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A journey of momentary encounters with others…
This book invites you on a journey of momentary encounters with others.
It is a visual account of the people we meet on the streets.
It is also a textual account of our approach to urban portraiture.
Image and text combine to explain: what urban portraiture is, the ethics of capturing other people, ways of seeing, getting started, developing yourself, getting closer to people and what to do with the resulting images.
In short, we provide a guide to how to undertake urban portraiture through written word and image.
What is Urban Portraiture
Ways of Seeing
Getting Closer Still
After the Streets
The purpose of this book
The purpose of this book is to introduce you to the world, challenges and pleasures of Urban Portraiture. Keith Moss’s photographic brilliance combine with Robert McMurray’s writing to guide you through a completely new way of approaching and photographing people in the street. It is a visual study in ways of seeing, relating to and capturing other people – an exploration of what it means to observe and recreate the world around us.
This beautiful and engaging publication is designed for complete novices as well as experienced photographers looking for a new challenge. The book encourages you to consider: issues of context, who to approach and how to gain their trust to produce uniquely intimate images. While based on decades of experience and scholarly thinking the book is designed to be light and engaging. Images dominate the book. The text works with the images to explain how they were taken and how you might do the same.
Keith Moss is an international photographer who has worked with prestigious photography brands such as Leica UK, Phase One and Ilford and with international companies, fashion leaders and universities. His passion is Urban Portraiture and teaching others to photograph the people they meet.
Robert McMurray is Professor of Work & Organisation at the University of York. He employs image and visual methods in his research, writing and teaching.
Book Size is A4 Landscape orientation, total pages are 189.
Coffee Stop Publishing ISBN number: 978-1-9997831-0-5
Urban Portrait Book Reviews.
For much of history the portrait was for the powerful and the wealthy, the aim as much to show the image the sitter wished to project as the artist wished to achieve (and to be paid for). Few were like Oliver Cromwell, wishing to be shown warts and all.
Photography changed this, democratising the portrait. Much however remained mannered – the family portrait or the official photograph, with formalistic poses or arty backgrounds. Urban Portraits are of people on their daily business, in shops or cafes, on the street or in the market, in their milieu. Photographer meets subject not as hired hand and subject gives freely of themselves for no cost.
Keith’s background in fashion photography, but also in the craft of developing and enlarging, show clearly in the quality of the photos that shine from the pages of this sumptuous book. Filmed entirely in black and white and mostly in film, the book sets out to show what is possible and ethical, and guides you chapter by chapter as to the development of your skills, technique and how to engage, treat and photograph your subject.
The advice flows from Keith’s experience of the photography and the importance of getting the image right the first time. Not merely because the subject gives freely of themselves but also skills of the darkroom require a good negative. That image should reflect the person you saw, rather than a processed image of what software can deliver. The subjects expose their souls, the photographer has a duty to capture that without artifice other than sound technique.
In this era of the digitised image available free online and the advice of numerous practitioners on online videos, why buy a book? The answer to me lies in physicality of photography, it is a physical medium, printed on paper that changes and defines an image, and on paper can you see the sumptuousness of the final result. The logical guide and organisation of techniques and ethics in written form is not just a great bonus though, it is an essential part of this book.
Finally, apart from its personal inspiration to me to be out photographing in film (with one of Keith’s film cameras) is that the portraits in the book are also self-portraits of Keith – a humane man, capable of forming an easy bond and giving of himself. What shines from the page is his personality, even if behind the camera. All together this is a lovely and rewarding work in so many ways.
INSIGHTFUL PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE HUMANIST TRADITION
In recent years photo publishing has been awash with ‘How To’ books, as digital developments initiate a new generation of photographers. However, if photography was just or even predominantly about technique we would all be Henri Cartier-Bresson! The photographer who wants their work to have an immediate as well as a lasting impact has to have more.
The strength of this book is its unusual mix of street photography and environmental portraiture and if there’s one message that comes from it loud and clear it is that respecting and empathising with your subject is the key.
Keith Moss’s professional background is in magazine and lifestyle photography and he has transferred his ‘people skills’ to the capture of humanity at work and play. For Keith the challenge was to take his photography above the level of passive voyeurism.
Make no mistake, he sets the bar high aesthetically as well as spiritually but what comes over on page after page is his passion for analogue and his commitment to the dignity of his subject. Flicking through I’m reminded of the work of the 1950s French ‘Humanist school’ like Boubat, Doisneau and Willy Ronis. Fast company, I know but not an invidious comparison. For Keith Moss has the same instinctive engagement with the people in his images.
And this is the ‘How To’ message I take from this excellent book.