Monday’s Inspiration – Harold Cazneaux

Harold Cazneaux was an Australian pictorialist photographer; a pioneer whose style had an indelible impact on the development of Australian photographic history.

Cazneaux moved to Sydney in 1904 and worked in Freeman & Co. Ltd’s studio, becoming manager and chief operator. In his leisure time he began to document old Sydney. In 1907, he showed photographs at the members’ exhibition of the Photographic Society of New South Wales and two years later held his first solo exhibition in Australia: the critics praised the diversity of his work – landscapes and portraits.

He sent some of his images overseas and was recognised as a pioneer of the pictorial movement. In 1916 with five friends, he founded the amateur Sydney Camera Circle. Opposed to slavish imitation of overseas trends, he argued for a break with the typical low-toned British print in favour of ‘truly Australian sunshine effects’.

In 1914 Cazneaux won Kodak’s ‘Happy Moments’ contest and used the £100 as a deposit for a house in Roseville where he lived and from 1920 worked for the rest of his life. Frustrated and in poor health, he had left Freeman’s in 1918 and was rescued from penury by S. Ure Smith, who gave him regular work for his new publications the Home and Art in Australia. His frontispiece photograph for the first issue of the Home in 1920 used sunshine effects so successfully that it sparked a new trend in local photography. He benefited greatly from the publicity. A member of the London Salon of Photography, he exhibited there from at least 1911 and in 1924, with other members of the camera circle, opened the short-lived Australian Salon with a hanging of 170 pictures.

He produced a series of portraits of well-known artists, musicians, and actors and many books including Canberra, Australia’s Federal Capital (1928), Sydney Surfing (1929), The Bridge Book (1930), The Sydney Book (1931), Frensham Book (1934), and the jubilee number of the B.H.P. Review (1935). As a critic he wrote for the Australasian Photographic Review and the Gallery Gazette, London, and columns for the Lone Hand and Sydney Mail. Sometime president of the Photographic Society of New South Wales, he was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1937.

Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
Harold Cazneaux
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Learning to curate……

I’ve always heard photographers and curators talk about curating your work. Although I heard the term often I had absolutely no idea what they meant until I decided to make a zine. There’s no better to learn than to be thrown into the deep end to lean things.

It is said that curation is key. What is meant by that? In a simple word, not everything that is captured needs to be published. I had to learn to not only create but choose images that represented me and my vision. As much as we like not to think about it, every image we put out represents us, so it good to think about what we are about to publish.

Through this journey, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I created 3 zines in total before ending up with the final printed zine. One of the best compliments that any of us can get is when someone sees our knows whose work it is. I for one know when I see a Salgado or a Mckenna image, I instinctively know the photographer. That’s my aim, to create a body of work that is of my vision, define me as a photographer and truly for itself.

My work has changed over the years but it is normal as I am still growing. But it was only when I started sorting the images for this that I noticed subtle changes and additions that have creeped up in my work. It is those differences that make our work different to other photographer’s.

As artists, we get excited about new projects that we are working on and we tend to overshare. We are all different when it comes to our workflow. Due to the extensive edits I carry out on my work, I am not able to create nor share images on a daily basis. It took me quite a long time to realise that. However, due to all the information that are flying at us from every angle, it is first impressions that count. You are only good as your last image. It is not a point of view that I agree with but that’s the reality and that’s just how the internet works.

For this reason, I took my time to carefully select the images to go in the zine. There were a few thing that I struggled with. Deciding on the images to not use and the images that worked and which simply that are simply not good enough. I had to completely change the way I was thinking. I had to be completely objective to the verge of being brutal. Even though, some images were personal favourite, I chose not to include them.

The other thing I had to learn was to take criticism, that is constructive criticism. After I finished, the fist zine I showed it friends and family. People that I trusted to be honest. As I had original thought on first impression, it simply wasn’t good enough so I had to go back to the drawing board.

I streamlined the theme and then redesigned the layout and then reprinted a proof. Even after this, I had the feeling that something else was missing but what was it?

I am not use to putting words to images. What helped was my original process of working. I have a habit of naming each image according to what I’m feeling, thinking so that helped with this process. What was missing was the words to the images, my process, what is personal to me about these images.

After having written this, I knew the zine was ready to be printed. I’ve attached a few images of zine as well as some images included in the zine for you to see.

I will be doing a live talk about the zine on Saturday at 8pm GMT on Instagram and go through the process in depth. My Instagram handle is @pamelaaminou if you would like to join me.

 

Zine Cover
Zine inside pages
Zine inside pages
One of the images in the Zine

Khao Lak in 35mm…..

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to go to Thailand for 10 days. I’ve spent most of my life either in Europe or the African continent so this was my first time in Asia.

I was a little nervous before I left, as I only speak French and English so I wasn’t sure what to expect and I also have a fear for airports. Not airports as such but more for border controllers. For some reason, each time I travel, they question whether it is me or someone else on the picture. I’m not sure if it’s my face that tend to change every time I travel. As far as I know, I haven’t changed.

But not only the country was pretty amazing but all my expectations were exceeded. Every person we came across were extremely helpful and most of all genuinely kind. It is the type of place where strangers say hi to each other. That is something that I’ve never experienced. Even the people that don’t speak English, take time to listen and help you out.

More than anything else what stood out to me was the large amount of greenery all around. Although I love architecture, I am completely against destroying nature for wealth and especially for oil.

Before I start ranting, here some of images I captured on the 35mm that I brought with me on the journey.

For these images, I used Kodak TriX film 400. From what I heard about this film I expected something a little different but then again I’m a newbie at film.

Khao Lak on 35mm

Khao Lak on 35mm
 

Monday’s Inspiration – Eva Besnyo

Born in Budapest, Eva Besnyö was brought up in a well-to-do Jewish home. In 1928, she started to study photography at József Pécsi‘s studio where she also served as an apprentice.

In 1930, she moved to Berlin where she became Peter Weller’s assisitant. first worked for advertising photographer René Ahrlé before working on with press photographer  Peter Weller. She became part of the social and political circle of intellectuals which included  Gyorgy Kepes, Joris Ivens,  Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Otto Umbehr and Robert Capa.

The city is, at the time, a modernist and experimental centre where she plays with objects within precise compositions before exploring the lives of workers, the swimmers of the Wannsee lido or the games of gypsy children. Sensing the imminent political turn of Germany, she moved to Amsterdam where, introduced by artists such as Gerrit Rietveld, she earned recognition. There, she documented the innovative and functional forms of a new architecture and, inspired by the New Vision movement, she experiments different perspectives, playing with angles and framing.

In 1931, she opened her own studio where she was successful in receiving agency work. Her well-known photograph of the gipsy boy with a cello on his back stems from that period. Threatened by the onset of National Socialism in 1932, she moved to Amsterdam with her Dutch friend John Fernhout whom she married. With the assistance of Charley Toorop, she participated in exhibitions which led to commissions in press photography, portraits, fashion and architecture.

Her solo exhibition in the Van Lier art gallery in 1933 consolidated her recognition in the Netherlands. Besnyö experienced a further breakthrough with her architectural photography only.

In 1934 she became a member of the association of artists for the defense of cultural rights. In this capacity she participated in the association’s 1936 protest exhibition against the Berlin Olympic Games, the “Olympics under Dictatorship” and organised the internationally-oriented exhibition “Foto ’37” at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, intended to enhance awareness of photography as an art form.

After the capitulation of the Netherlands army in May 1940, as the conditions of Jews steadily deteriorated, Eva Besnyö was forbidden to engage in all journalistic activities. In 1942, when her sole source of income was a few private commissions, she went underground for two years. After the war she received numerous commissions for photo-documentation and remained professionally active, though she was now the mother of a son (born in 1945) and a daughter (born in 1948), fathered by the graphic designer Wim Brusse, from whom she separated in 1968.

From 1970 to 1976 Eva Besnyö was active in the Dolle-Mina feminist movement for women’s rights and through her photographs became the chronicler of events. In 1980 she rejected the Ritterorden (knighthood) which was to have been bestowed on her by the Queen of the Netherlands. In 1999, in Berlin, the “grand old lady” of Dutch photography was awarded the Dr. Erich Salomon Award for her life’s work and at the end of the same year the Stedelijk Museum held an exhibition of her work.

 

Untitled, 1933 (John Fernhout, Anneke van der Feer, Joris Ivens, Westkapelle, Zeeland, Pays-Bas) /Eva Besnyö /sc

Photography struggles – Self doubt

Every so often, I learn more about photography as an art form but I have also struggled with some part. From finding balance between pursuing the photography that I love and posting images that is expected of me or things that get the most likes. I’ve also felt the pressure of gear upgrade every time I open a magazine.

Some days, I feel drained and I’m not sure where to start, how to grow etc… On other days, I feel really inspired and have creative ideas oozing out of my head. For me photography is a passion that comes from the heart, the passion to try new things, a passion to create and hopefully make a difference. I share my images in the hope that it will say something to someone at the same tile I get a sense of accomplishment.

We all have our struggle. One of mine being self doubt. Tho this day, when I finish an image, I send it to my friend who lives in France and an accountant what she thinks. Sometimes she says yes, while other tîmes she simply just says to me that she doesn’t understand it. Then she asks me, is it what you are looking to achieve, if my answer is yes, then it’s ready. No matter which stage we are at during our journey, we always have that doubt creep in from time to time.

Beeing too critical can be detrimental to our own progress and it also hinders our growth especially comparing ourselves to others. I would personally like to take a leaf out of the photographer Cole Thompson book. In order to create images that are of his vision, he doesn’t look at any else work and when he’s visiting a new place to photograph, he doesn’t look at google images for images of the area prior to his visit. I have seen his work and I believe they are the most genuine and authentic images that I’ve ever seen. His story telling and vision is completely unique.

We all have doubt. Even Michelangelo wrote in his book that he is no painter. Had he chosen to give up right there and then, we would never have been privileged to witness his talent. He chose to carry despite his doubts.

I like to remind myself to enjoy the journey, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is what makes it a true experience and to remember to stick to my vision no matter how many great photographers work I truly admire.

Everyone has doubts including the Masters but how we choose to deal with those doubts is what can make and break us.

Monday’s Inspiration – Philippe Halsman

“Most people stiffen with self-consciousness when they pose for a photograph. Lighting and fine camera equipment are useless if the photographer cannot make them drop the mask, at least for a moment, so he can capture on his film their real, undistorted personality and character”- Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman was born in Riga and began to take photographs in Paris in the 1930s. He opened a portrait studio in Montparnasse in 1934, where he photographed André Gide, Marc Chagall, André Malraux, Le Corbusier and other writers and artists, using an innovative twin-lens reflex camera that he had designed himself.

He then moved to the United States in 1940, just after the fall of France, having obtained an emergency visa through the intervention of Albert Einstein.

In the course of his career, Halsman produced reportage and covers for most major American magazines, including a staggering 101 covers for Life magazine. His assignments brought him face-to-face with many of the century’s leading personalities.

In 1945, he was elected the first president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, where he led the fight for photographers’ creative and professional rights. His work soon won international recognition, and in 1951, he was invited by the founders of Magnum Photos to join the organization as a ‘contributing member’, so that they could syndicate his work outside the United States. This arrangement still stands.

Halsman began a thirty-seven-year collaboration with Salvador Dalí in 1941 which resulted in a stream of unusual Photographs of Ideas, including Dalí Atomicus and the Dalí’s Mustache series.

In the early 1950s, Halsman began to ask his subjects to jump for his camera at the conclusion of each sitting. These uniquely witty and energetic images have become an important part of his photographic legacy.

Here are some of those great images

 

US comic actor Groucho MARX. 1952.
US actress Marilyn MONROE
Spanish Surrealist Painter Salvador DALI. 1954.
The American trumpeter, singer, composer and conductor Louis ARMSTRONG.
British filmmaker Alfred HITCHCOCK, during the filming of “The Birds”. 1962.
Dutch actress Audrey HEPBURN posing for a LIFE Magazine cover image.
American actress Grace KELLY
French actress Brigitte BARDOT jumping in front of her villa, “La Madrague.”
1958. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Tippi HEDREN, main actress in the movie “The Birds”. In the background: British film director Alfred HITCHCOCK. 1962.
New York City. 1965. Barbra STREISAND
Russian-born writer Vladimir NABOKOV chasing butterflies near his home.
The American actor and film director Woody ALLEN.
British Prime Minister Winston CHURCHILL with his poodle, Rufus
American actors Dean MARTIN and Jerry LEWIS.
British Prime Minister Winston CHURCHILL.
American actress Marilyn MONROE. 1952.
1952. US Senator from Massachusetts John F. KENNEDY.

Monday’s Inspiration – Peter Dombrovskis

Peter Dombrovskis as an Australian photographer. Dombrovskis was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1945.  He emigrated to Australia with his mother Adele and started taking photographs in the 1960’s. He was strongly influenced by Lithuanian-Australian pioneer, conservationist and photographer Olegas Truchanas, who became a father figure to him. He was equally influenced by landscape photographers of mid-century America such as Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston and Eliot Porter.

 

Pic 19