American photographer Christian Peacock has restored my faith in photography. Digital has reduced the human spirit to a polarised code – you are nothing but a combination of zeros and ones. Not true. Christian shot these beautiful creamy portraits with film. Old school with a touch of the old masters’ aesthetic. The people in these photographs exist. They breathe. They have lives. They have loves. They have triumphs and disasters. They are human. Humanity captured gracefully by a very talented photographer. In my book, old school is doing something real well; with spirit and passion. Christian should be proud of his old school credentials. Please check out his “Making of” blog and learn how analog photography changes the relationship between shooter and subject – the secret sauce that digital has all but forgotten. Source: Blog — Christian Peacock Photography
“The most savage of human kind are the most advanced” Bangambiki Habyarimana
What shocks you initially about a visit to the Nazi death camp in southern Poland is the banality of the place. A banality that belies its infamous place in history as the final resting place of 1.5 million murdered souls. A pool table flat landscape is punctured by rust-coloured brick buildings and a few solitary wooden sentry towers. An intermittent sunny sky adds to the ordinariness of the place. But nothing ordinary happened here. What is extraordinary about the Nazis’ “final solution” was the precision given to the planning, implementation and industrialisation of death. On a massive scale. Cold and concise thought went into the extermination of Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, and various religious and political communities the Nazis deemed unworthy of life. Or, indeed, dignity when living. One of the many times my blood ran cold, when visiting Auschwitz, was entering Block 11. Here prisoners were made to stand, four at a time, in a cell smaller than a telephone box – sometimes for weeks or months on end – in suffocating total darkness. There is no language to communicate the horror of block 11. Then came my visit to the gas chambers: Silence is the language of such places.
It took me a while to “process” my visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and even longer deciding if I should process my photography documenting my visit. I had posted a couple of shots on Facebook but quickly realised the platform was inappropriate and deleted them. I had also “processed” the shots from RAW files taken with my LGG4 mobile phone. I worked on the aesthetics of photography – cropping? Black and white? Or colour? Tints? Trying to prettify my images seemed sordid in the extreme. I stopped and considered the most appropriate way to bear silent witness to the victims of the holocaust. I now publish a selection of my photos below as I shot them. RAW. 16:9 format. No cropping. No retouching. No adulteration. Just observance.
We are living in dangerous times. Crypto-fascism is on the rise again. Trump and Brexit are manifestations of the banality and reemergence of unthinking thuggery. The possibility of today’s thuggery leading to the the death of innocent millions may seem far-fetched to many. Think again. “The people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are in danger of being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” Hermann Goering. Sound familiar?
Someone, somewhere stated that “Good is the enemy of great”. I’ve been fiddling with my new website for weeks trying to make peace between the two. A truce was called. Time to launch myself into my “second life”. Being an advertising art director for the last 25 years has been incredibly rewarding for me – but my real passion now is photography. When you are passionate about doing something, you tend to do it well, and it shows in the work. Hopefully, my passion for photography will, in time, shine through. If you get a moment, I would appreciate you visiting the site and rummaging around. Please feel free to suggest ideas and thoughts about the site and how I could make it better. Good enough may be the enemy of great, but the will to get better is your best weapon in the fight to do great work.
Link to site: http://seanhayesphotography.format.com
I’m a person who has always been interested in interesting people who say or make interesting things. Advertising used to be melting pot of these kind of people. Not so much anymore. I believe the art of short film making is where all the interesting stuff is being conceived and beaten into shape on laptops all around the world – sometimes on a shoestring budget. Historically, the price of producing slick audio-visual projects were prohibitively expensive and only the most dedicated – or maddest, pick your superlative – had the endurance to bring their visions to fruition. Today, thanks to affordable technology, the price of entry to this once exclusive club has dropped to almost zero. The only investment required is a belief in your own ability to make interesting things. That’s the good news. The bad news is you have to make or say something very, very, very interesting to break through the tsunami of sameness that infests our creative culture today. These films, I believe, are a good representation of what can be achieved creatively if one sets out with a good idea to start with – something that resonates with us as empathetic human beings. The film “Reach” by Luke Randall is a good example of storytelling that pulls on heart strings as well as electronic cables. Many people believe that technology is changing us and that we must keep up with technological change if we want to stay relevant. Rubbish. Our human responses to authenticity has always been the same – for countless generations. These films are authentic. That’s why they work so well. Artifice can only get you so far. Creativity about is building things that ring true. Short films used to be a “calling card” while prospecting for bigger projects. I believe they are now a standalone art form in and of themselves. Hope you agree. Enjoy.
Now and again, I come across work that makes me stop and stare. And stare again. And get jealous. Brilliant work from Danila Tkachenko who has won first prize at the 2014 Lens Culture Exposure Awards with his series of images of decaying post-soviet weaponry called “Restricted Areas”. Maybe it’s the adman in me, but I love the conceptual simplicity of the photographs combined with an elegant execution. No trickery. Just metal, concrete and dead ideologies all drenched in an ethereal daylight bouncing off the snow. Almost like infinity studio work. Absolutely love the series. Congratulations to Danila. Damn. Where’s my camera? Great work inspires people.
Drones are rapidly evolving and changing how we go about our affairs: Everything from how we conduct war to how we make advertising commercials. Worth a visit.
Excellent article on the silliness of the “quality” debate in photography.
“Looking at them I’m reminded that a definition of photographic “quality” is meaningless unless we can define what make photographs evocative. In the digital age, with an enormous emphasis on detail and precision, most people use resolution as their only standard. Bewitched by technology, digital photographers have fetishized sharpness and detail.”
Sums up my feelings about the subject perfectly.
Big photographic story of the day. Back in 1995, I remember reading an article in Wired Magazine about the emerging information economy and its utopian vision, at the time, that all goods and services would eventual be free. Back to the future methinks. Any photographers out there in professional land have an opinion about this development? Getty Images makes 35 million images free in fight against copyright infringement » British Journal of Photography.
Sony Cyber shot DSC QX10 and DSC QX100 demo. Clever.
I work in an industry were most people are terrified of empty space. Advertising clients invariably abhor blank areas in their ads – perceiving it as a ‘waste of money’. The Japanese have a much more enlightened approach, calling the intervals between things “Ma”. The principle is analogous to music – with the absence of pauses and spaces between notes, there would be no melody – no music – only confusion and discord. Same principle applies to the visual arts. Space is never a waste, it is the rhythm for the eye which guides and helps the viewer perceive coherently what the creator had in mind. Empty space has meaning. It defines and frames substance so that we can understand what we are looking at. The above series of images are heavily influenced by the monochrome Japanese painting style developed by the great Zen Monasteries of the 14th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasegawa_Tōhaku Hope you like them – and should you like one of them enough to want a pristine print on your wall, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll chat about print sizes, prices and shipping arrangements. Thank you for your visit.