Tag Archives: Personalities

Open Vote – The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development puts staff photo competition images to online vote

If you fancy yourself as a judge and want to make a vote, follow the link to 50 photographs submitted to an annual competition arranged for staff working for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

This is the fourth year of the internal competition and I had the pleasure to help judge the winners with photographer, author and publisher Anthony Osmond-Evans who recently published Spirit of London a coffee-table book documenting “the changing seasons, personalities and cultures” making up today’s London. The standard of entries was high and both Anthony and I found it difficult at times to choose between images.

Over 800 single images were submitted in five categories to the competition. To cast your vote, follow the link to the Facebook EBRD Peoples’ Choice page. “Photos taken by our staff capture people, landscapes and events from our region and beyond. ‘Like’ the images that impress you the most and help us select the very best of 2012″ from 50 photos.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Awards & Competitions, Photography Books, Photography Shows Tagged: Anthony Osmond-Evans, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, Miranda Gavin, photo competition, Spirit of London, staff photo competition

Behind the Cover: Animal Friendships

To shoot this week’s TIME cover story about animal friendships — which you can read here — photographer Catherine Ledner called on years of experience of hanging out with cute critters, including her work on two books of animal photography, Animal House and Glamour Dogs. But this shoot offered something new, even for the animal pro. Most of Ledner’s work involves pictures of singular animals, while TIME’s portfolio features animal pairs. “I had to make sure that the dogs that were coming were actually friends,” she says.

With that criterion in place, Ledner found that shooting pairs of animals was no more difficult than shooting them one at a time. Like human models, the animals brought their own personalities to the set and Ledner was able to capture the interplay of those forces. Also like human models, the animals brought entourages (a.k.a. trainers) who kept the stars focused on the task at hand—and who conveniently stepped aside when Ledner wanted to let her subjects off the leash, so to speak.

But unlike human models, the animal managed to make the group shots look effortless. “If you’re shooting a group of people, you have an agenda of who you want looking in the lens and who you don’t,” Ledner says. “To get everyone to look good at one time is harder than it is, I think, when you have a bunch of animals.”

Which is not to say that the photographer’s sessions with her animal models were all fun and games. Ledner—who owns three dogs, two cats and four rabbits, but does not frequently photograph her own pets—says that animal photography requires putting cuddliness aside. While people may get relaxed and happy with background music and a festive mood, quiet is important to help a dog (or a bird or a rabbit, as the case may be) maintain his concentration. Luckily, almost all of the animals that participated in TIME’s cover shoot were seasoned professionals. One dog named Billy had sat for Ledner twice in the past. The only non-professional at the session was the rabbit, who was, in fact, a real friend of Billy’s. “The rabbit was so docile. It would let the dog put its head smack dab on top of it. There was just total trust between these animals,” says Ledner. And the photographer was hardly upset about shooting an amateur model: “The bunny’s only six weeks old—and how can you be a pro bunny?”

Catherine Ledner is an American photographer based in California and author of two books: Animal House and Glamour Dogs. See more here.

Read more in the magazine: The Science of Animal Friendships.

Alison Turner

I first discovered Alison Turner’s work when I was selecting images for the Center for Fine Art Photography’s exhibition, Dreams. Alison had a haunting image and I was happy to include it into the exhibition. This image was also included in the recent Art of Photography Show in San Diego, CA.


Alison is a traveler, and for the last three years as lived on the road with a tent, her dog, and her cameras. She’s interested in people and the real world, and along the way, she’s created some wonderful projects, one being the project featured below, Bingo Culture.

Bingo Culture: In 2010, I hit the road to photograph America solo; living out of a tent and bringing along my dog for the ride. I did not have a preconceived agenda, rather, I wanted to discover worlds that were unfamiliar and meet people I would not have otherwise encountered. Each day I would make a decision on what direction I would take. While traveling in Maine, I discovered a Bingo hall and it provoked a curiosity about a subculture that I was aware of but hadn’t given any thought towards. What I discovered was a community of dedicated players who travel to the same place, set up in the same spot, and bring along the same good luck charms with the hopes that this will be the day they win big.

It’s a place where hope and despair come hand in hand throughout the night as the mind lets go of everything but what numbers are being called. Each location I encountered would bring in a true sense of community, each with their unique set of personalities and characters. As I continued my travels and visits to Bingo Halls across America, I realized I was looking at a cultural phenomenon that will be lost to future generations.

“Portraits From a Job-Starved City” by Alec Soth

© Alec Soth, Magnum

With the current crisis, some locations in the USA are affected with higher unemployment than others. This is the case for Rockford, Ill with unemployment reaching 16%. Alec Soth portrayed a number of people from Rockford with the images are accompanied by audio where the subjects describe their relation to their jobs and the current crisis. More about the project can be read at the blog LENS from the NYT. The series is part of an article at the last Magazine issue of the New York Times, and it is most interesting for its sociological survey than the pictures themselves. It is intriguing that some subjects look at the camera while others look distant. I wonder if the poses were decided by Alec or it is a reflection of their personalities.

“Visual Biographies” by Baudouin

© Baudouin

Most portraits focus exclusively in portraying the subject in ways that the surrounding context of the image only serves as visual decor to make the picture more compelling. Baudouin, a French photographer, takes a different approach. He views the context, their possessions, as a defining part of his subjects, so that the portrait is not just about the person but about their personalities so defined by their personal goods and places. That expanded view of the portrait presents the pictures as visual biographies of the subject.

© Baudouin