I’m currently in Kuala Lumpur, having attended the Mt Rokko Photo Festival last weekend as a reviewer (I will write an in-depth post about that amazing festival shortly), and I just had fantastic KLPA awards and exhibition, celebrating 10 years of the awards. The last weeks had been incredible, making new connections with creative people and seeing many interesting photo projects, especially from young photographers, or even non-creative people attempting their first photo projects.
Meanwhile, I shot a few portraits below in preparation for a Street Portrait workshop this coming Saturday with my ‘new’ Nikon 1 V1 camera I got from Facebook Marketplace last month for a mere £100!
I was in New Zealand recently, attending the Auckland Festival of Photography, by a kind invitation from festival director Julia Durkin. In its 15th year, the festival is well established and featured over 100 gallery exhibitions, international presentations, workshops and portfolio reviews. The festival center is located at Silo Park, where the specially curated thematic ‘Control’ exhibitions were held, literally in two giant disused concrete silos and a metal gantry in the surrounding open space by the water’s edge.
That was where I met Herlinde Koelbel, the respected German photographer known for her lifelong portraits of Angela Merkel and her series ‘Jewish Portraits’. In Auckland, Herlinde was showing her recent project Targets, part of the Control theme, as noted in the program :
“For years Herlinde Koelbl travelled around the world, and in a total of thirty countries, made photographs of the military targets used in the training of soldiers. As icons with which the various armies of the world learn the craft of war, everyone considers himself to be on the right side. In the reality of war, the soldiers themselves are always ultimately the target. For Koelbl, it was thus obvious that exhibited beside the mechanical targets are portraits of the soldiers – for they are the living targets.”
I spent my first morning in Auckland enjoying a delicious brunch with her in a cafe on North Wharf and snapped this portrait. We chatted about her project and discovered she had traveled to many countries, liaising with their militaries and consulates to gain access to their training and practice locations to photograph. Encountering obstacles and being passed from one department to another she nevertheless obtained permission in many of the prominent nations. ‘Targets’ attempt to show the ultimate futility in armed conflicts, the power play and arms race amongst nations. By portraying and comparing methodologies and practice targets used in various militaries, a powerful insight about the ‘art of killing’ and the soldiers trained to do so, only to discover that they are the very targets that the others are being trained to kill.
Spent Sunday afternoon photographing Alana Eissa for an upcoming feature for TransLiving International, a publication about the transgender community. This is the second portrait session I have been involved with the magazine.
This is John Hook, 81, from the Welsh town of Deri, in the Darran Valley. I met him walking his dog, a little pincer, along a path by a stream and we chatted. The Welsh are really friendly, like that. Maybe it’s just the older generation. He had worked as a coal miner in three collieries when he was younger, and also help started steel works in England. Now, retired, he stays outdoors as much as possible, walking and enjoying the countryside.
In the 50-70s these valleys in South Wales were major producers of coal in Europe and there were numerous collieries providing employment to the local population for generations. The beautiful countryside where we met were completely blackened with the spoils, slag heaps and soot from the mines. These were all cleared and the land replanted or regenerated into public space. The last mine which closed here was in the early 80s as the industry collapsed.
I’ll be heading out to the Mt.Rokko Photo Festival in a week’s time. I’m always looking forward to this time, late summer in Japan, and to meet the photographers, and see new faces and new photography. Thank to the Takeki Sugiyama the festival director, once again, for inviting me. I’ll be running a similar workshop to the previous years and it’ll be fun.
Deconstructing the Photographic Portrait
KLPA2017 finalists overview
Practical exercise in portrait photography
Pictures from 2016 workshop, from Mt.Rokko Festival.
I will present a brief slideshow on the historic referencing of portraiture from the daguerreotypes of the early to mid 1800s to the camera obscura, and then to the invention of reproducible film and the negative. We will examine the influences of photography on painters and masters and it’s representational forms.
We will consider the modern practice of portraiture and contemporary styles, and look at the importance of the genre in modern society.
We will review portrait photographs brought by the participants and perform a deconstruction and critique of each other’s works.
In the second session, I will present some of my personal choices of the finalist entries from Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards from 2009 to 2017 including this year’s winning entries.
The workshop practical session follows with staged portrait shoots of participants in the studio or gallery space and outdoors.
Note to participants
Please bring up to 5 portrait prints taken by yourself, or from magazines/online that you wish to review and present. Please bring your camera.
Workshop : Sunday 27 August, 2017, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Event Page & More Info
I had the pleasure of photographing Kamila, for a forthcoming transgender magazine feature, at Shepherd Market in Mayfair the other day. Kamila as a doctor, plays an important and positive role within the transgender community and continue to help dismiss stereotyping and transphobia attitudes in the society.
Sky Villa Hotel, Mt. Rokko August 2015