Monday, 21 November 2011


This was taken two or three years back at a 'Celebrating Sanctuary' event, I think it was. Sometimes you snap away all afternoon at these things and nothing falls into place. The dynamic, close-up pictures you thought you had die as soon as you look at them: there's too much unresolved clutter in the frame, everything refuses to cohere into a pleasing, well-composed moment when things fall into place, never to be repeated -- at least, not quite as they were at that fraction of a second when you pressed the shutter.

This was one of the lucky moments. A good sky, beautiful buildings offering a fine background, lovely action in the foreground. Click.

(And in the spirit of the huge new book Magnum Contact Sheets, I've just been looking at the frames that led up to and away from this moment and they are....rubbish.)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Another from this sequence. I really ought to get round to archiving larger scans from these negatives and maybe I will, but for the moment these relatively small ones will have to do.

John Loengard

The great thing that the internet has done for photography is to make it possible to stumble almost endlessly on names and work that is new to you.

That is also the worst thing it has done – opening the floodgates to billions of mediocre and uninteresting photographs, often posted (in fact all too frequently posted) on websites devoted to high-end photographic equipment. One might almost be tempted to explore whether some sort of inverse relationship exists between owners of the most expensive cameras and the interest of the pictures they take...

But put that aside. There is an interesting article here by photographer and picture editor for both Time and Life, John Loengard. A new name to me. Which I'm sure reflects my appalling ignorance rather than his obscurity.

I enjoyed it because he reduces what is often a grossly mystified subject – how to take good, interesting photographs – to the plainest of speaking. He says:

"It is not important if photographs are “good.” It’s important that they are interesting."

He also says:

"...I assumed that 'good photographers' took 'good pictures' because they had a special eye. What I found was that good photographers take good pictures because they take great pains to have good subjects in front of their cameras."

Those three sentences alone constitute a photography class...