Friday, 29 April 2011

2-2



Another one from St Patrick's Day. Another set is featured here.

All day breakfast cold drinks

Sunday morning at the Synagogue



A quick shot of a dignified lady who was talking to the greeters at the synagogue, taken on the same Sunday morning and just moments after the Cube mall photographs. Somehow, Sunday morning light often seems gentler and more lovely than at any other time of the week. Perhaps light is partly a frame of mind.

Singers Hill Synagogue -- which I have featured previously here -- is a lovely place to photograph in and around. If it opens its doors to the public again this year (I believe an open day is planned again as part of the annual heritage open days weekend from the 8th-11th September) then I shall definitely be there.

Lovely People

Opening a new upmarket retail mall in the current economic climate must be a triumph of hope over expectation. Here is the new Cube development (alongside Birmingham's Mailbox) deserted on a Sunday morning. The curious sculptures, collectively called 'Lovely People', are by local graffiti artist Temper and feature Midlands people whose stories are inspirational.



There's something rather spooky about some of these figures when the mall is empty, shimmering under its carefully designed lighting system.

Merry-go-round

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

'Take to the Streets'



Kudos to everyone involved in making this happen... From the 18th May a free street photography exhibition opens in the Snow Hill Plaza -- photography about the streets, on the streets.

'Take to the Streets: Street life around the world through the eyes of Magnum photographers'.


And here's the exhibition in situ -- Chris Steele-Perkins' 'Young mothers outside a Print Club photo booth, Tokyo', with Birmingham passers-by.



And Richard Kalvar's 'Tired dog, Paris, 14th arrondissement, Rue de l'Ouest, 1974' with newspaper headline poster and passer-by.

Monday, 11 April 2011

'The Photographer'

I've just bought a copy of The Photographer -- a book I had never heard of, by a photographer I had also (shamefully) never heard of. Published by Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, The Photographer combines the graphic novel with the photographs of French photojournalist Didier Lefevre, who died aged just fifty in 2007. Lefevre photographed Afghanistan over the course of about twenty years, including the Soviet war.

The Photographer is a sort of photography book-cum-graphic novel. Once you see it -- and it isn't a small floppy comic book: it's as large and as well-printed as many photography books -- you'll wonder why no one thought of combining the two mediums before.

You can download a great press briefing about Lefevre, his fellow graphic artist Emmanuel Guibert, and the book that became a phenomenon here. There's a 'Sunday book review' of The Photographer in the NY Times here.

And it really is superb. If you're put off because you're not fanatically interested in photography, don't worry: it isn't really about photography. It's about human willpower and determination -- it's about journeys, it's about 'mending what others destroy', it's about.... Well, read it. That's the best advice. It certainly isn't quite what I expected. If you wonder what MSF expeditions in war zones entailed twenty-five years ago, then this will tell you. And if you want to know more about Afghanistan during the final years of the Soviet occupation, this will tell you. And if you want the shortest and most succinct history lesson about the twenty years that led up to the 11th September 2001 attacks, the brilliant little intro to this book will tell you.

In fact, for someone who has never before read a graphic 'novel' of any description, I can't recommend it highly enough.

And of course, in many respects the saddest and most touching thing is that this book is largely responsible for whatever public profile Lefevre now has as a photographer. He died in 2007 having only published one collection of photographs in his lifetime -- now out of print, of course -- and with the vast bulk of his work unknown.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Birmingham mods

For all the scary looks, these guys were incredibly patient while I dogged their footsteps (and tire marks) taking pictures...



Monday, 4 April 2011

Lion/boy

Irish faces

This must be the fifth or sixth consecutive year that I have photographed Birmingham's St Patrick's Day parade. It gets bigger and bigger. This year I wanted to try and capture something different: focusing on people as they gather and get ready produces by far the most interesting pictures to my mind anyway, and here the occasion has the atmosphere of a small town festival.