Tag Archives: portraits

New Photographica Conversation – Gavin Maxwell

Gavin Maxwell explores the liminal spaces between belief and faith and fact.

Portrait of Gavin ‘Otter’ Constable Maxwell – photographer and film maker by Alex Schneideman

Alex and Gavin sat down to discuss his work in film and stills photography on Wednesday 10th of February at the AS Printing studios

  • Amongst many interesting strands of conversation these are some that stand out:
  • The wistful understanding of the transience of life…
  • The hunt for truth in the larger body of one’s work.
  • Shooting exclusively on film.
  • The existence of ‘Thin Places’.
  • The way a photograph should be consumed.
  • The strange interplay between seemingly unrelated work.

Gavin Maxwell is a leading film-maker and photographer who has spent over 20 years making natural history, anthropological and environmental programmes for the BBC Natural History Unit and BBC Science.

His Wild China and Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands programmes have been viewed by millions of people worldwide. Gavin has also co-written two books for Random House, and lectured at the Royal Geographical Society in the UK and abroad. This year one of his large format film photographs of a human skeleton is a finalist Royal Photographic Society International Print competition.

Gavin’s website is www.gcmaxwell.com

Visit PHOTOGRAPHICA PODCAST WEBSITE

  • Photographica Podcast is brought to you in association with AS PRINTING – fine art printing for photographers, galleries and museums worldwide.

New Photographica Conversation – John Tiberi

STAND STILL AND YOU DISAPPEAR

Malcom Mclaren in the bath, 1978 by John Tiberi,

In this episode Alex Schneideman of www.asprinting.net talks to John Tiberi, a photographer who happened upon the early punk scene in London and then shot it from the inside.

It was the grim, austere mid seventies and John Tiberi was working as an advertising photographer in the Soho studio scene of the day but loved the music he found in the pubs around Ladbroke Grove. When he happened upon Joe Strummer and his band the 101ers John’s life took a new turn and he found himself on the inside of a cultural phenomenom which led to him embedding himself, camera in hand with Joe Strummer, The Clash and The Sex Pistols. It was arguably John Tiberi who create the punk movement when he put the 101ers as headline in a gig with the Sex Pistols as the support act.

John became the Sex Pistols tour manager and was instrumental in some of their most famous recordings – but he was, and continues to be, a photographer. His photographs of a very young John Lydon and Sid Vicious are extraordinary studies of youth on the verge of chaos.

I had such a great chat with John and, as is becoming the norm for Photographcia conversations, the philosophy and the ephemeral are just as interesting as the photography itself.

Remember! Send any feedback to me at alex@asprinting.net or leave comments and rate us on iTunes.

I’m working on a proper website where I’ll be able to show lots more material to add to the, hopefully, immersive quality of the conversations.

Enjoy!

ANNOUNCING PHOTOGRAPHICA

Hi, please listen to my new weekly podcast, Photographica.

Each episode is a way of connecting deeper with photography through conversations with leading photographers, curators and others involved in the world of photography as well as audio essays on subjects like the random beauty of film, digital as a medium of truth as well as observations borne out of twenty years as a photographer and printer.

Recent and upcoming podcasts include:

  • A conversation with Michael Woods, the Bohemian king of Soho portraiture.
  • An audio essay on the beauty of darkness in exposure and print.
  • An audio essay on digital truth.
  • An interview with Babycakes Romero on what it was like to watch his series, Death of Conversation, go megaviral leading to a Ted Talk and numerous TV appearances.

WIN AN EXHIBITION’S WORTH OF FREE PRINTING
To celebrate the launch of Photographica (and to encourage subscribers) I am starting a competition to win an exhibition’s worth of free printing. I will be assembling judges and asking for images to be sent in for consideration.

Details and timeframe are yet to be decided. I will be publishing details in the programme notes of the podcast so you’ll need to subscribe to receive the information!

To find Photographica Podcast Click here, on the picture below, or search for Photographica in iTunes.

If you like it please comment and rate it in iTunes – I’d be most grateful!

Thanks very much, Alex

 

WANT MORE is in the Independent today

If you happen on a copy of today’s (Saturday 24th October) Independent you will see a feature on my new book, ‘Want More’ which is accompanied by Harry Eyres’ wonderful essay.

Click on this link to see the online version in today’s Indy

Ironically, I am in Singapore at the moment so I can’t get hold of a copy.

Let me know if you see it.

Alex

The Dissection of a Wedding Party

I subscribe to a blog by my friend Derrick Knight, who plots daily life and never misses a day or a detail and it is fascinating – link below.

Recently Derrick posted a scan of an image of a wedding party taken in the 1920’s. He posted in such high resolution that I was able to copy it and make some ‘sub portraits’.

There is so much to be excited about here. Looking into the faces of those who have gone before is gives us a thrill that humans have only just been afforded. We can look at a great painted portrait and, as great a work of art as it may be, we are still looking at painted strokes. Whereas a photograph is a passive, objective record (obviously the is highly disputed by Barthes et al).

But lets say that a picture of a wedding group is about as objective as a photograph can get. Its intention being to record a group of people all together at one time – the camera here is a merely a recording device – not an interpreting device. One could argue that any other intentionality that could be attributed to the photographer, camera, or image is excluded by the intention – ergo the intention to record the group objectively and for posterity.

So, assuming that you agree with me – look into these faces from the recent past and marvel at how time just seems to melt as, simultaneously, we look into the faces of today. Filter out the scratchy quality and the outdated garb and what we can see is nothing other than the ghosts of ourselves.

It sends shivers down my spine.

 

 

 

 

 

http://derrickjknight.com/2015/03/04/revealing-the-ancestors/

http://derrickjknight.com

PSYCH PHOTO #9 – TINA MAYLEY JAMES

#9 in a series on the role of psychology in photography.

TINA MAYLEY JAMES – Tina is the wife of Sheldon James. She is a carer.

I really had to persuade Tina to be photographed. Many people who knew her said she would never allow me to do it.

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I don’t know Tina well but have known her over a few years. She has a real positive energy. Her voice is very distinctive. I would consider her to be a Portobello institution.

On looking at this portrait some people have described it as resembling a ‘Pierot’. I think there is something saintly about Tina and I chose this picture because this captured that quality.

In shooting the picture, I wonder now, if I reacted consciously to that ‘saintliness’ or whether I picked up on it later. Or perhaps my subconscious registered Tina’s expression too fast for my id to register it compelling me to shoot and capture that connection I had made with my subject in the blink of an eye.

 To be continued

FULL SIZE PORTRAIT HERE

Please click on ‘best seen in full’ (bottom left) to view correctly.

PSYCH PHOTO #8 – KALEED SAAOUDY

#8 in a series on the role of psychology in photography.

KALEED SAAOUDY – Kaleed runs the ‘4+1’ cafe on the corner of Golborne Road and Portobello. He is Moroccan by birth but has lived (and raised children in Norway) – a true cosmopolitan.

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Kaleed is one of the most generous and personable people I have met for a long time. He is someone I consider to be a ‘citizen of the world’. Someone for whom race, religion and country have little meaning.

There is a sadness in this image too. Its source is unknown to me. The portrait reminds me of a kindly eagle. Kaleed is wary of the camera but his wariness exposes other facets of his character.

These facets maybe made manifest by invoking subconscious reactions. Having a camera pointed at you from close range makes many people feel uncomfortable. Why is this? And what does this say about the subconscious? 

The process of making a portrait seems to be very fluid and perhaps never finished.

FULL SIZE PORTRAIT HERE

Please click on ‘best seen in full’ (bottom left) to view correctly.

PSYCH PHOTO #8 – KALEED SAAOUDY

#8 in a series on the role of psychology in photography.

KALEED SAAOUDY – Kaleed runs the ‘4+1’ cafe on the corner of Golborne Road and Portobello. He is Moroccan by birth but has lived (and raised children in Norway) – a true cosmopolitan.

1_L1020186_schneideman

 

Kaleed is one of the most generous and personable people I have met for a long time. He is someone I consider to be a ‘citizen of the world’. Someone for whom race, religion and country have little meaning.

There is a sadness in this image too. Its source is unknown to me. The portrait reminds me of a kindly eagle. Kaleed is wary of the camera but his wariness exposes other facets of his character.

These facets maybe made manifest by invoking subconscious reactions. Having a camera pointed at you from close range makes many people feel uncomfortable. Why is this? And what does this say about the subconscious? 

 To be continued

The process of making a portrait seems to be very fluid and perhaps never finished.

FULL SIZE PORTRAIT HERE

As the series continues I will expand on this psychological theory of portraiture and how we, the viewers, engage with it.

Please click on ‘best seen in full’ (bottom left) to view correctly.

THESE PEOPLE #8 – ZIA LAZAR

Zia Lazar – Zia is a Christian Iraqi hairdresser who has lived in London for decades. He lives with and cares for his ninety year old mother and works in a salon called ‘Dorotea’s’ in Portobello Road.

When I visit Zia for a haircut we talk about barbequeing. He has a group of friends who spend much of the year discussing, preparing and cooking barbeques. The amount of meat these guys eat is legendary. Iraqis, it turns out, are champion barbequers.
I chose this portrait partly because it reflects the rather superficial impression I have of Zia – his pride. But I suspect he is also a highly sensitive man and I like this picture because I can see both these qualities in him here.

My selection of this portrait of Zia is influenced by my knowledge of him. In some way it meets my expectation of a portrait of someone I know but you probably do not know him. I wonder what chasm of experience there is between mine and yours as we both stare at the same picture of another human face.
My thesis is that all photography (and art) is less about the absorption of a fixed set of parameters to which the human mind responds passively. Rather, our appreciation of art is about applying ones subconscious to external stimuli. Somewhere in the mess of neurons and grey slime we call our brains images are processed and seized upon by all aspects of our personalities to produce a response.
Through our personal and shared experiences and mental development we impose ourselves on art and not the other way round. In other words it is each and everyone of us who is responsible for the masterworks we attribute to the genius of others.

The process of making a portrait seems to be very fluid and perhaps never finished.

PORTRAIT OF ZIA LAZAR

To be continued…

 

THESE PEOPLE #7 – THOMAS REES

THOMAS REES – Thomas is a journalist and editor who lives on Golborne Road and works with me on my magazine, SMACK.

I met Thomas when I was about 19 working in a bar in Nottinghill called 192. It was frequented by luminaries from the arts (all branches) and Thomas was a regular. Much later (I’m now 45) I met Thomas again when I opened my studio on Portobello Road.

Thomas is a finely tuned human by which I mean he is alive to the stories of other people. He is interested in everyone (and devastatingly disdainful of others who he might describe as a ‘long drink of water’ – for Thomas this is as low as you can get. It means you are a bore) and he has created a kind of personal republic in which everyone; beggar, thief, magnate, artist are equal.

Normally Thomas wears glasses but because they were reflecting badly I asked him to take them off. Suddenly he looked naked. I chose this picture because it surprised me – who am I to tell you who my sitters are through an arbitrary selection of one image? If I’m surprised then so much the better.

We look at portraits as objects or, in other words, a literal depiction of the human they represent. But are they not something quite different? A psychologist told me that when someone with ‘body dysmorphia‘ looks at themselves in a picture or mirror they see not purely what is reflected but a comparison with every physiognomy they have ever encountered and the ideals of their imaginations. In this way, I would assert, when we look at a picture of another face the image which is formed in the mind is coloured according to one’s own psychology.

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Perhaps the portrait that you are looking at should really be considered as a ‘one off’ because portraits can only be viewed on an individual basis according to one’s own experience and influences. Perhaps all images are just starting points for the imagination and should no longer be regarded as having universal significance.

 To be continued

The process of making a portrait seems to be very fluid and perhaps never finished.

PORTRAIT OF THOMAS REES

As the series continues I will expand on this psychological theory of portraiture and how we, the viewers, engage with it.

Please click on ‘best seen in full’ (bottom left) to view correctly.