Afghan Girl

PhotoTalk 2020/22

In June 1985 Steve McCurry’s photograph (since called Afghan Girl) was printed on the cover of the National Geographic magazine, anyone looking at the magazine was immediately struck by the intent look of an adolescent girl staring intently out from the magazine. 

2020-22.cdr

It is such an iconic image that it has been named “the most recognized photograph” in the history of the magazine.  It portrayed an adolescent Sharbat Gula (or Sharbat Bibi) in a red head scarf, with her striking green eyes staring intently at the camera.  McCurry’s use of Kodachrome film was widely known, and the colours he achieved were brilliant, needless to say he used his tools to advantage.

The context in which the image was published likely aided the readers, but the image itself stands alone.  It has been widely discussed, widely reprinted, and widely reproduced on the internet as well.  McCurry has lost some standing worldwide due to a few scandals involving some of his photographs and “editing”, but the impact of the Afghan Girl image is undeniable.

Fame or infamy, Photo-Journalism or Exploitation? Let’s talk!

#PhotoTalk


Original comments and discussions can be found on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook post.


Out of sight…

PhotoTalk 2020/21

A few of us were out on a documentary project, and I noticed Darrell eyeing up a particular shot, I suspected but wasn’t sure what he was looking for. On asking a bit later, his description pretty much met a photo I knew well, and one that I thought most people knew, well, most local people. He didn’t know the one I was referring to; which brings me to today’s PhotoTalk image.

Before turning his attention to Video, John Greene was well known in photography circles, and in society at large who needed photography services.

2020-21.cdr

This image of his has remained with me for several reasons:

It had the typical John Greene processing in terms of colour and tonality

It captured a scene that was well-known but not often photographed (or publicised through photography)

The composition made it uncomfortable and memorable – and for this I would like to elaborate in comments)

I saw it in more than one local calendar and in printed news media

Paintings like the DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Goth’s Starry Night, Photos like McCurry’s Afghan Girl remain with us because they keep popping up, they are talked about, they remain in reproduction in some form (these days, print and online), they are discussed and they are written about.

For local photographers’ work to achieve this level of recognition, should certain images be identified and promoted? Do any local works stand out? Let’s Talk!!

#PhotoTalk


Original comments and discussion can be seen on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook post.


At Home with Guyana Photographers

Untitled-1

Lockdowns around the world are taking on different forms, here in Guyana, we have a curfew, and many people are indoors, also, most photographers who rely on photography for income are finding it difficult, added to that, any photographer worth their salt is probably itching to shoot something, anything!

To this end, we’d like to invite the members of Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group to turn a fresh eye to what’s around you, embark on a project to show us what your idea of “At Home” is.  The selected images will be compiled into a virtual magazine.

Guidelines:
All photos must have been taken after April 1, 2020
Photographs must have been taken by the entrant
Each photographer may submit up to 20 images to convey their idea of “At Home”
Each submission must be accompanied by an Artist Statement and an Artist Biography
Start shooting! Submissions will be accepted from July 27th, 2020 to August 7th 2020

Submission details to follow.

Submitted Photographs will be curated by a Curatorial Panel, and the results published in a Virtual Magazine for electronic distribution.  Photographers retain all rights to their work, by submitting you give VISIONS and the Guyana Photographers the right to reproduce your images for this publication and for any promotional use regarding the publication.
Untitled-2

Overtopping

PhotoTalk 2020/19

As a photographer who has a penchant for the seawalls, most of my seascapes and seawall images tend to be at low-tide.   I somehow prefer low-tide…  I will admit that one aspect might be the lack of salt-water spray on the camera, but that’s not the main reason.  I do admire images taken at high tide, especially when they are done right, and by right, I mean that they have an impact.

Two “over-topping” images immediately came to mind when I was thinking of this post, and I decided to use both.  As photographers, I have long admired the amazing nature photography of Bobby Fernandes (Robert J. Fernandes), and I’ve always marvelled at the technical skill in Dwayne Hackett’s studio work, so its no surprise that they both produced the images shown here.

2020-19.cdr

On the coastland, we live below sea-level, and all that protects us are our natural and man-made sea-defences.  It is our responsibility to maintain these defences, but to also acknowledge that as humans, we are contributing to climate change and the rise of sea-levels, and we, especially in Guyana, are dumping garbage that clogs our drainage, and prevents proper drainage; much of that garbage is thrown back at us by the sea.

Of great interest, although its video and not photography, is Alex Arjoon’s Coastland documentary, you should check that out!

As photographers, are we also responsible for the recording and documenting not only the ravages of the sea, but also the efforts of the builders of our defences? The keepers of our dams and kokers?  Let’s Talk!

#PhotoTalk


You can also see more of Dwayne’s work on his website, and on Instagram.

Original comments and discussion can be seen on the Guyana Photographers’Facebook Group post.

Rhine II

PhotoTalk 2020/17

Rhine II
Touching on some things that might prove controversial today.  The Rhine II by Andreas Ghursky is the most expensive photograph in the world, there was one called Phantom that disputes this, but the sale of the Phantom has never been verified.

2020-17.cdr
The Controversy: why would someone pay US $4,338,500 for a photograph? Let’s deal with the artist’s approach for a bit; by this stage he no longer approached a photograph without a plan, and lots of setting up; as I understand it, he shot several exposures on medium format film, then scanned and combined he images on his computer, with quite a fair bit of digital editing, removing buildings etc.  The print itself is an impressive photographic C-print mounted to acrylic glass at a staggering 73″tall by 143″ wide (that’s roughly six feet by 12 feet).

Is it fair to call it a “photograph”?  Should we call it a composite? Should we call it a photo-illustration? Should we simply classify it as art?

Let’s talk!


Originally posted to the Guyana Photographers’Facebook Group on May 15th, 2020; comments and discussions can be seen on that post.


Through the eyes of a Foreigner

PhotoTalk 2020/16

  I came across Jean Ross’ images of Guyana recently, and the selection she had on her website had me thinking about a few things.

2020-16.cdr

  When I first began an interest in Photography, it was usually the case that when photographers came to our country, the images that they got were of a different calibre to those taken by locals; due to different factors, including training, access to better cameras, and also they saw things differently.

  That has changed a lot since then, and I think that with the talent available locally, that gap has narrowed and may even be non-existent to some extent.

  In looking at Jean’s selections, I do see that seeing Guyana from the perspective of an outsider has had a distinct influence on the images, but I dare say that images such as these have been produced in recent years by locals.  I had found the Guyana images on her website.

  What are your thoughts?  Whose work so you think may resemble some of Jean’s own?  Can we as photographers compete on par on the world stage?

Let’s Talk!


Original post can be seen on the original post Guyana Photographs’ Facebook Group and along with comments and discussion.


Making Photographs – Frans Lanting

PhotoTalk 2020/15

For our fifteenth post in the PhotoTalk series we bring you the amazing wildlife work of Frans Lanting.  This image was the cover of a book called OKAVANGO – Africa’s Last Eden, I think it was first published in 1993. Frans Lanting is a well-known photographer who was actually the Photographer-in-residence for the National Geographic Society for a number of years.

2020-15.cdr

His wildlife photographs has resulted in him being considered one of the great nature photographers of our time. His works have captured and documented wildlife and our relationship with nature across the globe, from Africa, to the Amazon to Antarctica.

In an interview back in 2015 regarding one of his Exhibitions, when discussing smartphones, apps and mobile photography, he mentioned something that struck me: “What it does to the more deliberate kinds of photography, of which this exhibition is a result—hopefully it’ll stimulate a small percentage of the people who start with this to consider taking the next step from taking pictures to making photographs.”

These days, everyone can “take a picture”, but it takes some amount of deliberate consideration and a different approach to actually “ Make a photograph” – and looking at his amazing range of wildlife photographs, it is obvious that he has a point, we can all point our cameras at an animal or nature scene, but to come away with a “ photograph” we need to compose correctly, and develop a relationship with the scene/subject that goes beyond just seeing it through the lens. Again in his words: “If you don’t understand what you are photographing, you are just looking at the surface of things.”

Let’s Talk!


Originally published to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on May6th 2020, you can see the original comments or discussion on that post.


The Third Element by Kirth Bobb

PhotoTalk 2020/14

As someone who sees color as the third foundational element (light, shadow,+ color) of photographs. I’ve long studied and emulated the work of Alex Webb. Growing up in Guyana, the color was everywhere for me. From the vivid scenes at Big Market to all the colors of Pagwah, Easter, and Christmas. I can’t help but be drawn to color.

2020-14

This particular photograph, like much of Webb’s work in the Caribbean and Mexico, uses color, light a bit of his signature layering to give the photograph, what I think is a strong sense of place.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview where he discusses his use of color.

“What I also realized, and this took place over a period of a few years. As I did that (and I was working then in black and white) I realized that something was missing. That the intense, searing light that exists in the tropics. And the kind of brilliant colors that exist in a Haiti or a Mexico. I wasn’t capturing those in black and white. I wasn’t dealing with, at some level, the sensuality of some of these cultures. So I began photographing in color in 78 and 79 as a response to that. And basically have been working in color ever since. I mean, initially it was a response to working in certain kinds of places where there is vibrant color. Now I sort of work in color everywhere.”‘

The full interview can be found here:

http://www.streetshootr.com/video-alex-webb-on-inspiration-and-the-photographic-process/

How do you use color in your photo recipe when you’re making photographs? Guyana has so much fantastic color and harsh light, that when I look at Webb’s works, I can; ‘t help to think of home. a

This book remains one of my top 10 photo books to date:

https://aperture.org/shop/alex-webb-and-rebecca-norris-webb-on-street-photography-and-the-poetic-image-books/

And The suffering of light is another classic that’s in my top 10:

https://aperture.org/shop/the-suffering-of-light-3217

Thanks for joining in the conversation,

Kirth Bobb


Kirth originally published this to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on April 30th, 2020. To see the original comments and discussion please check that post.


Portraits as “Productions” – the Dalí Atomicus.

PhotoTalk 2020/13

2020-13.cdr

Portraits as “Productions” isn’t a new thing.

Dalí Atomicus. First some background… Salvador Dalí was a renowned Spanish surrealist painter, his works were well known not only for the display of Dalí’s technical skill and his amazing craftsmanship, but also for the striking and bizarre images in his paintings. To understand this unusual portrait of him by Philippe Halsman, you have to understand the nature of Dalí’s work, and the unusual approach (at the time) of Halsman towards portrait photography; Halsman tried to capture the “essence” of his subjects, while portrait photography at the time was seen as being very “clinical”, with the photographer and subject not knowing each other, and the portraits of the time having that poised look, and the soft blurred look; Halsman wanted sharp images that spoke of who the subject was, bringing the person themselves into “sharp focus” literally and metaphorically, in the resulting image.

Now about the image, I used this image in a workshop once, and I winged the description, but here I’ll quote directly from Time.com “Halsman created an elaborate scene to surround the artist that included the original work, a floating chair and an in-progress easel suspended by thin wires. Assistants, including Halsman’s wife and young daughter Irene, stood out of the frame and, on the photographer’s count, threw three cats and a bucket of water into the air while Dalí leaped up. It took the assembled cast 26 takes to capture a composition that satisfied Halsman.”

Just imagine that. Let’s Talk!


Originally published to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Page on April 28th, 2020. To see the original comments and discussion please check that post.