December 27, 2005


Filed under: Shout out — Tony Bridge @ 12:46 am

I suppose I have been teaching photography for some 20 years now, and I have seen some wonderful images made. Every so often however, I get a student whose work blows me away and makes me feel hopelessly inadequate.
A sort of bugger-why-didn’t-I-see-that feeling. It usually happens several times
a year. And that is great. It encourages me and oftentimes reminds me how many good (no, great) images are being made all the time, born to blush unseen and waste their sweetness on the desert air, to quote Gray.

And then there are the geniuses who really do have the talent and the determination. They are so good that I wonder what I could possibly have to offer them. Their work is damned consistently stunning that I have to make sure it gets shared, any way I can. So I intend to use this blog to show what they are doing.
By now you will be looking at the images in this post and maybe wondering about the auth
or-in this case, authoress.

Harriet has been a pupil of mine for the last 10 months or so. She turned up with one of those 3 megapixel point-and-shoots that some of my learners bring along, you know the ones that most of us use to snap our family events. With very little input on my part, she got on with it, asking only for the odd bit of advice here and there, and doing it her way. I am glad I kept my big clodhoppers out of it. Her vision is too unique to be directed. These images are humbling, living proof of the adage that it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts.

Harriet posts her work to an online community called deviantART( no it’s not what you think). If you want to see what the new generation of photographers are doing go trawling through it. Some very exciting work here. You can find Harriet’s section here.

Oh, and did I mention? She is just 17


December 2, 2005

Getting out of bed- and staying up late!

Filed under: Thinking about Photography and Art, Uncategorized — Tony Bridge @ 2:20 pm

The other day I saw a book done by a contemporary of mine, who had photographed the region in which he now lives. keen to see what he had made of the region, I worked my way through it. There were some lovely images, that paid a real tribute to the region ( I won’t tell you which region, because that would make it dead obvious who he is- and he knows me!).
What struck me however, were the number taken in the middle of the day, with a high sun that flattened out the landscape and hid the subtleties peculiar to that particular landscape. There were very few photographs made at each end of the day, when the light is at its most dramatic and sensuous. It was as if he was programmed to go out after breakfast and be back by teatime.
These were cheese sandwich photographs- they did the job, were very well made, but somehow overlooked the mystic qualities of a part of New Zealand that is redolent with history and dominated by one of the most powerful geographical features in the country.
Making photographs in the middle of the day is tough,photographically-speaking, and the light is usually harsh and unforgiving. It reminds me of the story told by the eminent photographic historian, Beaumont Newhall, who maintained that while Wynn Bullock’s nudes looked as if he wanted to make love to them, Edward Weston’s looked as if he just had! Working through the middle of a summer’s day is the Weston approach. All is revealed.
It is at sunset, however, that the mystery begins, at the transition from day into night that the spirits come out. Landscape photographers are like fly fishermen- the best fishing is to be had at sunrise and sunset.
The moral then is to get up early and be out where you want to be before sunrise. At the otthere end of the day, to stay out until after dark
Tip: the best sunset shots come at least 20 mins after the sun has set.
Which brings me to the shot in this post
it was the tail end of the day, at the mouth of the Okuru River in South Westland. Maybe 30 minutes remained in the day and the light was grey and dull behind the clouds. A gap remained however between the horizon and the clouds. if I waited I would have a few minutes and (hopefully) amazing light.
There was a nasty easterly wind bvlowing off the Alps and we were tired, hungry and ready for a fire and a few glasses of Shiraz. It was tempting to say “Bugger It!” and head indoors. We stayed.
And for a magic few moments it was all worth it.

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