Hands Up Who’s Heard Of ‘Environmental Portraits’?

Not me. Well, not until last week. Don’t get me wrong, I knew portraits had been taken in environments, I’m no fool, but I didn’t realise it was a genre with its own name. Environmental Portraits are portraits that have been “executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings”. It turns out that one of my favourite portrait photographers, Arnold Newman, was it’s father of Environmental Photography. (Although he hatedRead more

Hands up who’s heard of Saul Leiter?

The of most important part of photography isn’t anything technical, it’s where you point the camera. It’s why 99% photos look dull, everybody points in the same direction. Often it’s because people don’t think that they have other options, or they feel too self-conscious to point their camera in the ‘wrong’ direction, it feels so unnatural. “Seeing is a neglected enterprise.” as Saul Leiter put it. He must’ve looked weird whilst doing his seeing; his camera would be pointing inRead more

Hands Up Who’s Heard Of Pete Turner?

Sad to read of the passing of Pete Turner, one of the early pioneers of colour photography. He pushed the limits of film, colour and lab technicians to produce some of the most vivid, colourful images ever committed to film. He started early, developing colour pictures by age 14, ‘I love black and white photography, but somehow I got seduced by colour, I remember going to the art supply store as a kid and looking at water-colour paint boxes and thinking,Read more

PODCAST: Graham Fink. (Part 1.)

Context. It’s the word that comes to mind every time I think about writing one of these intros. What seems familiar today was once considered very left-field, risky or just plain crazy. Each pushes the peanut along for the next generation. Take the 1988 D&AD Annual, it’s hard to believe now, but all but one ad in the press and poster section had black headlines, the one that didn’t was Graham Fink’s Metropolitan Police campaign. I was a generation behindRead more

Hands Up Who’s Heard Of Norman Seeff?

Taking good portraits isn’t as easy as it looks. The instant a camera appears people change, they stop being themselves and attempt to become someone else. Sucking in cheeks, arching an eyebrow or tilting their head to the preferred angle. Take a look at the profile pictures on Facebook, they look like they were taken a split second after someone popped a balloon behind them, or they’ve just spotted a long-lost friend from Junior School, surprise seems to be ‘in’Read more

IN-CAMERA 8: Geof Kern. (Part 1.)

Like most people I’m a fan of the likes of Cartier-Bresson, Don McCullin and Martin Parr, photographers who go out into the world and record it in a ways we may not have seen or imagined. But I LOVE photographers who go out and create their own world using their own unique, idiosyncratic set of aesthetics. I recently posted lots of my old green scrap books and one name that kept coming up again and again; Geof Kern, one ofRead more

INTERVIEW: Sir Alan Parker.

Sir Alan, where did you grow up? I grew up in Islington. Ours were the first council flats built after the war and I moved in aged about three or four. Ironically, the flats overlooked the street where my Dad was born and brought up. (My Grandad was the local barber and the family were evacuated in the war when a bomb hit St Mary’s Church close to their shop. He was also the local bookie—illegal then—and so they movedRead more

100th post. (Well, nearly.)


Full disclosure; it’s actually the 113th. But I noticed that when blogs or podcasts hit a significant number they do a kind of round-up, like a kind of house-keeping thing, so here’s mine. 10 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT BLOGGING. 1. BLOGS HAVE A LIFE OF THEIR OWN. MAY 2002: My friend Paul buys me davedye.com. OCT 2013: I decide to bung all my old work on it, for easy access. NOV 2013: It’s a bit chaotic. Having presented the workRead more

PODCAST: Tony Davidson Pt. 2.

The Wieden years. It’s weird, I only interview people whose work I really like, but whenever I lay their work out end-to-end, I’m always surprised at how much better it is than I’d remembered. It could be that there’s much more of it, the sheer consistency of it or that it appears better with the benefit of time and a bit of distance. All three are true of the work in this post. Tony does a good job of shiningRead more

PODCAST: Mark Reddy.

‘Art Director’ is an unhelpful title. It has nothing to do with Art and very little to do with directing. Some think it’s about making stuff look cool, I think it’s about communicating at speed. We work in a medium people are actively trying to ignore, so we can’t hang around. Art Director’s can only communicate quickly if the understand: a) Their basic toolkit; photography, film, illustration, editing, cropping, fonts, colours and the rest. b) The world around them: how humans behave,Read more