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Thursday, 09 June 2011


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Really enjoyed that video, thanks. You'll have to post again if he comes out with a book. I've been fortunate to have followed my daughter through eight years at her K-8 school (volunteering, and then teaching photography a little) and everyone became quite comfortable with me taking photos everywhere, so even though I like to think of myself as a landscape photographer, "kid" photography is now my largest body of work by far (only family shots come close).

Liverpool's our rival City (Manchester) in music and in sport. It's only 35 miles up the road and it's only our accents that set us apart, although I'd say Mancs have more attitude than chirpy scousers.

My neighbourhood was just like the one Trevor Paul captured and as I'm 40 on the 24th of Sep, I recon I'll go up and take a trip down memory lane.

I have some favorite negs from a Paris trip 20 years ago. No longer having a darkroom, I felt bad about not being able to personally produce more prints from them. That is, until a good friend offered to scan them for me (at a very high quality). I am now able to reproduce them in a new form, one that doesn't disappoint.

Couldn't have done this without both film and digital. So, as long as I'm here, I'm seeing the benefit from both. Once I'm gone, no one will likely care to reproduce them (from either negs or digital files) further, but at least I maintain a print portfolio for posterity. If I didn't care enough to print them, why should anyone else?

Thank you. For no obvious reason this post reminded me that I have some B&W negs from the 1974 World Championship bicycle road race held in Montreal that I have been meaning to have re-printed, since I did such a lousy job myself way back then. I hope I can find a lab that will do it. Eddy Merckx won that race, btw.

Thanks for the link to the video, Mike. Much appreciated.

Once again I'm reminded how important street photography is, especially for those generations that will come later. Street photography is a wonderfully easy, almost organic, way of capturing our history. And for creating the 'stories' we can hand down to our children.

Paul Trevor's images are only one man's tiny contribution, yet the power those images have now is immense, and immensely enjoyable!

Very nice work by Paul Trevor, a name unfamiliar to me until today! I was particularly struck by how similar his work is to that of Helen Levitt's. Floating through the bygone world of children in the streets. New York? Liverpool? Chicago? Shanghai? The city doesn't matter. The language was the same. Mostly gone forever.

Thanks so much for posting this, Mike.

I'm curious, Mike, how can you complain about people "tipping their memory cards onto Flickr" one day, then turn around and praise physical objects because you've happened across an unfiled binder of your photos that--by your own admission--could easily have never seen the light of day again the next day? (And that run-on sentence is a doozy. I'm quite proud of it.)

It seems to me that posting everything on Flickr or Facebook without editing is actually a BETTER archival/filing system than losing binders full of photos and counting on dumb luck to preserve them. Not that either solution is a good one, in my opinion.

What an inspiring video...

Ctein: Sorry, I should've posted my previous comment here.

"There isn't one in 100 of us whose digital files will be recoverable 40 years from now—and I'm not talking about theoretically, I'm talking about actually. As in, someone will be able to find them, open them, and share the pictures or make new prints."

I think you may be too pessimistic here. Storage is cheap, and is rapidly becoming distrubuted. I suspect that finding old website accounts (or the equivalent) full of pictures about which you had long since forgotten will be commonplace.

Perhaps I'm just being an optimist.

The flickr contacts of Paul Trevor's images aren't that bad!

They are worth a look especially for the comments where people in the photos have put names to the faces.

Fabulous to say the least. Not sure I could forget the above photo, had I taken it.

Classic work from a great photographer.Well worth flying over!

I too was thinking that these were the best children photographs I had seen since Helen Levitt. Would love to spend a day with these in a book.

Wondering if such a body of work could be made in today's climate?

Pretty well defines what I like in street photography, thank you for introducing him. This is begging for a book, please let us know if one is out or due in the near future.

Hey, Mike, there's some lovely photos in that video. Two I particularly like: Firstly, the shot at 1:51 that has the pole down the centre, the girl skipping on the right and, in the rear, a dog and an adult placing a toddler on the roof of the Zepher (!). The second is soon after, at 1:59, that has the family in the central doorway chatting to the young mothers on the footpath. There's the dynamic from the diagonal eyelines everywhere, including that of the child with the stool at left. Just to top it off, the girl with a bow in her hair, topless and eating, sitting in her own world down in the corner. Both shots are a pleasure to look at. The snogging photo in the den is a bit of a hoot.

The problem of using cloud storage, be it Facebook, Flickr, or even Dropbox, Google etc. is that any one of those companies could fail in 5 years, or 10 years, or 20 years. When that happens, the data will disappear, just ask Geocities users, Myspace, Friendster...

Wasn't there some talk of you doing a short lecture tour in Europe some time back or am I confusing you with someone else ?

I wouldn't imagine you would have much trouble covering your expenses, and then some, from your European fan base.

Whole new career. Lecture tours. TV and radio interviews. The whole carousel

Paul Mc Cann (Very tongue in cheek))

Absolutely lovely. How utterly carefree those kids appear to be.

Excellent. Thanks Mike.

"I think you may be too pessimistic here. Storage is cheap, and is rapidly becoming distrubuted. I suspect that finding old website accounts (or the equivalent) full of pictures about which you had long since forgotten will be commonplace.

Perhaps I'm just being an optimist."

I don't think so. Image loss in the digital era is purely a result of laziness, not technology. I too am fairly disorganized, and have sheets of negatives scattered about, basically inaccessible. My digital images are stored neatly and copied, without my intervention past putting the memory card in the reader and confirming that i want to import, to several widely dispersed and highly available physical locations; local R5, remote R5, one online account for image display, a second online backup just in case. And that's if you don't count the Google cache of the first online account. Also, if I wanted to, I could have my images sent to online distributed storage right from the camera, meaning that even if me, the camera, and the onboard storage media were destroyed a couple of seconds after exposure, the images would survive.

The The "store once" property of B&W film negatives is what's known as 'a single point of critical failure' in the systems business. Someone will be able to find them, open them, and share the pictures or make new prints, assuming that they weren't destroyed or damaged along the way. It would be difficult for me to destroy my digital images completely even if I wanted to. Film has it's attractions, but image permanence isn't one.

Make prints of the digital photographs that are important to you. Until they're printed, digital photographs only exist as collections of electrical impulses.

It's funny to see this as I was just pondering something similar. My generation (I'm 35) will be going through old shoeboxes of old prints of family, etc. when our parents pass on. When we pass on, our kids will be digging through hard drives full of images (some well organized, some not). Each generation is more tech savvy than the previous, and as long as we don't lock them out with passwords, I'm sure they'll dig through and discover!

I too am I'm a sucker for photos of this ilk. Love 'em. I could look at other people's piles of old snapshots for days on end, if they'd let me loiter in their living room for that long. Something about old pictures like this that stirs up strong emotions for me.

On a related note, I’ve been eyeing a stack of old boxes of slides in the front closest at my mother’s house for a year or so now. (The kind that mount on an old Bell & Howell slide projector.) There are two reasons I haven’t reached in and pulled them down yet:

1) I already have plenty of projects pending that I should attend to first, photographic and otherwise.

2) I’m afraid.

I was over there a couple of weeks ago and ran across a single slide marked “August 1969”. (Not in the main collection, but by itself in a drawer.) I held it up to the light and found it was a picture taken in the backyard I grew up in. Probably shot by my father with his Argus C3. The garage still looked brand new, and the door was up and there was a 1969 Chevy wagon parked inside. In the foreground there was a kid I grew up with and haven’t seen in probably 35 years. He had on a white short sleeved shirt and a tie, and he coming at the camera, dribbling a basketball. I felt a wave pass through me and even started to well up, and that was after holding just one slide up to a light bulb. Hard to say what eight whole boxes of pictures might do to me.

I agree with Paul's comments at the end about how this new generation of children's lives will not be documented with the freedom it has in the past. All this suspicion has created a negative environment where if you point your camera at a child (even your own) you're assumed to be a pedophile. Even if one has permission from the parents you can still be harrased by others. I remember a photographer being hassled by police for taking photos of a military cadet parade (he'd been invited by the school).

I just find it all so sad that an art form is being bullied in this way. The trick I have found is shooting with vintage film cameras seems to get less negative energy from the public and people become curious in a good way and will often approach me to ask questions or even say the classic "I didn't know they still made film" :)

people become curious in a good way and will often approach me to ask questions or even say the classic "I didn't know they still made film"

Confuse them by telling them they don't!

There's a whole Festival of Photography in Liverpool right now. Fabulous exhibitions all over the city, in traditional galleries, museum spaces, community halls, and even outdoors and on transport containers, definitely work a visit! Trevor's work is worth seeing but it's by no means the most stunning or thought provoking on show, partly because his new work isn't with the old(er), or maybe he hasn't begun yet, there was no indication either way. See @look2011 on Twitter and on the Look 2011 website.

Jill Jenning's work documenting The Maze and Long Kesh prisons, Vanley Burke's Redemption Songs, Edward Burtysnky's oil slick pictures. Ian Beesley's suffocating drift mine, Ciara Leeming, Tish Murtha, Colin McPherson, the staged 'street' of Mohamed Bourissa, Natalie Daoust, oh so, so many, so much to see.

At least take a look at the website, and if you can, go over for a week. The city is beautiful too, friendly and welcoming.

I grew up in Liverpool, and I was ten when those photos were taken, so I reckon I was the same age as those kids. Even though I didn't grow up in poverty, Liverpool was not really a segregated city, or didn't feel it to me, and the places and faces feel incredibly familiar to me. I know the black and white photos my dad took of me and my sisters playing have a very similar feel. They went straight to my heart.

Check the Flickr site again... and you will find a dimension of photography that we have almost never seen before. The people in these photos are being recognised by their freinds, relatives and neighbors...

This is an amazing new new twist to historical documentary photography.

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