Photo of the week No.45: Battersea Power Station by Bill Brandt, 1936

Oh my, the last photo of the week was in February this year. Not good, must improve, or stop classifying things as [something] of the week.

This masterly image, Battersea Power Station in 1936, by Bill Brandt [1904- 1983] is one of his London night scenes, many of which can be seen in his 1938 book, A Night in London. Brandt, although originally German, through a German father and English mother, moved to London in the early 1930’s, later disowning his German heritage.

Unlike famous photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Edward Weston, Brandt did much work to alter his images in the darkroom, emphasizing tonal contrasts, and cropping images. Brandt is widely considered to be Britain’s most influential photographer of the 20th century.

Photo of the week No.44: Winston Churchill in his dressing gown

Winston Churchill in his dragon patterned dressing gown and monogrammed slippers at the Casablanca conference, Tunisia, Jan. 1943.  Churchill was recovering from pneumonia.

Standing to Churchill’s left in the photo is Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D Eisenhower.

Photo of the week No.43: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon by Neil Armstrong, 1969

On Monday this week I referenced an article in Atlantic Monthly which asked, ‘What Was the Most Influential Photograph in History?’

I was unimpressed by the choices of the professional photographers in the article. Perhaps I’m overly critical in that their choices could have had some influence, though I don’t know how much. Maybe, it’s the wrong question, for I don’t think a single photo, on its own, can have that much influence.

Anyway, I said I’d make my choice of a supposed influential photo. It’s taken me the rest of the week to think about it, and perhaps I was influenced by one of the photos in the article. I hope I wasn’t.

It’s a photo, taken during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission by mission commander Neil Armstrong of fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon by the lunar lander. There are many such photos of the Apollo 11 mission. This is the one I prefer. It has it all, Astronaut on the moon, astronaut footprints, reflection in the visor, and the leg of the lunar lander.

A truly staggering achievement.

Photo of the week No.42: Louis Daguerre’s Boulevard du Temple, 1838

Bit of a change in focus for my 42nd Photo of the Week.

It’s the earliest known photograph of a person. Taken by photography pioneer Louis Daguerre in 1838, from his studio, of a Parisian street, the Boulevard du Temple.

That the photo appears to be empty of people, horses, or moving traffic, is the result of the need for an exposure lasting several minutes. Their presences therefore were not recorded in the image, just two men, a boot polisher and his customer, seen near the bottom right corner.

The Independent’s article, This is the first ever photograph of a human – and how the scene it was taken in looks today, provides more information on the photograph.

Photo of the week No.41: Audrey Hepburn by Bill Avery, 1953

This photo of the week is only my fourth portrait photograph. Previous ones have been of I.K.Brunel, W.G.Grace, and Winston Churchill by Karsh in December 1941 [number 21 in my series].

This week’s photo, Audrey Hepburn by Bill Avery in 1953 is my first proper studio portrait photo, and of course it has to be a Hollywood film studio shot.

Portrait photography is as much of an art as news photography, or photo-journalism, possibly the more so in the difficulty of trying to capture that illusive character of the sitter.

Bill Avery 1917 -2002 learned his skills working for Columbia Pictures, and after wartime service as a war photographer returned to work for the major film studios. Most studio photos are done for promotional purposes. Attempting to capture the character of an actor, within the confines of a PR brief, requires skill. I think Avery caught, both her beauty, and naturalness. Hope you agree.


Photo of the week No.40: Clashing Wave by Daan Olivier

How splendid to be able to post a Photo of the week by a photographer that I know.

Daan Olivier’s photo is of a clashing returning wave during Storm Brian, photographed at Newhaven, on 21st October 2017 at 1408 hrs.

Why so precise? Well, Daan reckons that luck, in photography, derives from precise preparation. To prepare for the photo of Clashing Wave, Daan tells me he studied the tide tables at Newhaven, also the wave action of the Clapotis Gaufre wave type. Now, don’t tell me it’s all luck. There’s an element of luck, but preparation is all.

Wikipedia describe Clapotis Gaufre as,

When a wave train strikes a wall at an oblique angle, the reflected wave train departs at the supplementay angle causing a cross hatched wave pattern known as the clapotis gaufré (“waffled clapotis”). In this situation, the individual crests formed at the intersection of the incident and reflected wave train crests move parallel to the structure.

Photo of the week No.39: Jackie Stewart followed by Graham Hill at the Nürburgring, 1966

This is a terrific sports action photo of Jackie Stewart followed by Graham Hill at the Nürburgring, 1966, by an unnamed photographer. Formula 1 racing cars don’t ‘fly’ now, and nor do they race on the Nürburgring.

There’s an interesting discussion on who’s the best racing driver in history. The BBC questions can we ever really compare the F1 greats?

I think the simple answer is that’s extremely difficult to make a judgement, because of the changes in motor racing technology. There were great racing drivers in different eras.  Perhaps we should leave it like that, and respect the talent of the best drivers in their time.