The Huge List of International Photography Festivals | Fotografia Magazine

Something to help focus the mind - perhaps slightly out of date (Fotografia compiled the list in 2014):

From USA to China, from France to South Korea: we bring you a huge list of international photography festivals.

Source: The Huge List of International Photography Festivals | Fotografia Magazine

South of Klamath Falls

Stephen Shore photographed his iconic South of Klamath Falls in 1973. It's probably one of the first of his photographs I remember seeing, although maybe it actually wasn't. Many of his photographs are "ordinary" and don't necessarily stick quite so readily in the memory banks. In the video interview (below) he talks about how Klamath Falls is so obviously a photograph - "it didn't take a great leap of imagination", whereas the 70s lamp isn't, although it has become nostalgic. It was about what it looks like. Whilst I can't revisit Shore's hotel room, this is sort of what's at the heart of my After Stephen Shore project; to see what it looks like now.

With South of Klamath Falls being so iconic and significant for me, I was really happy to have found what looks like the location on GSV, the result of painstakingly moving along the road and seeing what the next section looks like, seeing if there are any clues that the location might be the same. In this case, unfortunately the billboard has gone, but there is enough to make me think it is right. Shore's journey is being layered with another temporal journey, an evidential progression that indeed illustrates what the passage of time has done to a space.

This comparison Shore makes in the video also brings in something I've long thought about, the fact that the meaning of photographs changes over time. I can imagine that, back in 1974, a large format photograph of a lamp in a hotel room will have been highly progressive. "It's not art" - still life "art" photography will still have been thought about in many corners as something the likes of Kertész made with his La Fourchette from 1928. Of course, this was changing as the modernists were being edged out, but Shore's photograph pre-dated Eggleston's colour MoMA show in 1976 which was credited as heralding the arrival of colour photography in the art world. Back to my point though, Shore states the image has become "nostalgic". All the "banal" or otherwise ordinary things that are being photographed today will soon disappear. Perhaps as the nature of our society changes, they will disappear more quickly in physical terms, but will probably have been recorded in one way or another by the plethora of photographs taken. Granted, not all these photographs are "art", there a lot of Facebook and Flickr dross out there, but there are a lot of people working in the arts that do record, do document in an aesthetically pleasing and intellectually questioning way. That's something I like about photography - it can be both documentary and art at the same time. Yeah, the other arts can do as well, but photography does it for me.

loeil de la photographie
Decryptage : Stephen Shore, South of Klamath Falls, 1973
L'Oeil de la Photographie

Klamath Falls
US97, South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, October 2013


Station to Station

A work in progress, deliberately photographed with an iPhone (or as it happens, a series of iPhones) over time - I don't take the train that often... But it's something that I thought I'd bring together here so as to focus my mind on to the fact that I've been slowly bringing something together; to remind myself to continue.

Salford Central
Salford Central


Marseille St. Charles

Birmingham International
Birmingham International

Nice Ville



School's (been) out for summer

It's coming towards the end of August, the new term is approaching. It's been almost three months off and there’s a growing realisation and dismay that I've not really done anything in that time. Yes, I've read a few pages of Ways of Looking, I've been to see Tanya's Reading show, and a sculpture park in Brittany. I've even had some work in the Athens Photography Festival APhf15, although I didn't see it there personally.

APhF15 © Madalina (@Madutzasan on Twitter)

I am really ashamed to say I've done nothing else in terms of "getting out there". I've not contacted galleries, open calls or done anything really... No, I've submitted to one open call, but that's it - a single image from an unfinished series. I really do have to pick up the baton now and get back into things, otherwise I may as well give up - is there any point working towards an MA if all I will ever do is make work for my own gratification? I don't think so.

Time to focus...


Le Loup, le Renard et la Belette

My thoughts for the coming year are moving towards doing something with my "second home"; Brittany. I've got a few little projects going on to be honest, all of which are connected to "the journey" in some way (a slow burn on train stations with an iPhone, and the Stephen Shore stuff), but I really want to do something in "Penn-ar-Bedd" (its Breton name). For one thing, it will force me to get out to explore the place - it's all too easy just to get there and become a recluse and to try and relax in-between all the little DIY jobs that need doing, so going out to photograph will be excellent.

The thing is, I'm not sure what it is I want to do. I have no real preconceived ideas about what I want to say, I've no real agenda and I've no idea what will come of it all. All I know is that I want to take the photographs and then see what they all say to me at the end. See what my subconscious was picking up. No, actually I do have one little preconception, and that is the omission of people from the photographs - in France you must obtain the subjects permission to photograph and publish (see here for a bit of background), something that I'm not planning on doing. There is clearly a danger that this might lead to a rather empty feeling to the series, but then, this might also work in its favour in terms of creating a certain atmosphere. We will have to see.

Another "danger" with approaching Brittany as my subject is that I'm only there sporadically - a week here, ten days there. Four or five times a year. Is this enough? Certainly, if I was to produce something like the Into the Valley project from my own region here in England, it might not be - I photographed the Ribble Valley on a fairly regular basis, and from that there are a number of different narratives that can be taken from the work, the one I chose was more personal than I'd intended. I don't want to produce the same thing in a different space. It wouldn't represent a step forward in any way for me - I will need to push and step beyond the pale in some way. But yes, I know there will be certain similarities, it's still me taking the photographs after all.

The project will develop slowly, but hopefully sufficiently, throughout the year which will also allow me to work the other projects and maybe even come up with something new too (I'm sure there will be something the MA actually instigates in its own right...).

And yes, the working title - Le Loup, le Renard et la Belette - is a song title. After wandering away from my little idiosyncrasy with the two GSV projects, I'm back naming my projects after songs. I might change it, but its there as an anchor - if it has a name, it clearly exists, so it's a start!

And yes, I've started with a petrol station...




Ode Tredudon
Ode Tredudon


The French Privacy Law | Photo This & That

Some background on French privacy laws, via The French Privacy Law | Photo This & That.

Laws about shooting and publishing photos and videoBefore taking a photo of someone you are required by law to ask the individual’s permission. If you want to publish it in anyway you have to ask their permission for each specific usage. Any object that is created by or is the copyright of an artist, or designer must have permissions to be published in specific contexts. Any owner of property can assert rights of ownership of property, again the photographer needs permissions to publish, regardless of whether the image was shot from a public or private space.

This could be a beautiful shot of the Eiffel Tower at night, with it’s beautiful lighting. However, without consent from the lighting designer, we could not publish the picture.

It is advisable in France to always get a signed written permission by individuals, owners of property and creators of original works, whatever the situation whether in a public or private space.

Individuals can use two different French laws to defend their rights against publication of their image:

The right of your own image (Droit d’image)

In France each individual has the exclusive right to their image and of who uses their image. Not only publishing the image but even taking the photo of someone, the photographer has to have the individuals permission under French Law. The fact that the person accepts to be photographed doesn’t mean that they accept to have their image published. A minor aged between 12 to 14 years old can be considered responsible enough to decide whether he/she gives the right to use his image.

Circumstances where the public right of information might be stronger than the individual’s right of one’s image

When someone places himself or herself is in a public place then there is already a measure of tacit consent already presumed but this is reflected in each individual case. Normally the person only has a right of complaint if he/she is a principal subject in the photo.

If someone is in a photo but not an essential element – or when the person is not recognizable – or is an accessory by chance – say in an image of a public monument, or statue, then it is generally considered that consent is not necessary, even though people have taken photographers or publishers to court over this. The same goes when the person is part of a crowd. But again each case is taken on its own merits, as to what is considered a crowd or an accessory or not.

But in all circumstances the persons dignity must be respected.


Reading: A Start and a Return

I had hoped to visit Tanya and her exhibition Reading: A Start and a Return on the opening weekend, dropping in via a roundabout route on my way back from France. Events conspired against me and it didn't happen. I did manage to get there for the final day though - a warm Saturday in August, after a long journey with the heating on in the already stuffy train carriage rather than the air con, and a lot of rowdy football fans that prevented me from getting down to finally read some of Ossian Ward's Ways of Looking.

I did get there though, and it was worth the long day and everything that went with it. It was good to catch up, face-to-face again for a change. It was good to see the exhibition, and the things I took from away it. I even managed a couple of iPhone images for the postcard series; although not printed in time for the exhibition itself, perhaps they will make their way into the archive...



That was something of an aside though, the main reason in attending was to see the show, the premise of which was 5 photography students from just over the river at Berkshire College of Art coming back together 30 years later. Five "products" from the same the institution, the same course, the same tutors. And oh, how they are now different. All showing some work they produced then, with some produced now.

Tanya at the Turbine House

Excepting the postcard work that meets you as you walk into the Turbine House, the first "proper" body of work was that of Peter Cole, what I suppose you might call a social documentary/travel/street photographer. All work in black and white, all of people or their surroundings and all fairly "classic" in style. Moving clockwise around the room it was then Tanya's Syncretize work that I saw some of during the course, old photographs married with Skype captures to represent the changing face of social interactions. Darran Gough's work was something of a surprise, but a pleasant one. I think I'll come back to that later. There was more from Tanya with Gone. Now? Displayed in the expanding folder that housed it for the MA assessment, it was good to see the physical prints - dark images are difficult to get right on paper, but these managed it (for my eyes at least). Dave Willis is a music and fashion photographer and his wall included images of Michael Jackson and the likes. An impressive selection of famous people have been captured here. Richard Pinches' work seemed to have evolved from being a teenage staple of cars and beer into, well, cars and beers! Granted, a more sophisticated take on them, but still the same subject. I guess there's something to be said with that...

Two of the group are no longer professionally involved in the photography scene; Darran is a fireman and Peter is involved with cycling. That said, you can tell there has been some form of training in the way they work, Darran has juxtapositions within his images, things the completely untrained eye would have missed, reflections seen in the visor to give context to what might otherwise be a "flat" composition. What's more, his images were printed on plain copy paper. Nothing pretentious, nothing precious, but for me it was perfect. It said it all. I actually hate it when people get overly precious about the images. Most of the time, they're just little prints, easy to reproduce, easy to replace. Granted, not always, in which case they do become more "special", but on the whole... I also dislike it when things are large for the sake of being large, even when it's not truly appropriate (not the case here, not at all and not with any of the exhibits). Peter's work has that well produced and considered feel to it - if he hadn't moved over to his love of cycling to earn his crust, it would be easy to see him working the travel scene.

Richard and Dave are both professional photographers - their work reflects this. Hard to pick fault, but not really the sort of thing that excites me, even if I have tried my own hand at music photography some years ago (a passing fad - too old to get into the game at the point I tried). No, to be fair, the concert photography side of things does interest me, but the music side of my brain, rather than the photography. Commercial (product) photography is something I admire when done well, but is it art? Clearly not - it's not the intention. That's not to say it's not visually attractive though - that's the very point of it, to instigate some level of desire for the subject within the viewer. There's plenty to be said on this in the world of visual culture, Althusser, Barthes, Peirce, Saussure and Levi-Strauss, etc.

Tanya is the only one to have gone down an "art" route, the only one to have added a context to the photographs, beyond the obvious "we need pictures from then and now" - she has created a set of images that explores "then" and "now", even adding something of a punctum with the missing image. These are the images that make you think, rather than just admire the technique or appreciate the subject matter. Yes, I'm sure some will have missed this fact, dismissing the "poor quality" of the Skype images without even wondering why they are like they are, what they represent. That the technology that brings us all together is simultaneously pushing us all apart. Are these real relationships or a simulacrum of a relationship? Of course, they're based on the real, but now they exist (most of the time at least) within the realm of the Matrix. So what does that mean? It depends on what you want it to mean, but does the "spoon" reflect the relationship; we think it's real, we want (need?) to believe it's real but...

That's one possible interpretation of the images, perhaps not what Tanya intended, but then, that's the nature of the beast. Anyway, on the whole I believe it all worked. I got something from it at least.

Reading 3
Reading: A Start and a Return

It was also good to see Keith there - one of the [( 6 )] who exhibited at Bank Street last year...



La Vallee des Saints

I came across La Vallee des Saints near Quénéquillec in Brittany when looking for something to take my sister to see when she came to our house for the first time. Not that she’s particularly interested in statues or saints, it just sounded interesting and isn’t very far away.

Calling the location “The Valley of the Saints” seems odd to me, it certainly feels like more of a hill – at least you walk up to the statue park. When you get there, it’s pretty impressive. Large statues are scattered around, generally towering above the onlooker. Apparently they’re saints although I don’t know their history. They’re all made from local (Breton) granite of different colours. They’re all made on site using industrial machinery.

The finish they achieve is really interesting. I’ve never thought about sculpture in any great depth before (I’ve been to Rodin’s museum in Paris, and yes, I’ve seen the very public stuff that has been there for years in London and other cities. I’ve just never really thought about them, and how they’re constructed. Here though, you can see (from a safe distance) the creation of a monolith using angle grinders and pneumatic jackhammers, smoke pouring out from the stone. From rough and raw granite through to a polished, glass-like surface, the statues were very tactile. They weren’t purely visual.

The interaction with the landscape was also worthy of appreciation. Brittany is quite a rugged land, hilly but not truly mountainous as you might consider the Alps or Pyrenees. In many ways it reminds me of the Pennines or Cumbria. These statues are within this landscape, tall but not competing with it. Pathways have been forged through the tall moorland grass but without recourse to tarmac. It’s an “outdoors” space. It works for me.

In terms of taking some photographs of the place, the day was one of those with bits of rain and a totally flat white sky that is often a bit of a bummer in terms of photography (depends what you want of course). The weather introduced its own interactions (half dry, half wet statues for example), and it would be good to go back again when the weather is different to see how the space works then.

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La Vallee des Saints website -

Cindy Bernard

I'm not sure where Cindy Bernard's Ask the Dust sits in direct relationship with my recent work. I have an idea, that of "revisiting" something from someone else's experiences, but there is a niggle as to whether that is really it. It's related, of course it is, but is it the whole story? And is there any link at all to my other work at all?

Cindy Bernard

Cindy Bernard -

In Bernard's work, she has gone back to scenes from well known films, from Vertigo, Faster Pussycat... Kill Kill and Dirty Harry and rephotographed them as they were when she was there, rather than as they were 30, 40 years ago (or longer...). I have done this virtually with Ruscha's Gasoline Stations Revisited and it is what I have started to explore with After Stephen Shore. She is in the LA area so can more easily visit the locations first hand. I use GSV.

Something else that does come through that has resonated within me and my early thoughts of Stephen Shore is the familiarity of some of these scenes. Yes, many of them are iconic films such as the afore mentioned Vertigo, but the films and the views from them all seem somehow familiar. Visual culture, notably from Hollywood cinema, but also for me from photography, has shaped the way we experience things that we have no direct experience of. I have never been to San Francisco, but I recognise the scene from Vertigo of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is in my memory. Similarly, one of the things I mentioned in my introduction notes on After Stephen Shore was that I felt a familiarity with the subjects of his images that should be illogical, but I feel that it stems from watching TV years ago (Kojak, Starsky and Hutch or The Streets of San Francisco). Not so much now, although maybe... I do feel a certain affinity with the landscapes of Breaking Bad because of the images from Shore, Ruscha and others.

The more I consider these things, the more I feel that memory is a fragile thing and easily mislead.