Saturday, 12 February 2011

Lions and photographers


This is the lion called Peace, one of four outside the Victoria Hall in Saltaire. (For more info about the lions and pictures of all four, click here.)  The photo would be improved by using a camera that would blur the background a bit, but mine (not a DSLR) doesn't, apart from in very specific lighting conditions.  However, I'm using it to illustrate an interesting little story....

I was coming home from work last Tuesday evening, and the daylight was beginning to fade.  As I walked up Victoria Road, I kept seeing flashes of light, and as I got nearer I realised it was a photographer taking pictures of one of the stone lions.  Not just any old photographer... you could tell this one was a Pro, kitted out with a stepladder and two assistants, one holding aloft an umbrella reflector.  I was mildly interested - but, living in a World Heritage Site, you do get used to seeing folks with big cameras.  Frankly, I was tired and in a grumpy mood as well (!) so, although I vaguely considered going and having a closer look and maybe even chatting to and photographing the photographer, I decided that - all things considered - I couldn't be bothered.

I was interested to see, the very next day, via Google Alerts for Saltaire, a whole new set of 31 photos of Saltaire on the Web (including, of course, the lion - War).  The photographer was Christopher Furlong, Senior Staff Photographer, Getty Images Europe.  It is always interesting to me to see other photographers' interpretations of Saltaire: what catches their eye, how they view the scene, how they tell the story of the village.  There are some evocative photos within this set.  Have a look and tell me what you think....

16 comments:

  1. I suspect that with the kit he was using he probably wanted the background sharp, however, by the 'high key' lighting effect he has used I think he has done a similar job of isolating the lion from the background; same idea, different technique. Would have been interesting to talk to him.

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  2. Hi Jenny!

    I've just had a look at Christopher Furlong's photographs - as I'm not a photographer and have absolutely no training/knowledge of what constitutes a great picture as opposed to a mediocre one other than my own personal preference, I'm not qualified to comment.

    I will, however, offer my own opinion and that is: obviously, CF has taken some really artistic shots, different from those an amateur would ever consider or know how to frame and obviously his work as a professional is highly esteemed.

    Were I to be asked to compare quality etc., I'd not be able to - but, as far as I'm concerned, your photography is truly amazing, Jenny and I feel the way you present Saltaire on your blog is marvellous (and, in this particular instance, I personally prefer your lion picture to his).

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  3. Interesting. A good many book covers in the making there I suspect. Perhaps we all should swap sites occasionally and see what we come up with in each others' back yard.

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  4. He got the chance to be there on a day when the light was especially beautyful; And I guess he could enter some places where you can't go. Some of his clichés are interesting like the chimney seen from down, or the reflection in the water.I also liked the lines of colors in the street; But he did not show the real and deep soul of the city like you do by living there every day.

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  5. Yeah, those are pretty amazing photos, but I like yours better.

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  6. That lion is amazing! I want him in my backyard garden! lol! Of course he would look completely out of place there. But he would be fun to sit on anyway! :)

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  7. Christopher Furlong's photo of the lion shows it needs a clean ;-) I prefer your black & white.

    (You could blur the background in Photoshop. If you tell me how you did the red leaves, I'll tell you how to blur the background ;-))

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  8. It is possible to select the background on Photoshop and blur it but I think I prefer your result. The contrast between fore and back is just right. I just love it when you give us a link! They are so interesting! The power of the internet and this blogging site is amazing!

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  9. To be brutaly honest, I didn't really like his shot of 'stockings hanging'... it really feels like 'professional photograph-treating-local people's-daily-life-as-a kind-of-artistic-object' and personaly I don't really into this taste... :)
    The difference is that this is someone who came once to Saltaire and you, Jenny, you are living and taking photos in all different kinds of seasons, conditions... for example when you went walking with your friend, the pass was floded etc... all that details give your photos its own real authenticity... and I really like this way of living photos this way!
    In the end it makes no sense to compare... Your lion must agree to this yes Lionel?

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  10. Thanks for all your interesting comments. Actually I do know how to blur the background in Photoshop but it didn't give a good effect on this photo. I preferred the light vignette in the end.

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  11. I like some of his photos very much, but they lack the insight which comes from your familiarity with Saltaire and I honestly believe that some of your photos are at least equal in quality with his.

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  12. Been over to look at his photographs and have to admit they are great, but then the day was particularly gorgeous and HE had an assistant to hold his umbrella and steady his step-ladders didn't he? Plus his camera is probably super-double-duper etc. Anyway what I'm saying tho' his are good I prefer yours and your writing is so much more personal because you live there! ;)))))

    Jane

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  13. I like his name! Nice technique too.

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  14. I'm going to have to return later to see the professional photographer's work, but I can say that your work here is lovely, Jenny.

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  15. I also took the time to go see CF's work and I agree with many here: his work is artistically excellent (some shots better than others), but he honestly pales next to your authentic portrait of YOUR town, not only in photos well take, but stories well told. You deliver a depth that simply is not there in his images. If I were to choose between the two of you to create a coffee table book, you'd win hands down, Jenny. (No offense to CF intended.) There is a reason I keep coming back!

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  16. I truly love your lion picture more. Seriously. ~Lili

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