Category Archives: Exploring your vision

An interview with David Bailey

At the 2016 Photography Show I managed to attend An Interview with David Bailey on the main stage. Although this was the main stage at the event, it was only separated from other areas by curtains, and as result it was very difficult to hear the interview with the noise from the stage next door,  particularly as I was at the back. this was more than a pity as the David Bailey interview was a paid-for event, whereas the other stage was giving free lectures. Even worse, the noise was a disturbance to Bailey himself, which he regularly commented on during the event.

Bailey himself was in an ebullient mood, and kept the audience well amused with his anecdotes and often foul language throughout the interview. He told us how he loved shooting models like Kate Moss and Jean Shrimpton, saying that they made his job easy, as they were relaxed and able to instantly create the pose he required for the shot. He commented on taking photographs of celebrities, how some were easy, whilst others, particularly Van Morrison, were extremely difficult.

He told us of his visits to the cannibals of Papua New Guinea and more recently his visit to the Nuba Hills of Sudan. The fact that he was warmly welcomed by the people despite the dangers of rebel fighters in the area, but that how he had thought that he might not make it back due to the terrible terrain that he had to cross to get there.

He talked about his early days in East London, how he had known and photographed the Kray twins, and the poor life that he had spent with his parents as a child.


Throughout the interview his pictures were shown on screens either side of the stage, although there didn’t seem to be any particular sequence to them which was rather a pity, making his commentary jump around in terms of time and subject.

The few specific items which struck me from the interview were his comment that his interest was in creating images and that the camera was just a tool, much like a paintbrush. We were also shown one of his earliest shots, taken in the 1950’s when he was doing national service. He had been lent a camera and was learning to use it, so set up a self portrait using the delay timer on the shutter. The perfect framing of this early shot, showing him in bed with a copy of a Picasso painting above his head where other soldiers had pin-ups, made the point that a talent like his is innate and not simply learned.

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John Walker – Exhibition in Lowestoft

I took the opportunity last week to visit the exhibition by finals student John Walker at the Coconut Loft in Lowestoft.

John specialises in portraits and street photography and his finals submission was called 100 strangers. The exhibition showed several of his images which had been published in The Big Issue, along with the relevant pages cut from the magazine.

I found it particularly interesting to see the output of a successful OCA student, as it gave me some idea of the quality of images required for the course. John’s portraits, mainly in monochrome are striking and quite hard. This is what obviously appealed to The Big Issue. The photograph on the right is a portrait of one of the Big Issue sellers in Norwich.

I must admit that I do find street photography quite difficult, and I think this is a result of caution on my part. However I did find a couple of his images that quite reflected my own, so perhaps I’m not too bad.

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My photo

Other’s of John’s photographs in the exhibition included some of urban decay, whilst others were taken on the Suffolk coast showing abandoned boats.

Two things in particular struck me about the exhibition. The first was that some of the photographs showed compression loss – so called banding. This seems rather a pity and is one thing that would prevent me purchasing one of his images as exhibited. The other thing was that many of his excellent photographs had been poorly cropped when published in the magazine.

Overall it was an interesting visit, and not too far from home.

John has quite a comprehensive flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/johnwphotographer.

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Assignment 5 – Photography is simple. Take 2

Following my rather poor tutor report I decided to redo this task completely.

For the retake I decided to my fiancée as a subject. She is also doing a degree with the OCA.

In her case it is a B.A. course in Textiles, and her current assignment is to create textile designs which use abstraction based on man-made structures. For this she has decided to base her work on a nearby car scrapyard, in fact the same one that I used for my exercises leading up to assignment 2. Continue reading Assignment 5 – Photography is simple. Take 2

Photography as information

Photography is information, but that leaves the question, what sort of information?

Technically the amount of information in an image can be analysed quite easily by converting the photograph into a compressed image file, such as a Jpeg file. This works because the whole process of compression works by removing redundant or repeated information, only leaving that information which is required to recreate the original photograph. Continue reading Photography as information