Review of Contact Sheets by Sidewalls Magnum Photos

As one of my current tutors suggestions, I was asked to take a look at Sidewalls Contact sheet website for inspiration on supplying how contact sheets are, and have been used in the past. The website  here  http://www.widewalls.ch/buy-magnum-contact-sheets/ reminds me of the film days, when I myself shot on a Nikon F3 and Brinicba ETRS-i mdiim format camera during my LRPS course, which I never managed to complete at the time due to travel and work.

I was interested in the contact sheets of some of best past photographers of our day. On the website it mentions the following :

‘If you’re a fan of analog photography of Magnum photographers, these will be your lucky seven days. Only in the week between November 23rd and December 1st, 2015, you will be able to see and buy prints of the original Magnum contact sheets, created by the agency’s most notable photographers. Moreover, your purchase will support a charity, as 50% of net profits from the sale will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the occasion the first Seasonal Benefit. A total of thirteen Magnum contact sheet prints are currently available over at their store, at a discount price of $175 each. Among them, we can find some of the iconic moment immortalised on filmstrip of Elliott Erwitt, Werner Bischof, Eve Arnold, Martin Parr and Guy Le Querrec.’

And another section quotes:

‘In the age of digital technology, filmstrips, darkrooms and analogue cameras became almost completely obsolete, and these prints give us an exclusive insight into famous photographers’ visions and the way they worked their path towards the capturing of the perfect image. We witness how a large part of a photographic work usually never leaves its contact sheet, as only a couple of the best pictures from it actually get to see the light of day. A sort of a visual diary of their creator, the prints contain editing marks and selection comments, as a sort of a “behind-the-scenes” and a complete narrative of some of the most famous shots in contemporary photography, told through a filmstrip sequence.’

I feel with the age of digital we do not have the chance to see what is never used and discarded on the digital darkroom floor. One issue I find hard with digital and when asked to produce a contact sheet, is without seeing how certain images could have been changed, it would take a lot of time to manipulate images and show hoe changes would be made, as opposed to the actual pen markings on a film based contact sheet which can be easily identified.
Sample contact sheet from http://www.widewalls.ch/buy-magnum-contact-sheets/
magnum contact sheets contact sheets photographers sheet books print images email edition book search hudson history history history thames contact book contact story best digital

Left: Thomas Hoepker – Muhammad Ali, 1966 / Right: David Hurn – The Beatles, 1964

Reading further on the website it later gives examples of other contact sheets of famous photographers and even now offers the option to purchase some of these never seen to the public contact sheets such as the following states:

‘The Decisive Moment of Magnum Photos

Still of an immense importance in the world of documentary photography and photo reportage, Magnum Agency was founded in 1947 by leading photographers in the field, such as Robert Capa, David Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger. One of the first photographic cooperatives owned and administered entirely by its members, Magnum has covered some of the most important events of the 20th century, developing an extensive image archive still updated on a daily basis – there are approximately one million photographs in both print and transparency and over 500,000 online as we speak. The Agency specialized in catching pure moments of truth, following the notion of “the decisive moment” introduced by Cartier-Bresson. In today’s world, where photography often lies, Magnum photos bring us back a reality we’ve slowly started to forget. You can buy Magnum contact sheets on the official store website. All Contact Sheet Print orders will be shipped starting December 9th.’

I certainly wouldn’t mind getting some of these contact sheets if i was able, but I wonder what costs this would bring, how long they would last and how these would be presented, i.e., closed case, open to finger prints etc.

Another aspect of the contact sheet is it really cannot lie. What you see is what you get, or in this case what was taken, true and without edit. See this other site: http://www.widewalls.ch/photography-lies-featured-article-february-2015/

I will try and supply again a contact sheet of some of my discarded images for my last assignment 5, but it will not be in the form of markings made on print which I rather miss.

Ref:  http://www.widewalls.ch/buy-magnum-contact-sheets/

http://www.widewalls.ch/photography-lies-featured-article-february-2015/

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Jonathan Gainer photographer – review

I have been looking at one or two workings of some of our locally based photographers here in Dubai. One such suggestion was a company called ‘Surface Photography and Films’, which is run and owed by a gentleman called Jonathan Gainer (see link here http://www.dubai-photography.com/#mi=1&pt=0&pi=1&s=0&p=-1&a=0&at=0

The company takes images and was as video, mainly using a Drone looking at the site. They have a wise arrangement and cross section within their portfolio of Dubai, and I was surprised to read in the bio that Jonathan is originally from Missouri in the USA. He has travelled and worked in Berlin, London, Italy and Russia just to mention a few location. He also speaks 4 languages.

I liked his his cross section of images ranging from aerial to reportage. He has some excellent images taken in China on his reportage section, and the images come across with subtle colours and very good use of bokeh. One which strikes me is of birds (pidgeons) filling the frame, and close ups of weathered faces such as an old man and lady. See here: http://www.dubai-photography.com/#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=6&p=11&a=0&at=0

Some other images include the building of skyscrapers in Dubai which comprise of both buildings and the workmen who are on site. It shard to know from the images if these are commissioned or he has taken these as a by product while on site with the man focus being the construction of the building itself. I think at time s astute use of off camera flash has been used but with good effect and not over powering the images.

Some other images include a combination of real and rendered images, which according to the site have been manipulated in New York. It will be interesting to see how these renders come out in real life once complete.

I will look again at some of the images of interiors and exteriors for ideas for my assignment 4. Jonathan’s are very crisp with again good use of fill in flash or other lighting, with good use of steel and glass making the pictures high key.

His site and portfolio can be found here:

http://www.dubai-photography.com/#mi=1&pt=0&pi=1&s=0&p=-1&a=0&at=0

Henri Cartier Bresson review

I’ve known of Henri Cartier Bresson of course before I started my OCA degree, but never took a closer look into his work until I came across a BBC documentary on then history of photography. It was only then that I saw the famous work of this french artist who lived form 1908 until 2004.

His most famous work maybe well know for his book The Decisive Moment, were he takes  some of his best work from around the world into 126 images, and was printed in 1952.

Bresson’s book  The Decisive Moment

After looking through his images its clear to see they are both artistic, with many images having people jumping which I saw as a common theme. They are also sad and violent, with images from war zones around the world, both with images of people after and even during death.

Breton makes the statement  “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper expression.” Thes fraction of a second can be clearly seen in a number of images, again from the famous image of the man jumping the water, to the asian photograph of people seemly getting shot, and with one even looking like he has an arrow in his chest. 

Bresson apparently never cropped his photos, he believed that all of the image in camera was ‘the decisive moment’. ‘For the rest of his life, Cartier-Bresson’s approach to photography would remain much the same. He made clear his disdain for the augmented image, one that had been enhanced by artificial light, dark room effects, even cropping. The naturalist in Cartier-Bresson believed that all edits should be done when the image was made. His equipment load was often light: a 50mm lens and if he needed it, a longer 90mm lens’.

His images are dark, punchy, with very high contrast, and one of his comments was intact “You know William, colour is bullshit”. His Leica camera with only two lenses made it easy for him on the street, as well as situated in war zones. No heavy equipment to carry and always ready for the unexpected shot.

His images of people from all ages appeals, from the young playing in the streets to the old, poor and at the end of life bring emotion into the picture. He seems not to care almost for the risk of getting the shot, which brings the questions ‘ Does he ask for permission before taking the shot? Is it posed, or is the non posed shot really posed? How close to real life did it really look? Did he get the kids to play in the street or was it luck?

He truly was a master of People and Place.

Henry Cartier Bresson

Henry Cartier Bresson

 

REF:

Henry C. Bresson [Accessed 27 05 16]

https://steidl.de/Books/The-Decisive-Moment-0516515559.html  [Accessed 28-05-16]