gill moore photography

Archive for the 'competitions' Category

Life as Art : Photographs taken with a microscope.

Some of the personal project work I do involves photographing nature in some shape or form. I try to often use an abstract or unusual approach, hopefully it helps to make the viewer stop and think. It is a fascinating, ever-changing and endless canvas, I feel it helps glue us all together.

The image above is from a page over on the National Geographic site which features stunning and beautiful imagery all created using the help of a light microscope. There is a slideshow of 10 shortlisted images taken from a competition sponsored by Nikon called “Small World”. Utterly beguiling and contemplative. If it wasn’t so expensive to invest in the kit I would be trying my hand at this tomorrow. Click here to read more on microscopy (photography using an optical microscope).

This image came in Seventh place, it looks just like a landscape which has been “photoshopped to oblivion”! The reality is more interesting, it shows in massive detail an antibiotic cancer drug; the colours are created by the light passing through polarizing filters which helps to reveal the drug’s chemical structure.

The only photograph that doesn’t work for me is the final one which finished in Tenth spot. I have been lucky enough to travel extensively all over the beautiful New Zealand Islands and I am afraid biting memories of sandflies and sandhoppers prevents me feeling anything but horror when I look at that particular image. Sorry :-(

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National Photographic Portrait Prize @ the Lowry

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jonathan_torgovnik

The prestigious National Photographic Portrait Prize (2007) is occuping the light and airy mezzanine floor at the Lowry, in Salford, until October 12th 2008. This is a must-see for fans of photography in general and portraiture in particular. We are lucky to have this exhibition touring in the North West as it is usually only viewed at the National Portrait Gallery, London. For 2007 there were 6,900 submissions by 2,700 photographers from around the world.

It provides an opportunity to see a compelling array of images which highlight the sheer depth and power of a single image. The 60 shortlisted photographs have been taken all over the world and feature wildly different subjects, styles, technique and atmosphere; professional and amateur hang side by side. Should you go with a friend don’t be surprised if you end up arguing the merits of your favourite and casting your eyes heavenwards on one or two of those included.

The images are framed and printed in a variety of ways; sizes vary from 10 x 8 to a couple which fill an entire wall. I presume each photographer was allowed a free hand to choose how their work was hung? This helps to make each shot feel individual and hopefully allows the viewer to remember this is not a series but an opportunity to celebrate the art of great portraiture.

I cannot really argue with the First Prize choice a brilliant and powerful study by Jonathan Torgovnik taken in Rwanda. I also had a great deal of time for the Second Prize winner “Lucila, a.m.” (photographers site here).

lucila

A slow-burner which quietly snuck into my brain. I don’t remember much of a connection the first time I viewed it, but I was drawn back to it time and again … close my eyes and I can almost place myself in that same room with the warm sun streaming in through the huge glass backdrop.

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Charlie Crane (who I have blogged about earlier in the year when he was selected for the New Contempories showcase) has made it into the 60, he has such lovely prints and a real sense of style. Colin Pantall‘s “Sofa Portrait #3″ is part of a series which has had a fair amount of praise and publicity already …. subtle and captivating.

If you cannot make it to the Lowry in time you can view all the Winners and those shortlisted on the National Portrait Gallery website. Looking at images on a computer screen is nowhere near the experience gained in a gallery space, but certainly better than nothing! Entry for the 2008 Photographic Portrait Prize Award is now closed and the winner will be announced in November.

New Designers exhibition, London … winners Kate Laskey & Abigail Borg

I was hoping to get to the New Designers exhibition at the Business Design Cente, London, when I was visiting the capital a few weekends ago. Sadly, the time slot was just too tight and I had to give up on that idea, however on their website is a full list of the winners. It was a two-part show which celebrated the work of over 4000 graduates from around the UK who also competed to win one of the New Designer Awards. It is one of two major platforms for new graduates, the other being the Free Range exhibition over at Brick Lane.

Amongst this year’s award-winning array of talent I really liked the work of Kate Laskey. Her project entered for the ND exhibition was titled ‘Ten stops from home’ and featured a collection of wallpapers, furnishing and upholstery fabrics and cushions that all incorporate images noted from her journey to and from college. Covering the past three years, her sketchbook featured drawings from towns such as Shoreham, Brighton and Eastbourne which were developed to create the finished designs.

Kate is a recent graduate in Surface and Textile Design from Northbrook College and won the Harlequin Award at the exhibition. The judges described her work as “inspirational and highly individual with a very specific style and unique handwriting. Extremely refreshing and versatile”. Together with the prestige and media buzz of winning an award at this exhibition, it also means Kate will spend some time working at Harlequin a highly respected brand known through the world of interiors, they design and sell a select range of classy fabrics and wallpapers.

Also an honourable mention for a student from ‘Oop Norf’ …. hurrah, no I’m not biased at all !! Well done Abigail Borg from Leeds College of Arts, proclaimed the Business Design Centre: New Designer of the Year. I think her drawing skills and colour palette match up quite beautifully and her work could fit comfortably within a number of media from textile design right through to book covers and many in-between.

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New Designers exhibition, London … winners Kate Laskey & Abigail Borg

I was hoping to get to the New Designers exhibition at the Business Design Cente, London, when I was visiting the capital a few weekends ago. Sadly, the time slot was just too tight and I had to give up on that idea, however on their website is a full list of the winners. It was a two-part show which celebrated the work of over 4000 graduates from around the UK who also competed to win one of the New Designer Awards. It is one of two major platforms for new graduates, the other being the Free Range exhibition over at Brick Lane.

Amongst this year’s award-winning array of talent I really liked the work of Kate Laskey. Her project entered for the ND exhibition was titled ‘Ten stops from home’ and featured a collection of wallpapers, furnishing and upholstery fabrics and cushions that all incorporate images noted from her journey to and from college. Covering the past three years, her sketchbook featured drawings from towns such as Shoreham, Brighton and Eastbourne which were developed to create the finished designs.

Kate is a recent graduate in Surface and Textile Design from Northbrook College and won the Harlequin Award at the exhibition. The judges described her work as “inspirational and highly individual with a very specific style and unique handwriting. Extremely refreshing and versatile”. Together with the prestige and media buzz of winning an award at this exhibition, it also means Kate will spend some time working at Harlequin a highly respected brand known through the world of interiors, they design and sell a select range of classy fabrics and wallpapers.

Also an honourable mention for a student from ‘Oop Norf’ …. hurrah, no I’m not biased at all !! Well done Abigail Borg from Leeds College of Arts, proclaimed the Business Design Centre: New Designer of the Year. I think her drawing skills and colour palette match up quite beautifully and her work could fit comfortably within a number of media from textile design right through to book covers and many in-between.

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International Garden Photographer of the Year 2008

The International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition is one of the most prestigious photography contests  and the Overall Winner this year features the above stunning scene from a Japanese Garden.  Australian photographer, Claire Takacs, managed to be in the right place at a wonderful time AND possessed the skills to create a beautiful evocative image.  What is it about trees and snow which combines so perfectly.

 

Talking of trees, allow me to point you in the direction of Paul Debois.  He has a series of black and white images taken with a pinhole camera in the Portolio Section of the IGPOY competition (click here to view) which I just adore.  Yes, the winning set of shots is beautiful but (in my humble opinion) Debois’ work is more deserving for top spot as it is individual, highly creative and skilful and possesses the ability to move you into another zone.  I have always liked Edward Steichen’s work and it was no surprise to read that Paul Debois’ “Pinhole Impressions” has a dab of Steichen inspiration behind it.

 

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What makes a great photograph? … “how long is a piece of string?”

This year, for the first time, I am entering the Shot Up North Awards.  These UK awards are for photographers based anywhere from the Midlands northwards including Scotland.  The Awards used to be affiliated to the Association of Photographers (AOP) however SUN is now a stand-alone organisation aimed at celebrating and promoting Northern photographers and their work.

I started to ponder what is the key thing that makes an image a great image.  First port of call was viewing some of the previous winning images from Shot Up North.  Though hugely inspiring, I was struck by the variety and disparate array of images selected for the Top 50 over the years.
Studying the photograph at first-hand is always the ideal and what usually happens is you have a gut reaction upon initial viewing and this surely provides the key to answering the question.
I then took a read of the always excellent blog by J M Colberg “Conscientious” which featured a really in-depth piece: “What Makes a Great Photo?” with many gifted photographers and creative’s discussing their own take on answering that question.  After that I just jotted down lots of random thoughts which I list below.

  • emotional kick “wow” factor/connection/memorable tho it also may not wow it could linger and not go away.
  • tells a story/intrigues/shows a voice
  • captures a moment
  • has a sense of style/atmosphere/beauty
  • makes you think/question/can challenge or inform
  • has a high degree of individuality/fresh perspective
  • compelling blend of colours/form/composition
  • intimate – can open a direct channel viewer/photographer.  It communicates.
  • evocative/memory
  • has depth, image encourages/demands repeat viewing
  • reveals something new of the subject; a person/object/environment
  • has an ability to move and touch the viewer
  • element of mystery
  • powerful … it transports you to another place

Sure, it is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string” but it is such an interesting question with no right or wrong answer; just more for the mix and people react so differently and that it what is so fascinating.

UPDATE : Newer post featuring my Special Edition image and other winners at Shot Up North plus details of the SUN exhibition can be found here.

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