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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Presentation by TV Journalist Turned Photographer Ray Martin at Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney, Saturday 27th October 2018

Some of the many things I miss from my time in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe include the many wonderful agent and artist show-and-tells, art and photography festivals, book launches, face-to-face interviews, gallery and museum shows, meets-and-greets, movie premieres, new venue openings, portfolio reviews, presentations, private members’ clubs meet-ups, product launches, professional organization events, sneak previews, trade shows and private meetings with fellow moviemakers, photographers and other artists at all stages in their careers. 

That sense of belonging to a constantly active and vibrant creative community is crucial to the development of any artist and is as important as the mutual respect shared amongst students, starters, established and late-career artists alike that I observed many times overseas. 

I experienced a reminder of all that when I attended a presentation by Ray Martin, Australian journalist and television presenter, at the recently opened photography concept store Ted’s World of Imaging in Pitt Street, Sydney, last Saturday. 

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Australian journalist Ray Martin is a longtime photography enthusiast who recently had a book of his photographs published. I made this portrait of him at his presentation about his work at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney in October 2018.

Mr Martin described himself as a street photographer and related his late start as a photographer while working as a journalist, carrying a superzoom bridge camera on location during assignments.

After starting to take photography more seriously, he invested in a range of cameras and lens brands including Canon and Panasonic, and over a year ago was given a Fujifilm GFX 50S for use on location in travels around Australia with landscape photographer Ken Duncan.

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Australian journalist and television presenter Ray Martin with one of his Panasonic superzoom bridge cameras.
Ray Martin with Panasonic superzoom bridge camera and photograph from one of his many travels around Australia.
As a self-described street photographer, Ray Martin always carries a camera, most often superzoom bridge cameras with long focal length zoom lenses.
Ray Martin with his photograph of Said al-Islam Gaddafi, one of two sons of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Ray Martin has been Chairman of The Fred Hollows Foundation, the non-profit aid organization that focuses on treating and preventing blindness throughout Africa, Australia, the Pacific, South and South East Asia.
Ray Martin has travelled with and photographed naturalist and television presenter Sir David Attenborough.
Staff members at Ted’s World of Imaging and presentation attendees.
After the presentation on his photography, Ray Martin spoke with attendees and signed copies of his books.
A compact gallery space is located behind the retail section at Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney.
Gallery space and large format exhibition printer at Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney.
Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney hosts photography training by the Australian Centre for Photography.
Photography students at the Australian Centre for Photography workshop space at Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney.
Copies of two of Ray Martin’s books were available for purchase and signing.
Members of the public and photography students are well catered for at Ted’s World of Imaging.
Fujifilm cinema zoom lenses, cameras and accessories at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney.
Fujifilm lenses and instant film cameras at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney.
Olympus cameras, lenses and binoculars at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney.
Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras made by Blackmagic Design, Olympus and Panasonic, at Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney.
Towards the front of the store at Ted’s World of Imaging, Pitt Street, Sydney.

Links

Image Credits

Portrait photography of Ray Martin made by Karin Gottschalk with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R in available light as seven HDR bracket raw files merged in Skylum Aurora HDR 2019 then finished in Skylum Luminar 2018 and Adobe Photoshop.

Other photographs made with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens.

The Guardian: University guide 2019: league table for film production & photography [Coventry University #1]

https://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2018/may/29/university-guide-2019-league-table-for-film-production-photography?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“If you dream of spending hours mulling over snaps in a dark room, or are incapable of sitting through a film without boring your friends with comments about the special effects, a degree in either film production or photography could be for you….”

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Commentary

Congratulations to the film and photography teaching team at Coventry University for being placed at number 1 with a score of 100 for 2019, and especially to its photography teaching team which includes a number of Australians including Anthony Luvera and Gemma-Rose Turnbull.

Coventry University very much sounds like the sort of institution I was so hoping that the university I attended might be but most certainly was not, with film and photography teachers of a calibre that simply did not exist back then in Western Australia.

Links

Masters of Photography Online Courses Launches with Joel Meyerowitz, One of the Greatest Living Fine Art Photographers Working in Colour

I was checking some references for my latest article on colour photography great Joel Meyerowitz when I came across the image featured in this article’s header above. Yes it is true, Joel Meyerowitz is teaching an online course on photography for Masters of Photography and I am sure it will be worth every single cent of its US$170 course fee. 

Walk with Joel in all his 34 lessons as he takes you on this truly inspirational photographic journey and shows you how to stay alive to the meanings and possibilities of the world in front of you. With Joel as your guide, you will learn how to find your creative voice and identity and apply it to your own photographic subjects. Join in and share your course photographs with Joel’s student community and get them critiqued. You will also get your own course certificate from Joel too.

For over 55 years, universally acclaimed, award-winning photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, has been one of the world’s greatest image-makers. Although Meyerowitz is a street photographer in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, he transformed the medium with his pioneering use of color. As an early advocate, he became instrumental in changing the attitude toward color photography from one of resistance to nearly universal acceptance. Meyerowitz’s work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world, and he has published more than 25 photography books. He was the only photographer to gain unrestricted access to Ground Zero after 9/11, which produced a body of work that led Meyerowitz to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale for Architecture in 2002.

Meyerowitz is a Guggenheim fellow, a recipient of both the NEA and NEH awards, an inductee to the Leica Hall of Fame, an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society and a recipient of their prestigious Centenary Medal. He has taught at Princeton University in New Jersey and at The Cooper Union in New York.

It is also pleasing to see that Albert Watson is teaching one of two coming courses, with the third being taught by Steve McCurry. I hope some great female photographers will present future courses on the principle of “if she can see it, she can be it”.

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