A good artist should be isolated. If he isn't isolated, something is wrong.
Orson Welles

Alex Fradkin

To be honest, fair and truthful, I really didn't think much of Alex Fradkin's photography on his website. But then I looked at his two projects Coast and Bunkers (above) and its just brilliant. Its also interesting to note that his father, the writer Philip Fradkin, wrote a fair few books about the American West. The Coast project will be a Father and Son project/book which may really be something quite fabulous judging by these incredible images and his fathers fine writings..

Go now and be inspired....


And so on a Monday as wet as an ex girlfriend I am ready to make my entry into the Guinness World Record books for having survived the longest weekend in the history of time. No, I was not trapped in a cupboard, No, I was not marooned on a remote Scottish Island or stranded in the desert with a punctured tyre. And No, I was not imprisoned in my garage with only cement dust and water.
Heres how it went;

"Have you put on a little weight there."
"I only spent eighty pounds on my camera, why on earth would you spend anymore."
"Why dont you get a nice little office job."
"How Much."
"Do you think you should"
"Whats that dripping coming from the light bulb."
"You need to sort that shower curtain out."
"We where thinking we might like one of those big framed photos in our hall way."
"What are you doing with that big knife."

I am often left questioning my motives towards photography and what a strange way to make a living. May be not so much strange, more different..
One common thing I always find is that most people like photography as a whole, in fact they love it. But few are prepared to pay for it.. Put it this way, if you could make a living from giving prints away I would be rich. The truth be told, if no one buys my work, I cant make any more of it. For me its that straight forward.
You wouldn't go into a shop and ask if you could have an item and then expect not to pay for it, even if the shop keeper was a relative. The only people that do that are the Mafia.

"Dont get me anything for Christmas, just give me the money. (not a voucher!)


It isn't that they can't see the solution, it's that they can't see the problem.

Bryan Schutmaat

Stumbled upon the work of Bryan Schutmaat today, just by chance, as you do. I particulary like his Heartland series, but its all good.

I think the days when I used to go on about peoples work may have subsided, at least for now.. But lets face it, you either like it or you dont..


Now I have been at this photography lark for a while now and there's not usually anything you can do or say that I haven't seen or heard before, especially when it comes to galleries. That was until Mark over on Manchester Photography (and a few others I might add) brought to my attention 'The Vanity Gallery' which simply put is a gallery that will offer you a show with the promise of huge returns, but on the condition that you pay them upfront.

Heres how it normally goes, (please note some galleries may do things a little different like share the costs of the prints and recoup it later).

The artist delivers the prints. The gallery frames the prints. The price of the frame is added onto the price of the work so the gallery can recoup the costs. The gallery sells the prints at an agreed price. The photographers gets his 50% (eventually).

At no point should a photographer have to lay out cash and pay for a show. There exhibiting there not buying shares in the gallery..

Anyway, without getting too carried away heres the story in a bit more detail.
It really is an outrage and I am behind Mark on this 100 percent on this one..



Causeway, from the Environmental series. MD
Image (C) Lynne Cohen

So this morning seen my fine self don my lecturing hat with the photography students of Roehampton University and once again try to spread a little light in my specialist field... A splendid bunch and my thanks to Michael O'Brien and Andy Porter for making this a real pleasure.

Then it was off to see Lynne Cohen who I have mentioned here many times as she is one of the photographers I respect the most. To hear Lynne talk about her work was real pleasure and her wit and intellect are second to none. She is in a group show here in London at the James Hyman gallery tomorrow night and will also be signing her new book Camouflage (which I must add to my collection). More details here.
It really is a joy to hearing a photographer talk about their work first hand, I just hope someone feels the same when I speak. Failing that I will just play back today's recording as I always make one of myself to criticize later and perhaps weep at my sort comings..



Where were you..

Mr Page over on ManchesterPhotography beat me to it with his ditty on Johnathan Olley's Sea Defences here. I will write about Johnathan Olley at a later date as we share the same gallery space and have the occasional chitty chat. Like Mark over on MP, I too am surprised that more photographers have not covered UK events like the flooding in Cumbria (may be someone has, but I have my doubts). But after a little thought I have come to a few conclusions as to why British disasters are often rarely documented unlike such events, for example, as earthquakes, famine and in particular Katrina which saw a vast number of photographers flee to the scene, some albeit for the wrong reasons to profit from the unfortunate..

When my hometown of Carlisle was flooded in 2005 and subsequently cut off for five days from the rest of the country without electricity, fresh water and other supplies I always regretted that I was unable to return to the UK to document such an event (I was living in the US at the time). Had I somehow been able to return I would of documented as much as possible and made sure any money made went back to the city (a photographic book was made from local peoples photographs, the proceeds going to a set up flood charity). I had thought the same about the recent events but felt unable to get there in time being stuck down in London keeping in mind I would of had to gain access, press passes etc..

For me its always been about timing, basically I am never there. But I also think that in all honesty disasters here in the UK never seem as dramatic. Lets face it, Katrina was like a movie set, and all those images where like works of art. I really dont think the same could be said for a flood in Cockermouth (of course this does not mean it is any less worthy). As a comparison I do think the US tends to Hollywoodise everything which is pretty vulgar in my opinion. Whereas we Brits tend to move on and try to forget about it.. My good friend John Darwell produced a fabulous book on the events of the Foot and Mouth outbreak (again in Cumbria), but no one is interested in that now. The Foot and Mouth incident was an event which had to be documented but people are more interested in the series John shot in Chernobal over twenty years ago, you see that was epic like Katrina, again its like a film set..

At the end of the day it all comes down to one thing, the Visual. If it looks good, people tend to be more interested. But just because it looks photographically dramatic, doesn't mean its any less dramatic than a tragedy like the floods in my homeland..



So despite all my rantings on how film is the only way (yawn, yadder, blah, blah, oh shut up!) I had decided that a carry everywhere Digital camera may not be such a bad idea. For those of you that have taken a large format camera on holiday or to a party, you will know the relief of having something a bit snappy is light relief sometimes...

After much research I came to the conclusion that something like a Lumix GF1 (you know the one with this two thirds thing making it quite small and compact) would be ideal as it appeared to be not too expensive and seemed to have all the features I was after. And so I made my way up Tottenham Court road seeing where had the best price for my holiday/dog picture taking camera. Simply put, I was astonished at the price differences in some of the shops and quickly came to realise it always pays to shop around. I had just about found the right price, but on the way back to Warren Street Tube I decided to pop into that camera shop only yards from the tube, you know the one with all the fifty quid cameras in the window that always has a sale on, along with some Swiss Army Knives and a torch submerged in a water tank..

I walked in the shop and gave a polite "hello" to the man behind the counter and then made inquiry which went something like this;

Potential customer (PC)
"Do you have the new Lumix GF1 camera in stock?"

Shop Manager (twit)
"Oh no, we dont stock that camera as its rubbish and we only stock the best cameras"
"What do you mean, its rubbish, could you be a little more specific."
"The quality from it is terrible and we pride ourselves in quality."
"Thats not a very good sales pitch is it. Have you tried one of these cameras for yourself ?"
"No, but I have read all the reviews and there pretty poor."
"Strange, all the reviews I have read are quite good which is why I am interested in one."
"Well there still rubbish and we dont stock them."
"So why do you stock the Olympus Pen, its very similar in technology."
"Oh thats simply not the same, thats a pro camera for professionals."
"The camera Kevin Spacey advertises (olympus pen) is not a so called pro camera, in fact you dont have any pro cameras in here. Wheres the Canon DS or the Nikon DX3 etc."
"We dont stock thoses there too expensive..."

So on and so on. The guy was a complete moron and simply didn't have a clue. In the end I told him he should try using a camera instead of playing with them in his crappy shop and assuming what is good and bad. All I wanted to do at this point was extend my wind proof umbrella in to his fudgey face. But instead I opted for a bit of name calling and left.

I get so angry with people like this who are obviously so unhappy with their situation in life that they feel the need to try and pass on their contempt to others. I think this is especially true in photography be it someone working in a camera shop, a lab (which of course I know all about), assisting etc. Anyone thinking this way needs to take note and be thankful you have a job, there's certainly no shame in it. As for fat boy, well thats not the first time I have had a run in with him, the last time it was over a lens cap...!

So then, what if the twit was right and the camera is a load of rubbish. Well all will be revealed in a couple of weeks..

Over and out..


How does he do it....

I have to admit to going off the work of goody-two-shoes Edward Burtynsky for a while after seeing his Quarries exhibition at the Flowers gallery here in London last year which left me as cold as the marble in those gi-normous quarries. But boy oh boy does his new book Oil make up for it. This is by far the best body of work I have seen from Master Burtynsky, and its vast. Split into four sections; Extraction, Detroit, Transportation, and The End of Oil. Its simply mind blowing.
Here's a link to Eddies work, but if you like this guy I would urge you to buy the book as the website just doesn't do the work justice. (large format, big prints, small images, etc..)
It was the image above that made me buy the book at once and carry it around all day like a small weekend bag..

Well I hope everyone is enjoying themselves at Paris Photo....
In the meantime those of us that are left sheltering from the wind and the rain can enjoying time here on the ridiculous B Mode.
Check out the work of Alexander Gronsky here (above pic), absolutely brilliant!
I see those wise people at the Telegraph have a new photography page. You can check out their new Telephoto section here. Very good..


Its like a small cabbage..

There's some new work on my website if you care to take a look. Rather than just add more images I tend to replace other work so's not to saturate your minds.. Most of the images are in New Work (of course) and there's a few in Border City which is now complete although there is another fifty images to this series not on the Web.
Regarding the Border City work, its always a little odd deciding when a project is finished. I believe only the photographer can decide when this actually happens, and when it does happen, its usually a real anti climatic event, not unlike tasting food an American has told you is the greatest tasting thing on the planet (like the time an American friend told me of this English vegetable I trust had to try, it was like nothing else you've ever tasted. It was in fact a Brussel Sprout). Anyway, its hard sometimes to find closure especially when its something as personal as the Border City series, but there you are...

Its a bit like a lab top without a screen, only much heavier...

Heres a letter from Tommy Hanks my wife recieved this morning.
In the big box was this amazing old type writer sent by Tom himself (thats a lot of effort). What a diamond geeza.





There was a time in the life of Doyle when I would never dream of going anywhere without my camera. That was back in the days when I shot 35mm and always had a roll of Tri X black & white film or even a roll of colour. It wasn't about looking for a masterpiece or something for the portfolio, it was more to record those fleeting moments. Snap shots of life.. Now and again though I would get something worth printing up larger than a 6/4" print and was able to do it with ease, especially with my skills as a printer. Recently I have been hankering after small carry round capable of doing what the oldie 35mm cameras used to do but in the form of something digital. Not a flaming chance. I have tried all sorts, Richoh, Olympus, Leica (compact), Lumix etc.. None of which produce anywhere near the quality of what I used to get. Take that baby over 10/12" and it looks like a colouring book.. (I'm talking about the print and not how it looks on a monitor). I am open for offers but in my mind theres not much point in trying to produce something from digital to look like film.
I think where those film cameras used to have the edge was that you could 'snap' quickly and the film had such a wide latitude you could pull it out in processing and printing. With digital you just get blocks of noise, banding etc.. Well whatever, maybe I will go for that orange leather clad Leica after all....

The image above was shot on an Olympus Muji (remember those) and printed up to a 30/40" print (image size 36/22" or there abouts..! And yes it looked great..)


These two are for Mark over on Manchester Photography whos up to number 16 on his New Clichés In Photography, which is just brilliant.
Came across these the other day hidden away on some hard drive. As much as I am over the 'tiny people in the landscape' I rather like these.
The top one is Zabraski point, the snowy one is Lake Tahoe.
Guess I could do another fifty or so and make a book out of them, but that would be total over kill and a bit naff in my opinion...


Leica to release special edition M7 camera (updated)

BJP is able to confirm that Leica is about to announce the availability of two new special editions of its legendary M7 film camera, this time designed by fashion powerhouse Hermes


The M7 was the last film camera released by Leica before it went digital with the M8 compact camera and its subsequent successor the full-frame M9 camera unveiled in September.

BJP has now been told by a source close to Leica who asked to remain anonymous that the Germany-based firm will officially announce the Leica M7 by Hermes on Monday 16 November.

The Leica M7 Hermes will be available in two colours - orange and a dark green dubbed 'etoupe'. The source also confirms that the limited-edition cameras will retail at €9500.


Picked this up over on American SuburbX.
Quite brilliant.

GLENN SLOGGETT feels this world...

A Life on the Piss, 2003, from Lost Man

By Robert Cook

I never figured out how to make art from the suburbs. While I lived there throughout art school (and still do, just in a different one) the translation of the places I resided in and walked by into anything of emotional, aesthetic or intellectual note whatsoever escaped me. Sure, I wasn’t meant to be an artist. I get that. Yet I was also missing something. Basically, none of it looked like the art I dug at the time. Which meant most of all - because all I was interested in was sadness - it didn’t resemble Edward Hopper’s New England. Art was just not possible. There was too much sun. The architecture was crap. The people were ugly. These ugly folks had little scungy cross-breeds not elegant bird dogs. Since then I have naturally read all those books and articles that informed me, too late, that my attitude was kinda off-beam. And yeah, I suppose it was. I understand that - consciously, intellectually. But even now I find myself overlooking everything suburban around me. It’s some sort of deeply ingrained habit, a shitty default setting.

Dolphin, 2006, from Decrepit
Road worker blues, 2006, from Decrepit
666, 2006, from Decrepit

Because of this, the work of Glenn Sloggett remains surprising to me, each and every time I encounter it. I saw it on the ABC ‘s The Art Life recently and it totally shone, as did he. The work, the voice, held so much honesty. Its mix of melancholy and prosaic hope captured my entire suburban upbringing. It brought it all back. It caught how it existed beneath the CSI gloss and the on-air rouge; so it was a relief and refreshing to see this work on the place that mostly elides such images. Afterwards I switched off the television, walked up the stairs at the back of our units, and took in the twinkly lights of Osborne Park. The smoke puffed from the factory where the early morning truck-loads of chickens go. The sign for the Victory life Church was trying to claim some souls. Dodgy sportswear distribution businesses were trying to on-sell their purple one-piece. Mechanics had lost some spare part under the sump. The units to the left and the right of ours were full of cars speeding up central drive ways after blowing through stop signs. And in the day time when I woke up, silence. The silence of a suburb deserted by all the residents saving up to leave.

Cheaper & Deeper, 1996, from Cheaper and Deeper
Elwood Canal Shopping Trolley, 2003, from Lost Man
Crematorium furnace, 2008, from Morbid
Picket Fence, 2003, from Lost Man
Grease, 2006, from Decrepit
Jesus has no hands, 2003, from Lost Man
Anonymous death, 2008, from Morbid

Glenn Sloggett totally gets and feels and loves this world that we are either in the business of overlooking or trying to escape. He creates an intensely resonant emotional language from a set of reference points dead to others. Bricks, brown grass. Compressing blocks of flats. Kid’s 20-cent rides. Stuff like that. Stuff that is part of the grain of our lives and the texture of our beings. Sloggett easily - it seems, perhaps I am wrong - gets to this space. His images seem complete, beautiful, full already. This fullness is important. It signals that he is more than his choice of subject matter in so far as his images do no need anymore than is there within them. I think that what I mean by this is that they are not attempting to convert or prove a point. In this regard, also, they are not part of our avant-garde way of thinking about art. They are not about the everyday in so far as it is a category about the merely overlooked, an ever expanding way of art devouring more and more of the world. Instead the work is located within the tradition of folk like Atget, Stephen Shore, Walker Evans. To me, and I am probably projecting heavily here it is the view of the pedestrian. It is the glance and focal point of someone has the intimate knowledge of his environment. It therefore implies a presence and body, and a gaze is neither judgmental not scandalous. In it, it opens up a form of anthropology that examines the real conditions of habitation of a people. Sloggett does this with a whole range of emotions: humour, irony, disgust, familiarity, bleakness, hope, transcendence. He is one of the few artists in this country to be unrelenting in this regard, and his work has over the years opened up to fashion something close to an encyclopedic take on the fringes of settlement. He brings the drift and float of suburban time into the structures of contemporary art, therefore, not as a glib spectacle, yet another in a line of minor transgressive episodes, but as part of the experience of being fully human. It is, therefore, a highly structured addition to the history of humanist realism that includes both literature and the visual arts. The complexity of his work is additionally significant within the context of our so-called boom (mostly in WA where I live, but in other places too I guess). As all of us know only too well, this boom is highly selective in its affects, yet it is slowly changing the nature of our aspirations and our culture at large, from the communal to the individual. In this domain, Sloggett’s work offer us space to think again about how we aspire and why, why we seek to vault out of our immediate lives for something apparently larger. Which is to say, he allows us to start to think about the suburbs we live in as places not just where art might be made, but as places to stay, rather than escape, and to face the various layers of personal and group politics and community building that that entails.

By Robert Cook

You can see more of Glenn's work here.
In fact check out the whole Stills Gallery site in Australia for a fabulous array of work. Its interesting to see a mixture of styles and influences from other countries and the fact that its not just the British, Americans and Germany that has good landscape photographers..


Well this is as close as I will be getting to Paris Photo next week. The place that launched my monograph, got me noticed as an artist, and forced be to become fluent in French and therefore more attractive to the hairy arm pitted beautiful locals will be all but a dream. I could of course jump on the Eurostar at Kings Cross and visit this splendid event for the day, but a broken garage door, a knackered thermostat in the car, and to top it all, the bill for replacing a broken boiler (it was either that or sitting round a candle this winter). I ain't going anywhere....
I wish Laura and Michael a good time (DiemarNoble Gallery) and hope that they might bring me back a pocket knife or some smelly cheese...



And so at the end of my three day printing marathon (which I have to say I found quite torturous) I met up with an old college friend Danger Dave otherwise known as David Denny. I have always liked DD's work and find it free, unrestricted and fluid in its approach. A kind of 'of the moment' body of work if you like.
We spoke of college days when we where popular with the ladies and ate pies on Blackpools sea front, and then of our frustration with the industry and how no one seems to be admitting they are skint and have no work...
Daves passion for his work always comes across when he is talking about photography and we both came to the conclusion that it was better to struggle and do what you love rather than sail through life and have a job that you hate. In fact we both realised how few of the people that we were at college with actually still make pictures... And so after weeping into our coffee cups we walked to the tube in the rain like reunited brothers under cover of my new Wind Proof umbrella....
You can see Daves work here.


My old friend Len..

Back in he day when hand printing was the norm and longevity was a lot more certain, a man known simply as Len would deliver paper, chemicals and the odd can of air. A lovely chap full of life and always a guaranteed twinkle in his eye. The twinkle was probably due to his wife who was twenty years younger, incredibly attractive and Spanish... Often we would chat over coffee and the smell of sulphur and he would tell me which photographers he liked best and if it was at all possible to get a signed print from the likes of Tezza O'Neill or maybe Dazza Bailey. Not surprisingly Len did often obtain quite a few signed prints, and this was simply down to being just plain nice.
The last time I seen Len was about ten years ago when he told me he was taking early retirement and moving to Spain with his wife and young daughter. He'd had enough of London and just wanted a quite life with his lovely missus drinking sangria on a Spanish rooftop.
Imagine my delight (and surprise) when the paper delivered to the darkroom today was in the hands of my old chum Len. It was however a little sad to see the man who told me "Bailey's not a Twat hes a C**t" looking so frail and old. The twinkle had gone and he was but a shadow of his former self. He went on to tell me that his wife had almost destroyed him and turned out to be quite the dark eyed physco, hence the move back to London and his former job..
After chatting about the olden days and reminiscing a wee bit we said our goodbyes and I have to say I really felt for the fella. But just as I was about to go back to the darkroom those old familar words called out; "Got any signed prints I can have off-a-you govnor?" It was just like old times and within five minutes Len had an original Doyle fresh from the processor. He took his print, thanked me and winked as he said goodbye. The twinkle hadn't gone, it had just lay dormant...



Having just read Robert Adams Beauty In Photography this morning over a pot of coffee (thank you Miss Noble for the recommendation) I am now inspired to extend the tripod legs and unfold my dark cloth in search of images a new. Its a truly wonderful and honest read and should don the shelf's of every photographers home (although you will probably have to order it as there seems to be few in the bookshops).

Lately I have spent a lot of time reading things on line and have to admit I have stopped buying newspapers altogether mainly due to the fact that I am a fair bit away from any news agent and also find most news papers to be biased wining rot. So I was intrigued to read Greg Ceo's 'Are You Under 25, When Was The Last Time You Bought A News Paper'. Its an excellent article and raises some good points, in particular this quote;
“If you won’t pay to see someone else’s work, why do you expect people to pay to see your work?” ”How do you expect to make a living as a photojournalist?” ”Who is your audience?”
Something I had never even thought of. Ironic I found this via the British Journal of Photography while reading it for free on line...





The Princess.....

Gallery Director, Writer, Artist, Mentor, Northern Lass, and bringer of peace Laura Noble has began what may become the mightiest blog in the universe.
I would urge you all to make a cuppa and spend some time there. I on the other hand may go into blog semi retirement....
as we stand there for two minutes of silence and contemplate decade after decade, century after century of corpse mountain making, it might also be worth realising that neither photography nor painting music nor poetry have ever managed to prevent it happening again and again. In this circumstance Art clearly has no power to bring about change. So that begs the question, why do we bother still making it?
Mark Page.


If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event...what kind of film would you use?
Bang, bang, woosh, woosh, bark, bark, woof, woof, shut up, bang, bang.....

Heres something appropriate from the wonderful Kenny Trice. Who I will come back to at some point.
Via Almanac magazine.


Smile and you 'll get a slap..

So last night was the 'Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize' (Swepps, Portrait Award, John Kobal etc.) held at the olde worlde National Portrait Gallery. Now a portrait extravaganza like this would not normally appear here on the Mode That Was B, but my interest in the event was a little different this year as my mediator/map reader/bench press spotter/dog walking companion/food taster/cinema buddy/someone to rant at/you cant buy that we need to feed the boys and pay the bills/wife was in the show this year so I naturally got a little interested.

The problem with such an event like this is that when you have only one images to represent a photographer is says very little. The image (especially a portrait) is often taken from a series (as we are often told here), but on its own next to lots of other images on their own creates nothing but a messy jumble a bit like a jigsaw with no matching parts. Basically its a mess. If the photographers where able to show a series of images this would be a whole different matter as it would boil down to talent rather than luck of the draw, which lets face it from seven thousand entries this has to be the case up to a point.
As for the winner, I can see why it won and well done Paul Floyd Blake. Its the typical safe picture with a nice story behind it from someone who no one knows which is usually the case. Nothing wrong with that, but I think these competitions with the big prizes should be aimed at people who have really achieved something in photography and not just picked up a camera and produced a few nice shots (my opinion so dont get shirty)..
My wife's picture Lambs (not the one shown above) stands out a mile, why, because it was a comission. It was shot with a decent size budget and is what she does. She is a professional photographer making her living this way. This kind of image doesn't win prizes (and not because its not a great image), it goes back to what I was trying to say in my last post about how commercial photographers have a hard time being taken seriously in the art market. People always want the story of the struggling artist winning the prize, not the successful one.
Anyway I am starting to rant so I will draw to a close and end by saying this;
Like everything else in the world this competition (whatever its called) is all about the money. People enter it for the prize. they do not enter it to show case their work, you cant do that with one image, neither do they enter so they can show along side other photographers (who wants to do that). They enter it for the 12 k prize so they can buy a new Hassalblad.
Well thats what I would do..



After looking over Nadav Kander's Yangtze River work again last night and posting the piece below I couldn't get the images out of my mind. It seems obvious now why he won the Prix Picket prize. I mean this series shows environmental issues, documents how people harmonise with their surroundings, is visually stunning (mainly due to the big smog factor,again another environmental issue), consistent from start to finish, and forms a historical document which will stand the test of time. Wether or not this body of work will be regarded as much as say Robert Frank's The Americans in years to come I am not so sure (the prints may not last that long). But there is no doubt in my mind that this is an important body of work.
There are of course a few issues which may deter Kander's work from getting the recognition in years to come that he may or may not deserve. Firstly there is Kanders career, its vast, and he has to be one of the worlds most successful advertising photographers of his generation. This guy has won so many awards he has a whole area filled with trophies and plaques in his studio (yes I have seen it). Due to his huge success Kander has been able to pretty much go where he chooses and do whatever is necessary to produce a series of images. But people dont like this, they dont believe that a photographer can spend twenty years at the top in advertising and switch to fine art funded solely by his earnings. But why shouldn't he? He may have won a hundred thousand euros for his Yangtze River, but how much did he spend on it (5 trips to China, retouching fees, equipment etc). Again people seem to have a problem here that if a photographer can pay to do what they want it is somehow unfair. Misrach, Eggleston, in fact most of the big American photographers (with the exception of Robert Frank who was skint) had money. But they didn't earn it from photography like Kander, so whats the problem. I have been in this fine art game for a while now and have to admit it seems like a rich mans hobby most of the time (and no I am far from rich, or comfortable for that matter!). We can all complain about the 'photographer' that drives round in their Bentley getting out to take the odd snap and producing exquisite prints, but this kind who stand the test of time usually do so not because of there money but more so there talent. Yes it may be easier to stay at the top in these circumstances, but we can always find excuses as to why others have succeed before us, a lucky break here, a friend there, slept with him/her etc. And then theres the whole grants thing which drives me potty. Personally I have not recieved a bean from any one (establishment or otherwise), and even if I did I would probably spend it on sweets and magic beans..

And so my friends, what is the point I am trying to make, well simply put, YOU CANT BUY TALENT. Its as simple as that.


Kander triumphs in Prix Picte

© Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander has won this year's Prix Pictet photography prize for environmental sustainability, receiving a £60,000 cheque from former Secretary General of the United Nations, KofiAnnan.

Kander's win was announced at an exclusive ceremony in Paris last week. The London-based photographer was nominated for his Yangtze, the Long River Series, 2006-07 project.

It documents the rapidly changing landscape and communities of China's longest river, from its mouth to its source. 'I was trying to photograph how I felt, which was somewhat lonely and uneasy,' said Kander last year in BJP.

The Israel-born photographer made five trips to China for the series, which featured in BJP last year. 'The river of legendary beauty has been devastated by industrial and agricultural pollution, and irrevocably changed by the massive Three Gorges Dam project, which involved the forced displacement of some three million people,' BJP wrote at the time (23 July 2008).

Kander received his award from the hands of the former UN General Secretary. 'Only weeks separate us from the decisive negotiations on climate change in Copenhagen,' said Annan. 'We are confronted with the vital need to prepare the political momentum necessary for a fair and effective post-Kyoto agreement. The images in front of us remind us of the fragility of our planet and the damage we have already done. When we see these photographs we cannot close our eyes and remain indifferent. Through our actions and voices, we must keep building the pressure to secure urgent action at Copenhagen and beyond.'

It's a second major award win in less than a week for Kander. On 19 October he won the International Photographer of the Year prize at the Lucie Awards for his editorial work portraying members of President Barack Obama's administration-elect, in what was dubbed the editorial commission of the year by The New York Times Magazine (BJP, 13 May).

The 11 other photographers selected for the Prix Pictet were Chris Steele-Perkins, Edgar Martins, Darren Almond, Christopher Anderson, Sammy Baloji, Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gursky, Naoya Hatakeyama, Ed Kashi, Abbas Kowsari, and Yao Lu.

Kashi won a commission with the UK-based charity and Malagasy-registered NGO Azafady. He will be visiting Madagascar in order to produce 'a series of photographs that will highlight many of the issues that Azafady are focusing on in this unique and endangered environment'.

To complement the touring exhibition, teNeues will be publishing Earth, featuring the work of the 12 shorlisted photographers as well as from other photographers who entered the competition.

For more information, visit prixpictet.co.uk.

Frozen River, Qinghai (c) Nadav Kander, courtesy of Flowers Gallery/Prix Pictet, 2009.

The above is taken from the BJP.

What can I say the work is just brilliant. Well done Mr K.


For those of you who may remember the sorry tale of when I managed to trap myself in a cupboard under the stairs only to escape after an hour of sweat and dust using a sheet of 5/4 film and some cunning. Well today was a similar set of affairs only more bloody and could easily have escalated into a scene from Casualty. But alas here I sit sipping tea with fingers bandaged the only real injury being my damaged pride.
So picture the scene as I enter my climate controlled (I kid you not) garage/ storage facility to prepare a couple of prints for framing from a recent sale (yippee). For reasons I will not go into I moved a six foot mirror to one side near the entrance to my storage facility as I made room to un-roll a couple of 30/40" masterpieces.. Some time later with my ready prints I stepped out of the Archive Of Delight and proceeded to pull down the garage door, all be it with some Doyley force. Then with the help of the six foot mirror I had placed there (and forgotten about) previously, I managed to; Break the mirror, bend the garage door, and, wedge a splinter of mirror glass in between my index and middle finger. Undeterred by my actions I placed the mirror to one side deciding to clean it up nearer bin collection day, but as I went to close the door it stuck about half way. So again undeterred I dipped back into the garage/ storage facility with climate control and pulled down on the door handle with a mighty force. Job done I thought, that was until I tried to re-open the door from the inside.. Thanks to a combination of several forces, the door was now wedged in place tighter than elephant in an inner tube. There was no lock to pick and no gaps to slip a note to the neighbour. I was a prisoner in my own storage facility... I couldn't pull it, and I couldn't push it, so in the words of Keanu Reeves in Speed; "What do you do?". I was acclimatized, that's for sure. I was dry unlike last week, but I was hungry and graving a cup of tea and perhaps a penguin biscuit. I did think of trying to bend the door inwards, sure I had the Doyle strength, but the door would never be the same and I would loose the seal I had created for my climate control device (thinking about it more I dont know anyone who has bent a garage door with their bare hands!). I could shout, but I would still be stuck and may cause a panic in the hood. And so I pulled my toolbox from beneath my desk and waited for the answer. It took about twenty minutes before I came up with the idea of removing the garage door with the help of my toolbox contents. No easy feat I have to say as I began to undo the bolts on the right side of the door, but I soon got those blighters off and started to feel quite pleased with my inventiveness. To be honest I wasn't sure what would happen once the door bolts where undone and in fact nothing did happen, still stuck like a ripe turd. By this time I had been in that hole for over two hours and was starting to loose my patience. And so in a last bid for freedom I kicked the bottom part of the door, again a not thinking of what would happen, and again nothing did happen. 'Right then, I will barge this bugger down' I thought as I turned and gained momentum. The next thing I knew the door had come crashing down on my badly heed leaving me blooded and angry. I was broken as was the door which was now beyond repair in its twisted, bits missing, sorry state.
So there you are, a door-less storage facility open to the elements and passers by. But the door will be fixed and my wounds will heal. And if your thinking of helping yourself to some of my work, well I have taken out the good stuff and set a few traps in the form of a large 40 kilo door that comes crashing down on your head....


Give me Morelingus..

An incredibly diverse and excellent body of work from Christopher Morlingus of which more can be seen here.
I have always liked Chris' work, but he wouldn't know that as I have never met him.
Its nice to see someone really think about their website layout and the follow on from each shot is very fluid.
I believe Portfolio 4 is my favourite and appears to be one of a new series from the last time I had a gander at this wonderful work.
The only negative thing I can think of is that there's too much work on there and you do get a little bombarded, but my websites a bit like that only more so as my colours are like sucky sweets where as Morlingus is a little more fruit pastel.
Anyway check it out and be inspired..