News

Carleton Watkins: texture, clarity and wonder from a true American master

Getting the camera into the Yosemite valley took 12 mules but once they were there, Carleton Watkins captured images that revealed the full glory of the American west

An exhibition of Carleton Watkinss photographs of Yosemite taken in the 1860s has just opened at New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art. His photographs show the now familiar, breathtaking views: Yosemite falls, Half Dome, El Capitan. They are grand and stately in their proportions and contain an extraordinary level of detail. Its not surprising that viewers at the time were awestruck. They made Watkinss name as a photographer and helped to influence the environmental movement that led to Congress and President Lincoln turning Yosemite into a national park.

Watkins was born in New York in 1829 and moved to California when he was 20. Soon after, he learned how to make photographs, a medium that was about as old as he was. These were the days of long exposures, glass plates, and processes that not only took time but were messy and toxic. Watkins began his commercial career by photographing Californias burgeoning mining industry for land-claim lawsuits. His images needed to be as straight and correct as possible so they could be used in court as evidence. In 1861 Watkins was persuaded to visit Yosemite by the lawyer and businessman Trenor Park, whose mines he had photographed in nearby Mariposa.

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Sport picture of the day: Melbourne Cup photobomb

Possibly taking inspiration from the Queen, a cheeky young whippersnapper upstages Ryan Moore as the jockey celebrates his victory, which he won atop Protectionist Continue reading...
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Photo highlights of the day

The Guardians picture editors bring you a selection of the best photographs from around the world, including the US midterms, the beginning of Ashura and anti-US demonstrations in Tehran

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Think Tank launches Perception and Digital Holster bags for mirrorless systems

DP Review News - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 23:35

USA bag brand Think Tank Photo has launched a collection of daypacks and a new holster designed specifically for mirrorless camera systems. There will be three new bags in the Perception series of small backpacks, and will be available in sizes that range from the Perception Tablet that is suitable for a body, lenses and a mini tablet, to the Perception Pro which holds a tablet, a 15-inch laptop and a large mirrorless body with a collection of lenses. Read more

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High pixel-density camera displays and wide-gamut Cinema 4K panel technology on the way

DP Review News - Mon, 03/11/2014 - 23:03

Reports from Japan's Display Innovation 2014 exhibition highlight a number of advancements and prototypes in camera LCDs. Included are a high-pixel-density 3.2" display using WhiteMagic technology, a high-resolution touch screen with in-cell touch sensors and a 31" cinema 4K wide-gamut display with 99.5% AdobeRGB coverage from LG. Learn more

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Elvis at the O2 exhibition - in pictures

A series of images of Elvis Presley and some of his treasured possessions. Part of an exhibition at the O2, which starts on 12th December 2014

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Weather view: your October pictures

We asked you to share your most striking images of the weather in October. Here are the best of them. Thanks to everyone who contributed

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Day of the Dead - in pictures

Observer photographer Antonio Olmos takes a selection of images of Mexicans visiting their dead relatives, lighting candles, decorating their graves and generally dressing up for the Day of the Dead celebrations in San Andrés Mixquic and Mexico City for the Sony RX100 III Celebrate The Streets series

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Photo highlights of the day

The Guardians picture editors bring you a selection of the best photographs from around the world from a tightrope walker in Chicago to Paddington Bears in London

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The Berlin Wall in the cold war and now - interactive

The city of Berlin will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November. The wall split the city from 1961 to 1989 and became the iconic symbol of the cold war. Sean Gallup has photographed locations around Berlin today to match with archive images of when the city was divided

Photography then and now lets you move through time by tapping or clicking on a historic image to reveal the modern view. You can drag or swipe to control the speed of the transformation

Click here to view D-day landings scenes in 1944 and now

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The beat of Ashura in Iran - in pictures

Shiites take to the streets during the holy month of Muharram to commemorate the death of the third Imam, Hussein, slain along with 72 of his comrades in a battle against the army of the seventh-century caliph Yazid. The large drums, or tabl, were used in battle to alert the public, disorient the enemy and direct troops. In keeping with the military nature of these processions, mourners simulate self-flagellation with light-weight chains to the thump of a bass drum and the crackle of a snare. All photos by Khashayar Sharifaee in Irans northwest city of Tabriz

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George Abraham, pioneer photographer and climber: Country diary 50 years ago

Originally published in the Guardian on 9 November 1964

LAKE DISTRICT: An old man of 93 sits contentedly, surrounded by his mountain pictures and his memories, in a room that looks out over one of the finest views in England. He is the last living link with the deerstalker and Norfolk jacket pioneers who founded the sport of mountaineering in this country and the man who first popularised the sport with his photographs and writings. For not only did he take his heavy plate camera into desperate places to picture determined-looking men hanging on to rocks by their eyebrows, but he also found new ways up vertical crags in Scotland and Wales as well as his native Cumberland. And there is even a jagged aiguille high above Chamonix that bears his name. Remarkably, his memories of adventurous days 30, 60, even 70 years ago are almost as sharp today as the wonderful photographs that line the walls of his home. He even remembers his very first climb - Pillar Rock by the old Slab and Notch with the help of his mothers clothes line. There were some Alpine Club men on that Rock that day, he recalls, and they were very kind and helpful and didnt laugh at our silly rope. I thought, What wonderful men and decided to become a climber. And he remembers, as if it was last year his first discovery of a new route - a wet, vegetatious gully in the hills to the east of Keswick. There was a steep bit about half way up with a waterfall streaming down, and I had a drink before tackling it. But when I pulled myself over the top of the pitch I found a dead sheep lying in the water, and the next day I was very sick. He was still climbing at 70, but today he can only lift his eyes to the hills that have been his whole life.

Harry Griffins diary refers to George Abraham, who, along with brother Ashley, recorded the evolution of rock-climbing, particularly in the English Lake district. George died on 4 March 1965, an obituary appearing in the Guardian the following day. See also The Keswick brothers by Alan Hankinson (Alpine Journal, 1974). His daughter, Enid Wilson, was a country diarist for over 30 years.

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The Singh project in pictures

The Singh Project is a photo exhibition that showcases the beauty and diversity of the two most ubiquitous symbols of Sikhism: the beard and turban. You can see it at Londons Framers Gallery from the 3 until the 15 November 2014. All photographs: Amit and Naroop

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The Singh Project: why turbans are the definition of style

A new exhibition about Sikh men and their headwear is only the latest sign that the unique look has a place on fashions radar

In pictures: the Singh Project

Including a sword-wielding man in his sixties, a smiling boy, a polo player and finger-clicking magician, the male Sikh subjects of The Singh Project are wildly different but they are also united by the signifiers of the religion the turban. Photographers Amit and Naroops exhibition at the Framers Gallery also shows how the look now has a place on fashions radar. Dapper young Sikh men in sharp suits are now a mainstay of mainstream street style blogs and Sikh jewellery designer Waris Ahluwalia something of a figurehead starring in Gap adverts and Wes Anderson films.

Sikhs themselves are behind the shift. Along with Amit and Naroop, Pardeep Bahra, the 23-year-old fashion blogger and Sikh set up Singh Street Style in 2013, describing himself as the Sikh sartorialist. He has since scored himself nearly 35,000 followers on Instagram, modelling gigs with Adidas and Samsung and a line of sweatshirts with a cartoon Sikh character. Amit and Naroop have his seal of approval. They have done an amazing job bringing out a sense of mystique, magic and beauty in their subjects, says Bahra. Coming from a similar line of work I feel this is an excellent way to not only celebrate the image of a Sikh, but to normalise the image of a turban and beard through the eyes of the west. Normalised perhaps. Fashionable? Definitely.

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The first time I visited Jamaica was as unnerving as a sci-fi movie

A new book, 90 Degrees of Shade, captures 100 years of Caribbean history. The rich, evocative photographs are recognisable to any child of the diaspora

Any black Briton who travels regularly from these shores to a country of origin in Africa or the Caribbean has a very good sense of what we have and what we leave behind. The first time I visited Jamaica which didnt happen until my 20s was as unnerving as a sci-fi movie. Everyone did all of the things necessary to make a society work: driving the buses, keeping the peace, running the banks, driving the ambulances, reading the news, arguing the politics. But everyone was black. That did more for my sense of self than 100 worthy speeches.

Flitting between continents, you appreciate the qualities of each. Here we have the certainties and the advantages of a first world economy: infrastructure, rule of law, a still enviable democracy. There, these things are not always so advanced, and yet the sights, sounds and experiences of the Caribbean creep under the skin. One can see, hear and feel them for the first time, and yet feel familiarity.

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Rastas, royals and revolution: 100 years of photography in the Caribbean

A new photography book examines culture, politics, religion and tourism in the Caribbean over the past century. Here are some of the best images

90 Degrees of Shade: Image and Identity in the West Indies 100 Years of Photography in the Caribbean
by Paul Gilroy and Stuart Baker is published by Soul Jazz Books on 3 November

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The weekend in pictures

A selection of some of the best images from around the world, including All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead

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Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism finalists announced

DP Review News - Sun, 02/11/2014 - 11:00

The 2014 Nikon-Walkley Awards finalists and the Photo of the Year winner have been announced. The Walkley Awards seek to recognize excellence in Australian media, and in partnership with Nikon, highlight outstanding work in photojournalism across a number of categories. Take a look at this year's finalists and Photo of the Year winner. See gallery

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Mother and Father review Paddy Summerfield's chronicle of loss and abiding love

Summerfields profoundly sad and beautiful photographs document two lives drawing to a close together

My father works the garden, tends the land, and cares for my mother, who is trapped in her illness. And here I am, photographing them, from the house windows and in the garden. I photograph them through the seasons, time and time again; there is a mystery and melancholy in these distant figures.

Mother and Father is an act of remembrance, deeply personal and acutely observational. It is also a reminder of the power of a certain kind of photographic attentiveness that has become increasingly hard to find in an age of manipulated image-making. Paddy Summerfields black-and-white images, taken in the expansive, well-tended garden of his parents house in Oxford and on a family holiday in north Wales, span the years 1997 to 2007. During that time, he tells us: I recorded my mothers loss of the world, my fathers loss of his wife and, eventually, my loss of them both.

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Debbie Harry by Chris Stein: a life in pictures

Blondies Chris Stein and Debbie Harry talk about a new book of intimate photos taken by Stein during the bands post-punk glory days

When Debbie Harry and Chris Stein sit down beside each other on a black leather sofa, things look exactly as they should. These two are no longer boyfriend and girlfriend, as they were in the early days of Blondie, but after 40 years of leading one of the most influential bands of the past century they remain almost palpably a pair: Debbie and Chris, Chris and Debbie.

Harry first saw Stein from the stage, in 1974, while she was singing in a girl group called the Stilettos. He was silhouetted in the crowd and, at the time a nervous performer, she directed the songs to him. They met after the show and the rest is pop history: they became an item, began writing songs together and Blondie, a pop band born out of a punk spirit, went on to have hit after hit, while retaining the scrappy insouciance that defined downtown New York in the 1970s. Songs such as Call Me, Heart of Glass and Atomic have attained a kind of indelibility: the power of Harry and Steins musical partnership is obvious. Less well known is the kind of chemistry they have as photographer and subject.

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