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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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Peter Soar – Cambridge 1970s

Falcon Yard, Cambridge 1971

In 1971, the late Peter Soar, a Cambridge solicitor and keen amateur photographer, set about recording the last days of the parts of Cambridge city centre destined to be demolished to make way for major redevelopment.

He also photographed the area during construction and after most of it was completed. The resulting photographs are published here for the first time in three sets. The first taken mostly before or at the start of redevelopment; the second during; and the third when it was nearing completion. Continue reading “Peter Soar – Cambridge 1970s”

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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The Land: 20th Century Landscape Photographs, 1975

The cover of the exhibition catalogue for ‘The Land’.

My memory is a bit vague, but the exhibition entitled ‘The Land; Twentieth Century Landscape Photographs‘, at London’s Hayward Gallery in 1975, was most likely the first major photographic exhibition that I ever visited.
It was certainly the first exhibition to leave a lasting imprint on me  – and my visual awareness.

Selected by Bill Brandt, it comprised 200 photographs of landscape from which he selected 48 to be included in the accompanying catalogue published by Gordon Fraser.

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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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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)”

Robert Frank in Creative Camera

Creative Camera, January 1969

Published in the January 1969 issue of Creative Camera magazine was a major portfolio of Robert Frank’s photographs from his seminal work ‘The Americans‘. This was done to mark the publication of the second edition of the book, which was already described in the magazine as “the most famous photo-essay ever produced” and “An essential book for every photographer.”
Like the majority of photographers, regardless of interest in any particular genre, I was impressed by Frank’s work.
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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…“.

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