Instamatic Days - Street Photography

      Building Sights

via British Journal of Photography -

Gerry Badger writes in this month’s issue of BJP about photography and the built environment, responding to Barbican Art Centre’s upcoming exhibition, Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age  (25 September—11 January), and Phaidon’s book covering similar territory, Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography, published 29 September. There follows an extract of his article:

There is too much artsy fartsy in contemporary photography, and architectural photography seems particularly adept at bringing out the portentous and the pretentious. There is much contemporary pictorialism, flights from naturalism and the document into the realms of the abstract and constructed – partly because this is a tendency, and partly because it seems easier, and in some ways more fun, to mess about with Photoshop. Making meaningful straight photographs is extremely difficult.

It is one of the great paradoxes of photography – the ‘art of the real’ – that so many seek refuge in pictorialism in the desperate desire to make photographic ‘art’ that is seen to be art. For example, are Hiroshi Sugimoto’s soft focus images of modernist buildings really “quietly contemplative and surreal abstractions of light and shadow, which soften the concrete walls and harsh angles of Modernism”, or are they just large, out-of-focus photographs? 

There is a particular pictorialist trope that seems to attract so many photographers it almost constitutes a sub-school within architectural photography. This tendency, of course, results in the construction of collaged fantasy worlds, using Photoshop to do what visionary, ‘megastructural’ architectural groups like Archigram did in the 1960s using pen, scissors and paste. 

But using seamless photographic methods means the distinction between art and the virtual reality computer games of the ‘Empire Building’ kind becomes blurred. The same kind of megalomaniacal bent is involved and, sure enough, I am told that this is beginning to affect standard architectural photography. Many architects are beginning to question the efficacy of traditional photography because the computer-generated images used to sell buildings to the client at the design stage – which can amount to not only amazing, seamless-looking perspectives, but three-dimensional, filmed ‘fly-throughs’ – are just so much more sexy than boring old photographs.

But if we come back to realist photography, which for me still constitutes the real, solid fare in both the exhibition and the book, there is much interest. It is good to see Walker Evans and Berenice Abbott together. They are both conduits to Eugène Atget, but whereas Abbott merely replicated Atget with her New York to his Paris, Evans took photography to a different level. In considering Atget and Evans, a question is raised by the title of the book – Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography. Just how good, in fact, is photography at depicting space – at producing a plausible replica of a three-dimensional space? 

It is difficult, but of course Atget was the great master at depicting the space of a Parisian street or a park. No one has done it better in the medium’s history. We are all familiar with his alleyways and streets, where the perspective zooms sharply away from the camera position and energises the frame to an inordinate degree. Indeed, this caused Evans to remark – exhibiting the great artist’s tendency to differ from his inspiration, rather than merely copy it – that Atget inspired him to photograph head-on. 

And that, by and large, is the tendency in contemporary photography. The photographer, or rather the camera, tends to flatten space within the picture, which makes for coherent images, lines and shapes integrated within the frame, but tends to mitigate against the ‘natural’ depiction of space. It is not a consideration for the majority of photographers, whose aim is to make ‘images’. One distinct and notable exception is Stephen Shore. His quiet, understated images are masterly expositions of the depiction of natural space in photography.

Walter Benjamin observed that photography helped one to ‘get’ a building more than the building itself. This might be true in an iconic, symbolic sense – we might think of the standard shot looking down into the central space of Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, for instance – but it is not true in a spatial sense. You can only really ‘get’ a building by being in it. Hélène Binet’s photographs of Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin are effective enough, but how can any photograph do justice to the actual feel of the underground spaces in this great building, which provides one of the most remarkable architectural experiences you can have? If you regard great architecture as theatre, this is one of the great theatres of the world.

We perhaps tend to think, especially in this Instagram and virtual reality age, that photography can be a credible surrogate for actual experience. Photography certainly is made to act as a simulacrum for actuality, and is remarkably effective at doing this in many ways, but it has its limitations. We have come to rely on it so much, and now seem to be so much in thrall to the virtual world, that we perhaps tend to forget that the ‘real’ beats the virtual every time. Perhaps it’s because they do realise, deep down, that so many photographers feel they have to ‘trick up’ the medium.

The full article can be read in this month’s issue, available direct from the BJP Shop, or from good newsagents in territories across the world. BJP’s award-winning iPad edition is also available via iTunes.

 


By BJP

      Gerd Ludwig: The Long Shadow of Chernobyl at photokina 2014 #DasWesentliche

via The Leica Camera - This series examines the photographers who are exhibiting at the Leica Galerie at photokina 2014. Today, we focus on Gerd Ludwig whose haunting images of Chernobyl won him the 2014 Dr. Erich Salomon Prize. This year, “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl” photo book was published in three languages (including an essay by Michail Gorbachev). Gerd Ludwig was born […]
By Leica Internet Team - Leica Cameras

      More highlights from Photokina this week

via British Journal of Photography -

As the opening week of Photokina 2014 moves towards its final days, we present a few more highlights from the world’s largest photography trade show. We’ll also be publishing our pick of recent product and software releases and announcements in our October print issue, which goes on sale on Wednesday 1 October.

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Lexar has announced a new professional line of memory cards – the 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards – “the fastest UHS-II memory cards available on the market today,” according to the company. Offering transfer speeds of up to 300MB per second and write speeds up to 260MB per second, the Lexar Professional 2000x cards will be able to capture and transfer 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video, as well as high quality stills images. They will be available in 32GB (£77.99) and 64GB (£135.99) capacities from the autumn.

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In addition, Lexar is to release a complementary range - Professional 1000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II memory cards, which offer read transfer speeds of up to 150MB per second and write transfer speeds up to 95MB per second. Also available from the autumn, the 1000x cards can be purchased in sizes ranging from 16GB (£24) through to 256GB (£401).

Both the 2000x and 1000x cards are backwards compatible with older cameras and readers performing at UHS-I and Class 10 speeds.

A new Lexar SD UHS-II USB 3.0 reader – the Professional Workflow SR2 - compatible with both the new 2000x and 1000x SDHC/SDXC lines, is also available.

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New from broncolor is the Siros monolight, available in output versions of 400 and 800 joules, and as a high-end and basic model. Featuring the company’s ECTC technology, the Siros allows aperture adjustments in 1/10 steps, and is compatible with bronoclor’s range of light shapers including two specially developed for Siros: an umbrella reflector, and an L40 reflector. An app – bronControl – for use with the new Siros has also been announced, which will allow remote control of the monolight’s functions via wifi using a smartphone or tablet. In addition, the company is to release a new HMI 1600 light system, which will sit within the broncolor 200-800 watt continuous light range, and can be used with both flash and daylight.

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Elsewhere, Lowepro has joined forces with Underwater Kinetics to launch a new Hardside Series of camera cases for professionals. With a tough ABS resin cover, the new airtight cases provide “100%protection” against dust and sand, and are watertight for 30 minutes in 1 metre of water, according to Lowepro. Three designs are available: Hardside 400 Photo (£215) and 300 Photo (£170) for DSLR kits, and Hardside 200 Video (£145) to house action cam kits such as GoPro.

Joby also announced new accessories in the form of the Joby Suction Cup & Locking Arm – a mounting solution for use on surfaces prone to vibration, priced £33 – and the Joby Action Series Suction Cup & GorillaPod Arm (£25) - for use on surfaces with little vibration. Both are available from November. For professionals seeking absolute stability and support, there is the Joby GorillaPod Focus + Ballhead X (priced £140), and the Joby Flash Clamp & Locking Arm (£35).

photo-Hoepker1-940x704 Image © Gemma Padley

Elsewhere, Leica Camera AG’s exhibition, themed around music and photography, featured work by enthusiast photographer Jamie Cullum, among many others, as well as images by Thomas Hoepker, who was awarded the Leica Camera Hall of Fame Award. 2014 Leica Oskar Barnack Award winners Martin Kollar, and Alejandro Cegarra, who won the Newcomer Award, also had their work on show. A moving tribute to Anja Niedringhaus who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this year, was also on display.

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Image © Gemma Padley

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By Gemma Padley

City life 7 by kujaja - [Editor’s choice]This is not really street photography BUT if you want to see some really great street photography visit our new website: http://ift.tt/1ezM9uy to see the super great street photography! click