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Ian Berry
Ian Berry
Ian Berry

Ian Berry

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 1934

Ian Berry made his reputation as a photojournalist reporting from South Africa, where he worked for the Sunday Times and Drum magazine. He was the only photographer to document the massacre at Sharpeville. While based in Paris he was invited to join Magnum by Henri Cartier-Bresson. He moved to London to become the first contract photographer for the Observer Magazine. He has covered, conflict in Israel, Ireland, Vietnam, Czechoslovakia and Congo, famine in Ethiopia and apartheid in South Africa. He has also reported on the political and social transformations in China and the former USSR.

Awards include Nikon Photographer of the Year (twice), Picture of the Year award from the National Press Photographers of America, and British Press Magazine Photographer of the Year (twice). Arts Council Award, Art Directors' Club of New York Award.

His books include The English, two books on South Africa, Sold into slavery and Sea. Exhibitions in London, Paris, Hamburg, Brussels, Bradford, Perpignan, Aix en Provence Shanghai, Lowry Gallery, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, Edinburgh, SCOP Shanghai, Hastings, Bruges.

Ian Berry: Street Photography

Photojournalism, documentary, reportage, call it what you will, shooting on the street is not easy. It needs a level of dedication and commitment as well as preparation, both mentally and with your shooting equipment.

I'm aware of the differences of opinion over whether a photographer should ask a potential subject's permission before taking a picture. My take on the matter is that if you want a self-conscious stare into the camera, by all means ask, but if you want a potential subject in their natural environment and make a picture that reflects the situation, then shoot first and, if needs be, talk later. If observed, a smile nearly always puts your subject at ease. Often I find that if I walk out of a hotel in a strange city and go unnoticed when shooting the first picture, I'm high all day and can photograph non-stop without being seen or rebuffed, but a bad reaction from the first subject and I might as well go back to bed.

A good way to hone your skills is to attend local events, street fairs and even pet shows, places where people are more amenable and accustomed to being photographed. It goes without saying that whether planning to shoot abroad or in Britain one should respect local customs and dress codes. It's no good wandering around a city in shorts and colourful T-shirts if you wish to move unobserved.

This selective process also applies to equipment; whether you compromise between the Christmas tree approach and the sneaky ‘one camera in the hand behind the back' system, and between carrying enough gear to cope with whatever might arise, but not so much that you're exhausted after a few hours. I'm always amazed at colleagues who walk up to people with a 28mm lens and a flashgun banging away in their faces. It certainly creates a style but adds artificiality that I find unpleasant, both visually and in terms of aggression towards the subject.

I think a style on the street should be created by a vision rather than a technique. Also the benefit of today's digital cameras to boost the ISO has enabled me at least to ditch a flashgun altogether during the day. Once in a while a new photographer joins Magnum with a totally different vision, like Russian Gueorgui Pinkhassov, who really excites me and makes me want to go out and shoot, not to recreate his style but rather to reinvent myself.

I love to shoot with two fixed focal length lenses on two quiet Olympus cameras hanging around my neck, partially concealed under a vest or jacket. Only partially concealed because I don't want it to appear as if I were trying to hide the fact I am a photographer. The lenses I use are a 28mm and a 50mm, which are small, light and fast. I prefer fixed focal length lenses because I like to know exactly what is going to be in the frame, and it's far easier to take half a step forward or backward than fiddling with a zoom. In Magnum the jury is out among the street shooters over whether a DSLR or a range finder is the better choice, but nearly all use single focal length lenses.

The other plus of a small camera is that you are often perceived as an amateur photographer and therefore less of a threat to the people you're photographing. Shooting with a long zoom on the street is a definite no-no, as you will be viewed as a voyeur. Curiously, I find I can be 3ft or 4ft from someone, shoot with a 28mm lens and pass by unnoticed and yet be obvious at 15ft. A recent fashion trend I don't think works is trying to carry equipment in a rucksack. It's great for the countryside or getting to or from a location but on the street every second counts and by the time you get a camera or lens out of this sort of bag, night has fallen and everyone has gone home.

I find that a soft bag of the Domke variety will hold a body with longer lens inconspicuously but within quick reach.

Whatever your kit set-up, however, the same creative needs apply. The ability to recognise a potential situation and produce an elegant composition in a fraction of a second on the street is what separates the great photojournalists such as Eugene Smith, Sebastião Salgado and Alex Webb from the rest of us. I've noticed that with that ability comes the physical stamina and professionalism to pound the streets for 12 hours on the trot.

The basic elements are either to grab the decisive moment on the hoof, to see a potential situation and hover unseen until it develops, or spot a potentially great background and be prepared to hang around for an hour or more until the right juxtaposition of people slot into place in front of you. This is something I frequently do, especially in a foreign environment; simply wait until you become part of the fixtures and fittings so that when you raise the camera slowly and smoothly to the eye, no one's attention is drawn by an unusual movement.

One of the great things about growing up photographically in Magnum was the words of wisdom dropped casually on occasion by Henri Cartier-Bresson. For example, "A great photograph is not an intellectual result, the only intellectual involvement is being there in the first place. The actual moment is purely intuitive, like squeezing the trigger of a gun when your subject is in exactly the right place in the frame." On another occasion as we were wandering around in Paris, "Walk softly and slowly. If you are moving quickly and stop suddenly, the people you are about to photograph will react to the change of pace in their peripheral vision and become aware of you."

Street photography in Britain has become another issue. Years ago when travelling from Istanbul to Beijing by train, I'd passed from Iran into Turkmenistan and was shooting in the capital, Ashgabat. Most of the main buildings had 15ft-high portraits of the President in true personality cult style and after wandering around I chose what I thought was the most interesting building architecturally. I then stood for quite a while waiting for interesting people to pass by to make up the shape. After a short time a couple of guys came out of the building and watched me, then came over and ‘invited' me into the building. It transpired I was photographing the equivalent of the FSBheadquarters. One of the men spoke excellent English and after quizzing me in a not unpleasant way, asked that if he were to come to London would he be allowed to photograph Scotland Yard? In response I invited him to call me when he was next in London so we could photograph it together. Sadly I could not do that any more, we are no longer that relaxed a society.

So what to do when you're in front of the Bank of England trying to shoot an essay on the City and an officious PCSO or a jobsworth from the nearest sock shop arrives to tell you to desist, or worse, delete your images? The advice of lawyer Rupert Grey, who knows a thing or two about photographers' rights, is to keep your cool, be polite and explain that you are perfectly entitled to take photographs in a public place without being hassled.

The public are more sensible on the whole, although it's still best to avoid photographing children. Years ago when shooting for my book, The English, I was able to go into school playgrounds with the teachers' approval and thought nothing of it; and it was the same in shopping centres, even hospitals, but no longer. Having said that, not too long ago I was passing an African-Caribbean church and stopped outside to take a few pictures of people milling around, only to be invited in to photograph the service – a pleasurable experience in this age, which tells me that one should not give up on recording life in Britain.

Ian's words of wisdom
"Know your camera inside out. Walk with your finger on the release. Have your lens pre-focused (Josef Koudelka had bits of matchsticks glued to Olympus lenses at different points to focus by feel). A single focal lens is best. I shoot on aperture, only adjusting as light conditions change. Don't be intimidated, most people are happy to be photographed. If nervous walk with a friend, although they are always distracting and get in the way. Buy a waistcoat or jacket a size too big to keep your camera concealed inside. Look around you constantly. Be discreet; looking beyond the subject after shooting often helps. If confronted, good-humoured banter and a smile always work."
 

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Stephen Shore
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Christian Vizl
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Jean-Francois Jonvelle
France
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Jean-François Jonvelle, born on October 3, 1943, in Cavaillon was a French photographer of fashion, glamor and portraiture. Work on the release of 20 ans magazine and then work on Dim, Dam, Dom, Vogue, Stern, Gala, Elle. In the 1960s, Jonvelle was assistant to Richard Avedon. During his career, he made many portraits of women, often his friends: natural young people, often naked, unconcerned. Unlike other fashion and glamor photographers, who offer a provocative woman, Jean-François Jonvelle's performance is much softer, more natural, more jovial but equally sensual. He died at the age of 58 years of terminal cancer, 15 days after it was detected on January 16, 2002, in Paris.Source: Wikipedia Jean-François Jonvelle was snatched by the hand of death with a suddenness to match the photographs that were his life. Just as that life was dedicated to capturing these stolen moments, so death followed suit, carrying him off in the midst of life. A tumor was discovered in early January, a final farewell just a fortnight later. He was gone in a flash. As I turn the pages of my friend’s last book my eyes mist over. My tears dissolve Jonvelle’s photographs into the soft focus of a David Hamilton. Jonvelle’s work is often described as being – in the time-honored formula – ‘sexy but not vulgar’. I prefer his own description of what he sought out: ‘la poésie du quotidien’, ‘the poetry of the everyday’. Photographs freeze moments of truth, all you have to do is choose the ones that do it best. "I tell myself that the present and the future don’t exist", he also used to say. "Everyone, every day, creates their own past." The quality that makes his images more moving than the rest is their vulnerability. Jonvelle taught me one crucial lesson: in photography, as in literature, what counts is feeling. Eroticism and tenderness are not sworn enemies. A downy arm, the frail nape of a neck, an uptilted breast, the curve of a back beneath the sheets, damp hair, closed eyelids, the trace of a kiss on the neck all these can be arousing. Jonvelle’s women are fresh and natural because they are unaware of our gaze. Jonvelle makes adoring voyeurs of us all. He shows us why heterosexuality can be so painful: everywhere, in every house and every bathroom, paradise lurks. Paradise delicately removes her T-shirt, brushes her teeth, buttocks pert, the curve of her breasts taut, timeless. Suddenly paradise parts her legs in silence, biting her fingernails as she looks you straight in the eye, teasing you as she waits for you on the sheets. Jonvelle is in paradise now, but for him nothing has changed: he was already there in his lifetime. As I gaze in wonder, the way I always do, at these images, so far removed from the familiar clichés, my thoughts turn to the beautiful women he immortalized. Photographs fix the fleeting, immortalize the ephemeral. Many of the women Jonvelle photographed are now old or dead, but – thanks to this photographer who is now also dead – their perfection will never fade. Every one of Jonvelle’s photographs is a declaration of love. One day, at my request, he photographed Delphine Vallette, the mother of my daughter. I wanted to give this brunette whom I loved a portrait. Never have I felt such a cuckold – though in the most erotic of ways. Beauty is an evanescent mystery that some artists have the ability to capture. As I look again at these wonderful images, I’m reminded of the title of that American comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous. Jonvelle’s work as a whole is not an ode to femininity; the story it tells is of the battle to vanquish death by means of the celebration of desire. All these shoulders caught by surprise, these half-seen breasts, these finely- arched insteps, these flawless backs, this sensual solitude, this calm between two storms, all these beautiful women who don’t give a damn are simply doors softly opened, through which we may catch a glimpse of eternal life. -- Frédéric Beigbeder Jean-François Jonvelle was born in 1943 in Cavaillon, south of France. Soon he will sell famous melons to buy Hasselblad. Its inspirations will come from the painting of Balthus, Bacon, of Schiele, but the true influence comes from films from Mankiewicz, Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Arthur PEN, Minnelli and more recently of Terry Gillian of which it acknowledges to have seen eleven times the film Brazil; Finally its preferred film: Jules and Jim of François Truffaut. In 1959, it is the photographer George Glasberg who initiates him with photography while making him make the turn of France of the cathedrals. It is a photographic revelation which will leave it never again. At the age of 20 he becomes the assistant of the American photographer Richard Avedon. After this enriching experiment he becomes his own 'Master' whose favorite subject will be the woman. Her mom and her small sister of whom he always was very near will be her 'first agreeing victims'. Then come the first 'muse' and accomplice, Tina Sportolaro whom he meets in 1982 and with which he carries out some of his more beautiful images. Will be then Béatrice, Myriam and many others.Source: The Eye of Photography
Newsha Tavakolian
Newsha Tavakolian (born 1981) is an Iranian photojournalist and documentary photographer. She has worked for TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Le Figaro, and National Geographic. Her work focuses on women's issues and she has been a member of the Rawiya women's photography collective which she co-established in 2011. Tavakolian is a full member of Magnum Photos. Born and brought up in Tehran, at age 16, Tavakolian took a six-month photography course, after which she began working as a professional photographer in the Iranian press. She started at the women's daily newspaper Zan, and later worked for other nine reformist dailies, all of which have since been banned. She covered the July 1999 student uprising, using her Minolta with a 50mm lens, and her photographs were published in several publications. However, she was forced to go on hiatus from her photojournalist work following the "chaos" of Iran’s presidential election in 2009. During this time, she began other projects focusing on art using photography as well as social documentary. Tavakolian’s photographs became more artistic and involved social commentary. She got her international break in 2001 at age 21, when she met J.P. Pappis, founder of Polaris Images, New York at a photography festival in Perpignan, France. She began covering Iran for Polaris Images, in the same year, and started working as a freelancer for The Times in 2004. Tavakolian has worked internationally, covering wars, natural disasters and social documentary stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers such as TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and National Geographic. Common themes in her work are photo stories of women, friends and neighbors in Iran; the evolving role of women in overcoming gender-based restrictions; and contrasting the stereotypes of western media. Her photo projects include Mother of Martyrs (2006), Women in the Axis of Evil (2006), The Day I Became a Woman (2010) and Look (2013). Tavakolian was part of the 2006 Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo. In 2007 she was a finalist for the Inge Morath Award. Her work has been exhibited and collected at institutions such as the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Somerset House, London. (April 2014), where she was one of eight Iranian photographers featured in the critically acclaimed Burnt Generation exhibition. In June 2015 Tavakolian became a nominee member of Magnum Photos and in 2019 a full member. She lives and works in Tehran and is married to the Dutch journalist Thomas Erdbrink. In 2019, the Iranian authorities barred her from working in the country.Source: Wikipedia Newsha Tavakolian is known for her powerful work covering wars in Iraq and social issues in her native Iran. With clarity and sensitivity, Tavakolian has photographed female guerilla fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Colombia, prohibited Iranian female singers and the lives of people living under sanctions. Over the years, her practice has shifted from photojournalism to photography as art. A self-taught photographer, Tavakolian began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at women’s daily newspaper Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country’s blossoming reformist movement and for Tavakolian personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined New York-based agency Polaris Images. In 2003, she started working internationally, covering the war in Iraq. She has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and made social documentary stories. Her work has been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic. Commercial clients include Qatar foundation, who commissioned her to make a book about education around the world and Shiseido, who commissioned a two-year assignment looking at the meaning of beauty in Paris, France.Source: Magnum Photos
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John Simmons is a multi-talented artist whose work has spanned across decades. Born in Chicago and coming of age during the Civil Rights Era, Simmons' photography started at the peak of political and racial tension of the 1960s, mentored by a well known Chicago Civil Rights photographer, Bobby Sengstacke.
Exclusive Interview with Nick Brandt About The Day May Break
Photographed in Zimbabwe and Kenya in late 2020, The Day May Break is the first part of a global series portraying people and animals impacted by environmental degradation and destruction. An ambitious and poetic project picturing people who have all been badly affected by climate change - some displaced by cyclones that destroyed their homes, others such as farmers displaced and impoverished by years-long severe droughts. We asked Nick Brandt a few questions about the project.
Exclusive Interview with Barbara Cole
For the last forty-five years, artist Barbara Cole has been recapturing the otherworldly mysteries of early photography in a body of work that flows in and out of time.
Exclusive Interview with Daniel Sackheim
Daniel Sackheim is an American Film & Television director and producer best known for his work on such highly acclaimed series as HBO's True Detective Season 3, Game of Thrones, and Amazon’s Jack Ryan. But he is also a talented photographer. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exlusive Interview with Tom Price Winner of All About Photo Awards 2021
Tom Price is the Photographer of the Year, winner of All About Photo Awards 2021 - The Mind's Eye. My co-jurors Keith Cullen, Denis Dailleux, Stefano De Luigi, Monica Denevan, Claudine Doury, Ann Jastrab, Stephan Vanfleteren, Hiroshi Watanabe, Alison Wright and myself were impressed by his work 'Porter' taken from a series of surreal portraits, featuring 'relocated' porters from Kolkata, as a reflection on the experience of migrant workers.
Interview: Jill Enfield by Jon Wollenhaupt
Alternative photography pioneer Jill Enfield comes from a long line of photographers dating back to 1875-the date when her ancestors opened up gift stores in Germany where they sold cameras and other technical equipment. In 1939, after fleeing Nazi Germany, her family opened the first camera store in Miami Beach, where as a child, Jill roamed the aisles. It is easy to imagine that she grew up always having a camera in her hands. With photography imprinted in her DNA, her career path seemed inevitable.
Exclusive Interview with Michael Nguyen
Michael Nguyen is a street and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He is also the co-founder of Tagree Magazine. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Jon Enoch
Jon Enoch is a London-based photographer who focuses on portrait and lifestyle photography for advertising and media publications, as well as large organisations. He has won numerous awards for his Vietnamese photography portrait series called cBikes of Hanoi', including the Smithsonian Grand Prize; the Lens Culture Portrait Award and the Portraits of Humanity Award in 2020. The images were also shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Award and they won the gold Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3) award in 2019. The set of portrait images were featured on the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph and went viral on websites across the world.
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All About Photo Awards 2022
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