiality a ‘quiet photograph’ can have much to commend it. There is a  simple and rare pleasure in looking at photographs whose subjects are allowed to present themselves as they are, unposed.

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