Tag Archives: press photography

Don McCullin in conversation with Fergal Keane

Probably the most moving, revealing, honest, soul shaking and tear jerking talk I have ever been to, was last night’s event at Kings Place. Photojournalist Don McCullin opened his heart and shared his soul in a way I’ve only ever known from the very closest of friends. To say it captivated every ounce of my being would be putting it mildly.

Photojournalist Don McCullin in conversation with foreign correspondent Fergal Keane. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, UK. 24 April 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Photojournalist Don McCullin shares a story from the Vietnam War, during his conversation with foreign correspondent Fergal Keane. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, UK. 24 April 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Without doubt, Don McCullin is one of the very greatest photographers of our time. He was in conversation with foreign correspondent Fergal Keane OBE, as they discussed McCullin’s 60 year career, covering his extensive work in war zones across the world, his documenting of poverty throughout Britain, as well as his more recent, therapeutic landscape photography.

The evening though was made unforgettable by hearing, nay, feeling, the inner most thoughts and emotions of a journalist who has dedicated his life to showing the injustices suffered by many.

The Preoccupation With Gear

As the talk came to an end and I collected my emotions, it came as the biggest shock to hear the first question:

“What’s your favourite film stock?”…

Astonishing that the whole emotional and intellectually challenging rollercoaster ride of pure, uncensored heart felt emotions, dotted with the very best of the “stiff upper lip” humour as a temporary escape, a member of the audience’s only question was about the type of film used.

To think that the power of McCullin’s images have anything to do with the brand of film used was as astonishing as it was infuriating. McCullin of course answered patiently that it was Tri-X, but followed with his own question of “Let me ask you something; why did you come here tonight? What were you expecting?”. There was no cruelty in the question, just a genuine wonderment of why after his outpouring of emotion about the human condition, that the only thing thought worthwhile asking was about film. Of course there was no answer from the chap and the questions continued, thankfully about the actual work, not film, aperture, shutter speed or cameras.

Don McCullin’s words, on the wall in his retrospective at the Tate Britain.

Don McCullin’s words, on the wall in his retrospective at the Tate Britain.

During the talk, McCullin did share that sadly he felt that none of his pictures made a difference. Decades of wars continued, captured by his mastery of seeing and he moved onto wars which he didn’t cover. The futility in his voice was exceptionally moving. Thankfully, the final question of the night was as wonderful as it was powerful. A lady thanked him for his dedication and work. Saying that whilst when he was at school studying history, he didn’t have the advantage of seeing pictures by Don McCullin, she had the tremendous advantage of studying history and seeing the photographs by Don McCullin.

Some Thoughts

Anyone who knows me, knows that I take a huge interest in the equipment I use for my work, be that professional assignments and commissions, or personal work. However, this equipment is the tool which helps me create. Its part of the beginning process and not the be all and end all in my photography.

Photography has, what I think is a unique peculiarity about it. When some people look at an amazing photograph, they immediately jump to asking what camera and lens is used, or in the case of this chap from last night, what film was used. However, if the same person has a great meal in a restaurant, they would never ask the chef about the make of pans used, and the model number of the cooker used. When has anyone asked a great author about which pen, typewriter or word processor they used?

Its great to have nice gear. For me, when I started out as a photographer, I had an aperture priority only camera called the Nikon EM. It was great and I loved it. However, I outgrew it relatively quickly and I would miss photographs or not be able to craft them the way I had envisaged, because of it’s inadequacies. My second camera, a second hand, original Canon F1, had a terrible focusing screen and a stiff lens, which meant focusing became an issue when speed was of the essence. At that stage, as I began my career on my first local paper, the Ealing Gazette, I vowed that I would as much as possible, buy the best equipment I could, as I never wanted to miss a picture because my equipment wasn’t capable enough. I never wanted to blame my tools. I should take the blame, learn what I did wrong and improve.

Looking at photography, especially for those who enjoy this as the most wonderful hobby, or even those about to take the road to becoming a professional, I have one piece of advise; recognise the camera as a tool, for making wonderful imagery. Invest your money after having bought a decent camera and lens, at the beginning stages, into learning about photography. Books, exhibitions and articles written in proper, established photography magazines as well as magazines and newspapers which use great photography. Blogs and YouTube videos by self appointed gurus and influencers will do nothing for improving your photography. Search out workshops by real, proven photographers with real track records, not fake robot followed Instagram accounts by self appointed ambassadors. Photography becomes so much more joyous and interesting when one starts to invest time and money into the craft, rather than just the gear. The gear will always be there and once you know how to craft an image, then getting better gear and more lenses will elevate and not hinder your photography.

Mindfulness, intelligence and emotion, mixed with an aesthetic, a sense of timing and an understanding of the situation, makes the photograph. I’ve found that when a photographer genuinely starts to understand photography, then they truly appreciate the ability of their tools and this then elevate’s their imagery. It’s a long term thing and results in a life long love of photography. Those who just see the gear as being the important thing, will get lots of kit, get disillusioned quickly and leave photography. Play the long game is my advice.

Incidentally, if you haven’t yet seen his retrospective at Tate Britain, I can’t urge you strongly enough to catch it before it closes on the 6th of May 2019.

World Photo Day 2016

The 30th Anniversary Of My First SLR; The Start Of My Journey In Photography

Today is World Photo Day. Strangely, I didn’t have any assignments on and didn’t really shoot any pictures. I photographed the full moon as I got home, but the day was one of meetings and not of actual photography.

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A photograph of me at work for the Wembley Observer in 1990. I started my career in 1989 on the Ealing Gazette and moved to the Harrow Observer and Wembley Observer the following year. Shooting with a Canon T90 (my third ever SLR) and Metz 45 flashgun with bounce card. © Photo.

It is however the perfect day to reflect back on my photographic career, and specifically on how it all started. I’d always been interested in taking pictures as a child; I guess I liked the click of the camera and the flash going off! So much so that although our family had a Kodak, my Godfather bought me my own camera for my seventh or eight birthday; a Fuji 110 cartridge point and shoot.

As I got into my teens, I really began taking an interest in photographs and photography. The older brother of a friend of mine was a very keen, advanced and creative amateur photographer. I would often chat with him when visiting, look at his cameras and look at his latest pictures and bombard him with questions about technique, composition, camera gear and so on. He was always very patient and I guess could see my deep interest, so would answer all my silly questions and let me play with his (and his father’s) lovely array of Nikon cameras.

In 1986, as I was approaching my 16th birthday, I had saved up my pocket money and would scour the pages of the Argos catalogue, looking at Zenit and Praktica cameras, day dreaming that one day I would have my own real camera! An SLR that I could manually focus and choose the exposure settings as I wanted them.

I mentioned to my self appointed mentor that I was getting ready to pop to Argos and buy A Zenit or Praktica. He suggested I hold off, asked me how much I had saved and told me he’d get back to me. Unbelievable, he had spent the next few days looking through various magazines and had found a special deal on a Nikon which fitted my meagre savings. We met, my pocket full of my cash, got on the tube and made our way to the Tecno on High Street Kensington. Miraculously they had a special offer on the Nikon EM, with a 50mm Nikon E Series lens, a filter, lens hood and I think camera case too.

So, I bought my first camera. A Nikon no less, all thanks to my mentor, who helped me set up the camera, and answered the inevitable questions which followed my weeks of joyous discovery.

Dearest Vahe, I dedicate this post to you. 30 years ago you took this 15 year old and put him on a path which has brought him joy every since. As a result, I’ve really learned about life, through my lens. Met the most interesting people, experienced extremes of sorrow and joy, creation and destruction, with my camera and helped share the plight of people with millions around the planet. You were my first influence and a huge influence. You showed me creativity. You taught me photography and technique and when you were under no obligation to do so, answered my hundreds of questions and found me my first proper camera.

Thank you so much 🙂

Sarah Lee: Photographs

Guardian Photographer Sarah Lee’s Exhibition

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A visitor at the photography exhibition by Sarah Lee of The Guardian. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. August 17, 2016. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

I attended the opening of Sarah Lee‘s wonderful photography exhibition last night at The Guardian. It’s a wonderful collection of some of the very best in newspaper portraiture and feature photography and I highly recommend a visit.

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A portrait of Sarah Lee of The Guardian at her exhibition’s private view. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. August 17, 2016. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Sarah adds, “I have Fiona Shields and Luke Dodd to thank for getting the idea off the ground, and David McCoy has printed it beautifully. They’ve done such a good job it would be lovely if you happen to be free and felt like popping along.”

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L-R The Guardian’s picture editor Fiona Shields and photographer Sarah Lee. Photography exhibition by Sarah Lee of The Guardian. Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. August 17, 2016. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The exhibition is on at The Guardian‘s entrance, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1. It’s open during office hours and on until the first week of September, so hurry to catch it!

Staging and Manipulation

How Far Can Photojournalists Go?

Professional Photographer Magazine May 2016

During the Photography Show earlier this year, I was part of a discussion panel for Professional Photography magazine along with my talented friend and colleague Paul Sanders and the talented Elisabeth Blanchet and Martin Middlebrook. It was a fascinating hour long discussion on staging, manipulation, ethics, the press and photojournalism. I’m happy to share that the text from the discussion is featured in the May issue of Professional Photography magazine, over six pages, which is now on sale.

You can get a copy of the May issue, or a subscription to the magazine HERE. Hope you enjoy the read and feel free to carry the discussion on here in the comments section if you wish.

The Soul of Photography

Interview On Armenia’s Civilnet

I had the honour of being interviewed on Armenia’s Civilnet on my career as a photographer.

Commended; Nikon Videographer Of The Year

UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards 2013

The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | http://www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | http://www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

Kate Silverton at the Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

Kate Silverton at the Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | http://www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

Huge congratulations to all the winners at the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards evening at the Honourable Artillery Company in London. Some truly amazing photography was shown, recognised and appreciated.

Edmond Terakopian with his commended award for the Nikon Videographer of the Year category. The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

Edmond Terakopian with his commended award for the Nikon Videographer of the Year category. The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | http://www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

The Picture Editors Guild Awards 2013. The Honourable Artillery Company, London. November 04, 2013. Photo: Nick Ray | http://www.nickrayphotography.co.uk

I’m pleased to say I made the shortlist and was commended in the Nikon Videographer of the Year category for my short documentary film on the Electric Coffee Company in Ealing, west London.

There will be an exhibition of the photographs (sadly not including the short films) at the Museum of London, from today (November 6th) to the 16th of March 2014. For more details please visit their website.

Many thanks to the fabulous Nick Ray for providing some photographs from the evening.

On a technical note, the video was shot using a Leica M (Type 240) and Leica lenses. For more details on the tools used, please see my earlier post on this.

The Press Photographers’ Year 2013

Private View & Awards Ceremony

Press Photographers' Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London.  July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

Press Photographers’ Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London. July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

Yesterday evening saw the private view of the Press Photographers’ Year exhibition at the National Theatre in London’s South Bank. It is a must see exhibition, highlighting the very best of press photography over the last two years, with walls of images that bring thought, sorrow, laughter and reflection. I really cannot recommend this exhibition highly enough. It’s on until August 31st, 2013, so do pass the word around and pop by.

Edmond Terakopian is presented with a Highly Commended certificate (multimedia) for his short film on the RNOH by Ian Wright, Director of Communications at Diageo. Press Photographers' Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London.  July 15, 2013. Photo: Peter Bishop / 2013

Edmond Terakopian is presented with a Highly Commended certificate (multimedia) for his short film on the RNOH by Ian Wright, Director of Communications at Diageo. Press Photographers’ Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London. July 15, 2013. Photo: Peter Bishop / 2013

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am thrilled to have received a Highly Commended award for a film I shot on the RNOH, produced and co-edited by Neil Patience and assisted by Nicola Taylor. I do hope that you can visit the RNOH Charity page and help their funding appeal.

Press Photographers' Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London.  Edmond Terakopian with a Highly Commended certificate for his RNOH film, standing by his chosen image for the exhibition, Love Your Job.  July 15, 2013. Photo: © / 2013

Press Photographers’ Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London. Edmond Terakopian with a Highly Commended certificate for his RNOH film, standing by his chosen image for the exhibition, Love Your Job. July 15, 2013. Photo: © / 2013

The evening also saw the prize giving, during which some of the top names in the business of press work received certificates and prizes donated by the sponsor of the awards, Diageo. Great to see so many talented colleagues having their work recognised in this way. It was also great to see so many colleagues and friends from companies such as Canon, Pixel Rights and Fixation that back good photography attending the private view.

Also thrilled that my image, Love Your Job, was chosen for the exhibition.

Press Photographers' Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London.  July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

Press Photographers’ Year (PPY) exhibition private view and award ceremony, National Theatre, South Bank, London. July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

The award winning RNOH film can be viewed below. Shot on Canon 5D MkII cameras and Canon lenses. The black and white reportage imagery was shot on Leica M cameras and lenses. The photography was processed in Apple’s Aperture and Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and the entire multimedia piece was edited using FCP X.