Category Archives: portrait

August Sander, The Father of Street Photography

Painter (Anton Raderscheidt), 1926 (c) August Sander

Young Farmers on Sunday, 1926 (c) August Sander

In many ways August Sander is the father of street photography as we know it today. His great project Man of the Twentieth Century aimed to document the people and typologies of the area, near Cologne, where he lived. Sander declared “I am not concerned with providing commonplace photographs like those made in the finer large-scale studios of the city, but simple, natural portraits that show the subjects in an environment corresponding to their own individuality”.

Bricklayer (c) August Sander

He went out in to the streets and countryside on his bicycle, photographing the people he met.  He is best known for his full length portraits which not only describe the social role that people wanted to portray to the camera but also hint at the personality of the individual. He said “[w]e know that people are formed by the light and air, by their inherited traits, and their actions. We can tell from appearance the work someone does or does not do; we can read in his face whether he is happy or troubled”. His book Face of Our Time was published in 1929 but unfortunately when the Nazis came to power in the 1930s they banned his book and work, probably because his photographs showed a varied population which did not adhere to their Aryan ideals.

Circus Workers (c) August Sander

Country Girls (c) August Sander

For more on August Sander visit some of the following links:

August Sander on Photography-Now.net

August Sander at the Andrew Smith Gallery

August Sander at the Getty Center

Pastry Cook 1928 (c) August Sander

– Miriam

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Sanda scans

By Sanda Galina

We’re working hard on getting some more of our work scanned. I guess the main problem with film photography and the internet is that we gotta get our work scanned, instead of just clicking some bazam button on our phone and zapping the photos online. With any luck though it’s a good way of filtering out the shite and just scanning the quality photos! I like this one by Sanda. She sent me a few more that I will bazam up over the next few days.

– Rory

Jackie Nickerson Artist’s Talk – CIT 11th March 2010. Part # 2

By Miriam King

From "Faith" by Jackie Nickerson

Part # 1 of this post is here

From "Faith" by Jackie Nickerson

A little while later Jackie met her husband, who is Irish, and moved to live in Ireland. It was at a time when the Catholic Church was constantly in the news, with scandal after scandal coming to light. She had decided at this stage that she wanted to be an artist, and once again she wanted to use photography to explore the country and society now lived in, particularly the Catholic Church she was hearing and reading so much about.

This time she spent a very difficult year researching renaissance painting, iconography and Byzantine art. It was almost impossible to get permission to photograph any of the religious orders as they were suspicious of being portrayed in a bad light. Eventually one closed order allowed her in. She sat and watched the nuns, wondering what it was that gave them the faith to lead this kind of life. The project moved away from the political situation and even the Catholic Church in particular, to the question of individual faith.

She photographed the everyday institutional life of the nuns using the traditional colours and symbolism of Renaissance painting. These photos were published in the book ‘Faith’.

Ten Miles Round

From "Ten Miles Round" by Jackie Nickerson

When Jackie and her husband originally moved to Ireland they lived in Dalkey (a small town on the edge of Dublin) but then they made the move to an extremely rural area in Co. Louth. She knew that for her next project she wanted to stay at home in her local community. She began to build up a picture of the area by collecting photos of familiar images that were already in her head; the pothole outside the local shop, the telegraph pole that was falling down that she drove past every day.
Initially she decided to leave aesthetic aside and use her brain instead of her eye to begin the project. The aesthetic came to her when she came across an early Van Gogh painting in a museum in Amsterdam. She instantly recognised the Northern European monotone shades of cyan and grey, with a little red peeping through, and realised that was the aesthetic she wanted.
Next she began to photograph people in the community. She was allowed to use the waiting room of the local Credit Union as a studio. At the start she had to intercept people coming out of the shop and persuade them to sit for her, but word quickly went around that she would take your photograph for free! Then she began to go into peoples homes, photographing interiors as well.
She explained that you have to know what you’re aiming at and what it is you want to communicate with the audience. She wanted to tell the story of the people in a community and of an area that was wild, chaotic and untamed and she used the landscape photos of hedges & grey skies and the portraits and interior photos to communicate this.
She also said that the advantage of photography as an art form is that it is far more accessible to people than other forms of contemporary art. People are used to seeing photographs all around them every day, in advertising, magazines & newspapers and so they are more willing and able to read art photographs.

From "Ten Miles Round" by Jackie Nickerson

Jackie ended the talk by saying something that I really love, “If you know how to look at things you can begin to understand them”. I think that was one of the things that really came through from listening to her speak was that her photography was very personal to her. She used it time and again to explore and make sense of her environment and her life. I found it inspiring and fascinating to hear her speak about her life and her creative process.

– Miriam

‘Photographs’ an Exhibition by Jackie Nickerson continues in the Sirius Art Centre in Cobh until Thursday, April 1st.

Images from Une Nouveau Ideal,

Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery

& Highlanes Gallery

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When Jackie and her husband originally moved to Ireland they lived in Dalkey (a small town on the edge of Dublin) but then they made the move to an extremely rural area in Co. Louth. She knew that for her next project she wanted to stay at home in her local community. She began to build up a picture of the area by collecting photos of familiar images that were already in her head; the pothole outside the local shop, the telegraph pole that was falling down that she drove past every day.

Initially she decided to leave aesthetic aside and use her brain instead of her eye to begin the project. The aesthetic came to her when she came across an early Van Gogh painting in a museum in Amsterdam. She instantly recognised the Northern European monotone shades of cyan and grey, with a little red peeping through, and realised that was the aesthetic she wanted.

Next she began to photograph people in the community. She was allowed to use the waiting room of the local Credit Union as a studio. At the start she had to intercept people coming out of the shop and persuade them to sit for her, but word

Jackie Nickerson Artist’s Talk – CIT 11th March 2010. Part # 1

By Miriam King

From "Farm" by Jackie Nickerson

On the 11th March a group of students, artists and photographers gathered in the Rory Gallagher lecture theatre to hear Jackie Nickerson speak. She spoke about her background as a fashion photographer and her subsequent life as an art photographer, telling us the story of her three successful projects so far, in a talk that I found fascinating and inspiring.

Fashion

Jackie began by telling us about the first camera she was ever given when she was about 12 years old. It was a Kodak instamatic and she ran straight outside to take photos of the trees, using up her first roll of film within minutes. That was the moment that she connected with her passion.

She continued to take photographs throughout her teenage years and learned to work in a darkroom and make black & white prints. When she didn’t get into the only course she wanted to do after school, she flew to New York at age 18 because that was where all the great photographers were. Over a period of 5 years she took any job going to gain experience. Then she moved to Milan to start up as a fashion photographer herself. Later she lived in London and worked for all the big fashion magazines of the 90s; Marie Claire, Elle, The Face, Wallpaper etc.

She showed us a series of photographs from some of these shoots. She commented that fashion photography at the time was more pure and simple than it is now, there was less fantasy and less retouching. She liked to put her own stamp on fashion shoots, keeping hair & make-up simple and preferring to photograph clothes that she herself would wear, like Comme des Garcon & Yohji Yamamoto. She liked the character of the model to shine through, so that there was an element of portraiture in her work.

Farm

From "Farm" by Jackie Nickerson

From "Farm" by Jackie Nickerson

Eventually Nickerson became dissatisfied with fashion photography and when an opportunity came up to go on holidays to Africa with a friend she went, and ended up staying for 3 years. When she first arrived she was completely burnt out and had given up photography altogether. She was living in a cottage on a farm in Zimbabwe, but over time she began to feel uncomfortable with the separation between the white farm owners and the black farm workers.

From "Farm" by Jackie Nickerson

She finally picked up the camera again to try and understand and connect with the place she was living. At first she went out into the bush with her Leica Rangefinder and took black & white photos of branches and trees. Then she progressed to photographing the farm and village, but she felt her photos were very much the ‘standard’ photos of Africans as poor victims, which was not how she felt or what she wanted to portray. She admired Africans and felt they had a freedom and happiness that she didn’t have. So she moved on to taking still life photos and realised that her background in fashion photography meant that her strength was in attention to detail. So she started to take portraits linking the land with the people. After photographing the people on the farm and in the surrounding areas she bought a truck and travelled around Africa, to Mozambique and South Africa, photographing people until she had to leave Zimbabwe and move back to London.

One more crucial step in the process relates back to a time, as a fashion photographer, when she had tea with Henri Cartier Bresson in his apartment on the Rue de Rivoli (lucky girl!) and he told a story about Matisse, when they both were on holidays in the South of France. Matisse said to Cartier-Bresson that he had it easy photographing in black and white, colour was far more difficult because the bright sunlight kills colour. She remembered this and realised that the bright sun in South Africa did the same. For example the sky is not really blue but cyan. So you have to look with your brain and not your eyes to see what colours are actually in real life.

When she returned to London she had no ambition to become an art photographer. The photographs sat in a drawer for over a year until her printer introduced her to an agent who offered her a book deal. The book is simply called ‘Farm’.

– Miriam

Part 2 coming soon!

‘Photographs’ an Exhibition by Jackie Nickerson continues in the Sirius Art Centre in Cobh until Thursday, April 1st.

Images from Une Nouveau Ideal,

Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery

& Highlanes Gallery

Dee Moriarty, intrepid world reporter # 2

By Dee Moriarty

Dee’s ability to find interesting faces on her travels, and get them to stop and pose is unsurpassed! Another great portrait

– Rory