“Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the photo as a judgment that the photograph is good”

– Garry Winogrand


OT Sunday.

20 years ago we had Johnny Cash,
Bob Hope and Steve Jobs.
Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs.
Please don't let Kevin Bacon die.
Bill Murray.


I have frequented Dungeness more times than I care to remember and mentioned it on this mighty blog more than once or twice. But this place is a real gem, and one of my favorite hang outs in the UK. And so it was I packed some sandwiches and made haste in an attempt to free my mind and basically just walk around like I was in some old Leo Sayer video.
The first time I visited the post apocalyptic coastal village was about 18 years ago when I was trapped in Ashford, Kent, for the summer after falling for some dark haired wench, with eyes of brown and Arga in the kitchen. I was given loan of a Red Mini Metro which soon became known as the Tomato which got me far from the exploits of young love armed with a roll of Tri X and a small Contax camera.
Dungeness is one of those places where everyone has to take a photograph, usually of a crusty old boat or Derek Jarman's old nest, and despite its (over) popularity, I still love it after all these years..


Mahatma Gandhi
“I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.”
Mahatma Gandhi


Michael Douglas (a Perfect Murder)

Another hour with Michael Kenna.

I still loose myself every now and then in the work of Michael Kenna. Looking back now he has probably been one of my most,the most, influential photographer in terms of imagery. If you want consistency, he is your man. No matter where it is on the planet, he seems to sum up these timeless, magical images with the most simple of techniques and graphic form. Same format, same print size, same camera, same technique. He has never changed his style, tried to reinvent oneself, or sold out for a fee large format colour printer. I cannot think of any other photographer that has achieved so much photographically including the likes of Burtynsky and his recent Oil epic.
What is surprising is that he only has one teeny tiny gallery here in the UK which says a lot for British taste in my opinion, despite the countless number of books and exhibitions over the years and the fact that someone is buying a lot of prints somewhere..
I would urge you to take a look here, sit back and enjoy.
Many have tried to emulate his work with their ten stop Graduated Filters, and stumps in water, but theres only one original, and thats Kenna.


Shortcut, 2012.

I always liked the dark winter nights as a youth. Not because I would get up to no good under the cover of darkness you understand, I just liked the darkness, the street lights and the transformation of well known surroundings.
It will come as no surprise to my regular peeps that my first colour images were taken at night and a large part of my memory projects images are made at night for this very reason. It also accounts for my love of small powerful flashlights, candles and fire. But thats a whole other topic.

Facts and trivia on street lamps..

Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) lamp is by far the most efficient light source used in street lighting. The lamps produce a monochromatic orange-yellow light, from lamps which are long and skinny.
It's not that orange is 'chosen' over white because of its colour, but that the 'best' (efficient and cheapest) form of light happens to be orange.


The Photographers' Gallery – review

Soho, London
• Edward Burtynsky's Oil at the Photographers' Gallery

Light relief … a view of the fifth floor of the Photographers' Gallery in London
Light relief … a view of the fifth floor of the Photographers' Gallery in London. All photographs: Dennis Gilbert/View

Founded in a converted Lyons tea bar on the edge of Covent Garden in 1971, the Photographers' Gallery has, for over 40 years, been a major London venue – a place that has put on shows of grisly Mexican reportage featuring everything from earthquakes to arson; displayed the strange and astonishing archives of the London fire brigade; and mounted work by many of the world's most famous exponents of the medium.

  1. The Photographers' Gallery,
  2. 16-18 Ramillies St, London
  3. W1F 7LW
  1. Venue website

As photography has changed and expanded, so has the gallery: its cafe and bookshop were invariably packed, but it was always too much cafe, not enough gallery. In 2008, it moved to a woefully inadequate, low-ceilinged former textile warehouse behind Oxford Circus. It was a dismal corner, an area of blank walls and unloved pavements that did not appear a step up in the world.

The gallery closed for refurbishment two years ago – and reopens on Saturday. I was not optimistic. But by doubling the gallery space with a two-storey extension, Irish architects O'Donnell and Tuomey have done a terrific job. The building is elegant, airy, and lets you focus on the work. Two new layers of high-ceilinged galleries have been added, meaning photography, film, video and digital imagery, as well as works that demand controlled humidity and light levels, can finally be shown in the right conditions.

A second shot of the Photographers' Gallery.

With its cutaway black rendering, stretches of the original, late-Victorian patterned brickwork and a wraparound ground-floor window, not to mention floor-to-ceiling windows on the upper storeys that stop you thinking you're standing in a box, the £9.2m renovation is more than a mere makeover. The ground-floor glass is being referred to as "the Edward Hopper window", after the American's 1942 painting Nighthawks, a depiction of a desultory late-night diner. Late-night dive or not, the gallery still has a cafe fixation.

A digital wall, currently showing artworks based on antediluvian 1987 GIF image file technology, reminds us how much photography has changed and goes on changing. The photographer in a fishing vest, Hasselblad in hand, is fast becoming extinct. Everyone is a photographer now, but photography means many things. Just as darkrooms close and film becomes unavailable, photography itself has become the most ubiquitous and democratic medium of all. As it races on, the new gallery is trying to keep up.

The opening shows – by Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and the New Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective – are so-so. The building's the thing. The real fun will start on 13 July with the Deutsche Börse, one of the world's most important photography prizes.


Conscientious | Is Internet Art Commercially Viable?

Conscientious | Is Internet Art Commercially Viable?

I shall bring peace to the world through photography.

Johno Driscoll. Photo: Tim Marshall, text: David Secombe.

John Driscoll, outside the Horseshoe, Clerkenwell Close, 2011. Photo © Tim Marshall.

David Secombe writes:

Any photographer who came of age in the pre-digital era can still summon up the clammy, vertiginous mix of excitement and fear which attended a trip to the darkroom to review the results of a shoot. Most London labs (invariably located in basements) reeked of fixer and testosterone: some establishments referred to their clients as “the enemy”, and any cock-ups or infelicities on the part of the photographer left the hapless smudger open to mockery, abuse and, it was rumoured, actual physical violence from short-tempered darkroom staff. This added a certain nervous tension to the experience of checking out your film. But there were some noble exceptions to this rule.

John Driscoll, who died on Monday, was the proprietor of the legendary Johno’s Darkroom – black and white only – an establishment supreme of its kind, its reputation resting on John’s brilliance as a printer and warmth as a human being. On any given day from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, a bewildering array of images would pass through Johno’s – haute couture, music, hard news, fine art – but whatever the subject, all John’s prints bore that exquisite, luminous quality which made him the printer of choice to the likes of Nick Knight, Craig McDean, Elaine Constantine, Eamonn McCabe, Sean Smith, and many, many others. His printing technique was matched only by his generosity and enthusiasm for the work of the photographers he admired.

Johno’s was a sort of club for the profession. You’d wait for John to finish your prints, swap notes with other photographers, sneak a look at pictures other people had brought in and inwardly (and occasionally outwardly) remark upon the quality of them. You’d exchange stories and bad jokes with his colleagues Jason and Paul (later it was Barb and Cherie), and glimpse John emerging from the dark now and again to take a call, retouch a print or send someone to the bookie’s with a hot tip and a tenner. When all the rush jobs were cleared, we’d migrate to pubs in pre-gentrification Clerkenwell or Hoxton (John was based in Hoxton Square for much of the early 1990s, and his darkroom was next door to where White Cube stands today), where John had to be forcibly prevented from buying every round. Very often, his wife Barbara – the other half of the Variety double act – would be at the lab, and could usually be persuaded to come out for a drink: much shouting and hilarity and missing of trains home would ensue. Everyone felt good around John, he could energise a room simply by walking into it.

The best photographers went to him because he was the best, but all the bullshit surrounding the profession fell away when you were in his company. Some photographers might be prima donnas in the wider world, but no-one outshone John in his own domain. And it was unwise for, ah, naive photographers to treat John as just some kind of tradesman; more than one photographer was shown the door because John thought his or her work was fraudulent. Yet, for some of his clients, John was prepared to do much more than just turn out lovely prints. Occasionally, John would receive rolls of film from some flailing, desperate young photographer, fearing disaster after a fraught shoot on a big assignment. In a war film, John would have been the cheerful sergeant steadying the nerves of an inexperienced officer: if John was on your side, you were all right. He’d get you through. He was the relief column. There are a number of very successful photographers who have very good cause to be grateful to John. He inspired tremendous loyalty. We weren’t his clients: we were his devotees.

John first went to work in New York around the Millennium. It was at the request of Craig McDean, who had him flown out at the expense of a client as he was the only black and white printer who could do Craig’s pictures justice. He ended up founding Johno’s NY and stayed in the US until the rise of digital eroded the market for traditional printing, retiring to Brighton only a few years ago. Of course, he wasn’t really retired, he was looking to get a darkroom going on the south coast, or a gallery maybe – somewhere where he could share his love of photography and showcase the work of his friends and clients, a place to show “all those wonderful images that need to be seen”.

With grim irony, I learnt of John’s death on the same day as I heard of a new digital camera from Leica: the ‘Monochrom’. It only takes black and white images – the idea is that a digital chip will duplicate the look of the finest black and white photographs. It’s worth stopping to consider the proposition: that a piece of hardware can replace the care and dedication which transforms a negative on a piece of celluloid into a work of art on paper. I can’t see it myself.

I think of John casually producing a box of prints he’d made from my negatives, and asking if I was happy? The prints glowed from within. I was so grateful I wanted to cry. I’d grabbed a few pictures in difficult conditions for a demanding client and he’d turned them into objects of beauty (saving my arse in the process). You can’t replace that with a chip. An age is passing and we are the poorer for it. I grieve for an irreplaceable friend.

… for The London Column. © David Secombe 2012.


Food Stor. Wendover USA, 2004
Flaming Truck, Amboy, USA 2004

I miss my old colour ways. Images without rhyme or reason, just nice juicy images full of hope and glory...

The wait is over...



19 May - 1 July 2012

Print this page

“In 1997 I had what I refer to as my oil epiphany. It occurred to me that the vast, human-altered landscapes that I pursued and photographed for over twenty years were only made possible by the discovery of oil…”
- Edward Burtynsky

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has travelled the world to chronicle the effect of oil on all our lives, and to reveal the rarely seen mechanics of its production and distribution.

This exhibition shows three sections from Burtynsky’s series OIL: Extraction and Refinement, Transportation and Motor Culture and The End of Oil. The works depict landscapes scarred by the extraction of oil, and the cities and suburban sprawl defined by its use. He also eloquently addresses the coming end of oil, as we face its rising cost and dwindling availability.

Burtynsky's colour photographs render his subjects with a transfixing clarity of detail. From aerial views of oil fields and highways ribboning across the landscape, to derelict oil derricks and mammoth oil-tanker shipbreaking operations, we are confronted with the evidence of our dependence on this finite resource.

Edward Burtynsky (b.1955) is one of Canada's most respected photographers. His photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over fifty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Edward Burtynsky: OIL was organised in close collaboration with Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam, Gallery Nicholas Metivier in Toronto and the artist himself.


I nabbed this from the POTY website (take a view landscape comp) as it tells us all how to take a good picture. But you probably cannot see it, you can click on it, but I wouldn't bother)..


Please be seated..

I have so many pictures of chairs to show them all would bore you to chair death. Its not the actual chair that I am interested in when I make a photograph, usually its because a chair, or chairs, happens to be in the frame that I have chosen, or, I am intrigued as to why the chair is there and just have to photograph it. I never intentionally go out looking for them. As I write I am reminded that I have done a post like this before and called it Take your Seats, but never mind.. I like to think about who might of sat in the chair, or perhaps it was dumped there in a rage, just waiting for someone to sit on it. Truth is I never know, but thats whats nice about the randomness of chairs, especially when they are placed out of context, ie, outside in a juicy landscape and not at a table or as part of a set..
Moonshadow, Cheshire 2005
Coca Cola, Death Valley 2005


Silloth Diner, 2012

Monument Diner, 2004

That old Monument Diner image is still a favorite of mine and a favorite of others considering that the editions have now sold out apart from a few left in the 20/24" sizes.
My latest version has all the makings of a 'Monument Diner'. The subject matter, the composition, the light. All very similar, but totally different. This one was made in Scotland in a little place called Silloth. A regular day trip destination when I was a nipper. The mountain (more like a big hill than a mountain) in the window goes by the name of Griffel. I made it to the summit with my granddad a long time ago.
Not even sure if I will actually make this image into an edition as I think there is too much attachment and I would deem it too personal for the public to adhere to. But you never know.
Checkers. Rovinji, 2011
This image is from a series I have been doing for a book of images of Croatia. It was one of those, 'going back to what I know', and perhaps what I do best. The all knowing night shot..
It may be time to step out into the twilight once again..

Photographer Michael Scalisi’s Book Follow Me to debut at Ralph Lauren’s RRL Stores

After his book of road-trip photos and essays landed in the hands of a fashion executive, the Bruce Weber–mentored artist found himself with an exclusive vendor for his adventurous, authentically American work.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11

When artist Michael Scalisi was growing up outside Boston, his adoptive father pressured him to become a postman, like himself. “I would have gone postal!” Scalisi says. “You definitely would have heard about me.”

Instead, Scalisi fled to New York in the late 80s to become an actor. Cast in an occasional good part and tapped for a 501 Jeans TV ad, he soon fell in love with the city that so effortlessly absorbed him. “It was as if I had been born in the wrong place,” reflects Scalisi, who spent his early years in foster homes and an orphanage, “and the first identity assigned me was not truthful.”

One aspect of his identity that Manhattan swiftly revealed to him was his otherworldly beauty. At one time or another, Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Duane Michals, “and a dozen or so others” scouted him, usually on the street. But the photographer who re-oriented his life was Bruce Weber. “If I had to point to one person from my youth who had a lasting influence, it was Bruce—the reading lists, the movies to watch, the conversations. Bruce told me I was a writer before I had ever written anything. He told me to buy a camera.” Weber, who hired Scalisi to do voice-overs (“because he sounds like my favorite tough guys”), also arranged, in the early 90s, for him to travel to Cuba. For a year, Scalisi survived on the sales of the black-and-white pictures he brought back from Havana, taken with a $38 Olympus.

By Marcus Andersson.

Scalisi’s rapid mastery of photography—he began to study, deal, exhibit, and collect in the field—in turn awakened in him “a deep passion for art, American art. Ed Ruscha’s paintings practically gut-punched me on first sight.” As a consequence of another chance sidewalk encounter, he worked for a year as Cindy Sherman’s assistant. “Cindy turned around for me the formula of what’s beautiful and what’s ugly. If a person can change the way you see things, they become a Buddha of sorts.” The artist-Buddha who loomed largest on Scalisi’s autodidactic path, however, was Ed Ruscha, whom he finally befriended in 2006. “Ed is by far the most original person I’ve ever met,” Scalisi notes.

Shortly after Scalisi’s first film, Spit—a noir-ish 20-minute comedy short, which he both wrote and directed—debuted at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, he hit the road in a rental car, on a solitary westward quest. “At best you discover your true self; at worst, run out of gas and you sleep in your car for the night,” he observes. Explains Ruscha, “Michael’s a restless adventurer, whether he’s out in urban places or open spaces.”

Scalisi documented the sights of his journey—a one-eyed cowboy guitarist, eerily elegant roadkill, a blazing sunset descending behind a lurid motel sign, a gilt-edged horizon reflected in the sleek silver side of a delivery truck—with a twin-lens Rolleiflex. “Michael likes the good tones of older times,” Ruscha states. “He’s happened upon these things rather than gone searching for them. Basically, what Michael’s saying, is ‘Bring on the world.’”

Inspired by Ruscha’s example, Scalisi decided to self-publish his square-format photographs, along with four short essays typed on an antique Royal, as a book entitled Follow Me. As he was fastidious about the quality of the printing, and he was nearly broke, to pay for the undertaking he worked construction, during the summer of 2010, on Lincoln Center’s renovation. It was he, for instance, who placed the stainless-steel letters alice tully hall on the theater’s façade.

The postscript to this latest chapter of Scalisi’s urban-bohemian folk tale arrived when a finished copy of Follow Me landed in Ralph Lauren executive Alfredo Paredes's hands. The company’s official response was to acquire all copies of the book and, starting on May 17, to sell them exclusively at its RRL shops nationwide. From now on, Ruscha surmises, Scalisi will “be inventing his own future.” Weber envisions Scalisi “at 95” continuing “like a modern-age Neal Cassady” to roam on bikes and in cars, “with a paperback book of poetry in his back pocket.”

Scalisi’s future, at least the very near one, will involve pursuing a Headlight Portraits series (people photographed only by the light of cars), recordings of city sounds on the verge of extinction (such as the clink of coins dropping into pay phones), and another short film, this time semi-autobiographical and tightened to 10 minutes. “Life without a camera seems very dismal to me,” Scalisi remarks. “I have found the greatest joy on both sides of one.”

See the whole thing here..

Oh Come On....!