Review – Ed Ruscha – Every Building On The Sunset Strip

Ed Ruscha (1937)

cofFig. 1. Every Building On The Sunset Strip (1966)

Every Building On The Sunset StripFig. 2. Every Building On The Sunset Strip (1966)

These images are important to show together. The first is a close up of part of the whole sequence, which appears to be made by taking photos incrementally that slightly overlap. They start at one end of sunset strip and are taken down the whole length of the road, and then back on the other side. Ruscha then had these printed into a strip book, with one side of the street the correct way up, and then the other side is upside down at the bottom of the page. I consider this sequence to be documentary photography, that becomes a historical artifact. The presentation is the most appealing aspect, and how I would love to own this, and slowly explore each page, look at the shops, buildings, people and transport. I have had a look online and certainly cannot afford the originals (£1,000 – £7,000). If any body is aware of later additions which are more affordable, then I would love to know where I can buy it.

At first glance the photos look to have been taken at different times of day and have a change of light conditions (I could not imagine a project of this nature being undertaken in one day). The montage that is the correct way up, the space in between and then the images that are inverse, add together to create a scene that is as if the viewer were looking down from above, but with a slightly altered perspective. I love it, and it has inspired me somewhat, although what is coming to mind for me is a different take upon the theme. When I start exercise 3.1 Searching, I will use my camera at eye level and take a shot every few seconds as I walk around either Durham or Leeds, so that I have a record of my journey. Once I have developed them I will turn them into a photo-video. This will be a sequence that records a journey, but also becomes a documentary style,  historical sequence.

Anyhow, back to Ruscha.

Although the photos were taken along the Strip and then stitched together, the interval that Ruscha took the photos means that there were physical gaps between where each photo was taken. This means that although the complete photo is a historical document, it is partial. There is a lot of symbology to the image that I had missed completely, the rise of the car and the increase of urbanisation and sprawl. Both of which were concerns at the time (Hacking, 2014; 408, 409)

MoMA records that Ruscha had built upon the work of Walker Evans ” but their deadpan, cool aesthetic is radically different. While each book chronicles an aspect of Los Angeles or the artist’s round-trip drives between LA and Oklahoma, their use of photography as a form of map-making or topographical study signals a conceptual, rather than documentary, thrust.” (MoMA Gallery Label; 2012-2013)

The above quote has been a little difficult to get my head around, map making and topography are conceptual rather than documentary? Rushca’s map making is dissimilar to maps created by Ordnance Survey which provide accurate and detailed coverage of the complete area of the map. Ruscha’s photo books are partial and incomplete representations of journeys that he chooses to take, and he chooses when to make the shot. They become a representation of something that he wants to explore and tell, rather than what is there. Exploring the themes that arise from Sunset Strip, cars, urbanisation, which are in my opinion both conceptual and documentary. I don’t believe that they have to be considered as an either or. The polarisation by analysis is a concept of the reviewer (including me)/academic, and their beliefs take the viewer further away from the photo, and even more distant from the subject. I have gotten myself a little carried away.

If anyone is able to shed further light or ideas on the documentary/conceptual themes I would be grateful to hear them.

What ever ideas have been explored I like Ruscha’s style of photography, and would love to get my hands on some of his work.


Figure 1; Ruscha, E; 1966; Every Building On The Sunset Strip [Offset lithograph on paper]; In: Hacking, J; 2014; Photography The Whole Story, Page 408; London; Thames and Hudson

Figure 2; Ruscha, E; 1966; Every Building On The Sunset Strip (1966) [Offset lithograph on paper]; AT:


Hacking, J; 2014; Photography the Whole Story; London; Thames and Hudson

MoMA Gallery Label; 2012-2013; The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook, April 16, 2012–April 29, 2013; Online AT: (accessed on 23/02/2018)

Ordnance Survey; Online AT:

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc; 2018; Edward Ruscha; Online AT: (accessed on 23/02/2018)


Review – John Hilliard

Brief:- Images in Sequence. What defines a sequence, as opposed to a series, is the connectivity of the images in time or concept. Make sure that you are clear about the difference between a series and sequence. Photographers have used sequences of images in many different ways.

John Hilliard (1945)

Sixty Seconds of Light 1970 by John Hilliard born 1945Fig. 1. Sixty Seconds of Light (1970)

Initial thoughts – This is a hard sequence for me to get to grips with. There are 12 photos, displayed in a line on a gallery wall. Each image shows a clock, and after looking very closely I can see that there is a time progression that flows through the series, in five-minute intervals from 12.05 through to 12.00. The images start off dark and then becoming increasingly lighter with the passing of time. This suggests that the exposure also gets progressively longer with each passing five minute passage of time. There is an obvious time and light sequence, is there a perceptual one. What springs to mind is moving from night to day, from death to life, or from life to death with the ethereal ghosting effect that increases with the exposure. I am more inclined to go along with the second, because the symbology feels more accurate. The lack of colour or warmth, do not suggest to me that it’s about the day or even progression of seasons. There has to be a metaphorical meaning though. The sequence is too dull and non distinct to purely be about the passing of time.

Sixty Seconds of Light was the foundation for Hilliard’s future works “Camera Recording its Own Condition” (1971) and “The Twelve Representations of White” (1973). The Tate catalogue Entry (1975) Reports that Hilliard had used a dark room clock as the subject of the photos, and whilst developing the negatives he increased the time of exposure to the developer in five second increments (the clock hand that moves in the sequence is the second hand, not the minute hand), as well as increasing the exposure time by five seconds (shutter speed) whilst taking the photos. Hilliard believed that the camera does lie, and that any photo that is taken is not a representation of “Truth”One factor that led to Hilliard’s concern with this theme was his consciousness, beginning when he was still a sculptor, of the extreme inadequacy of the often single photograph by which a sculpture was better known than it was in three dimensions, to convey the reality of the work’s appearance, despite the strong impression of reality given by each photograph.” (The Tate Catalogue Entry, 1975)

Jennifer Quick writes “The work of John Hilliard (b1945), like that of many conceptual artists, problematizes photography’s relationship to fact. Hilliard’s photographs, such as Cause of Death? (1974), point towards a future that has become a reality in which digitally altered imagery is the dominant mode”  (Hacking, J; 2014; 413)

The ideas that relate to photography as a representation of truth, photography as a distortion of truth, photography as art, conceptual photography, and the modern-day compulsion to film or photograph every event and therefore miss the experience, are relatively new to me. Reading, studying, following the blogs of OCA degree students (many of their blog posts explore these themes) are opening my eyes and mind to what photography is or is not, depending upon your perspective. However I have to say that this intrigue is an intellectual one at the moment, and I don’t find the sequences of Hilliard as being something that I wish to photographically explore or emulate.



Figure 1; Hilliard, J; 1970; Sixty Second of Light [Gelatin silver prints on paper]; AT: (accessed on 23/02/2018)

Feature Image; Hilliard, J; March 2016 – May 2016; John Hilliard “Town and Country”; AT: Brescia: Massimo Mini; AT:


Hacking, J; 2014; Photography the Whole Story; London; Thames and Hudson

Tate Catalogue Entry; 1975; John Hilliard, Sixty Seconds of Light 1970; Online AT: (accessed on 23/02/2018)

Review – Duane Michals

Brief:- Images in Sequence. What defines a sequence, as opposed to a series, is the connectivity of the images in time or concept. Make sure that you are clear about the difference between a series and sequence. Photographers have used sequences of images in many different ways.

Duane Michals 1932

AndyFig. 1.

Initial Thoughts – Perspective. Series rather than sequence? Both? I’m going to say this is a sequence. A sequence that is comprised of differing perspectives, rather than chronological or motion. The perspective then becomes conceptual, and is an exploration of other. It breaks down what it means to be a person, a question of identity. Are we made up of parts? Is the whole more than the flesh and bone of being human? Am I just physical features and attributes. The first three images would also stand as a tryptich – see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil? or the converse, see evil, hear evil, speak evil.

As you can tell this sequence speaks to me. Out of all of the many series that I saw of Michals’, this was the one that I was drawn towards. Interestingly this sequence is by no means the favoured or famed portraits that Michals made of his friend Andy Warhol. In fact I have struggled to find any information about this series online.

It’s a different concept of photographs as sequence than I have seen so far. Its a concept that I like, the change of perspective tears down, and deconstructs in its own right. It’s this deconstruction that then prompts me to examine the concept of identity, self and other. I find it hard to see the “other”, because of the questions that arise for me in relation to my own personal question/raison d’être “Who am I?”

Michals presents his sequences in differing formats, and although Andy x 4 is presented in a left to right timeline, he uses vertical timelines, and grids of various sizes.

There is so much to explore, discuss and write about Michals, but as I am trying to stick to the brief, I will leave that for when I study photography at degree level. The other concept that I like about Michals photography is his use of hand written text on his photographs, that enhance the story telling that is created by his use of frame by frame sequence.



Figure 1; Michals, D; 1980; Andy x 4 [Gelatin Silver Print]; AT: (accessed on 22/02/2018)

Feature Image; Michals D; 973; Things are Queer [9 Gelatin Silver Prints with hand applied text]; AT: (accessed on 22/02/2018)


Anderson, JF; 2018; Documentary and Portraiture Photography, Case Studies, Duane Michals; Online AT: (accessed on 22/02/2018)

DC Moore Gallery; 2018; Duane Michals Biography; Online AT: (accessed on 22/02/2018)

Woods, K; 2014; Book Review: ABCDuane by Duane Michals; Online AT: (accessed on 22/02/2018)


Review – Keith Arnatt – Self Burial

Brief:- Images in Sequence. What defines a sequence, as opposed to a series, is the connectivity of the images in time or concept. Make sure that you are clear about the difference between a series and sequence. Photographers have used sequences of images in many different ways.

Keith Arnatt 1930 – 2008 Photographer or Artist?

Although I would like to explore Arnatt further I will save that for a later date, and keep my focus on the brief. Arnatt is truly fascinating in his approach to art, and used photographer to develop conceptual pieces of art (O’Hagan; 2015).

Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969 by Keith Arnatt 1930-2008Fig. 1. Self-burial (television interference project) (1969)

Initial thoughts – The title is helpful and reflects the self burial, although I don’t as yet understand the “television interference project”.

The sequence of photos show the differing and sequential stages of “self burial” The lighting is consistent, so its highly likely that the photos were all shot on the same day, although this was not done alone. Although the camera could be set on a timer, to dig himself into and out of a hole would have taken support. The patch of dirt grows in size, which also emphasis the sequence. Although the work is conceptual in nature, the sequence is time bound and time progressive. It appears that Self-burial builds upon his previous works Liverpool Beach Burial and Invisible Hole Revealed, which explore death, burial and deceit. Further works of Arnatt’s explore photography and its incongruity in relation to the camera as a means of showing truth.

“Arnatt was fascinated with works of art that are created in the natural landscape but leave no trace of their presence behind. ‘The continual reference to the disappearance of the art object suggested to me the eventual disappearance of the artist himself’, he wrote. This sequence of photographs was broadcast on German television in October 1969. One photo was shown each day, for about two seconds, sometimes interrupting whatever programme was being shown at peak viewing time. They were neither announced nor explained – viewers had to make what sense of them they could.” (2009)



Figure 1; Arnatt, K; 1969; Self-burial (television interference project) [Gelatin silver prints on paper on board]. (1969); AT: (accessed on 21/02/2018)


O’Hagan, S; 2015; Keith Arnatt is proof that the art world doesn’t consider photography ‘real’ art; Online AT: (accessed on 21/02/2018)

Pocock, P; 2015; Arnatt, Keith – Liverpool Beach Burial 1968; Online AT: (accessed on 21/02/2018); 2009; Gallery Label, Self-burial (television interference project) (1969); Online AT: (accessed on 21/02/2018)

Review – Michael Wolf – My Favourite Things

Hong-Kong-Break-1--5-pieces-2015Fig. 1. Hong Kong Break #1 (5 pieces) (2015)

Initial thoughts – Similar verticles create ease on the eye and link the photographs together. Similar tones. I like the fact that the workers taking their breaks are only partially visible. The apparent poses follow the theme of suggesting a person taking a break. The lines, tone and glimpses of the subjects create a series that has consistency and flow.

Hong-Kong-Flora-1-2014Fig. 2. Hong Kong Flora #1 (2014)

Initial thoughts – Although the photos have different colour schemes they also have a similar tone. The grid format of presentation works well here and emphasis the shapes of the windows and pipes. I believe that this works well because it highlights that the flora is not the main subject per say. These are not biological photos of flowers and plants, but they represent the hardiness and gentleness of nature in over coming the harshness of man made structures. However, I also find there is a beauty in the combination of structure and nature, and I think its the balance that is provided between the hard lines and gentle flora.

The emphasis on part three of the courseowrk is communication and narrative. A story is told in both of these examples of Wolf’s photography, and an individual photo would not have the strength that his series convey. Presentation as a series reinforces the visual alliterative, and the lateral and logical processes required to deconstruct photography and discover a personal interpretation.



Figure 1; Wolf, M; 2015; Hong Kong Break #1 (5 pieces); Online AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 2; Wolf, M; Hong Kong Flora #1; Online AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)


Gallery Fifty One; 2018; Michael Wolf : Blind walls and night trees – My favourite things: Online AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc; 2018; Michael Wolf (photographer); Online AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Review – Gerhard Richter – Atlas

Brief:- Take a look at Gerhard Richter’s Atlas. You’ll see that Richter has placed together multiple images of a similar subject – a particular colour in the sky, similar types of buildings, trees and types of portrait. Its called a typology.

Gerhard Richter, 1932, Dresden. Studied fine art, influenced by Lucio Fontana, Jackson Pollock (McCarthy, T; 2011)

Volker Bradke 1966 Atlas sheet 26Fig. 1. Volker Bradke (1966)

Initial thoughts – Two photos of the same person. Possibly a young armed forces recruit, national service, the hair cut and the shirt suggest this to me. The blurred image is symbolic of the person left behind. The personality change from the boy and innocence that was, becoming the man that is, the clear head shot of the new recruit. A very simple typology of two photos that create a narrative. My analysis may be in-correct but this typology does create a story for the viewer to interpret.

Fur 48 portraits 1971 Atlas sheet 30Fig. 2. Für 48 Portraits (1971)

Initial Thoughts – Mahatma Gandhi and Moa Tse Tung are immediately obvious. The other men look like they are men of importance, their dress and the formality of many of the portraits suggest this. Most have a serious and studious expression. These men are considered to be great thinkers, philosophers, scientists and leaders of their time. The photos are displayed in grid format, and there are a further 10 sheets, one of which contains a biography and two are representations for an installation. This typography appears to be documentary and representative in style.

Further reading highlights that Richter found these images in books, and are of prominent people whose portraits were taken in between 1824 and 1904. The men are all white, no women at all. Richter then painted 48 of these people for the German pavilion of the 1972 Venice Biennale. I find it interesting that although the photos in the 8 sheets include politicians and artists, Richter chose not to include these in his final 48. (2018a; Casella, A) Casella quotes Richter’s reflections upon this series “I am interested in the speechless language of these pictures. Heads, even if they are full of literature and philosophy, become quite unliterary. Literature is invalidated; the personalities become anonymous. That’s what is important to me here.” (2018b; Casella, A)

Mountain Ranges 1968 Atlas sheet 129Fig. 3. Mountain Ranges (1968)

Initial Thoughts:- Rather dull monochrome images of mountain ranges. Banal, sterile and the only obvious context is they are a representation of mountains. Does exactly what it says on the tin, with no meaning beyond the representation. However, these photos, as with many of the typologies from Richter’s Atlas, are props for his drawing and painting. The Mountain Range series becomes a tool so that Richter can create both literal and abstract works of art. Richter seems uncertain of what his art represents. He has stated that painting is about discovering the known, a literal representation, and then in the same interview he states that painting is about the unknown and incomprehensible (abstract) (McCarthy, T; 2011). My impression is that different aspects of Richter’s work have different meanings, and ask different questions of the viewer.

Gebirge 1968Fig. 4. Gebirge (1968)

Richter is both an artist and photographer, and he uses these skills in their own right, and also combines them together and overpaints photography (see Overpainted Photographs here).


Figure 1; Richter, G; 1966; Volker Bradke Atlas sheet 26; AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 2; Richter, G; 1971; Für 48 Portraits Atlas sheet 30; AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 3; Richter, G; 1968; Mountain Ranges Atlas sheet 129; AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 4; Richter, G; 1968; Gebirge (amphibolin on canvas); AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)


Casella, A; 2018a; Notes; Online AT: (accessed on 20/12/2018)

Casella, A; 2018b; Notes; Online AT: (accessed on 20/12/2018)

Richter, G; 2018; Overpainted Photographs; Online AT: (accessed on 20/12/2018)

McCarthy, T; 2011; Blurred visionary: Gerhard Richter’s photo-paintings; Online AT: (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Review – Nick Knight OBE

Nick Knight (1958)

Dolls, SHOWstudio 2000Fig. 1. Dolls (2000)

Initial Thoughts:- Bold, colourful, model, overpainting (digital or oil?) I think the overpainting is done with paints, on top of a photo, then uploaded and enhanced. Creative, mix of beauty, softness, brash and rough. The paint is slapped on, not without care, but the clothes have been roughly painted, other than the scarf, which is quite delicate. I both like it and dislike it. I find it beautiful and ugly, and I think that’s the point. Knight raises the question about beauty with this photo. What do we think is beautiful? Why? It’s a real smack in the face question about whether I, the viewer, sees beauty as only being skin deep.


Isabella Blow Fashion Galore Catalogue, Somerset House, 2013Fig. 2. Isabella Blow (2013)

Initial Thoughts:- My gosh. This is so clever, soft and delicate. Digital manipulation. The pixel painting has created a curtain type effect and this makes it appear that Isabella is partially in front of and behind a curtain. The colours are gold, red, black, grey (silver) and orange and they work well together, they compliment. They way Knight has manipulated the image makes the model look incredibly skinny, more so than what she is naturally. Her body is twisted and in profile, whilst her head and neck is just slightly turned. The pixel painting has not added anything new to the photograph. Instead there is a smooth smudging of what is already there. Linear marks. Other-worldly. It evokes thoughts of hovering between life and death, and says to me that the balance between the two states can be quite beautiful and precarious. A slight breeze and she moves beyond the curtain in either direction.


TR-NIKN-000179Fig. 3. Louis Vitton (1996)

Initial Thoughts:- Heroin chic, Photoshop colour replacement brush, elongated figure, her clothes hang off of her, her pastel turquoise skin has been over-painted, and is not a result of lighting. I strongly dislike this photo. It reminds me of illness, of anorexia, of substance misuse. It appears to me that Knight is making a political statement against the so-called beauty of the heroin chic era/model/look. This photo was made in the heart of that era. Pretty beautiful or pretty ugly is the question that I feel that I am being asked. It also feel like this photo is deliberately made as a parody, a piss take, a reaction against the trend.

Knight does not believe that photography is or has ever been a medium of truth. Photography is always a creation between the participants i.e. the photographer and the photographed.  Although on first viewing of his site, all of the models appear to be thin, and beautiful, he has photographed people of all ages, and sizes, ethnicity and disability and he believes that all people are equal. He tries to push and challenge himself with his photography, and this includes the challenge as to what is beauty really? As for digital manipulation, he sees this as being a step forward. Photographers have always enhanced and manipulated their photos, but the digital ages makes this more easily possible. He says “Photographers aren’t machines that have no feelings and no opinions, they’re storytellers; they manipulate the reality in front of them to tell you something interesting about it – and that holds true of everyone from Diane Arbus to Helmut Newton.”(Frankel, S; 2009).

Knight is a very popular fashion photographer, and this is because he is both complimentary and conceptual, and he has an extensive CV. He founded in 2000, and this is an online, interactive fashion studio, with many creative collaborators. He has also directed music videos for Bjork and lady Gaga (; 2017).


Figure 1; Knight, N; 2000; Dolls; AT: (accessed on 30/11/2007)

Figure 2; Knight, N; 2013; Isabella Blow; AT: (accessed on 30/11/2017)

Figure  3; Knight, N; 1996; Louis Vitton; AT: (accessed on 30/11/2017)

References; 2017; Nick Knight; Online AT: (accessed on 30/11/2017)

Frankel, S; 2009; The Fabulous World of Nick Knight; Online AT: (accessed on 30/11/2017)

Robertson, E; 2017; Nick Knight “I commit with my heart and soul”; Online AT: (accessed on 30/11/2017)

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; 2017; Heroin Chic; Online AT: (accessed on 30/11/2017)

Exercise 2.2 – People and Activity Research

Before you begin shooting, ask yourself what kind of photographs you want to make. Will they be candid photographs like Henri Cartier-Bresson’s or distant views of activity like Andreas Gursky’s? Will you seek out key gestures, facial expressions and telling relationships like Martin Parr or make ‘snapshots’ of characters in the maelstrom of life like Robert Frank? Will you try to frame the activity in a specific lighting effect like Trent Parke or will you seek to capture cultural details like Manuel Álvarez Bravo? Go online and research these well-known practitioners.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 – 2004) renowned for being the developer of candid street photography. The decisive moment, setting up the shot, waiting for the action to present itself. Used small, often unnoticeable Leica with 50mm lens. People were therefore more natural and not playing up to or avoiding the camera. Often got very close to his subjects. Black and White. Decisive moment  more visible in Soviet Union, Moscow, 1954. Excellent composition, and often creates tension between subject in opposing thirds (diagonally). Leading lines, people, space, good tonal range. Dignity. Are these photos to aesthetic? Does he really photograph life as it is? (the aesthetic beauty suggests otherwise?) Founding member of Magnum Photos.

INDIA. Punjab. Kurukshetra. A refugee camp for 300.000 people.  Autumn 1947.Fig. 1. A refugee camp for 300.000 people (1947)

Andreas Gursky (1955) Oh my gosh. What can I say about him. He is a photographer and digital artist. Some of his photography appears very crisp, and detailed, with small aperture, and others don’t appear to have any clarity what so ever, and are  deliberately abstract. I get that he explores the effects of capitalism and how it impacts upon people and the natural environment. It has taken me a while to get to grips with his photography, with an initial repulsion that I had to wait to settle down, and the ntake another look.

My mind had certain preconceived ideas about what photography is, and Gurskey shatters these, and that’s why it has taken me a while to adjust. The other thing to consider is that I am only impacted by his photos based upon what I see upon a TV screen, and his art/photography may be 2 meters by 10 meters. I would love to experience being involved in photography with that proximity.

He is a master of digital manipulation and will blend different photos of the same scene together, so that the image is distorted in some way. He uses a variety of other pixel painting, digital over painting, pixelate and blur techniques, in order to alter his images.

I am writing this preparing for exercise 2.2, so I am not completing a thorough review here, but I would like to come back to him. At the moment his work is a little to abstract for what I have in mind for my planned shoot.

Hauptversammlung-I,-Diptychon,-2001Fig. 2. Hauptversammlung I, (2001)

Martin Parr (1952) One of the things that I try to get right with my photography is tidiness. Cropping at the edges to remove distractions, being aware of other distractions within the frame. This doesn’t bother Parr. His photos have parts of clothing where people are walking out of the frame, the edge of cars, litter etc. I do not believe this is an accident. He makes use of this to confirm the roughness that he presents, it is a prop for him to add impact to his photography.

It’s hard to look at Parr’s traditional photography, without being aware of the criticism that has been levelled against him, “Parr’s depiction of New Brighton holidaymakers was viewed by some as a grotesque and cold satire that ridiculed the working class” (Hacking, J, 2012; p455) I have seen interviews previously where he has defended his photographic style of showing what is there, however, when you view his more recent work you can see the criticism has impacted upon his photographic style. He has gone from being edgy, cutting edge, pushing the boat out and taking risks, to producing technically good photos at events where he has clearly been invited, and people know who he is and why he is there. It’s no longer candid, nor a challenge to view and interpret.

I find it quite interesting that I have this response. As somebody who is not comfortable with candid street photography, I prefer those earlier series produced by Parr.

If I was going to draw on Parr for inspiration for this exercise, then I could use both candid and more staged photography. I intend to be shooting in an environment where the staff know that they will be photographed on a regular basis, and without needing to gain permission, and combine these with photos of the public that are candid for large groups, and with consent for individuals and small groups.

I am reviewing photographers regularly now, and can see that you don’t have to make technically correct and aesthetically pleasing photos all of the time. With Parr, juxtaposition is more important than aesthetics. There is clearly an element of Cartier-Bresson in the photography that Parr produces. The juxtaposition is how he captures the decisive moment. His desire to capture human expression, which borders on humiliation of individuals, is paramount. Parr clearly has a vision of what he wants to capture. I do not believe he wants to humiliate the working class, but rather to show the disparity between life for those of different classes. There is a strong humanitarian impulse in his photography, although you need the inner space to consider this without preconception and prejudice.

London Undergorund and bus stops 1994Fig. 3. London Underground and Bus Stops (1992)

KENYA. Nairobi. The Karen Country Club. Table service outside the club. 2010.Fig. 4. Karen Country Club (2010)

Robert Frank (1924) The Americans 1958 – Frank is a photographer who I will explore more fully in the future. A renowned street photographer who was influenced a little by his friend Walker Evans, but more so by the Beatnik poets and writers. He moved to America in 1947, and his trips around America during the mid 1950’s gave him the opportunity to explore and present Americans as an outsider. He was curious to explore what was a new culture to him. (Wikimedia Foundation Inc, 2017a)

The facial expressions are key in Frank’s candid street photography, and I can see why he has been suggested in the brief for exercise 2.2. I see dignity, and contemplation throughout the series The Americans. Maybe Frank’s curiosity and contemplation of a society that was unfamiliar is why he chose the photos that he did (only 83 out of 28,000). The three photos that I have selected all capture emotion and leave me with a sense of feeling, sadness, perhaps anxiety as well. I am looking at these photos with an understanding that street photography is about capturing mood, however Frank was one of the first photographers to use emotion to make his photos, rather than to provide technically astute and pleasing “documents” (Kim, 2013). I have not seen many of Frank’s photos, but I can pick up on a racial tension. It is through the reading of articles that I become aware that the truly challenging nature of Frank’s photography was that he explored, photographed and presented the sides of America that were kept hidden, and showed the depths of despair that was felt in many communities.

Detroit 1955Fig. 5. Detroit (1955)

Funeral St Helena 1955Fig. 6. Funeral St Helena (1955)

IndianapollisFig. 7. Indianapolis (1956)

The capture of emotion and the people’s expression are pleasing to me, and something that I can capture a little of during the exercise. I will shoot in colour, but as I am capturing something of the historic, then I may convert to black and white in the developing process.

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902 – 2002) His photography is crisper, cleaner and more artistic than that of Robert Frank, and although Striking Worker Murdered (see below) is graphic and bleak, his photography doesn’t have the emotional impact of Frank. I believe that as he photographs as an insider he does not allow his documentary photography become street photography. However his influences were different. His interests in art, cubism, abstract, and architecture can be seen throughout his photography and over 70 years of making photos. Many of his images are made collaboratively with the people that he photographed, they were either posed or semi staged so as to appear natural. It is apparent that most of the people who he took photos of, knew that they were being photographed. He makes good use of a small aperture and large format camera to bring out the details of the people and buildings that he shoots.

Striking-Worker-Murdered-1934Fig. 8. Striking Worker Murdered (1934)

Figures in the castleFig. 9. Figures in the Castle (1920’s)

The above photo has good composition and lighting, but the interest comes from the reflection of the domed ceiling, along with the stairs. It reminds me of a bird-cage, and the two women are standing on the perch. I wanted to include this image because it is a representation of the artistic influence of Bravo’s education and before he had contact with other photographers. Bravo was a self-taught photographer (Wikimedia Foundation Inc, 2017b) and I find this quite exciting. Because he was not influenced by other photographers, he had an eye for what felt and looked right to him, and without the need to photograph properly. I admire the artistry of his photographs.

How can I allow his influence in the exercise? The keys here are using your eye. What looks good to me? Does something look artistic? How can I capture the texture best? Depth of field – What is appropriate for the shot.


Figure 1. Cartier-Bresson, H; 1947; A refugee camp for 300.000 [Gelatin silver print on paper]; At: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Figure 2. Gurskey, A; 2001; Hauptversammlung I [C – Print]; At: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Figure 3. Parr, M; 1992; London Underground and Bus Stops; At: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Figure 4. Parr, M; 2010; Karen Country Club; At: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Figure 5. Frank, R; 1955; Detroit; At: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Figure 6. Frank, R; 1955; Funeral St Helena; At: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Figure 7. Frank, R; 1956; Indianapolis; At: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Figure 8. Bravo, MA; 1934; Striking Worker Murdered; At: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Figure 9. Bravo, MA; 1920’s; Figures in the Castle; At (accessed on 11/10/2017)


Cartier-Bresson, H: 1954; Soviet Union: Henri Cartier-Bresson; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Hacking, J; 2012; Photography The Whole Story; London; Thames and Hudson

Kim, E; 2013; Robert Frank’s “The Americans”: Timeless Lessons Street Photographers Can Learn; Eric Kim Photography; Online at: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Wikimendia Foundation Inc; 2017a; Robert Frank; Online at: (accesses on 11/10/2017)

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; 2017b, Manuel Álvarez Bravo; Online at: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Also Viewed

Andreas Gursky; Online at:

Gagosian; Online at: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Magnum Photos; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; 2017; Henri Cartier-Bresson; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Scharf, A; 1998 (re-edited up to 2017); Henri Cartier-Bresson: French Photographer; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Tate; Online at: (accessed on 11/10/2017)

Review – Anthony Luvera – Residency 2006 – 2011

This project fascinates me because it is about collaboration. Luvera did not take the photos, he invited his subjects to make the photos, after he had spent time teaching them how to.

  • Project followed on from Photographs and Assisted Self-Portraits 2002 (ongoing)
  • Inspired by Belfast Exposed Photography
  • Explored ideas around ethics and collaborating when making documentary photography
  • Regularly visited The Welcome Centre, which is a hub for people without permanent accommodation
  • Helped to prepare and serve meals
  • Got to know people and explained his project
  • Gave people cameras so they could make photos of things that interested them
  • Met with them regularly
  • Taught them how to use large format camera and how to take assisted self-portraits
  • Doing so blurred the boundaries between subject and photographer
  • Went with participants to the areas that mattered to them
  • Participant set up equipment and used remote shutter release
  • After this he used sound interviews to discuss the experience and their photographs
  • Self representation provides a documentary record that shows the person behind the local authority statistics that are kept about people
  • A reflection of individuality
  • Not necessarily a reflection of reality, as the director or artist involved in these kind of projects have an impact upon image production and representation

As someone with an interest in sociology I feel very grateful that my tutor suggested that I take a look at this project. It raises the question of how I can involve my subjects more with the creation of their photo. There is also the need to consider who has control of the image, how and where it will be displayed and the right to remove consent at a later date.

A person may agree to their photo being made use of for a project, but what should I do if they then decide that they no longer want their image to be used? Can they make use of their photo themselves? I have not used a model release form for any of the people who I photograph. I do gain verbal consent, and discuss how I will make use of the photo, but is that enough? I certainly think that I should begin to explore model release forms, and would also need to consider the wording. Does the form need to be generic or project specific? is there an opportunity to edit a basic form with a subject, so that it can be relevent to them?

Certainly food for thought, especially in relation to how I can get people more involved in the creative process as a collaborator. This really interest me.


Luvera, A; 2002 (ongoing); Photographs and Assisted Self-Portraits; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Luvera, A; 2011; Residency (2006 – 2011); Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Belfast Exposed Photography; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

The Welcome Organisation; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Also Viewed

Seymour, Tom; 2015; Belfast Exposed – A Photography Gallery That Crossed the Sectarian Divide; UK; 1854 Media Ltd; Online at: (accessed on 09/10/2017)

Review – August Sander

Blacksmiths 1926, printed 1990 by August Sander 1876-1964Fig. 1. Blacksmiths (1928)

Initial Thoughts:- I have uploaded all three photos before collecting my thoughts, and I must say that this photo surprises me a little bit when compared to the others, and to his photography as a whole. The surprise being that the focus is on the anvil rather than on the people. I have accessed Sanders photography on the Tate website, and his portraits are wonderful, and in the overwhelming majority of his photos it is the people who take centre stage (WordPress compresses photos and this has an effect on sharpness, however, with re-viewing the photo on the Tate website it is clear that the focus is beginning to drop off of the faces anyway.)

Two blacksmiths in working clothes, which are surprising clean for what can be hard, dirty, manual labour. Focal point is hammer and anvil? is this a representation of the rebuilding of Germany under Adolf Hitler? (I don’t know when Hitler was elected so I will check this later) Could it be a statement about strength? Oy maybe about the German work ethic? (As Henning Wehn would say “We Germans, we like a laugh, no honestly we really do, we really do, just like the Brits, the only difference is Germans laugh once the work is done” (Live at the Apollo (2015))

The man on the left looks stoic and proud and the guy to the right looks a little apprehensive. There has been a little staging so that the photograph could be made within the context of their work and behind the anvil, and the photo is posed. I believe the fire is to the rear left of the photo, although I cannot be sure. Neither of the men appear to be hot, and there is no smoke in the photo, which leads me to guess that the men have been photographed prior to work.

The photo when taken on its own does not fit the category of reportage or photo journalism. It has a feel of social documentary, especially when the symbolism of the anvil is taken into account.


National Socialist, Head of Department of Culture 1938, printed 1990 by August Sander 1876-1964Fig. 2. National Socialist, Head of Department of Culture (1938)

Initial thoughts:- Formal, staged, posed photograph, of a man with significant status within the Nazi Government. A former soldier, wearing dress uniform showing his military decorations upon his chest. Is it significant that the swastika is at the forefront of the photo? I do not know. Maybe the symbol is on the other sleeve and I will have to look into that. If it is upon both sleeves then it is not a symbolic statement, however if it only appears upon the left then I would say it is. The man is viewed in profile rather than face on, and that makes this a very formal photo. His head is isolated from the background curtain, and this has been achieved by having a light source coming from the direction that the man is looking towards. The light brings out highlights throughout his face and this separates the tone of skin and the tone of the background curtain.

The emphasis and learning points for me here are in relation to lighting, not only of the features, but as a means of isolating the face from the background. The formailty and status is clear in this photo, and is emphasised when compared with the face on photo titled Non-commissioned Officer (1944), however when you then compare this with the photo below, which could be studio photography, then it does not appear that Sander is making a judgement about class or status, rather he represents what is.


Political Prisoner 1943, printed 1990 by August Sander 1876-1964Fig. 3. Political Prisoner (1943)

Initial thoughts:- This is a photo that I like because it tells me something. The title becomes a text anchor. It makes a statement about the man in the photo that is definite and leaves no space for interpretation. And yet the mans eyes ask questions of the viewer. He is making a direct challenge about our perception of him as a prisoner, daring us to judge, and question. He is also at ease as to why he is a political prisoner. I sense confidence and self-esteem. The lighting comes form the front and slightly to the left, and the man not having a top on creates the isolation of him from the background. What initially look like scars upon his chest, and potential signs of ill treatment, turn out to be stretch marks upon closer inspection.

The fact that he doesn’t have a top on is meant to take this mans dignity away, although this has not been engineered by Sander, and can be seen in other photos of political prisoners that he has taken. I suspect the attempt to reduce dignity is part of the Governments treatment of political prisoners. When this photo is looked at with an open mind it is clear that it has been taken in a very dignified fashion. I suspect that it cannot have been easy for even a German photographer to be take photos of political prisoners. Perhaps Sander was employed by the Government and this was meant to be a propaganda photo? Regardless of Sanders role, this is a sympathetic photo.

Reflections and Further Reading

Sander has an art at ensuring his subjects are photographed with dignity, and there does appear to be neutrality. The impression that I get is of a photographer that will endeavour to bring out the best from his subjects, and take their photos in the environment that they spend the majority of their time. When viewed as a collection they are, what I would describe as, social history photographs that aim to present facts without a bias towards status. He has made photos where a victim of persecution, political prisoner, policeman and architect appear to be studio shot, and others of a string quartet, bricklayer, painter, teacher, nun and SS Captain in the natural environment.

Sanders used a large format camera with long exposures, and this will explain why some of the people are not as sharp or as crisp as the environmental objects (Washton Long; 2013).

Pepper Stetler comments upon this In Photography the Whole Story “Face of Our Time presents a cross section of the German Nation organized according to occupational and social types…Its heterogenity is why the Nazis destroyed copies of both the book and the publisher’s printing blocks in 1936.” (Hacking, 2012:299)

His subjects are well-lit, and are often naturally framed against walls, windows, or the natural environment, and others appear to be studio portraits. In the majority of his photos the people, as subjects, stand out from the backgrounds, even when they can be quite cluttered.

In some of his photos there is an element of individuality shining through, and this is also apparent in some of the more formal photos such as Touring Player and Raoul Haussmann as Dancer.

Response to my questions in the text

Germany was under a coalition government led by Hermann Muller in 1928. (Wikimedia Foundation Inc, 2017)

German Officer dress uniforms had a red armband with the Swastika Motif, that was worn on the left arm only. The officer may have wanted to show the motif, but from reviewing Sanders photography I do not believe tha the had any symbolic agenda, and he took and presented his photo as a matter of factual representation.

Sander has been described as a “leftist” and therefore not politically neutral, and that he was a German who spent time photographing and associating with Jews whilst they were actively being persecuted (Washton Long; 2013).

The Economist Newspaper sates “Despite persecution by the Nazis (his son Erich, a committed Socialist, died in prison in 1944), Sander travelled little” (The Economist Newspaper; 2009)

I am left with one question. How was a man who is disliked and persecuted by the Nazi Governement allowed to photograph the German Political elite and armed services, and able to photograph Political prisoners and Jews?



Figure 1. Sander, A (1928) Blacksmiths [Photograph, Gelatin silver print on paper] At: (accessed on 05/10/2017)

Figure 2. Sander, A (1938) National Socialist, Head of Department of Culture [Photograph, Gelatin silver print on paper] At: (accessed on 05/10/2017)

Figure 3. Sander, A (1943) Political Prisoner [Photograph, Gelatin silver print on paper] At: (accessed on 05/10/2017)


Google Inc; 2017; Image search: German Officer dress uniform 1938; Online at (accessed on 05/10/2017)

Hacking, J; 2012; Photography the Whole Story; London; Thames & Hudson

Live at the Apollo (series 11, episode 5) (2015) Directed by Paul Wheeler [BBC TV comedy series], London, BBC Programmes, viewed via YouTube At:

Mulligan, T and Wooters, D; 2016; The George Eastman House Collection: A History of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day; Koln; Taschen GmbH

Sander, A; 1944; Non-Commissioned Officer; Online at (accessed on 05/10/2017)

The Economist Newspaper; 2009; The Photographs of August Sander: Twentieth-Century Man: A photographer who believed he was enabling self-portraits; Paris; The Economist Newspaper Limited 2017; Online at (accessed on 05/10/2017)

Washton Long, RC; 2013; August Sander’s Portraits of Persecuted Jews, Tate Papers, no.19; London; Tate; Online at (accessed 5 October 2017)

Wikimedia Foundation Inc; 2017; German Federal Election 1928; Online at,_1928 (accessed on 05/10/2017)

Also Viewed

All titled photographs that are discussed, but not shown in the text, can be viewed online at (accessed on 05/10/2017)