Photo Feature: Anton Corbijn

Our Photo Feature for this week is on celebrated photographer and music video maker Anton Corbijn, best known for his work with U2.

I would like to share about watching Anton Corbijn shape the image of U2 and many other artists over many decades. Having looked at his work specifically his time spent with U2, I am inspired to say the least.

Anton Corbijn, a Dutch photographer, is best known for his work as a photographer, music video director and film director. In Corbijn’s career there has been one constant: the band U2, and their collaboration over thirty years. “It was Anton Corbijn who “invented” U2’s public image and he is still shaping it.”

“Anton Corbijn is very interested in pushing the boundaries in respect to the media he works in.  He has been working in film and video with some of the musicians he photographed and was in 1983 one of the first photographers to direct music videos. He has since made approximately 80 music videos; for among others U2, Johnny Cash, Arcade Fire, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, Metallica, Nick Cave, Coldplay and The Killers.”

The origin of these Photo Features comes from the initial idea for a stock
photo agency called PhotoWoto. The project didn’t start because of the
pandemic. However, the blog has been kept alive and has morphed into a written
and aesthetic journey into still photography!

I’ve also attached a pic of The Rolling Stones.



Our intent in bringing you these blog posts is to highlight the creative processes and discovery of photography as a medium of art and expression. While we may not have first-hand knowledge of everything we present (it’s hard to), we bring an amalgamation of ideas and content in a succinct fashion to present the community’s body of work, feature great photographers and various techniques. Enjoy !

Photographer: Ansel Adams

Photo Feature: Annie Leibovitz

Anna-Lou “Annie” Leibovitz (born October 2, 1949) is considered one of America’s best portrait photographers. From capturing John Lennon on the day he was assassinated, to her work at start-up rock music magazine Rolling Stone (and went on to create a distinctive look for the publication as chief photographer). In 1983, Leibovitz left Rolling Stone and began working for the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair, continuing to produce images that would be deemed “iconic and provocative”. With a wider array of subjects, Leibovitz’s photographs for the magazine ranged from presidents to literary icons to teen heartthrobs. She is the first woman to have held an exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

In 1967, Leibovitz enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute, where (although initially studying painting) she developed a love for photography. While with Rolling Stone, Leibovitz developed her trademark technique, which involved the use of bold primary colors and surprising poses. “Leibovitz is much influenced by Richard Avedon, and his ‘personal reportage’, developing close rapport with her subjects.” Leibovitz’s images have been showcased in several books and major exhibitions around the world.

Leibovitz was using medium format cameras before they ever went digital. In fact, she originally started with the Mamiya RZ67. Annie reportedly shot most of her work with the RZ67 till her transition into digital by the early 2000s.

This is a medium format film camera that has stood the test of time. Some photographers still use it for the nostalgia factor of film photography. It has a sturdy build quality, and the variety of available lenses are still praised as excellent to this day.

Leibovitz, unlike many who built their careers in the days of 120 film, had no issues migrating to digital. It’s more than just a nostalgia camera, however.


Looking for photographers to feature on our Photo Feature.

The origin of these Photo Features comes from the initial idea for a stock photo agency called PhotoWoto. The project didn’t start because of the pandemic. However, the blog has been kept alive and has morphed into a written and aesthetic journey into still photography!

Every week, we feature one great photographer. Some of these photographers are of Indian origin. We would like to feature new and upcoming photographers along with stalwarts in the field, both in India and overseas. We are looking for talent that we can feature to help others understand and learn about this amazing field.

I first started out in the field of photography in the 1990s as Photo and Graphics Editor for the student run ENGINEER magazine at Rensselaer. In 1995 I completed my Master’s in Aerospace Engineering in the Bay Area, San Francisco. During that time, apart from engineering courses, I took many courses and workshops in art & photography and discovered the various photographic techniques used before the digital camera came about. Spending extensive time in the darkroom was a very rewarding experience. The art scene left a mark which still echoes in my subconscious. More later…

Photo Feature: Dayanita Singh

Dayanita Singh is a photographer whose primary format is the book. She studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York City. She has published twelve books. Her books rarely include text; instead she lets the photographs communicate and speak for themselves. These ideas are furthered through her experimentation with alternate ways of producing and viewing photographs to explore how people relate to photographic images.

Singh has created and displayed a series of mobile museums, giving her the space to constantly sequence, edit, and archive her images, in large part due to her interest in archives. Each mobile museum contains 70 to 100 photographs displayed in wooden vertical frames.

On a personal note, while Dayanita uses less text in a book and lets the image speak for itself, one can’t help but wonder about the placement of the image on the page. This brings back memories of studying graphical appeal of photographs in California. The entire page is an image. The canvas is only bound by the size of the page.

Museum Bhavan has been shown at the Hayward Gallery, London (2013), the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014), the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2014) and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi (2016). Singh was awarded the Prince Claus Award in 2008. In 2013, she became the first Indian to have a solo show at London’s Hayward Gallery.[

Technique: Polaroid Image Transfer

During my time at Stanford, in the summer of 1994, I spent time in the San Francisco Art Scene where I was introduced to photographic techniques such as the Polaroid Image Transfer and Ansel Adams’ The Zone System. Till today I find that inspirational. I thought I could research Image Transfers and share this today with you.

What I discovered was that, as an art form one could use a slide film and project it onto a surface such as paper, glass, cloth or wood. Using an enlarger – printer, even the most simple photographs can be replicated in their own artistic ways.

Methods of Image Transfers

  1. Polaroid Image Transfer: Using a camera, enlarger, slide printer or Day Lab, expose colour Polaroid film. You need pull-apart type film, such as Polaroid 669 (now discontinued), 669, 59, 559, and 809, or Fujifilm FP-100C. Develop by pulling the film from the holder. Wait about 10-15 seconds and quickly pull the film apart, not letting the two sides (the picture and the negative) touch. Put the pulled apart negative face down on paper (or other material). Place pressure over negative and let sit for about 20 minutes. Then pour hot water over each side of the negative/paper sandwich. Gently peel the negative from the paper. Allow transfer to dry, face up. Slide printers allow you to make Polaroid transfers from previously-taken slides or negatives. [Ref 1]

In a nutshell, the process involves copying the film or slide onto a Polaroid, followed by aborting the developing process of the Polaroid and transferring the still developing image onto a medium of your choice. Typically, 30 seconds after the Polaroid is created it is peeled apart and hot pressed onto a medium where the full development time of 90 seconds is achieved. Thereby you transfer the image onto cloth, paper, glass or wood.

2. Emulsion Lift: An emulsion lift is basically just cutting open the Polaroid and submerging it in water to remove the emulsion from the plastic backing. Then you take that emulsion and transfer it to whatever you want, in this case water-colour paper.

Here’s a great video that illustrates the process and the web page lists the materials required and the method involved. [Ref 2] Some of the equipment used:


Photo Feature: Pablo Bartholomew

Pablo Bartholomew (born 1955) is an award-winning Indian photojournalist and an independent photographer based in New Delhi, India. He learned photography from his father, the art critic and ace photographer Richard Bartholomew (1926-1985).

Self-trained in photography and inspired by the work of his father, his work has “captured the essence of violence, injustice and perilous events. “

“Over the years, he incisively covered the catastrophic Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the funeral of Indira Gandhi and aftermath of her assassination—the Hindu-Sikh riots, the rise of the Khalistani movement, the political career of Rajiv Gandhi, the funeral of Mother Teresa, the cyclones in Bangladesh, the Nellie conflict in Assam, and the demolition of the Babri Masjid, which almost got him killed, among many other news stories.“

Upto 2000, Bartholomew was represented by the French-American news photo agency, Gamma Liaison. His photographs were published in New York TimesNewsweekTimeBusiness WeekNational GeographicGEODer SpiegelFigaroParis MatchThe TelegraphThe Sunday Times MagazineThe Guardian, and Observer Magazine, among others.

In 2013, Pablo Bartholomew was awarded the highly prestigious Padma Shri by the Indian government.

Note: Bartholomew shot on the film format at a time when digital hadn’t even taken root. That’s what makes his work all the more extraordinary. In the film format you can’t see the image as you shoot until you develop the negative and print the images in which case sometimes you have to go back and take the photograph again. But that scene will not present itself to you again. In digital, the images are produced to look at instantaneously, thereby, as die-hard film buffs have said, digital is ruining photography. On the flip side, major camera manufacturers and chemical companies have stopped making film cameras, accessories and chemicals to process film and print.

Bartholomew’s work spans decades. Candid photography is a lot harder to do. And requires a very committed photographer to achieve that perfect image. The expression of reality is hard to miss. Incisive photography in a film format is hard to achieve. This is not just about a portfolio of good photographs, this is about sheer ability.


Photo Feature: Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Salgado, a master photographer and story teller was born on February 8th, 1944 in Aimorés, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He lives in Paris. Having studied economics, Salgado began his career as a professional photographer in 1973 in Paris, working with the photo agencies Sygma, Gamma, and Magnum Photos until 1994, when he and Lélia Wanick Salgado formed Amazonas images, an agency created exclusively for his work. (

Salt of the Earth, an iconic film about the life of Selgado can be viewed here:

A TED Talk by Selgado himself: Sebastião Salgado: The silent drama of photography (TED Talk)

Here’s another video that might capture your interest:

Technique: The Zone System

Introducing Ansel Adams’ The Zone System. Our intent in bringing you these blog posts is to highlight the creative processes and discovery of photography as a medium of art and expression. While we may not have first-hand knowledge of everything we present (it’s hard to), we bring an amalgamation of ideas and content in a succinct fashion to present the community’s body of work, feature great photographers and various techniques.

Drawing from our earlier blog post. A personal experience with The Zone System involved many hours and weeks in the darkroom whilst living in San Francisco in 1994, while witnessing the art scene in the Bay Area, an exploration that lives in my subconscious even today. I spent a long time trying to understand it but as an amateur I couldn’t replicate the same technique. With the advent of digital photography, everything changed. Film was no longer the mainstream format. I don’t have direct experience with The Zone System in a digital medium but would love to get together with local Mumbai photographers to explore this technique.

Read more about Ansel Adams in our earlier blog post here.

His basic rule was,

“Expose for the shadows; develop for the highlights.”

The Zone System provides photographers with a systematic method of precisely defining the relationship between the way they visualize the photographic subject and the final results. Although it originated with black-and-white sheet film, the Zone System is also applicable to roll film, both black-and-white and color, negative and reversal, and to digital photography. [Ref 2]

“He pre-visualized the final image and exposed, developed and printed to get that in the final print. He adjusted exposure, used filters, applied special development, dodged, burned, masked, used intensification and reduction, used different paper grades and toned his prints. There’s nothing “straightforward” about that. But for him, the point was to produce a print that showed what he saw, not the process(es) used to do it.”[Ref 6]

A brief introduction to the technique.

The zone system divides a scene into 10 zones on the tonal scale. Every tonal range is assigned a zone. Every zone differs from the one before it by 1 stop, and from the one following it by 1 stop. The darkest part of a scene would fall into zone III, while the brightest part of a scene would fall into zone VII. Anything darker than zone III would render as pure black with no detail (under-exposed), while anything brighter than zone VII would render as pure white with no detail (over-exposed).

Average reflectance (18% reflectance), is middle grey (a value right in the middle between pure black and pure white). When a scene contains too much bright, however, the camera tries to render it as average so it darkens it causing under-exposure. On the other hand, when a scene contains too much dark, the camera tries to render it as average so it lightens it causing over-exposure.

For more on Middle Grey and the technique used: here is the link to a comprehensive website which gives a great synopsis and introduction.–photo-5607

Image Credits: various