PODCAST: A Photographic Life, Episode 86: Plus Photographer Homer Sykes

In episode 86 UNP founder and curator Grant Scott is in his shed considering perceptions of creativity within photography, how the past ten years has impacted photography and the opportunities that technology has given us to tell visual stories and communicate.

Plus this week photographer Homer Sykes takes on the challenge of supplying Grant with an audio file no longer than 5 minutes in length in which he answer’s the question ‘What Does Photography Mean to You?’

If you want to hear more about Homer’s friendship with Bill Jay mentioned in this episode and find out why and how Bill Jay was one of the most important people in the evolution of British photography at the end of the 20th Century you can by watching our feature length documentary on Jay’s life featuring Homer, Martin Parr, Ralph Gibson, Paul Hill, Anna Ray-Jones, David Hurn, Alex Webb, Brian Griffin and Daniel Meadows here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd47549knOU


You can read the review of Grant’s latest book by Cary Benbow here www.fstopmagazine.com/blog/2019/12/book-review-new-ways-of-seeing-the-democratic-language-of-photography-by-grant-scott/

Homer Sykes was born in 1949 and is a Canadian-born British documentary photographer. He was a keen photographer as a teenager, with a darkroom both at home and at boarding school. In 1968 he started a three-year course at the London College of Printing (LCP), and during his first year, went to New York, where he was impressed by the work of photographers – Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander, Robert Frank, Burk Uzzle and Garry Winogrand — that he saw at the Museum of Modern Art. Whilst considering a new photographic project at college, Sykes came across a story on the Britannia Coconut Dancers in an issue of In Britain magazine. This led him to research other local festivals in Britain at the archives of Cecil Sharp House, London. Sykes’ photography of these festivals was inspired by that of Sir Benjamin Stone, but he approached them with a modern sensibility and a small-format camera, after absorbing advice from photographer David Hurn, then a part-time lecturer at LCP, as well as other photographers that he met through Hurn, including editor and writer Bill Jay. Sykes moved on to photographing news stories for the Weekend Telegraph, Observer, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Now, Time, and New Society. He worked with various agencies including from 1989 to 2005 with the influential Network Photographers. Sykes also photographed the British landscape for various books but always found time for his own projects including Hunting with Hounds, and On the Road Again, photographs of four North American road trips taken over three decades. Sykes has taught on the Master’s course in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication and in 2014, the Maison de la photographie Robert Doisneau, Paris, held a major exhibition of Sykes’ work from the 1970s. He photographed the glam rock, punk, new wave and other music/fashion scenes of Britain and his work has been consistently published as a series of short narratives by Cafe Royal Books and as a major monograph My British Archive: The Way We Were 1968-1983 by Dewis Lewis in 2018. Homer continues to document the British way of life today and lives in South-West London. www.homersykes.com

If you have enjoyed this podcast why not check out our A Photographic Life Podcast Plus. Created as a learning resource that places the power of learning into the hands of the learner. To suggest where you can go, what you can read, who you can discover and what you can question to further your own knowledge, experience and enjoyment of photography. It will be inspiring, informative and enjoyable! You can find out here: www.patreon.com/aphotographiclifepodcast

You can also access and subscribe to these podcasts at SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/unofphoto on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/a-photographic-life/id1380344701 on Player FM https://player.fm/series/a-photographic-life and Podbean www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/i6uqx-6d9ad/A-Photographic-Life-Podcast

Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Focal Press 2014) and The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015). His next book New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2019.

His documentary film, Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay can now be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd47549knOU&t=3915s.

© Grant Scott 2019

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