Andrew Moore.

This is why we use large format, this is why we shoot film. If you are wondering how one achieves such depth, clarity and colour saturation, this is how, and you may now realize why people lugg around gigantic cameras....
An epic body of work with the Detroit series being my favourite.
That Dali-esk clock made me spill my Coco Pops.
See the rest here.


The Big Hart.

Trevor Ray Heart

I was introduced to the gentle giant that is Trevor Ray Hart at my North Shores show last March. We have since been friends and try to liaise once in a while usually after fighting with the agency with whom we are both associated.
I have a lot of time for Trev and we seem to share a similar aesthetic towards photography which is always a joy when discussing work and ideas.

Trevor's new website hosts an abundance of fine imagery of personal projects (always the best) and as fabulous as his 50th Parallel is I am most drawn to his Home Country series. As you know I always have the greatest of respect for those tackling projects on their own door step, its most inspiring..

I have to admit to there being talk of a little collaboration between us which I strayed from a little and went to the seaside instead , but now I am thinking otherwise, so stay tuned..


The Green Door..

When I was doing my A Level in Photography I borrowed my dads old Blue Triumph Dolomite and persuaded a nice looking blonde lass (thats Northern talk and not disrespectful) to bring some dresses along as we headed for Carlisle Airport for my first fashion shoot.
The sun was shining and the Museum part of the Airport open for all. It was a great place for taking pics and we could go anywhere we liked including the plane cockpits (so you could pretend to be in Top Gun, but sadly my model was no Kelly Magillis). You could even walk up and down the plane wings of the old Vulcan Jet retired many years before and jump up and down on the gun turrets.
I had often thought of heading back to the airport as part of my Border City series and finally made it last week, but sadly without the blonde lass this time (or Kelly). It was just how I remembered. The Vulcan Jet, a few helicopters and several fuselage type objects. Nothing had changed, except one major factor. The Airport was sold to a private buyer a few years ago with the promise of regular express flights to London, great for visiting the folks I thought. Well not only did this not happen the dipstick who bought the airport decided to make the whole Muesum off limits to the public using the old 'threat to national security' excuse and so now its all totally private and off limits. Of course there is talk of re opening the museum to the public in the form of 'school trips' but I cant see it myself.
Well no one was going to stop my reminiscing and I walked in to the grounds like I had just bought the place (amazing what a luminous vest can do) and started snapping away..
So basically that's it and after a bit of looking over my shoulder I had quite a nice time once I got over my Doyley Rage (Do these people think someone is going to build a jet engine, install it and then take out the town in a fifty year old Vulcan Jet!). As for the image above, as usual things aren't quite what they seem. Look closely at the fuselage, some twits fitted a green front door to stop people getting in the cock pit and spoiling their dreams of taking out a MIG or playing Net Ball with Ice Man.


Oh Doyle you do go on..

It often intrigues me how quick we are to judge a photograph based solely on where it was made. It seems most of the time if the location is 'exotic', then the image must be excellent, be it an American desert, a frozen Arctic tundra, or an enchanted forest somewhere in Lap Land.
'If we see things we don't often see in a photograph, we automatically assume its a good photograph'.
So many photographers (myself included ) have travelled to far off lands in search of the ultimate landscape and to perhaps place the Tripod somewhere no other Tripod has ventured.
"If I go and photograph those black trees out in Namibia before anyone else, it will be a great series and totally original," that is of course, until everyone else follows suit and does their own take. Then the picture may become worthless and a watered down version of what it once was..
Its not just location that can diffuse our few of a good photograph, in fact there are several things I should mention; New techniques like over saturated hyper real images seem to full everyone, but I am pretty sure this phase will pass now that everyone has a Mac and a Mouse. To me its no different to cross processing your negatives. Enormous prints are definitely up there and have the power to wow people into buying something for their loft conversion just because it looks good big. Well my answer to that is even a penis looks better big, but it doesn't mean its any good does it. These things are there to enhance the image and should not be used to make up for lack of vision. Another thing I should mention are 'the first to do so bunch.' Ansel Adams was only a pioneer of photographs of Yoshmite because he was the first to do it, as was Weston a pioneer of the nude and still life of a manky pepper (did you know that he shot hundreds of these and not just one, I didn't). But this does not mean that either Adams or Weston produced the best work even though it is often assumed to be the case. Finally, lets not forget my grudge with a lot of photographers swanning around with a big camera, perfect light and easy subject matter, although beautiful it can be, its doesn't make you the greatest. Or the fashion photographer that turns up and just presses the button without really thinking. The real talent is finding something that few see, in other words seeing something in a unique way and perhaps under difficult circumstances.

Yes I have gone off on a bit of a tangent and only really wanted to say I made some nice images the other day and didn't have to travel 2000 miles to do it..!

So having said all that, what does make a good photograph ?
Well I really don't have the answer, but I do know what makes a bad one..
There was a time when I would awake pain free and greet the world with a smile and an erection.


New Topographics: photographs that find beauty in the banal

With its stark yet oddly romantic images of American factories, intersections and trailer parks, William Jenkins's 1975 exhibition rewrote the rules of landscape photography. Does it have the same impact today?

New Topographics: Stephen Shore

Mundane yet mesmeric ... Stephen Shore's photograph of an alley in Presidio, Texas (1975)

It is 35 years since the term "new topographics" was coined by William Jenkins, curator of a group show of American landscape photography held at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. The show consisted of 168 rigorously formal, black-and-white prints of streets, warehouses, city centres, industrial sites and suburban houses. Taken collectively, they seemed to posit an aesthetic of the banal.

"What I remember most clearly was that nobody liked it," Frank Gohlke, one of the participating photographers told the LA Times when the exhibition was restaged last year at the LA County Museum of Art. "I think it wouldn't be too strong to say that it was a vigorously hated show."

The exhibition's clunky subtitle was "Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape", which gave some clue as to the deeper unifying theme. What Jenkins had identified in the work of US photographers such as Gohlke, Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, Lewis Baltz and Nicholas Nixon was an interest in the created landscapes of 70s urban America. Their stark, beautifully printed images of this mundane but oddly fascinating topography was both a reflection of the increasingly suburbanised world around them, and a reaction to the tyranny of idealised landscape photography that elevated the natural and the elemental. In one way, they were photographing against the tradition of nature photography that the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston had created.

Adams, who is now perhaps the most well-known chronicler of America's disappearing wildernesses, pointed his camera at eerily empty streets, pristine trailer parks, rows of standardised tract houses, the steady creep of suburban development in all its regulated uniformity. Baltz made stark photographs of the walls of office buildings and warehouses on industrial sites in Orange County. Nixon concentrated on innercity development: skyscrapers that dwarfed period buildings, freeways, gridded streets and the palpable unreality of certain American cities in which pedestrians seem like interlopers.

Hilla Becher's Pit head in Bear Valley, Pennsylvania (1974) Coolly architectural ... a detail of Hilla Becher's series of Pennsylvania pit head photographs (1974)

Jenkins also included American work by Bernd and Hilla Becher in the show. The Bechers' stark images of Pennsylvania salt mines and giant coal breakers were as coolly architectural as their images of German cooling towers and industrial plants. The suggestion was that there was something determinedly European about this new American gaze.

Only one photographer, Shore, shot in colour. It seemed to heighten the sense of detachment in his photographs of anonymous intersections and streets. Shore was influenced by Ed Ruscha, the conceptualist of Californian cool, who, in the 60s, had made a series of artist's books with self-explanatory titles such as Twentysix Gasoline Stations, Some Los Angeles Apartments, Every Building on the Sunset Strip. The show also nodded obliquely at the later work of Walker Evans, who had photographed the vernacular iconography of America in road signs, billboards, motels and shop fronts.

Evans's images now carry the romantic undertow of an almost vanished America. The work of the photographers in the New Topographics exhibition, now collected in an austerely beautiful book of the same name by Steidl, still looks, for the most part, contemporary – and still seems troubling in its matter-of-factness, its almost dull reflection of the uniform and banal. A friend of mine who works in publishing dismissed the book outright, saying: "If I were to commission a bunch of authors to write essays on boredom, I would not expect the result to be a bunch of boring essays. Nor would I give it a pretentious postmodern title." Outside the rarefied world of art photography, many would, I suspect, agree.

The influence of the New Topographics movement, however, has been pervasive. You can detect it in the work of Andreas Gursky, Paul Graham and Candida Höfer. Indeed, Donovan Wylie's clinical approach to photographing the empty Maze prison in Northern Ireland, currently shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse prize, could easily have been a contemporary addendum to the Steidl book.

The New Topograhics exhibition in 1975 was not just the moment when the apparently banal became accepted as a legitimate photographic subject, but when a certain strand of theoretically driven photography began to permeate the wider contemporary art world. Looking back, one can see how these images of the "man-altered landscape" carried a political message and reflected, unconsciously or otherwise, the growing unease about how the natural landscape was being eroded by industrial development and the spread of cities.

Back then, Jenkins seemed to have anticipated what the public reaction to the show would be. University students were on hand at George Eastman House to interview visitors for their reactions, most of which were negative or dismissive. One man was surprised to find his own truck in one of Adams's photographs, and had this to say: "At first they're really stark nothing, but then you really look at them and it's just the way things are. This is interesting, it really is."



In a time of reflection I sat down on this beautiful frosty morning with a pot of coffee and for the first time looked all the way through my website from start to finish, thats all 227 images. You may be fooled into thinking that I do this all the time along with Googling my name, but as a matter of fact its something I have never done. Its a bit like an actor who never watches the film they've just made, or the singer who never listens to their music. For the last few years I have just added and taken away although its now clear that there's way too many images on the site. There's not much of a running order on there either, but it doesn't seem to matter. Basically Its a big jumble, but you know what I dont really give a hootarooney. I wouldnt dream of showing this much work to anyone, not even in a book, but as a place to go and remind myself of the places I have been and the things I have seen, well its just great and a lot easier than going through boxes of prints (but of a lesser quality of course..)
Go make a cuppa, take a look. It will take you about twenty minutes...



Chris Jorden

To put it bluntly there is an image of a dead bird (House Martin) on my latest exhibition invite. To me its a beautiful thing, to some it's not very nice, and as for my mothers comments;
"Oh the poor wee birdy, why de want to go an photo a terrible thing like that.." (says the woman who kills spiders and bumble bees on site well what can I say), well what can you say.
I can only imagine that Chris Jorden has an even worse time than me with his latest series 'Midway. Message from the Gyre' (pictured above). There beautifully shot with the mix of grey and colourful, and wonderfully composed, but that doesn't stop me from being at a loss for words of just how to feel about these images.
Ones thing I do know is that my 'Birdy' didnt have such a cruel death as these poor things which probably suffered from the worse case of indigestion imaginable.
I do think there's too many images in the Midway series as once you get to the end (especially if you do the slide show) they tend to lose there impact a bit and your just looking at skeletal birds. One was probably enough, at least that's what I would of done, and did for that matter.


Denzil Washington 'Training Day'

We hope that you can join us on Thursday February 25th from 6-8 pm
at the Edwynn Houk Gallery for the opening of Pioneers of Color.


on March 6th at 3 pm Joel Meyerowitz will be in
conversation with Kevin Moore, the curator of
Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980
currently on exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Please click on the image below for more information.

Look forward to seeing you!

houk exhibition image
Its the show of the century and I wont be going..


Derek Henderson (left)
Magda Biernat (below)

Well after a couple of rants and a pork pie I thought I better put up some nice photography and write some nice things.

I enjoyed looking at Magda Biernat's work the other night, in particular her Quietly Forgotten series, which makes a change from the usual Chernobyl-esk beauty in decay we all know and love.

I was looking through Derek Henderson's brilliant book Terrible Boredom in Paradise yesterday and its fast becoming one of my favourite bodies of work. You can see his website here but the print quality in the book is so good the web images seem weak in comparison.

While I am at it I should also mention Deutsche Börse Photography Prize which I have still not managed to pronounce. Now in its 5th year I have to admit to not knowing much about the nominated artists, but my favourite for sure is the work of Donovan Wylie and his Maze Prison images which are quite brilliant.



I stole the article below from PDN as I am always interested when people ask the question, but never out rightly accuse someone of plagiarism. Well in my opinion this guy is king of the copy cats. Just go and have a look at his website here. I counted eight photographers he has basically copied in every detail.
Sad really because he obviously has the talent to create beautiful images, just not very original ones.

Copycat or not? Are you daft..

February 16, 2010

Copycat or Not? Photographer Challenged Over Look-Alike Work

Vancouver photographer David Burdeny is on the defensive over his recent series of landscape images called “Sacred & Secular,” after photographer Sze Tsung Leong reportedly challenged him about similarities to Sze’s “Horizons” series. Some of Burdeny's images are also similar to images by Elger Esser, although Esser has not objected.

“These [Burdeny] works are identical [to Sze’s], particularly the pyramid [image],” says Sze’s New York gallerist, Yossi Milo. “The scale, the feel, the look—the similarities are quite alarming.” Milo says he learned of Burdeny’s work earlier this month after it went on exhibit at the Jennifer Kostuik Gallery in Vancouver. Milo notified Sze, who contacted his lawyer.

Dahshur, Egypt. From "Horizons" by Sze Tsung Leong, 2007

Bent Pyramid. From "Sacred & Secular," David Burdeny, 2009

“My position is that there has been no copyright infringement,” Burdeny said in a telephone interview, indicating that the dispute still isn’t resolved.

Burdeny’s gallery in Calgary, Herringer Kiss, recently removed his “Sacred & Secular” images from its Web site, and abruptly postponed an exhibition of the work that was supposed to open February 6.

The Jennifer Kostuik gallery has also removed from its Web site Burdeny’s image of the pyramid in Dahshur, Egypt.

Burdeny says the “Sacred & Secular” images were removed from the Herringer Kiss site because of “the allegations about copying.” But he says the exhibit was postponed because the work is currently on display at the Kostuik gallery, not because of copyright issues.

The owner of the Herring Kiss gallery did not respond to requests for an interview.

Burdeny would not confirm directly that it is Sze who has challenged him. But he says, “A lot of claims they’re making are outright false,” and he says, "there are some libel claims I could bring up."

Burdeny went on to say, “I’m aware of their [Esser and Sze’s] work, and my position is, these are fairly common tourist locations,” referring to vantage points where he shot images similar to theirs.

Of the landscapes he’s been shooting since 2006, he says, “More often than not I am standing next to someone who is taking the same image. So in a sense I’m taking things where basically, there might as well be a ‘scenic viewpoint’ sign. There are hundreds of copies of pretty much the same viewpoint.”

Burdeny also said that many photographers—including well-known ones—mimic the work of others. “There are bigger fish to fry than me,” he says.

He continues, “It’s not that I want to divert attention away from myself. To imply that I am somehow the first person who has ever made a similar image, even if I was aware of that image—that’s the climate that everybody else works in…People appropriate other people’s images, people are aware of certain people’s work, the knowledge of what people are doing travels at light speed. Everybody draws from each other, and every once in a while, somebody gets singled out.”

Milo says it’s not just the similarity to a few of Sze's images that’s alarming. “The [Sacred & Secular] installation is exactly the same [as "Horizons"]. This takes it to another level.” According to Milo, the Kostuik gallery asked two years ago to exhibit Sze’s “Horizons” series during the winter Olympics in Vancouver, but Milo declined.

Meanwhile, Esser’s New York gallery, Sonnabend, sees little threat in Burdeny’s work. “He kind of copies quite few different photographers,” says Jason Ysenburg, the gallery's co-director. “He has studied his artists, and seen what would work well.” But a crucial difference between Esser’s work and Burdeny’s, according to Ysenburg, is that Esser’s landscapes reference 19th century painting. Burdeny’s images, by contrast, are true to the scenes and colors as he finds them. “He’s changing nothing,” Ysenburg says. “He’s just recording the image.”

Canale della Giudecca I, Venezia, Sze Tsung Leong, 2007


Grand Canal II, Venezia, by David Burdeny, 2009


Cutting Wharf I, Elger Esser, 2008


Sacramento River, David Burdeny, 2009


Paris, Elger Esser, 1999


River Seine 1, David Burdeny, 2009


I have said it before and I will say it again;
Digital is destroying all aspects of photography.
Ansel Adams once said that the future of photography looked wonderful and that Digital Photography would revolutionise the photographic medium. Little did Adams know that behind the gigantic Dye Bond print standards and quality would fall to the point where amateur and professional would blend into one big pixalated mess.

Lets take fashion photography as an example.

The make ups not quite right, the hair is a little tatty, the model is a little out of shape and is a little spotty, the lights a little harsh, the image is not quite sharp, theres creases in the background, the shoes are the wrong colour. But none of this matters because we are going to pay someone to make it look totally different and get what we want. We will pay the photographer the same as we did ten years ago because we need the money to pay for the retouching which has quadrupled the budget. Then we will take all the rights away from the photographer and do what we want with the images. Who cares about the quality, we can always make it more saturated and up the contrast so it looks better on peoples i Phones because even though we complain about the drop in magazine sales we still need to publish the magazine for free on the web because thats what everyone else does.

How about the family album;

I got a great shot of baby Jaden the other day on my phone. I printed it out on my little printer and put it in the album. The quality is not great but you can tell its him. (Fast forward twenty years). You were such a beautiful baby Jaden, I just wish I still had those baby pictures of you I took on my phone...

I made a point of mentioning photography which I do not personally do as doing so would just make my rant even longer. We live in a time of mass manufactured crap from some other countries that couldn't give a stuff what they pump out into the stratosphere. The word Quality does not seem to exist any more, be it in photography, in products, or even in life..

I found this here on the copyright action website which is full of information but a little 'contract' in its writings and not so easy to understand in places. The British Journal of Photography also covers such matters, but this pretty much sums up the situation regarding copyright at the moment.

The Digital Economy Bill : what's yours is ours

The end game is now in sight. The Digital Economy Bill is now expected to become law within the next 6 weeks. It introduces orphan works usage rights, which - unless amended, which HMG says it will not - will allow the commercial use of any photograph whose author cannot be identified through a suitably negligent search. That is potentially about 90% of the photos on the internet.

Copyright in photos is essentially going to cease to exist, since there is no ineradicable way of associating ownership details short of plastering your name right across the image. Photographer's organisations have pressed hard for mandatory attribution to deter orphans being manufactured. Early in the consultation process the IPO accepted the irresistible logic that it was completely unreasonable to permit orphan use without a balancing requirement to not orphan photos in the first place. However, the IPO recognised with dismay that this would mean "taking on Rupert" (Murdoch).

Publishers have a long history of opposing our moral rights. They were responsible for the feeble and unenforceable moral rights clauses in the 1988 Act. They want their branding, not ours, and they want maximum freedom to exploit our IP at minimum cost and inconvenience.

The IPO avoided confrontation with Murdoch, who does have something of a rep for being a vital friend in an election year. The Bill contains no deterrent to the creation of orphans, no penalties for anonymising your work, no requirement for bylines. It is a luncheon voucher for industry hungry for free and cheap content.

So Flickr, Google Images, personal websites, all of it will become commercial publishers' photolibrary. A fee will have to be deposited with a collecting society in case the owner spots the usage. The author who discovers his work has been used as an orphan can then make a claim and receive a percentage of the peanuts, after the collecting society has had its share, and the government its share.

This is perhaps a slight improvement over earlier proposals, whereby HMG egregiously planned to keep all the fees itself.

Essentially, if photos were cars, so long as the numberplate is missing (or you can get rid of it and claim it was), you'll be able to legally TWOC and use it on payment of a fee to the Government.

The quaint notion that the author alone has prime and inalienable rights over his/her own work, must be able to restrict usage, negotiate a fee, prevent usage they consider immoral or distasteful, or assert their moral right to attribution, is about to pass into history.

This is the biggest change in UK copyright law in 150 years. It also punches holes through the Berne agreement, international copyright law and TRIPS.

It most certainly is not an issue that affects only pro's, who for the most part are doomed anyway. Simple economics of media evolution are driving commercial users toward free or very cheap content, sourced from readers and users, microstock, hobbyists, and we suspect that Government is using orphan works legislation as a means to oil the wheels of Britain's publishing industry. Cultural freedom, the worthy concerns of museums and galleries, are just a Trojan horse. If they were not, none of this chicanery would be necessary, a simple extension to fair dealing would have solved the orphans problem.

So it is amateurs who should worry most. Pro's tend to be careful about asserting copyright and being easy to find, because it's their livelihood. Amateurs just don't want to know about this dull legal stuff or spend hours embedding IPTC, even if they know what it is. They want to concentrate on the enjoyable bits of shooting and sharing their work, often via free services and untraceable nicknames. If work gets published without payment, they tend to feel flattered rather than robbed anyway. If they can claim a few quid from a collecting society they'll be chuffed. It is their photographs that will become easy targets for orphan claims, relieving commercial publishers of the tedious necessity of needing to ask permission when they can't easily find the owner. But the fact remains that photographers will have been serially robbed with government connivance.

Back door man

Most of this state-sponsored thieves' charter isn't even going through Parliament as primary legislation. The Digital Economy bill Section 42 sections 16a, 16b, 16c enable ad hoc regulation by Mandelson's office without further legislation. None of that will ever be voted on.

In fact what an "orphan work" is remains undefined in the Bill. Simlarly, what precisely will comprise an "adequate search", what level of fee will be required, how the fee will be divided between the revenant author and the collecting society, who will benefit from unclaimed fees, who the extended licensing societies will be and what rules they will have to follow, are all unspecified and unknown to supporters and opponents alike. As far as orphans and photographers are concerned, this is a deliberate shell of a bill whose real payload will not be made apparent until it is too late to do anything about it.

Remarkably, even though it simply isn't possible for them to know what they were voting for, only a handful of Lib-Dem and Tory Lords expressed concern during Monday's Lords debate.

This covert approach to major legislation did not escape the attention of the Lords Select Committee on the Constution, who wrote to Mandelson in December :

"The Committee's view is that this is inappropriate, and that "orphan work" should be defined in the Bill. Likewise the following matters are left for you as Secretary of State and are not settled in the Bill: the treatment of royalties, the deduction of administrative costs, the period for which sums must be held for the copyright owner, and the subsequent treatment of those sums. The Committee notes that regulations made under this section are subject only to negative resolution procedure; and that the provisions contain no express duty on you as Secretary of State to consult appropriate stakeholders....it would greatly assist the Committee if you could explain why you consider it to be constitutionally appropriate for what appear to be such wide-ranging and open-ended rule-making powers to be conferred on you as Secretary of State."

Mandelson replied that the need for flexibility in specifying what comprises an adequate search makes this difficult. That what is an orphan work will change according to evolving methods of determining its status. (An astonishing concept borrowed perhaps from quantum mechanics). He gives no clues what an adequate search may comprise because that too is subject to change. Therefore we have no clue what an orphan work may be, but rest assured the law needs to change to address the dire handicap that orphans present to creativity. Who can argue with that? But he does at least promise yet more IPO public consultation. In over 3 years of consultation with photographers' representative bodies, Gowers, Lammy, the IPO have proved deaf as a post, so this is not reassuring.

Nor have the answers been any clearer regarding the EC Human Rights implications of disposing of some unknown person's copyright. "No Articles are engaged by the provision itself as the provision only contains a power and has no immediate substantive effect" is a truly audacious Houdini-ism. But anyhow, according to Mandelson ECHR allows him to do anything he likes with other peoples' copyright so long as it is in the public interest, and so long as people can opt out of the licensing arrangements he undertakes - which appears to mean they forfeit collecting society fees. Can they sue for infringement? Sorry, don't know, nobody knows

Even if he can't tell the public or Parliament what he's going to do or how any of it will impact on us, or how the sums work, or even how much money government will rake off the deal with collecting societies, or even exactly what "opt out" means, he is at least sure all of it will be in the public interest. Mandelson has a long, long list of informal soothing assurances to live up to, but once the law is passed they may well be worthless. There is little point is reserving to oneself unaccountable Godlike powers of unlimited "flexibility" if one does not intend to use them. In the public interest, of course. That's not defined either.

Whatever next

Now that their Lordships have nodded through this masterpiece of double-blind opacity, it will return to the House of Lords for the report stage on 1st March, with none of our elected representatives being any the wiser when they vote, but reliably following party lines. The Government is determined to see the Digital Economy Bill passed without further amendment before the May 6th election date. A cynic might think that, having watched the fate of successive US orphan rights Bills and the international uproar among visual creators, the UK Government has been very clever indeed at closing down debate and circumventing democracy. Nobody can argue with what is still secret. Genius.

The ICO code : put that camera away, my face is private

Not content with abrogating photographers' copyright, another part of Government is now going some way to ban photography altogether in public places, for data protection reasons. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) proposed new code for personal information online has "commonsense" new rules that in effect will prohibit photography in public places where anyone who's in the photograph might be unhappy about being photographed. A photo, taken in public, is now deemed private data, y'see.

CCTV, full body scans at airports, no problem, but if an ordinary person takes a photo, this Kafkasesque notion of privacy in public will apply. Unless it's on film. You'd probably be OK taking photos of someone committing a criminal offence too, as ICO thinks this shouldn't be private information.

Mindful of the damage this would do to tourism and how much it would piss off Joe Public to be told he can't use his cameraphone in the street to make humiliating snaps of his drunk mates for Facebook (and quite possibly subsequent orphan use by Rupert Murdoch), ICO have decided that this lunacy shall only apply to pro photographers, a small enough constituency to castrate with impunity.

Of course ICO thinks all pro photography is deeply unpopular paparazzi harassment of our beloved celebrities so it is acting in a most principled manner for, you guessed, the public interest. Minor considerations like journalism, history, social documentary, freedom of expression - and even the simple logic that if you can eyeball it in public, it can't possibly be private - all are just collateral damage. At a stroke, ICO is redefining allowable photography to exclude all that contentious street stuff that has made the record of the last 150 years so insightful. Consensual falsehoods, celebrity promotion, ridiculous propaganda, marketing nonsense will all be fine, however.

"Consultation" has, in the now time-honoured manner, met with stonewall indifference. As far as ICO are concerned, there is not a problem. It simply means pro photographers must not take any photo that anyone in the picture may object to. They don't have to actually object, the photographer has to guess whether they might and do the responsible thing.

Almost always that will mean putting the camera away and going home. In the most CCTV-monitored and nannied country in the world, once the bossed-about public gets the idea that they have a right to not be photographed in public places they wil point blank refuse, just to assert the one tiny freedom left to them. At last they will no longer have to imagine privacy rights they don't have. The prejudice and suspicion against anyone with a big camera will be officially sanctioned. Photographers will not only be potential paedophiles and terrorists, but identity-thieving personal data pirates too.

Of course, we already have police and PCSO's deploying S44 TA2000 for the purpose of interdicting photography in public places. That has admittedly been ruled illegal under ECHR by the European Court in Strasbourg, but HMG assure that is in the public interest too and police say it is a vital part of the fight against terrorism, so the law lives on.

All told, at this rate it will soon be easier to photograph in North Korea than UK.


Just to be entirely clear, the above article deals with two separate issues emanating from two different government departments.

1. Digital Economy Bill

We urge you to write to your MP about the orphan licensing provisions of the Digital Economy Bill. Pressure on our elected representatives is now the only way to stop the Bill, and time is short.

It is better to write your own unique letter because MP's take less notice of organised campaigns than individual constituents, but if it helps a template letter is available here. Word (.doc), RTF (.rtf) and plain text (.txt) versions may be downloaded from the bottom of that page. Adapt it, change it, write something entirely different, but write!

If you can, don't just email. A proper letter on paper sent through the post, or even a fax will command a great deal more attention. Recorded delivery is best of all - they might think it's from the Fees Office ;-)

How to find your MP's name and contact details is described here.

2. ICO Personal Information Online consultation

In response to inquiries correctly noting that the ICO code does not explicitly mention photography please read the comment "ICO and Photography in Public places : a clarification" - http://copyrightaction.com/forum/uk-gov-nationalises-orphans-and-bans-no...

The ICO consultation is ongoing and concludes on 5 March. Please email consultations@ico.gsi.gov.uk seeking urgent clarification regarding their interpretation of data protection law regarding photography in public places.


All right folks this is it, this is the big one. Its taken me ten years to get here so be sure to pop along..

Might be the last show I have for a while as I need a new suit...


just get out.

In my home town of Carlisle (voted by 'The Sun' Readers as 'The Most Cosmopolitan Near To Scotland) I was delighted to hear the Jem Southam was having an exhibition at the school trip favourite Tullie House Museum.
So to coincide with my meet up with fellow contemporary John Diddy Darwell I arranged to meet at the museum and sample the delights of JS. I was most keen to see this body of work as its all shot along Cumbria's coast and an area I know very well. The show itself is a breath taking orgy of fine images shot in the only way I know, large format and film, of course.. The prints are exquisite and done at the same printers I myself use and I have in fact chatted with Jem there a few times when our paths have crossed.
Its a wonderful show, I just wonder if it has a place up here.
So there I was eating cake in the gallery cafe bursting with enthusiasm for photography when in came my old pal JD. We chatted for a while and was delighted to hear that he was out shooting again and starting new projects. I always find it inspiring when another photographer has projects on the go and so by the end of our chitty chat I was bursting with inspiration and eager to make it to my destination before sun set. 111 miles on winding country roads in two hours is not easy, even in a sporty Mini. But I made it to my second destination along the Northumbria coast in good time and was delighted to behold dramatic cloud, a slight breeze and lots of interesting man made structures. Quite a contrast to the day before and my soggy long John's and chaffing on the old chap..

Todays shooting started in a melancholy mood of insane hunger as I thought about beating up several slack petrol pumpers at the Tesco garage (I go there for the pay at the pump which I consider the only good thing about Tesco the corner shop destroyers). But my mood soon improved as I remembered that I was out for the day free from mobile phones, computers and the general public. Once again I was blessed with beautiful light, this time in the form of a misty softness excellent for large format work. I thought I would work on my 108 project a bit which I started last year (admittedly losing interest and thinking it was a load of old tush, but now I think its super) and made my way to the Borders while stuffing my face with the local shortbread biscuits. An abandoned caravan, an old smelly pink mattress and the find of the day, an aeroplane fuselage, and I was done and dusted like a Victoria Sponge....



So once again into I stepped into the breach as I journeyed Northward to continue what is now 'The Bi Coastal Project'. Windswept, cold and damp I fought my way along the cliff tops of the Northumbria coast in search of a masterpiece whilst trying not to think about my soggy long Jones and there constant chaffing. I have mentioned on here many times before my constant battling with the elements as soon as I get my camera out along with my total transformation into the Photographic Beast in a woolly hat. Well today was no different and my fist shaking and choice language began early on as I discovered the tide was going out instead of coming in. Then came the usual coastal downpours which are frequent and a part of the territory along with gusts of wind so strong I managed to break my wind proof brolly. It was not a good time to be at one with the landscape, but determined as always I carried on the search. As my new dark cloth (you may remember the death of the last one as it drifted out to sea) with its weighted corners slapped in my face driving me to the point of murder, the rain stopped and the clouds gave way to heavenly shafts of gold light. A broken fence, some nice grass, a cliff edge and a bit of sea and it was all I needed to save the day and make it all worth while. Two minutes worth of counting in Elephants I had my shot and headed back to the car which I had parked what seemed like thirty miles away. As I walked I thought of the joys of using film and how great I was at pulling off the impossible (as only Doyle can do), I suddenly had that sinking feeling not dissimilar to drinking six blue party cocktails and knowing your going to blow mouthwash coloured chunks. In all my greatness of trying to get that shot, holding down the tripod, counting to one hundred and twenty and imaging the image in a nice big frame, I had forgotten to pull the dark slide.
And then there was thunder.....



I got a phone call late last night from Fuji after they saw my piece regarding the demise of Kodak Ti X Film. They told me that they would supply, develop and even print all the film I could possibly need providing I give them a quick mention on B Mode. They even offered a one of those folding Fuji 6/7 cameras after reading my story on the death of my wife's Pentax a few months ago. I then awoke in a cold sweat shaking my pillow and crying "why oh why, dam your green boxes".
After convincing my wife (and the puppies) that I am not crazy I lay in a pool of sweat as a 'Thought Worm' took shape and I tried to imagine a world without film. I eventually came to the conclusion that soon I would be like a photographer of old, but rather than using something like a sensitized wet copper plate, I would be using the last few remaining sheets of film in the world and have to process them in my bath with some fairy liquid and an old ice cream tub (not really possible) due to lack of photographic chemicals. That day may be coming, but I just hope my Fairy Liquid doesn't run out before then..



Kodak retires Tri-X 320 medium-format films

Kodak has announced that it was stopping production of its popular medium-format Kodak Professional Tri-X 320 films. The US-based firm blamed the decision on decreasing sales numbers

Launched more than 50 years ago, the Kodak Professional Tri-X 320 films were popular with photojournalists and documentary photographers. The 320 films were available in 120 and 220 pro-pack of five rolls.

'Based on current sales, product is expected to be available in the market through March 2010,' says Kodak in a statement. It adds that the Kodak Professional Tri-X 400 films will continue to be available.

Up until today, Kodak continued to market the Tri-X 320 film as 'world's best selling black-and-white film.' It said: 'This classic black-and-white film allows for maximum pushability when he needs it, while its wide exposure latitude lets him leverage even the most challenging lighting situations. And the distinctive grain structure adds a level of realism as dramatic and profound as each subject.'

The Tri-X 320 films will also continue to be available in sheet format. For more details on availability, visit Kodak's website here.

Best start saving for that Hassleblad MK IV or whatever its called...


Its been a while since I posted anything on Mark Powers project DESTROYING THE LABORATORY FOR THE SAKE OF THE EXPERIMENT, but there's been a fair bit added so its more than worth checking out here.
This is in my opinion one of the best British projects done since Paul Reas' documentary work in the 80's and perhaps Martin Parr's Think Of England.

I have mentioned before the current trend of 'England Photography' with every Tom, Dick and Harry creating their own interpretations of what living in England is all about. Some are good, some are great and some are among the worst images I have ever witnessed. I think the only other project along the lines of 'This is England and what a joy to behold' that could possibly match Mark Powers work is the mighty WHAT IS ENGLAND with its 46 photographers interpreting a particular county organised by Stuart Pilkington which I will write about soon once I have made my submission..

I think its fair to say that a lot of these photographers (including myself, although I started doing this some time ago) have chosen, or may have even been forced, to make the most of the UK in their work. Gone (at least at the moment) are the huge budgets for shooting on location with photographers finding some spare time to go off and spend time in some exotic landscape. But I really dont think this is a bad thing, in fact I think its great that we are turning to the UK shores and producing oodles of fine work.
I have written many times that us British Photographers are not like the Americans with a four by five feet camera that can only be used in perfect weather all funded by their countless grants to produce mediocre work, or the Germans with there clinical view of the Landscape which bores us all to death with their Düsseldorf Doo-Daa and claims of being the greatest photographers on the planet.
We Brits are resilient and can shoot anywhere including our own country, and of course better than anyone else.
I am nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore I am perfect.



I have never for one moment believed that a photographer can be good at photographing everything. Any photographer that makes such claims is a fraudster and a twit.. Of course tell anyone who's not a photographer that you are a photographer and they will ask you to photograph their wedding, their children and then their pets even though the photographer may make their living shooting buildings and perhaps interiors or maybe interiors with a few people dancing, at a push..
I would like to think that I can take the odd nice landscape and as a matter of fact I could probably get back into doing the odd nude if I put my mind to it. But give me a dog (or in fact any beast) and I'm useless. I found this out today and will not pretend otherwise, What a load of crap I produced...! The fact that the dog was my own did not make things any easier as he thought it was some kind of punishment..

Its not unlike that show on TV that gets pop singers to try and do Opera, and what a stupid idea that is.

Of course there is always the goody-two-shoes who can do pretty much anything, TopGun types that get on my nerves doing this, and dabbling in that. But hey, no one likes a smart arse..


"You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy."
Eric Hoffer.

Ben Huff.....

I love Ben Huffs work and follow his interesting blog too.
The Last Road North is a wonderful project of which I hope to see in book form when its finished. If not, then the book publishing world are numptys.
His wonderful work can be seen here.

I would just like to add that making images in these climates is very hard going whatever format you are using. The cold slows you right down, not just physically but mentally.. (for those of you that would rather sit by the fire)..


I may be bitter, but so's dark chocolate and that's delicious..

As its now the build up to the next show with invites to produce and press releases to be released. I happened to mention a certain magazine with an aim to getting a little publicity for the extravaganza which is to be in March. Upon approach the words Never Heard Of Him where passed on to me in a quiet whisper.

Now then.

1. It has never been my intention to become a well known photographer, if I wanted that I would of gone into fashion with just the name Doyle, or perhaps made a low budget horror movie or released a sex tape.

2. Take a look at the work, then if you like it decide if you want to run with it. This is how you get to know who I am and what I do.

3. Thirty shows, a nice book (not self published), once a printer to some of the best photographers in the world with an insight few have. One of the few remaining large format landscape photographers working in the UK not taking photographs on a phone. May be you should of heard of me..

4. You should of said, Why haven't I heard of you instead of being what I consider quite rude.
By the way, I haven't heard of the guy that said it..

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.


Thoughts on a quiet, very cold Sunday

Some time ago, I went to a talk given by Joel Sternfeld at UMass, where some of his Oxbow Archive photography was on display. I thought I'd get to be presented with some insight into that project. As it turned out, Sternfeld decided to go through all his work, including (and focusing on) some very old street photography. Good thing I love street photography so much! Joking aside, at the very end of the talk, Sternfeld had a special surprise for his audience - and who wouldn't be giddy about getting to see new work by a great photographer? My giddy excitement quickly turned into an "uh-oh" feeling when he pulled out his iPhone and started talking about some trip to Dubai.

Maybe it's the fact that I have spent too many years dealing with computers (don't ask), but I'm at a stage now where I don't get very excited about gizmos any longer. It's great that there is a telephone that allows you to take photographs and browse the web, but I'd be more excited about a vacuum cleaner that can also clean out cat boxes and fill up cat-food bowls (People of Apple: develop an iCatVac, please - I won't complain if it doesn't have a camera, but its surface better not scratch easily!). So I view serious artists embracing the iPhone with a bit of skepticism, especially if the phone itself is presented as a big selling point.

For example, a little while ago, New Yorker magazine made a big fuss about a cover produced on an iPhone. I forgot the name of the artist, maybe in part because the art work reminded me of what you typically get to see at "starving artists sales".

But sure, you can probably produce great art on an iPhone, because, after all, great art is not made by tools, it's made by people. You can take incredibly crappy photographs with an 8x10 camera; but in the hands of someone like Sternfeld, an 8x10 camera can - and usually does - produce stellar art.

Of course, I had no idea what he would do with his iPhone, but there was Dubai. At this stage, after having seen so much work being produced in Dubai I frankly don't see what anyone could possibly find there that we haven't seen before. I never thought that Dubai was such an interesting photographic topic in the first place: taking photos of rich men shopping in the desert or of fancy buildings - what other message than the incredibly obvious is hidden in there?

We could even eliminate Dubai from this photographic context if we wanted to and ask what we are supposed to take away from photographs that show rich people shopping? Once you start thinking about it, it's not much, is it? Of course, you can convince yourself of various (also incredibly obvious) ironies, such as, for example, the fact that it's only those very people shown in the pictures who are usually able to afford the photographs. But for how long does that remain something you need to or want to think about? Well, not much longer than it took you to finish reading this sentence.

Coming back to the artist's talk, Sternfeld presented his audience with iPhone photos he took in Dubai, photographs that, frankly, made it almost a bit hard to believe they were taken by the same artist who had produced all the other ones presented earlier. And he announced there was going to be a book, called - brace yourselves - iDubai. iDubai? iVey!

Of course, it's unfair for me to single out this particular book. I frankly would never do it if I did not have various other of Sternfeld's books on my book shelf, books that I would happily recommend to anyone as American master pieces to look at. And of course, I should just get over the fact that every artist can do whatever s/he wants, and sometimes, the results might just be not so great. That's a risk any artist takes, which is why it's unfair for me to write about this. Make no mistake, I do applaud Sternfeld for his willingness to try new things. But part of me also thinks at some stage the artist who produced American Prospects should have taken aside the artist who produced the iPhone photos...

I thought very long and hard about whether to write this post, and in the end I decided to write it because it's not a rant about a particular book or artist - even though I'm "using" one as an example (that's the unfair bit). What I'm really doing here is re-iterating, yet again, that the medium is not the message, and if you rely on some overhyped gizmo to produce art, then what matters still is not the gizmo, but whatever it is that is being produced with it. That's true for a Deardorff 8x10, for a Leica M9, or for an iPhone.

Furthermore, this post is re-iterating something else I wrote earlier, namely that what I'm looking for in art is something that leaves me a different person after being exposed to it, art that asks me questions, that challenges me, instead of presenting me with the obvious.

The obvious bores me.

Heres my opinion.

I dont care what anyone thinks. Joel Sternfeld, probably my favourite photographer, is a sell out. Why do it, it makes no sense (other than money of course). Here am I hanging by a photographic thread trying to keep the traditional (and in my opinion more aesthetically) pleasing processes alive and I am confronted by this. First it was Misrah retiring his negs and producing awful digital negatives as prints, then it was Shore with his fiddly little digital flick books, then Soth and his big sell on the HP printer, then Meyerowitz with a similar deal, and now a 8/10 master doing a book with an iphone. Well I wont be buying it, or a flaming iphone for that matter.. iDubai. Give me a break...
And dont get me started on its not the camera, its the photographer. The only person who should have a phone in there camera is 007.