For my final Open University essay at the end of the ‘Renaissance Art Reconsidered’ unit, I chose to write about a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci that he drew in the last year of his life while living in France. This was an enjoyable essay to do, not least because of all the nice books I bought, but being the 500th anniversary of his death there were national exhibitions of his drawings, including one in Southampton, that I visited to see this drawing in the flesh.
This essay formed part of my Open University study for the module A344 – Art and its Global Histories and was my final essay at the end of the unit. For this essay, we had to formulate and research a subject based on the shift of art history away from a western viewpoint, and look at the different issues this involves. I chose to study the Durbar Room at Osborne, and compare this with the Viceroys’ house in New Delhi. I scored 80/100 which I was pretty chuffed with.
Being a photographer who is interested in both local history and art history, it seems fitting to look at a few pictures by the one of the most famous British Victorian photographers and sometime Isle of Wight resident, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879).
Much has been written and reviewed about Cameron’s work, not all of it in a favourable light. However, I think there is a lot more to her work than meets the eye (semi-unintentional pun). Cameron took up photography seriously at 48, and rather than amassing a body of work over her lifetime, nearly all her major works were taken during an 11 year period while living in England.
Film photography. I’m lucky/old enough to remember film well. I started out on my photographic adventures with my fathers Contax 139 and a few rolls of XP2 way back in 1998, taking photos of my friends mountain biking. Back then the only choice was what film to use, then the three day wait to see if what you’ve photographed actually turned out ok. Digital turned the photo-world upside down. It made the learning curve quicker and easier with instant feedback. It levelled the playing field and allowed everyone to be able to take a half-decent image.
Many were saying that digital would spell the end of film but it could never match up with the quality, spawning the ongoing film vs digital debate. Indeed, lots of film stocks have now been discontinued as companies make the shift into more profitable areas. However, in recent years film has started to have a resurgence. Is this simply nostalgia for a past golden age, or is this the start of a new, more sustainable chapter in the story of photography?