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Manchester Photography
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Monday, November 17, 2008

John Bulmer

On top of meeting the "Mod Father" I also went along to an exhibition of photographs by John Bulmer at The Royal Exchange Theatre. Some really interesting images shot in and around Manchester dating from the early 70's surprisingly in colour. Now I know John worked for national newspapers but I can't find anything about him online, which is a shame as he must have been a real pioneer shooting colour documentary work in those days. If you can, go and see his work, and if you know of any sites with his work on or more about him please let me know.

Sushi & Weller.

Was absolutely star struck today. My misses persuaded me to go to Yo Sushi in Selfridges for our lunch. Not at all my usual haunt but she's been a bit off colour so OK I agreed. Sat down and was just tucking into my first bowl when who should walk in and sit down next to me but only Paul bloody Weller! He must be in town for his gig tomorrow at the M.E.N which as it happens I'm going to. He was there with two of his kids and I think it must have been their idea to eat there as to be honest he looked just as confused by what to do as me. Anyway said hello shuck his hand, nice bloke and now I'm even more excited about seeing him play again. He's the man!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Sunday Thought.

Image copyright Mark Page

I thought today that in keeping with the Sabbath we could get a little contemplative. This has come about because I have just rediscovered an old Victorian book I forgot I had called "A Sunday At Home" and also because of something a friend recently did that made me all thoughtful and to be honest a tad morose, so be warned. Now that I've set the tone for that whole Sunday service bit, I'll just give you a bit more atmosphere below.

Are them pews good and hard? Good then I'll begin.

This friend of mine who's an illustrator, was asking me where he could get some old photographs from, you know the sort of thing just a collection of "snaps" cool vintage stuff. I told him I thought he would be lucky to find anything like that nowadays as appropriating old photographs was a bit of a fad with both art photographers and artists alike.

He took no notice of me like most of my friends, and spent the afternoon rummaging around various secondhand bookshops around Shudehill. A few hours later and £400 lighter (I may be doing his funeral service when he tells his girlfriend) he turned up with a box of old photo's. We spent a while looking through several hundred black & white prints mostly on 8x10 fibre based paper. They were mainly landscapes of the Cheshire countryside in and around Hale.,_Greater_Manchester There were also shots from around North Wales and some group portraits. Most had information on the back, neatly typed onto bits of paper and glued on. Place, season subject, F.stop speed etc. Annoyingly no dates though. There also appeared the same name. (I won't publish it here.)

It became apparent that they had all been taken by the same man, and had been printed by him. I imagine that he was a "serious amature" and this was his life's work. We treated them with more respect and both got a little melancholy. They were well made prints often different versions of the same subject. This was the work of somebody who cared a great deal about the images they were making.

I'm glad my friend made a rash decision to spend £400 on that box of old photo's He intends to sort through and maybe get them online for other people to enjoy. It made me think about what would happen to the photographs I've taken. I, like the man from Hale have spent time and effort in making them. I hope that if they end up in a cardboard box in the backroom of a musty shop somewhere in Manchester that someone like my friend finds them and appreciates them.

So that's it, just a quick thought on mortality and what not, fucking hell cheer up!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

WWW (world wide work)

Image copyright Mikiko Hara

I am aware that this blog has been a little USA biased when highlighting the work of photographers. I personally have no leaning to the work of one country more than another. If I find someones work interesting I'll post about it regardless of the nationality of the photographer. Perhaps it's just that American artists are a little more sophisticated when it comes to promoting their work online.

So tonight trying to redress the balance I bring you two websites that promote the work of artists from other parts of the world. First up is photo.sittcomm which showcases the work of photographers based in Central & Eastern Europe, although India is also included which I think is stretching the definition of Europe even more than The Eurovision Song Contest!

And looking at Japanese work, from outside Japan, which also seems to "hide it's light under a bushel" at least when it comes to the work of it's photographers comes japan-photo
Two great ways to see stacks of bloody great photography.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Magnum Young Gun Wins

Image copyright Mikhael Subotzky
Magnum nominee Mikhael Subotzky has been awarded this years Eugene Smith Award. for his work on crime and punishment in South Africa.
So let me get this right. He's 27 a Magnum nominee and has now been awarded $30,000 by the Eugene Smith Foundation. I'm happy for him honestly I am. And over on the Conscientious blog Google group they've been discussing if traditional photojournalism has a future.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gangs Of Manchester

We've all heard about Manchester gangs and "Gunchester" first coined I believe by The Guardian in a weekend supplement back in the early 90's. No doubt designed to sell papers and scare the shit out of the middle classes busy setting up home in Chorlton.

This Gangs of Manchester is a different kettle of fish (or kettle of Dahl if reading in Chorlton) It's a trip back in time to Victorian Manchester/Salford and charts the rise and fall of what is reputed to be Britain's first youth cult, The Scuttlers. This book is filled with fascinating stories not only about these Victorian "roughs" but also gives insight into other aspects of Manchester's murky past.

This book will show you that the "Good Old Days" are a romantic myth and we should forget the paranoia of the media and thank God the streets of this fair city are a hell of a lot safer now than then. Go buy it here: read more here:
A bloody good read.

Katarina Radovic

Images copyright Katarina Radovic

Another interesting angle on portraiture. Katarina Radovic's "A Husband in Paris" found over at Lens Culture More of Katarina's work here: