Jill Todd Photographic Award

 

The Jill Todd Photographic Award has been set up to promote new photography in Scotland and will stage its inaugural event at Whitespace (formerly Doggerfisher Gallery) in Edinburgh between the 2-11th November 2012.

Three winners have been selected from an open submission to the JTPA, and their work will be showcased in the gallery and also on line – along with the other 2012 entrants – at: http://www.jilltoddphotoaward.com

This years winners are (in no particular order); Nick Paton, Yoshi and Tamara Kametani, and Caroline Alexander

The Jill Todd Photographic Award was set up by Barrie and Trish Todd in 2010 in the name of their daughter Jill, who graduated from Edinburgh Napier University, and who who died tragically in her 20’s of cancer. Jill graduated with a first class honours degree in Photography and Film from Edinburgh Napier University in 2009, and her career quickly took off after graduating from Edinburgh Napier. Following an internship at Stills Gallery in Edinburgh, as an emerging talent in Scotland, she went on to win commissions from prestigious organizations including The Royal Bank of Scotland and the Edinburgh Film, Science and Literature Festivals.

A small group of Jill’s family, friends and colleagues decided shortly after her death that they wanted to honour her memory in some way. With Jill’s photography career just taking off it seemed appropriate to set up a way of supporting other young photographers. To this end, an advisory panel – all of who had worked with or taught Jill in the past – began working on what would become the Jill Todd Photography Award, a new national photography award for Scotland.

This award also encompasses a masterclass and an inaugural lecture (in association with Scottish Society for History of Photography).

By Yoshi and Tamara Kametani.

 

Nick Paton, ‘Teacup’.

 

By Caroline Alexander.

 

Details and dates of these events, and on the award itself, can be found at: http://www.jilltoddphotoaward.com

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Lesson from the Master

It’s evening, autumn 2012, and I’m at the desk, digging back through the hard-drive of my memory, looking for an evening some thirteen years that is filed away in some dark corner. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edinburgh, 1999. Eve Arnold too. I do have memories… I also have photographs. Can I trust either? Much as I love it, I don’t trust memory. It fades, warps with time. Alas, let’s be honest, so too do photographs. And as for their relationship with ‘the truth’… well, come on, that’s even more complicated, isn’t it…

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, of Document Scotland, has asked me to write something about my pictures of Henri, and naturally, I want to get it right. If in doubt, contact sheets, that’s where to start. They never lie… do they? Isn’t that why we never show them to anyone? Certainly it’s harder to hide the truth on a contact sheet; actions and thought processes are laid bare. And, of course, this fascinating window to the photographer’s soul has become another casualty in the rush to digitise… the dreaded preview/delete process replacing the contact sheet, concealing all manner of crimes. Actually, that’s a different article, isn’t it, for another day, best not go there right now.

So, at Document Scotland’s request, here I am checking up on myself, digging back into my archive, virtual and analogue, looking to see if that night with Henri was indeed memory or dream. And lo, in a short strip of five 35mm frames, there is my encounter with Monsieur HCB, captured in glorious monochrome. Turns out my memories of the night weren’t far wrong, and, boy, do those small, grainy rectangles open the memory banks right up. That’s what pictures do, isn’t it? Triggers. Put them in sequence and Bang! the evening is alive again.

What I do remember now is that my good friend Sara Stevenson, at that time the head curator of the Photography Collection at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, had taken the unusual step of following up on a Portrait Gallery invitation for drinks, and had got in touch to check that I was actually going to turn up. Invitations to receptions at the SNPG don’t often fall on my mat, so perhaps I should have sensed from the start that something was afoot. Unusually, there was to be not only drinks, but dinner too, in one of the galleries upstairs from the Magna Brava exhibition that was showing, a brilliant celebration of Magnum’s women photographers.

Sara dropped in to the conversation that I might want to bring my camera along. There were to be special guests. Eve Arnold was in Scotland – and there was mention that Henri Cartier-Bresson was somewhere around too. Sara’s casual remark – neither request, nor instruction, but cleverly poised not to be either – was the biggest invitation of all. I wasn’t going to miss this one.

– –

The evening soon came around, and though I have no recollection of spending any time choosing what to wear, it must have had a pocket big enough to slip a 35mm camera into; slimmed down, no motordrive, and a prime 35mm lens (of course).
The contact sheet picks up the story here, and in fact it’s barely a sheet; there are just five and a half frames of Henri, and two simple portraits of Eve at the table, after dinner. I can recall now being so excited that I hadn’t even wound the film on properly at the start – past frame ‘00A’ – so the first half-shot is wasted. Despite my racing pulse, I steadily caught four very similar shots of my subject, looking to tidy the composition, just to get them in the bag – before daring to make a decisive pounce in the final fifth, quite different frame.

The room – one of the upper galleries at the SNPG – was narrow, and busy, groups standing drinking and chatting. One figure is detached from the groups, and watches half-hidden from the edge, clearly choosing to carefully position himself well away from the centre of the room. Copying his tactics, I slid to the side of a group, snapping furtively round the edge of the group. I didn’t want to be seen by anyone, least of all Henri (for, of course, you have guessed, he is the watcher). Sara may have given me her blessing but who knows what would happen if I was spotted.

The picture you see below is my pick of the four frames. I aimed to echo three profiles, Henri, the statue, and the watcher beyond, who, it seemed to me, sought to emulate Henri’s body-language and echo his role as observer. Somebody has stepped back momentarily into the right of my shot, a blur of black, but I still liked this picture the best of the four, the only split-second when all three watchers looked off into the same unseen distance.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1999. ©Iain Stewart 1999, all rights reserved.

 

Looking through the five shots, it becomes clear that the room is clearing – we must have been called to the table for dinner. Perhaps my nerves had kept me hanging on right until the last minute, I don’t recall exactly. This would explain why I only grab four frames from the side before venturing to the centre of the gallery to try and meet my prey face on.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1999. ©Iain Stewart 1999, all rights reserved.

 

What strikes in this final frame is to see how nonchalantly Henri is leaning against the bust of Sir William Stirling-Maxwell – who else would be allowed to get away with touching an exhibit like this! And although I have caught my candid moment perfectly, camera coming up and shutter clicking just as he looked away to the side – I had not remembered there was two of the worlds’ greatest photographers to contend with in the same frame – and sure enough Henri’s companion has clocked me; Eve Arnold lags behind the departing group to shoot me a look. Busted. A split-second after I took this, Henri was alerted to me, and what followed, I believe, is a conversation he had countless times.

“Why do you take this picture? Are you the police?”

His voice was loud. I didn’t know whether to laugh or apologise (I think I did both) – imagine being told off for taking a candid shot of the Master of Candid Photography – by the Master himself! Even there and then, I loved the irony. But no matter how many times I have replayed this in my head, I’m still not sure to this day if his indignance was genuine or part of a well practiced act. At the time I suspected the latter, and, thinking I was being toyed with, I tried to play along. But the enigma of the Master remained intact, the conversation broke off, and the moment was over. Henri moved off. I may have fleetingly caught him by copying his own tricks, but even now, combing through the pictures, he gives nothing away. See for yourself. I thought I was the photographer that night, but in all the pictures it is Henri who is looking, ruling the room from the edge, the Master of all he coolly surveys.

 

Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Eve Arnold, in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland. ©Iain Stewart 2012, all rights reserved. (Click contact sheet to view in larger size.)

 

– Iain Stewart

Iain Stewart photography website.

Text and photographs ©Iain Stewart 2012, all rights reserved.

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Document Scotland- Press release

PRESS RELEASE

Tuesday 23rd October 2012

PHOTOGRAPHERS LAUNCH DOCUMENT SCOTLAND

Three prominent Scottish photographers are today launching Document Scotland, a new initiative which aims to promote, encourage and support documentary photography in their homeland.

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Colin McPherson and Stephen McLaren are Scots-born photographers with a passion for documentary photography. Each has been working internationally for the last decade. Now they are turning their lenses on Scotland to document the social, cultural and economic issues facing the country today.

Document Scotland’s newly-launched website www.documentscotland.com will be developed over the coming weeks and months as a showcase and resource for everyone interested in Scottish documentary photography and will aim to:
• Build on the rich historical tradition of documentary photography in Scotland;
• Make photographic work which documents the social, cultural and economic issues facing Scotland today;
• Promote, encourage and develop new and existing photographic talent in Scotland;
• Participate in the growth of the digital economy in Scotland;
• Leave a lasting document as a resource for future generations in Scotland.

Commenting on the launch of Document Scotland, Mr. Sutton-Hibbert said: “Scotland has a long and pioneering tradition in documentary photography, indeed some might argue that we invented the genre. However you define the history of using photographs to record the people, lives and landscape of Scotland, no-one can doubt that we have a rich tradition of producing outstanding work by a multitude of committed, passionate and skillful practitioners, set against many of the great historical events of the age. It is with this sense of a place and history that we decided to establish Document Scotland. We are three Scots-born photographers, each exponents of documentary photography in our own individual ways. We have lived and worked extensively both at home and abroad. Now, in a sense, Caledonia is calling.”

Mr. McPherson commented: “Our aspiration is that the understanding of photographic practice continues to reach every community in Scotland and that people everywhere are inspired to make and enjoy photography. And with that, we will leave a visual document, a testimony to the extraordinary times we are living in.”

Mr. McLaren added: “Scotland today stands at a decisive moment in its history. Events over the next few years will shape how we relate to our neighbours and the wider world. Photography can and should play a central part in documenting this epoch. Document Scotland hopes to play a part not only in recording this era but also in growing the photography economy of Scotland by instigating, collaborating and disseminating photographic work and practice through traditional and new means.”

To find out more about Document Scotland, please contact Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert on Tel: 07831-138817, email Jeremy@documentscotland.com; or Colin McPherson on Tel. 07831-838717, email Colin@documentscotland.com.

Thank you for visiting.

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100 Weeks

David Cameron and Michael Moore appear on the steps of St. Andrew’s House with Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon for the press photocall, prior to signing the documents to authorise a referendum on Scottish Independence, Edinburgh, Scotland. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2012, all rights reserved.

 

“In the shade of St. Andrew’s House the press awaited the appearance of, and handshake between, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron. The cold seeped to the marrow of journalists and photographers, as the police and politician’s aides kept us all behind barriers. With little fanfare, and with the lone shout of one saltire-carrying spectator, the politicians appeared; some smiles, a shake of the hand, all stage left away from the door upon which was written The Scottish Government; the photographers cursed, their intended image abruptly altered; the politicians stood, all looking their separate ways, and then with a few words from Alex Salmond, they turned and headed indoors, to the heat and to sign the historic 30 Clause document which gives the Scottish Government the authority to hold the referendum on Scottish independence. An historic day, marking the beginning of the 100 weeks of political campaigning, but a day which lacked an iconic image.” – Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

 

The television cameras check their white balance colour temperatures, in the press conference room, Edinburgh, Scotland. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2012, all rights reserved.

 

The television trucks and journalists coffee cups, at St. Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, Scotland. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2012, all rights reserved.

 

The journalists chat, awaiting First Minister Alex Salmond’s press conference, St. Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, Scotland. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2012, all rights reserved.

 

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond addresses the press after his historic meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, in St. Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, Scotland. ©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2012, all rights reserved.

 

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Paul Strand’s Hebrides: subtle, sensitive with a dash of Marxist steel

Paul Strand‘s book of Hebridean photographs, ‘Tir a’Mhurian‘, was published fifty years ago this month. In The Guardian’s Scottish Blog Fraser MacDonald, of Edinburgh university, reviews it’s relevance and the background to Strand’s project. By kind permission of Fraser MacDonald, and The Guardian we republish his article here.

Paul Strand and Basil Davidson’s ‘Tir a’Mhurain’, MacGibbon & Kee Limited, 1962.

 

Paul Strand’s Hebrides: subtle, sensitive with a dash of Marxist steel

There are more than a few odd things about Paul Strand’s book of Hebridean photographs Tir a’Mhurain which was first published 50 years ago this month.

Consider, for instance, this remarkable coincidence: a notable Marxist photographer, an exile from McCathyite America with the FBI on his trail, arrived in South Uist within weeks of a secret survey of the island as a possible testing range for America’s new nuclear missile.

What about Strand’s blind insistence, at the height of the cold war, that his book only be printed in Leipzig, East Germany? He cited technical rather than political reasons, favouring a special print process that was only available on the other side of the iron curtain.

Another oddity: when looking for an author to write the accompanying text to Tir a’Mhurain (Gaelic for Land of the Bendy Grass), he rejected many eminent Scottish writers (Hamish Henderson, Neil M. Gunn and Sir Compton Mackenzie) in favour of an English journalist. Basil Davidson (who died in 2010) ended up writing a pitch perfect commentary but until this commission he had never even been to the Hebrides.

Tir a’Mhurain is as strange a book as all of this might suggest.

Strange too is that this is a work of high Modernism with an affinity for folk culture. It embodies a steely Marxist aesthetic but remains subtle and sensitive to the individual islander. And though now neglected, it is surely one of the most important moments in the portraiture of Scotland.

Strand certainly thought so. Not given to self doubt, he ranked himself third in the pantheon of world photographers, after Scotland’s David Octavius Hill and the Frenchman Eugène Atget.

This sort of egotism is not particularly attractive but nor is it entirely wide of the mark; within the history of Scotland’s photography, only Hill has a prior claim to significance.

Yet even now Paul Strand does not get the recognition he deserves, at least not on this side of the Atlantic. Imagine if Strand’s colleague Ansel Adams had shot a Scottish Highland portfolio? The emporiums of Scottishness on the Royal Mile would be brimming over with the supersized prints and calendars.

Strand’s work is rather less accessible. It was always expensive for one thing – ostensibly because of his belief in the integrity of the photographic print as an original artwork. He berated Adams for allowing his work to be reproduced in poster form though it was precisely this strategy that sealed Adams’ reputation as America’s pre-eminent landscape photographer.

Strand’s landscapes make no bid for Adams’ sublime grandeur. They have a depth that is less yielding to a casual glance; he makes us work to think about the relations between and within images – the ties of labour that bind Hebrideans to the landscapes of their making.

Tir a’Mhurain was in many ways a political project in the guise of an ethnographic one. He pictured locally celebrated tradition bearers – the bards and storytellers – and he did so straight; no tricks.

As Davidson observed, “We are looking at subjects not objects; but these same subjects are also looking back at us, again at us as subjects, with the same intense equality of interest.”

Outraged by what he saw as an aggressive Nato militarism, Strand originally conceived of Tir a’Mhurain as, in part, a protest against the development of the rocket range in South Uist.

But by the time the book was finished, the rocket range was already a done deal and the Corporal missile – the world’s first nuclear missile – was soaring high over the Atlantic towards St Kilda.

With bleak timing, the book was published just weeks before the Cuban missile crisis when the world came closest to the scenario of “mutually assured destruction”. It was in these dark days of the cold war that Strand held out his vision of Hebridean community as an inspiration. But his own native land was having none of it.

The United States banned the book unless imported copies bore an obvious stamp ‘Printed in Germany, USSR occupied’ – a stipulation to which they knew Strand would never consent.

As a committed communist, Strand was often at odds with the political climate. That history didn’t exactly go Strand’s way is evident by the fact that, long after the end of the cold war, the South Uist rocket range is still open for business – though as a privatized industry now run by defence corporations.

But still the photos remain – evocative portraits of Scottish lives and landscapes under the shadow of the bomb.

– Fraser MacDonald.

Follow Fraser MacDonald on Twitter, and on his blog Modern Lives, Modern Landscape.

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Lucknow To Lahore: Fred Bremner’s Vision of India

‘Lucknow To Lahore: Fred Bremner’s Vision of India’ is the title on a new photographic exhibition which has opened at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Featuring 24 images by Aberdeen-born photographer Fred Bremner, and printed by Pradip Malde from the original glass negatives, the photographs show life on the very north western edge of the British Raj Empire, in the late 19th and early 20th century. Fred Bremner spent 40 years in India.

Sheila Asante from the National Portrait Gallery says, “This is a fantastic opportunity to catch a glimpse of rarely seen images of the Indian empire. Fred Bremner was one of the first photographers to capture the very north-western edge of the British Raj. An accomplished photographer, he had an eye for dynamic compositions. This intimate exhibition of his work offers an extraordinary insight into how one Scot viewed that far-off land.”

Martyn McLaughlin of The Scotsman has a comprehensive write up of the story of photographer Fred Bremner and of his Indian photographic work. And The Herald features a slideshow of Fred Bremner’s Indian photographs.

The Fred Bremner photography show, at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, runs until 7th april 2013. More information about the show is available here, and you can also view images from the show.

Fred Bremner’s ‘Lucknow to Lahore’ photo show at Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.

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‘Going To The Hill’

‘Going To The Hill, Life on the Scottish Sporting Estates’ by Glyn Satterley.

Scottish photographer Glyn Satterley has a new book, ‘Going To The Hill, Life On The Scottish Sporting Estates’, out tomorrow. Here at Document Scotland we eagerly look forward to seeing it.

The publisher describes Glyn’s new book as “a celebration of Scotland’s rich sporting heritage by internationally acclaimed photographer Glyn Satterley. This is the sequel to The Highland Game and covers the whole of Scotland. The photographs capture the unique atmosphere of the sporting lodge, whether traditional or ultra hi-tech, keepering of all types, owners, stalking, fishing, dog trials, clothing, gunsmiths, wildlife painters and sculptors.”

Glyn Satterley is an award-winning photographer whose work has been exhibited throughout Britain – from The Photographers’ Gallery in London to the Royal Museum in Edinburgh. He has spent the best part of 30 years recording life on Scottish estates and has produced nine books, mainly on hunting, shooting and fishing, including two highly acclaimed titles – the Scottish Sporting Estate and The Highland Game (Swan Hill), which was accompanied by a major exhibition of estate life. He lives near Edinburgh and works freelance for numerous British and International magazines.

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Or if the above embed does not work, then you can preview a few spreads from Glyn Satterley’s ‘Going To The Hill’ book here.

We hope very soon to bring you a longer article or interview with Glyn, and to showcase some of his work.

 

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‘By The Glow Of The Jukebox’

In 1955 American photographer Robert Frank received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant  to travel across the United States and photograph all strata of its society. He took his family along with him for part of his series of road trips over the next two years, during which time he took 28,000 shots. Only 83 of those images were finally selected by him for publication in his seminal documentary book ‘The Americans’.

Now, more than half a century after Frank took his road trips, my good friend and colleague, American photographer Jason Eskenazi, has compiled a list of photographer’s favourite images chosen from Frank’s ‘The Americans’. It was whilst working as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, that Jason began to ask photographers he knew who were visiting the ‘The Americans: Looking In’ exhibition, about Robert Frank’s book, what their favorite image from the book was and why. In the 2 years since he quit his guard job, as he himself got back out on the road again to shoot, he compiled those answers into a book format. The resulting list of notes and thoughts, of 276 photographers from around the world, including one by myself, has now been self-published as a book entitled ‘By The Glow Of The Jukebox: The Americans List’.

‘By The Glow Of  The Jukebox’.

 

With the thoughts on Frank’s photos by some of the great photographers of our times, James Nachtwey, Alex Webb, Larry Fink, Josef Koudelka, Maggie Steber, Carl De Keyser and a host of others, the book gives a fascinating insight into how we read photos, what we take from them and what, as photographers, we look for.

For my entry, my favourite image, I chose the last image in Frank’s book, entitled ‘U.S. 90, en route to Del Rio, Texas’. But I shan’t tell you why I chose it, for that you have to buy the book, which is available here: Jason Eskenazi’s ‘By The Glow Of The Jukebox: The Americans List’.

And below we have the man himself, photographer Robert Frank, reading the book of thoughts on his work which was presented to him by Jason Eskenazi. Image courtesy of Clark Winter and Jason Eskenazi.

–  Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

Photographer Robert Frank reading ‘By The Glow Of The Jukebox’ by Jason Eskenazi. Photo courtesy of ©Clark Winter 2012, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Entering ‘the zone’.

Digital Camera Magazine, in UK,  have this month (October 2012 issue) featured a 4 page interview with me and a series of images that I shot inside the nuclear exclusion zone that surrounds the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan.

On March 11th 2011, late on that quiet Friday afternoon, Japan suffered a triple catastrophe of the Magnitude 9 earthquake in Tohoku, followed by a devastating tsunami which raged inland, and then three nuclear reactors suffered explosions and subsequent meltdown at the TEPCO owned Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant. I knew immediately that in my job as freelance press photographer, based in Tokyo, I was going to be busy, I was going to visit these places. And I did, for the next year and a half until I recently left Japan I visited the Tohoku tsunami-hit area to cover stories, and I entered the evacuated villages and cautiously ventured into the 20km nuclear exclusion zone which was put in place around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The majority of these jobs were on assignment for The Times and The Guardian in the UK.

The Digital Camera Magazine feature and interview covers my time reporting on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, how, as a press photographer, I approached a subject like that and how I took care in what is obviously a very radiated landscape. I’m very happy that the magazine, and the commissioning editor and interviewer Marcus Hawkins, lets me tell the story and the plight of the area and the people, and thankfully the article doesn’t dwell on me, or my cameras.

I’m not sure how much longer the magazine is on the shelves of all good newsagents, but it is in the shops at present, or available via the magazine’s website. The spread as reproduced below.

You can click here if you’d like to see more of my photographic work covering the disaster in Tohoku and Fukushima, Japan.

Many thanks.

– Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert.

Digital Camera Magazine, Oct 2012.

 

Digital Camera Magazine, Oct 2012.

 

 

 

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45 Years of Stalking

Fellow Scottish photographer Jeff Mitchell, who photographs for Getty Images photo agency, has been up to Braemar to shoot a nice set of images on deer stalking, and has covered the last hunt by Invercauld Estate’s head stalker Peter Fraser, who is retiring after 45 years of work. You can see the images, and read the brief story, here on NBC News website: Jeff Mitchell/ Getty Images’ photographs of deer stalking.

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