What does Brazil look like?Photography, aestheticised misery, and the difficulty of depicting Brazil
By Claire Rigby, From Brazil, at Folha de S.Paulo.Photo: ’Descansando na Canoa’ (1984) by Luiz Braga

Too photogenic for its own good, Brazil is all too often objectified, exoticised and even eroticised in photographic images. Take Mario de Janeiro Testino, the Peruvian photographer’s lush book for Taschen, in which lithe, slightly dressed young beauties drape themselves all over Ipanema and each other; or every football-on-the-beach image you’ve ever seen, where muscular youths run, play, sweat in the sand. Skin glows, the sun beats down, people smile.

Read on …

What does Brazil look like?
Photography, aestheticised misery, and the difficulty of depicting Brazil

By Claire Rigby, From Brazil, at Folha de S.Paulo.
Photo: ’Descansando na Canoa’ (1984) by Luiz Braga

Too photogenic for its own good, Brazil is all too often objectified, exoticised and even eroticised in photographic images. Take Mario de Janeiro Testino, the Peruvian photographer’s lush book for Taschen, in which lithe, slightly dressed young beauties drape themselves all over Ipanema and each other; or every football-on-the-beach image you’ve ever seen, where muscular youths run, play, sweat in the sand. Skin glows, the sun beats down, people smile.

Read on …

Posted on Thursday, September 5th 2013

'I felt the Tube was mine and I was there to take pictures'
A series of images taken on the London Underground in the 1980s by the photographer Bob Mazzer. “I well remember the sour, woody and at times smoky smell of the underground when I was first brought to London for day trips as a boy in the ’70s and early ’80s,” says one of the commenters below the photos. So do I.

“For a while in the eighties, I lived with my father in Manor House and worked as a projectionist at a porn cinema in Kings Cross. It was called The Office Cinema, so guys could call their wives and say, ‘I’m still at the office.’” recalled Bob affectionately, “Every day, I travelled to Kings Cross and back. Coming home late at night, it was like a party and I felt the tube was mine and I was there to take pictures.”

Bob Mazzer, on the site Spitalfields Life.

'I felt the Tube was mine and I was there to take pictures'

A series of images taken on the London Underground in the 1980s by the photographer Bob Mazzer. “I well remember the sour, woody and at times smoky smell of the underground when I was first brought to London for day trips as a boy in the ’70s and early ’80s,” says one of the commenters below the photos. So do I.

“For a while in the eighties, I lived with my father in Manor House and worked as a projectionist at a porn cinema in Kings Cross. It was called The Office Cinema, so guys could call their wives and say, ‘I’m still at the office.’” recalled Bob affectionately, “Every day, I travelled to Kings Cross and back. Coming home late at night, it was like a party and I felt the tube was mine and I was there to take pictures.”

Bob Mazzer, on the site Spitalfields Life.

Posted on Sunday, July 28th 2013

Sofia Borges, Sediments Series (2009)
Sofia Borges was one of the artists featured in the recent São Paulo art Bienal. Here’s an interview with her (by me!) at Time Out São Paulo, where she talked about her favourite fellow artist at the Bienal. She chose the late Irish photographer and filmmaker Patrick Jolley.

Sofia Borges, Sediments Series (2009)

Sofia Borges was one of the artists featured in the recent São Paulo art Bienal. Here’s an interview with her (by me!) at Time Out São Paulo, where she talked about her favourite fellow artist at the Bienal. She chose the late Irish photographer and filmmaker Patrick Jolley.

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th 2013

Reblogged from que beleza

Photo competition for the cover of a new edition of Oliver Twist

Shoot a cover for a new Vintage edition of Oliver Twist.

The Guardian, in association with Vintage Classics, is asking photographers of all ages to imagine and capture how Oliver Twist’s world would look now. We will select the winning photograph to be the cover of a new edition of the novel published in March 2012. The image could be dramatic, dark, funny or touching, but it should be a modern twist on the spirit of the original story.

What would the Artful Dodger look like in 2012? Or Bill Sykes and his dog? What ­atmosphere do the backstreets of our cities have today? The picture can be black-and-white or ­colour. It could be a portrait, a landscape, or just a telling detail from the novel subtly ­updated – and it must have been taken ­specifically for this competition.

From an accompanying Guardian essay on Oliver Twist by Simon Callow.

The all-important thing for Dickens in writing the book is that IT IS TRUE, as he wrote (in capitals) in the Preface. He is describing “the very scum and refuse of the land”. He was particularly keen that no one should think a criminal life glamorous: “What charms has it for the young and ill-disposed, what allurements for the most jolter-headed of juveniles? Here are no canterings on moonlit heaths, no merry-makings in the snuggest of all possible caverns.” No, this is the life of the urban underbelly: “The cold, wet, shelterless midnight streets of London; the foul and frowzy dens, where vice is closely packed and lacks the room to turn; the haunts of hunger and disease, the shabby rags that scarcely hold together.” 

Posted on Monday, November 7th 2011

"Hey that’s me! no joke. i think i’m being insulted."

An interesting story about photo-use rights, Flickr and Creative Commons that you can follow as it unfolds on the Flickr comments, here. The first comment in the thread, ‘Hey that’s me! no joke. i think i’m being insulted,’ is the young girl whose image was lifted from Flickr and used by Virgin Mobile Australia in an ad campaign called ‘Dump Your Pen Friend’.

The story was covered in the New York Times here in Oct 2007, which was posted to Tumblr today by untanglingtheweb - thanks for posting it!

The NYT teaser:

'One moment, Alison Chang, a 15-year-old student from Dallas, is cheerfully goofing around at a local church-sponsored car wash, posing with a friend for a photo. Weeks later, that photo is posted online and catches the eye of an ad agency in Australia, and Alison appears on a billboard in Adelaide as part of a Virgin Mobile advertising campaign.'

I use a Creative Commons licence on my own photos, but having read this thread, I’m going to take another look at my CC settings to make sure my copyleft, no-commercial-use intentions are being properly expressed and protected. I use this one (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike), embedded in the metadata of all my photos and set on my Flickr uploads. It allows people ‘to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work’ and to ‘Remix — to adapt the work’, under the following conditions:

  • Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). 
  • Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

The Virgin Mobile story also involves the rights of the person depicted in the photo – you can trace more discussion of it, the Virgin Mobile ad campaign, and another photo they used from Flickr, here and here.

Posted on Saturday, October 15th 2011