Monday’s Inspiration – Gilbert Garcin

Gilbert Garcin  started out as the owner of a lamp manufacturing company in Marseille, France. Following a workshop during the Rencontres Internationales in Arles, under the direction of Pascal Dolemieux, Garcin, at the age of 65, gave up his business and began his photographic career.

Gilbert Garcin work was mainly conceptual. His images shows loads of imagination, creativity and strong skills. In his photographs, Garcin poses as an ordinary ‘Mr. Everybody,’ dressed in an old overcoat. By placing himself, via the character he embodies, in absurd and inextricable situations, he invites us to ponder such philosophical quandaries as time, solitude and the weight of existence.

His work has been exhibited and collected around the globe, which satisfies his goal of sharing his ideas on life and his perspective on the world with the public at large.

Over the past fifteen years, Garcin has published four books and has had numerous international exhibitions. In 2009, he celebrated his 80th birthday with a traveling “Retrospective” exhibition. Garcin’s work is in many private and public collections including: Fonds national pour l’art Contemporain, France; Fonds Communal pour l’art Contemporain de Marseille, Marseille; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Artothèque de Veendam, the Netherlands; Artothèque de Nantes, Nantes; Artothèque de Vitré, Vitré; Médiathèque de Miramas, Miramas; Fondation Regards de Provence, Marseille; Galerie du Château d’Eau, Toulouse; and the West Collection, Philadelphia.



Monday’s Inspiration – Fred Stein

Born in Dresden in1909, Germany, Fred Stein was a very talented photographer. Although not very known, this photographer started out by studying law at the University of Leipzig. He obtained a law degree in an impressively short time, but was denied admission to the German bar by the Nazi government for “racial and political reasons.” The threat of Fascism grew more and more dangerous and after the SS began making inquiries about him, Stein fled to Paris in 1933 with his new wife, under the pretext of taking a honeymoon.

In Paris they were in the center of a circle of expatriates, intellectuals and artists. In the midst of upheaval, gathering war, and personal penury, Stein began taking photographs. He was a pioneer of the small, hand-held camera, and with the Leica which he and his wife had purchased as a joint wedding present, he went into the streets to photograph scenes of life in Paris. He saw hope and beauty where most people would only see despair. He was fascinated with people in all their diversity, from the very fashionable to the suffering poor. His photographs often accuse the cruelty and injustice of the existing social order, and just as often revel in the elegance of a patrician figure. Above all, his sense of beauty and sophisticated composition shine through and elevate the everyday moment. He also became acquainted with and photographed some of the leading personalities of Europe. When Germany declared war on France in 1939, Stein was put in an internment camp for enemy aliens near Paris. He managed to escape, and after a hazardous clandestine journey through the countryside, met his wife and baby girl in Marseilles, where they obtained visas through the efforts of the International Rescue Committee. On May 7, 1941, the three boarded the S.S. Winnipeg, one of the last boats to leave France. They carried only the Leica and some negatives.

New York was a vibrant center of culture, and Stein seized the opportunity. He met and photographed writers, artists, scientists, politicians, and philosophers whose work he knew through his extensive reading and study. This enabled him to engage them in conversation during portrait sessions. He continued his fascination with humanity, walking through the streets of New York, documenting life from Fifth Avenue to Harlem. He worked unobtrusively and quickly, valuing the freedom to capture the telling moment that reveals the subject in its own light, not as incidental material for photographic interpretation. He preferred natural or minimal lighting, and avoided elaborate setups as well as dramatic effects. He did not retouch or manipulate the negative. Stein was a member of the Photo League until he became disenchanted with their pro-Communist sympathies.

Though portraits were his main income-generating work and he photographed many people on commission, he generally worked without assignment, shooting people and scenes that interested him. He would then offer his work to publishers and photo editors of magazines, newspapers, and books. He also lectured and held a number of one-man exhibitions and had several books published.

His career was cut short when he passed away at the age of 58 and it has only been in more recent years that his work is getting the recognition it deserves as an important and insightful record of city-life during a pivotal moment in history.



Monday’s Inspiration – Bisson Freres

The two brothers Louis-Auguste and August-Rosalie Bisson known collectively as the Bisson Frères,  captured Europe’s attention with their striking, large-scale photographs of French churches and historic monuments across Europe. Their breathtaking alpine views shot on an expedition led by Napoleon III to celebrate the return of Savoy to France were widely celebrated, enhancing their reputation for a wide range of photographic styles. Shot from a bird’s-eye view, Glacier des Bossons, Savoie (ca. 1860) embodies man’s endeavour to overcome nature with its portrayal of the tiny ant-like figures crossing a glacier. Early work included studio portraiture and then, upon switching from using a daguerreotype to a positive/negative process, reproductions of works by Rembrandt and Albrecht Dürer.



Monday’s Inspiration -Louis Emille Durandelle

Louis-Émile Durandelle (1839 – 1917) was a French photographer best known for his work documenting the renovation of Paris during the Second Empire.

He, along with his partner, Delmaet (with whom he worked until 1862) photographed the new Opera of Paris and its construction in great detail. After its opening, Louis-Emile Durandelle made a publication of 45 photos entitled Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris: Sculpture ornementale in 1876. These photos record the Opera’s sculpture. In the 1870s he documented the Paris Commune, an uprising against Napoleon III. Louis-Emile Durandelle is known to have photographed many other Parisian building projects, including the Hotel de Ville, the Ile de la Cité and the Eiffel Tower. Outside of the city he also made a series of photographs of Mont Saint-Michel. After the death of his wife, his old partner Delmaet’s widow, Louis-Emile Durandelle finally abandoned photography in 1890.

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Fine Art Photography Awards 2017

When it comes to photography competitions, I never know which ones to enter or what images to enter.

However, I promised myself that this that I will get out of my comfort zone and enter a few. So I entered the Fine Art Photography Awards. The results were announced last week and to my surprise all my images were nominated.

Not bad for a first time right!!!!! Here are the images that I entered.

Monday’s Inspiration – Charles Marville

Charles Marville was a French photographer born in 1813, who mainly photographed architecture, landscapes and the urban environment.

Marville achieved moderate success as an illustrator of books and magazines early in his career. It was not until 1850 that he shifted course and took up photography—a medium that had been introduced just eleven years earlier.

Widely acknowledged as one of the most talented photographers of the nineteenth century, in the 1850s Charles Marville was asked to document the old quarters of the French capital by the government’s Commission for Monumental Historical Monuments. Marville purposely took the photographs of Paris’s architecture and streets scenes when it was raining, so that the soft diffused light mixed with the rain on the cobblestone produced a picturesque image that elicited a feeling of perfection.

Marville photographed the city’s oldest quarters, and especially the narrow, winding streets slated for demolition. Even as he recorded the disappearance of Old Paris, Marville turned his camera on the new city that had begun to emerge. Many of his photographs celebrate its glamour and comforts, while other views of the city’s desolate outskirts attest to the unsettling social and physical changes wrought by rapid modernisation.

It has been said that Charles Marville accomplished “documentary perfection” with his images of Paris before it was destroyed by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann’s urban renewal projects. Charles Marville’s body of photographs is one of the few records left of Paris before 1870.


Haussmann not only redrew the map of Paris, he transformed the urban experience by commissioning and installing tens of thousands of pieces of street furniture, kiosks, and Morris columns for posting advertisements, pissoirs, garden gates, and, above all, some twenty thousand gas lamps. By the time he stepped down as prefect in 1870, Paris was no longer a place where residents dared to go out at night only if accompanied by armed men carrying lanterns. Taken as a whole, Marville’s photographs of Paris stand as one of the earliest and most powerful explorations of urban transformation on a grand scale.

By the time of his death, Marville had fallen into relative obscurity, with much of his work stored in municipal or state archives. This exhibition, which marks the bicentennial of Marville’s birth, explores the full trajectory of the artist’s photographic career and brings to light the extraordinary beauty and historical significance of his art.

Creativity takes work

When I first started on this journey, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I tried every type of photography, copied emulated until my black and white photography found me.

Even though I found myself in black and white photography, I was still unsettled. I needed more and I wanted more. Through a lot of research, I came across the work of many photographers and the ones that stayed with me were Michael Levin, Joel Tjintjelaar and Julia Anna Gospodarou and so much more. What stood out for me were the way the subject were portrayed. The way the viewer is drawn into the image. With each of these photographers work, each image draws you in and holds your gaze each time. I knew this is what I needed in my work but how do I achieve this?

I wasn’t any good at photoshop and I also hated sitting down to edit. Well, only one way to solve this is by doing the work. Learn to be a proficient user at photoshop, learn to tell a story with my image and most importantly work toward getting a style of my own.

Saying that the journey wasn’t hard and took me a lot of hours and most of all, a lot of patients. The best way for me to learn was to be thrown into the deep end.

Unity by Pamela Aminou
Unity by Pamela Aminou

The above image is the first one that I took on. It took me over a month to complete. Why? Before starting I had no idea how to make a selection or what the pen tool was. Well I had to learn. I had a lot of help from Julia for helping through this. When I started, I really did not know what I was going for nor that I visualised the final work. I had to ask myself what made me take this image at this particular angle. It reminded of people coming together hence the name UNITY.

There were quite a few things that learned in the short space of time but when you have your mind set on certain you just don’t stop.

From there, I took on one of the most complex images ever. Below you will find the starting image.After applying literally everything I’ve learned, I started to create more and more images. I concentrated on simple lines. I started to crave an little more. So to challenge myself, I started to work on more complicated images.

The first one being below which took me about a month to complete but bare in mind that I was just starting.


This brings me to the image that I’ve just completed. Here is the starting image.

Starting image

After 103 layers, here is the final image.

DX8A4341 copy

All in all, creativity takes work, how much is up to you.