Michael Wolf

Michael Wolf is a German born photograper and artist who lives and works in Paris and Hong Kong. Born in Muich in 1954, the focus of his work has been mega cities. His work has been exhibited around the world including the venice bienniale.

My Favourite Things

As part of the research for exercise 3.2 Series we were asked to look at Michael Wolf’s My Favourite Things.

In his project My Favourite Things Michael Wolf has captured a number of photographic series that each revolve around a single item. For instance mops, chairs, people, cats, plants, rubber gloves and many more.

Wolf’s work shows that if you just open your eyes to the world around you it is possible to find things to photograph. When you begin to look around, you soon begin to notice things. It’s like when you buy a car, you soon begin to spot other cars like it on the road as you drive about.

The series of images that Wolf groups together also highlights that when you do look at the world around you, it becomes obvious that people put things in the most unusual of places.

Exercise 3.2 Series can be found here.


  1. Wikipedia. Michael Wolf Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Wolf_(photographer) [Accessed 19th February 2018]
  2. Michael Wolf My Favourite Things Available at: http://photomichaelwolf.com/#my-favourite-thing-groups-2/1 [Accessed 19th February 2018]

Wolfgang Tillmans

Wolfgang Tillmans is a German photographer who was born in 1968 (Wikipedia (2018)). He is a Turner Prize winner.

His early work was portrait based, and of his friends and people from the area surrounding him, in particular the London club and gay scene.

Tillmans is a graduate of Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design (artnet (2018)).

Wolfgang Tillmans work was researched for Assignment 2 of the course.


  1. Wikipedia (2018). Wolfgang Tillmans Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Tillmans [Accessed 20th February 2018]
  2. artnet (2018). Wolfgang Tillmans Available at: http://www.artnet.com/artists/wolfgang-tillmans/ [Accessed 20th February 2018]
  3. Wolfgan Tillmans Website Wolfgang Tillmans Available at: http://tillmans.co.uk/ [Accessed 20th February 2018]
  4. Tate Museum Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/wolfgang-tillmans-2747 Accessed: 31st January 2018.
  5. Andrea Rosen Gallery Available at: http://www.andrearosengallery.com/exhibitions/wolfgang-tillmans Accessed: 31st January 2018.

Annette Messager

Annette Messager is a French artist. Born in Berck-sur-Mer in 1943 (Guggenheim Foundation (2018)) she is a winner of both the Venice Biennale Golden Lion Award and the Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award (Wikipedia (2017)). Her work is noted for its use of photographs, prints, drawings and other materials.

From Guggenheim Foundation  (2018) it can be seen that a lot of her work has involved the use of stuffed animals (both the taxidermy and soft toy kinds) and images of human body parts. Hustvedt (2009), however, shows that her work uses far more and is influenced by a great many different things.

Through her work, and her own descriptions of herself, Annette Messager has taken on many different titles. Trickster, practical woman, peddler (Hustvedt (2009) and Guggenheim Foundation (2018) describe the titles that she has given herself. The latter source mentioning her work The Bedroom Works/The Studio Works in which she sketched her apartment, separating it into the part inhabited by Messager the person and Messager the artist.

Researching Annette Messager was part of the work for Assignment 2 of the course.


  1. Wikipedia (2017) Annette Messager Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annette_Messager [Accessed 20th February 2018]
  2. Guggenheim Foundation (2018) Annette Messager Available at: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/Annette-Messager [Accessed 20th February 2018]
  3. Hustvedt, S (2009). Puppetmaster Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/feb/21/annette-messager [Accessed 20th February 2018]

Nick Knight

Nick Knight is a British fashion photographer born on the 24th November 1958 in London. He is also the founder and director of SHOWstudio.com (http://showstudio.com/)

His father and mother were a psychologist and physiotherapist respectively [Reference 2].

Nick Knight studied at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. In 1982 he published his first book of photographs called Skinhead while still a student. This resulted in a commission for the magazine i-D, which in turn resulted in Knight being commissioned to photograph the 1986 catalogue of designer Yohji Yamamoto.

In November 2000 he launched SHOWstudio and in 2016 was commissioned to take the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles for the former’s 90th birthday.

Knight has many publications to his name and has exhibited around the world since 1982.

A list of these publications and exhibitions can be found on the Wikipedia page about him [Reference 1]. 

Part 2 Image: The Portrait Project 4: Three techniques –Exercise 2.12: Pixel Painting

In 2015, Nick Knight gave an interview during which he talked about using an iPhone and phone apps to take pictures during a shoot and then edit them [Reference 5]. The images that accompany the article contain flashes of colour which, could possibly have been achieved during the shoot but are more likely the result of digital manipulation. The subtle way that some of the effects have been achieved leaves you unsure as to whether they are the result of digital manipulation, but other effects leave you without any doubt that they have been. In the image of the girl on the bike for instance, the colour that foundations around the bike from the front wheel must be the result of editing during post-production.

The close-up portrait of the guy with the moustache, has a patch of colour on the hair at the side of his head; which could have been hair dye but was more likely added afterwards.

Looking at all the images, the splashes of colour almost have a signature too them.

Nicola Formichetti’s first capsule collection for Diesel was shot by Knight [Reference 4] and was shot entirely using an iPhone and using image manipulation applications. If a photographer of Knight’s standard can achieve results good enough for an advertising campaign using a phone camera and some phone apps, which could be implied from the article, then using a digital camera and photo editing software on a desktop computer should allow for far greater possibilities.

Nick Knight’s own website [Reference 2] provides a number of examples of image manipulation. Allowing the home screen to scroll through it’s selection of images results in a several examples worth examining in more detail.

The Alexander McQueen, 1997 image of the nude girl has been heavily edited. Her waist has been narrowed, horns are growing out of her side and shoulder, one leg looks like it belongs to a goat. These aren’t just manipulating pixels but some serious image manipulation. As much as changes like these might be interesting, the skill required is beyond my abilities at this time.

Dolls, SHOWstudio, 2000 is an image that would be more achievable using pixel painting. Although some of the colour on the model’s face could have been applied through the use of make-up, her body has been edited in post-production.

In my first attempt at pixel painting for exercise 2.12 I thought that the effect I’d achieved looked artificial and over the top. Seeing what Knight has achieved in Dolls, I now feel that I didn’t go far enough.

Blade of Light, Alexander McQueen, 2004 is another image that could have been achieve in camera with some very careful stunt work and positioning of people but if it had been then there is the distinct possibility that someone would have got hurt. Even if most of the work had been done in camera the light effect in the middle of the image has to have been added in afterwards to get the right effect. Adding light into an image, would be something interesting to try in a portrait.

The Alexander McQueen, 2010 image with the model covered by various snakes is yet another example of image manipulation, this time with the colour of the snake having been changed so that it becomes difficult to see where the model and the snakes are separate at times, the choice of costume for the model helping with this blurring.

Roses I, 2012 is I think the best example of image manipulation. The way the roses melt and drip down the image has been very skilfully done and reminds me of where a painter may have slashed paint across a painting with a palette knife or brush.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore Catalogue, Somerset House, 2013 is another great image. The blurring softens everything, and I love the way the black and white stripes across her torso continue the black and white stripes on her dress and are then echoed at the bottom of the photo.

There are lots more examples of images being manipulated, and it would be very easy to carry on describing them but the above give an example of what is possible when you manipulate images. The challenge is to achieve the same.


  1. Wikipedia. Nick Knight Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Knight_(photographer) Accessed: 30th January 2018.
  2. Nick Knight. Nick Knight Available at: http://www.nickknight.com/ Accessed: 30th January 2018.
  3. Philby Charlotte. My Secret Life: Nick Knight, Fashion Photographer, 52 Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/my-secret-life-nick-knight-fashion-photographer-52-2359134.html Accessed: 30th January 2018.
  4. Bradley, Laura. Nick Knight on the Changing Face of Fashion Photography Available at: http://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/3169/nick-knight-on-the-changing-face-of-fashion-photography Accessed: 30th January 2018.
  5. Raphael, Sarah. Showstudio – Nick Knight’s digital fashion concept. Available at: http://www.bjp-online.com/2015/05/showstudio-nick-knights-digital-fashion-concept/#closeContactFormCust00 Accessed: 30th January 2018.



Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was born in France in August 1908 and died in August 2004. He his famed for his candid photography [References 1 and 2].

He is one of the founding members of Magnum Photos [Reference 3].

The Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation was set up in May 2003 to preserve the work of Cartier-Bresson and his wife Martin Franck [Reference 4].

An analysis of some of Cartier-Bresson’s work can be found at PetaPixel [Reference 5] which contains links to two videos by photographer Tavis Leaf Glover.

A review of the republished version of Cartier-Bresson’s book The Decisive Moment can be found on The Guardian’s website [Reference 6].

Finally, Eric Kim has produced an interesting analysis of things that we can learn from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s when it comes to street photography [Reference 7].

Project 1: Activity, depth and distance

Exercise 2.2: People and Activity

Quite a lot of the photos I take of people are candid and not posed. I find that is when people are at their most revealing but can also be when they are most vulnerable. I’m sure that there will be plenty of opportunities to capture candid images of people at the ploughing championships.

Being able to take candid photographs of people requires being discrete if you want to catch them acting natural and not posed. This means having the minimum of equipment so that you aren’t swapping lenses all the time.

For the ploughing championships I took the minimum number of lenses. A 55-300mm lens to get close up to my subjects without needing to be in their faces and a 35mm prime lens for more distance shots.


  1. Wikipedia. Henri Cartier-Bresson. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Cartier-Bresson Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  2. Magnum Photos. Henri Cartier-Bresson Profile. Available at: http://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL53ZMYN Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  3. Magnum Photos. History of Magnm. Available at: http://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAX_2&FRM=Frame:MAX_3#/CMS3&VF=MAX_2&FRM=Frame:MAX_5 Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  4. Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation. Available at: http://www.henricartierbresson.org/en/fondation/ Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  5. Zhang, M. The Masterful Photo Compositions of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Available at:  https://petapixel.com/2017/08/16/masterful-photo-compositions-henri-cartier-bresson/ Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  6. O’Hagan, S. Cartier-Bresson’s classic is back – but his Decisive Moment has passed. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/23/henri-cartier-bresson-the-decisive-moment-reissued-photography Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  7.  Kim, E. 10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Phtography. Available at: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/08/22/10-things-henri-cartier-bresson-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/ Accessed: 22nd October 2017.

Denis Darzacq

Denis Darzacq is a French photographer born in Paris. He graduated from the French National School for Decorative Artts in 1986 at which point he started his career in photography.

Darzacq has published several books of his work and has exhibited extensively in his home country and around the world [Reference 1].

Part 1 – Project 3: Stillness and movement

Exercise 1.12: Smash!

As part of the exercise Smash! we were asked to research the work of Denis Darzacq. HIs works Hyper [Reference 2] and Act involve freezing motion.

In Hyper he has captured people who appear to be levitating within the aisles of a hypermarket. None of the individuals are being held up by any means. The motion of each has been frozen by the camera to give the impression that they are levitating.

Some of the images appear quite simple in that Darzacq has captured a person while they were moving in a somewhat ordinary manner. Other images give the impression that the photographer has caught the action at a fortuitous moment, as in the image of the young woman diving through the air; has she tripped perhaps?

Other images have a much stranger tone, for instance where people are hanging in the air, their bodies in strange positions, or appear to be being pulled backwards through the air or even where they look to be walking on air.

Capturing images like this must have taken a lot of planning for what must have required taking a great number of shots to get that single image each time.

Pursuading people to throw themselves to the ground in a hypermarket aisle must have taken a lot of work. I’m pretty sure that most people I know certainly wouldn’t do that.

From looking at Darzacq’s work it is obvious that capturing action in a reall impresssive way takes a lot of thought, effort and persistence. Attempting to smash eggs to get that one singular image that stands out certainly means brweaking more than a dozen.



  1. Laurence Miller Gallery. Denis Darzacq. Available at: http://www.laurencemillergallery.com/artists/denis-darzacq. Accessed: 20th October 2017.
  2. Lensculture. Hyper. Available at: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/denis-darzacq-hyper Accessed: 20th October 2017.

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was born in May 1923 in New York City. He died in October 2004 and is known for his portrait and fashion photography [Reference 1 and Reference 4].

A foundation set up in his name houses his work and equipment. It is possible to visit but only by appointment [Reference 2].

Born to a Jewish family his mother encouraged his interest in fashion and art. His interest in photography began when he joined the Young Men’s Hebrew Association camera club at th eage of 12.

An article by Cathy Horyn in the New York Times provides additional analysis of Avedon and his work [Reference 3].

In 1942, Avedon joined the US Merchant Marine and served as a Photographer’s Mate. It was during his time taking identity photographs that he realised he was becoming a photographer.

In 1944 he left the Merchant Marine and found work as a photographer under the guidance of Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for Harper’s Bazaar.

Although famed for his fashion  work this allowed him to explore his cultural, political and personal interests. He is particulary remembered for his photographs of civil right activist and Vietnam War protesters.

Part 2 – Project 1: Activity, depth and distance

Exercise 2.2: People and Activity

Looking at Avedon’s work his images have a tendency to draw individuals out of the the background. At the Ploughing Championships I’m sure that there will be opportunities to capture images that draw individuals out of the background. Reducing the depth of field to blur backgrounds and highlight particular individuals will definitely be something that I could do.


  1. Wikipedia. Richard Avedon. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Avedon  Accessed: 18th October 2017.
  2. The Richard Avedon Foundation. Available at: https://www.avedonfoundation.org/ Accessed: 18th October 2017.
  3. Horyn, C. How Avedon Blurred His Own Image Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/fashion/14AVEDON.html Accessed: 18th October 2017
  4. Richard Avedon – Photographer Available at: https://www.biography.com/people/richard-avedon-9193034. Accessed: 18th October 2017

Robert Frank

Robert Frank is a Swiss-American who was born in 1924 [Reference 1]. He is best known for his work “The Americans” [Reference 2].

Born in Switzerland he emigrated to the United States in 1947 and became a fashion photographer.

Frank has produced a dozen books of his work and has exhibited around the world.

Robert Frank has travelled the world and while doing so been written about in some of the most well-known magazines [Reference 3, 4 and 5]. He is one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century.

Project 1: Activity, depth and distance

Exercise 2.2: People and Activity

Frank’s “The Americans” provides a lot of images of people going about their activities. The images being black and white removes a lot of distraction allowing the majority of the individuals to blend into the background with those that the viewer is drawn to standing out.

The use of black and white is something to explore as part of Exercise 2.2 once the final selection of photographs has been decided upon, however, it is possible that some of the images could benefit from the removal of colour.

In addition to Frank’s work being in black and white “The Americans” also contains a mix of photographs where people are caught on camera without their knowledge as well as being aware of the presence of Frank. The former is something I find appealing as that is when I feel people reveal more about themselves than when they know that you are photographing themselves and close down so that you only see what they are prepared to let you see.

Robert Frank’s “The Americans” is a masterclass in the type of images that Street Photography can produce, regardless of whether the subjects are aware or unaware of the presence of a photographer.



  1. Wikipedia. Robert Frank. Available at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Frank Accessed: 18th October 2017.
  2. Frank, R (foreward by Kerouac, J). The Americans. Steidl. Published 2017 (elveneth edition). ISBN 978-3-86521-584-0.
  3. Vanty Fair. Robert Frank’s Unsentimental Journey. Available at: https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2008/04/frank200804  Accessed: 18th October 2017.
  4. International Center of Photography. Robert Frank. Available at: https://www.icp.org/browse/archive/constituents/robert-frank?all/all/all/all/0 Accessed: 18th October 2017.
  5. O’Hagan, S. Robert Frank at 90: the photographer who revealed America won’t look back. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/nov/07/robert-frank-americans-photography-influence-shadows Accessed: 18th October 2017.

Karl Blossfeldt

Karl Blossfeldt was a German photographer, sculptor artist and teacher. He was was born in June 1865 and died in December 1932 [Reference 1].

Blossfeldt is best known for his close-up photographs of plants and other living things.

Not trained as a photographer he made use of a home made camera that created images of his subject that were magnified about 30 times.

His work highlights the repetition that occurs in nature and examples of this can be seen at the Michael Hoppen Gallery website [Reference 2].

Looking at his work you can see that a lot of it consists of a background against which the subject is seen. In these images the subject is in the foreground and there is no mid-ground because of the angles and proximity of the camera.


  1. Wikipedia. Karl Blossfeldt. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Blossfeldt  Accessed: 16th October 2017.
  2. Michael Hoppen Gallery . Karl Blossfeldt. Available at: https://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/artists/58-karl-blossfeldt/overview/. Accessed: 16th Ocober 2017.

Toshio Shibata

Toshio Shibata is a Japanese photographer who was born in Tokyo in 1949. He graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1972 with a Batchelor of Arts and the in 1974 with a Master of Fine Arts.

Shibata began his study of photography after receiving a fellowship that allowed him to study at the Royal Academy of Ghent between 1975 and 1977 Reference 1]

Shibata’s work interweaves nature with man-made structures. His image Red Bridge [Reference 2] is a good example of this, as is his work Harmony [Reference 3]. His photographs are taken with a large format camera.

In 1995, Shibata was commission by the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Chicago to photograph the United States of America, an activity that resulted in shots of the Grand Coulee Dam [Reference 4].

Another area that Shibata is interested in is water and the series Water Colors [Reference 5] is a perfect example of what can be achieved when you take this as a subject. The way that the flow of water has been both frozen in some images while being allowed to flow and blur is something I find fascinating and to be aspired to.


  1. Wikipedia. Toshio Shibata. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshio_Shibata. Accessed: 9th October 2017.
  2. Laurence Miller Gallery.  Toshio Shibata. Available at: http://www.laurencemillergallery.com/artists/toshio-shibata. Accessed: 9th October 2017.
  3. Laurence Miller Gallery.  Toshio Shibata. Available at: http://www.laurencemillergallery.com/exhibitions/toshio-shibata2. Accessed: 9th October 2017.
  4. Polka Galerie. Toshio Shibata. Available at: http://www.polkagalerie.com/en/toshio-shibata-biography.htm. Accessed: 9th October 2017.
  5. New York Times. Toshio Shibata’s Mesmerizing Photographs of Water. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/magazine/toshio-shibatas-mesmerizing-photographs-of-water.html. Published 10th March 2015 Accessed: 9th October 2017.