Photographer and Photography Teacher Grant Scott’s UN of Photography is a Must-Read, and His Book “New Ways of Seeing” Will Be Too

Grant Scott, by Matthew Halstead. Permission to publish this link has been sought and I am awaiting response.

When I was living and working in the United Kingdom I was located near the centre of a world of photographic creativity, photography education and commissioning photography the like of which I have never seen in Australia and most likely never will. 

I was constantly exposed to creators, critics, educators, publishers, thinkers and innovators whose activities made me feel alive and excited about photography itself as well as its associated fields of cinematography, design, publishing and exhibiting. 

I did not meet art director, editor, educator, moviemaker, photographer, podcaster and writer Grant Scott back then and I would have loved to have known him, but at least I have easy access to his insight and knowledge via his The United Nations of Photography website and the now three three books he has written. 

Grant Scott’s latest book is ‘New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography’, to be released on the 28th of November 2019, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Those born since the digital revolution, seem to have the hardest time re-imagining the role of photography in the world today. Thinking of photography as a visual language is the approach this book adopts to addresses this challenge.

Considering photography in this way develops the metaphor of ‘learning a language’ when attempting to explain what photography can be, and what it can give a student in transferable creative and life skills. This begins with challenging the pre-conception that successful photography is defined by the successful single image or ‘the good photograph’.

The book emphasises the central role of narrative and visual storytelling through a technique of ‘photosketching’ to develop the building blocks of visual creativity and ultimately to craft successful bodies of photographic work.

New Ways of Seeing explains how to both learn and teach photography as a visual language, appropriate for both professionals and students working today.

When I was thrown into the deep end having to suddenly become a photography teacher while still a student, I had no mentor nor experience of being taught photography and thus no guide as to how to actually do it much less how to do it well.

Instead I cobbled together my own way of teaching based on my own life and experiences, and on my understanding of photography as a visual language, a way of seeing and a documentary medium.

The table of contents of ‘New Ways of Seeing’ is intriguing:

    • Introduction
    • The Narrative Eye
    • 1. How Did We Get Here
    • 2. Speaking in a Digital Environment
    • 3. The Basic Vocabulary of a Visual Language
    • 4. #Photosketching
    • 5. Building the Narrative
    • 6. Developing Fluency
    • 7. Speaking Out

    Meanwhile Grant Scott has made a vast quantity of thought-provoking material available on his The United Nations of Photography website and I highly recommend watching his feature documentary on the late Bill Jay.

I have just enjoyed reading ‘Do Photographers Need a Brief? Was Alexey Brodovitch Right?’ at The United Nations of Photography where Grant writes that “when Brodovitch commissioned photographers he used just two words “Surprise Me!” That was it. No written brief, no visual reference or complicated requirement was placed on the photographer. He trusted the photographer to respond to a situation and gave them space to be themselves. The work that was created was ground breaking and timeless.”.

That is exactly how I commissioned photographers when working in advertising, based on how I would have loved to have been treated as a photographer, and the results spoke for themselves.

Links

  • Bloomsbury Publishing PlcNew Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography – “The book emphasises the central role of narrative and visual storytelling through a technique of ‘photosketching’ to develop the building blocks of visual creativity and ultimately to craft successful bodies of photographic work. New Ways of Seeing explains how to both learn and teach photography as a visual language, appropriate for both professionals and students working today.
  • Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay – feature documentary movie about the life and work of British photography and photography education innovator Bill Jay, made by Grant Scott and colleagues.
  • Grant Scott Photographywebsite – “After fifteen years art directing photography books and magazines such as Elle and Tatler, Grant began to work solely as a photographer for a number of commercial and editorial clients in 2000. His images bring together all of his experience working with some of the greatest photographers of the last century with his graphic and journalistic talents. His aim is to create engaging photographic narratives from every commission. Grant is currently based in the South West of England.”
  • Matthew Halstead Photography – portrait of Grant Scott of The United Nations of Photography.
  • Oxford Brookes Universitywebsite
  • SoundcloudUNofPhoto: A Photographic Life Podcast
  • The United Nations of Photographywebsite
  • WikipediaOxford Brookes University

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Viltrox To Release More X-Mount Lenses After Its Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM Telephoto Prime

Chinese lens, lights and accessories maker Viltrox appears to have successfully reverse-engineered Fujifilm’s lens-to-camera communications protocol and recently released its first X-Mount autofocus prime lens for Fujifilm X cameras, the Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM telephoto. 

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Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM prime lens for Fujifilm X-Mount cameras.
leica_summilux+_lineup_21-90mm_square_1920px_80pc
Leica worked out the best prime lens focal length line-up for documentary photography and photojournalism in 35mm years ago and it remains the benchmark and role model for other lens makers to this very day. The only focal length missing from this lens collection is 40mm, which Leica made for the Leica CL rangefinder camera which was later taken over by Minolta as the Minolta CLE with 40mm standard lens as well as a 28mm and 90mm lens. Too many contemporary lens makers leave out 28mm and 75mm lenses and their equivalents for other sensor formats. Why? Both these focal lengths are the most essential for documentary photography and photojournalism.

According to reports from Fuji Rumors, the next three Viltrox X-mount cabs off the rank, as it were, will be 23mm f/1.4, 33mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.4 autofocus prime lenses and I am hoping for more after that.

I am also hoping that Viltrox will come up with other focal lengths useful in documentary cinematography and photography, such as those equivalent to 21mm, 28mm, 75mm and 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

Fujifilm does not appear to be in any hurry to update its ageing and quirky Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 prime lens, equivalent to the documentary-essential 28mm focal length, and there is no sign on the Fujifilm X-mount lens roadmap of the documentary and portrait-essential focal length of 70mm, that is, 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

Early reviews of the Viltrox PFU RBMH 85MM F1.8 STM prime lens note that it may not be as sharp or have as much micro-contrast and resolution as Fujifilm’s own X-mount lenses, but given Viltrox’s much lower prices and the fact that many cinematographers do not need nor want maximum sharpness in their lenses, a matched set of Viltrox prime lenses may be very attractive for some.

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You either love it or hate it. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L USM zoom lens, prone to the all-too-common aperture control ribbon cable failure that can apparently cost a fortune to have fixed in Australia. Otherwise a remarkably popular lens with videographers using it natively and adapted on a wide range of cameras and sensor sizes.

Why else would Canon’s also optically-quirky and poorly-manufactured Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit zoom lens have proven to be popular amongst cinematographers whether adapted or not, despite better-designed and better-made alternatives such as Sigma’s 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art lens for Canon EF or two other Canon alternatives such as the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM kit zoom?

I happily used the 24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit zoom that came with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II for some applications in cinematography and photography until it fell apart just after its warranty expired, and hope to be using this lens again soon, when it is finally repaired, this time mated to my Fujifilm cameras via an EF-to-X adapter.

Links

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Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • Viltrox EF-FX2 0.71x Lens Mount Adapter for Canon EF-Mount Lens to FUJIFILM X-Mount CameraB&H
  • Viltrox EF-M2 II Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Camera Mount AdapterB&H
  • Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f/1.8 STM Lens for FUJIFILM X B&H

Fujifilm USA Creates ‘Create Forever’ Free Storytelling Workshops and Video Tutorials Campaign in Collaboration with Muse Storytelling

This is the first time I have covered what is essentially a marketing campaign for a camera maker but  have done so because Fujifilm USA’s ‘Create Forever’ tutorial videos and free storytelling workshops offer more than mere marketing bumf about Fujifilm’s in-body image stabilization-equipped GFX 100 medium format hybrid stills and video camera. 

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ALPA XO Exoskeleton aka camera cage for Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format camera, for use in shooting video.

“Fujifilm’s driving force behind the Create Forever campaign is to encourage creators to go forth in the pursuit of making something that matters to them. In order to equip creators with all of the possible tools to tell authentic stories, Fujifilm partnered with Muse Storytelling to develop a series of tutorials that teaches viewers about the marquee elements of the Muse Storytelling Process that helped to tell the stories featured in the series.”

Links

  • Fujifilm X USACreate Forever – campaign microsite
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaWhy we chose to make Create Forever – video – “The Create Forever content series is a celebration of storytelling. It’s a celebration of being in the moment, doing what you love, and building a legacy that will be enjoyed by generations to come. We want to inspire you to tell your story, teach you how best to tell it, and provide you with a stage to share it from.”
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaCreate Forever with Alison Conklin – video – “Alison Conklin is a professional wedding and editorial photographer who has spent her career chasing a desire to document genuine moments that feature real people.”
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaCreate Forever Tutorial – Seeing People Better – video – “The tutorial, Seeing People Better, takes influence from Wedding Photographer Alison Conklin. The focus of the tutorial is to discuss how to truly “see” the people around you and what people mean to one another. The Create Forever team shares insights about how to closely pay attention, learn people’s stories and pick up on details that allow you to think differently about how you see someone.”
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaCreate Forever with Ira Glass – video – “Ira Glass is the host of one of America’s most loved radio shows and is widely considered as one of the most prolific story-tellers of our generation. He began his career in public radio back in 1978 and, while his roots are not in image-making, his message transcends all creative mediums and speaks to the creative spirit within us all.”
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaCreate Forever Tutorial – Developing Your Voice – video – “The tutorial, Developing Your Voice, is influenced by prolific storyteller Ira Glass. The focus of the tutorial is to give insights on how you develop the most important element of being a creative – your perspective, your intention and your why. The Create Forever team shares a keyword exercise that they go through for every project to set the intention at the onset of the project.”
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaCreate Forever with Susumu Minami and Tetsuro Aishida – video – “Fujifilm color specialist Susumu Minami lives and breathes color. Every place he visits and every picture he makes is another step forward in his pursuit of perfect reproduction…. Tetsuro Ashida has spent his career exploring the intricacies of sharpness and color theory, with the goal of creating an image quality that does justice to every photographer’s work, from amateurs right through to professionals.”
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaCreate Forever Tutorial – Why We Create – video – “The tutorial, Why We Create, is inspired by all of the amazing creatives in the Create Forever series. In this piece, we explore how to develop what you want your work to say. Patrick from the Create Forever team shares his why – well told stories can change the world and offers insights about how to define yours.”
  • FUJIFILM Cameras North AmericaGFX100 Product Sizzle – video
  • KickstarterALPA XO – The Exoskeleton for the Fujifilm GFX 100
  • Muse StorytellingHow we landed one of the most powerful campaigns I’ve ever been a part of – article
  • Muse StorytellingREVIEW: Why the new FUJIFILM GFX 100 medium format camera is a real innovation. – article
  • Muse StorytellingReview of the 100 Megapixel FUJIFILM GFX 100 for filmmakers – video – “We’re so pumped because the FUJIFILM GFX 100 has a MASSIVE medium format sensor (that’s 1.7x the Canon 5D) along with a super impressive in-body-image-stabilization. This means some amazing handheld options in such a small package. So much so that we shot this entire review handheld. Like macro shots, moving shots, the talking head interview portion–all of it handheld.”
  • This American Life – “Mostly we do journalism, but an entertaining kind of journalism that’s built around plot. In other words, stories! Our favorite sorts of stories have compelling people at the center of them, funny moments, big feelings, surprising plot twists, and interesting ideas. Like little movies for radio.”

BTS Instagram posts from Muse Storytelling

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Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • Fujifilm GF lenses B&H
  • Fujifilm GFX 100B&H

Gobe is an Australian Lens Adapter and Filter Company That Plants Five Trees for Every Purchase Made

Cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro dropped by yesterday and very kindly gave us two vintage M42-mount manual-focus prime lenses, a Panagor MC 28mm f/2.8 and a Pentacon 50mm f/1.8. 

Both lenses are in excellent condition and are a reminder of how useful such lenses are for shooting video with recent and current generations of hybrid cameras equipped with focus peaking. 

This morning I googled adapters for these lenses and an Australian camera accessories company came up in the search results – Gobe Corp Pty Ltd, headquartered in Byron Bay. 

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Gobe M42 to Fujifilm X-mount lens adapter.

I don’t know anything about Gobe’s products other than what is published in their website so cannot make any recommendations right now, but am pleased to note that they state that they plant five trees for every purchase made of their their products.

I will now be looking for hands-on reviews of Gobe products, especially of their fixed and variable neutral density filters, UV filters and lens adapters.

Links

  • Camera-wiki.org – Panagor– “[Jaca Corporation] are most famous for their Elicar and Panagor brand lenses, made by a variety of Japanese lens manufacturers which included Komine and Kino Precision.”
  • Gobe – website
  • Leeming LUT Pro – “Leeming LUT Pro™ is the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table ( LUT ) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading. Multi-camera shoots are now much easier, because you are starting with a common, colour-matched baseline, meaning much less time trying to match cameras in post before starting your creative grading.
  • WikipediaPentacon – “The name Pentacon is derived from the brand Contax of Zeiss Ikon Kamerawerke in Dresden and Pentagon, as a Pentaprism for Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras was for the first time developed in Dresden. The cross section of this prism has a pentagonal shape. Pentacon is best known for producing the SLR cameras of the Praktica-series as well as the medium formatcamera Pentacon Six, the Pentacon Super and various cameras of the Exa series.”

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Fujifilm Global: Fujifilm introduces the stylish “FUJIFILM X-A7” with newly-developed image sensor – UPDATED

https://www.fujifilm.com/news/n190912_01.html

“Tokyo, September 12, 2019 — FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) announced that it will launch the “FUJIFILM X-A7” (“X-A7”) in Autumn 2019, a new addition to the X Series of compact and lightweight mirrorless digital camera that deliver outstanding image quality with the company’s unique color reproduction technology.

Weighing just 320g*, stylish X-A7 carries a newly-developed 24.24MP APS-C sensor to deliver premium image quality with the company’s proprietary color reproduction technology. The sensor uses copper wiring to enable high-speed data readout, and features phase detection pixels across the entire sensor surface to enhance AF speed and accuracy. This enables AF tracking of a moving subject as well as Face / Eye detection AF with ease. The camera also records smooth 4K/30fps video and high-speed video, catering to the ever-growing need for high-quality video for use in Vlog** and other media.

The camera has a large 3.5-inch LCD monitor with the maximum luminous intensity of approx. 1,000 candelas to guarantee intuitive operability on the rear panel. Furthermore, this is the first X Series model that features a “vari-angle” monitor that users can adjust to any angles. It can be used in conjunction with the Portrait Enhancer Mode for self-portraits of advanced quality. The X-A7 is a perfect choice for those who want to upgrade their photography from smartphone pictures, offering a broad range of applications from casual snapshots of everyday scenes to travel photography and full-fledged photographic creations.

*Including the weight of memory card and supplied battery
**A coined phrase combining “video” and “blog,” referring to a blog in the video format…”

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Fujifilm X-A7 with fully-articulated aka Vari-Angle LCD monitor and Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens.

Commentary

At least three developments in Fujifilm’s entry-level viewfinder-less LCD-only X-A7 camera promise good things coming to the company’s higher-end models – a fully-articulated LCD monitor, phase-detection pixels across the whole sensor and apparently radically improved object tracking as well as improved eye and face autofocusing.

I have been asking for fully-articulating LCD monitors on all Fujifilm cameras ever since I had to take a detour away from the company’s products when it delivered an X-Pro1 that was, for me at least, semi-usable at best with its lack of built-in viewfinder diopter correction, and when I needed to shoot pro-quality video.

I chose Panasonic with its fully-articulated monitors on the Lumix DMC-GH4, its companion camera the Lumix DMC-GX8 and subsequent cameras in both product lines as well as others, and instantly discovered the many benefits such LCD monitors bestow whether shooting stills or video.

Going back to fixed monitor cameras suddenly became all the harder, and the fixed, two-way or three-way tilting monitors that then began appearing on Fujifilm, Panasonic cameras and Blackmagic Design cameras proved to be annoying and even inadequate for many of my needs.

Fujifilm refers to the X-A7’s LCD monitor as “vari-angle” or capitalized as “Vari-Angle” while online commentators use the fairly non-descriptive word “flippy”, but I am sticking with the more description term “fully-articulated”.

Fujifilm, I want to see you release the much-requested X-H2 professional-level video and stills photography hybrid camera with a fully-articulated aka “vari-angle” LCD monitor as well as all future cameras.

I know what full articulation can do and I want it on more than just your entry-level camera.

Fujifilm X-A7 with Fujifilm’s very first fully-articulated aka “flippy” aka “vari-angle” LCD monitor

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • FUJIFILM X-A7 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Camel)B&H
  • FUJIFILM X-A7 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Dark Silver)B&H
  • FUJIFILM X-A7 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Mint Green)B&H
  • FUJIFILM X-A7 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Silver) B&H
  • FUJIFILM XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II LensB&H

Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions: FujiFilm X-Pro3: Dangerous!

“A modest dissertation on the X-Pro3 development announcement, clickbait and the diminution of language.”

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Image of pre-production Fujifilm X-Pro3 from video of Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya 2019 on September 20, 2019.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • Fujifilm Cameras B&H
  • Fujifilm LensesB&H

bigheadtaco: First Look: Fujifilm XF16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR

“It’s been a while since Fujifilm released a wide to medium range zoom lens, especially with both OIS and WR. Previously, the only general range zoom lens that had both features was the big and bulky XF18-135mm lens. My hope was that Fujifilm would re-make the XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens to be XF16-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS WR. Instead, Fujifilm decided to keep the original kit lens and create the new XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR. Who is this lens for? It really depends. If you own the X-T3 and you really want a mid-range zoom lens with both OIS and WR, this is the only option you have. However, if you own the X-H1, would you be better off with the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 and put up with the size and weight of a professional lens? “

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

Good to see that photographers are receiving pre-production copies of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR and, as usual, even more reviews will be appearing when production versions of the lens make their way into the world.

When I was photographing the climate strike rally in Sydney on September 20, I found myself wondering how the 16-80mm f/4.0 zoom lens might change and even improve the way I cover such subjects.

See my personal Instagram account for documentary photographs of the rally and other events, recently mostly using prime lenses on Fujifilm cameras as Panasonic Lumix camera and lens loaners have been in short supply.

Links

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  • Fujifilm Cameras B&H
  • Fujifilm LensesB&H

fcp.co: An Overview of the Apple Hardware Ecosystem for Video Professionals

http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/articles/2210-an-overview-of-the-apple-hardware-ecosystem-for-video-professionals

“In this article, Sam Mestman looks at each Apple product that can shoot or edit, indicates its place for filmmaking and also tells us which models he recommends. If you’re thinking of buying a new Mac, iPad or iPhone, this is for you!”

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Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: “Featuring a Stunning Pro Display, A13 Bionic, Cutting-Edge Pro Camera System and Longest Battery Life Ever in iPhone with iPhone 11 Pro Max”.

Commentary

Expatriate ex-Wollongong moviemaker Sam Mestman and longtime contributor to Final Cut Pro website fcp.co recently assumed an editorial role there with the aim of stepping up his articles for the site after giving up his coalface role at post-production workflow company LumaForge.

Mr Mestman has been instrumental as an ambassador, educator and advocate for moviemaking for the people throughout the United States and shares invaluable insights in his articles.

I highly recommend regular visits to fcp.co to all moviemakers whether you use Apple hardware and software or not.

Links

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ffoton: Ron McCormick in Conversation with Paul Reas, Cardiff, June 2019 – audio interview

https://www.ffoton.wales/interviews/2019/9/ron-mccormick-1

“Ron McCormick trained as an artist at Liverpool School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools in London before moving across to photography. He played a significant role in the formation and development of photography galleries across the UK in the 1970’s – including Half Moon Gallery in London, Side Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne and the original Ffotogallery in Cardiff.

Ron taught on the Newport Documentary Photography course alongside David Hurn and established ‘The Newport Survey’ publication that students worked on as part of their studies – produced over a decade in the 1980’s….”

Commentary

ronmccormick71645443_1828229820657087_8677049963420581888_n
Exhibition preview invitation for ‘The Urban Landscape’ by Ron McCormick at Galerie Düsseldorf, Perth Western, Australia in the mid-1980s.

Ron McCormick was a Visiting Fellow in the School of Art and Design at Curtin University in Perth when I was teaching after being a student, all the while engaged in my own efforts to radically reform art and photography education there and in other places in Western Australia.

Ron spent most of his time photographing in the goldfields and other outback locations and three images from those trips are featured in this set of interviews along with his earlier work in the east end of London and south Wales.

Meeting Ron and seeing some of his work led to spending a year in the United Kingdom shortly afterwards, meeting a number of photographers including the great Brian Griffin, stiffening my resolve to continue my reform efforts back in Australia by whatever means possible despite the gatekeepers and power brokers controlling the medium.

Links

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