From the Guardian
"An evocative survey of photo albums captures the history of American photography – and asks whether we'll ever impose order on our sprawling digital collections
"When you hold a photo album, you sense that you are in possession of something unique, intimate, and meant to be saved for a long time," writes Verna Posever Curtis in the introductory essay to Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography. "As you turn the pages and look at the images, you imbibe the maker's experience, invoking your imagination and prompting personal memories."
I've been wondering about this reflection ever since I first read it a few weeks ago, mainly because this is not what the photographic album – save for my own or my family's altogether more haphazard collections of images – evokes in me. When I see a photographic album, the first thing I think of is order: a disciplined mind; a systematic approach; a rigour that is altogether not my own; that is, in fact, the opposite of my more scattergun approach to images and memories. Indeed, I often feel there is something lifeless about the carefully composed photographic album that may be to do with the editing process: the elimination of the random, the accidental, the blurred and the botched photograph."
Photographer Espen Rasmussen has spent six years documenting the lives of some of those people, from the camps in the DR Congo to the displaced in Georgia.
Transit, a recently published book of the work and an exhibition at The Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo contains an incredible collection of pictures that in my opinion form one of the most compelling arguments for the sustained power of photography from recent years.
A group of British photographers and artists are mounting an exhibition of pictures created using Victorian cameras and processes such as the wet plate collodion method. Victorian lenses give the pictures a very particular feel which makes it odd to see cars, modern clothing and other anachronisms in a view which seems pulled straight out of history books. The photos will be exhibited at at the Arts Bank in Saltburn-By-The-Sea from 2 to 29 July. There will be a a free, hands-on demonstration and an evening talk by wet plate collodion expert John Brewer. See www.citiesandparks.com/Festival.html for more information.
"Whether you take the vole's-eye view or go big and capture the geometry, hay meadows can make for wonderful photography.
How to capture the essence of a hay meadow in a photograph? You could try the vole's eye-view, laying the camera with a wide angle lens on the ground, pointing skywards to capture the tracery of grasses and flowers on a blue canvas.
For the big picture, remember that hay meadows tend to be surrounded by regionally distinctive boundaries like the drystone walls and barns of the Yorkshire dales. They give a powerful sense of place and geometrical pattern when photographed from a distant vantage point with a telephoto.
Selective close-ups work well too. The shallow depth of focus of a long focal-length macro lens isolates individual blooms and insects against a diffuse background of floral colours. Or maybe you could try a slow shutter speed, to capture a zephyr of wind transforming flowers to an abstract blur of colour."