Special places: Photography
These deadpan mugshots of darkrooms in London, by photographer Richard Nicholson, brought forth feelings of nostalgia in me, reminding me of time I have spent in other darkrooms. I have especially fond memories of these:
♦ The cramped under-the-stairs darkroom in a neighbour’s house in Dorking in Surrey, UK, where I made prints to show at meetings of the Ockley, Capel & District Camera Club.
♦ The darkroom I made in my bedroom at home, with Masonite blackout panels over the windows, where I made prints for a school magazine.
♦ The pleasure of using a Leitz Focomat enlarger in a darkroom in a certain government department in Brisbane, through the kindness of the father of a friend at university.
♦ The chaotic darkroom at the Architectural Association in London, where I printed photos for my travelling companion Jon Parker. That’s Jon’s Olympus Pen half-frame camera I’m holding in this picture.
♦ The old caravan I converted into a darkroom, equipped with a Leitz Valoy enlarger, and dragged from house to house in the 1970s.
Enough of my reminiscences. Here is part of Richard Nicholson’s explanation of his project:
This project, shot on 4"x5" film, documents London’s remaining professional darkrooms. It is based on my nostalgia for a dying craft (there are no young printers). It is in these rooms that printers have worked their magic, distilling the works of photographers such as David Bailey, Anton Corbijn and Nick Knight into a recognisable ‘look’.»more»
Brazillian rainforest photographed from a kite
I have spent more hours than I like to admit browsing the website of Nicolas Chorier, a French photographer who specialises in kite photography. There is much else to see, but I suggest you start with his pictures of the disappearing rainforest of Brazil. The website does not allow a direct link, so here are directions: in the navigation list on the left of the page, click nature, then brazil. Then click the thumbnail images that appear on the right.»more»
This is a pool of photographs contributed by members of flickr, the very sociable and democratic website for the sharing of images.
A group dedicated to documenting the breadth and beauty of scotland before it disappears forever.»more»
Subject matter includes abandoned or threatened architecture, the story behind the facade, rural, coastal and urban, long forgotton lives, fading grandure, industrial dreams, atmospheric interiors, portraits, and awe-inspiring landscapes. Film or digital, you decide the rest.
Minutes to midnight
With these photographs from a journey across Australia, Trent Parke has made an intense, autobiographical piece, specific in time and place. It’s presented as a web slide show with narrative voice-over. As the intro says:
The work is both a document of a changing nation, uneasy with its identity and its place in the world, and a work of fiction which when combined suggests the build-up, aftermath and rebirth of an apocalyptic world. In its making, Trent pupated from documenting an emotional black and white world to one of color.»more»
Architecture of density
On the website of photographer Michael Wolf is this set of photos of the dense residential buildings of Hong Kong. The photographs are formal and abstracted. People are not shown, but one knows they are there.»more»
During seven weeks in 2005 Ed Kashi photographed Kurdish people in northern Iraq going about their daily lives.
He has put thousands of images in a 12 minute presentation that blurs the boundary between photography and cinematography. I rate it a success on the whole, and an interesting experiment that points to new possibilities.
You’ll need Flash, and a broadband connection, to enjoy this website.»more»
At the end of 1972 I travelled to Istanbul by train from Iran—a meditative journey across the Turkish winter landscape. Under damp foreboding skies I visited the great church of Hagia Sophia and the great Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I, and enjoyed the conjunction of the Orient and the Occident.
I have not been back, but these photographs by Turkish film maker Nuri Bilge Ceylan are the next best thing. He took them while scouting for film locations, and they have cinematic aspects. These widescreen images are all about people in relationship to places.»more»
Tin tabernacles and other buildings
Alasdair Ogilvie’s delightful photo essay for Pentagram Papers shows an aspect of corrugated iron prefabricated buildings that is new to me—the use of these buildings at home.
In Britain, between the 1860s and the Great War, the country underwent extensive increases in the production of coal, iron and lead, triggering large population movements into previously isolated and rural areas, such as South Wales and County Durham.»more»
With no existing infrastructures, these newly created communities had an urgent need for churches, chapels and schools. Corrugated iron buildings fulfilled this demand. The quantity of “Tin Tabernacles” built also reflects the missionary efforts of the Anglican Church, at the time in competition with the Nonconformist movements—Methodist, Wesleyan and other dissenters.
Walking the Circle Line
Instead of the standard graphic abstraction of the London Underground, here is the view from above the ground. Rob Gardiner takes us on an observant walker’s tour with his rudimentary camera.»more»
Canto do Brasil
In Canto do Brasil (I sing of Brazil) Geoffrey Hiller presents a dozen sequences of photographs, each with a sound track, about different aspects of Brasil. The images are full of gritty reality and vibrant life.
The photos and audio are packaged in Flash movies. Best with a fast connection.»more»
The old closes and streets of Glasgow
In 1868 the trustees of the City of Glasgow Improvement Trust commissioned the photographer Thomas Annan (1829-1887) to record the slums of Glasgow. Annan’s photographs are featured in this exhibition on the Luminous-Lint website.
These photographs are amongst the earliest taken specifically as a record of housing conditions prior to urban renewal and as such they are an important milestone in the history of documentary photography. [from the website Introduction by D Spencer]»more»
Kids with cameras — Haiti
Gigi Cohen worked with 12 children from a school for child domestic workers in Haiti. She has helped them to record their lives by photography, in one of several Kids with cameras projects. So far, in projects in Haiti, Calcutta, Jerusalem and Cairo, children have revealed the places and circumstances they live in, through websites, books and exhibitions. I’ll quote from the Haiti website:»more»
Aerial photos of Mexico City
Helicopter photographs of an extraordinary city.»more»
Chittagong shipbreaking yards
Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of shipbreaking in Bangladesh evoke the scale and danger of this business.»more»
According to its tagline, Sprol is about planetary scrutiny. It’s a blog whose entries use Google satellite photographs and acerbic text to highlight places of environmental disaster and degradation.»more»
David Nightingale lives and works in the English seaside town of Blackpool. Each day in his photoblog Chromasia he publishes a photograph of the people, objects and places around him.
These are not the grey pictures I associate with the English seaside, thanks to David’s graphic sensibility, and his willingness to tinker with contrast and saturation.»more»
This portfolio of photographs by Dr Jaroslav Poncar evokes the spectacular landscapes and hard life of Ladakh, on the western edge of the Tibetan plateau. I enjoy the unsaturated colour and sombre monochrome of these pictures.»more»
Les Photos de Villes
This website offers photographs of every building in the 19 districts of Paris, and nine other French cities. Each photograph sits on your computer screen beside a street map showing exactly where you are.»more»
Mark Tucker’s Cuba and Mexico
An online portfolio of photographs of Havana and Mexico City — all whole-frame, black-and-white Hasselblad shots. The Havana photographs start the Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack playing in my head.»more»
Nicéphore Niépce’s house
Website of a French house museum — the house where one of the inventors of photography did his work. In 1827, in the attic of this house, Nicéphore Niépce took “Le point de vue de la fenêtre” (“View from the window”), the first photograph.»more»
This on-line exhibition of 32 photographs has been my private pleasure for a year or so. Now, as the western powers prepare for a new war on Afghanistan, these pictures show a deeper view of that remarkable country than we see on TV.»more»
Nonda to Mount Isa 1983
A fond memoire of places along a western Queensland railway line. The photos and stories were contributed by train crews stationed at Cloncurry.»more»
The empire that was Russia
Here are photographs of the Russian empire in 1909-1915 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. These are colour pictures, each made with three successive filtered exposures on monochrome glass plates. The plates have recently been scanned and the colour images digitally reconstructed.»more»
A picture of Bradford
Young people photographed their home city, to create a picture of Bradford, England. This web site presents 150 of the pictures and invites you to browse and select your favourite four.»more»
A travelling exhibition by architectural photographer Richard Stringer. Richard presents buildings that have disappeared since he photographed them, evoking the shift in the visual character of Queensland since the 1960s. The exhibition was mounted by the National Trust and is showing in regional galleries—the web site tells you where and when. Enjoy it here, but try to see it in the flesh.»more»
AHC photographic database
Digital images of places in the Register of the National Estate, from the collection of the Australian Heritage Commission. There is a powerful and easy search function, and images are shown in thumbnail or screen display sizes. Images are available for use on terms explained on the site.