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Wednesday, 16 November 2016


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Thanks for the heads-up on Jane Bown's book -- ordered!

Daniel Meadows revisited people from his 1970s Free Photographic Omnibus photographs.


Your Rephotography item brings back so many memories of my early college days but without any photos, darn it. Two friends burning their draft cards - one later becoming head of a local environmental organization and the other a successful attorney - and, of course, neither retaining their earlier times "dress codes". Thanks for inciting the recollections.

Are you aware of the Brown Sisters project by Nicholas Nixon?

Most remarkable. A few years ago, I saw it in a wonderful exhibition.

Apologies for "throwing a spanner in the works", but there are Panasonic cashback deals available here in the UK, and they are NOT quoted as being available via Amazon UK purchases. If anyone buys via that link, it could cost them £100 more than elsewhere. Panasonic don't list Amazon amongst their eligible retailers.

Mike, I suspect there are a fair few UK fans of the site would rather support it by purchasing via your affiliate links, if you had one for the likes of Wex. Have seen others mention it before, but never any response from yourself as to why not. So, why not?! I personally prefer them over Amazon for most costly photo bits and pieces, and have also purchased quite a few secondhand bits from them. They may be our nearest equivalent to your B&H.

Details of Panasonic promotions... and participating/eligible retailers:

Wex, and claim back £100:

[There are a great many photo equipment retailers and discounters, some of whom undercut the major sources in price, and some of those are reputable and some not. As a matter of long policy I only recommend those I know to be reputable and safe to buy from. Beyond that, you're on your own. --Mike]

I have 'A Lifetime of Looking' by Bown (and the Gruyaert). I agree, it's inspirational, and should be in your collection if you have any interest in street, portrait, or the UK in the second half of the 20th century. However I was astonished when I read that there is no "r" in her name. I had to go and check the covers of my books by her – and right enough! All this time I was "seeing" an "r" where one didn't exist! (Especially ironic given the title of the book!) So that's my humbling experience for the day...

And by the way, a study of Jane Bown (got it right!) is the perfect antidote for "latestitis". Jane used only the same type of simple film camera for almost her entire career (an Olympus OM1), seems to have had few lenses, hardly if ever used flash or a tripod, and probably didn't know how to spell "photoshop" having never moved to digital. She even preferred if at all possible to use one exposure value: about 1/60 at f/2.8. My favourite quote of hers came when she was asked why she took so few shots on an assignment (usually about 2 rolls) and she replied (I paraphrase) "Well I discovered that the best shots were at the beginning and at the end, so I just stopped taking the ones in between!"

Got to mention another Bown book, Unknown Bown 1947-1967. Most of the photos (if not all) were taken on a Rolleiflex. It's a lovely book full of sensitive street and reportage, reminiscent of Vivian Maier.

There is also a dvd about Ms Bown, Looking for Light: Jane Bown. Available from Amazon UK. Region 2 only. Which leads me to suggest Mike or another TOP reader might want to do an OT piece about all region dvd players.

I’m sitting here in Novelty, Ohio and have a whole bunch of dvds from other parts of the world which play on the all region player as easily as a domestic dvd.

It's a bit harsh to criticise Chris Porsz caliing his book New England. Surely it was the colonials who showed a lack of imagination when they re-named that part of North America, which I'm sure already had a name - they just had to ask ;-)
PS For a everything else that's happening on your side of the pond, always look on the bright side of life:

Go to MACFILOS.com read mike Evans on gx8 he is Leica person but head over heels w Panasonic and Leica Panasonic lens for that camera...ENJOY

Good to see Dave Lumb mentioning the great Daniel Meadows. Amazon UK has some very cheap 2nd hand copied of the book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bus-Free-Photographic-Omnibus-1973-2001/dp/186046842X as does Amazon in the US https://www.amazon.com/Bus-Free-Photographic-Omnibus-1973-2001/dp/186046842X

"40-140" in the GX8 article should read "14-140". I have that lens on the GX8 and it makes a great combination.

[Thank you! Fixed now. --Mike]

Peter Wright:
The same thing happens with The BerenSTAIN bears.

Mike wrote, " ... unfussy pictures with minimalist equipment ... "

What would constitute minimalist equipment today? A cell phone certainly but how many steps up the equipment ladder before minimalist no longer applies?

If Panasonic UK are not giving cashback on purchases from Amazon, I'd have to question why. I'd also have to question if you'd receive a manufacturer warranty, especially as Panasonic UK is currently giving a two year warranty, for a limited period.

The reason that I and other UK visitors to the site have recommended Wex, is because they are a large well established company that is well regarded, and to use your terminology, they ARE a major source. Hence the comparison with B&H. No grey imports, and no, they're not necessarily the cheapest.

Of course if you're happy to recommend folk pay an extra £100, and only have a maximum of a one year guarantee, from a non photo-centric company, rather than deal with "the UK's largest online specialist photographic retailer"... well, I'd also have to question why for that!


I am equally astonished as Peter Wright - the spine of my Jane Brown Exposures book has strangely morphed into Jame Bown Exposures! The spelling in all the bookmarked articles about her life has also been mysteriously altered.

I am totally mystified. Makes me wonder what other altered realities I've lived with. Mike now I understand, when you say everyone needs an editor.

It's inappropriate to criticise the title "New England". There is a part of Chris's home town of Peterborough known as New England. Not everyone takes the American world view.

[In that case, I take it back. --Mike]

Anybody been wandering around outside in the fog at night? Because it sounds like we have people leaking between worldlines here! In particularly, the one where it's Jane Brown and the one where it's Jane Bown. (I think of Larry Niven's story "For a Foggy Night" as the classic one on this.)

Dave Stewart is right about Wexphotographic and about Panasonic. In U.K. Panasonic regularly run cash backs and often give 3 year warranties but they usually only apply to bricks and mortar shops even though the purchase may be online. I think the latter is due to not undercutting shops that are holding stock. Wex does have an affiliate program:
I also see that it may be problematic for you to link to companies of which you have no personal knowledge.

It is no longer necessary to refer to us in "Great" Britain. Just plain Britain will do now. (Thinking about it, have you considered dropping the "United" bit?)

As others have said, there are active Panasonic UK promotions running which exclude Amazon UK as an approved retailer. WEX is probably the best known of the specialist photographic retailers in the UK but there are plenty of others to choose from, all of whom very good to deal with.

I would also note that the Amazon pricing of the GX8 is not currently especially competitive, not withstanding the eligibility for the Panasonic promotions. For example, the 14-42 kit can be had for between £749 and £800 from various photo specialists c/w Amazon's £999; the 14-140 kit from £1049 c/w Amazon's £1274 and the 12-35 kit from £1179 c/w Amazon's whopping £1567. When you bear in mind the additional £100 saving that can be had on top of these prices, the choice would appear clear!

Regarding the book title "New England". I live in the tropical paradise of New Britain literally half a globe away from Old Britain. The neighboring island is New Ireland. I produce websites and stuff for small time tourism businesses on both islands -- which has led me to discover the world's WORST search term -- New Ireland.

First google hit is a bar in New York! LOL.

Cheers, Geoff

Peter Wright wrote "She even preferred if at all possible to use one exposure value: about 1/60 at f/2.8"
I have been told that when she would hand her (two) rolls of film over to The Observer darkroom, they would ask her what the lighting was like when she took the photos, and then develop the film accordingly.
She kept her camera in a shopping bag too, only bringing it out when there was something worth taking a picture of.

I'd like to bring together two pretty unrelated subjects from this post: Jane Bown & the GX8. Peter Wright says she used an Olympus OM1 a lot, which was my first SLR back in the late 70s.

There used to be a lot of articles declaring that "now" digital was as good as 35mm.This topic has died down somewhat. I wonder, is today's GX8 on par with the OM1 resolutionwise, especially where b/w is concerned? What would the differences in IQ/ appearance be?

Maybe one of you can enlighten me be it from practical experience or scientific deduction.

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