Docklands24 (website & newspaper)
Canary Wharf snaps help world famous photo museum
Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:59 AM
Black-and-white images of Canary Wharf have taken their place in an auction for one of the most famous photography museums in the world.
Photographer Anthony Jones, 49, has donated his bold prints to be included in an online benefit auction for George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.
Earlier this month the pictures were part of a preview display at the 64-year-old museum, which is named after the founder of Kodak who was also a pioneer in the birth of cinema.
Mr Jones’ contributions show the One Canada Square tower and escalators inside Canary Wharf underground station, and are included with 12 other prints of his showing London scenes.
The online auction started last night and finishes on October 7. Mr Jones, from Lewisham, said: “This was a great opportunity to help one of the world’s great museums dealing with photography.
“I had to say yes. I think it’s fabulous. “They [the Canary Wharf photos] are really a part of a set. “I was looking for iconic buildings in London and the whole area is full of them.”
The full set, taken between 1999 and 2001, previously displayed at the John Stevenson Gallery in New York until three years ago and had been in the possession of friends of Mr Jones’ living in the Big Apple.
The prints, which are 12in by 16in each.
It is the second benefit auction for the museum, which contains works by over 14,000 photographers, with £410,000 raised last year.
Interview with Sophie Martin-Castex | June 2006
SMC: What is your background? Studies and previous jobs.
AJ:My early interest was in art but for some reason I worked in printing, silk-screen and then into digital printing and reprographics.
SMC:What is your current project?
AJ:I’m working on different things which will come together as a project.
SMC:Would you say that your work is selling photography as art?
AJ:Selling prints is part of what I do. The demand for prints in this country doesn’t seem to be sufficient to make a living. Not yet anyway.
SMC: What kind of collectors buy your work?
AJ:Companies more than individuals; banks, investment companies. I’m giving them images of themselves. The other people who buy my work are those who need to think about it, a lot – sometimes for years! I am always very flattered because I know it is a big investment, emotionally (and financially).
SMC:What was your first sale, and how did you feel when you made it?
AJ:Many years ago I used to be a member of an artists collective gallery in Brixton (south London) and they had an end of year show. I sold a few photographs but can’t remember what they were of, pretty awful I’m sure!
SMC:Do you notice changes in their requirements, their choices, their expectations?
AJ:I produce work which satisfies my taste and whilst it is good if it touches others, its not my aim.
SMC:I guess you have to navigate between all sorts of photographic requirements..what is the range of subjects you have to shoot?
AJ:Portraits and art photographs/images of the urban environment.
SMC:What is the strangest thing you had to shoot?
AJ:A pub near the Kings Road (London) and a pregnant woman nude as a present for her ex-partner!
SMC:What changes would you make in your method of work, if any?
AJ:I would like to be more prolific and to have the luxury to work solidly on a project through to completion.
SMC:Your equipment? Darkroom and camera?
AJ: An old Hassleblad 500 CM, nothing advanced but its not really about that, its all about looking.
SMC:Black/White or colour? What do you prefer?
AJ:Black & white, I need to see the design, the structure, to be able to break it down so my eye can bounce around the frame. Colour is another discipline but I haven’t finished what I’m doing.
SMC:Do you print your own pictures? – If so, what medium do you prefer to print on?
AJ:I prefer Ilford Warmtone, I’m using the matt surface for all new work to bring out the graphic.
SMC:Do you have a digital camera?
AJ:Only on my mobile! I don’t have an issue with digital but film is right for my place in photography.
SMC:What was your first step in photography?
AJ:My father died in 1987, with some of my inheritance I bought a camera, a Minolta which I still own. It’s been nearly twenty years and I hope my father approves.
SMC:Along your photographic career, did you go through different phases, different styles?
AJ:When I started I was very political, I went to demonstrations, photographed homeless people. Then one day I asked myself “why am I doing this what am I saying?”. I didn’t have an answer. So I stopped. Just because I’m now photographing buildings doesn’t mean there isn’t an ‘issue’, there is, its just more subtle. I like it that way.
SMC:What is your favourite picture? Can you tell us the story to go with it?
AJ:Recently I have been photographing the ‘London Eye’ and one particular image of a tree, three people leaning on a wall and part of the wheel on the right really pleased me.
SMC:Are you the type of photographer who just takes one shot on a subject?
AJ:It’s not possible to say everything about a subject in one photograph, is it?
SMC:Do you like to show your pictures?
AJ:’Like’ is not exactly the right word to describe how I feel about exhibitions. Its important on many levels to show ones work and it is ‘useful’.
SMC:Do you think you have a fair opinion on others photographer’s work?
AJ:It helps to know where one fits into the scheme of things, within photography. Once one understands that, one can appreciate every ones work.
SMC:Your most “big disappointment” in photography?
AJ:I’d rather not answer that question.
SMC:What is your favourite “ingredient ” for a good photo?
AJ:Drama and mystery!
SMC:Are you just suddenly inspired ? Or do you plan a project?
AJ:I find I have a few photographs that fit together and they become the start of a project.
YOUR VIEW ON:
SMC:What do you thing about Contemporary Art Photography?
AJ: …each aeroplane is flying in a different flight path for a different destination.
SMC:What about the current state of photographic art sales?
AJ:Not what it should be.
SMC:Do you think all photographers want fame? Why? (in any case)
AJ:There are easier ways of becoming famous!
SMC:Can you describe yourself in 3 words?
AJ:Introspective, reserved, thoughtful
SMC:What would be your advice to a young photographer?
AJ:Don’t try to be ‘different’, just for the sake of it.
SMC:What is your photographer’s dream?
AJ:To realise my potential to produce better work, be respected and feel fulfilled.
SMC:This space is not a question. It’s your “Free Speech Space”. Go on! You can say whatever you like!
AJ:Though I happily agreed to do this interview, I am contradicting myself when I say, I hope people will look at my work and not me.
Brian Sharland | April 2006
“In a day when more photographers are moving to the “quick fix” of digital or are exploring “contemporary themes” it was a real pleasure to see the sheer image quality of Anthony’s black & white printing.
Mostly interpretative architecture in style his works are beautifully printed and presented and we were left very much wanting to see more. Anthony told us he works with a Hassleblad and prints on Ilford warm tone paper which certainly suits his iconic architecture subjects.
Anthony’s exhibition with his quality of printing will only add to the argument for continuing to use silver gelatin papers and fine art printing. A strong exhibition from a thoroughly nice man!”
Black and White Enthusiast Magazine, 2000
Fine art photographer I first met Anthony Jones about three years ago on the South Bank near the Royal Festival Hall alongside the Thames in London. I had been wandering looking for subjects for my camera when I passed Anthony with his black and white prints for sale. At the time I was running The Black and White Enthusiast organisation in Australia so I had to stop and take a look. I liked his approach to the subjects, most of which were London scenes and I particularly liked a shot of two black cabs, neither in its entirety but it shouted, “London” and the printing was superb.
We got chatting as photographers are wont to do and it transpired that usually Anthony would have been at the Greenwich Art and Crafts market but on that particular day he had been unable to get a stand. We maintained sporadic e-mail contact and when the revamped The Black and White Enthusiast magazine was being mooted an e-mail arrived advising of Anthony’s exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum so the Publisher thought it a good idea for the Editor to interview the photographer that he had met serendipitously on the South Bank several years ago.
I met Anthony Jones for the second time at his home near Clapham Common. Two fine framed square prints with oversize mats to draw the viewer’s attention to the subject were leaning against a couch. One was the old Battersea Power Station and the other a portrait of two sisters taken in Anthony’s loungeroom using natural light. On a tripod was his Hasselblad while on a desk sat his computer, a vital part of his marketing strategy.
I asked whether the computer was used in the manipulation of his photographs. It isn’t.
We sat and chatted and I asked Anthony when he took up photography. Instead of the old line of “it all started with a Box Brownie from my grandfather so long ago that I can’t remember when” he surprised me by replying, “1987”. Sadly he can remember as it was the year his father died and he used some of the money left to him to buy a 35mm camera – his first. He added, “Before that I used to paint. The paintings were very monochrome so it seemed the natural thing to turn to black and white photography.” I suggested that this explained his interest in fine art photography and that his knowledge of painting would have given him a headstart with such things as composition. He agreed.
Anthony is very interested in architecture and enjoys the work of Brassai and Claude Atger. He also likes windows and is in discussion with Lacock Abbey about photographing “the window”. “It’s interesting to me that one of the first photographs, if not the first photograph, is of an architectural nature. And, if it’s good enough for Fox-Talbot to photograph a window then it’s good enough for me!” Anthony has had little formal training in photography and started by printing. “I put some black covers on my bedroom windows and did it.” He used chromogenic film and had the negatives processed for him. He haunted exhibitions to study the experts’ prints and assess what they produced and then printed his negatives to a similar standard. The system obviously worked as Anthony’s printing is of superb quality.
Now he uses Kodak T-Max 100 in his Hasselblad, develops it in T-Max developer and prints on Ilford Warm Tone fibre base paper. As he uses a lot of blur and movement in his pictures, the slow speed of his film doesn’t matter if the lighting is not great. He loves the square format of his Hasselblad – “you just can’t lose.” In the studio he uses a tripod but outside his shots are all hand held unless he’s shooting at night. Natural light is his preferred choice in the studio but he admits that he should go and learn about studio flash.
When we got around to discussing the selling of his work it was obvious that I would refer to Greenwich as that is where he should have been on the day I met him on the South Bank and I asked how he got on there. Anthony replied that it was pretty dismal and even the low asking price of £30 was too expensive for most of the browsers. It turned out that he never did go back to Greenwich after our meeting. However, he has had success at several other art fairs which seems to indicate that the purchase of photography as fine art is increasing in the UK. The benefit of being at some of these high profile fairs is the opportunity that is there for photographers work to be seen and contacts made. In fact, on a couple of occasions, Anthony has, at the time unknowingly, made contacts that have led to unexpected sales and contact with the Ansel Adams Gallery in Carmel.
When Anthony quit his job six months ago to make his living out of photography, he spent around three months e-mailing all possible users of his photographs. This has resulted, among other things, in work with architects and interior designers to whom he always poses the question of how the pictures are going to be used before suggesting which images he considers appropriate. If you asked Anthony what he considers the most important part of marketing, I’m sure he would say, “Contacts”. He uses his computer to e-mail pictures to potential buyers who have contacted him through his website or as a result of exhibitions. These come from overseas as well as the UK.
When asked to sum up his philosophy about photography and how to succeed at it, Anthony said diversify then added with a smile “but within your specialization”. In other words, he is diversifying within his speciality of fine art black and white photography by selling prints, accepting commissions, mounting exhibitions, making his work available for editorial and advertising use and being constantly on the alert for opportunities to market his images. When I asked about photographers who impressed him he didn’t hesitate to say, “I am a great admirer of the work of Eve Arnold.”
Anthony Jones’ work has been shown at the Association of Photographers Gallery, Battersea Contemporary Art Fair, Image 99, SE1 Gallery and The Kensington Art and Design Fair. He is represented by the Corbis picture library and his work is in private collections and in the corporate collection of AXA (Sun Life & Provisional Holdings Plc).
From 19 July to 17 August his work, entitled “Look Here” and sponsored by Corbis will be exhibited in the Friends’ Room of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
David Bigwood, editor, Black and White Enthusiast magazine