Category Archives: photography

that which I love doing and do all the time

Vilmos Zsigmond and Haskell Wexler, Masters of Light

It’s sad that my first post of the year is a reflection on the passing of two of the most important artists of their generation: the cinematographers Haskell Wexler who  passed on December 27, 2015 and Vilmos Zsigmond who passed on New Year’s Day.

The annals of art history will not mention these men , because cinematography is not considered an art form, and even cinema is omitted from due consideration of 20th century art. However if you look at their work, it soon becomes obvious that their mastery of storytelling through light shade and tone is as powerful as anything mastered by Rubens or Vermeer.

I was at Camerimage (in Łódź, Poland) in 2008 when Vilmos Zsigmond was an honoured guest, attending the screening of the fine film No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2008) by James Chressanthis. The film tells the story of  Zsigmond and his friend Laszlo Kovacs, the two Hungarian film students who fled the  1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary, ending up in the USA where they began their careers and changed film history. Their contribution of the look of cinema is immeasurable.

I had the honour to briefly meet Vilmos Zsigmond at the festival and I can say that he was absolutely lovely.

Film’s achievement is normally credited to the director, but it is a mistake to disregard the camera, since it  is the camera alone which makes it a movie. How the camera reveals the image is key to what creates a powerful and memorable film moment.

bruisecoloured sky

‘bruise coloured sky’ Łódź, Poland   digital photograph, ©Gillian McIver2008




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Filed under cinema, cinematography, Film Making, photography, Uncategorized



TWIXT a book of critical writing by Gillian McIver 2012

A while ago I published this little book of art criticism, bring together a host of
writings published on the web and in print collections.
It’s now available to buy on Blurb. I might Amazon it later but I’m not sure.

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Filed under Art-Related, critical writing, photography

Something beautiful and atmospheric

today i have just trawled my photo archive for something beautiful and atmospheric to counter-act they grey November day when I am stuck inside, writing.  And so, these images of Paris, romantic, a bit cliche but very much enjoyed in the moment they were taken. Beauty and atmosphere in one’s surroundings really does make a difference.

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Église Saint-Séverin


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By the way I’ll just say one thing – people in Paris, yes even in “touristy” areas, are uniformly pleasant, polite and friendly.

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On and around Brick Lane – photographs

beigelbake old days

The area around Brick Lane teems with life most of the time.

I took these photos one Sunday on a wander. From the hectic market to the quiet of the Christchurch churchyard, this little neighbourhood is a source of endless fascination.  I have been coming regularly to Brick Lane since my first trip to London ,  and I never tire of it.

boots contem plate shisha eye streetart silent christchurch christ church sign frame canoodle bus miriam moses street collage orange

I don’t have much to say about it all, I’m just inviting you to look.

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Filed under photography, the city


2013-07-11 17.22.09

sometimes you’re walking by and you glance and you see something that is just a bit weird, a bit off, and you notice it and you think, “no, it’s not that .. it’s … uhhh…” then you look again and it IS

that’s uncanny

a face that’s not a face, looking at you through a window, just like this.

– passing the back of Southwark Cathedral, London SE1

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WHEN I was growing up in Vancouver the city had a remarkable amount of neon signs. These highly colourful signs advertised everything from diners to dry cleaners. Driving through the city at night in the back of my parents’ car was like vising fairyland. It was amazing.

As I got older I noticed the neon slowly being removed and being replaced with ordinary backlit plastic signage. Much more boring.

I was surprised to find, on a  visit the Vancouver Museum this summer, that some of the old neon has been saved and here it is, a glorious display in the museum – which is well worth visiting in any case. I tok these pics at the museum, but it’s better to see it for yourself, if you can.
Vancouver neon

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The Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret was a well known jazz club in the 50’s and I heard rumours that Hendrix jammed there in his youth (he lived in Vancouver for a while) but I have no idea if it’s true. It was a legendary punk club in the late 70s.

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The Blue Eagle cafe was on Hastings St. I ate there quite often – stuff like French toast.

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The Owl drugstore at 41st, I used to pass it every day going to high school and university.

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This auto repair sign is just too good.

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The museum display. I spent ages in here, sucking it up. I LOVE neon. Real neon not the crap that “contemporary artists” put out.

AND here’s two more that are still in situ:

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You can see more on this great site:

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Filed under history, photography, the city

slices of life

It is easy to get upset about everything I see around me. From the vampirism of people, sucking what they can with no care or respect for others,  to the corruption of the system. Frankly, it gets me down.

So instead of ranting about that – at least today – I present instead some more poetic slices of life, taken randomly over the last few months.

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two heads – seen on the Regent’s Canal


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June 11, 2013 · 1:06 am

An other strange forgotten place: Russia, Baltic Sea, Fort Konstantin

fort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantin
fort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantin
fort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantin
fort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantinfort konstantin

fort konstantin, a set on Flickr.

This is Fort Konstantin, in Kronstadt. This fort is one of the largest artillery forts of Kronstadt, built in the 19th century. It was the site of fighting in the Revolution and the Kronstasdt Rising, and also in WW2 during the siege of St Petersburg.

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Kronstadt gateKronstadt windowKronstadt white nightsKronstadtKronstadtKronstadt

Kronstadt, a set on Flickr.

Kronstadt, sometimes spelled kronshtad, is an island in the gulf of finland off the russian coast near to st petersburg.
Since the time of peter the great it has been a military island, with a massive naval base. There is amazing architecture and a complex system of forts, locks and canals.
When i was there in 2004-4 it was in severe decay… Here is the first of several series I shot there. These are just the digital photos.

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