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Archives for November 2010

Your pictures of the week: Corners

Phil Coomes | 09:27 UK time, Thursday, 25 November 2010

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Photo by Dorian Hasimi

 

Each week, we set a theme and ask you to send in your photographs; this time the theme was "corners".

You can see the pictures I have selected here.

Thanks to everyone who submitted their photos, some very inventive takes on the theme this week.

Your pictures of corners

 

If your photograph didn't make this week's selection, why not send us something for next week?

The new theme is windows.

Interpret this in any way you see fit and send your pictures to us at yourpics@bbc.co.uk or upload them directly from your computer.

Please include the word "windows" in the subject line of your message.

The deadline is midnight BST Tuesday 30 November 2010, and remember to add your name and a caption: who, what, where and when should be enough, though the more details you give, the better your chance of being selected.

We will publish a selection of your photos this time next week.

If you want to plan ahead, you can see a list of the upcoming themes here.

Files should be sent as JPEGs. They shouldn't be larger than 10Mb and ideally much smaller: around 1Mb is fine, or you can resize your pictures to 1,000 pixels across.

Please see our terms and conditions, but remember that the copyright remains with you. The pictures will only be used by the BBC for the purposes of this project. Finally, when taking photos, please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

'Fully committed'

Phil Coomes | 16:06 UK time, Tuesday, 23 November 2010

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Farmers in Gali

The death of photojournalism is something that Irish photographer Ivor Prickett has no time for.

Ivor is a graduate of the Documentary Photography course at the University of Wales in Newport and in 2007 he won the Ian Parry Scholarship. Since then he has had work published in a number of UK national newspapers and magazines.

He's driven to work on projects, many long-term, that he feels will engage him; stories that he believes need to be told rather than trying to figure out what someone else might be interested in. He says that: "Perhaps this is rather foolhardy but I think that before you can do your best work you have to be fully committed to it, regardless of what other people think."

It's this that led Ivor to base himself in Beirut, noting that it's rare these days to be commissioned to travel halfway around the world. So, together with his partner who is also a photographer, they made the move to live abroad, feeling that this would put them in a better position for more interesting assignment work. The Middle East was a place both wanted to explore and has good links to other areas, plus as Ivor adds: "Beirut, it is a lovely city and the perfect place to come back to after a tiring trip."

On these long-term projects Ivor works alone as he feels it's easier to blend in, and his most recent project in the Gali district of Abkhazia was no exception. The region is home to the Mingrelian Georgian people in Abkhazia, an area which Ivor says: "feels like a buffer zone".

You can see a few of the pictures below and there's a full set on his website with more details on the project itself. I found the pictures captivating, enticing and engaging.

Ivor's aim here is not to preach but to present what he finds. He said:

"The message, if there is one, is simply about the way in which people who have been caught in the midst of war survive in its aftermath. While it is important to document the event of war and refugee crisis as they unfold, in terms of disseminating and understanding why something has happened, I believe that looking at how the displaced cope with the process of going home is just as integral to our wider comprehension of the ramifications of war. But ultimately I would say yes, what I want to do is try to present what I find as openly and honestly as possible and let the viewers decide what is going on."

Ivor doesn't speak Georgian or Russian so employed a local fixer and ended up living with him and his family. This allowed him to gain some trust and yet, even then, he explains, it took a long time for people to relax to allow the pictures to have a natural feel. Ivor said:

"Often, once the initial introduction was made, I would stay with people on my own and go back to visit them again and again. Each time you revisit someone you are rewarded with more trust and as a result better access.

 
"Also, because I made several trips I was able to bring prints back for people the second time, something that I feel is very important. Not only is it really interesting to see and hear the reactions to your pictures, but by doing this I feel you are also being truly honest and as result people have more respect for you and understand what you are trying to do much more clearly.

 
"An ability to drink copious amounts of vodka and not collapse was also integral to winning over the local population."

This story was not commissioned and Ivor admits that it is difficult to market this kind of work to main-stream publications. Instead he looks to grants and awards for funding personal projects.

When asked about the much heralded death of photojournalism, Ivor says that for his generation such a statement "falls on deaf ears because we never knew the golden era". He continued:

"Things have changed and perhaps there isn't as much space in mainstream media for photojournalism and documentary photography as there once was. But at the same time there are countless new ways in which we can show our work, such as this blog. So once you can find the money to do the work, and I think there are probably more funds available now than there ever was, then the options for presenting it are countless."
 Christina Djologua, 14, bakes a cake while her grandmother Lamar minds baby Gigi, Tagiloni, Gali, Abkhazia

Family at a relatives grave

A woman waits to sell a piglet at Gali market

Turbines that generate hydroelectric power interrupt the ruggedly beautiful landscape of the Gali region

Back home after collecting hazelnuts

You can see more of Ivor's work on his website.

Your pictures of the week: Three colours

Phil Coomes | 09:10 UK time, Thursday, 18 November 2010

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Photo by Rakesh Chandode

Each week, we set a theme and ask you to send in your photographs; this time the theme was "three colours".

You can see the pictures I have selected here.

Thanks to everyone who submitted their photos. As you'd expect we had lots of bright colours in the frames and some good photographic technique too.

If your photograph didn't make this week's selection, why not send us something for next week?

Your pictures

 

The new theme is corners

Interpret this in any way you see fit and send your pictures to us at yourpics@bbc.co.uk or upload them directly from your computer.

Please include the word "corners" in the subject line of your message.

The deadline is midnight BST Tuesday 23 November 2010, and remember to add your name and a caption: who, what, where and when should be enough, though the more details you give, the better your chance of being selected.

We will publish a selection of your photos this time next week.

If you want to plan ahead, you can see a list of the upcoming themes here.

Files should be sent as JPEGs. They shouldn't be larger than 10Mb and ideally much smaller: around 1Mb is fine, or you can resize your pictures to 1,000 pixels across.

Please see our terms and conditions, but remember that the copyright remains with you. The pictures will only be used by the BBC for the purposes of this project. Finally, when taking photos, please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Sean Gallagher on assignment with the PM

Phil Coomes | 17:16 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

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Earlier this week photographer Sean Gallagher spent two days in the company of the British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to China. Here Sean talks about the project.

"Since moving to China in 2006, I have been documenting environmental issues in China such as desertification and wetland disappearance. I travel extensively presenting this work to various groups and organisations and I was invited by the British Embassy in Beijing to present some of this work to their staff last month, as part of their 10/10/10 Climate Change events.

"Following this, they asked if I would be interested in documenting the prime minster's visit to Beijing. I believe it was my editorial approach which they were looking for, in order to create a unique perspective of this trip."

The press pack waits to be allowed into the meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao.

How was it working with the rest of the press pack, or did you have special access?

"Working with the press pack was a unique experience in itself, as I tend not to work with them normally. They have an incredible energy and knack for knowing exactly what shot they want, when they want it and how they will get it. Normally, there is quite a bit of jostling involved but in the end, it seems everyone gets the shot they need."

What sort of shots were you looking for - something different to the wire photographers?

"Luckily, as I was working for the embassy, I was able to get access to a few more unique moments where I was the only photographer present with the prime minister and his staff.

"Coming from an editorial background my instinct is to always try to find more natural moments in a situation, compared to many of the more typical and expected shots that normally come from these types of shoots.

"For this kind of situation, I normally work quickly to get 'the expected shot'. A typical image from the event. This is part of being a professional photographer and delivering for my client. Once I know I have that, I then have the freedom to get more creative and experiment to create images a little more unique."

What were the main challenges? Logistically and photographically?

"Logistically, there weren't too many. The schedule for the prime minister is laid out with military precision, so you are informed exactly where you need to be and when. On the whole, it's just a case of following the plan.


"Photographically, the biggest challenge was to create something unique from situations that were very fleeting. The prime minister had many engagements throughout the two days, so there was a lot of moving around from location to location.

"Many of the situations were also meetings, in very formal situations, so the challenge was to try to find an interesting angle and moment."

Were you on a deadline to turn around each photo opportunity or were you looking for a more considered set from the tour as a whole?

"I shot entirely on digital, as I have done for all of my work for the past few years. I filed twice each day, one after the morning events and then in the late evening, after the afternoon and early evening events. This was a relatively new experience for me; however, a lot of preparation before I began the shoot enabled me to plan accordingly and deliver the images quickly, so that they could be used almost immediately after the events occurred.


"As I was shooting, I always had in the back of my mind the idea of creating more of a feature package for the prime minister's two-day trip. Over the coming days and weeks, I will spend more time with the images and shape the edit to reflect this."

British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to Beijing

What was the hardest photograph to get?

"I think the hardest shot was a natural portrait of the prime minister. He was so busy throughout the trip that getting something natural was a real challenge, as he was always with somebody, or doing something.


"I got one portrait of him when he was in the old hutongs of Beijing, which I quite like. It's one of the only images that I took where he is actually looking right at me. It was the briefest of glances but I think it makes the picture."

What's your favourite shot from the tour?

"There is one image of the prime minister walking down the red carpet inside the Great Hall of the People, accompanied by his staff. This was taken a fraction of a moment before he met Chinese President Hu Jintao. I was the only photographer with them at that point, so it was very pleasing to get this unique shot at such an important moment in the trip.


"There is another image from the hutongs which I like. It is from a moment just before the Prime Minister is about to get into his car. I like how all the elements within the frame all work well together and the surroundings give you a hint of old Beijing.

"As well as having the opportunity to photograph the Prime Minister, I also had the opportunity to photograph Chinese leaders, Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao. Hu was recently voted the most powerful man in the world by Forbes magazine, so to photograph his meeting with the prime minister really was a great opportunity.

"As a result of the access I was able to get, I feel the two days really were a once-in-a-lifetime shoot."

British Prime Minister David Cameron in the hutongs of central Beijing
British Prime Minister David Cameron talks to local scheoolchildren in Beijing

You can see more of Sean's work on his website.

Your pictures of the week: Bonfire Night

Phil Coomes | 09:26 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

Comments

Fireworks in Oxford, photo by Eleanor Laxton

Each week, we set a theme and ask you to send in your photographs; this time the theme was "Bonfire Night".

You can see the pictures I have selected here.

Thanks to everyone who submitted their photos and well done to those that made the cut.

If your photograph didn't make this week's selection, why not send us something for next week?

Heart shape fire by Nicola

The new theme is, Three Colours

Interpret this in any way you see fit and send your pictures to us at yourpics@bbc.co.uk or upload them directly from your computer.

Please include the words "Three Colours" in the subject line of your message.

The deadline is midnight BST Tuesday 16 November 2010, and remember to add your name and a caption: who, what, where and when should be enough, though the more details you give, the better your chance of being selected.

We will publish a selection of your photos this time next week.

If you want to plan ahead, you can see a list of the upcoming themes here.

Files should be sent as JPEGs. They shouldn't be larger than 10Mb and ideally much smaller: around 1Mb is fine, or you can resize your pictures to 1,000 pixels across.

Please see our terms and conditions, but remember that the copyright remains with you. The pictures will only be used by the BBC for the purposes of this project. Finally, when taking photos, please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Your pictures of the week: Halloween

Phil Coomes | 11:39 UK time, Thursday, 4 November 2010

Comments

Halloween photo by Charles Spencer

 

Each week, we set a theme and ask you to send in your photographs; this time the theme was "Halloween".

You can see the pictures I have selected here.

 

Thanks to everyone who submitted their scary photos and well done to those that made the cut.

 

If your photograph didn't make this week's selection, why not send us something for next week?

 

The new theme is, Bonfire NIght

 

Interpret this in any way you see fit and send your pictures to us at yourpics@bbc.co.uk or upload them directly from your computer.

 

Please include the words "Bonfire Night" in the subject line of your message.

 

The deadline is midnight BST Tuesday 9 November 2010, and remember to add your name and a caption: who, what, where and when should be enough, though the more details you give, the better your chance of being selected.

 

We will publish a selection of your photos this time next week.

 

If you want to plan ahead, you can see a list of the upcoming themes here.

 

Files should be sent as JPEGs. They shouldn't be larger than 10Mb and ideally much smaller: around 1Mb is fine, or you can resize your pictures to 1,000 pixels across.

 

Please see our terms and conditions, but remember that the copyright remains with you. The pictures will only be used by the BBC for the purposes of this project. Finally, when taking photos, please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

 

Dogs in cars: Martin Usborne's Mute

Phil Coomes | 09:00 UK time, Monday, 1 November 2010

Comments

Dogs by Martin Usborne
"I was once left in a car at young age. I don't know at what age or where or for how long, possibly at four years old, perhaps outside Tesco, probably for 15 minutes only. The details don't matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back."

It was this experience that inspired photographer Martin Usborne's latest project which comprises photographs of dogs looking silently out of car windows in the dead of night.

This may not be an obvious leap to make - yet the pictures and, dare I say, expressions, of the dogs does tie it together very successfully.

At first glance the pictures feel very real, and we wonder how many miles Martin must have covered to find this many animals trapped in cars, then of course we realise this is a construction, a studio-based project that is not as it seems.

He told me:

"I did try and do it reportage but thankfully found very few dogs stuck in cars. I walked round various supermarkets but people became suspicious of a man with a camera peering into parked cars - as you can imagine!
 
"I prefer that the shots are set up - they are not intended to be entirely real, more symbolic, and dream-like perhaps. The lighting I think contributes to this. It is rather intense and cinematic, although I was careful to make the lights look as though they could be street lights."

The series is not about the issue of leaving dogs in hot cars, though Martin, a confirmed dog-lover and owner of Moose, a Miniature Schnauzer, is obviously aware of the animal welfare debate. These pictures stem from his childhood experience and then extend into the feeling isolation many of us will experience, in this case in a modern urban setting.

Looking at Martin's site, you can see that his pictures are also full of humour and laced with his own style and vision.

He says:

"Yes, a lot of my work has humour and I think arguably this project has some humour too. Dogs in cars is rather ridiculous on one level and many people smile or laugh when they see their first image from the series, but overall this project is more dark than others I have done.
 
"But then I am both a very light-hearted and deeply serious person, so it seems only natural to me to move between the two. I do always strive for a quirkiness in my work - no, perhaps that is the wrong word - a certain playfulness, and even the serious stuff I like to have a little bit of edge to it.
 
"My best work comes when I am most honest with myself and don't think too much about what I am trying to do. These dog images arose in my imagination very much of their own accord - they demanded to be brought to life. I'm finding that the more personal work I do the more that certain themes come to the fore and there is not much I can do about it.
 
"Many of my portraits for example are of individuals shot through doorways or by windows and have a certain darkness to them. Some physical element removes them from the viewer, just like the dogs are removed from the viewer by the glass of the car window."
Dogs by Martin Usborne

 

 

Dogs by Martin Usborne

 

 

Dogs by Martin Usborne

 

 

Dogs by Martin Usborne

 

 

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