Sunday, 19 December 2010

Photography books of the year

There has been several 'photography books of the year' type articles published recently.  The first that I was aware of is from The Telegraph and features the university's very own Max Houghton. 

The Guardian's Sean O'Hagan is not content with one list but has two - the first of which is personal list, the other, published in The Observer, is arranged by genre.  Prudence Hone also has a list published by the Guardian.

There are also lists published on the blogs 5b4, Conscientious, and Alec Soth makes a selection on his blog. 

PDN has a list in two parts - although only part two seems to be available online.

Photo-eye magazine makes an excellent list each year, but have not yet published one for 2010. Their 2009 list is worth revisiting though.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A Plagiarism Carol

Its almost Christmas, its cold outside, you have assigments due... So, what you need is the University of Bergen's pastiche of A Christmas Carol... featuring the not very Norwegian sounding 'James.'



The Library Services produced guide to 'Referencing your work' is available for free in the library or online.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Deutscher Fotobuchpreis 2011

The German Photobook Prize awards for 2011 have been announced, which seems a little premature.  The web site is in German, but it is easy enough to work out who gets the gold and silver gongs in the following categories: Photobook; History / Theory; Textbook.

The 'gold' winners are listed below:

PHOTOBOOKS

Stanley Green. Black Passport. Benteli*
Nadav Kander. Yangtze –The Long River. Hatje Cantz
Lillian Bassman & Paul Himmel. The First Retrospective. Kehrer*
Christian Lutz. Tropical Gift: the Business of Oil and Gas in Nigeria. Lars Müller
Bruce Davidson. Outside / Inside. Steidl

HISTORY/ THEORY

Cynthia Young. Mexican Suitcase. Steidl

TEXTBOOK

Uwe Steinmueller & Jürgen Gulbins. Handbuch Digitale Dunkelkammer. Dpunkt [ISBN for English translation: 9781933952710]

* In stock at Harrow

The written reasons given by the jury aren't so easy to figure out, but Google translate can help here.

Additional

I have ordered a copy of the textbook The Digital Photography Workflow Handbook: From Import to Output, which is published by Rocky Nook.  I will be looking out for an e-copy, but in the meantime you might want to take a look at Uwe's English-language website, Digital Outback Photo

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Heart of darkness - the back of beyond

We looked at the venerable stream not in the vivid flush of a short day that comes and departs forever, but in the august light of abiding memories. And indeed nothing is easier for a man who has, as the phrase goes, “followed the sea” with reverence and affection, than to evoke the great spirit of the past upon the lower reaches of the Thames.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of darkness (1902)
This powerful section of Heart of darkness was alluded to by Frank Watson in his conversation with Dr Eugenie Shinkle on the 10th of November at London Gallery West. This event was to discuss Frank Watson’s current exhibition entitled The Back of Beyond at the Harrow gallery, bringing together work from three projects: The Hush House: Cold War Sites in England; Soundings from the Estuary and Isles of Grain.

Ideas of history, time – and crucially – events that never happened or have not yet happened and their relationship to the landscape were discussed.

The military encampments are ‘monuments to things that never happened’ and ‘symbols of the American military colonisation of the English landscape.’

There is a passage in Heart of darkness on the Romans, Frank told us;  and reading this later was fascinating in the context of reading some of the photographs in the exhibition: 
They were conquerors, and for that you only want brute force – nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
‘Was this a political project?’ he was asked.

‘Yes’ was the straightforward answer – ‘driven by ideological concerns’ and the fears of the cold war, manifest, for example, in the films of the era – Dr Strangelove, The Ipcress Files, and even the James Bond films. The demonstrations at Greenham Common were also cited (and cited too in the essay accompanying the book The Hush House).

However, a move from overtly political to more allegorical and ambiguous work was noted.  It was also suggested that the fears of the nuclear showdown that were prominent during the Cold War have largely been replaced by fears of environmental Armageddon.  This is reflected in the ongoing project Soundings from the Estuary.

Ideas of impermanence and a sense of the tenuousness of the relationship between building and landscape were also discussed. Robert Adams’ photographs of Colorado, and the work of other ‘New Topographics’ photographers were mentioned in this context.

David Campany, in the audience, suggested that ‘photographs were representations of a landscape quite unlike being in that landscape’ and that they were ‘a way of renegotiating one’s relationship with [the landscape]'

One might also argue that they are a way of renegotiating one's relationship to the past.  The landscape of the Thames estuary is one that is familiar to Watson from childhood and although resistant to the idea of the project having an autobiographical spur, he did, I think, concede the possibility. Ideas of the uncanny or un-homely were discussed in this context. The repetitive visits to these places were a way of revisiting the past – a way of quelling a sense of unease or paradoxically of amplifying it...

In the end, though, Watson’s concern was with the future and if I have understood correctly, the potentiality of the landscape. Not that this is necessarily an optimistic stance, but one that could be ominous.  Here we go back, one final time, to Heart of darkness. With deep irony, Conrad puts the following words into the mouth of Marlow:
The conquest of the earth...is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; and an unselfish belief in the idea – something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice too...”

The exhibition is on until the 10th January 2011.

Further reading

Adams, R. (2009), Summer nights, walking : along the Colorado front range, 1976-1982, New York : Aperture ; New Haven, CT : Yale University Art Gallery.

Apocalypse now redux (2009), Directed by Francis Ford Coppola [DVD].  Great Britain: Buena Vista Home Entertainment [a contemporary interpretation of Heart of darkness].

Barthes, R. (1982), Camera lucida : reflections on photography, London : Cape.

Campany, D. (2003).  'Safety in Numbness. Some Remarks on Problems of 'Late Photography'', in: Campany, D. (ed.), The Cinematic, Cambridge/Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2007, p. 185-194.

Conrad, J. (1902), Heart of darkness, Harmondsworth : Penguin.

Isles of grain (2009), Frank Watson and Dave Lawrence [DVD], Great Britain.

New topographics, 2009, Göttingen : Steidl.

Watson, F. (2004), Frank Watson : the hush house : Cold War sites in England, London : Hush House Publishers.

Websites

Soundings from the Estuary
The Hush House

Additional

Frank Watson was interviewed by Malcolm Hopkins on Resonance FM on 16th December.  A podcast of the interview can be found here.

Monday, 29 November 2010

New ebooks - digital imaging, film

Two great new titles from Focal.  The first is edited by members of the Imaging Technology Research Group, within the School of Media, Art and Design here at Harrow.  The second will be of interest to Film and CMP students.

Allen, E. and Triantaphillidou, S. (eds.) (2010). The manual of photography and digital imaging, 10th ed. Focal Press.


Box, H. C. (2010). Set lighting technician's handbook: film lighting equipment, practice, and electrical distribution, 4th ed. Focal Press.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Wilde Bunch

Having recently watched the extract of Slavoj Zizek’s RSA lecture embedded below, one of the first things I downloaded to my new Kindle was Oscar Wilde's peaen to individuality, 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism' (it was free!). 

Zizek's lecture, which reiterates some of Wilde's thought experiment (you might say) on the degrading nature of charity, is much illuminated through the use of illustration here. 

I particularly liked the picture of George Soros repairing with his right hand what he ruined with his left and the illustration of one quotation with cigarettes, beer, a lottery ticket and Britain’s Got Talent.



Similarly stimulating is Ken Robinson's talk on 'changing educational paradigms,' which you can view below. 



Neither are really anything to do with the aims of this blog, but I hope you agree they are worth sharing nonetheless

Related material

The evolution of comedy
Storytelling: How narratives shape our reality, ideas and behaviour

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why the Kindle is better than the iPad

The iPad has a lot going for it, but for me the more exciting product is Amazon’s Kindle. It is the first product that has taken ‘Electronic Ink’ to a mass market.

Using electronic ink means no screen flicker, since the text does not need to be refreshed other than when you are turning the page. This makes it the perfect device for reading books or journal articles – a reasonably similar experience to reading from paper. There is less glare (not no glare as they claim) and no backlight.

Electronic ink also has major benefits for battery life, since energy is only needed to change the text: one majorly quick charge can last for one month (less if you leave the free 3G connectivity on).

Yes – that’s free 3G connectivity – be constantly online for nothing; download books from the Amazon store in 60 seconds; or email PDFs of journal articles direct to your Kindle.

Kindle books are often cheaper than the paperback equivalent, and out of copyright books tend to be free.

It is cheaper, lighter, needs less power and is far superior for sustained reading than the iPad.

Find out more at the Kindle Store: www.Amazon.co.uk/kindle

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Robbie Cooper's Immersion

I nearly blogged about Robbie Cooper's Immersion, when I saw some of the work featured in a Sunday Times article back in April, which coincided with an exhibition at the National Media Museum.  I didn't - partly because I wasn't sure of the status of the clips I found on YouTube.

However, his work came to mind when talking to PhD student at a recent training event in the library, so I thought I would share the following with you.  The concept is simple - film young people playing computer games.

It has lost none of its power to shock in the intervening six months, but don't be too upset - as the comments on YouTube suggest, we all look a bit weird when we are concentrating...




If you are going to be fazed by watching people masturbate, you should avoid the follow up piece - people watching porn, embedded below.

Library Search tutorials

There are eight new guides to help library users use Library Search - the service that helps you locate books, journals, journal articles and more.


Library Search Guides

The guides are designed as an introduction to the search interface, and to bring your attention to features that you might miss.

The slideshows include an audio commentary, but can still be followed if you do not have sound.  They are between forty seconds and two mintues long.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Grierson documentary awards

The Grierson Trust has recently announced the winners of the 'Griersons' - the annual awards for the best British documentaries.

Banksy has won the award for 'most entertaining documentary' for - you've guessed it - 'Exit through the giftshop.' 

The full list of winners can found on the Grierson Trust website here, or on the BUFVC website here - which also includes a full broadcast history.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Lucie Awards 2010

The Lucie awards were  announced at an event on the 27th October.  Of particular interest to me were the book publisher of the year and the magazine of the year.  The nominees and winners for these two categories are shown below:

BOOK PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Aperture for Destroy this Memory by Richard Misrach
21st Editions for Listen by Herman Leonard (winner)
Only Photography for Yukata Takanashi Photography 1965-74

Steidl for Broken Manual - Special Edition by Alec Soth

Taschen for Kate Moss by Mario Testino 
PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
Aperture (winner)

Blind Spot

C International Photography Magazine

Foam International Photography Magazine

Polka Magazine
The Herman Leonard book is a very plush affair, and at $9000 a bit out of my league (we do have a book of his photographs though, if you are interested).  You get some idea of how plush the 'Lucies' are in the YouTube clip below.

Friday, 29 October 2010

The library – a place to think

Is the 'Physical' Library a Redundant Resource for 21st-century Academics?’ was the question posed at a debate organised by the Times Higher Education Supplement at the British Library on Tuesday evening.

The first speaker – Mary Beard – spoke up for the physicality of the library as a place to smell and caress books as well as fellow readers. She argued that libraries are ‘places in which to recast the way you see the world.’ The great thing about real libraries, she went on, is that they have librarians – with all their eccentricities. She spoke up for knowledge as opposed to ‘nerdish information:’ the last thing academics need, she said, was a ‘totalising completeness.’

She was not, she stressed, a Luddite – she loved technology - but the physical library was a place to think, and not simply a place in which to access information.

In contrast, Clive Bloom spoke up for the democratisation of knowledge brought about by the proliferation of information on the web. Everything is available online, he said: there are thousands of titles at your fingertips. He wasn’t, he claimed, nostalgic for print and his students would take to ebooks, as easily as they had taken to Penguin paperbacks. While Mary Beard is a Cambridge professor of Classics, Clive is a professor of English at Middlesex University and he accused her of upper middle-class elitism.

There were sniggers from both professors when – Martin Lewis – director of library services at the University of Sheffield – spoke of the poor ‘information skills’ of school leavers. He argued that libraries were ‘busy, confident and effective’ and hugely successful in supporting teaching and learning. We are already spending more on digital resources than print, he suggested, but print would remain crucial for decades... and demand for study space is increasing.  The availability of information online was drawing attention to the uniqueness of our special collections – some of which were not even catalogued, let alone digitised. He gave the National Fairground Archive at Sheffield as an example.

In the debate that followed, Mary Beard rightly spoke of the ‘crucial and huge disciplinary divides’ – scientists were using the physical library less (if at all), but this was not the case in the humanities. She vehemently disagreed with Clive Bloom’s claim that ‘the academic monograph was dead’ (by which I think he meant you couldn’t make money from them) and spoke again about the importance of seeing the original publication for contextual data (size and quality of printing for example).

A member of the audience spoke of the difficulty of reading online, especially for research, and Martin Lewis spoke of his frustration that display equipment had failed to keep pace with developments in other areas of IT.

‘The IT industry expects us to do everything through a relatively small window,’ he said.

Too true! Although, perhaps not literally. As I see it the ‘small window’ is rather the cultural predominance of ‘information’ - alluded to by all the panellists in one way or another, although not explicitly explored. Since when did libraries become storehouses of 'information' and librarians 'information professionals?'  Do people read for information and is such a notion relevant in the humanities?  When did critical engagement become 'information literacy'?

This concept of 'information' has been promulgated effectively by the purveyors of computers, but has also been taken up enthusiastically by misguided librarians, keen to appear modern. The amount of information available is always vast, its acquisition always easy and generally, as Clive Bloom said, ‘at one’s fingertips.’ But, what about the view that people should read less more closely and spend longer thinking about and discussing what they have read? ...perhaps, with someone they meet in the stacks... 

Technology does indeed do information better than libraries ever could. However, as I think Mary Beard was suggesting, education should be transformative, not merely informative. It is not the quantity of information available nor the ease at which it can be got that libraries should focus on, but rather the quality of the educational experience offered. If librarians were to recognise this, we could perhaps show the necessity of a greater physical presence rather than a diminishing one.


Other accounts of the discussion are available

Times Higher Education debate - Is the physical library redundant in the 21st century?  [promises a podcast of the event]

Some librarians are pretty weird

Bedding down in the library

Time to shelve the book habit

Friday, 8 October 2010

A manifesto for the book

Bodman and Sowden's book, A manifesto for the book, was published online this year following a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

To quote from the web page cited below, "This project investigated and discussed issues concerning the context and future of the artist’s book, in an attempt to extend and sustain critical debate of what constitutes an artist’s book in the 21st Century".

Bodman, S. and Sowden, T. (2010).  A manifesto for the book.  Impact Press.

Available from: http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/canon.htm

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The secret of academic success? Plagiarise!

An amusing dity about the research process.




The Library Services produced guide to 'Referencing your work' is available for free in the library or online.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Photography after conceptual art

There is a great new book due to be published by Wiley this month called Photography after conceptual art.  It is edited by Diarmuid Costello and Margaret Iversen and amongst the artists covered are Ed Ruscha, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Douglas Huebler, Mel Bochner, Sherrie Levine, Roni Horn, Thomas Demand, and Jeff Wall.   It sounds like a who's who of key photographers, right?

Well, why wait for the book.  All the essays included were previously published in a special issue of the journal Art History, which is available online (volume 32, issue 5).

The journal Art History is indexed by Art Full Text and Art Bibliographies Modern (the key visual arts databases), as well as the British Humanities Index and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index.  Five issues a year are published.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

International photography magazines

The latest edition of European Photography contains a survey of international photography magazines.  The selection of 43 titles ranges from print media to freely available magazines online.  The freely available publications are listed below.  Of these, the only one I  currently regularly look at is Lens Culture - distinguished by its inclusion of video interviews with photographers.

1000 Words
Ahorn Magazine
American Suburb X
Dide
Flak Photo
Fototapeta
F-Stop Magazine
Lens Culture
Lunatic
Ninja Magazine
Purpose
SuperMassiveBLackHoLe

Foam is an obvious omission from the list and while the online version does not live up to the splendidly produced print version, it is a useful alternative (I'm sorry we don't subscribe to the print).  Like FoamFoto Kvartāls also publishes a free version online using the issuu platform and is similarly ommitted from the European Photography list.  Admittedly it is published in Latvian,  but it does claim to have an international remit. 

The Canadian Prefix Photo is also not listed (not online) and neither is the Edinburgh-based Portfolio (not online, but available in the library).

There must be others...  Etudes Photographiques, Fotografia, Photography Quarterly.  If you would like to recommend one, leave a comment or even better leave a review (I think reviews of non-English language titles would be particularly interesting).

For convenience, I'll also list the titles that you do have to pay for - are these necessarily the better ones?  I have highlighted the ones we take in the library [the links take you to the magazine homepage, not the full-text of the publication].

8 Magazine
Ag
Aperture
Blind Spot
Camera Austria
Chinese Photography
Daylight Magazine
Der Greif
dienacht
Eikon
European Photography* [available online via Library Search]
Exit
Eyemazing
F
Fantom
Fotograf
Fotografija
GUP magazine
HotShoe
IANN
Imago
Katalog
Klack
Kwartalnik Fotografia
Next Level
Ohio Photomagazin
OjodePez
Photonews
Photoworks
Private
Source


References

International Photography Magazines. European Photography v. 31 no. 87 (Summer 2010) p. 74-5.

Further reading
 
Groll, M. Bloghopping. European Photography v. 29 no. 84 (Winter 2008/2009) p. 70-2

Trenkler, K. International Photography Festivals. European Photography v. 29 no. 84 (Winter 2008/2009) p. 76-7

Thursday, 19 August 2010

PhotoEspaña - books of the year

The following books have been nominated as the best of the year at PhotoEspaña:

National Category

Soviet Aviation, by Alexánder Ródchenko and Varvara Stepánova, published by Editorial Lampreave.

Special mention: Tempelhof by Begoña Zubero, published by Exit Publicaciones.

International Category

Atlas Monographs, by Max Pam, published by T and G Publishing.

Special mention: Lillian Bassman and Paul Himmel, published by Kehrer Verlang; Portfolio by Robert Frank and Gerhard Steidl, published by Steidl; and Past Imperfect by Deborah Turbeville, published by Steidl.

Prominent Publishing house of the year

Aperture in recognition of the publications Kamiatachi, by Eikoh Hosoe; Japanese Photobooks of the 60´s and 70´s, by Ivan Vartanian and Ryuichi Kaneko; Sally Mann: Proud Flesh, by Sally Mann; and Summer Nights, Walking, by Robert Adams.
 
Most of these titles are either in stock or on order.

Book awards at Recontres D'Arles 2010

The Recontres D'Arles 2010 photography festival has nominated the following two books as the best of the year.  Both titles cover Japanese photography of the 1960s and 1970s.

Contemporary Book Award

Yutaka Takanashi, Photography 1965 - 74.  Published  by Only Photography, Berlin, Germany, May 2010

Historical Book Award

Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and 70s by Ryuichi Kaneko and Ivan Vartanian.  Published by Aperture, USA, November 2009

There are copies of the latter, which was also a runner up in this year's And/Or book awards, in stock in the library. You will also find a copy of Toshi-e by Yutaka Takanashi published by Errata editions and nominated at Kassel.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

WestminsterResearch

One way of monitoring the research output of the university is to look regulary at WestminsterResearch. This is the university's institutional repository - where academics are encouraged to log their publications etc. It is managed by ISLS.

As well as browsing all content, you can also browse by author or just view School of Media, Art & Design research (you can also create an RSS feed from this page).

The content of WestminsterResearch is now included within Library Collections Search (soon to be renamed Library Search!); and is also included in the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).  The repository is also indexed by Google scholar. 

The presence of research citations on these sites should increase the visibility of the university's research output.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Art Full Text - online introduction

One of the databases searched within Library Search 'Articles & more' is Art Full Text.  You don't have to access the 'native' interface, but there are a few features that you might find useful, so I have embedded an online presentation on Art Full Text below. 

It is not the most exciting presentation in the world, but it does provide a useful summary of some of the features:

Coverage; Subject headings; Images of art works; Search fields; Biographical data; Advanced search menu; Email and RSS alerts; Saving articles; Saving searches; Translation of articles; Conversion to audio / saving audio files; Automated referencing



To access the native interface, go to Library Search and search for 'art full text' within the 'Books, journals & more' tab.  You can also try this with 'art bibliographies modern.'

NB: if you are asked for a username and password, ignore and look for 'Shibboleth access via UK federation'

If you have any questions about Art Full Text, please contact me.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

New ebooks for digital imaging

The following ebooks have recently been added to the collection:

Davies, A. (2005). The Focal digital imaging A-Z, 2nd ed. Focal Press.

Easton, R. L. Jr. (2010). Fourier methods in imaging. John Wiley & Sons.

Galer, M. and Horvat, L. (2005). Digital imaging, 3rd ed. Focal Press.

Jacobson, R. E. et al (2000). The manual of photography: photographic and digital imaging, 9th ed. Focal Press.

Russ, J. C. (2008). The image processing handbook, 5th ed. CRC Press.


Other ebooks in the collection that are relevant to digital imaging include the following:

Bovik, A., ed. (2009). The essential guide to image processing, 2nd ed. Academic Press.

Keelan, B. W. (2002). Handbook of image quality: characterization and prediction. Marcel Dekker.

Rees, M. R., ed. (2007). Focal encyclopedia of photography: digital imaging, theory and applications, history, and science, 4th ed. Focal Press.

Nixon, M. S. and Aguado, A. S. (2008). Feature extraction and image processing, 2nd ed. Academic Press.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Sally Mann Interview

I am grateful to the 1000 Words Photography blog, for this video of Sally Mann being interviewed by Charlie Rose in 2003. 'Photography is easier than writing,' she says.





A new exhibition of Sally Mann's work opens at the Photographers' Gallery tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Stanley Kubrick Archive


I visited the Stanley Kubrick Archive yesterday, which was exciting.  The 'Search Room' (above) was designed in the style of the Hilton Space Station in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  This gives it a unique ambience.

The archive - which is now about 80-85% catalogued - is extremely interesting, even if you are not a Kubrick fan, and includes loads of photographs.  These include colour photographs from the set of Lolita, and Weegee's photographs of the pie fight in Dr Strangelove - the only visual record of the scene, as it was not included in the final film.  There are also mountains of material relating to the process of film making - annotated scripts, call sheets, shooting schedules, set design material, costumes, props...etc

The Kubrick Archive is part of the University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre, which also has other significant collections - the LCC comic collection, and the Eckersley poster collection.  There are also smaller collections relating to film directors John Schlesinger and Thorold Dickinson. 

According to their information sheet, the centre "seeks to inform, inspire, engage and excite a diverse range of audiences in support of their creativity, learning and research in art, design, fashion, communications and the performing arts," which sounds good to me.

Further information about the collection and about visiting the centre is available on their website.

Further reading
Mahurter, S. (2007).  'The Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of Arts London.'  EVA London Conference,11–13 July 2007.

'The Kubrick Legacy'University of the Arts London Magazine.  Spring/Summer 2006, pp. 8-17

Stanley Kubrick Archive brochure

Related interest
If you are a Kubrick fan, you may be interested to know that St Albans Museum currently has a Kubrick season (he lived in St Albans).

Friday, 11 June 2010

British Film Institute National Library


I visited the British Film Institute National library back in May to learn about using their collections.

The resources available in the Reading Room include: books, periodicals, databases and newspaper cutting files; pressbooks and unpublished scripts; film festival catalogues dating back to the 1930s; and audio material, including interviews with film makers.

It is not free to use (even for BFI members), so take a look at the membership fees before you visit the library, which is just off the Tottenham Court Road.  Also, take a look at their catalogue before you visit and look at some of the special collections – there are over 600.

My advice is that to get the most out of the collection, you should make full use of the staff there.  They are experienced in helping students, researchers, journalists and cineastes of all descriptions.

There are plenty of other BFI resources available online too, and because they can be a little hard to locate online, I have provided some links here:

BFI National Library
     BFI Film and TV Database
     BFI Researchers' Guide
     BFI Resource Guides (16+ Source Guides)
BFI Live (video channel, with interviews and rare footage)
BFI National Archives
     Research Viewing Service
     Screen Online
     BFI YouTube Channel
     BFI InView (British history through the lens)
Sight and Sound Archive


Related posts

Screen online - video clips and full length films

Monday, 7 June 2010

Critics' top five books

To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the And/Or Book Awards, two key publications for photography and for cinema have recently asked critics to nominate their top five books.

As you might expect, the choice of photobooks in The British Journal of Photography poll was quite diverse: only four books received more than one nomination.

The BJP have named Masahisha Faukase's 1986 book, Karasu (Ravens) as "the best photobook published in the past quarter century" after it was chosen as the top choice by two critics.  Only five critics were polled! 

In Sight and Sound's poll, fifty one film critics were asked to choose their top five books of all time related to cinema.  The most popular choice was David Thompson's A biographical dictionary of film.  The other key books were: André Bazin’s What is Cinema?, Robert Bresson’s Notes on the Cinematographer, Andrew Sarris’ The American Cinema and François Truffaut’s Hitchcock.

Related posts

And/Or Book Awards - Photography

And/Or Book Awards - Moving Image

Friday, 4 June 2010

Photography Festival - favourite books

As part of the book display at the Photography Festival at Harrow, students and staff were invited to name their favourite photography book of all time and to say a few words about why they liked it. This is a horrible task, but a few people were brave enough to take part.  The nominated books are below:


Sleeping by the Mississippi by Alec Soth

It completely changed my view on how photography and books and photography books work and what they can say.

Evidence. Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan.

It’s an enigmatic, strange, odd selection of images that reveal how elusive photographic meaning is.

William Eggleston’s Guide

The light, the movement, the subtlety – every time I look at it – it gets better.

Sweet fly paper of life.  Roy DeCarava

Beautiful images taken in a documentary / diary style accompanied by diary style writing – gives a great insight into black America in the 50s.

(currently) Gerhard Richter’s Overpainted photographs

It shows how everything can be continuously transformed into a new art work

The teapot opera. Arthur Tress

I had it as a student – it inspired my work. It’s small and perfectly formed. It is stop-frame animation on the page. It is timeless.

Winterreise – Luc Delahaye

The power of the image.

Oliver Sieber, J_Subs

Thin, transparent paper creates the experience of diluted massive amount of portraits of young people, melting into one.

Edward Burtynsky’s Oil

Because of what it photographs – it represents society, politcs, ecology, capitalism…just great.

Ray’s a laugh. Richard Billingham.

Sad, odd, strange – made me look at photographs and the power of photography in a different way.

Keith Arnett - I'm a real photographer

Humourous, different, beautful still lives of rubbish heaps.  And dark meaning.

Ray's a laugh.  Richard Billingham.

...it is a very brave book.  He has turned the camera on a situation, which you would think he would want to flee from.



What is your favourite book?  Leave a comment.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Self publish sites

I recently posted a couple of links to issuu, a self-publishing website, which allows you to publish your own books online.  It looks like an excellent site, with a 'turning the pages' style interface for your books - as in my own effort below:

It is very simple to use - you just upload a pdf of your book. However, you will have to keep your own counsel about any copyright implications.

On a similar theme, there is lulu - which allows you to publish and sell books - either as a PDF or in print.

One book for sale on lulu is mentioned in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th ed (page 336), highlighting its innovative approach to documentary: Frank Cost's, Twenty two seconds in Chennai.

Writing in the Encyclopedia, Owen Butler comments that:

"The book captures a 22-second burst of picture-making that resulted in a 75-page plus soft-cover book available at www.LULU.com. Each frame in this book is literally only what the camera was capable of seeing and not necessarily what the photographer was capable of seeing at the moment."

Self-published books of a higher order will no doubt be on display (and available for purchase) at the 'Self Publish, Be Happy' event at the Photographers' gallery this weekend.  This is organised by Bruno Ceschel, a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Kassel Photobook Award 2010

There were 20 nominated titles in the Photobook Award at the 3rd International Photobook Festival in Kassel, Germany - with only two titles getting more than one nomination.

The nominated books, along with a statement from the person nominating them, are viewable in the catalogue below.


There is no overall winner. However, only one book got three nominations - Black passport by Stanley Green, published by Aperture. One other title got more than one nomination - Shannon Ebner's The sun as error, published  by Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

I have ordered copies of both of these for the library. Also, we already have some of the titles featured in stock:

Robert Adams. What we bought - the new world : scenes from the Denver metropolitan area, 1970-1974. Yale University Art Gallery

Robert Adams. Summer nights, walking : along the Colorado front range, 1976-1982. Aperture.

Sophie Ristelhueber. Operations. Thames and Hudson.

Gerhard Richter. Overpainted photographs. Hatje Cantz.

Yutaka Takanashi.  Toshie-e (Towards the city).  Errata editions.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Movie clips – alternative to YouTube

Not in Kansas anymore

Movieclips.com is an interesting new website, providing an alternative to YouTube for watching film clips.  The site is in 'beta' mode and I have experienced some problems viewing clips, but it is still worth a look.

One nice feature is that it is totally legal – they have apparently worked with Hollywood studios to bring the site to fruition. Another feature is that you can browse the content – by movie, actor, genre, occasion, action, mood, character, theme, setting and prop; and you can also browse through a selection of iconic clips.

I also like the way that you can search for a particular phrase (in the dialogue) – the clips below are the two results for the phrase, “not in Kansas anymore.”




Further reading
Studios click with Movieclips [Variety]

Related post
Screen online - video clips and full length films (for British films)

Saturday, 15 May 2010

The girl in the picture

There is an article in the most recent TATEetc on the forthcoming exhibition, ‘Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera,’ entitled, ‘What are you looking at?’

In this article there is an un-credited picture of Vietnamese children fleeing the village of Trang Bang, after it had been napalmed by South Vietnamese government planes. Unlike the similar and famous image by Nick Ut, this picture also shows the children being filmed and photographed by journalists. In the context of this upcoming exhibition, the difference between the two pictures is striking.

Kim Phúc – one of the children in the pictures - appears on Radio 4 next week in an episode of 'It’s My Story'.  In this programme – according to the radio 4 website - she explains how “Nick Ut's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph has helped and haunted her in equal measure.”

Today, ITN footage of the bombing and of Kim Phúc and others fleeing the village can be viewed on YouTube.

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera opens at Tate Modern on the 28th May

It’s My Story: The girl in the picture will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Tuesday 18th May at 4pm

A version of the article 'What are you looking at' (without the photograph referred to above) is available on the TATEetc website.

Further reading

Hariman, J. and Lucaites, J. L. (2007). No caption needed: iconic photographs, public culture, and liberal democracy [Chapter 6 ‘Trauma and Public Memory: Accidental Napalm’]. University of Chicago Press.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

2010 Infinity awards - winners announced

Sarah Greenough's book, Looking in: Robert Frank's 'The Americans,' published by Steidl, has won the publication section of the International Center of Photography's 2010 Infinity awards

See the website for the winners of the other categories.

Monday, 10 May 2010

And/Or book awards - moving image

Eisenstein on the Audiovisual by Robert Robertson, published by I. B. Tauris*, has been announced as the winner of the And/Or book awards (Moving Image section). The other short-listed titles were as follows:
The Tactile Eye by Jennifer M. Barker (University of California Press)*
Being Hal Ashby: The Life of a Hollywood Rebel by Nick Dawson (The University Press of Kentucky)
The New Yorker Theater by Toby Talbot (Columbia University Press)
Michael Haneke’s Cinema by Catherine Wheatley (Berghahn Books)*
Starred items are now on order for the library collection.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Are Taschen serious?

You may be forgiven for thinking that the publisher of such titles as The big book of breasts and The big penis book would not have titles that would be of interest to an academic library. However, you would be wrong.

As a recent profile in The Sunday Times attests, Taschen are a very peculiar publisher indeed - “as happy to publish a book of explicit gay cartoons as a perfect facsimile of the Luther bible of 1534.”

The University of Westminster libraries have over 100 titles from Taschen, only a minority of which are racy in any way: the latest acquisition – the complete published works of Karl Blossfeldt.

Search for ‘Taschen’ in Library Collections Search to see what we have, visit taschen.com to read about their history or visit their shop in Chelsea (which I have now added to my google map) and decide for yourself!

And/Or book awards - Photography

Oil by Edward Burtynsky, published by Steidl, has been anounced as the winner of the And/Or book awards (Photography section).  The other short-listed titles were as follows:

Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans by Robert Frank, edited by Sarah Greenough (Steidl)
Paul Graham by Paul Graham (Steidl)
Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s by Ryūichi Kaneko and Ivan Vartanian (Aperture Foundation)
Copies of all these titles are either in stock in the library or on order.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Useful libraries and bookshops in London

I have created a google map, showing some useful libraries and bookshops in London for Photography and Film.  As well as the four University of Westminster libraries, it shows the National Art Library and the British Film Institute Library and others, while shops include Cinephilia and The Photographers' Gallery bookshop.  If you have any other suggestions or would like to comment on any of the places listed, please get in touch.


View Useful London Libraries & Bookshops - Photography and Film in a larger map

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Google Reader - for academics

RSS readers such as Google Reader are great for keeping up to date with blogs and news sites,  but did you know:

1. Most academic journals have feeds for new issues.

2. Many journal databases allow you to create a feed for new content matching a defined search (e.g. keywords, author, citation - keep updated on who is citing you).

3. You can share posts you like with colleagues or students (and the world), with one click.  See my shared items for example.

4. Once you start using RSS, it is addictive!

View the first post of this blog for a quick overview of RSS and Google Reader or ask your librarian for more information.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Why I don't like the movies

This spoof "Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer" is currently the most starred item on Google Reader (according to a recent Google Reader Blog post).  It also has over 1.5 million views on YouTube. 

It is a very good survey of Movie Cliche Hell...



TIME magazine helpfully highlight some specfic inspirations for the spoof in an article written about the trailer.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

LIFE available on Google Books

I often use Google Books to preview books that I am interested in, such as David Campany's Photography and cinema below.

However, there is also a lot of material available in full.  For example, I recently found copies of Life magazine ("the treasured photographic magazine that chronicled the 20th Century") from 1953-72 [UPDATE - NOW AVAILABLE FROM 1936].

Available here: http://books.google.co.uk/books/serial/ISSN:00243019


 

Update

Issues of LIFE are now available from November 1936

The New York Times film reviews, 1913-1968

"For bones are being crushed with cold abandon, teeth are being callously kicked in and shocks are being blandly detonated at close and regular intervals on the Paramount screen.  Also an air of deepening mystery overhangs this tempestuous tale which shall render it none the less intriguing to those lovers of the brutal and bizarre."

So runs Bosley Crowthers review of 'The Blue Dahlia' in volume two of The New York Times film reviews, 1913-1968 available on the main shelves of the library at 791.4375 NEW (p. 2115).  I'm sure there are a few hours entertainment in these six volumes for the avid film buff.

For all reviews after 1960 and selected reviews prior to that (not for 'The Blue Dahlia' though - you'll have to come into the library for that) register for free online at: http://movies.nytimes.com/ref/movies/reviews/index.html

Friday, 26 March 2010

Photography in motion

The use of multimedia to present still photography was discussed in the last course committee for the Masters in Photojournalism. Ever since then I seem to have been coming across examples...

First, there was the not very inspiring ‘New Review’s Month in Photography’ from the guardian.co.uk: an overview of recent photographic exhibitions and books to the sound of Bach. The guardian.co.uk has a page dedicated to ‘audio slideshows’ as it calls them, but the ones I took a look at didn’t catch my imagination.

Then, when I was looking for books on the University of Chicago Press website, I came across a slideshow derived from a book of photographs on the ‘great American plains.’ The use of Dvorak’s 'New World Symphony' is probably entirely appropriate, but to someone who grew up hearing it used on the Hovis advert, it seems incongruous…

Taking a tip from a student, I took a look at the Magnum in Motion website, where there are many fine examples. I enjoyed Mark Power’s ‘The Shipping Forecast,’ although it made the project seem more kitsch than the book (available in the library).

I also found a section on multimedia in the most recent edition (the sixth) of Kenneth Kobre’s book Photojournalism: the professionals approach, which has been recently added to the library collection. I followed up some references in that and found Ken Kobre’s blog and Ken Kobre’s guide [to video journalism on the web]. Lots and lots to explore there.

He recommends Mindy McAdam’s book Flash Journalism: how to create multimedia news packages (which also has a website with examples) and I have bought an e-copy of Flash journalism for the library collection. There are plenty of other books on Flash etc on Safari Tech Books online (available through InfoLinX).

I didn’t find much looking for articles in journals on the subject, but I did find a useful essay in an old edition of the British Journal of Photography (only available in print I am afraid):

Smyth, D. (2008). Threat Or Opportunity? British Journal of Photography, 155(7671), 18-20.

If anyone knows of any other interesting commentaries on this developing media, please leave a comment…

Going back a bit, it is interesting to see what film directors have done with still images. Poliakoff very effectively used stills in 'Shooting the past' (1999): there is a clip of 'Shooting the past' on Screen Online (Select ‘The Collection’) and going back further and into the realms of obscurity, see a clip of the Lindsay Anderson directed Alan Bennett play, ‘The Old Crowd’ (Select ‘The Slideshow’).

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Screen online - video clips and full length films

I'm reading Alan Bennett currently for a book group and found clips from many of his TV plays on Screen Online, produced by the British Film Institute.  There are a huge number of other clips from other British films and television productions on there too - for example 'Great Expectations' (1946), 'Trainspotting' (1996) and 'The Office' (2001-2003).

There are also some full-length films such as Karel Reisz's 'We Are the Lambeth Boys' (1959) and Shane Meadows' short film 'Where's the money Ronnie!' (1996).

You can search Screen Online for your favourite British director, actor or film etc or browse for films grouped by genre, theme, place or decade.  There are also 'tours' of themes such as 'Cinematography,' 'Britishness,' 'the British sense of humour' and 'writing short films.'

It is a wonderful resource for film students or for anyone interested in film!

Much of the text on Screen Online is available to anyone on the Internet, but you have to be within a school, university or public library to view the clips.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

2010 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

Sophie Ristelhueber has been awarded the 2010 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.  We have a several books of this photographer's work in the library; we also take the catalogue for this prize each year, so the 2010 catalogue should be in the library shortly.

The other nominated photographers were: Anna Fox; Zoe Leonard; and Donovan Wylie.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

John Smith - filmmaker

Students on the Curating Contemporary Art MA programme at the Royal College of Art are putting on an exhibition of the artist and filmmaker John Smith, which opens tomorrow.

His 1996 short film ‘Blight’ is available to watch within the university as part of the ‘Arts on Film Archive.’  

There are also examples of his work available at the following websites:

http://www.lux.org.uk/collection/artists/john-smith-0

And we have examples of his work on the following DVDs/Videos in the library:

DVD: Cinema 16: British short films (Girl Chewing Gum)

DVD: Shoot shoot shoot: British avant-garde film of the 1960s and 1970s (Leading Light)

VHS: John Smith: anthology (Blight; Home Suite)

VHS: VIDEOTAPE 4352 (Slow Glass)

Friday, 5 March 2010

Journal in focus – History of Photography

Published by Routledge four times a year, History of Photography is an academic peer reviewed journal with an international remit. It is available in printed form in the library, or electronically via ‘Informaworld’ (where you can set up an alert for new issues).

The current issue (February 2010) includes articles on ‘Atget, Benjamin and Surrealism,’ ‘The urban photography of Man Ray,’ ‘Weegee’s Jewishness,’ and ‘Cindy Sherman’s untitled film stills.’

This issue also has a review of selected books on surrealism and a review of two books looking at the relationship between cinema and photography, one of which is David Campany’s book Photography and Cinema (available in the library of course).

You can search across issues on Infomaworld, but History of Photography is also indexed on several key indexes, including Art Bibliographies Modern; British Humanities Index; and Arts & Humanities Citation Index.

Friday, 19 February 2010

FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Plus

FIAF covers over 350 titles and now comes with over 45 titles available with full-text.  Titles available in full-text include key publications such as Cineaste, Cinema Journal, Film Comment, Film Criticism and Film Quarterly.

A user guide, online demonstration, and complete list of titles available in full-text are available from the FIAF Information Resources page.

Access to the database is via InfoLinX.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Nanocrowd – the movie search engine

This is just a bit of fun, brought to my attention by Phil Bradley on his blog. As he points out, it is not a search engine, but a discovery tool.

Enter a film that you like, and it will attempt to suggest others that you will like. I tried Lars Vons Trier’s ‘The Idiots’ and it suggests ‘The Truman Show,’ ‘Fight Club’ and ‘American Beauty’ amongst others – well, I like one of them at least! It also presents ‘nano genres’ - three word summaries of the film that you entered. ‘The Idiots’ is summed up as ‘thought-provoking happiness’ and ‘morality moral shock.’

http://www.nanocrowd.com/

Welcome

www.westminsterphotographyandfilm.blogspot.com

 

The principle purpose of this update is to keep readers informed about resources provided by library services that are relevant to the subjects that I support. However, I will also highlight resources that are available for free online.

As well as subscribing to this update, you can also subscribe to my shared items from my RSS reader (you can see the most recent five items at the top of the page). I’ll share items that I think are relevant from the various feeds to which I subscribe.

If you need to know more about RSS or Google Reader, try the YouTube clips below.