Hear this page!
During the period when social contacts have been limited due to Covid-19, I have spent more time looking at different aspects of photography on line. The following are some of the topics and websites that have attracted my interest: it may be that they will interest you or inspire you to find other sites that appeal. All are free and in my experience, safe to use, though sometimes the buttons don’t quite function as you expect! My apologies for any errors in the text.
Stewart Lane 20 August 2020.
Go to https://www.youtube.com/ A familiar site to many for its ‘How to do something’ videos. It seems to have changed some its layout in recent months, making it less easy to use I think. The key is in entering the best search description, though some subjects have much better matches than others. For instance, ‘Magnum Photography’ (not just Magnum) produces much better options than ‘Picture Post Magazine’, and in the former you can scroll through to find topics or people of interest. Or choose a favourite photographer: there’s lots of content on David Hurn, Joel Meyorwitz, Sebastiao Selgado, and Eamonn McCabe. Otherwise try ‘Wet Plate Collodion’, or ‘How a Polaroid Camera Works’, or even ‘Composition in Art’! And there’s lots on War Photography, Macro Photography, B&W portraits, etc, etc! You’ll have to ignore all the ‘Best Buy’ videos (unless they do interest you), and I’ve not watched all of those above and don’t agree with (or even believe) some of those I have watched, but it is an amazing free resource.
Current Photography Magazines
These can be accessed on line for free through the library service, so long as you are a member. Go to https://www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-communities/libraries/library-facilities/e-books-e-magazines-and-e-audiobooks/. On the site, choose the Magazine Collection and click on ‘Explore’. There’s a filter button and by choosing ‘Genre’ and then ‘Art and Photo’, you should have a choice of Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera World, Digital SLR photography, and Practical Photography. Just click on whichever is of interest and choose ‘Read’ to access the usual range of equipment reviews, ‘how to’ articles, advice, competitions, etc. A useful option is to read an article in Text View – much easier in my opinion: once the required article is open click the ‘T’ in the left column. Of course you can also read scores of other publications.
Probably all National Museums have a photographic archive online. Here are some I’ve looked at:
National Galleries Scotland have lots of short features at https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/features A long list of reading material to scroll down but includes longer text on Robert Mapplethorpe with many images, and three separate reads on the Scottish photographers Hill and Adamson. The search box can be used to bring up the collected works of a photographer which can be examined in detail by clicking on the image.
Victoria & Albert Museum https://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/photographs Scroll down to access short (typically <5min) features to read or watch, e.g. Julia Margaret Cameron, Paul Strand, or less well known historical figures like Clementina Hawarden or Lineus Tripe. One can also ‘Search Collections’, where there are over 6200 photos. Selected images enlargeable by choosing ‘view details’.
Museum of Modern Art https://www.moma.org/ has an extensive archive though not the easiest to navigate. Choosing the search box and entering Photography will access some 26,338 items, but then choosing the ‘Artists’ category gives a long list of photographers, sadly not in alphabetical order. Most artists have between 10 &and 100 images to view (clicking on the image enlarges it). The ‘Magazine’ category also has some articles of possible interest (e.g. on Robert Frank and Dorothea Lange) as well as access to the full text of some older books, via the article ‘Now is the time to read Photography Books’.
Many have their own websites of course. I’ve taken an interest in three British black and white landscape (for the most part) photographers from three different centuries. Main websites are given but other websites have additional details for Godwin and Bourne:
Paul Hart (born 1961) https://www.paulhartphotography.com/series-index-1
Since 2016 has published three books on the East Anglian Fens working with analogue processes and silver gelatine prints. For me, the images capture an area I know extremely well.
Fay Godwin (born 1931) http://www.faygodwin.com/bio.html Mainly active 1970-2000. She often used her images to show the damage to the environment, e.g. in the book ‘Our Forbidden Land‘. She was first a portraitist with those of Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney being well known. There’s also a 1986 documentary on YouTube, though of poor image quality.
Samuel Bourne https://www.nationalgalleries.org/search/artist/samuel-bourne An extensive collection of images at the Scottish National Gallery from Bourne’s prolific work in India, 1862-69. Like Francis Frith’s photos of Egypt from 1856 to 1859, the production of fine images with the bulky kit of the day is a great achievement, with the Scottish Gallery images being greatly enlargeable online.
Blue Plaque Photographers
Something simpler but also a little thought provoking? English Heritage now runs London’s Blue Plaque scheme. They commemorate the connection of some 900 famous individuals, who must have been dead for 20 years, with the building in which they lived or worked. I wondered how many photographers were represented. The answer can be worked out at https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/ Select ‘Applied Arts’ in the ‘Category’ box and see how many photographers are recognisable. There aren’t many (though I may have overlooked some of course) and there is one I had not heard of!