Going down to Margate


Image @ Charlie Engman,an emerging fashion and art photographer included in the Wandering Bears exhibition at MargatePhotoFest.

MargatePhotoFest is back for the second year on 13 and 14 August, featuring work by some of the hottest new fashion and art photographers

Author: Diane Smyth

It's already famous for Tracey Emin and the newly-opened Turner Contemporary gallery but Margate now has another attraction - the MargatePhotoFest.

Launched in 2010, the festival focuses on contemporary photography and last year included exhibitions by Jason Evans, Ed Thompson and Vinca Petersen. This time around Peter Kennard is creating an installation based on his @earth book and Wandering Bears is curating an exhibition of emerging photographers including Anouk Kruithof, who recently won the grand jury prize for photography at the Hyeres festival of fashion and photography, and Charlie Engman, an emerging fashion and art photographer who has worked with i-D, Vice magazine and Urban Outfitters, and whose image is shown above. Wandering Bears is a collective of young photographers founded by Peter Haynes plus Nik Adam and Luke Norman (who work together as elplusen).

MargatePhotoFest will include nine exhibitions in locations around Margate's old town, plus a talk by photographer and author Kevin Meredith. The festival theme is 'organic', and the organisers are calling on the photographers and curators involved to "make connections with the outside, exploring the structure of groups, the viral nature of the idea and the formation of grassroots culture". The organisers also emphasise the grassroots nature of the festival, stating that it offers an "alternative to the large scale regeneration projects in the area". MargatePhotoFest is held on 13-14 August.


It seems to be the strangest time for photography at the moment. At least it is for me.
I have been at a crossroads in my career quite a few times, but this is more like a crossroads with an underpass, a suspension bridge and a couple of roundabouts.

Its interesting that I seem to be dusting off a lot of my older images regarding prints sales and interest. For this I have no answer, if I did maybe I wouldn't be walking round the house in track suit bottoms and day dreaming about the simplicity of a 35mm Canon F1, a roll of Tri X Pan and days out with my wee dog Toby the whippet (actually no one knew what he was).

Whilst wading knee deep in negs and contact sheets the other day I was astounded at how much film I used to shoot. I was never concerned with the costs back then (don't forget it was considerably cheaper to shoot film ten years ago). I was hungry for it in a way that's hard to explain. A sort of addictive desperation to go out and shoot. But that's not something I miss as it used to drive me doolally.. I would spend whole nights in the darkroom producing print after print unconcerned with sleeping or eating. I was indeed hungry..
These days things are much slower. The urge to go out and shoot is still there, but it can wait a while. There's prints that need doing, but I need a full belly and a good nights sleep first.

My photography hasn't changed, but everything else has....


The road to success is always under construction.


V&A to open permanent photography gallery

Gustave Le Gray - Victoria and Albert Images

The Brig, 1856, by Gustave Le Gray (1820-84) © V&A images.

V&A Museum in London is set to open the Photographs Gallery, its first permanent space that will showcase its collection of photographs

Author: Olivier Laurent

V&A's new permanent photography gallery, called the Photographs Gallery, will open on 25 October with a display of works by "key figures of photographic history including Victorian portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron and significant works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus and Irving Penn."

V&A plans to "chronicle the history of photography from its invention in 1839 up to the 1960s," using the photographs it holds in its collections. The display will be "re-curated" every 18 months, says the museum.

As part of its first exhibition, V&A will showcase its oldest photograph - a daguerreotype from 1839 of Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square in London. It will be shown alongside works by Curtis Moffat, Anna Atkins and Gustave Le Gray, among many others.

The new gallery will also have two "In Focus" spaces, each featuring the work of one photographer "represented in depth in the V&A collection." The first two photographers are Julia Margaret Camera and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

For more details, visit www.vam.ac.uk.



So I had a bit of a jolly to New York (as you do) and thought it would be good to recharge the batteries and take to the city streets with a digital compact. In the past I would always have a compact loaded with film and always enjoyed producing a series of small prints.
Anyway, I was doing quite well snapping away and thought I had at least 10 worthy images. With any digital compact type camera I often don't check the screen and try to get as close to 'the olden day' techniques as possible. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake as these two images were the only ones I had on the card.
Basically the camera packed up and produced nothing but black.
I hate digital compacts..



You may want to check out the Royal Academy's Summer Show whilst on your holidays. Great to see a fair amount of photography in there being taken a bit more seriously amongst the brush strokes. I have to be honest most of the work is not my cuppa but there's a few crackin pieces in there, in particular, my favourite, the work of Angus Fraser and his hill of crosses.
Also at the Royal is Eyewitness, Hungarian photography in the 20th Century. This is a superb exhibition and includes some of my all time favourite photographers including a large selection of Kertez and some Brassi Paris night scenes which are just magical.

Two great shows. Inspiring and proper.....


Monkeys take photos with camera stolen from photographer David Slater

camera monkey

An inquisitive monkey became fascinated with his reflection in a camera - and this is the result. Picture: Picture Media

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David Slater camera monkeys

Photographer David Slater was visiting an Indonesian national park when monkeys took his camera. Picture: Picture Media

  • Monkeys pinch photographer's camera
  • Use camera to take hundreds of pictures
  • It was amazing to watch - photographer

SNAP happy monkeys have commandeered a wildlife photographer's camera and taken hundreds of photos.

The crested black macaques were obviously not content with just stealing wallets and food from tourists' pockets.

Photographer David Slater set his camera up on a tripod to take some shots of the “not so clever” monkeys. He left the equipment for mere moments and when he returned one of the animals was monkeying around with it.

He told The Guardian: "They were quite mischievous, jumping all over my equipment. One hit the button. The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it.

"At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back – it was amazing to watch.

But then the animals seemed to settle down.

"He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back."

When is Planet Of The Apes Out..


The snot coloured car and a baldyman.

Picnic, Pula 2011
Green Merc, Pula, 2011

As I mentioned in my last post I often look for similar themes wherever I may be with my camera. Cars (as some will know) often appear in my work although it's been a while since I saw one worthy of a sheet (of film that is). I love the fact that the car is a vile lime green, parked on green grass, in front of a green bush.

Trees, or parts thereof (see above) are another common benefactor in my work. I did make two exposures, one with the baldy man, who I am sure called me a tosser in Croatian, and one without. I do find myself putting humans in my work from time to time, although you would never know. I find that this particular image works well with the small figure adding balance and interest to the image.

Blue Time..

Sea Ghost, Rovinji 2011
Steps, Pula 2011

You would think after four years of photographing the coast that I would of had enough of such things. But the coastline, where ever it may be, is a fascinating subject, especially when a 'Doyle Blue' is added* (kindly see above). I always find it interesting looking for similarities in the landscape in other parts of the world, it kind of makes you feel at home. I guess its a bit like looking for a Chippy in Spain, or a British pub in the States.

*A Doyle Blue is something I came up about eight years ago. It refers to the blue of the sky due to the time of day I like to shoot. Well, if you can have a Klein Blue, why not a Doyle Blue.


Bryan Shutmaat. Heartland series.

Very nice series by Bryan Shutmaat here.

Reminds me of my own work when I spent time in the States and judging by the young lads CV I was around the same age (well may be a little older).

I was having to look through a whole stack of old work the other day, in particular my American images of which there is around 300 or so prints. It's quite sad for me that this body of work never really got exhibited much apart from a few key images (think Monument Diner and Hollywood which are now almost sold out) as I believe it to be some of my finest work. But that's what you get when you swan around with no pressure, an open brief and the open road for three years and then don't anything with the images.
The work feels different now and is indeed more precious as it triggers memories of perhaps better times.

Anyhoo, enough reminiscing. Time for new work...