EPUK Editorial Photographers United Kingdom and Ireland. The private mailing list and public resource for editorial photographers

Henna, by Michael J Amphlett

1 December 2023

Lottie Davies invited me to submit something for the December 2023 EPUK Showcase, so I actually submitted two images of the same subject. She’s chosen the close-up of the original subjects’ hands, and I’m very happy with that!

As I’m sure many of you will realise, the Indian sub-continent is a boundlessly interesting place to visit, both for its people and their extraordinarily colourful lifestyle and culture. But, everything seems to step up a gear during the wedding season, with even more colour and, more audibly, lots of noise from musicians and recorded music blaring at ridiculous volume from loudspeakers at the wedding receptions!

In many parts of India, the months of November through February are considered the most auspicious period in which to marry, and there’s plenty of evidence to support that if you ever visit during these months. It was estimated that 3.2 million weddings would take place in India during the November 2021 - February 2022 period!

Be it a high value wedding of wealthy city peoples at an expensive hotel, with hundreds of guests or, a small rural wedding in a remote village, gold is heavily featured. Ladies wear their characteristic Nath (nose-pieces) through a pierced left nostril, with a golden chain connecting it to a hair band, or the left ear. Gold armbands and necklaces are also worn, all of which show marital status and wealth. However, in the Showcase image here, we see the traditional use of Mehndi - temporary decoration of the skin - more commonly known as ‘Henna’. Henna is produced from the dried and pulverised leaves of the Henna plant (Lawsonia inermis), a smallish shrubby plant which grows in Asia, and is used for decoration of the hands and feet with traditional patterns, contrasting with the colourful armbands and garments worn by the women. In Rajasthan, the grooms are often decorated with henna, and just as elaborately as the women!

At 73, and having now retired from a 27 year digital imaging career in 2020, I’m not certain how many more visits I’ll make to India, so it’s lovely to be asked to submit a picture and look back through the catalogue of images I’ve made over the years. But, as I said in my September 2019 Showcase, and will repeat here, as I believe it still rings true, regarding photographing in India - “the rewards are many and great, but I do worry that these rural lives will change, or worse, unwelcome change will be forced upon them.” Our photography documents these changes, often unwittingly, as things seem to change so quickly and dramatically these days. Maybe nostalgia and history go hand-in-hand.

The Showcase image is part of a personal portfolio. Shot on a Nikon D3S, with a Nikkor 28-105mm at 55mm, ISO 800, 1/80 sec at f8.


Artists of Scotland, by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

1 November 2023

“Yes, we can be photographed, but to let you know there’ll be two of us and we’ll most probably be wearing boxes on our heads.”

"Eh, ok”, I thought, smiling, as I read the email from two Glasgow-based artists I’d written to.

For the last year I've criss-crossed Scotland photographing portraits of prominent artists in their studios, a self-initiated project to follow more my interest in art, and to also learn more about the contemporary art scene here. In my career I’ve photographed so many people, politicians, authors, sports people, but I came to realise in late 2022 that I’d never really photographed many artists in Scotland, only a few. Considering we have the internationally renowned Glasgow School of Art, and multiple Turner Prize winners and nominees, it seemed a glaring omission in my documentation of Scotland.

Since my career’s work was acquired by the University of St Andrews for their photography collection in 2021, and they obtained all I’ve shot in the last 33-years of freelance life, I’ve become ever more attuned to the idea of what I need to do in what I now think of as Part Two of my career - and that is to really concentrate on photographing and documenting Scotland. And hence to the artists, and photographing two perfectly sane, articulate, educated grown men in a small studio wearing cardboard boxes on their heads, the duo of internationally respected artists known as Beagles & Ramsay.

I contacted a few household name artists here in Scotland, telling them who I was, what I wanted to do - to photograph 100 artists of Scotland, and from there the project began. As I photographed each artist I’d ask them, “who do you think I should photograph?”, and the list grew organically. I’ve since photographed over 115, from household name artists such as Alison Watt, Ken Currie, Peter Howson, and many Turner Prize-winners and nominees; Christine Borland, Nathan Coley, Martin Boyce, and then also long-established artists and those just starting out on their journey but already being noticed. I thought 100 might be enough, but having gone over that number I realise there are still many artists I should photograph, so for a while longer I may continue the project.

It’s been an inspiring journey, not only do I have 100 great portraits of those who contribute to the cultural fabric of our nation, but I’ve also had 100 great conversations, seen great art, learned and made new friends. With my Canon 5Ds as a passport, I’ve been privileged to enter studios I never thought I’d get the chance to visit. I’ve seen some great places, some small, some in back bedroom and garages, all with unique personalities.

A selection of the portraits, about 40-45 of them, will be exhibited at a small gallery here in Glasgow at Stallan Brand Architecture + Design, in November and December this year, opening next Monday, 6th November.  There are talks underway with a few other parties which may lead to further exciting news for the project and the portfolio, and in the coming weeks I’ll keep pursuing a few more artists I’d like to photograph, either with cardboard boxes on their heads, or without.

Artists of Scotland, by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert is on show from 6th November - 21st December (except 8th Dec), Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm. Weekends by appointment. Stallan Brand Architecture + Design, 80 Nicholson Street, Glasgow, G5 9ER. Exhibition supported by Street Level Photoworks, Scottish Contemporary Art Network and Greyfriars Art Store.

'Don't Tell Me How To Run My Art School' - Guildford School of Art Sit-In, 1968, by John Walmsley

1 October 2023

At the time, this student protest was the longest ever sit-in at an educational institution in the UK, and it led directly to students and staff being invited onto the Advisory Boards at schools, colleges and universities across the country.

'Don't Tell Me How to Run My Art School', a new publication by John Walmsley and Claire Grey, tells the inside story.

On 5th June 1968, Guildford School of Art experienced an unprecedented student revolution; the start of a sit-in about their narrow education and their desire to change it, that lasted for eight weeks. This event marked several firsts in the UK’s education system, including the involvement of parents in higher education, a local authority taking its own students to the High Court, over forty teachers being suspended at once, and the ATTI lecturers’ union blacklisting a school. Though not the only student occupation that year, the firing of seven full-time tutors sparked a three-year campaign for their reinstatement that reverberated throughout the country’s educational institutions. For those who were present, the experience was both creative and frightening, and those involved have never forgotten. The foresight and dedication of Claire Grey in keeping a detailed diary, as well as collecting a vast array of typewritten notes, posters and press clippings, has resulted in the true inside story of the sit-in being told. She has captured not only the order in which events took place, but also the feelings and reasons that influenced the protest. Her diary entries transport us back to those times, making Claire the custodian of an invaluable historical record. John’s photographs from the time are remarkable, especially considering he was still a student. His early work is a unique and insightful look into protest from an insider’s perspective.

As John recalls; "Three weeks into the occupation of the art school building, Surrey County Council cut off the electricity to try to get the students to give up. We, of course, just carried on, using tilly lamps and candles so we could still type up our reports and documents to send to the press and to use in our meetings. Shooting in such low light and with film was difficult. I had to rest my elbows on anything solid nearby, use slow shutter speeds (think, 1/15 of a second), and hold my breath. The film was pushed (developed for longer) so I ended up with ‘golf ball’ grain. Even with all this care, I still needed a big dollop of luck and, looking back, some have worked very well. Film was expensive so we bought it in 200 feet rolls and loaded it into empty, used cassettes, measuring it in arm widths. One and a bit full stretch arm widths was about right. Doing it this way did save a few pounds but also introduced light leaks, scratches and fingerprints so was not ideal. I do remember washing the processed films for the complete recommended time, no short cuts, to remove as much chemical as possible. It seems to have rewarded me because the vast majority of negs are usable some 55 years later."

Book Cover Image

The book, already in the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, is available to buy from John's website at £25 HERE

Potato in Motion by David White

1 September 2023

I created this image as an entry into the 2021 Potato Photographer of the Year competition (RIP).

In case this esteemed competition passed you by, it was the child of Benedict Brain’s brain, and was first launched in 2020, inspired by photographer Kevin Abosch’s image of a potato which sold for $1million in 2016.

I was attracted to the competition for a few reasons: all proceeds from the comp’s £5 entry fee went to The Trussell Trust, to help provide food for those in poverty, there was no rights grab, and it seemed to be a light hearted rebuke to all the money grabbing, rights grabbing photography competitions which proliferate now. Plus, I was bored, and it seemed fun. Then I got carried away.

This is a series of images of a potato in motion, the motion only evident when you image a spud at 120,000 frames a second. It even leaves the ground at one point. This is a scientific revelation, but it is apparently of no use to the scientific community. Bastards. I have had some interest from Heston Blumenthal however.

I had entered the comp the previous year, managing a solid 2nd place, and was determined to better that. Unfortunately the esteemed judges did not appreciate the revelatory nature of the content (I blame Martin Parr, he clearly knows nothing about potatoes) and I came 6th. I therefore cannot claim to be the greatest potato photographer in the world.

Trafalgar Square in the heatwave of '76 by Brian Harris

1 August 2023

The summer of 1976… I remember it oh so well…it was hot with a capital ‘H’….

I was just starting to crack the London national press freelance market getting regular ‘shifts’ (at about £15 a day) from The Sun, BBC News, The Times and UPI (United Press International)…it was a busy time often working two shifts a day starting at 8am and going past midnight at The Sun….great times to be a stringer!

In the middle of the summer the country experienced a major heat wave with stand pipes in the streets supplying water and dozens of fires on the heathlands of Surrey and Sussex. I was based in Islington and so I got the London ‘Hot Weather’ gigs for all my clients…not too difficult as London was melting.

This picture was shot in Trafalgar Square whilst walking around town hunting for a picture…it was never published as it was almost impossible to print with extreme shadows and highlights. I found the neg a couple of years back and made a nice scan playing with the details in Photoshop until producing this image…a memory of nearly 50 years back!

Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight by Patrick Eden

1 July 2023

I have lived on the Isle of Wight most of my life. This is the view from the Military Road down into Freshwater Bay and along the cliffs to Tennyson Down. The road runs along the dramatic south west coast. It was part of the coastal defence network and was upgraded during the 1930s as a link between forts and barracks, protecting the Island from invasion. Hitler considered occupying the Island as part of his invasion plan for Britain, “Unternehmen Seelowe” (Operation Sealion). This area is also part of the Jurassic Coast known for its geology and the proliferation of fossils, most notably the Iguanodon, a large herbivorous dinosaur.

The north coast fronts onto the Solent, celebrated for sailing events and maritime history. The main event is Cowes Week, it is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world, with up to 8,000 competitors crewing about 1000 boats. It has been running since 1862.

This project has been going on since I started photography back in the late 70s. I am considering a small book and exhibition sometime soon.

Robert Plant at Jazz à Vienne 2014, by Tim Motion

1 June 2023

Vienne is on the site of an old Roman town situated on the Rhône River thirty kilometres south of Lyon. Being an avid jazz enthusiast and photographer, I had discovered the festival in Nice on the Cote d’Azur in 1982 after five years shooting music in dark clubs and old friend Ronnie Scott’s in Frith Street London, although my first jazz photographs were taken at the Lisbon Jazz Festival in 1971. When passing through Vienne on the A7 autoroute a friend told me about the festival which had started in 1984. I attended in 1988 and have been going ever since on the way south. Occasionally I flew back to the UK for an important commission, although one year I covered five festivals including San Sebastian. There were often commissions for editorial photography and descriptive text, and meanwhile I was building my Jazz & Blues Archive – An Eye for the Sound.

For Jazz à Vienne the main events take place in the Theatre Antique, a Roman amphitheatre seating eight thousand people. Access to the press photographers’ pit in front of the stage requires clambering over a very uneven and well-worn Roman wall in near darkness. Then begins the contest for the best position between twenty-five very competitive photographers. However, on this first night of the festival featuring Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin in a solo appearance, no one was allowed in the pit. This is becoming more frequent at festivals for photographers, who are often stationed a very long way back behind the mixing desk, from where a 500mm lens is not enough! I had to find a ‘view’ from the audience which was packed to the front of the stage on the wide flat area below the steep stone terraces of the amphitheatre. Who sat there 2000 years ago?! Now the only option is a crowded passageway behind this, about 50 metres from the stage with the seating already raised. Fortunately, being tall at 6’2”, I managed to find a narrow sightline between two peoples’ heads, glad that I had my monopod and prayed that they wouldn’t put their heads together.

Here is the full frame I was able to achieve at 200mm. Camera: Nikon 800E, Nikon VR 70-200mm f2.8. Exposure: 1/500th f4. ISO 800, not much light and not always on the performer! This was literally my last shot out of about fifty, before we were moved away, being over the proscribed time limit. I feel that it is a poignant image of a great old rocker from one of the greatest rock bands, expressing emotion, passion and dedication to the music.

A print from the cropped image of Robert Plant measures 1,20m x 0,85m, and has been exhibited at the AdLib Gallery in Fulham and the JM Gallery in Portobello Road. I feel that it is a poignant image of a great old rocker from one of the greatest rock bands, expressing emotion, passion, and dedication to his music. Considering the shoot conditions and enlargement the details are very well maintained. I have another project in the pipeline for an exhibition in the City later in the year with some of my personal favourites, perhaps comprising a separate showing of my desert and aerial work.

Here are some images from Vienne. All photographs ©Tim Motion/Jazz&Blues Archive