Art walk at Alskeral Avenue

I booked to go on an art walk round Dubai’s art cluster in Al Quoz called Alskeral Avenue.

I decided I was not going to research what was being exhibited but to go with a fresh pair of eyes, take pictures of what I liked and then come home and research the artist.

Al Quoz is made up of three areas numbered 1,2 and 3 predominately an industrial area Alskeral Avenue is situated on 8th street in area Al Quoz 2. The whole art area is made up of warehouses which have been split up to make galleries and cafes. It reminds me of the mini industrial units you see on industrial estates back in the U.K.  There where a few outdoor art installations in open spaces in between warehouses. Each warehouse was labelled with numbers but still lots of us booked on the walk got lost trying to find the initial start up point. This ‘broke the ice’ between the group as we noticed each other asking the security guard the same question. “where is warehouse 90?”

Everyone walked from gallery to gallery listening to the tour guide. I didn’t catch her name but it was obvious she was French and an expert in Art History.

First stop was Warehouse 45 which is occupied by Jean-Paul Najar Foundation.

The exhibition on show was Christian Bonnefoi: Double Take, November 13,2016-February28,2017. Curated by Sylvie Turpin.


This is a non-profit private museum which gathers European and American abstract art from the 1960's through to today.
This is a non-profit private museum which gathers European and American abstract art from the 1960’s through to today.

I looked at all the mixed media pictures. There was mixed paper with tissue and other delicate materials to make a collages. These pictures reminded me of the fashion in the 80’s abstract I know, but I couldn’t shake the sense of MFI furniture with red and yellow handles and I half expected to see a person in a blue shell suit as I wondered round the gallery. It was bizarre how my mind worked when I was staring into the chaotic pencil marks on the paper. I found one image that had a different vibe I took a photo using my phone so I could note the contrast between the majority of the artworks and this one piece. This piece to me was the end of the series of work. Unfortunately it got deleted off my phone so I am going to go back before the exhibition finishes to get another image.


Carbon 12 was the next gallery. The gallery space was all white and deceptively small, the exhibition that was on was

Olaf Breuning : The Good Old Revolution, 13th November 2016-10 January 2017

Olaf Breuning born 1970 in Switzerland is New- York Based and he is a multi-disciplinary Artist. The exhibition consisted of several black and white penned drawings framed and hung on the walls while the twelve mini sculptures were displayed on stands around the gallery.

I picked up the Press Release and deciphered the following

‘observations of the human experience with absurdist drawings serving as the starting point alongside a new series of miniature ceramic sculpture’s’ 

His monochromatic line drawings are delightfully cheeky in layers of context, reference and interpretation with which he engages.

He addresses cultural and political issues and infuses his art with the realness of a world dominated by media, pop-culture and globalization…

Constituting of humorous art without ridiculing art.

Carbon 12 Press Release – Katrina Kufer October 2016

This guy’s work did make me smirk as I was walking round. It reminded me of the doodles you draw when your stuck in a boring meeting. I really wanted to buy number 21. We are so Violent  for my Kitchen. So my kids can see it everyday and ask questions about it. His artwork raises questions and I liked the simplicity of them.


Carbon 12
Olaf Breuning The Good Old Revolution–7972.html


Ayyam Gallery in contrast to Carbon 12 was a very large gallery and in two locations in Askeral Avenue. One part for was used just for large art installations the other for walled displays.

Mouteea Murad : Thresholds 13 November 2016-7 January 2017, curated by Murtaza Vali

Again deciphering that press releases I pieced the following together

Mouteea is a Sharjah based painter

The artists experiments with the use of Mathematics and geometric abstractions, an approach to non-objective art that he developed over the course of a decade.

He has returned to Dubai with large scale works that use the Fibonacci number sequence as a starting point for his large scale compositions.

Murad applies the Fibonacci series to grid- like patterns that partially conceal the interactions of polygons and lines, thus creating an illusion of depth.

The mural Rainbow – rain and light and love (2016), the artist uses uniform bands that seem to decrease in width towards the centre of the composition. The painting is divided into seven distinct planes that are organized according to similar hues and contain intersecting lines. Here colour relativity also plays a central role in creating a vast space.

I asked the lady behind the desk in the gallery what the price was of the mural, 90,000 aeds. It took a month to make. I must say it was quite impressive and I stood and looked at it from afar and then up close. I examined the corners and how fine the divisions were between each colour. I love hearing and seeing blends of science and art. This mural could easily be placed in a boardroom or a large hotel reception area. The effect worked best from afar and if you didn’t know that the artist had used the Fibonacci series as a starting reference you could easily say a child could do that with masking tape, a ruler and paint but you would be wrong.


Second location for the Ayyam Gallery

Khaled Jarrar : Castles built from Sand will Fall 13 November 2016- 7 January 2017

Castles built from sand will Fall provides a condensed over view of Jarrar’s focus on this issue with a range of work in different media. Featuring installation, photography, video, sculpture and art objects, the exhibitionoffers a look into the various strands of his creative practice.

We were told before we went in the gallery about the artist Khaled Jarrar. He was born in Jenin in 1976 and lives and works in Ramallah, Palestine.

His art installations and documentary work has won him several awards and accolades (see link) He broaches difficult subjects where he asks the viewer to rethink the intersections of life, politics and visual culture.

I don’t know why but I couldn’t help but hearing Don Mclean lyrics from the song ‘Castles in the air’ which was totally inappropriate for the exhibition content.

Past the through the wall was a video installation, Journey 110 documents a hidden 110 metre passageway beneath the massive wall in the West bank.

I think the artist wanted to show the absurdity of the situation when partitions and segregation are involved. Highlighting the depravity of the situation in Palestine


Castles built from sand will fall


Student pop up exhibition from Sheik Zayed University

This exhibition was interesting. The student  Asma Khoory had done portraits of construction workers and taken audio samples as well as the GPS coordinates of the construction sites the workers worked in Dubai. The audio stories were made for the benefit of the workers families back in their respective countries.

I noticed that all the workers where from the same company but different sites. They were also at different levels of management within the company. Now I know, because I have tried that you are not allowed to photograph workers and display the images without permission from their sponsor. I hope Asma Khoory got permission.

Anyway the images reminded me straight away of the Open for Business Exhibition. I seen it in July 2014 at the National Railway Museum, York UK. Particularly the Bruce Gilden images. ( see link )


Overall Conclusion

The walk was well organized and information was readily available.  It was ok, I wasn’t enthused by the area and some galleries weren’t open. I actually feel you can’t enclose art to just one area in a city. It should be seen everywhere. I will definitely book another art walk as the experience overall was interesting.





Project 2 ‘layered, complex and mysterious…’

Researching photographers that use light from certain times of the day in their images

site blocked

Researching Sally Mann and Michael Schimdt I was blocked again ,The Amercan Suburb x has been blocked for some reason. I have sent the relevant authorities an email via their site, will it do any good, doubt it.

Sally Mann

I resorted to watching Youtube video interviews with Sally Mann and various journalists. Some of Sally Mann’s Southern landscape images are very haunting which reminds me of pictorialism images probably because they have been produced by a 8x 10 large format bellows camera. Sally Mann was named ‘America’s Best Photographer’ by Time magazine in 2001. Sally Mann photographs what she loves and she does it well.


Michael Schmidt

I looked at these and actually thought ‘what?’ . The artist refused to quote his own work,  Dr Markus Hienzelmann, Museum Morsbrioch Leverkusen said this about his work

‘Micheal Schmidt’s ability to translate apparently contradictory elements of his photography into a valid form puts him in an outstanding position among contemporary photographers. though he adopts an unusual position with his constantly different approach to photographic and social questions, his innovative project- led working methods and his extreme commitment have made him a model for generation of young photographers’.

From viewing the images as a series I don’t think Michael Schmidt’s images represent or are related to consumption in any way shape or form. Obviously this is just my opinion but the series of images seemed disjointed from an apple to what appears to be an image of fish on a TV screen.

Feeling a bit disgruntled about the photography of Michael Schmidt I did some more research on his images. To see if I can change my mind about the non descript dullness of his portfolio images which are award winning.

Now to be fair to me and my initial opinion, the images that are shown together as a series on the link given in the coursework do not convey the full set of ‘Lebensmittel’ ( see the Guardian links above for the full set of images ). Seeing the full portfolio and the way its arranged together is quite impressive. He repeats shapes, curves, angles and squares in his grid of images, some with colour and some without. His subject of global industrialization of food production becomes more apparent and the scale of his investigation was huge.

Has my opinion changed ?  Yes for the collective works but I would of liked more controversial images to represent the subject I think that is why I am struggling. I see the art but not the point.

I looked at the other shortlisted candidates and I preferred images by Hong Hao. His images had colour and the theme was more clear and simple yet showed skillfully just how much consumption is in our daily life.

These photographers who were also shortlisted were impressive with the use of social documentary images.

These are all just my opinions which are free and not for sale

 Eugene Atget

The link given in the coursework didn’t work for me so I found this one. Its the NGA’s Biography for Atget.

I also read up on Eugene Atget again  ( Atget was discussed in exercise 1.3. Line, Project 2 Visual Skills, Part 1)

Eugene Atget p30-37 How to read a photograph Lessons from master photographers by Ian Jeffrey. Abrams.

Looking through many of Atget works you can see which shots he took during mid day and which were late afternoon. This is one of my favorites.

I love the composition, use of the shadows and the patterns of light. Out of the three photographers mentioned in this part of the course I prefer Atget’s work for the sheer range and scope of it.

More Books

I’m gathering a collection of photography books

The photographer reader. Edited by Liz Wells. Routledge

This book is a comprehensive collection of twentieth- century writings on photography from its production, its uses and its effects. I bought this book because I flicked through it and I started reading ‘In our Glory: Photography and Black life’ by Bell Hooks, Part eight , Image and Identity. I found myself engrossed in her story about her feelings towards a photograph of her father. I would recommend buying this book if you enjoy reading other peoples stories, opinions and thoughts on photography. There are nine parts to this book and so far I have managed to read three of them, its ongoing.


Extraordinary Everyday Photography by Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring. Amphoto Books.

I read this book from cover to cover in one day it was easy to read and had some very good tips. I have revisited the chapters on ‘Exploring the light around you’ ( Chapter 8 )  and Diptychs and Triptychs ( chapter 4 ‘Expanding the creative process’) for Part 4 of this course.


Street photography now by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. Thames and Hudson

I got this book in preparation for assignment 3, there are some really good images and flashes of genius from the photographers cited in this book. My favorite chapter is ‘Some Truths cannot be told except as Fiction’, and the images from Matt Stuart and Nick Turpin are particularly good and seem to define what street photography is for the masses.



image3 (2)
Magnum Stories. Phaidon Books

This was the most expensive book I bought, it has a wide selection of interviews given by Magnum photographers. The majority of the photographers document their history and give some details about their most iconic images.  My tutor recommended that I research ‘magnum photographers’ so I purchased this book as a start.


















Some ‘Light’ reading material

To say ‘Light’ is very important in Photography is an understatement.

For Part 4 of this course the sections in the following books have been useful.


Digital Photography handbook

Michael Freeman’s Digital Photography Handbook by Michael Freeman. PIXIQ , revised and updated.

p50-62; p150-156; p196-198; p204-206

Really love this book, its very useful to refer to for printing and workflow problems.

Some light reading, ha ha

Light Science & Magic – An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua. Focal Press. Third Edition.

Started reading this book a while ago, it reminds me of an ‘A’Level physics book. It is a book to refer to when you want to go to sleep at night. Its useful but hard going.

Photographer's eye

The Photographer’s eye, Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman, ILEX

p56, p109, p110-113.

I bought this book before I begun this course as it is on the OCA,  ‘Art of photography’ course book list . The layout of this book is good and the images illustrate examples well.

Photo School Fundamentals

Michael Freeman’s Photo School Fundamentals by Wignall, Quinn, Bowker, Luck. Edited by Michael Freeman.  ILEX

p52-62; p100-102; p304-322

Another good book from Michael Freeman with a whole chapter on ‘Light’ which I found useful.

Photoshop CS5 book

the Adobe photoshop CS5 book for digital photographers by Scott Kelby. New Riders.

In my opinion when it comes to Photoshop tutorials, Youtube is a better learning tool than reading a book but I have this book and its OK. Scott Kelby goes off on tangents in an attempt to make learning fun, which works well in his other books I have read but its irritating in this one.


ONline tutorials and research.

Found this from a google search

A favorite of mine which I use for the science behind photography


Some articles I found which look at the art of light painting



Gulf Photo Plus – PhotoFriday

Well its been a while and I’ve been busy with life. I have been relying more on my written learning log than typing up my notes straight away and now I’m landed with lots of work to do !

Dubai holds a photography festival every year in March. March is the ‘Art’ month in Dubai so to speak.  I purchased tickets for PhotoFriday at the Dubai Conference centre in Knowledge village. PhotoFriday is organized by GPP and is a day filled with seminars, talks and panel discussions by some of the worlds top photographers. Then the following week is full of workshops and events. It is very well organized. I have just posted my thoughts for a more in depth view please visit the photographers individual websites

Ed Kashi, his seminar was titled ‘ A Life in Candid Intimacy’

My first seminar was Ed Kashi’s A life in Candid Intimacy’. I was really looking forward to this because I enjoy images with a story to tell. Ed Kashi does long form social documentary, he has branched out from photography into film and showed several 10 minute films about social causes from Children in Syria to Climate change in America.

At the Q&A section I asked him who influenced him throughout his career. His said at this point he admires other photographers but no one influences him at the moment. In the past when he was learning, he was influenced by several great photographers, he went to list them all but I only managed to write a few of the names down.  Henri Cartier-Breeson was mentioned and I had noticed earlier in his presentation there was an image which was a replication of Henri Cartier-Breeson man stepping over a puddle but Ed’s image a man was jumping over a fire in Northern Ireland during a street riot. I was impressed with myself for spotting that. The main point I learnt from this seminar is get excited about what you are photographing and then it will just come easily to you because you are eager to seek it out.

David Hobby seminar  ‘The Trip Comes First: How to balance Travel with Photography’

David Hobby was next.  I chose his seminar because I love to travel and go new places. His seminar mainly focused on ‘how not to look like a jerk,by carrying around lots of camera gear’. How to manage with less gear and how to have a family holiday and get to take photos as well. This guy was funny and very knowledgeable. He understood about family life and how it is a constant balancing act trying to fit photography round the kids and spouse. He had some brilliant tips and funny stories which made the time go quickly. I managed to take 3 pages of notes and do some sketches. The main point I learnt from David Hobby was ‘prepare beforehand and take as little as possible’. David uses a Fuji, I have been thinking about buying a Fuji x100S. Hopefully by the summer I can afford one, the more he spoke about his camera the more I could see that my DSLR is too bulky for travel photography.


Panel Discussion: Straight Talk: Evaluating the Middle East Photography Scene.

My Final seminar of the day was a Panel Discussion. Straight Talk- Evaluating the Middle Eastern Photography Scene.

This discussion was popular because the Secretary General of Hipa was one of the Panelists. Everyone was introduced and the first thing to be discussed was a scathing review from The Telegraph about an Arab art exhibition. Everyone was very polite and disagreed with the Telegraph. Then Copyright laws were mentioned as apparently there is a big problem with companies stealing images in the GCC region. Education and Funding was discussed, as well as photographers day rates. Regulation of photography clubs, courses and photographers was suggested to stop people being financially ripped off and that was dismissed.  ‘Restricted expression’ was mentioned and the panel suggested it was cultural and that a photographer needs to respect the culture of the region. On the back of that question I asked if they thought that photography was allowed to push the boundaries in Art like in the West.  I was just told ‘Yes’ then they went on about how much money is spent on art projects in the Middle East. They missed my point I didn’t push it.

Since I have been researching photographers, artists and art critics I can see what is lacking here and I do find it frustrating. I came away from this discussion wanting to go home to England for the ‘Freedom of expression’, resources that are free and widely available to everyone and public libraries with a good selection of books. The panel stated that things will change but they will take time. I can only hope that they will.






More books…..

I have managed to find a website that delivers to the UAE from the UK. Its called ‘The book depository’

So I bought myself more books just in time for Christmas these were recommended by OCA students on the Facebook Group. They took two weeks to get here but it was worth the wait.

The Photographers Sketchbooks by Stephen McLaren and Bryan Formhals

This book offers a rare glimpse of the sketchbooks and working methods of 43 photographers.

So far a very inspirational book, this book offers a rare glimpse of the sketchbooks and working methods of 43 photographers. My written learning log has been a lot of note-taking and sticking but I hope to improve and I hope this book is the going to help me.

How to Read a Photograph  by Ian Jeffrey

Lessons from Master Photographers. Ian Jeffrey discusses the major advances and the social and cultural settings that have influenced photography as an art formI struggle with the written word when critiquing my photographs so I am hoping this book will offer guidance.  In this book Ian Jeffrey discusses the major advances and the social and cultural settings that have influenced photography as an art form.

Photographically Speaking by David duChemin

I started reading this book and I’m half way through it already I’m finding it good reading. The guy was a comedian before becoming a photographer so his analogies are humorous, he doesn’t take himself seriously which is what I like in an author. He gives credit to other photographers and recommends several different books throughout his creative exercises which I have never seen before in photography books.

The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski

So far I have spent most of my time learning how to take good pictures and it has been only recently I have been asking myself ‘why’ I have chosen ‘what’ to photograph. I have read The Photographers Eye by John Szarkowski  and it has helped me in some part to understand how to form the images I want in my mind.

The Photographers eye looks at the five inter-related elements that distinguish photography from the other arts.

The thing itself , is the most important part as it shows the fundamental use and acceptance of the image as a picture and not the equivalent of the reality.

The detail  which highlighted the forceful clarity in which photographs can be achieved and the idea that a photographic image can only be a fragment of reality.

The Frame discussed the central act of choosing and eliminating material  which concentrated on the picture edges, the line that separates in from out.

Time  detailed that all photographs are time exposures. Photography alludes to the past and the future only in so far that it exists in the present, the past in its surviving relics, the future through its prophecy visible in the present.

Vantage point this discussed what it is to allow photographers to choose their point of view.

One of the most resounding quotes from the book for me is’ The history of photography has been less of a journey and more of a growth’.

John Szarkowski was the director of photography at the MoMA. New York for close to 30years. He was held in high regard and shaped photographic practices and criticism for a generation.

In 1996 John Szarkowski put together an exhibition based around the book to emphasize the idea that all good photographs, regardless of where they appeared or who made them resulted in a shrewd orchestration of these five elements.

I have chosen three images to analyse in a hope that I will learn to understand my process of producing images.

Image 1-  The Thing itself. Page 38, Photographer Unknown : East Side Tenement Christmas

The image consists of two children (boy and a girl) sat by a makeshift Christmas tree in a kitchen next to a stove. The tree is made up from household items, a brush , bucket the branches are sticks with toys and things hanging off them. Do these things hold significance for the children?

The tree is tilted and the boy who is obviously younger is looking up at it longingly. The other child , a girl is looking down at her hands which seem to be holding a picture or card of some sort. You can feel the despair.

One of the branches of the tree is made from a child’s tin whistle and another branch has a toy penguin hanging from it. These where probably objects that the children played with. The children are sat in front of the stove this shot would of been composed there purely for the warmth of the stove.

The background is dark and dinghy, barren walls and roof beams. This portrays the poverty of the situation. The photographer obviously wanted to show the bleakness of the children’s plight at Christmas time. The sadness in the little girls face as she is looking at the photo/ card in her hand. The imagination goes wild , maybe they are orphans and the photo/ card is of a parent. The young boy staring at the xmas tree wishing it was a real one

The pitiful toys hanging from the makeshift tree gives a sense of nostalgia and perseverance through the worst times , even though they haven’t got anything to decorate the tree with they have used their only possessions.

As a mother this image provokes my maternal instincts. Its upsetting to see such innocence in a dire situation especially around Christmas time when it is meant to be a joyous occasion and a time for the family.

Image 2 The Frame p71. Photographer John Runk, Pine boards and Frank Stenlund.1912 

This image to me is very graphically designed . There are loads of strong lines. The horizontal lines of the wood , vertical lines of the door and wood panelling. The farmer is a vertical line with one arm raised to a horizontal position this cuts across the panel and creates a point to which the eye is drawn to . The sun must be in the top left hand side giving side lighting which create lines of contrasting  shadows across the image from the panels this also adds texture to the mans weathered face.

The stern look on the mans face shows his uncomfortable with raising his arm. His arm is obviously holding the large wooden panel in place probably for the safety of the photographer, in case the wind catches the plank and falls in line with the camera during the long exposure time.

That was probably the logical reason why the mans arm is raised but artistically it works because the point at which the mans arm breaks the vertical direction of the line catches your eye.

Image 3 Vantage Point. p130 photographer Ehud Locker. From  1Chase Manhattan Plaza

This is an image of a high view point across Manhattan, it fills the frame with buildings. The pictorial space is flattened initially but the use of a wide angle shows the buildings off out in the distance and there is a clear distinction between the emptiness of the sky to the claustrophobic feel of the crowded city blocks with the intersecting lines of the roadways.







Part 2 Imaginative spaces


‘The categories of the Camera …..the categories of time and space’.  ( Vilem Flusser)

In Part 2 we are looking at lens controls and the depiction of space through focal length and aperture.

In Part 3 we are looking at shutter speed and how it is responsible for the unique way in which the camera divides one moment from the next, presenting a particular section of time in a photograph.

We are now asked to set the camera to Aperture Priority mode.  This means we can alter the Aperture settings and the camera will automatically adjust the Shutter settings accordingly so that the correct exposure will be achieved.

 A very brief history of the Camera

Camera Obscura

The camera obscura was an optical device, mainly used in drawings, but later it became one of the “ancestral threads leading to the invention of photography”. At first, it was just a box with a hole in one of it’s sides. This allowed for light to pass through the hole and strike a specific part of the back wall. The projection created an exact copy with a correct proportion, which an artist could just copy the image.


Louis-Jacques-Mandes Daguerre. View of the Boulevard du Temple.Paris. Daguerreotype

Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre designed the first commercially manufactured camera. It was named the Daguerreotype. It involved the coating of copper plates by mercury vapor. “The resultant plate was sensitized and exposed to produce a mirror like exact reproduction of the scene, usually a portrait.” It produced a single image, but it’s only problem was it was not reproducible. It required exposure times of 20-30 minutes.


Was an early photographic technique invented by William Fox Talbot in the 1830s. In this technique, a sheet of paper coated with silver chloride was exposed to light in a camera obsucura.  Those areas hit by light became dark in tone, yielding a negative image. The revolutionary aspect of the process lay in Talbot’s discovery of a chemical, gallic acid that could be used to develop the image on the paper,. This accelerated the silver chloride’s chemical reaction to the light it had been exposed to. The developing process permitted much shorter exposure times instead of hours.

Film Cameras

During 1888, Kodak released a camera that was simple to use. It was a wood and leather box that included a 100-explosure roll of film. In order to develop it, the customers would send the camera back to Kodak for processing. • In 1925, Leica invented many different features that are still standard. “Controls and a viewfinder were on top. The lens were focused by turning it, and it could collapse into the camera body for portability.


During 1948, Polaroid invented the instant film cameras. It became famous for it’s self-developing film. The earliest Polaroids used instant roll film, but it was discontinued. I went to photoworld exhibition in the World Trade centre and the polaroid is coming back as an iphone attachment.

During 1959, Nikon released the first widely used 35mm SLR camera. It contained interchangeable lenses and a reflex mirror that enabled the viewer to see the image coming through the lens.

Single-use Disposable Cameras


Kodak and Fujifilm invented the disposable in the mid-1980’s..Just like it’s name suggests, disposable cameras are only meant to be used once. It is a simple camera that already has a roll of film installed into it. Some have different functions such as focus free lenses, flash units, and or water proof. The cameras uses a 135 film and some models can be recycled and re-sold once the film cartridge has been removed.

Digital Cameras

In 1995, Kodak introduced the revolutionary digital camera to the general consumers. It changed picture-capturing forever since it captured an image electronically, without film.  The image can be viewed on a small LCD screen, and than discarded or saved for printing. The cameras are rated by mega pixels. There are three types of digital cameras such as standard digital cameras, prosumer (professional-consumer) cameras, and digital single-lens reflex cameras.

Genius of photography by Gerry Badger.



Drama in the book shop

So yesterday I decided to visit Dubai mall, firstly to do a reccy for my second assignment and secondly to visit ‘World of books’  to pick up some more reading material for the course.

I got the metro in, as it was Islamic New year yesterday and from experience I knew the parking  would of been a nightmare. The metro was very busy but I managed to get a seat.

As the train filled up with people from all different nationalities and cultures, I got talking to a family from Kenya. They were on holiday for a couple of days and had just arrived in Dubai that day. Each of them marvelled at the Burj Khalifa and all the high rise buildings.

We spoke and they said how excited they were about visiting all the tourist attractions as it was their first time to Dubai. It was a privilege to see the facial expressions of the children in awe when seeing something spectacular for the first time.

I think for a personal project, I am going to ride the metro all day. From the airport to the end of the line and see if I can take pictures of the tourists and they ‘Ohhhs and ahhhs’ as they look out of the windows of the train.  The Dubai skyline along Shiek Zayed road is quite exceptional especially at night when it is all lit up.

Anyway,  I said my goodbyes and wished them a good holiday when I reached my stop. I walked through the mall taking pictures for my assignment, pretending I was a tourist. The mall was very busy, generally people who live in Dubai never go to the malls on weekends or declared holidays as they are just full of tourists. Big families on outings from Saudi and other GCC countries.

I made it to the bookshop and gave the lady on the information desk by book list . To my dismay two of the three books were BANNED.

I had a discussion with her about trying to order them in and she said I would get into trouble if I got them through the post. I guessed that they were banned because they had pictures of ‘Nudes’ in them but who knows, it could of been pigs. What a drama !

Anyway,I trundled off to find the one book I was allowed to buy. ‘The Photographers Eye’  by John Szarkowski.

To compensate for the banned books I also bought

Berenice Abbot, Photofile – Thames &Hudson

After researching Atget obviously I came across Abbots photographs. I liked her ‘Changing New York’ series of photos were she documented the interaction between the city’s dramatic architecture and its people which basically made her name.

The Photobook– Phaidon

I got this because it was cheap! Its a collection of 500 images by photographers in alphabetical order. I remember reading this book when I was younger and appreciating ‘The Zetland’ Middlesbrough by Graham Smith. A photographer from the North East of England.

American Photographs– Walker Evans

This is a book on a book. This book is referenced in the course work for ‘Expressing your Vision’ So I was quite please to find it and I’m looking forward to reading it. Some of the images are of the American countryside and its inhabitants, the buildings and the surrounding area.

Photography, A concise history – Ian Jeffrey

I bought this as it has the same author as the banned books so it must be good ! Also learning about the history of photography I think will make me appreciate the decision making process when producing an image.

100 ideas that changed photography– Mary Warner Marien

Again this is related to the history of photography and the layout of the book appealed to me.



I tried to get the British Journal of Photography which my tutor suggested I subscribe to but they didn’t stock it. So when I got home I sent BJP an email for the list of stockists and asking if I can subscribe without a PO box. lets see what happens.

I have my reading material ready to go through and hopefully I can write a detailed post on each of these book with relation to my images.











Researching Eugene Atget

Eugene Atgets image, Saint Cloud is used in Exercise 1.3(1) Line. This is because the French urban street Photographer produced images with a strong sense of depth with the use of lines.

I chose to investigate Eugene Atgets and his images and influences.

Eugene Atget


It is such a shame that Atget died before he seen what an influence his work was and is on modern photographers.

It seems that he was obsessed with photographing Paris and all of its streets before modernization crept in. I was surprised to find out that he never photographed the Eiffel Tower as I think to him this would of signalled the future development of Paris and the loss of all the old ways and places.

Between 1897 and 1927  that’s over 30 years, Atget built up a vast photographic essay of all of Paris ‘s old buildings which he would eventually sell to the Government and other interested parties to make a living.

His photographs show the city in its various facets: narrow lanes and courtyards in the historic city centre with its old buildings, of which some were soon to be demolished, magnificent palaces from before World War II, bridges and quays on the banks of the Seine, shops with their window displays. He photographed stairwells and other architectural details.In addition to architecture and the urban environment, he also photographed small tradesmen, rag collectors and prostitutes.

I really enjoy his portraits, you can feel the genuine influence of the subject in the image which makes me wonder were they staged or not.

Atget photographed Paris with a wooden bellows camera with a rapid rectilinear lens. When offered a modern camera he declined saying ‘he liked the way he did things’.

Distinguishing characteristics of Atget’s photography include a wispy, drawn-out images with a  sense of light due to his long exposures. The emptiness of most of his streets and the sometimes blurred figures in those with people are partly due to his already antiquated technique thus extended exposure times which required many of his images to be taken early in the morning before pedestrians and traffic appeared,this is where the sense of nostalgia and depth is seen in my opinion.

If you would like to read more and see more of Atget images as I did, here are some interesting links

I also read ‘The Genius of Photography’ by Gerry Badger p55-56 for insight into Atget.