From the 1st of September until the 1st December only I am offering any 11/14" signed hand print (10/8" image size) for sale from my portfolio.
There will only be one of each image for sale and the edition will be 1/1.
All prints are the same price of £200.00 and includes P&P with insurance.
Prints will be sold on a first come first served basis and there can be no negotiations of any kind.
This is not through a gallery so there is no commission.
This is a little bit of an experiment as a fair few people have said they would like to own one of my images but don't want to stretch to gallery prices.
I have to stress that this size is not available through my galleries and will not be available again after the 1st December..
All works are available apart from the North Shores series.

Basically its a raffle and all proceeds will go towards finishing my 108 Border Project.

Please email me if interested.


Alexander Babic.

Alexander Babic has some cracking images on his website (here) in particular the Speedweek series and although I do find them a little bit Digee, I like them.. He is featured in this weeks BJP but the article does not do the work justice, in fact the article is badly written and the reproduction utterly dreadful. For instance, Babic talks about his fasination with the light on the Bonville Saltflats where he shot his Speedweek images, something I know all about having been there many times, but this just doesn't come across in the magazine repro. Have a look at his website and you will see what I mean........

And before you tell me everyone photographs Speedweek at the Saltflats, well thats right and I intend to do so next year......


A chippy and a mannequin titty...

From time to time I have been known to switch from making pretty pictures to concentrating on something a bit more thought provoking and maybe not so uplifting.
In between walking through corn fields and kicking pebbles on the beach during my trips up North I couldn't help but notice the number of closed shops and industry and just how much this economy nonsense can effect a city. Of course I am aware of my surroundings here in London and like the rest of the country find the whole thing a bit depressing to say the least, but when you see your home town hit hard its probably worth popping off a few frames... I wouldn't hang these on a wall, but I do consider them an important chapter in my work.

Now and again you need to add a few aniseed balls to the bag of sweets...


17 Days to go....

This that and the other...

You may be mistaken for thinking that I have no interest in other kinds of photography other than landscape, but my friends of the B you would be wrong. I do have a particular interest in documentary photography of all kinds mostly because its something I just cant do myself, a bit like portraiture and a big fat wedding. I am especially looking forward to purchizing Zed Nelsons Love Me book.
The guys a flaming marvel...

I also like a good nude (been there done that) and have a special fondness for Still Life....


I was recently asked if I would consider doing a photography workshop in Croatia. Having never been to the land of the Croats I jumped at the chance and have been busy planning what I could do to make things a little bit more special other than wearing a woolly hat, saying 'Dobar Dan', pointing at a southern eastern sunset, and perhaps dishing out sweeties.
I do tend to approach this sort of thing with an open mind and believe that people prefer guidance over strict instruction.
Some people say that I should keep my techniques and know how to myself, but I totally disagree. Anyone could copy my technique but would never be able to produce a Doyle. After all my friends its' how we see', and not so much 'how we do' that makes us unique.

Make way for the baldy Brit..


Not your average landscape photography competition...

Fragile Earth

Simon Bainbridge previews the 12-strong shortlist for the Prix Pictet

© Yao Lao

The Prix Pictet, launched last year with one of the art world's most valuable prizes (approximately £55,000) and an agenda to campaign for better understanding of environmental sustainability, is back. This year's theme is 'Earth', and the shortlist of 12 has just been announced, culled from more than 300 suggestions made by a panel of 77 international nominators, which included me.

Inevitably, just as last year's water-themed shortlist was dominated by projects concerned with flood and drought, this year's contains its fair share of work focused on the oil and mining industries. Chris Anderson, for example, has been photographing the complex relationship between oil and politics in Latin America for the past five years, while Ed Kashi explores similar terrain in the Niger Delta. Edward Burtynsky, also shortlisted last year, is something of a no-brainer for a prize that is based on environmental sustainability, and this time he's presenting his most epic work, shot in vast quarries. Naoya Hatakeyama's photographs of quarry explosions and underground waterways in Tokyo are rather decontextualised here, but his inclusion points to the contest's commitment to less overtly documentary approaches. And that's even more apparent in the work of Sammy Baloji, who addresses the legacy of imperialism in the Democratic Republic of Congo, splicing together images that reference industrial plunder with old colonial photographs of the men and women who were similarly looked upon as a resource ripe for exploitation.

Others are less overtly political. Darren Almond, for example, focuses on traditional notions of the sublime landscape, capturing moon-lit images of remote geographical locations that have inspired artists of the past, such as the Yellow Mountain range of Huang Shan region in China. It's a theme echoed by another Londoner, Chris Steele-Perkins, in his photographs shot around Mount Fuji in Japan, following in the footsteps of Hokusai Katsushika and Utagawa Hiroshige, whose series of legendary woodblocks, 36 Views of Mount Fuji, were a record and commentary on the famed mountain in relation to the society of their times, the early to mid-1800s.

The Magnum photographer captures similar scenes, now threatened by development in the name of progress. Likewise, Nadav Kander's Yangtze, The Long River takes and open and intuitive approach to the landscape that doesn't expressly address the environment, but its presence is implicit nonetheless. Similarly, Edgar Martins plays on the disturbing seduction of landscapes that reveal environmental destruction, picturing Portugal's fire-devastated forests. There's nothing seductive about Abbas Kowsari's landscapes, however, more explicitly malevolent than the rest here in their depiction of the annual pilgrimage to honour the Iranian dead, killed in the war with Iraq that cost the country more than half a million lives.

One to watch

Undoubtably the biggest name on this year's shortlist is Andreas Gursky, who is showing just one large-scale image, depicting an enormous garbage dump in in Mexico City. But my money is on a relative outsider, Yao Lu, whom I nominated for the Prix Pictet.

Referencing ancient Chinese painting, he uses to photography and digital imaging to comment on the rape of the land through the exploitation of natural resources and rapid urbanisation. Created last year during the Beijing Olympics, he photographs mounds of building rubble wrapped under green netting, which is then transformed into painterly landscapes, complete with idylic waterfalls and pine trees. Although beautiful, they clearly have something to say about environmental destruction and the artifice of nature seen through modern day eyes. They are also quite different to the approach taken by the armies of Western documentary photographers commenting on the same subject in China.

On show

A selection of works from the 12 shortlisted artists will be previewed at Purdy Hicks Gallery (purdyhicks.com) in London from 05 to 11 October, before a larger exhibition goes up at Passage de Retz gallery in Paris from 23 October to 24 November. The ultimate winner will be announced by honoury president Kofi Annan the night before the show. A further award, in the form of a commission for one of the shortlisted photographers to visit a region where Pictet & Cie are currently supporting a sustainability project, will be announced at the same time. The show will then tour to further venues, including galleries in Thessaloniki, Dubai and Eindhoven.

For further information visit www.prixpictet.com.


I happened to visit my little wife in the studio today which I sometimes do. Watching her working away in the studio has always reminded me of when I would build up a sweat behind the camera shouting things like 'move that leg' or 'hide your boobies please'. It seems so much more straight forward in the studio not having to rely on mother nature for the ingredients of the shoot. I also like the finality of a studio session. You set up, you shoot, you pack up you go home. So often when out in the field I will be travelling back exhausted and drained only to see some magnificent potential scene and just have to set up the camera again..
The now semi famous shot here was taken only after having spent four days stuck in a hotel room in Iceland due to the worst weather imaginable. I was on route to the airport when the rain and hail stopped and the sun started to peek through the clouds. It was at this moment that I spied the Blue Pool and made the shot..

Landscape photography is like a straight narrow road with the location at the end of it. But first you have to get past the junctions....


North Shores (second wave)

For those of you who did not make my last show North Shores at the Getty Gallery, well there's another chance to see this fine body of work (hence the second wave bit). This time the work will be on display at Getty's new sister galley in Canary Wharf (details below). When I was first approached by the gallery about this second installment I was not keen manly due to the fact that the last time I visited Canary Wharf about ten years ago (touting my portfolio) I thought the place was a right dump and it was a real arse to get to. But my friends of the B that is Mode the Wharf has been transformed with a fine array of restaurants, bars, shops and of course not forgetting Getty's beautiful new sister gallery. Just step off the Jubilee line, up the space age escalator, through the big doors and your there.
Those of you in the know will be aware that this particular show is aimed more at the business/investment type, but everyone is welcome. More info on the gallery here.

Payment plans available for nice people..

North Shores
(second wave)
Getty Images Gallery
Private view 10th September 09
6.30 pm

One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
E14 5AB

tel - 0207 418 2000


Eugene Richards.

I have always known about the photographer Eugene Richards but it was not until recently that I discovered his The Blue Room project which you can see here on Foto8 along with an excellent commentary. This body of work (which I believe is his first all colour project) is remarkable and I cannot remember the last time I seen such a fine example of a photography project. The project reminds me of my own Salton Sea series, but what makes this project special is that Richards is able to tell us about these images and has took the trouble to find out in detail why it is what it is rather than just producing beautiful images that show the beauty in decay like I did (not that there's anything wrong with that mind you). Its Quiet, moving, respectful (unlike images of New Orleans by lesser photographers), sometimes tragic and beautiful shot.
For me its everything photography should be.

photojournalism: “a dying field”


Official Deadline Clock, St. Louis Post-Dispatch newsroom, St. Louis, Missouri. Photograph copyright Erik M. Lunsford

The NY Times published a bleak article on the state of photojournalism, and you would think the walls were crashing down after finishing page 2 of the online article. Take for example this quote:

“Newspapers and magazines are cutting back sharply on picture budgets or going out of business altogether, and television stations have cut back on news coverage in favor of less-costly fare. Pictures and video snapped by amateurs on cellphones are posted to Web sites minutes after events have occurred. Photographers trying to make a living from shooting the news call it a crisis.”

A crisis? Yes, a crisis! Layoffs for staff photographers, shrinking print space and budget (and time!), an apathetic attitude for quality and accuracy, and a horrible economic climate all contribute to the perfect storm of a struggling field. We’re pretty much at the brink of do-or-die, and the view down below is the quintessential dark abyss.

“The problem is that news photography is finished,” Ms. Riant said. “Gamma wants to go back to magazines and newsmagazines. We will stop covering daily news events to more deeply cover issues.”

That’s a mixed bag. It’s obvious that news organizations either produce the daily news content or distribute it to someone else. If the industry goes to an online pay model, then moving to cover deeper issues with intelligent storytelling gives readers a reason to pay for access. Think about this NYT article I’m writing about. It applies to me, interests me, and with that my willingness to pay. We are used to paying for a print subscription, and we’re used to free online access. Why should we receive free online access for the same information in the paid printed material? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Moreover, I can get the daily news anywhere (think AP), but it’s the in-depth, local, and specialized information that matters to me. That I will pay for because it helps me as a citizen and a consumer make better choices and stay informed.

“The business model is not working today,” she said. “So without some changes, it won’t work tomorrow.”

See above.

“Photographers are producing plenty of great stuff, but now the media seem interested only in celebrities,” he said. When Michael Jackson died, it wasn’t part of the news, it was the news. How many photographs of his funeral did we really need?”

Give that man a Blue Moon beer for getting it right. Moreover, I know even my colleagues in the industry feel the same. It’s one thing to cover the event properly, it’s another thing to squeeze the last bit of blood from the turnips. The question remains — how many newspaper web clicks or television rating increases were directly tied to the MJ news? The inherent double-edged sword lies in the fact that those web clicks do equate into real dollars that pay real salaries — so how does that balance? Rob wrote on Aphotoeditor about the tyranny of click-counting via an article by Andrew Sullivan. Here’s a direct quote:

“It’s possible to post stories that make people who come to a web site more likely to click, yet may make them less likely to come back to the site, and certainly less likely to pay for it.”

And then as if a homage to the daily news content argument above, Andrew adds:

“For much of the weekend the top story on the Journal’s site was that a helicopter and a plane had collided over the Hudson River. No kidding! Why would I pay for a home page that crams that story down my throat when every other news site is doing the cramming for free? There’s a lesson here about the tyranny of click-counting. “

Yep, give me a slow website that requires ten clicks for every piece of information that you find everywhere else and you’ll dial in a lot of clicks. However, you may also dial in many visitors who won’t return because the site practically begs them to leave and never come back. It’s unfortunate, but those clicks are crucial. Maybe it’s about creating sites that are easy to navigate and applauds design rather than shoving clicks and ads down peoples’ throats. In addition, that specialized content that you can’t get anywhere else? That’s the Golden Goose, right?

Some more from the NYT:

“Ten years ago, Dirck Halstead, who spent 29 years as a White House photographer for Time magazine, wrote in Digital Journalist: “When I speak of photojournalism as being dead, I am talking only about the concept of capturing a single image on a nitrate film plane, for publication in mass media.” Visual storytelling has itself been around since the Stone Age, he noted, and “will only be enhanced” by the changes now taking place.

Revisiting that column last month, Mr. Halstead wrote that, if anything, conditions today were worse than he had predicted. To be a photojournalist today, he wrote, “You have to be crazy.”

Think about the markets for a moment. Fear and greed drives markets. Often we lose hope and cash out in the market when our dollars drop faster than a Six Flags ride. It’s the opposite on the way up — everyone wants in long after the real money has been made. I have a rule-of-thumb that I’ve learned the hard way over the years. When all hope is completely lost, the bottom has passed and things head north. Have you noticed your portfolio a few months after the financial breaking point? It is most likely higher now. In my opinion, the same rule-of-thumb applies for our profession. When you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel due to a hopeless myopia, then it’s a possible push for the turning point in how we do business. The ones that invest now will reap their rewards later. It’s easy to jump off the same cliff that everyone else is doing, but it’s a lot more difficult (and far more rewarding) to stay on the positive track. We have to do something different, and maybe this is the catalyst for change.

How about this thought? Think less about layoffs, budgets, and space crunches. As the article said, we have zillions of web pages in need of filling. The opportunity to present work in new ways is richer than ever before. Sure, we’re going to have to one-man-band it at times, and we may not like that idea one bit. Try shooting a video, writing a story, shooting photos, and creating a gallery all from one assignment. Sounds horrible, right? Surprisingly, it’s richly satisfying, because you’re in control of the content. You don’t have to dump b-roll and go and see how it turns out in the video player later. You can be in charge of that. Hate that one editor’s editing choices? Fughetaboutit! Here is your chance to drive the presentation. You are the only limitation and obstacle standing in the way, and once you realize how truly gifted we are as visual journalists and storytellers, then it could be the bottom of something heading wonderfully up.

Taken from here.



Apparently old Peter Lindbergh one of my favourite fashion photographers has gone off on one regarding the use of too much retouching within the industry, a subject I often struggle with and rant about often her on the incredible B Mode. As a lesson to all Mr Lindberg has set about photographing lots of well known models without make or a hint of retouching anywhere to make his very point.

For those of you that are familiar with the Pirelli Calender, you know that pretncious calender that no one could buy and people working at the Pirelli Tyre factory where given them for Christmas and sold them to the highest bidder. Well I had two of the Peter Lindberg one (my friends dad worked at the Pirelli factory) and I loved it..(Sold the other one..)

But back to the story, there is a more in depth feature here which I have stolen from some fashion blog you can read about later, and look at the pics, but before you do I want to moan a little about Bergy Boys antics.
First and foremost all the women Pete has chosen to photograph are flawless. They are amongst the most beautiful women in the world. They dont need any make up let alone retouching..
Secondly, a shot in black and white (as these are) will always be more flattering. You can turn up the contrast, lighten the skin and blemishes never show up like they do in colour. I should know I used to print hundreds of beauty images in b & w and never retouched any of them..

Dont get me wrong I have no place for 'air brushed' over retouched images and wonder how it got to the point where people are rendered unrecognisable. In fact I met Madonna the other day and I thought it was my eighty year old neighbour Rose. I cant help thinking that if PL was trying to make a point he should of photographed some normal people (like my neighbour for instance).
Anyone can take a photograph of a beautiful woman and make them look beautiful as Lindbergh has done, therefore his opinions serve no purpose.
Tell you what, why not dress me in a wig and a skirt (and of course with no make up) and dare not to retouch me for the cover of Vogue...

You cant believe everything you read and you certainly can't believe everything you see..

Before I finish let me leave you with this question.
Your suddenly famous for whatever reason. Everybody wants a piece of you and before you know it your going to be on the cover of some magazine. In the run up to your fame you had a few weeks of cake eating and couldn't move around too much because of a swollen foot. You wore your favourite jeans for the shoot, you know the ones that make your bum look nice, and that tee shirt that make your arms look tanned along with its revealing neck line. You do the shoot and feel like a million dollars (£700,000 pounds). A few days later you see the contacts, (ok, the on screen edit). You look like a whale, the jeans were too tight and caused an overspill around your midriff, It like someone's baking bread and your arms look like baguettes. You're a cross eyed, over weight, going bald, hairy faced spotty freak... But wait a minute, all this can be gone in just a few minutes with the help of healing brush, a clone stamp and an airbrush...What do you do..?







A CLICHÉ......


Metro aims wide with monster printer

Photographers now have access to the only 76-inch digital C-type printer in the UK after Metro bought in an ultra-wide-format LightJet printer.

There are only 10 LightJet 500XL printers in the whole world, and until Metro bought one, just two of them were used for fine art photographic output - Grieger Labs in Germany, and Griffin in New York.

Oce's LightJet printers (and those from its rival, Lamba, produced by Durst) are favoured by fine art photographers and galleries because they use a true continous tone process, combining digital and silver halide technology. The 500XL can deliver prints of up to 194cm in width at a speed of 45m2 per hour, with resolutions up to 4000dpi.

'Currently, artists have to travel abroad to make larger photographic prints,' says a Metro spokeswoman. 'Since most labs have taken out their horizontal enlargers, it's become impossible to produce large photographic prints, except through a digital process, and until now that process hasn't been available in the UK. Larger prints represent larger ambitions: printing to the scale of 10x6ft puts photographers in the same league as other artists making large-scale work for museums and world-class galleries.

'This is important for the status of photography within the British art world as a whole,' she continues. 'To be able to produce museum-scale photographic prints in this country is essential for photography to be able to punch its weight alongside other mediums. America and Germany have, until now, had something of an advantage over the UK in terms of funding, collectors, institutions and facilities. Metro is doing its bit to change things.'

Metro will begin offering the service later this year, after the printer has been craned into Metro's premises in Clerkenwell in London.

For details, visit metroimaging.co.uk.

Good for two things;

Showing off and life size prints of people you love...


Emily Shur

Emily Shur has a wonderful body of work on a wonderful website. She has a very interesting and touching blog and a beautiful Bulldog called The Duchess.


This is me driving...
I felt obligated to publish the last post (THIS IS NUTS) here on the insane B-Mode for several reasons which I thought I would share...

I have always liked talking about other peoples photography as well as my own and hope to do more of this in between projects in the future as I don't really want to be a professional arm wrestler even though I think I would be quite good (see post 04/08/09 where do the stairs go). I have often had the idea of becoming an Indiana Jones type character who lectures through the day to a group of students who utterly adore him and then ventures off into the unknown in search of hidden treasures, or in my case photographs..
I would hate to think that my job and reputation could be jeopardised for simply showing students another photographers work be it willy based or otherwise..
I do not like the work of Del Lagrace Volcano, In fact I hate it and personally find its self indulgent and vulgar to the core right down to the stupid made up surname. Strong words may be, but I also think this is someone who has chosen to document part of there life and make it public and that my friends takes balls (excuse the pun). The work might be a lot of things, but its not pornographic and this is the point I wanted to raise. I get tired of photography constantly taking a hit when it comes to naked flesh, challenging material or even images of children. These days you can find anything you like on line. The World Wide Web is a Pandora's box for every pervert imaginable. If people want to find it, they will. Don't pick on some innocent photographer trying to make a living by EDUCATING people..

I rest my case.


Photography lecturer faces discipline

A photography lecturer faces a disciplinary hearing after it was alleged that he showed students pornographic material

BJP understands that Simon Burgess, who lectures at East Surrey College in Redhill, will appear in front of the hearing on 17 August after a complaint was lodged by one or a number of second-year students on the Higher National Diploma in Digital Photography.

The complaint concerns photographs by Del LaGrace Volcano, whose work has often been deemed controversial, but has nonetheless been exhibited in galleries across Europe, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Although Burgess has refused to comment on the action ahead of the proceedings, fellow lecturers have sprung to his defence, accusing the college of censorship, after news of the proceedings was leaked online.

East Surrey College, which states openness, respect, integrity and innovation among its core values, also declined to comment. ‘Until the facts are raised in a hearing, we cannot comment about staff-related actions,’ a spokeswoman told BJP. Burgess faces the sack if the College’s management supports the complains.

Volcano, who lived his first 37 years as a woman and describes himself as a ‘part-time gender terrorist’, has voiced his support for Burgess, urging others to protest the college’s decision to put the lecturer through official proceedings. In an online statement, he writes: ‘I am asking for a favour. A man who used to attend my lectures as a photography student is being threatened with redundancy because he recommended my work to a student doing a project on gender and sexuality. If you value the work I and others like me have done over the past 25 years please stand up and say so!’

Cary Welling, a senior lecturer and programme leader of the photography department at the Nottingham Trent University, has defended the use of Volcano’s images. ‘We deal with a lot of subjects that could be seen as pornography by some,’ says Welling. ‘We have to discuss these issues. We need to tell young people about their responsibilities. We need to talk about legislation and how people will react to their photos. If you don’t show the work of artists that have pushed boundaries, how are they going to manage? How are they going to know what their responsibilities are? As a lecturer, I fiercely defend the use of that material.’

An email sent by Dr Eugenie Shinkle, a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster, to seek statements of support from fellow academics was leaked online. In the email, Dr Shinkle says that ‘management’s stance displays a remarkable ignorance of contemporary debates and image-making strategies’, adding that it presents a serious matter that has ‘implications for all academics, teachers and students’.

An unnamed writer, who claims to be an art historian at the University of Edinburgh, has also voiced her support on The Sauce blog. ‘It is in no way inappropriate to point a student in the direction of works such as those of Del LaGrace Volcano if these are the issues the student needs to examine to complete their course work,’ she writes. ‘I teach Renaissance Art History. Am I to understand that I cannot show students the work of such masters as Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines? The Medici Venus? The Venus of Urbino? As a female, of course, I find rape as a subject reprehensible, but I still use Giambologna's work because it exemplifies many other Renaissance attitudes, not just to the female body, but as part of the classicizing mythology of Florentine Art, or simply the stylistic developments inherent in Mannerism.’

Volcano describes himself as ‘a gender variant visual artist’, and much of his work focuses on the complexities of masculine and feminine identities and sexual politics. His work can be seen at dellagracevolcano.com.


I was going to tell a 'Friday photography related joke' to try and get back into a more structured blog (see last post). But instead I will just say;

"Donation boxes on photography websites and Blogs. What's that all about?!"
I have come to realise that my blog has lost all its structure. In the begining I had allsorts of plans. Shot of the week, interviews and perhaps some portfolio downloads. Well that all went out the window quite early on as it was just far too much of a commitment. Besides, this blog is mine and all about me. So here's some images from one of my outings last year..
Please feel free to print out and admire.


Remember, there's always someone worse off than you (or me)..

By Katya Kazakina

Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz may be better off declaring bankruptcy than battling a creditor suing her for breaching a contract related to a $24 million loan, bankruptcy experts said.

Art Capital Group, a New York-based company that makes loans using art as collateral, extended Leibovitz $22 million in September 2008 backed by the rights to her photographs and real estate in Manhattan and Rhinebeck, New York, court papers said. Three months later, she got $2 million more, according to a suit filed last week in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The financing company sued Leibovitz, alleging she refused to cooperate in the sale of the copyrights to her photographs and won’t give real-estate agents access to her properties for sale. Leibovitz has to repay the loan with interest and other expenses by Sept. 8, according to the suit.

While losing the case may result in Leibovitz’s financial ruin, a bankruptcy court filing “may be more attuned to fairness issues with regard to her and to all her creditors,” said Thomas Kline, a partner at the Washington office of Andrews Kurth LLP who specializes in art law and litigation. Although bankruptcy would make public Leibovitz’s finances, Kline said, it would place them under the protection of a federal judge.

Considering Options

Filing for bankruptcy “will automatically postpone all litigation against her” while she considers her options, said Kline, who isn’t involved in the case. Such a move would help her “get a handle on her affairs.”

Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for Leibovitz, declined to comment. Starr & Co., listed in the complaint as Leibovitz’s financial adviser, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Leibovitz, 59, is the creator of famous photographs, including a nude of John Lennon in a fetal position with Yoko Ono, and a portrait of a pregnant, naked Demi Moore published on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.

The photographer was in a “dire financial condition” arising from tax liens, mortgages and unpaid bills, according to the complaint by Art Capital.

An agreement Leibovitz signed with the company makes the firm an “irrevocable, exclusive agent” for the sale of her works and property for the loan’s length and for two years after she pays it off, according to the complaint.

“She went to the lender of last resort,” said Asher Edelman, an art dealer who recently started an art-financing company, Art Assure Ltd.

Cash Flow

“People go to them in desperation” because there aren’t many places that lend against art, he said. “The big banks lend to their clients against cash flow. You need an access cash flow of about $4 million to support a $24 million loan.”

Art Capital’s spokesman, Montieth Illingworth, said that “Art Capital was uniquely qualified to do this financial restructuring and to maximize the value of her estate in order for her to pay the loan and realize the significant gain beyond that amount to stabilize her financial life.”

In 2007 and 2008, Leibovitz was late in paying $1.8 million in federal taxes, according to liens filed with New York City’s Finance Department.

Renovations of Leibovitz’s two buildings on Greenwich Street in Manhattan’s West Village were also mired in litigation and opposition by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, according to its director.

The group complained of dangerous and illegal work on the landmark properties, built in the 1830s.

“Progress on the repair work was painfully slow,” said Andrew Berman, the group’s executive director.

Managing Finances

A neighbor of Leibovitz filed a $15 million lawsuit against her, claiming workers damaged a common wall between their two properties, forcing its owners to evacuate. Leibovitz settled the case by purchasing the neighbor’s property for $1.9 million in 2003, Berman said.

Creative people often have difficulties managing their finances, said Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist and author of “Mind over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health” to be published in December by Broadway Business Books, an imprint of Crown Publishing.

“People who have become successful based on their creativity versus attention to detail may neglect financial planning, coming up with the budget, tracking expenses,” he said.

The photographer’s success may have also contributed to her financial problems, Klontz added.

Always Enough

“Highly successful individuals are more susceptible to a belief that there will always be enough money,” he said. “They are willing to take exceptional risks and believe that everything will work out.”

Leibovitz’s financial situation is unrelated to the estate of her longtime partner, Susan Sontag. The writer, who died on Dec. 28, 2004, didn’t leave an inheritance or property to Leibovitz that required her to pay taxes, according to Sontag’s will, filed in probate in New York.

Sontag, whose estate was valued between $500,000 and $3 million, left “from one to a maximum of four items” of personal property to Leibovitz, according to the will.

Personal Issues

Additionally, personal issues may have increased Leibovitz’s debt load. Eight years ago, Leibovitz gave birth to her first child, Sarah. She also has twins, Susan and Samuelle, who were born to a surrogate in 2005, according to a biography of Leibovitz on PBS’s Web site for its American Masters program.

The entire surrogacy process, including medical procedures, insurance and legal fees, can total $100,000 to $125,000, according to Sanford Benardo, president of the Northeast Assisted Fertility Group, a surrogacy and egg-donation program. A surrogate mother’s fee of $25,000 to $30,000 is part of that sum, he said.

Prices for an egg donor cycle that includes in vitro fertilization range from $20,000 to $30,000, said Barbara Collura, executive director of Resolve, the national infertility association.

Whatever legal strategy the photographer chooses to address the Art Capital lawsuit will be costly, Kline said.

“She doesn’t have a free way home,” he said.

The case is Art Capital Group Inc. v. Leibovitz, 09-602334, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at kkazakina@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: August 5, 2009 11:28 EDT
"Photographs should be about something not of something..."
John Darwell

Look out....Chaves..

Check our Ramiro Chaves work. And his Miramar slide show over on Foto8. Beautiful series of images which remind me of my ongoing Border City series as he has chosen to photograph his homeland. Not the easiest of tasks it has to be said..
Thanks again to Mark over on the wonderful Manchester Photographer for bringing this to my attention. A constant source of good material and honest opinions it has to be said..

Captains Log.

It has come to my attention that my last 'captains log' entry was something of a misery. Having actually gone back and read my last post it does indeed bring hopelessness to the nation which was not my intention at all.
I am indeed an optimist, always have been, and certainly could not do what I do if I didn't constantly look on the lighter, brighter, champion ultimate fighter side of life.
When I was seventeen I bought a beat up T90 35mm camera for £150 pounds from my art teacher. I never really liked the camera, mainly because it was in such bad condition. Without going into too much detail I had an argument with my girlfriend at the time (who I believe now has seven children and works behind a meat counter) and in the heat of the moment I kicked my battered T90 into Ulswater Lake. I still wonder if I had not had the camera insured if I would of kicked the thing as hard as I did. Anyhow after a few minutes of rage I ventured into the lake and managed to find the camera thanks to the crystal clear waters of Cumbria (this is not an ad). The camera was a right off, but I was not sad, oh no, I was delighted as now I could get the camera I always wanted. Low and behold, a month later I was the proud owner of a Canon F1...Nice..
Not sure if this the storey of an Optimist or a fraudster... Either way its a nice story.


Where do those stairs go?

As the job at the local kebab house becomes more and more appealing, and my only calls I get are from some numpty trying to sell me a window, I have had time to go through a lot of my old archive from the days when I parted my hair and pretended that the cakes I was baking were for unfortunate children and not for my own fat hamster like face.
Like most young keen direction-less photographers I would shoot everything and anything and of course carried a camera everywhere I went. My costs where minimal shooting B&W 35mm film with one lens and some battered old F1 camera with a bright red strap. I processed the film myself and indeed printed the image myself. All in all I found the whole process very satisfying and even made a living for a time processing and printing for other like minded people.
It has to be said that I would return to the darkroom in such, dare I say, 'dark' times. But of course there is a much call for a black and white hand print today as there is a cell phone the size of a brick with an additional battery the size of a breeze block.. I don't really miss the darkroom and if I am honest (unlike Edgar Martins) I did grow to hate everything that came with the wet process; the chemicals, prints drying down to flat dull insignificance, long hours, and in my case the awkward clients.
I have often thought of other things I could do other than photography and the list is always the same:
A professional Arm Wrestler
A bulldog wrestler
A bear wrestler (hard to get insurance)
A puppeteer (when did you last see a Punch and Judy show)
A poet (the card companies won't see me)
A stuntman
A Bruce Willis stand in
An egg boiler
A Ponse
Not such good ways to make ends meet..

So what does a photographer do when the work dries up? When people stop buying prints? When galleries close? When the picture editors of magazines get the boot and the regular commissions vanish? When people realise that the art world is not important?
Well you can look out your Cafe Nero Loyalty card and come and sit beside me..


Truffle Shuffle

I thought it about time to jiggle the old website around a bit adding a few here and removing a few there, so please feel free to have a look in New Work, Urban 1 and 2 for a few visual goodies.
Without sounding too much like a big bald headed and boast full hole I do have a pretty vast archive of work but wouldn't dream about putting all on one site. That's what three years of shooting almost every day in the States will get you, that and a mountain of debt.

I took the above shot on my homage back to the Salton Sea last year. Most people will see a blue curtain blowing in the breeze and perhaps notice the matching Maxwell House coffee can on the floor. But let me tell you a little more about this image.... It was the summer of 2004 and I had been living in California for about a month. I had just bought my big blue camper van and made my first photographic trip to the Salton Sea, a place I had visited 3 or 4 times before on previous trips. It was an incredibly hot day and I arrived at the Salton Seas only trailer / camper van park in the late afternoon. I parked up my new camper now covered in dust and made my way to the office which was actually in the owners house. The old lady who answered the door must have been a hundred and five. She and her husband ran the park and had been since the sixties when the Salton Sea was considered the riviera of the West. They had eight Pugs (dogs) and who knows how many cats. I was given a large glass of Iced Tea and given an in depth history of the surrounding area. I was then introduced to Lizzie's husband Teddy, he was sat on a chair about forty feet in the air and told me there was an earthquake due and that I should keep lots of water with me. I paid my twelve dollars and was told to stay out of the sun because I was a ginger like there son. And so with pleasantries aside I set off with my camera (and plenty of water) and made what would be the beginning of my Salton Sea series. I got back to the camper site at about two in the morning, sweating like a pig it was as hot in the night as it was in the day. Exhausted I got into my van which was like an oven. I lay there on my new camper van double bed in a pool of sweat too hot to sleep and to tired to do anything else. At around three o'clock there was a tap on the door.... I thought it was murder and reached for my large flashlight with the idea to blind my attacker. "Hey Buddy its Maxwell, Teddy's son." Maxwell was indeed Teddy's son as he was ginger and was indeed very drunk. "Wanna come and get a beer and watch some football.." Here was a man I had never met, in the middle of the desert alone, hot and sweaty at three in the morning.... How could I refuse.... The house was cool, the beer ice cold. Max passed out after an hour or so but was very accommodating in his intoxication. I ended up sleeping on the sofa and knew for certain I would never of slept in the van, not in that heat. At fist light I made my escape before anyone awoke.
What has all this got to do with the above image you may indeed wonder. Well it was taken in the very house I had spent the night some five years earlier. Derelict and empty it was quite sad to know what it had once been. The curtains were the same vivid blue and I purposely placed the camera where the sofa had been. But the most splendid thing I find about this image is the coffee tin, I wonder if Maxwell was trying to tell me something....