Archive | May, 2009

10 minutes with John Bulmer

27 May

This is the short film we did about John Bulmer. Many thanks to the Film students at Hereford College of Arts, Dave and Kaz, for all there hard work.

enjoy!

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Student and Staff exhibition preview

20 May

Hello all, as with the other exhibitions, I have created a slide show of the images. These images were taken by the BA Photography students and staff from Hereford College of Arts. They were taken in Ledbury during February. The exhibition was curated by the 2nd year students and can be seen in person at the Cider Museum in Hereford from now until 15 June. Enjoy.

John Bulmer Interview Part Two

19 May

CG: What about the girls with the curlers?

JB: I was just standing at a street corner and saw them coming and snatched a picture. You know, to me that’s the kind of documentary photography I really like. It’s down to anticipation. You have to think ahead, to think where the people are going to be. You have to think what settings, what focus, what exposure, what aperture to have your camera on. And you grab it, because you can’t usually recreate those sort of things.

CG: Did you work too much of a brief when you were making these photographs? Or did you have a subject and they would say just go photograph it?

JB: With the Sunday Times, sometimes I would suggest ideas to them, and they would commission it or not commission it, as the case maybe. Sometimes they would have an idea and ask me to do it. But quite often, it evolved from a discussion and a session where everybody was throwing ideas around. I think it’s mostly like that. Everybody chucks ideas in the pot and some of them kind of emerge as the ones that are goers.

CG: In the late 50’s and 60’s, journalism went through some pretty radical changes. Editors and art directors with new ideas were key to giving photographers such as yourself, Don McCullin, Philip Jones Griffiths a platform for your work. It must have been a very exciting time.

JB: A renaissance of photography in Great Britain came about in the early 60’s, and I think that the one magazine or the one man that really had the biggest influence of all, was Tom Woolsey, closely perhaps followed by Mark Boxer. Tom Woolsey was picture editor of Town Magazine and Mark Boxer was editor of Queen Magazine. They both were very visually adventurous. Town Magazine started doing things that were way ahead of its time. It was surprising because it really was a men’s fashion magazine, but the documentary stories they did were nothing to do with fashion. It was funny because Don McCullin and I were doing editorial material, and David Bailey and Terence Donovan were doing fashion. So, there was a lot of interesting material in there. But, of course, it was primarily a black and white magazine. By 1963, The Sunday Times started their colour section, and that’s when things really took off because other papers started doing the same thing pretty soon.

CG: Did it feel like there was an air of change, or was it just something that was happening?

JB: Well, it was something that was happening, but it was a strange situation where I found American photographers coming over to work for the Sunday Times Magazine, rather than us going over to work for American magazines. I did work a certain amount for American magazines, like Life and Look, but not very much. I worked quite a lot for a big travel magazine called Holiday. And that was an amazing magazine, they had lots of colour pages and sent people all over the world. But during that decade, I really think the Sunday Times overtook them for visual imagination.

CG: Let’s talk about your work abroad. You have spent a lot of time making films overseas, did you take many photographs before you started your filming?

JB: During the 60’s I did go to a huge number of places. For example, the Sunday Times commissioned me to do a story called The White Tribes of Africa with the writer Richard West. And we went to, I think, 14 countries in Africa within seven or eight weeks. And they commissioned me to do two whole issues on the struggle for power in South America. We went to 90 percent of the countries in South America within a couple of months. There was a huge amount of travel. I did really go all over the place, and I went around the world three times in one year for the Sunday Times, so it was a huge time for travelling, and it was wonderful. It was time when the world was different and when you went somewhere it really was different.

CG: Were these quite remote places you went to?

JB: Some of the trips were remote and others were not. I went into pretty much the remotest parts of New Guinea. But then I also went and did stories on things like New York apartments. I preferred the wild places. That was my thing really.

CG: How prepared did you have to be to go into the remote places?

JB: You’d pack a lot of film and a few antibiotics and things like that, and hope for the best.

CG: As a photographer myself, I have to ask you who were the photographers that got you interested in photography?

JB: I think the first thing that really hit me was the exhibition The Family of Man and the book that went with it. And that suddenly was a wonderfully new open look because up until then, if you went to things like the Royal Photographic Society exhibition or the London Salon of Photography, they were extremely traditional and boring. Nobody was using a camera in a very exciting way. But then the Family of Man came along, and I started looking at Cartier-Bresson’s work, and Eugene Smith did his book on Pittsburgh. Then, while I was at Cambridge, I met some really top photographers that came on assignments. I met Burt Glinn, who came to do a story on Cambridge for a holiday magazine. I met Larry Burrows, who came to do several stories for Life Magazine during the time I was there. I suddenly realized that there was a world out there that was exciting and that it was possible.

CG: You became frustrated with photography in the 70’s and turned to documentary film making. Did you see this as an extension of what you were doing photographically?

JB: By the early 70’s really, I was bored with the still photography I was doing. I think the magazines were heading in different directions. The photographs they wanted became more like the adverts and less exciting. I liked the idea of film, partly because it had a beginning, middle, and an end; it was more of a progression. You don’t go out and do exactly the same thing you did the day before, but you’re moving along. And I think the other thing is that it’s more of a team work. Photography is quite a lonely profession, travelling the world on your own and looking for these images and making the same compositions that you made the day before or the day before that. I was attracted to the idea of film for that reason. And actually came about completely by chance. I was offered the first visa to Burma that anybody had had since the end of the Second World War. I went to the Sunday Times and said, “Look, I’ve got this visa to Burma.” And the new editor said, “Ah, Burma, well that’s not very interesting really.” So I went to the BBC and said, “I’ve never shot a film in my life before, but I’ve got this visa, will you give me some money?” And they said yes and that’s how I came to make my first film.

CG: What was happening in Burma then?

JB: Nothing was happening much, but since the war, no journalist or photographer had been there for 25 years. It was a totally closed country in the way that later North Korea became closed for years, and nobody was allowed in the door. So, it was very exciting just because of that.

CG: Was it somewhere that you personally wanted to go? Did you secure the visa yourself?

JB: No, what happened was, the Burmese stick dancers were coming on a cultural visit to London, and I think that the impresario thought that he would get more people to buy tickets if he got about them in the Sunday Times. So, he was really just looking for publicity. My eyes just lit up at the idea of Burma because it was always a place that I had fantasies about going to. There were a few places in the world that were exotic and closed like Burma and Tibet, and it was just a wonderful opportunity.

CG: Have you been able to go to Tibet?

JB: Yes, I have. In fact, I think I probably shot the first real documentary in far Western Tibet in 1990, something like that. And we got into far West Tibet and that was an extraordinary experience. We actually walked over the Himalayas from Nepal into Western Tibet. It was tough.

CG: What did you find there?

JB: We found the remnants of a lost city. The film was called “In Search for Shangri-la” and we found the remnants of a lost ancient civilization.

I then asked John to talk to me about some of the photos he had in his study on display.

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JB: Well, this was taken in the Black Country for a story for Town Magazine. I think it was about 1961. It was at the time I was still working for the Daily Express. I got an arrangement where I could work three days a week, but it was the first three days of one week and the second of the other. So, I had a week on and a week off effectively. So, I spent a week in the Black Country and it’s not far from here, just north and west of Birmingham. But again, it was like a foreign country. You could drive for miles and the only thing you could find to eat were pork scratchings. It was amazing, and it was so exotic. I really loved it. This is one of my favourite pictures. It’s just so simple, a street going two ways and one old man. I didn’t ask him to do it, it was just grabbed. And you can see his breath; it was so cold because it was in the middle of winter.


CG: Was it in the morning? There’s a milk float there.

JB: I imagine it was early in the morning. But I remember the hotel I stayed in Wolverhampton had no heating in the bedroom. I remember going down early in the morning to try and get people going to work. There was ice in some places on the road. I had never been so cold in all my life. It was horrible!

CG: When you were in the Black Country, was it more reportage? Were you just walking around?

JB: It was reportage. I just drove around until I saw a likely area, and then I just walked around. I didn’t have anything set up. One of the other interesting things in those days, you could just walk into places in a way you couldn’t now. There was a steel foundry where they were pouring moulten steel into a mold and hitting it with a press. They allowed me to just walk in there and photograph it. That’s inconceivable now with health and safety.

john bulmer

JB: This one is in Papau, New Guinea in 1963. I’d actually been doing a story for the Sunday Times on Australia. We interviewed one of the heads of a local airline, incidentally, and he offered me a free ticket to New Guinea so I took it. I went up there and this is a place called Mount Hargon. It was about two or three hours walk from the town that I was taken by the local comissioner. It was really untouched in those days, there were no roads. This is what’s called a head turning ceremony. In the same way as the village dance, the young man would ask one of the girls to dance, which meant headturning. They would put their foreheads together and sway in time with the music. The music was the old men at the end of the hut chanting. As you can see, one girl got the young man and the other didn’t and she’s looking jealous as hell. But what I loved was the fact that human emotions were the same in this sort of situation. Technically this was quite a challenge, too, because it was completely dark in there. There was no light in there at all because it was night. I hate direct flash. The ceiling was completely black from the smoke of the fire so what I did, I wedged a couple of banana leaves on the roof and bounced a flash off a banana leaf and that is how this is lit.

CG: Would you have seemed exotic to them?

JB: I’m sure I seemed extremely exotic to them. The other thing I remember here, I asked the local district commissioner what I should take as a present for them because I knew we were going to this head turning ceremony or a courting ceremony. He said, “You should bring a tin of tobacco and a bag of beads.” So I went along to the local store and bought this huge tin of tobacco and a large bag of beads thinking that the tobacco would be for the men and the beads for the girls. And when I got there, the women all descended on the tobacco and the men all descended on the beads.

john bulmer

JB: This was taken in West Hartlepool. It was at a time where they used to gather sea coal off the beach. I think Hartlepool had the highest unemployment rate in the country, which is why it was a place of interest. There were seams of coal out at sea and every morning at low tide, you’d see them scraping coal off the beach and loading it into sacks and carrying them on their bicycles or pony carts and so on. This is an old man on the sea front trying to get warm throwing his arms around himself.


CG: Sorry, I’m showing my age. What is sea coal?

JB: It’s simply ordinary coal dust that comes through underwater seams. Obviously mines have seams and sometimes they come up underwater so the coal just gets washed up on the beach and they beach becomes black with this sea coal. I actually made a film later called The Black Beach. It was an extraordinary place.

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CG: This is one of my favourites.

JB: These are pit ponies in a drift mine in County Durham. This was part of a story for the Sunday Times on the North of England. This was my first big colour story on the North. It’s a good example of what I was talking about taking colour pictures in fog and mist. It simplifies everything, you get rid of extraneous things in the background, and there is a certain quality to it.

CG: What were they doing when you got there?

JB: You notice their faces are clean. They are waiting to go down the mine. I’ve got other pictures, which you might have seen, of some of them after their shift. But this particular one they are still clean, and they were about to go down the mine. I did quite a few mines and one of the amazing things, again, was the access which you’d never have now. I remember one mine they just let me in, I walked in the shower room and filmed the men stark naked, cleaning themselves up after their shift. That sort of access you’d never get now.


CG: Were they quite welcome to you being there? Were they interested in being photographed?

JB: Yes. They were just interested and friendly. There was no big deal about it, but they were real relaxed about it.

CG: Do you think people have a different attitude about being photographed as we are photographed so many times a day now?

JB: I think that’s true. Years later, I was involved with a film for the BBC in Whitby. It was about Ian Berry who is a Magnum photographer going back and photographing in the same sort of area as a famous Victorian photographer, I think his name was Sutcliffe, had been. And we went to a dance hall, and Ian Berry was photographing people with his Leica. They were very suspicious. They didn’t know what it was quite, and they were worried about it. Whereas, when I came and put my big movie camera in their face, they’d say, “Oh, is that the telly?” And I’d say yes. “Oh, that’s alright then.” Because the telly was something they watched every night, and being on the telly was something normal to them. But someone with a small Leica was really worrying because they didn’t know what it was. So, I think there was an element of that. In my time, people used to accept things more. They were a working class who were used to being a bit downtrodden and they were used to people coming around and doing odd things to them. They probably just accepted it.

CG: I guess they were less suspicious as well.

JB: That’s right. I don’t think they felt people were going to exploit them in the same way.

CG: Well John, thanks for your time today. It has been most enjoyable and enlightening!

New Editions

13 May

I have been meaning to post this bit of news for awhile! I didn’t even know about this piece of work until last week. But it sounds good and I am looking forward to seeing it! This project was supported by local organization, Rural Media. It is called Bromyard Forever- Photographs of life on a rural high street. The photographs are by Andrew Fox and will be shown at the Hereford Cathedral. Here is the blurb:

A celebration of local colour, resilience and unique personalities, alive and well in the rural high street. In these difficult economic times, Bromyard identified the urgency of valuing and supporting its local economy, and commissioned a top quality photographer to honour its distinctive nature.

The High Street still includes 2 independent greengrocers, 3 butchers, 2 bakers of which one still bakes its own bread on the premises, 4 pubs, a busy joinery workshop and various other shops that sell anything you could wish to buy. The exhibition is ‘hot off the press’, with Andrew being commissioned and undertaking the work, all within May 2009. Led by Bromyard and District History Society. Supported by Rural Media and funded though grassroots grants.


For times and dates check our website http://www.photofest.org

There is also an event sponsored by collective artists’ group called static3. Carl Beebee and Jaime Jackson, from the group, have worked with young people to create their own questioning of stereotypes through taking ‘labelled’; reformatted into art, text and photograph banners, video art and performance take over the town. ‘Labelled’ focuses young people’s perceptions of self-identity and placing these ideas back into the heart of the town. This is a multi-site exhibition across the town from 28th May – 20th June with a Labelled art & performance event on Friday 29th May 6pm -10pm at the Heritage Centre, Bromyard Rowberry Street HR7 4DU.

Static is also a yearly program of contemporary art & amp; live audiovisual performances in Hereford. Static brings you some of the best photography, digital media, installation, video art, & vj performances Hereford and the region has to offer. In conjunction with the festival, they have taken over the empty retail space of Franklin House Shop on Commercial Road. Franklin House Shop windows will be playing host to ‘Windows on Art’ part of ‘Seen it, done it, got creative’ campaign promoting art in the county by Herefordshire Council, in partnership with the Edgar Street Grid and Hereford City Partnerships. As well as a display of artwork by art students at Hereford 6th Form College. They will be in residence from 4th,5th, 6th June and 11th,12th June 10am-6pm, with a special static3 end of show event on 12th June 6pm-10pm.

Part One of Two- John Bulmer Interview

9 May

In April, I had the honor of interviewing John Bulmer, one of our featured photographers. It was a great experience. What follows is the first part of the interview. I should have the second part up early next week, so please check back for more. This interview has been condensed into a short 10 minute film that will be available at the Hereford Photography Festival.

John Bulmer Interviewed by Carey Gough

CG: I thought we could start at the beginning. When you first became interested in photography you were studying engineering at Cambridge University. Can you tell us what made you turn to photography-especially as it was not part of the curriculum there?

JB: I was meant to be an engineer, but I didn’t spend much time studying engineering. I spent most of my time taking photographs instead. I was keen on photography before I went up to Cambridge. It was like the last of a series of childhood crazes we used to have in those days like meccano, toy trains, and things like that. And it kind of stuck. I think that before the days of ipods, iphones, and television, people used to do far more practical things, and photography was a practical thing to go in the darkroom and make images, and it stuck.

CG: Did you have a darkroom back then?

JB: I had a darkroom in a cupboard at home, yes. And then when I went up to Cambridge, we had a university newspaper that had a darkroom, and I spent most of my time taking pictures or in there.

CG: That is where you started Image Magazine.

JB: Yes.

CG: You started showing other people’s work, like Don McCullin…

JB: Well, Image was a picture magazine that was started by a group of us. I was one of the co-founders. We were very aware in those days that there wasn’t much of a picture magazine in Britain. The Picture Post had long since died, and there was nothing to fill its place. There were newspapers, but in America, there were things like the Life Magazine, which were like a big world and hugely exciting to us. But there was nothing in England in the way of picture magazines in those days.

CG: How many people did Image reach and how well was it received?

JB: Well, Image was well received, but it had a tiny circulation. We would go around and bully our friends into taking out ads and things, but it was a very, very small circulation magazine. Ironically, actually, when the founders left Cambridge, we managed to sell it on to Michael Heseltine who, as you know, went on to become a well-known politician, because he had a series of magazines for graduates. So, at least we sold it for its debts and moved on.

CG: So, you left Cambridge then, and when you finished….

JB: Well I didn’t finish at Cambridge, I was actually thrown out six weeks before my finals, and I went up to London, and went to see the Daily Express because I had been doing pictures for them in Cambridge a bit, and I asked them for a job. They kind of laughed at me. But it was chaos in the office. You never could never get anybody’s attention for more than a few minutes, the telephone would ring, something else would happen, and they would call a conference. But after I’d been there three days, they said, “Oh well, actually we’re a bit short next week. Could you help us out for a couple of days?” And I stayed there two years.

CG: Do you remember what your first assignment was?

JB: The big assignment during that first week was a story about a gang of East End youths who joined the Territorial Army so they could go and have a license to beat people up. So, it was them going out as a gang, more or less, on patrol with the Territorials. And it made a Photo News, which was like a half page spread they had in the paper. But the only thing was, the gang didn’t like our story very much, and they came into the office to try and beat me up. Fortunately, I wasn’t there.

CG: So, you get to the Daily Express, and you were the first person to bring a 35 mm camera, is that correct?

JB: Everyone in Fleet Street in those days used to use Rolleiflexes. That was the standard camera, a rolleiflex with a flashgun on the side. I had been sort of under the influence more of things like Life Magazine and was entirely a 35 mm person. So, although they did give me a Rolleiflex, one got stolen and the one got run over by the Queen Mother’s car, and so I ended up without one, and I shot everything on 35 mm. I found that it was an advantage because if you went to something like a society wedding with a wide-angle lens, you could just dive in the middle of things, and you could get pictures that other people just couldn’t get. So, I thought the days of Rolleiflexes were over really.

CG: Can you explain what the advantages were of the 35mm?

JB: A Rolleiflex camera is a roll film camera with a 6×6 frame and a fixed lens so you couldn’t change the angle. Whereas 35mm cameras all had interchangeable lenses, and you could have two cameras around your neck, one with a wide-angle lens and one with a telephoto. It meant that you could dive into the action and get pictures that other people couldn’t get. To put it in a way more bluntly, you could walk in front of the other photographers and drive them crazy. But you got the picture and they didn’t that way. Or you could use a telephoto and get things from a distance.

CG: During your photographic career, photography had a very different culture than it does now. Though there was certainly a very image-oriented culture that was constantly gaining momentum, it was a different intensity to our over saturated experience now. It could be said, today we take photographs for granted. Can you talk to us about the differences?

JB: The difference was that in those days there weren’t that many magazines. If you did a story for Queen Magazine or Town Magazine, anybody who had any kind of connection with the media world or who looked at things visually would have seen that. And it was the same when the Sunday Times Magazine started. Any big story you had in that magazine, everybody you knew would have seen it. Whereas now, there is so much around, it is hard to get noticed in that way so that is a big change.

CG: Do you think it was easier to become a photographer back then? To become well known?

JB: I don’t know that it was easier, necessarily. The competition to get into Fleet Street on a national newspaper was still very great. I think I was unusual that I was the only amateur that made it to a full time job in Fleet Street without working for provincial newspapers first. When the, and maybe I am jumping the gun a bit, Sunday Times Magazine started and they were looking for photographers to work in colour, there was just nobody around because the magazine photographers that existed in the country had worked for the Picture Post, which had gone broke just a few years before. None of them had ever worked in colour. And to my way of thinking, they went out with and shot black and white pictures with colour film in their camera. They didn’t think in colour. It is a different way of thinking. I mean nowadays it seems completely normal to shoot in colour because that’s the way you see things. But we had gotten used to making that transition to black and white, and to suddenly start working in colour was quite a big jump. We regarded it as quite difficult. The reasons it was difficult were, there were several actually. On a technical level, colour film was very slow, it had very poor latitude, cameras did not have built-in light meters, and so it wasn’t that easy to get the exposure right and those kinds of things to start with. Secondly, in terms of how you look at things, the whole process of photography is in a way a process of abstraction. You’re trying to reduce a cluttered world into something you can form into shapes and images that are simple enough to give you some strong impression. Now, if you are going to cover a news story and somebody in a red t-shirt is standing in the background, that can give you real problems in spoiling your picture. In black and white, it doesn’t really matter. But in colour, that red t-shirt will ruin your otherwise beautifully composed picture. And what I did, I think, that nobody else did, was to go out and take pictures in fog and rain and things like that because colour photography was considered something you did on sunny days. It wasn’t considered something you do in the north of England or in rain or fog.

CG: Can you tell us about sharing a dark room with Philip Jones Griffiths?

JB: Well, I knew Philip Jones Griffiths from the very early 60’s. I think I first met him on an Aldermaston March, which he was covering for the Guardian, and I was covering for the Daily Express. I was immediately struck by his wit and intelligence, and he was a total anarchist. He didn’t believe in any of the establishment. We became friends, and then later we shared a dark room because it was during the time he was working on his Vietnam book, and he was away a lot of the time. But he was a wonderful technician. And we worked together well because he had been a chemist, and I had been an engineer. So, between us we able to pool our knowledge to build a system for making colour duplicates that was better than anybody else’s. Of course, that’s now irrelevant because now of digitizing no one needs colour duplicates.

CG: Was it your idea to take colour photographs? Was it an idea you had been toying with?

JB: I think that I obviously had taken a few colour photographs, but primarily like everybody else in the country, I was a black and white photographer, and the reason was that all the outlets were black and white; all the magazines I was working for were black and white. Things like Queen Magazine that I worked for, they would never have used colour for normal editorial. They used it for fashion and advertising and things like that, but the sort of editorial work they were doing was black and white. When the Sunday Times started in 1963 with their colour section, as they called it, that was the first time any magazine had ever seriously used colour for documentary work. And so it was something quite new.

CG: Can you tell us a little bit more about taking photographs in the fog and the rain?

JB: I think, first of all, I was given an assignment for the Sunday Times to photograph the North of England. Everybody thought of the North of England as a kind of black and white subject, a sort of grey old dowdy thing. But I think you can get even more of an impression of that in colour as long as you don’t take it on bright sunny days but work in fog and rain and poor light and things like that. I think that can give a very strong impression of a mood of a place. And I think also because colour tends to shout out at you rather, that colour photographs are better done in subdued light and situations.


CG: You are also known for your photographs of Northern Britain. This was a topic that was much photographed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Can you tell us what its appeal was to you and your contemporaries?

JB: Well, I think that to me, when I used to look at things like Life Magazine, and I used to be very hooked on photographs of exotic places. I longed to go to New Guinea and South America and all those sorts of places. And actually to us in London, the North of England was an exotic place, and you were able to take pictures that were not mundane, that were not ordinary. I think all photographers really are trying to find something that is out of the ordinary and has that sort of wow factor and makes people sit up and look. I think the North of England came into that category. It was something to us in the South, as we were then, something unusual and interesting.

CG: Had you ever been to the North of England before you photographed it?

JB: Before I photographed in the North, although I had passed through on the way to Scotland, I had never really lingered in the industrial North. That is something that I discovered when I started photographing. To me, it was an extraordinary discovery. It was like coming across an undiscovered tribe in New Guinea or something. It was so exotic.

CG: You have a lovely relationship with your subjects in your photographs. How did you make your way in with the people you were photographing?

JB: Firstly, everyone is just in the street. I was a great fan of Cartier-Bresson, and Cartier-Bresson’s technique is to be almost invisible and just take pictures without people being aware of it. And I believed in that way of working primarily. Although, ultimately you sometimes do get to know people, but I didn’t go in there trying to draw attention to myself. Some people do that more; for example, Don McCullin, whose work I admire enormously, his approach is much more to take photographs of people reacting to him rather than to take pictures unobserved like Cartier-Bresson. And everybody is different. Some people want to work one way or the other, but I tend to want to be unobtrusive. But you also do need to get inside certain places, and you do sometimes befriend people. I remember taking pictures in a steel foundry in the Black Country, and there was a young lad who was at a steel press. I went out that evening with him to the pubs, and he drank 17 pints of beer, and I could see he lost so much moisture in the day; he needed to make it up again. But he took me home, and I photographed his family in his little tiny terraced house, and they kept saying I must come back there and spend my holidays with them. They had as little idea about our lives as we had had of their lives in a way.

Seminar Cancelled

8 May

Due to previous commitments, several of our photographers could not make the seminar. Because of this we have decided to cancel the seminar.

Its not all bad news though. John Bulmer is speaking to the great Eamonn McCabe at the Hay Festival. I highly recommend checking this festival out. I went to see Don McCullin there last year. These interviews are great. Its rare we are given the chance to hear photographers like Bulmer speak about their work. For tickets and more information see the Hay festival website.

Student Exhibition

5 May

Apologies for my absence. I have been busy organizing the website. If you haven’t seen it, its looking good. There are slide shows with images from two of our exhibitions. We have also posted details of the student exhibition.

This year the students and staff of Hereford College of Art turned their lenses to the Herefordshire town of Ledbury. The outcome is a portrait of the small town from varying perspectives and many different approaches. The work is interesting for this reason.

One thing that should also be mentioned is that all the images were taken on film. There is no digital work here. I find this important, and this is my own opinion as a photographer, because film slows every thing down. You make more considered decisions when you are working with film. Film takes a different effort than digital photography. Digital photography has almost an endless quality because you can keep taking photos until you are satisfied without much cost or effort spent processing the images. Film is an entirely different discipline. Some of which takes a lot of younger photographers out of their element as they have become photographers during the digital age. But all of the students (and staff) involved embraced the challenge and produced exciting images for this exhibition.

The exhibition, Ledbury 17th February, 2009, will be held at the Cider Museum from 15th May to 21st June.