Category Archives: Photo Technique

Strömholm’s Beautiful Transsexuals

Strömholm's Beautiful Transsexuals Christer_Stro_mholm_with_Panama_1968
Christer Stromholm with Panama, 1968

Strömholm ‘s Transsexuals: Les Amies de Place Blanche

Christer Strömholm (1918-2002) was ‘the father of Swedish photography’. A talented and influential photojournalist, he favoured direct contact with his subjects. He never ‘stole’ candid pictures and instead always had a relationship of some kind with the person or people he was photographing.

For over a decade, beginning in 1958, Strömholm documented the lives of a group of transsexual women (male-to-female) living in an area of Paris called the Place Blanche. His body of work is remarkable. In 2011 Aman Iman Publishing in Paris republished it as as Les Amies de Place Blanche. The price is a very reasonable 45 Euros. Continue reading Strömholm’s Beautiful Transsexuals

Reflex-Reflection: Photography’s Genius

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Pic: Rod Fleming

The unique mechanism by which photography distinguishes itself from every other visual art is something I call reflex-reflection.

Photography, although shunned by the establishment in its infancy, became the quintessential, defining art of the twentieth century.

This was not simply because photography’s roots were in the five decades immediately preceding the year 1900, nor that it blossomed, came to maturity and ultimately transformed with the ageing of the century itself. Continue reading Reflex-Reflection: Photography’s Genius

The Naked Truth

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Picture: Rod Fleming

I grew up in a world where photography, especially monochrome photography, was synonymous with ‘truth’. That was never strictly accurate, of course, and as a photographer I knew the extent to which the truth can be manipulated. Nevertheless, as evidenced by the incredible work we saw every day in the newspapers of the 60s, which I consumed with passion while still at school, a photograph was regarded as an equivalent to reality; it was not just a representation of truth, but an affirmation of it.

“Look,’ it said, ‘This is a true thing; I stand witness to that.’ Even today, when PhotoShop has put tricks of the trade that I spent years learning at the click of an amateur’s mouse, photographs brook no argument. The leaves really were that green, the sunset that orange, the woman so perfect. Yet perfect beauty was never in the sorcery of the darkroom or the airbrush artist’s hand, nor is it in the magic of digital manipulation; real beauty is actually real. It needs no PhotoShopping or dastardly manipulation, only to be seen and known, and recorded.

The other part of my life, however, is very different from the ascetic artist whose delight is in the expression of pure form or idea. As a musician, I am by definition an entertainer. And my professional photographic career has been mainly in Photojournalism. Indeed, long before I immersed myself in Weston and Brandt I was mainlining Cartier-Bresson and Don McCullin. Continue reading The Naked Truth

Film: To Sing in its Praise Today?

Film: To Sing in its Praise Today? redcastle
FIlm image of Red Castle, Angus, Scotland

So what is there to sing in praise of film?

Surely it is a nasty, dirty, smelly procedure best consigned to the bucket of history? Surely digital is cheaper, easier, faster, more modern? And worst of all, film is analogue—well that’s just not right.

 

Is it? Continue reading Film: To Sing in its Praise Today?

Low-Key Photographs: What they are and how to make them.

Low-Key Photographs: What they are and how to make them. Low-Key001-636x1024
Low-Key photograph of Exeter Cathedral, Rod Fleming 1980

Tones, Highlight and Shadows

Key is an essential consideration in all photographs. It helps to influence the mood of your picture and to define its message.

Key is just as important in colour as in monochrome work, but to simplify matters we’ll look at these separately.

  Continue reading Low-Key Photographs: What they are and how to make them.