Monday, 29 May 2017

Seventeen Ways of Looking at a Photograph

If you only ever drink the one brand of tea or kiss the same frog then this is for you.

I meet the 'old boys' in photography who only ever see a photo through the same blinkers:
'….. it doesn't really follow the rule of thirds'
Here's a bunch of seventeen blooms to let you look at a photograph differently.


  1. Does it move you? Do you get a pain like you're sick or lovesick?
  2. Are there elements that tell a story - the environmental portrait?
  3. Is this one small photograph to remember someone?
  4. Has the image been subjected to a 'Mac Attack'? Heaven forbid!
  5. Does the hero stand out clearly?
  6. Does the colour convey the message? Full, suppressed, BW, sepia.
  7. Does the photo look better up close or from a distance? (a long distance)
  8. Is it sharp? More importantly is the important bit sharp?
  9. How many rules does the photo break? More the better!
  10. View through a cheese grater. So you squirm culturally, morally?
  11. Is the hero separated from the rest of the image - focus, colour or tone.
  12. Look at the shape. Square, panorama, 4:3, 3:2, circular.
  13. How about the frame or matt - adding or subtracting from the image?
  14. Is there a title - does it add or subtract?
  15. Is the photograph unbearably light? Or does it lean heavily?
  16. Is the image fake and  plastic or does it breathe emotion.
  17. Did the photograph do good for the subject?



Entries for the 2017 Fremantle International Portrait Prize opens on 10 June 2017.
AU$12000 in cash and prizes. 






Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Ten Worst Sins of a Photographer

You may be a gun photographer but can you outdraw Wyatt Earp?
More importantly do you have photographic 'street cred'?

 How does your reputation stack up? Will you still be around in 10, 20 or 30 years. Here are TEN things you should NEVER ever do as a photographer. It matters not if you are pro or amateur.

1. Never steal another photographer's images (its ok to pinch his car, dog or blue suede shoes but don't ever touch his pics!)

2. If you do use another photographer's work, seek permission and give credit. If the photographer died some years before, don't bother writing them, they probably won't answer. (If they do write back you have a best seller on your hands). But at least give attribution e.g. photo by Bill Bloggs
'Not a Tripodectomy' - cartoon by Mark Allmark
after my bicycle prang

3. If a group is lined up shooting a subject NEVER walk in front of the group or plant your tripod. Tripodectomy is a painful and expensive procedure.

4. Avoid 'bagging' other photographers personally, (even if they deserve it).

5. Avoid bagging other photographers' images - there are special places and times for that!

6. Critical analysis of photographs in exhibitions or competitions is legitimate and encouraged. (However throwing sticky substances at images is discouraged)

7. Never, ever, ever cheat in Photographic competitions. If you get caught your name will be mud forever. Its worse if you don't get caught - karma will get you instead!

On the roof of a caravanserai in Iran - April 2017
8. Avoid technical one-upmanship. So what if you have the latest, biggest, longest double elliptical self-adjusting lens made personally by Donald Trump. Does that make you a better photographer? Well no. It means simply you own the latest, biggest, longest lens.

9. If a friend asks you to comment on their photograph avoid the word 'nice'. The word nice is literally the 'kiss of death'.

10. When you take a portrait shot, NEVER turn your back on your subject without thanking them first.

Know the Basics? - good! Join Dale Neill for his Advanced Photography Workshop at the University Club, UWA Extension, Crawley, Western Australia.