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Ephemera: Introduction

This is a fairly open category that contains articles about people, photography, and associated topics in which I have an interest and that have influenced my thinking and practice. They will usually relate to my understanding and appreciation of the medium, its history, and the way it is used. It is a kind of ‘blog’ except that these articles are often not connected to any timeline. Oh, there is a Blog too, which contains some current musings.

But first, it seems that every site must have some autobiographical statement to put the author in context, so here’s mine.

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Alexey Brodovitch Talking

Alexey Brodovitch (American, 1898-1971) was a graphic designer, photographer and teacher who had an immense influence on the lives of many famous photographers who have, in turn, done much to shape the way we view photography today.
You can read a good description of his background here, but perhaps equally relevant to this article are the names of some of the photographers who were fortunate enough to work with and learn from him: Tony Ray-Jones, John Benton Harris, Hiro, Lillian Bassman, Diane Arbus, Eve Arnold, Richard Avedon, Lisette Model, Gary Winogrand, the list goes on…

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Anstey: a village, its mermen and an airport.

The minimalist cover of Edwin and Olive’s book on Anstey

How can a small village in Hertfordshire be linked to mermen and London’s third airport?

In 1969, as part of the organised opposition to proposals to site London’s third airport at one of four locations in the Eastern region, the Nuthampstead Preservation Association commissioned the author and historian Olive Cook to compile a study of a typical village in the area threatened by the plans. She chose the village of Anstey and engaged her husband, the photographer Edwin Smith, to record a cross-section of the village environment and its residents. Anstey was chosen because: “…its topographical, architectural and sociological features seemed to typify those of the whole district…“.

Continue reading “Anstey: a village, its mermen and an airport.”

Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander, architect, is also the founding father of the Pattern Language movement in computer science, and author of A Pattern Language, the seminal work that was perhaps the first complete book ever written in hypertext fashion. The page on my old website that referenced his ‘Elements of Style’ got a surprising number of hits, so I’ve decided to include it here.

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Frederick Evans

In an article by Robert Elwall, included in this site, he makes reference to a copy of The Saturday Book, Number 3, published in 1943. His reference relates to the fact that this edition contained an article about the photographer Frederick Evans, still alive at the time of writing, that was illustrated by reproductions of his photographs printed by the photogravure process, something that was rarely done due to its cost and certainly a one-off for The Saturday Book.
The article is reproduced in full here.

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Hugo van Wadenoyen (1892-1959)

Wayside Snapshots, 1947 by Hugo van Wadenoyen

Years ago, I came across a tattered little book entitled ‘Wayside Snapshots’ in a second-hand bookshop. Looking through it, I was quite taken by the style and approach of some of the photographs. It was by a photographer I’d never heard of – Hugo van Wadenoyen. It was published in 1947, I shelved it with my other photobook curiosities and forgot about it for a while. Continue reading “Hugo van Wadenoyen (1892-1959)”

Landscape Revolutionary

The cover of The Photohistorian from which this article is reproduced.

The following article, kindly provided by the Royal Photographic Society Historical Group, featured in The PhotoHistorian journal No. 96, Spring 1992.

Written by Colin Osman, it gives a full and detailed account of all that Osman had discovered about Hugo van Wadenoyen and provides the most information I have discovered about him to date.

The quality of the included image was very poor, but I have added it here for reference. Continue reading “Landscape Revolutionary”

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Modfot One

See also: More on Modfot One & Modfot One in Camera Owner, 1967

modfot one::The frontispiece of the slim catalogue produced by Bill Jay to accompany the 1967 exhibition of the same name.

Modfot One was an exhibition of contemporary photography, produced in 1967 and exhibited at the Royal Watercolour Society’s galleries in Conduit Street, London, during May of that year. It continued to tour around Britain and the world for three and a half years as a British Council touring show. It is tempting to consider it in a similar vein to Edward Steichen’s ‘Family of Man’ exhibition of 1955 in the U.S. Although its intentions were somewhat different, it may have had a similar effect on the public’s perception of the scope and possibilities of still photography.

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