Saturday, 2 April 2022

Welcome to Summer Term 2022!

 Welcome to the new term and what an exciting term ahead!  I am hoping to post new projects, new ideas, and great research.  

Normally in my welcome posts, I discuss an artist, writer, or photographer whose work I have been inspired by or has piqued my interest because of matters that I am preoccupied with at the time.  So today in a departure from this slightly I would like to discuss old photography books.  These are books that now may seem antiquated but the principles all still hold true.  The great thing about photography, technology may have transformed the ways to take an image and democratized its use of it but the rules of photography itself; composition; light; use of colour, and depth of field remain the same.

Photograph by John Garrett
From Practical Composition (1984)

The images I will post here are from the Dixons World of Photography book series.  The one above is from Practical Composition (1984).  The text for this image reads; 'Garrett was working on a calendar when, during a break, he snapped this picture of his model playing with the child.  It was exactly the right moment when the sun-tan line on the mans' back aligned with the top of the grass.  It was taken at a shutter speed of 1/250 at f8, with a 35 mm lens which was fitted for a previous shot.  The lens gives slight distortion which helps the picture by exaggerating the difference in size of the two figures.' (Practical Composition: 1984:123)
This text describes the circumstances, gives the technical detail, and gives context to the shot.  The reason I love these books is that they are filled with these great images, some of these images would be considered unacceptable now which means I can only draw upon this great archive!

Photograph by John Garrett
From Practical Composition (1984)

In this image, the text reads; 'The model here stood in an inflatable paddling pool and an assistant was on top of a ladder with a watering can.  Backlighting picks out the water and a Softar lens attachment give the soft-focus.' (Practical Composition: 1984:121) Again the description here is great showing the simplicity of the set up and the fantastic effect of capturing the light and the water drops through that light on the flesh.

In the book. Creative Photographic Lighting, there are chapters on the light source and positioning.  Here is an example:

Positioning the Light Source from Creative Photographic Lighting (1984)

On this page, you can see simple examples with clear explanations of how the image works.  The top image explains the use of backlighting and secondary lighting on the faces of the women.  In the lower image a top-down shot explains that just by changing the angle of the woman's face the lighting flatters rather than flattens the features. 

Photograph by John Kelly from The Way to Professional Photography (1984)

In the above shot, the text reads; 'If you miss the peak of an expression, don't release the shutter.  As in this portrait, there should be no strain.' (The Way to Professional Photography, 1984:91)  The act of taking the photograph is a patient and gentle practice, capturing that moment is an art and here the photographer has done this perfectly.  The model's expression, the eyes looking directly into the lens the small hint of a smile with lighting perfectly coming in from the right-hand side shows the skill of a photographer at work.

As can be seen from all these shots there is a naturalness, yet technical brilliance to them all.  Now, often everyone thinks there a photographer with their phone but real photography always shines through


Dixons World of Photography (1984) Practical Composition, Eaglemoss Ltd, London

Dixons World of Photography (1984) Creative Photographic Lighting, Eaglemoss Ltd, London

Dixons World of Photography (1984) The Way to Professional Photography, Eaglemoss Ltd, London

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