Friday, 31 December 2010

See you in 2011

Christmas tree needles in a lift. © Magnus Andersson

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! See you in 2011.

Postcards from Sweden

Little Stina at her christening party. © Magnus Andersson

We went to my hometown Varberg, Sweden, for Christmas and had a wonderful time. It was -15C with clear blue skies. The hairs in our noses froze! Sadly the schedule was packed with social engagements and there was little camera time, but here's a few selections. The highlight was becoming god parents for little Stina (above), my brothers third daughter, cute as can be!

Fishing boat in a frozen harbour. © Magnus Andersson

Ice surrounding rocks in a frozen sea. © Magnus Andersson

Kallbadhuset, the bathing house which stays open no matter the weather. They just chop a hole in the ice when the sea freezes over. © Magnus Andersson

The view from Varberg's fortress. © Magnus Andersson

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


OK, it is ready, my first attempt at a Blurb book. Its been great fun making it but, surprisingly, a lot of work too. I had a lot of help from my friend Lucia who handled all the InDesign stuff, so a million thanks goes out to her!

For those of you that aren't too familiar with Swedish, all I can say is that the poems were written by a younger, more bright-eyed me, around the time when two friends and I made a fantastic road trip across Sweden in 1993. We were all 20 years old and I had a Konica Autoreflex T from the early '70's with me and I shot a few rolls of Tri-X as we stumbled along the festivals, lakes, islands, camps, cars and bicycles.

Although this really is a personal project I have made it publicly available for you guys to take a peek at - enjoy!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

More snow

Imagine that, a snowboarder in London! Dave grabs some air in Greenwich Park. © Magnus Andersson

It just wont stop! Today we have had snow for three days in a row. That's longer than WWII. Thankfully England lost a World Cup today, so tomorrows papers will be slightly different, pouring over their team selection; both David Cameron and Prince William played, captained by David Beckham. How could they possibly loose with those players? Then its back to the snow again.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Snow in Horniman's Museum Garden. © Magnus Andersson

Today was a beautiful day - the snow finally arrived to London. We had been promised some for the weekend but the prognosis was revised until today. Snow, snow, glorious snow! There are of course more pressing matters going on in the world, but when the snow hits London, we do as we are told. In other news: wikileaks, student protests, Lewisham Town Hall, etc.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sitting on the fence

Three crow siblings sitting on a fence in Oxleas Woods. © Magnus Andersson

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Drive by shooting

Fancy Dan photographer with a Ha$$elblad and Ray-Ban's and his smoking model, London Fields. Jealous, me? © Magnus Andersson

Friday, 19 November 2010

New hobbies

Portrait of Frederick Salter in his home. © Magnus Andersson

Today I met Frederick Salter, a man at the tender age of 99 who also happens to be the oldest competitive dancer around. He told me about his recent appearance on TV with Bruce Forsyth. He told me about his experiences in WWII and likened the current war in Afghanistan to 'peanuts' compared to what they went through back then.

He's 99 and only took up dancing six years ago. What new hobby will you take up at 93? This man is of the kind which I think wont be around by the time my generation (if ever) reaches 99, let alone taking up new hobbies.

Just look at the twinkle in his eyes. Makes me proud just to have met him and shared some stories together.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Jallim Eudovic

Three people carrying the body of a dead person; sculpture by Jallim Eudovic. © Magnus Andersson

Last week I visited the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford for an event on Black History Month, but this post isn't really related to that (yet it is). Instead, the receptionist kindly reminded me of an earlier session which I photographed during the summer and then completely forgot to tell you about, along with a million other things.

Mother and child; sculpture by Jallim Eudovic. © Magnus Andersson

As a newspaper photographer I meet and photograph a lot of people during the course of a week and occasionally you make a connection with your subject. I'm not going to go into the art of handling your portrait subject (just google it) because I don't know how it works , but when the connection happens, it is a rare thing, and on this particular occasion my subject was a young artist from St. Lucia called Jallim Eudovic. I arrived early and had time to look at his sculptures on my own. They were nothing short of exceptional.

The banking system; sculpture by Jallim Eudovic. © Magnus Andersson

Cutting long stories short, I was already taken by his work but when Jallim himself arrived, he was certainly a breath of fresh air. He's a modest man, and he took great care explaining every single sculpture to me, the history, the cultural significance, and his recording of fading traditions from his own society, the story behind each object. It dawned on me that he really is a man documenting, observing and writing the obit of his own local history. To be a local newspaper photographer somewhat paled into insignificance, if it wasn't for these moments of connection.

Building windows; a sculpture by Jallim Eudovic. © Magnus Andersson

If I had been rich I would have bought one of his sculptures straight away but as it stands, all I can do is try to share some of his craftsmanship. Wouldn't it be nice to make a visit to Jallim's studio in St. Lucia one day?

Portrait of artist Jallim Eudovic. © Magnus Andersson

Friday, 15 October 2010

Ai Weiwei

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. © Magnus Andersson

Last Monday I was down at Tate Modern to witness the opening of the new installation in the Turbine Hall by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. For those that don't know, the Tate Modern is housed in an old disused power station (designed by the same man who gave us the classic red telephone box as well as Battersea Power Station). The size of the building is enormous and the Turbine Hall is one huge empty space; a real test for any artist to inhabit with a single piece of work.

The turbine hall in Tate Modern. © Magnus Andersson

For me, the most impressive works to date have been Anish Kapoor's 'Marsyas' and Olafur Eliasson's 'Weather Project' (below), who both really made the vast space their own. This time was different the doors were opened for us, I couldn't see anything at all. As we drew closer I noticed that there seemed to be a beach of some kind at the far end of the hall. My first impression was one of disappointment.

The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson in 2003. © Magnus Andersson

It turned out that my fears were unwarranted. Although smaller in size than some of the previous Unilever Series, it is certainly one of the most thought provoking. What first appears as a beach of pebbles soon becomes a vast ocean of slightly over sized sunflower seeds.

There is over 100 million of these hand crafted seeds. © Magnus Andersson

Once you are in it, it then becomes clear that they are not 'real'. There's over 100 million of them. In fact they are individually crafted and hand painted by skilled artisans, and it took a small army (1600 of them) over two years to create.

A TV reporter lies in the porcelain seeds. He asked his crew: "Why am I doing this?" © Magnus Andersson

The sheer work that has gone into creating this is breathtaking and Ai Weiwei makes several comments on both mass production (Made in China) vs. individuality and Chinese history during the Cultural Revolution; something which he experienced first hand.

The foot steps. © Magnus Andersson

Ai Weiwei himself is one of the most significant living artists on the planet today. You might not have heard his name but you have most certainly seen his work before. He was involved in the design in some of the Chinese Olympics venues. But he is also an activist risking his life. He believes in mass communication and he also dares to go against the Chinese regime, (requiring brain surgery for his efforts). He's a massive Twitterer, blogger and his Wiki page is fascinating. If you are in London anytime before May 2, 2011, go see it! Just make sure that you read the artists' notes before you dive in.

Ai Weiwei about to be interviewed on live TV. © Magnus Andersson

He's also a cool dude. During the photo call he took the time (and I mean a looong time) to stop, pick out his
compact digital camera, take a few pictures of us while we were shooting him; then he tweeted it. Nice.

Close up of the porcelain sunflower seeds. © Magnus Andersson

Bad news came through yesterday though, with reports that the constant walking on the seeds created a fine cloud of porcelain dust, which in no way is healthy for you, so for now the exhibition is one to be looked at as opposed to immersing yourself in. What a shame. Picking up a handful of the seeds and inspecting them up close was a massive point in this work of art. Hopefully they will sort it out.

Ai Weiwei throws his creation up in the air. © Magnus Andersson

I may or may not have kept one of the little porcelain sunflower seeds for posterity. ;)

Pps. Exhibition gets a 5-star review in The Guardian.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Autumn (updated)

Discarded shoe and autumn leaves. © Magnus Andersson

Autumn has arrived in London. This morning it was cold and raining, the leaves were hurling themselves off the branches of the trees. Only six months more of this stuff! :)

Updated 06/10/10

I think I jumped the gun a bit, it turned out to be a lovely day in the end; see pic's below from Battersea Park where I had some time to kill after arriving early for a Royal appointment. /M

© Magnus Andersson

© Magnus Andersson

Friday, 17 September 2010


Police hat on the dashboard of our van. © Magnus Andersson

The picture above is from a police raid that I went on this morning but sadly - for reasons I can't divulge - it was called off. A bit like all the blog posts that I had planned from Perpignan haven't materialised either. I will try to do better, maybe find some time this weekend, next week or before Christmas at least. I call it the 'Perpignan effect'. The festival experience was great but you feel a bit empty afterwards. Behind the scenes there is work on my homepage plus book finishing still going on so hopefully you'll be updated again soon.

Friday, 20 August 2010

No news

Another face (painted kid) in the crowd, this time Jonathan, aged 6. © Magnus Andersson

Its August, the driest month of the year when it comes to news, and consequently there aren't that many interesting images being produced either. Many people are away on their holidays, the school kids are off for the summer and we struggle to fill the pages with interesting stories. For us photographers its an endless sea of face painted kids (like Jonathan above from earlier today) enjoying their well deserved break.

My little summer break comes up in a weeks time when I'm off to the grumble fest of photojournalism; Visa Pour l'image in Perpignan. There will be lots of grumbling of course, but also tonnes of rumbling. Bring it on.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The boxer

Otuo, a 15-year old boxer, photographed after sparring with his trainer in an east London gym. He is a promising young boxer from Peckham, south London, one to keep an eye on for the future, according to his trainer. © Magnus Andersson

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Bitterness and short memory

Laura Pannack's winning shot of the foto8 Summer Show. And no, I don't know him and I didn't ask him to pose. © Magnus Andersson

The wretched* thing that is the foto8 Summer Show took place last Friday and I was going to boycott it based on the simple fact that none of the three images that I entered got accepted. Plus it cost £10 to get in on the night, on top of the £15 entrant's fee that I'd already paid to enter my unsuccessful images. Bitter, me? Pfft!

If you are thinking of going with your dignity intact, please remember your rangefinder; in this case a Hasselblad X-Pan. © Magnus Andersson

I mean, come on, PPY charges £20 but all entrants gets a copy of the £17.99 book and free drinks if you can make it on the night, and its in a spacious venue to boot - The National Theatre. And the PPY book is bigger...

Size comparison: foto8 vs. PPY books. © Magnus Andersson

Anyway, I then got word from my friend Tiziano that there was a spare ticket going and would I be interested? Of course I would! Short memory, me? Hell yes.

Not sure what is going on her in terms of B&W/colour etc. © Magnus Andersson

Turns out that our mutual friend Alex couldn't make it to London in time for the show so instead I came along and acted as his intrepid reporter from the show. The lucky git had all three of his entries accepted.

Jon Levy announces that happiness is now to be enjoyed (for the remainder of the party, at least). © Magnus Andersson

From his perspective, he might have been a bit disappointed to that see 2 of his 3 pictures where hung right at floor level. Do you know how difficult it is to view an image at ankle height? If that wasn't bad enough, his trio of images all came from the same story but were not placed together. But these are my words - NOT his - and at least his work was good enough to to be included, so I just need to try harder next time [swallows bitter pill].

An Alex Masi print (R) hung at ankle height. © Magnus Andersson

Another Alex Masi print hung at ankle height. © Magnus Andersson

After several unsuccessful attempts of avoiding the free bar, we finally managed to get around to see the whole exhibition and I think the words 'information' and 'overload' comes to mind. And before I get an angry rant from Jon Levy, I must add that I really appreciate what foto8 are trying to do in this show case and in fact we need more people doing it, giving a space to all strands of current photography.

A print/back of heads. © Magnus Andersson

Having been part of a group exhibition before (which was nowhere near as complicated), I know how much time the foto8 team must have put in into hanging 153 (!) prints properly in such a small space, but more importantly, space or no space, as a showcase for current photography it is a must see!

Towards the end of the night you could actually see some of the prints properly. © Magnus Andersson

Perhaps this lack of contemporary photographic spaces reflect the lack of funding in the industry at the moment, but a show like this deserves a bigger space and I cant really fault HOST or foto8 for for pulling off the show and especially the opening night, year after year.

Live band in action on Honduras Street. © Magnus Andersson

Note to self (and anybody thinking about entering the Summer Show in 2011):

Don't go for IKEA frames. You'll disappear in the judges eyes. Saying that though, quite a few IKEA frames still made it...hmm. OK, just print BIG and you're in, no matter how average your pic is.

*Its actually brilliant, especially the opening night, which is worth a tenner in booze alone, not to mention the photography on display, so there.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

PPY 2010

Organiser Tim Bishop (R) eventually gets David Bebber's name right after initially announcing Daniel Berehulak as this years winner. Oops! © Magnus Andersson

Monday night saw the winners of The Press Photographer's Year accept their prizes at The National Theatre on Southbank. I went down there with my former colleague Rob Logan to enjoy the exhibition but more importantly the free bar. It would be even better if next year the do is on a Friday rather than Monday night...not that it made a huge difference to us, we always drink responsibly.

Some - but not all - of the winners. © Magnus Andersson

David Bebber of The Times deservedly won Photograph of the Year with his sublime shot of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi but there were quite a few photographers who couldn't accept their prizes due to having to work. I think the whole event coincided with the eviction of the protesters from Parliament Square as well, so that might well explain some of the absentees.

My favourite photo was the haunting portrait of snooker player Alex Higgins (who died yesterday) by Cathal McNaughton. © Magnus Andersson

The only hiccup came when one of the organisers, Tim Bishop, accidentally read out the wrong name when presenting David Bebber's big prize - in Tim's mind it had apparently gone to Daniel Berehulak again! It took a couple of seconds before he realised his mistake and announced David as the winner, but I think we all know how Tim voted. ;-D

My contribution up on the wall. © Magnus Andersson

And finally my shot of Boris in the PPY book, next to some crying fascist and the leader of the free world. © Magnus Andersson

Cushy Royal Wednesday

HRH Prince Charles inside All Saints Church in Peckham. © Magnus Andersson

On Wednesday I was on the Royal rota all day. Prince Charles and Camilla visited Windrush Square and Brixton Market and it was the usual melee with lots of press photographers jostling for limited space, security guards going nuts and people standing in front the two people we all wanted to photograph.

The famous Royal cushion. © Magnus Andersson

Being on the rota usually means that you get up close and exclusive access and you then share your pictures with other media (who have to photograph from a distance, if at all) but on the Brixton Market visit it was just chaos and one security guard nearly knocked me over in his zealousness to clear the path.

Prince Charles stylishly drips some honey into his tea. © Magnus Andersson

The rest of the day was much better as the rest of the press weren't invited, he was on his own (Camilla had gone elsewhere, so there were less staff around) and of course the pictures got better as well. The second visit was to All Saints Church in Peckham where the Prince met church members and groups from the community.

Both Prince Charles and God loves Peckham. © Magnus Andersson

You have to hand it to him though, he is a very likeable fellow. If it wasn't for his press aides (who are only doing their job) constantly ushering him along, Prince Charles could quite happily chat to these people all day long, no pompousness about him at all.

HRH gets a fit of the giggles whilst having a cup of tea. © Magnus Andersson

The third visit was to a hospice in Greenwich where he mingled with the elderly residents, going from table to table. One funny detail was the Royal cushion; a small pillow that would be placed by one of his aides on the chair that HRH was supposed to sit in, therefore minimizing any confusion as he goes around to all the various tables and places for a chat. Royal cushion pusher? Nice job if you can get it.

Prince Charles says hello to a dog, but check out the guy in the foreground - cushy job or what? © Magnus Andersson

Ps. You can follow the Royal's on youtube, flickr and twitter (The Queen follows no one!)