Here’s a peaceful scene at Two Bridges, on Dartmoor, where we were on Wednesday, as a counter to the horrors in Manchester at the start of this week.
Photographed on the steps of Government House in Delhi by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1948 are, Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma; Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India; and Edwina Cynthia Annette, Countess Mountbatten.
Like most of us, I imagine, we appreciate a good news photograph that captures something of the situation of the people included in the photo. This is so in this photo. Widely acknowledged that Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten had a very close friendship, even speculated having an affair. It’s a very good photo from a master of photography, Cartier-Bresson, a believer in capturing the ‘decisive moment‘.
I happened, as is my wont, to be trawling through the days news, only to find a photo of a place I recognised. And the photo is of Budgens supermarket in Lightwater as it was around 10 years ago.
You’ll have to visit The Guardian’s story about the closure of 35 Budgens stores to see the photo as it’s copyrighted.
The nearest I can get to that photo is one I took in 2006 of Budgens in Lightwater. My photo is nowhere near as good as the one used by the news media. Reinforces my view that I’m a happy snapper with pretensions.
Photojournalist’s seem to have a penchant for capturing people kissing. Think of the V-J Day Kiss by Alfred Eisenstaedt, for one such example.
This photo of the week is in a similar vein. It’s the Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville by Robert Doisneau. The photo was taken in 1950 in the busy streets of Paris by the Paris Town Hall. There’s a delightful story behind the photo, which is from Wikipedia, and you can read beneath the photo. [Click on image to expand]
The identity of the couple remained a mystery until 1992. Jean and Denise Lavergne erroneously believed themselves to be the couple in The Kiss, and when Robert and Annette Doisneau (his older daughter and also his assistant at the time) met them for lunch in the 1980s he “did not want to shatter their dream” so he said nothing. This resulted in them taking him to court for “taking their picture without their knowledge”, because under French law an individual owns the rights to their own likeness.
The court action forced Doisneau to reveal that he posed the shot using Françoise Delbart and Jacques Carteaud, lovers whom he had just seen kissing, but had not photographed initially because of his natural reserve; he approached them and asked if they would repeat the kiss. He won the court case against the Lavergnes. Doisneau said in 1992, “I would never have dared to photograph people like that. Lovers kissing in the street, those couples are rarely legitimate.”
The couple in Le baiser were Françoise Delbart, 20, and Jacques Carteaud, 23, both aspiring actors. In 2005 Françoise Bornet (née Delbart) stated that, “He told us we were charming, and asked if we could kiss again for the camera. We didn’t mind. We were used to kissing. We were doing it all the time then, it was delicious. Monsieur Doisneau was adorable, very low key, very relaxed.” They posed at the Place de la Concorde, the Rue de Rivoli and finally the Hôtel de Ville. The photograph was published in 12 June 1950, issue of Life. The relationship between Delbart and Carteaud only lasted for nine months. Delbart continued her acting career, but Carteaud gave up acting to become a wine producer.
In 1950 Françoise Bornet was given an original print of the photograph, bearing Doisneau’s signature and stamp, as part of the payment for her “work”. In April 2005 she sold the print at auction for €155,000 to an unidentified Swiss collector via the Paris auctioneers Artcurial Briest-Poulain-Le Fur.
I reckon there are three classes of photographer.
- There are the professional, or super-skilled amateur, photographers who genuinely know what they’re doing,
- The happy snappers who simply point and click – never bothering to understand, or fiddle with the camera’s settings,
- Lastly, the improvers, those of us who know a little about photography and would like to know more, but struggle to understand or use the myriad of settings on modern cameras.
I think I’m half way between a happy snapper and an improver. And so I’ll try to retain in my brain some the helpful tips offered on the boards at The Photographic Angle’s recent exhibition in Camberley. In case you might find them interesting, here they are [click on image to expand].
Earlier this week, I reported on the photographic exhibition in Camberley. Yesterday I visited the exhibition.
Expecting to see a room with photos on the wall, much as you would see in an art gallery, the actuality was different.
The Photographic Angle’s concept for their exhibitions is to utilise large empty spaces. What surprises is that the whole floor areas of an empty three storey office block in Watchmoor Park is used to house the exhibition. Again somewhat surprisingly, I worked in the opposite office block. An eerily odd feeling of going back to work, but in a building devoid of fittings, even some of the floor tiles were missing. Ah well nothing stays the same.
Continuing with the surprises is that the photographs aren’t small, they are presented on large screens. Intermingled with the photos are boards with inspiring quotations of famous photographers, and boards offering tips on taking photos. It’s a cleverly staged exhibition, inviting the visitor to pause and reflect on the values and purposes of photography.
Oh, one final thing – empty office blocks are penetratingly cold. It’s a wrap up warm type of exhibition + gloves.
The Photographic Angle [TPA] is a charity which holds free exhibitions across the country transforming otherwise empty spaces into temporary galleries. It promotes education of the public in the art and science of photography, by staging exhibitions, and by working with professional, student, and amateur photographers. [Click on image to enlarge]
What a surprise that among all the cities in which they exhibit they’re coming to Camberley. TPA hold regular bi-monthly photography competitions, which are free to enter, and open to all. For keen photographers it might be worth a visit to see the works and to make contact.
The exhibition in Camberley is of one of those competitions. This one being Our Stories. The exhibition is from 1st to 5th February at Building B, Watchmoor Park, Camberley, GU15 3YL. It’s open from 10.0 am to 3.00 pm.
There’s another of their exhibitions, again fairly local, entitled No Briton Is An Island, being held at Greenwood House, London Road, Bracknell, RG12 2UB, from 3rd to 7th February, again from 10.0 am to 3.0 pm.