A lovely sunny December day and all the leaves are gone from most of the trees. But rather than a simple tree shot in used the software on the phone to give it a Black and White effect, with the tiniest amount of colour and hue left but not blue.
Famous Photographers – Henri Cartier-Bresson
One of the leading photographers in the early part of the last century was Henri Cartier-Bresson. Born on August 22, 1908 in Chanteloup, France, he was the oldest of five children. As a teenager, Cartier-Bresson rebelled against his parents’ formal ways. Early in his adult he drifted toward communism. But it was art that remained at the centre of his life.
Cartier-Bresson travelled to Africa in 1931 and it fuelled an interest in him: photography. He experimented with a simple Brownie he’d received as a gift, taking pictures of the new world around him. Upon returning to France later that year, Cartier-Bresson purchased his first 35mm Leica, a camera whose simple style and stunning results would help define the photographer’s work.
For the rest of his life, in fact, Cartier-Bresson’s approach to photography would remain much the same. He made clear his disdain for the augmented image, one that had been enhanced by artificial light, dark room effects, even cropping. Cartier-Bresson believed that all edits should be done when the image was made. His equipment load was often light: a 50mm lens and if he needed it, a longer 90mm lens.
In 1947 Cartier-Bresson was one of the co-founders of the Magnum Photo Agency which has become one of the world’s biggest photo agencies. Not long after, Cartier-Bresson travelled east, spending considerable time in India, where he met and photographed Mahatma Gandhi shortly before his assassination in 1948. Cartier-Bresson’s subsequent work to document Gandhi’s death and its immediate impact on the country became one of Life Magazine’s most prized photo essays.
Cartier -Bresson died in 1994 just short of his 96th birthday and his influence on modern day photography is still immense. As a pioneer in photojournalism and using photography to tell a story I have found his work inspiring over my career.
Over the years I have looked at a lot of photos by Cartier–Bresson and his style is something I still aspire to and take inspiration from. Capturing the image ‘in camera’ rather than relying on lots of post processing is something I do my best to achieve every time I take the camera out.
For lots more information about Henri-Cartier Bresson visit Magnum Photos
My next Famous Photographer will be Steve Mc Curry, whose shot of an Afghan Girl was made famous National Geographic.
My Journey through Photography 3
In late 2010 my career took a new direction, I was no longer employed as a photographer, I was now freelance. It was a step into the unknown, not knowing where the next pay packet was going to come from. But I had faith in my ability as a photographer I just needed to make the contacts and get the work.
I made contact with the boss of Extratime.ie and offered my services as a photographer for football matches, and in the couple of years I have been doing the games I have really enjoyed it, Cup Finals, Internationals and weekly league games are just some of the matches I have photographed.
Looking back over my catalogue of photos, and I think I have just fewer than 12,000 photographs shared on Flickr and the events I have covered since my departure from the Defence Forces include Civil War Re-Enactments in both Ireland and England, Motor Races in the Phoenix Park, Motor Cycle Show in the RDS and the Women’s Mini Marathon for the last 3 years. All these events are things I may not have covered while serving, but my experiences while photographing the Defence Forces gave me not only the technical skills but also the organisational and people skills to carry out the jobs.
As a photographer it is important to keep evolving and improving skills. I started off photographing on 35mm black and white film and processing and printing by hand in the darkroom and now I am using digital cameras and digital media with computers for processing. I do try not to over process on a computer just like I never liked over processing prints in the darkroom, a rule of thumb I have always kept is to try capturing the image correctly in the camera.
That rule of thumb is something I have brought into something else I have started to do recently, Teaching Photography to beginners. This is something I never really thought I would ever do, but after setting up a camera club in the local area as well as developing a course structure I found that I can pass on my knowledge quite well. I suppose going to college late in life and studying media gave me the confidence to develop and deliver classes to strangers and let my enthusiasm for the subject come across.
I have one more article on this subject to write; it will include my inspirations, my ideals and where I hope to develop my career in the coming years.
The Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar is a place I like to drop into occasionally. Situated just off Meeting House Square in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar it is easily accessible and has a wealth of books and images for any passer-by or photographer to look over.
Founded in 1978 it hosts various photographic exhibitions as well as training courses. With full studio and darkroom facilities it is a gem within the photographic arena of Ireland. The gallery is non-profit and relies on donations from members to keep going.
One of the upcoming courses is Wet Plate Collodion photography. It takes place over the weekend of 26/27th of October 2013 in the gallery. This intensive weekend workshop led by experienced wet collodionist Monika Fabijanczyk gets you preparing plates, making exposures, developing, and varnishing your own wet collodion plates. Ideal for any photographer who wants to try something new over the weekend you can achieve results you will be proud of, and of course you get to keep your work. Everything is supplied, including 5 x 4 cameras, lights, all chemistry, clear glass, black glass and metal plates. Bring a steady hand and be prepared to fall in love with this most bewitching of processes!
2 upcoming exhibitions that will be worth a visit are firstly STILL, WE WORK, an exhibition featuring artists Sarah Browne, Vagabond Reviews, Miriam O’Connor and Anne Tallentire and presented by the National Women’s Council of Ireland. The exhibition has been devised as part of NWCI’s Legacy Project to mark their 40th anniversary year. The exhibition will run from October 18th to October 27th.
The second exhibition is Aftermath, which runs from October 30th to November 10th. In 1969 the largest evacuation of refugees since World War II took place in Ireland as thousands of people fled across the border to escape the unfolding conflict in Northern Ireland. In subsequent years the border counties continued to be heavily impacted; many people were injured or killed in bombings and shootings whilst others were imprisoned or displaced. Following the Good Friday Agreement and the cessation of overt conflict the issue arose of how to address the legacy of conflict. Aftermath sets out to explore hidden histories, unresolved antagonisms, and personal hopes and dreams. The project brings together people directly affected by trauma to share their experiences through photography, film and music.
So add the Gallery of Photography as a place to visit in Dublin and enjoy all that it has to offer. Visit Gallery of Photography website for more information
Starting my Career as a Photographer
Turning 18 and having a proper job allowed me to purchase my first 35mm SLR, a Praktica MTL 5B. A big heavy sturdy camera which still is in complete working order today, nearly 20 years since I first used it. I was now taking photographs every weekend and starting to build up a portfolio and a huge amount of negatives as well as a huge bill in the local chemist for printing. I needed options so I purchased a darkroom kit and started to develop and print a lot of my own black and white films in my bedroom. Turning a bedroom into a darkroom was a challenge but great fun at the time.
Moving on from the Praktica I purchased a Pentax P30, a superior camera to the Praktica but not as well built or solid as I got only two years out of it before I sold it on and got a second hand Olympus OM10. It was at this time that I started work in the Defence Force, having just turned 20. It would take another 18 months before I managed to get myself a place in the Air Corps Photographic Section, and what followed was 23 years as a Defence Forces photographer, travelling all over Ireland as well as overseas photographing the Defence Forces in action. It was one of the best jobs going and I thoroughly enjoyed most of it. Starting back in the late 1980’s in a darkroom and black and white film, with Nikon F3 cameras to finishing up using Canon 5D Digital cameras and Photoshop.
So here I am today, in my mid 40’s and the proud owner of 2 Canon cameras, a full portable studio set up as well as other photographic bits and pieces. My career to date has seen me work through huge leaps in technology and that’s why as a photographer you are always learning.
In my next article I will cover my career since I left the Defence Forces and how I feel my role as a photographer at events is ever changing and evolving.