magnum photos

The Light Through [Colour] by Simeon Smith

DUDE! You haven't blogged in like a month. by Simeon Smith

Yeah... about that.... You're right. It's unacceptable and try to do better. I've still got the 26 weeks series to finish off and THEN I can relax a little. 

Anyhow, I've been in London for a few days going to a gig, shooting a short film and attending a conference. No, I haven't slept much, thanks for asking. 

A couple of days ago I was craving some creative freedom, caught a tube to near Carnaby Street, and walked with Andy from Black Eyewear to the Lomography Shop. I took these photos along the way. 

26 Weeks Camera Challenge #21: Readymade by Simeon Smith


I don’t know what photography is.

I mean, I know what a camera is. I know how it makes images. But photography as a whole? I’m not sure.

Is it, and if so when is it, art? Chemistry? Documentation? Media? Self-indulgence?

There’s more to it triggering a shutter and capturing some light, and at the same time, surely that’s all there is to it?

In my opinion, art reached it’s most self-referential point with Dadaism and Duchamp’s ready-mades. A urinal, on it’s back, in a gallery, with Duchamp’s signature on it was the most relevant “what is art?” moment.

In a similar way, Daido Moriyama’s photos of glossy magazine photographs and garish billboards in my opinion ask some of the most important contemporary questions about photography, authorship, creativity and media. By capturing an image of an image we end up with a feedback loop where one type of media shines light on another.

Richard Prince took this one step further by blowing up and selling (for tens of thousands of dollars!) large screenshots of other people’s Instagram posts, without the original instagrammer’s permission.

This week, explore ownership, appropriation and the visual public space by taking pictures of other people’s pictures. Ads in bus stops, stock images in books, things you find on the screen of your phone, whatever.


1.       When is appropriation in art good?

2.       Where is the line between inspiration and theft?

3.       Are images in the public domain fair game?

26 Weeks Camera Challenge #19: Flat Lay by Simeon Smith


A really powerful tool to self-improvement is to the things that are totally out of your comfort zone, and it's the same for photography. 

There are a lot of photographic techniques and styles I have no interest in at all and because I've never experimented with them, I'm bloody useless at them. 

For me, something I had to do around a year ago was sort out some "flat-lays" for an article I was featured in. They're pretty popular on the instagrams, and a lot of people are great at doing these strange constructed still-life style photos, usually shot from above, usually on a flat background. 

For you perhaps this is second nature, though. 

So this week, do some flat lays, unless of course you're already really proficient at them, at which point I'd encourage you to do something else totally out of your comfort zone. 


1. How has product photography influenced the art world and vice versa? 

2. What did you learn that you can apply to an area of art that you are comfortable with?

3. Why are certain types of photo, like flat lays, more popular online than other types?

26 Weeks Camera Challenge #13: Lines and lines and lines. by Simeon Smith

I know, I know, I skipped a week, we're half-way through the project, and momentum has slowed down for me. I'll get there. We'll get there. Together. I promise. 


One of the things I love most about art is how much of it we can understand through science. From colour to viewpoints, to what makes our heart race, perception is a weird mix of our senses and the way our brain processes this information, cross referencing it with our previous experiences. I'm not that knowledgeable on why we find some things fascinating and others not so much, but I sure like to capitalise on these ways. 

A great way of drawing a viewer in is to use leading lines, framing your subject or that provide movement or depth to your photography. 

This week, try shooting pictures with clear leading lines. 


1. What other things seem to be hardwired into our psyche as "visually pleasing"? 

2. What things seem universally unappealing?

3. Are there any techniques that are the "marmite" of photography, either you love them or you hate them? Why might we have these reactions?

26 WEEKS is a camera challenge I’m putting together to help someone through their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. You can follow along here on the the blog, but it’s best to start at the beginning. Here’s what we’ve already covered: 

Week 1: Do You. 

Week 2: Find Your Masters.

Week 3: Study Your Masters.

Week 4: Kill Your Masters. 

Week 5: The One Thing.

Week 6: Depth of Field. 

Week 7: Blur.

Week 8: We Were Made In The Dark.

Week 9: Forget Everything.

Week 10: Shoot a Stranger. 

Week 11: Pick a Colour

Week 12: You're only as good...