Looking at the entries made me think that photography might be finished.

Overall, I didn’t feel that there was much love for or homage to the subjects. Photographs shouldn’t project your own image, they should pay homage to the subject. There didn’t seem to be any identification with the subjects, and I wondered why the subjects hadn’t been depicted more beautifully.

The raw emotions of the artists don’t come across in the photographs. It’s as though the sweaty relationship between photographers and subjects has disappeared. The pictures aren’t even cool. They feel a bit a cold, a bit dry.

I think all this is a result of the shift to digital photography. Many of the entries highlight the way digital photography has changed how people take pictures. In the film era, the camera was so close to the photographer’s face that it almost became an eye. But the digital cameras of today are nothing more than objects. So when I said “finished,” I meant that with the world moving to digital, photographic expression as our generation knew it is finished.

Nevertheless, this might not be something to feel sad about. This new era has arrived, and it might be what the New Cosmos of Photography had always been aiming for. Perhaps these cold and dry pictures will get hotter in the future.

-Nobuyoshi Araki

excerpt from his statement at the Grand Prize selection open-committee meeting for the 2008 Canon New Cosmos award.


(via valerian)
(Reblogged from valerian)


Bill Brandt

Battersea Bridge, 1930s.

My own journey in photography really begun in 1970 with Bill Brandt’s exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. I was 18 years old at the time and had never before seen photographs of such emotional resonance. Brandt’s images completely changed my way of seeing irrevocably.
(Reblogged from luzfosca)


Had a bad day so made a bad comic about it.

(Reblogged from csmcamerastyle)

Blind Gary Davis (1964) (by A/V Geeks)

This is very beautiful - Thanks to Ollie Murphy for sending the link!

Mass Observation: This is Your Photo offers an examination of the role of photography in the Mass Observation Archive. Mass Observation (MO) was founded in 1937 as a radical experiment in social science, art and documentary. Its founders aimed to create a new kind of realism in response to the economic and political conditions leading up to World War II, aiming to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’ through artistic means and by collecting anecdotal evidence from people’s everyday lives and experiences. The Archive, currently held at the University of Sussex, consists of extensive written accounts of daily life, ephemera and photographs, while other works now form part of national museum collections.

Leading figures in MO’s formation included the ornithologist and explorer Tom Harrisson, and the journalist and poet Charles Madge. Contributions from documentarians such as filmmaker Humphrey Jennings, photographer Humphrey Spender, and artists such as William Coldstream and Julian Trevelyan, in addition to feedback gathered by observers in the field, helped to create a kaleidoscopic view of ordinary life. While individual practitioners often chose specific places to study – Spender famously photographed working class life in Bolton and Blackpool – other anonymous MO observers from across Britain were issued with instructions or ‘directives’ asking for information on a diverse variety of topics, from noting subjects of conversation in pubs to the way people arranged ornaments on their mantelpieces.

MO’s experimental ambitions became more regulated when it began to work closely with Government Departments during the war. It analysed people’s responses to everything from political personalities, fears of spying, happiness, attitudes towards art, sexual habits and shopping. In the late 1940s, MO provided the background information for two publications supplemented with photographs by the British pioneer of colour photography John Hinde - Exmoor Village and British Circus Life - that looked away from a verité style to visualise community life in more staged terms. MO’s turn away from the social landscape towards extensive market research followed, with a more commercial agenda throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The papers that constituted its more questioning approach to social realism later became the foundations of the Mass Observation Archive in its new home at the University of Sussex in 1970.

In 1981, MO was revived as a life writing project that concentrated on the importance of first person testimony alone, rekindling the spirit of recording individual lives and experiences that characterised the early years. In its new incarnation, autobiographical responses from its voluntary observers often included photographic material, including amateur snapshots and other mass forms of photography. These were often accompanied by extensive written accounts to questions concerning all aspects of life – from daily routines, gardens, attitudes towards war, the smoking ban and national events such as the royal wedding. Photography here becomes a more active part of wider narratives about people’s experiences, providing us with an account that is both pictorially and emotionally compelling. What marks this later phase of MO’s visual content is not only the familiar but also the unexpected ways in which photographs are put to work. In doing so, they represent a way of seeing that is both intimate and privileged, revealing more about the complex forces at work in people’s lives.

At The Photographers Gallery until 29th September