SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
SHPS DIGITAL CONTENT LIBRARY
IMPROVING PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH EDUCATION
MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
POST PROCESSING TECHNIQUES
upcoming program activities for 2018
Magnum photographer Abbas has died in Paris on Wednesday April 25, 2018, at the age of 74. In a career that spanned six decades, he covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. He also documented life in Mexico over several years, and pursued a lifelong interest in religion and its intersection with society.
Magnum’s current president Thomas Dworzak paid tribute to the veteran photographer, who for many at the agency has been both a friend and mentor:
“He was a pillar of Magnum, a godfather for a generation of younger photojournalists. An Iranian transplanted to Paris, he was a citizen of the world he relentlessly documented; its wars, its disasters, its revolutions and upheavals, and its beliefs – all his life. It is with immense sadness that we lose him. May the gods and angels of all the world’s major religions he photographed so passionately be there for him.”
A born photographer the Iranian later relocated to Paris. He dedicated himself to documenting the political, religious and social life of societies in conflict.
Abbas, who started out writing and photographing, first joined Magnum in 1981, having previously been a member of Sipa (1971-1973) and Gamma (1974-1980). He became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1985.
“As a boy I had a heroic image of the journalist: you travelled, you went to war, you covered historical events,” wrote Abbas in 2017, reflecting on his war photography in Vietnam,which he visited a number of times from 1972.
From 1978 to 1980, Abbas photographed the revolution in Iran. He returned to the country in 1997 after seventeen years of voluntary exile. His book Iran Diary 1971-2002 is a critical interpretation of Iranian history, photographed and written as a private journal.
In an interview with BBC Culture last year, Abbas spoke about his experience documenting the Iranian revolution. “I knew, even when it happened, that only once in my lifetime I would be not only concerned but I was also involved, at least in the early stages.”
Describing himself as a “historian of the present”, Abbas explained that his answer to those who tried to deter him from photographing was to tell them, in Farsi, “This is for history.”
During his years of exile Abbas traveled constantly. Between 1983 and 1986 he journeyed through Mexico, attempting to photograph a country as a novelist might write about it. The resulting exhibition and book, Return to Mexico: Journeys Beyond the Mask, helped define his photographic aesthetic.
His interest in religion was sparked by the Iranian revolution, and from 1987 to 1994 he focused on the rise of Islamism throughout the world. Allah O Akbar: A Journey Through Militant Islam, the subsequent book and exhibition, spanning twenty-nine countries and four continents, attracted special attention after the 9/11 attacks by Islamic jihadists.
Commenting on how this has been labeled by some as a prophecy, Abbas told BBC Culture, “Having covered the Iranian revolution for two years, I could see that the wave of religious passion raised by Khomeini in Iran was not going to stop at the border of Iran, it was going to spread in the Muslim world.”
Another, later book, Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey (2000), and touring show explored Christianity as a political, ritual and spiritual phenomenon.
Abbas’s concern with religion led him, in 2000, to begin a project on animism, in which he sought to discover why non-rational ritual has re-emerged in a world increasingly defined by science and technology. He abandoned this undertaking in 2002, on the first anniversary of 9/11, to start a new long-term project about the clash of religions, defined as a culture rather than faith, which he believed were turning into political ideologies and therefore one of the sources of the strategic struggles of the contemporary world.
From 2008 to 2010 Abbas traveled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same skeptical eye. In 2013, he concluded a similar long-term project on Hinduism. His 2016 book Gods I’ve Seen is the culmination of this work. It is a stunning visual exploration of contemporary Hinduism, capturing the mysticism of ancient rites as they are woven into the everyday rituals and activities of Hindus in India and beyond.
Up until his death Abbas continued to explore religion, with a focus on documenting Judaism around the world.
Abbas occupied a niche that straddled both photojournalism and art. “I used to describe myself as a photojournalist, and was very proud of it,” wrote Abbas for Magnum in 2017. “The choice was to think of oneself either as a photojournalist or an artist. It wasn’t out of humility that I called myself a photojournalist, but arrogance. I thought photojournalism was superior, but these days I don’t call myself a photojournalist, because although I use the techniques of a photojournalist and get published in magazines and newspapers, I am working at things in depth and over long periods of time,”
“I don’t just make stories about what’s happening. I’m making stories about my way of seeing what’s happening.”
According to Abbas, there are two approaches to photography: “one is writing with light,and the other is drawing with light. The school of Henri Cartier-Bresson, they draw with light, they sketch with light. The single picture is paramount for them. For me, that was never the point. My pictures are always part of a series, an essay. Each picture should be good enough to stand on its own but its value is a part of something larger."
Although his official biography states that he was a “born photographer”, Abbas told Magnum last year of how a road trip through New Orleans in 1968 made him a“professional”. He explained how through the making of his first photographic essay he learned the significance of sequencing in order to build a narrative.
“I did not know it at the time, but the importance I attach to the sequencing of my work started there and then,” he wrote. “Those familiar with my work know that when I refer to myself as a photographer I mean to say one who writes with light.”
Robert Frank and "The Americans"
Learn about the life and influence of photographer Robert Frank in these videos.
Photographer Dorothea Lange – A Visual Life
“Excerpts from the film, Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life. The film was produced and directed by Meg Partridge,(1994).This film is an engaging and penetrating look at a life devoted to photography, profiling the life and work of an artist who recorded some of the most evocative photographic images of the 20th century. Dorothea Lange’s artistic achievements and untiring investigations into the diversity of American life and culture are presented through interviews with her sons and assistants.”
Berenice Abbott’s Documenting Science
A partnership with MIT for use in school textbooks. Its subject and design elements are as timeless as nature and science themselves.”
Behind the Images: ABBAS 1944-2018-Magnum Photos
Image Evaluation: Architecture
Judge: John Swainston
Presentation: A Few of the Legends
Presenter: Peter Adams
Field Trip: Sydney street day with Hamish Ta-mé
Image Evaluation: Shadows
Judge: IIona Abou-Zolof
Field Trip: Wollongong Grevilla Park
Annual General Meeting
For Complete 2018 Program Details Click Here
SHPS AWARD SUMMARY-May 2018
Bob Green 'The Glass House'
Nadine Lindsay 'Parador Carmona'
COLOR PRINTS -CREDITS
David Sylvester 'British Museum'
Adrew Bertie 'Barangaroo Towers'
Ian Fegent 'Khiva Ceiling'
Ian Fegent '2 Town Halls'
Sylvia Jeffrey 'Turf Roofed Church in Hof'
Nadine Lindsay 'Milwaukee Art Museum'
Nadine Lindsay 'View from Window'
Mike Nolan 'Renovation'
Mark Passfield 'Crossing #2'
John Roberts 'Immaculate Conception'
John Roberts 'St Mary's Cathedral'
Chris Stimson 'Mirror, Mirror'
Phil Belbin 'Metropolis'
Phil Belbin 'Perth'
Mark Passfield 'Grunge Window'
Gary White 'Recycled Architecture'
Ian Fegent 'Latrobe'
Gary White 'Twin Spires'
Bob Green 'Titanic'
Joe Woodward 'Architecture of Shade'
Joe Woodward 'Architecture of Happiness'
Gianni Biasi 'Three Up'
Dawn Izurieta 'Concception'
Sue Robertson 'Distinciion'
Gianni Biasi 'Corner View'
Dawn Izurieta 'Struts'
Gus Izurieta 'USAF'
Jacqui Davey 'Museum of National History'
Jacqui Davey 'Domed Catheral Ceiling'
Jacqui Davey 'The Shard'
Laura Knight 'Floating Home Architecture'
Toru Mori 'Norway'
Toru Mori 'Islandic Oepra House'
Toru Mori 'Joaja'
Robert Lawton 'Sails'
John Stephens 'National Library'
Robert Leso 'Skyscraper 1'
Robert Leso 'Skyscraper 2'
Robert Leso 'Downtwon Manhattan'
Sue Robertson 'King St Arch 1'
Sue Robertson 'King St Arch 2'
The 7 Elements of a Great Bird Photograph
Capturing Motion Blur
As a fine artist, I advance my career with personal projects. Personal projects also create a clearer direction for and develop greater meaning in my life. My life would be unfulfilled without them
You don’t need to have a fine art career to benefit from personal projects. Many commercial photographers find personal projects reenergize them, add purpose to their lives and quite often lead to new assignments or whole new streams of income. Many amateurs, making images purely for the love of doing it, find greater satisfaction and personal growth through personal projects.
As an artist who mentors other artists in workshops and seminars, I’ve often been called to speak about the importance of personal projects; how to find them, start them, develop them, complete them, present them, and promote them.
Here’s an overview of what I share.
Defining a project is one of the single best ways to develop your body of work. When you define a project you focus, set goals, set quotas, set timelines, create a useful structure for your images, collect accompanying materials, and polish the presentation of your efforts so that they will be well received.
Focusing your efforts into a project will help you produce a useful product. A project gives your work a definite, presentable structure. A finished project makes work more useful and accessible. Once your project is done, your work will have a significantly greater likelihood of seeing the light of day. Who knows, public acclaim may follow. Come what may, your satisfaction is guaranteed …
Continue reading by clicking on the link below.
Defining a Project
Panorama Photography Tips
50 Travel Tips
Travel of the Month: THAILAND
Think outside the Box with High Key Photography
Defining a Personal Project
John Paul Caponigro
David DuChemin-Personal Projects Videos
Part 1 and Part 2
Congratulations to all May award winners. Architecture is a difficult subject and you submitted great images.
I will be traveling the month of June and therefore plan on distributing the newsletter in July after I have returned to the US.
As always all suggestions for improvement on this newsletter are very welcome.
Please email me at:
All newsletter content will continue to be added to the
Online SHPS Digital Content Library
and can be accessed anytime.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR