Olivier Laurent

After investing more than £8.9m in the renovation and extension of its gallery space in London, The Photographers' Gallery has said that it'll be ready to welcome new visitors from 19 May.

The news comes after the gallery faced multiple delays since it closed in September 2010. While initial plans announced a late-2011 reopening, the gallery was forced to delay the unveiling of its new space, which will include three dedicated galleries, an education floor and an "enhanced Print Sales, Bookshop and Café", to early 2012.

The Gallery now says that visitors will have to wait until May to discover the new space, which has been designed by Irish architects O'Donnell + Tuomey. "Providing a platform for an enhanced programme of exhibitions, the generously proportioned galleries will showcase established and emerging photographic talent from the UK and around the world," says the gallery in a statement. "A new environmentally-controlled floor will create opportunities to show more work from archives and museum collections and higher ceilings in the top floor galleries will provide dynamic spaces for large-scale and moving image works."

The gallery's inaugural exhibition programme will include Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky who will showcase more than thirty large-scale images from his Oil series.

The Photographers' Gallery will also show a display by Raqs Media Collective, which includes a silent, looped video projection titled An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale (2011). "The projection features a series of subtle alterations to an early 20th century photograph depicting a surveyors' room in colonial Calcutta," says the Gallery. "Also included in the exhibition will be a sculptural work entitled 36 Planes of Emotion (2011) that features an ensemble of emotional states printed onto book-shaped objects."

For more details, visit www.photonet.org.uk.

Taken form the BJP

Conscientious | Georg Aerni

Conscientious | Georg Aerni


Don't you know who I am..

It seems to me in photography (and perhaps lots of other things too) there is a constant repetitiveness regarding photographers. Mention the 60's and its Bailey, Vietnam and its Don Mucullen for example. Then there's the pioneers, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and perhaps Irving Penn. Names everyone knows, and of course today it is no different with the same names mentioned and shown in the same magazines and in the same galleries. Of course these chappies have there place, but what bothers me is how much work is on par with, and very often better than these repeaters but never gets as much, if any press at all. Take for instance Stephen Shore. I love his work and of course without him colour photography like mine may not exists. But he wasn't the only one doing colour in the 70's. Adam Bartos and John Humble are just two photographers with equal clout image wise, but sadly few people are as familiar with these names as with Shore the mighty pioneering, silver haired photographic genius that is.
I have always found it interesting how a photographer can climb the social ladder. Sometimes they are pioneers like Weston and Adams, sometimes they are simply the best at what they do, and sometimes there work is far from worthy but the right people have placed them there.

Its a weighty topic and too vast for me to blog here. Just thought I would throw it out there.

Andy Sewell.

Andy Sewell.

I never had much time for Andy Sewell's The Heath, although I did admire the tackling of what I considered to be a rather dull subject of a scruffy park I used to live next too. The work just didn't stimulate me visually, but that's not to say it is not good work. Sewell's Another Country, on the other hand, is just an orgy for the senses and I love it. Still ongoing, I look forward to seeing the finished project. It's really quite something and an excellent portrayal of a certain kind of Britishness. The work is consistent and fresh and on par with The Heath in that Sewell is not afraid to make images of the everyday mundane.


I used to carry a small camera everywhere, but regrettably that doesn't really happen much now. It is true that I slate cameras-on-phones often, but sometimes you just have to.. (see above).

'Why hasn't anyone made a camera with a phone attached?'


  • Cairo Divided — image 5
  • Cairo Divided — image 1
  • Cairo Divided — image 2
  • Cairo Divided — image 3
  • Cairo Divided — image 4
  • Cairo Divided — image 5
  • Cairo Divided — image 1
An unique text and photo essay explores Egypt's sprawling metropolis as it undergoes one of the most dramatic transformations in its history. Released as part of a new project bringing writers and photographers together on in-depth works, it is available for free in a one-off newspaper format - order details are below.
For fourteen centuries, Egypt’s capital has risen within a pair of stubbornly-persistent natural boundaries – the Moqattam clifftops to the west, and the Saharan desert to the east. Now for the first time Cairo is bursting its banks, sending boutique villas and water-hungry golf courses tumbling into the sand dunes, and reshaping the political and psychological contours of the largest megacity in Africa and the Middle East.

Amid an uncertain tide of political change, the controversial ‘satellite cities’ project is dramatically transforming peripheries into new urban centres and consigning old focal points to a life on the margins. Against the backdrop of national revolution, photographer Jason Larkin and writer Jack Shenker collaborated for two years to produce ‘Cairo Divided’, a free hard-copy publication exploring the capital’s rapidly-mutating urban landscape.
Jason Larkin is a documentary photographer and part of the Panos photo agency in London. Previously based in Cairo, his career has seen him shooting for international periodicals across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. His work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the prestigious PDN Arnold Newman Portraiture prize. He is currently based between London and Johannesburg - http://www.jasonlarkin.co.uk.

Jack Shenker is a London-born writer who has reported from across the globe, with work spanning Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Gaza and the Mediterranean. Since 2008, he has been Egypt correspondent for the Guardian, and his coverage of the 2011 Egyptian revolution won the Amnesty International Gaby Rado award for excellence in human rights journalism. He is currently based in London and Cairo - http://www.jackshenker.net.

English-Arabic translation provided by http://www.industryarabic.com.
Hard copies of ‘Cairo Divided’ are available at no cost beyond postage and packaging fees. If you would like to order the publication in bulk for hand-out at your institution please contact Jason Larkin directly.

Go here for the original site.


Not a bad idea that.



Since I decided to do my MA project based around childhood memories (not the soft focus fairy type images mind you) I have been busy searching the windmills of my mind for ideas and inspirational thoughts of my past. The train ride North, with a third off, was an excellent place to begin my simmered broth of memories.
As soon as I arrived at the old folks house I was up in the loft like a squirrel, sifting through the countless bags of tatt-slash-potential photo fodder. After a bit of rummaging and wiping away of cobwebs, I stumbled upon the above; My sisters first pair of shoes. Most will see a lovely soft leather shoe, but not I. All I seen was a little skull staring at me, ready to bite my toes or nibble my finger. For a long time my Mum told me; "Denee be daft.." But after showing her this image she finally changed her mind (only took thirty years).
Why my mother kept this kind of thing is a mystery to me, but I'm certainly glad she did..


‘We don't take pictures with our cameras. We take them with our hearts and we take them with our minds, and the camera is nothing more than a tool.’
Arnold Newman


Shot on my iphone

As my studies take hold regards my new MA endeavours I have often found myself in conversation regarding cameras and the grand film verses digital debate, or as it should now be called; the digital verses what's left of film debate. Many students want to return to film, and of course I don't blame them.
The article below got me thinking about Kodak and how after they brought the first digital camera to the market place, everything started to go down hill for the company I now officially despise. A similar thing has happened in the compact digital market and the invention of the phone with a built in camera. I mean why would you take a phone and a camera on holiday when you could just take a phone, especially now the mega pixel is up and the lenses vastly improved (Schneider nailed that one).
So I think its safe to say that students may find themselves in a bit of a pickle. The production of mid range digital cameras are on the decline, the top end ones cost as much as a new car, analogue cameras may now cost peanuts, but film prices are on the rise with a box of 5/4 double what it was this time last year and quadruple what it was five years ago! and of course let us also not forget about films very wobbly future.
But there is an answer.....
Buy a new phone.


Technological change

The last Kodak moment?

Kodak is at death’s door; Fujifilm, its old rival, is thriving. Why?

LENIN is said to have sneered that a capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him. The quote may be spurious, but it contains a grain of truth. Capitalists quite often invent the technology that destroys their own business.

Eastman Kodak is a picture-perfect example. It built one of the first digital cameras in 1975. That technology, followed by the development of smartphones that double as cameras, has battered Kodak’s old film- and camera-making business almost to death.

Strange to recall, Kodak was the Google of its day. Founded in 1880, it was known for its pioneering technology and innovative marketing. “You press the button, we do the rest,” was its slogan in 1888.

By 1976 Kodak accounted for 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in America. Until the 1990s it was regularly rated one of the world’s five most valuable brands.

Then came digital photography to replace film, and smartphones to replace cameras. Kodak’s revenues peaked at nearly $16 billion in 1996 and its profits at $2.5 billion in 1999. The consensus forecast by analysts is that its revenues in 2011 were $6.2 billion. It recently reported a third-quarter loss of $222m, the ninth quarterly loss in three years. In 1988, Kodak employed over 145,000 workers worldwide; at the last count, barely one-tenth as many. Its share price has fallen by nearly 90% in the past year (see chart).

For weeks, rumours have swirled around Rochester, the company town that Kodak still dominates, that unless the firm quickly sells its portfolio of intellectual property, it will go bust. Two announcements on January 10th—that it is restructuring into two business units and suing Apple and HTC over various alleged patent infringements—gave hope to optimists. But the restructuring could be in preparation for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

While Kodak suffers, its long-time rival Fujifilm is doing rather well. The two firms have much in common. Both enjoyed lucrative near-monopolies of their home markets: Kodak selling film in America, Fujifilm in Japan. A good deal of the trade friction during the 1990s between America and Japan sprang from Kodak’s desire to keep cheap Japanese film off its patch.

Both firms saw their traditional business rendered obsolete. But whereas Kodak has so far failed to adapt adequately, Fujifilm has transformed itself into a solidly profitable business, with a market capitalisation, even after a rough year, of some $12.6 billion to Kodak’s $220m. Why did these two firms fare so differently?

Both saw change coming. Larry Matteson, a former Kodak executive who now teaches at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business, recalls writing a report in 1979 detailing, fairly accurately, how different parts of the market would switch from film to digital, starting with government reconnaissance, then professional photography and finally the mass market, all by 2010. He was only a few years out.

Fujifilm, too, saw omens of digital doom as early as the 1980s. It developed a three-pronged strategy: to squeeze as much money out of the film business as possible, to prepare for the switch to digital and to develop new business lines.

Both firms realised that digital photography itself would not be very profitable. “Wise businesspeople concluded that it was best not to hurry to switch from making 70 cents on the dollar on film to maybe five cents at most in digital,” says Mr Matteson. But both firms had to adapt; Kodak was slower.

A culture of complacency

Its culture did not help. Despite its strengths—hefty investment in research, a rigorous approach to manufacturing and good relations with its local community—Kodak had become a complacent monopolist. Fujifilm exposed this weakness by bagging the sponsorship of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles while Kodak dithered. The publicity helped Fujifilm’s far cheaper film invade Kodak’s home market.

Another reason why Kodak was slow to change was that its executives “suffered from a mentality of perfect products, rather than the high-tech mindset of make it, launch it, fix it,” says Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School, who has advised the firm. Working in a one-company town did not help, either. Kodak’s bosses in Rochester seldom heard much criticism of the firm, she says. Even when Kodak decided to diversify, it took years to make its first acquisition. It created a widely admired venture-capital arm, but never made big enough bets to create breakthroughs, says Ms Kanter.

Bad luck played a role, too. Kodak thought that the thousands of chemicals its researchers had created for use in film might instead be turned into drugs. But its pharmaceutical operations fizzled, and were sold in the 1990s.

Fujifilm diversified more successfully. Film is a bit like skin: both contain collagen. Just as photos fade because of oxidation, cosmetics firms would like you to think that skin is preserved with anti-oxidants. In Fujifilm’s library of 200,000 chemical compounds, some 4,000 are related to anti-oxidants. So the company launched a line of cosmetics, called Astalift, which is sold in Asia and is being launched in Europe this year.

Fujifilm also sought new outlets for its expertise in film: for example, making optical films for LCD flat-panel screens. It has invested $4 billion in the business since 2000. And this has paid off. In one sort of film, to expand the LCD viewing angle, Fujifilm enjoys a 100% market share.

George Fisher, who served as Kodak’s boss from 1993 until 1999, decided that its expertise lay not in chemicals but in imaging. He cranked out digital cameras and offered customers the ability to post and share pictures online.

A brilliant boss might have turned this idea into something like Facebook, but Mr Fisher was not that boss. He failed to outsource much production, which might have made Kodak more nimble and creative. He struggled, too, to adapt Kodak’s “razor blade” business model. Kodak sold cheap cameras and relied on customers buying lots of expensive film. (Just as Gillette makes money on the blades, not the razors.) That model obviously does not work with digital cameras. Still, Kodak did eventually build a hefty business out of digital cameras—but it lasted only a few years before camera phones scuppered it.

Kodak also failed to read emerging markets correctly. It hoped that the new Chinese middle class would buy lots of film. They did for a short while, but then decided that digital cameras were cooler. Many leap-frogged from no camera straight to a digital one.

Kodak’s leadership has been inconsistent. Its strategy changed with each of several new chief executives. The latest, Antonio Perez, who took charge in 2005, has focused on turning the firm into a powerhouse of digital printing (something he learnt about at his old firm, Hewlett-Packard, and which Kodak still insists will save it). He has also tried to make money from the firm’s huge portfolio of intellectual property—hence the lawsuit against Apple.

At Fujifilm, too, technological change sparked an internal power struggle. At first the men in the consumer-film business, who refused to see the looming crisis, prevailed. But the eventual winner was Shigetaka Komori, who chided them as “lazy” and “irresponsible” for not preparing better for the digital onslaught. Named boss incrementally between 2000 and 2003, he quickly set about overhauling the firm.

Mount Fujifilm

He has spent around $9 billion on 40 companies since 2000. He slashed costs and jobs. In one 18-month stretch, he booked more than ¥250 billion ($3.3 billion) in restructuring costs for depreciation and to shed superfluous distributors, development labs, managers and researchers. “It was a painful experience,” says Mr Komori. “But to see the situation as it was, nobody could survive. So we had to reconstruct the business model.”

This sort of pre-emptive action, even softened with generous payouts, is hardly typical of corporate Japan. Few Japanese managers are prepared to act fast, make big cuts and go on a big acquisition spree, observes Kenichi Ohmae, the father of Japanese management consulting.

For Mr Komori, it meant unwinding the work of his predecessor, who had handpicked him for the job—a big taboo in Japan. Still, Mr Ohmae reckons that Japan Inc’s long-term culture, which involves little shareholder pressure for short-term performance and tolerates huge cash holdings, made it easier for Fujifilm to pursue Mr Komori’s vision. American shareholders might not have been so patient. Surprisingly, Kodak acted like a stereotypical change-resistant Japanese firm, while Fujifilm acted like a flexible American one.

Mr Komori says he feels “regret and emotion” about the plight of his “respected competitor”. Yet he hints that Kodak was complacent, even when its troubles were obvious. The firm was so confident about its marketing and brand that it tried to take the easy way out, says Mr Komori.

In the 2000s it tried to buy ready-made businesses, instead of taking the time and expense to develop technologies in-house. And it failed to diversify enough, says Mr Komori: “Kodak aimed to be a digital company, but that is a small business and not enough to support a big company.”

Perhaps the challenge was simply too great. “It is a very hard problem. I’ve not seen any other firm that had such a massive gulf to get across,” says Clay Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, an influential business book. “It was such a fundamentally different technology that came in, so there was no way to use the old technology to meet the challenge.”

Kodak’s blunder was not like the time when Digital Equipment Corporation, an American computer-maker, failed to spot the significance of personal computers because its managers were dozing in their comfy chairs. It was more like “seeing a tsunami coming and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Mr Christensen.

Dominant firms in other industries have been killed by smaller shocks, he points out. Of the 316 department-store chains of a few decades ago, only Dayton Hudson has adapted well to the modern world, and only because it started an entirely new business, Target. And that is what creative destruction can do to a business that has changed only gradually—the shops of today would not look alien to time-travellers from 50 years ago, even if their supply chains have changed beyond recognition.

Could Kodak have avoided its current misfortunes? Some say it could have become the equivalent of “Intel Inside” for the smartphone camera—a brand that consumers trust. But Canon and Sony were better placed to achieve that, given their superior intellectual property, and neither has succeeded in doing so.

Unlike people, companies can in theory live for ever. But most die young, because the corporate world, unlike society at large, is a fight to the death. Fujifilm has mastered new tactics and survived. Film went from 60% of its profits in 2000 to basically nothing, yet it found new sources of revenue. Kodak, along with many a great company before it, appears simply to have run its course. After 132 years it is poised, like an old photo, to fade away.



Getting out early these past few crispy mornings has been a real joy. It can be a Zen like experience with just a simple camera and in this case a few sheets of film.
The simple mechanics of a large format camera are often overlooked by many, but the well oiled cogs of a bygone analogue age will always have the advantage over batteries that drain in the cold and over sensitive sensors that prefer to be in a studio with a cup of coco and a copy of Digital Monthly (I will leave it there).
Someone once told me that;
'Analogue should be a continual flowing movement and if you have to force it, you are doing something wrong.'
Although this referred to the mechanics of analogue, I also like to think of it as a way of approaching a subject and the actual picture making itself.
My photography is a lot more selective now, which I guess is something that comes with time. In the past I often preferred to shoot late in the day and into the night. The reason being that I wasn't trying to 'beat' the darkness before the sun came up, or as I would put it; 'Having to count backwards.' But I have grown to like the closure one gets when the sun does rise, some of those nights were very long and often filled with silly mistakes as the tiredness descended (think double exposures, forgetting to pull the dark slide, falling asleep in fields with cows in etc)... Of course that's not to say that the night is not calling, or a bright warm sunny day for that matter..


And there off...

And so it is that my first post as an MA student takes its place in the history of Marcus Doyle.
I am not even sure how I arrived at this junction in my photographic career, but that's not so important right now.

What looks to be an interesting twelve months ahead is about all I can say at the moment, so in the words of that Plato fella;

"The beginning is the most important part of the work".

I have also decided not to do a second blog as that would just be plain crazy..


I was a little late in posing the article below, but having just read it again I thought it was worth posting anyway.
I love the idea of sitting on a project for so long before releasing the work and agree with old M that the images are more poignant now than they would of been nearer the time of the Oakland fire (see article).
And of course I have to add, What a studio!

Richard Misrach: A focus on the after-story

Richard Misrach in his Emeryville studio where he has worked since 1976. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Richard Misrach is nothing if not patient.

When, in 1997, the renowned photographer moved into a home in the Berkeley hills and decided to capture his new view of the Golden Gate Bridge, he didn’t just take a few dozen shots and leave it at that.

Rather, over the course of three years, he shot hundreds and hundreds of photographs. The result was Golden Gate [Aperture, 2005], 85 beautiful meditations on the iconic bridge seen through the seasons from a single vantage point on his front porch.

Similarly, when Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast in August 2005, Misrach took his time before making the journey to New Orleans to document it. He waited until October, after the turmoil and drama had abated, to capture images of a post-storm calm that were no less dramatic.

The Oakland-Berkeley hills in the aftermath of the 1991 Firestorm. Photo copyright Richard Misrach

But the most striking evidence of Misrach’s self-discipline must surely be his decision to wait 20 years before revealing the fruits of one of his major photographic projects. It is only now that the photographer is unveiling – in some cases printing for the first time — the photographs he took in the aftermath of the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm.

His images will be shown at two exhibitions opening in October — at the Berkeley Art Museum and the Oakland Museum of California – scheduled to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the devastating fire.

“I didn’t want to release the photographs straight away,” Misrach says, speaking in his studio, a cavernous space in an artists’ cooperative in Emeryville where he has worked since 1976.

“The meaning of photographs changes over time,” he says, explaining that he aims for his work to be the opposite of reportage or journalism. “Photographs can be really exploitative and I don’t want to be part of a media circus. History shifts the meaning.”

Misrach concedes it’s a gamble to wait for so long before unearthing work from storage. Out of the some 40 images in the upcoming exhibitions, and the book that will accompany them, only five have been exhibited before, in 2005.

“It’s interesting: I don’t know what I’ll see. And I’ve forgotten the logistics – was it three days after the fire when I took the photos, or four?

“But it feels right,” he continues. “The photographs are more poignant now.”

One of the images that will be on show at two local exhibitions this Fall. Photo: copyright Richard Misrach

Misrach speaks in the same vein about the images he created of the eerily empty streets of New Orleans two months after the hurricane had careened though.

“I am attached to Louisiana and didn’t want to be part of a spectacle,” he says.

Granted a press pass by The New York Times Magazine, Misrach took a small 4MP Canon Powershot digital camera and shot most of the photographs almost on the hoof, a far cry from his trademark approach of using an 8 x 10 camera to produce painstakingly composed photographs that emerge as large-scale prints.

“I took 2,000 photos on the fly – sometimes from the car. It was the after-story, and it was post-apocalyptic,” he says. A number of images taken with a bigger camera have yet to be released.

The photographs, published in Destroy this Memory [Aperture, 2010], show the messages that officials and homeowners spray-painted onto houses, cars and scraps of board after the storm — whether to record the extent of the devastation or in reaction to it. The scrawls — warnings, pleas, even jokes — show a very human response to ruined lives.

This photograph, of a melted tricycle, will be presented in Misrach's signature large-scale format. Photo: copyright Richard Misrach

“I am here, I have a gun,” reads one; “Help! Help!” another; “Looters shot – survivors shot again,” is written in capital letters on a piece of plywood propped up against a tree; “RIP Thomas Burke, aka Tab,” is marked in blue chalk on a boarded-up garage.

“They are like primitive text messages,” Misrach says. “People’s graffiti showed both anger and humor and together they built a narrative.”

Misrach gifted full sets of the New Orleans prints to five museums and donated royalties from the book to the Make it Right Foundation.

He has also donated two full collections of the Berkeley-Oakland firestorm images to the Oakland and Berkeley museums that are exhibiting them this fall.

Misrach’s Berkeley roots go deep. He cut his teeth working with photographer Roger Minick at the ASUC Studio, a student arts facility at UC Berkeley from where he graduated in 1971.

“The first time I saw photographs as art in the studio I knew that’s want I wanted to do,” he says. “Roger held my hand. He was 22 and I was 19 but he seemed ‘so old’ to me. I looked up to him like a father figure.”

Misrach recalls how he started by working as a lab assistant at the studio – “a glorified janitor” he clarifies — mopping floors and cleaning up chemicals so he could use the facilities for free once the lab was empty at night.

“I would work from 11 p.m. through the morning,” he says. “They were lean times, I was house sitting and living in a van.”

Misrach captured the devastation caused by the Firestorm. Photo: copyright Richard Misrach

Misrach’s first book “Telegraph 3am” [Cornucopia Press], black-and-white shots of street people taken on Telegraph Avenue, was published in 1974.

He went on to produce a highly regarded body of work — shooting in deserts at night, on the parched Bonneville salt flats, and in Mississippi’s Cancer Alley – his lens always focused on man’s relationship with nature, and bringing a socio-political edge to all his images

Misrach is considered one of this century’s most acclaimed photographers and is work is represented in more than 50 major museum collections around the world.

These days, the huge prints propped up around his studio and stacked flat in layers, like so many outsize millefeuilles, bear testament to the fact that he is experimenting. He says he has not used film for the past three years, and is working with digitally scanned negatives. “I’m moving from representational to experimental. I like the kind of work that always stretches me.”

The politics and culture of Berkeley, where he lives with his wife, the writer Myriam Weisang Misrach, have affected him profoundly, he says. Some of his earliest photographs were taken while he was being tear-gassed at anti-war riots on the Cal campus in 1969.

“Being in Berkeley was critical. My interest in aesthetics and politics merged and have been fighting each other ever since,” he laughs.

“If it weren’t for Berkeley I would be doing pretty landscapes.”

“1991: Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath, Photographs by Richard Misrach” is at the Oakland Museum of California, October 15, 2011 through February 12, 2012, and at the Berkeley Art Museum, as well as a companion exhibition, “Richard Misrach: Photographs from the Collection”, from October 12, 2011 through February 5, 2012. An accompanying exhibition at OMCA will allow visitors to share their memories of the Firestorm.

The complete set of “Telegraph 3 a.m” is on view at Pier 24 in San Francisco. Many of the images from “Destroy This Memory” are currently on view at SF MOMA in its “Face of Our Time” exhibition.

Some photographers have vision, and other photographers have a vision. In other words, some photographer’s work is about seeing, while other photographers have a particular vision.
Stephen Shore


If truth be told I have been waiting for a frosty morning since October 2011 here in that there London and it just hasn't happened. And so this morning I made my way in the dark of the early hours armed with my big tripod and 5/4 camera. Its been many moons since I was last out in the dark, but the senses were as sharp as ever, may be even super sharp.. I guess the combination of workshops and tutorials over the past year has made me practice what I preach. That and may be the twenty odd years using the same techniques.

Character is what you are in the dark..
Dwight Moody



Introduction by Arthur C. Danto. The Monacelli Press, a division of Random House, New York. Clothbound;142 pages; 85 color plates. ISBN No. 978-1-58093-21906. Information: http://www.monacellipress.com , or http://www.lynnsaville.com .

This compelling and beautifully reproduced collection of New York city nightscapes places photographer Lynn Saville in heady company, and not merely that of the Weeges or Arbuses who once codified the modernist dark side of Manhattan. As Columbia University professor and The Nation's art critic Arthur C. Danto writes in his introduction, Saville is "the Atget of vanishing New York, prowling her city at the other end of the day, picking up pieces of the past in the present, just before it is swallowed by shadows."

The comparison is apt if inverted, since Atget chronicled an early-morning, near-deserted Paris, while Saville has specialized in nocturnes, pitting familiar objects against a luminous night sky, and now turns a color-saturated, ambient-lit style toward a similarly deserted New York, just as evening falls. The peaceable moodiness of these urban meditations conveys a near-religious radiance. It belies the urban, quotidian emphasis on industrial sites, elevated train trestles, a garish Nathan's hot dog joint against the undiminished azure sky. Meanwhile, the slick streets, multi-level parkland, classical archways, steel girders, raw facades, glaring lampposts and illuminated windows of the city are enriched for us, as Saville's camera frames them with an eye for fascinating detail and Renaissance perspective--the Bethesda fountain, for example, glimpsed in blue winter twilight from beneath a far arcade, or a view of the Manhattan skyline from behind New Jersey's iconic waterfront Pepsi-Cola sign.

Saville's "Night/Shift" may well bear comparison to past masters, but it also evokes the contemporary night vision of another photographic artist, Marcus Doyle, who likewise deals in ambient light, long exposures, unpeopled locales and saturated color. But where Doyle's images are often so far removed from urban iconography that they take on the aura of alien shrines, Saville's remain doggedly devoted to revisioning the familiarities of the city. And yet one photo, of the sterile corners of Wyeth Avenue, feels otherworldly, and is bisected down the middle by a lamp pole, all of it echoing a Doyle image that similarly breaks the modernist rule against symmetry in framing a foregrounded vertical element.

Indeed, Saville is part of a photographic vanguard, one that drinks deeply of the possibilities of available light, hyper-real color and evocative yet unromanticized subject matter. And just as her work may inspire comparison to photographic pioneers such as Atget, they also remind us of painterly masters such as Edward Hopper, who found a visual vocabulary that bespoke modern isolation without indulging in cheap effect or overstatement. Lynn Saville's photographs are in such a grand tradition, yes, but their real strength is that they seem to be establishing a new tradition as well.


R.I.P Eve arnold.

I was saddened to hear that Eve Arnold passed away this week at the ripe old age of 99.
The image above has been on my wall for many years having come by the print in my early days of printing. It has survived five house moves, one of which was to the USA, and has long been a favourite image. What few people don't know is that the entire roll of film that this image is from has a scratch running all the way through it. A challenge to spot if ever there was one (no Photo Shop back then).
Such timeless and touching images may never more be created thanks to publicists and the like guarding their ten percent..



Despite getting the feeling that I have lost my entire readership, I will continue to write due to my delusions of grandeur in thinking that I am an inspiration to those young upcoming photographers who like to make landscape images.

If I never read the papers, watched the news, and listened my neighbours, it would appear that the future is quite bright for the one they call the Doyle.

A new year with promise of change and direction began with an entire overhaul of my printed portfolio, a mini retrospect if you will. So after removing the cobwebs, books piled on top of, tax returns, love letters and a pair of squashed sun glasses, I got under way.
I had forgotten just how exquisite a hand print can be and it was a joy to ponder through a mountain of images fuelled only by 'Mr Espresso' and a new found enthusiasm. The old was mixed with the new and after a day of editing I had the 96 page, grey cloth bound beast ready for viewing.
So now I say to you all;


During my edit orgy I found this rather nice image of an old dried up leaf which makes a nice 6/4" postcard should you wish to print out a copy for yourself..