Friday, 16 September 2011

Sometimes you get lucky...

This was one of earliest street photographs I took. I just found it again while reprocessing some old scans (that's one of the other things that happens -- you realise your early attempts at film scanning desperately need improvement).

Anyway, it's a picture I'm very fond of. One of those (very rare) instances when a fully-fledged composition just unfolds in front of you...

At the community centre

More rediscoveries from a few years ago. These men in the picture below are Poles and are waiting for lunch to be served at a Polish community centre -- in fact, the centre you can see in the second photograph.

These were taken some time apart. The one below on a Saturday during a bitterly cold winter's afternoon, not long before the light became too poor to carry on taking pictures. I was attracted by the Katyn memorial and so grabbed a shot as the young man with unmistakeably Slav features emerged. I didn't know then that I would go back there to photograph during one of the centre's events.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dancing with light

The other day I came across a link to the website of a French darkroom printer -- a woman called Nathalie Lopparelli, and her printing business in the heart of Paris.

What an enviable set-up. The tall atelier windows look out on a courtyard of cobblestones and potted shrubs. But what really counts is what goes on in the darkroom -- and this woman has printed for Salgado, Haas, Stanley Greene, Doisneau and other greats.

Traditional darkroom printing is an arcane skill, but her website has a rather marvellous short film so you can see for yourself. Watch as her hands weave gracefully in the light from the enlarger -- she is burning and dodging to bring up or suppress particular areas of the print, but to me she dancing with light, and it is as choreographed as a secret ballet in the dark.

If you have ever wondered why -- or how -- the black and white photographs of the real masters look as luminous as they do, the answer is that behind them there is someone like this, dancing with light.