The Third Element by Kirth Bobb

PhotoTalk 2020/14

As someone who sees color as the third foundational element (light, shadow,+ color) of photographs. I’ve long studied and emulated the work of Alex Webb. Growing up in Guyana, the color was everywhere for me. From the vivid scenes at Big Market to all the colors of Pagwah, Easter, and Christmas. I can’t help but be drawn to color.


This particular photograph, like much of Webb’s work in the Caribbean and Mexico, uses color, light a bit of his signature layering to give the photograph, what I think is a strong sense of place.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview where he discusses his use of color.

“What I also realized, and this took place over a period of a few years. As I did that (and I was working then in black and white) I realized that something was missing. That the intense, searing light that exists in the tropics. And the kind of brilliant colors that exist in a Haiti or a Mexico. I wasn’t capturing those in black and white. I wasn’t dealing with, at some level, the sensuality of some of these cultures. So I began photographing in color in 78 and 79 as a response to that. And basically have been working in color ever since. I mean, initially it was a response to working in certain kinds of places where there is vibrant color. Now I sort of work in color everywhere.”‘

The full interview can be found here:

How do you use color in your photo recipe when you’re making photographs? Guyana has so much fantastic color and harsh light, that when I look at Webb’s works, I can; ‘t help to think of home. a

This book remains one of my top 10 photo books to date:

And The suffering of light is another classic that’s in my top 10:

Thanks for joining in the conversation,

Kirth Bobb

Kirth originally published this to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on April 30th, 2020. To see the original comments and discussion please check that post.

Portraits as “Productions” – the Dalí Atomicus.

PhotoTalk 2020/13


Portraits as “Productions” isn’t a new thing.

Dalí Atomicus. First some background… Salvador Dalí was a renowned Spanish surrealist painter, his works were well known not only for the display of Dalí’s technical skill and his amazing craftsmanship, but also for the striking and bizarre images in his paintings. To understand this unusual portrait of him by Philippe Halsman, you have to understand the nature of Dalí’s work, and the unusual approach (at the time) of Halsman towards portrait photography; Halsman tried to capture the “essence” of his subjects, while portrait photography at the time was seen as being very “clinical”, with the photographer and subject not knowing each other, and the portraits of the time having that poised look, and the soft blurred look; Halsman wanted sharp images that spoke of who the subject was, bringing the person themselves into “sharp focus” literally and metaphorically, in the resulting image.

Now about the image, I used this image in a workshop once, and I winged the description, but here I’ll quote directly from “Halsman created an elaborate scene to surround the artist that included the original work, a floating chair and an in-progress easel suspended by thin wires. Assistants, including Halsman’s wife and young daughter Irene, stood out of the frame and, on the photographer’s count, threw three cats and a bucket of water into the air while Dalí leaped up. It took the assembled cast 26 takes to capture a composition that satisfied Halsman.”

Just imagine that. Let’s Talk!

Originally published to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Page on April 28th, 2020. To see the original comments and discussion please check that post.

Darrell Carpenay

PhotoTalk 2020/12


Bringing it closer to home today: I wasn’t intending to tackle one of Darrell’s pieces until much later down, but I came across this one in one of his Instagram accounts and thought it would be good to share it now.

It was lumped in with his Street Photographs, but to me this leans more toward Seascapes (personal opinion only) and its one of those images that immediately strikes me as a stand-out image. For those of you who are not familiar with some of Darrell Carpenay’s works, he tended toward more Nature and Landscape images, in recent years he has also made great strides in Street Photography here.

Now back to the image, firstly it uses very subtle tones and contrast, eking out subtle yet important details in the sky and in the waters, the there is the dark slash of the Jetty (groin, pier) across the width of the image, it angles up towards the left where stands two fishermen, and then there is the pièce de résistance for me, the marked undulation of the waves against the jetty. For me, this combines his love of landscapes and street photography into a simple, yet powerful image.

The image can be seen on instagram:

Also you can follow his Street Photography on Instagram:

and his Nature and Landscape Photography at

Originally posted to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on the 23rd April, 2020. The original comments and discussion can be seen on that post.

The incomparable Annie Leibovitz

PhotoTalk 2020/11


Most of you are probably familiar with the name Annie Leibovitz, she is known for her portraits, more specifically, she is known for her portraits of celebrities which often tended to the intimate side. She has many notable images, from Leonardo DiCaprio and the swan, to Angeline Jolie, to Lauren Hutton’s mud covered image to the infamous John Lennon image taken on the day he was assassinated.

I am not a portrait photographer, so I’ll just mention what it is that I feel makes her images grip me as they do, when I look at her portraits, I can feel the subject looking straight into my soul, there’s an intimacy not just in the setting, but between the subject and the camera, between the subject and the photographer; I feel as though Annie was flirting with the subject’s dark side, with the forbidden, with their very soul.

Of her many many images, I’ve always been drawn to the one I share here; there is, of course, quite a story or even stories behind and surrounding these gentlemen, but I just always found that the lighting, the texture and the colour of the processing combined with the intense, serious yet mischievous looks made this an instantly memorable and liked portrait, this isn’t as flambouyant or erotic as some of her work can be, but its always been a gripping one for me.

There are various types of portraits, what Annie did, was special, she had panache. What do you think of Annie’s portraits? Let’s talk.

The original was posted to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on April 21st, 2020. To see the original comments and discussion please visit that post.

Sebastião Salgado

PhotoTalk 2020/10


I think any photographer who happens across Sebastião Salgado’s work could agree that it leaves a lasting impression. His journey as a photographer is very interesting, and certainly one I would recommend any photographer to familiarise themselves with.

For a brief biography along with some of his photographs:

What is extraordinary and striking about Salgado’s work, for me, is the dedication, and level of immersion that he devotes to his projects – sometimes spanning years in extreme locations to capture remarkable photos in his distinct monochrome style.

He is described as a social documentary photographer, and photojournalist, but there is a level of artistry that he has achieved that sets him apart from the rest.

In his TED Talk, which can be found on YouTube, Salgado reveals quite a lot – about his life and photography, including the process, and its effects. He also gives insight into the purpose of his work and what he has been able to achieve – it’s truly inspiring.

I’ve attached one of Salgado’s most famous images for discussion – Mining, Brazil.

The photo was taken in 1986 at the Serra Pelada gold mine in Brazil where Salgado spent weeks observing and taking photos. I do not believe one can truly grasp the scope of his work from one image, so you may want to check out other images from this series, and others.

What are your first impressions? How does the work of Sebastião Salgado and other photographers inspire you? Do you see photography as art, or a medium for recording, journaling, and reporting, or both? Why is photography important to you?

The following links will give some insight into the life and work of Sebastião Salgado:

TED: The Silent Drama of Photography – Sebastião Salgado

Haunting black and white images of the Brazilian gold rush by Sebastião Salgado (

6 Ways the Life and Photos of Sebastião Salgado Will Stun You

Thanks for joining in,

Darrell Carpenay.

The original was posted to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on April 17th, 2020. For the original comments and discussions, please check that post.

Joe McNally – Faces of Ground Zero

PhotoTalk 2020/09


Joe McNally is one of those photographers whose works are known around the world, his images have featured in many major publications including TIME, Newsweek and National Geographic. One of his more notable works is “The Future of Flying” which was National Geographic’s first fully digital story. Joe’s portfolio covers fashion, portraits, dance, athletes, healthcare and industrial images among many.

The image I chose from Joe McNally is one from his series “Faces of Ground Zero”, a tribute to the men and women who were the true heroes of 9/11, all of the portraits are great, at a glance you can tell the individual’s occupation and associate with that their possible role in the aftermath of the terror attacks. As I looked at the images I loved how clean the images looked, but I also noted the state of their dress, many “cleaned up”for their portrait it seemed, but this one (and a few others) showed them as if they just climbed out of the rubble.

In this image I could see the looks of determination, of loss, of despair; I can see that these men worked tirelessly to help. I’ve seen many of Joe McNally’s situational Portraits where you get an immediate sense of the person, just from the photograph, from the surroundings. In this one Joe has accomplished that with a plain white background, and just the men, their attire, their tools and their expressions.

The information below was taken from TIME Magazine.

Billy Ryan and Mike Morrisey, Firefighters, Rescue 3, FDNY

Each was home when the attack came. They arrived at the site just after the second collapse.

“I tried to get overtime the night before but signed up too late,” said Morrisey. “It would have been me. Eight me in my house were killed.” Said Ryan: “Two tables of people from my wedding are not here anymore. I’m tired of burying my friends.”

Today, doctors and nurses are on the frontlines AND the last line of defence in the COVID-19 Pandemic, let us remember them, but can we also reach out like this?

The original post was published on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Page on April 9th, 2020. The original comments and discussions can be seen on that post.

Bobby Fernandes

PhotoTalk 2020/08


I started off this series of chats with photos from two local photographers (Kester Clarke and Kwesi Isles), because I think that it is important to recognise and highlight our local talent, while also learning from the established and legendary photographers from around the globe. Today I want to share an image by one of our own local legends, Mr. Robert J. Fernandes, better known as Bobby Fernandes.

Although not my favourite image from him, I think that this image exemplifies some of the things that has always made Uncle Bobby’s images meaningful to me. This one is called “Rainy Season at Cipo”.

What follows are my own views, I can’t speak for anyone else; I grew up seeing his works on calendars, whether it was nature or architecture I was always fascinated, I think I learned more about local buildings, and about our country from seeing his photos on calendars than I did from the papers, mainly because I would ask questions of my parents or grand-parents about the images I was seeing. His images of anywhere outside of Georgetown were captivating to me, and he became known for these, I believe mainly because he had something most others didn’t, and that was access to these places, but I remember my parents and grand-parents saying to me that Bobby had “the eye”. He saw things and captured them on film in a way other people here didn’t.

As I myself got to know Uncle Bobby in later years, as I myself was beginning to learn about photography, I was surprised to learn that when I spoke about shutter speeds and aperture, ISO and bracketing, and all the other camera techniques I was learning about, he’d be amused in a way, because to him those were “camera tricks” and not very important to the final image, he was all about what he was seeing, yes, he’d use the camera and its settings, but the visual impact was more important; and there it was, it dawned on me that my parents and grand-parents were right, he had “the eye”.

I remember one conversation with some other photographers one Friday evening where we were discussing his work, and the lack of technical excellence in Bobby’s work came up, and at the end the general consensus was that Bobby wasn’t a gear-head like some of us are these days, he was a photographer, and the results speak for themselves.

He lived in the Orinduik area for many years, and his images of vistas, water-falls and life there will always remain with me, as will his other works of wildlife, natural patterns, and much more. If you can get your hands on his last book “99 Best” you would not be disappointed.

Michael C. Lam

Our eighth post in the PhotoTalk series, this was posted to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on the 7th April, 2020. The original comments and discussion can be seen on that post.

Red Jackson – Gordon Parks

PhotoTalk 2020/07


In 2018, I had the privilege to view the Gordon Parks exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

It was the only photography exhibit (if I remember correctly), and this is in a Gallery with some of the most astounding works of art from different eras. There is no doubt that Park’s work deserved to be there. I first learned about his work through the YouTube channel ‘The Art of Photography’ which is run by Ted Forbes, but to witness his work first hand was quite an experience.

I will not give you a biography about Gordon Parks since you can easily find that information online. What I want to do here is discuss the importance of photography. Each photographer has a reason for taking photographs – some practice as a hobby, others risk their lives to tell stories that would otherwise never reach the world had it not been for their passion and determination, and there’s everything in between.

I’m usually curious as to what stories photographers want to tell through their images, what they wish to achieve, what do they wish to portray?

Feel free to share in the comments below.

Now, let’s get to the image shown – the title is Red Jackson, Harlem, New York 1948. Gordon Parks spent a few weeks documenting the life of a Harlem gang leader, Red Jackson, and the photos were featured in a photo essay in Life magazine in 1948. Without getting into much detail, Parks told a story with his unique artistic style, of life in Harlem during that period. It’s now preserved as part of history, and something current generations can still access and learn about. Not only was he a photojournalist, but he was an artist and pioneer. I believe there is honesty and intimacy in Parks’ work because of the relationship he had with his subjects and the communities he photographed, and his artistry helps to deepen the connection between the viewer and his images.

What relationship do you have with your subjects as a photographer? Why do you believe your work is important to you or others? Let’s get the conversation going and deepen our connection with photography and art.

For more information and photos by Gordon Parks:

Aside from the main image, I took the liberty of sharing some photos I took of the Gordon Parks Exhibit at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. in November, 2018.





Thanks for joining in.

Darrell Carpenay.

The original post by Darrell Carpenay was posted to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on April 5th, 2020. The original comments and discussion can be see in that post.

Ghandi – Margaret Bourke-White

PhotoTalk 2020/06


Let’s talk about a famous female photographer, but not necessarily about her famous photo.

Margaret Bourke-White is known for her famous photograph of Ghandi and the Spinning Wheel; it is a notable photo for several reasons, among which are the fact that its a photo of Mahatma Ghandi, she was the last person to do his portraits before his assassination (and interview him, a story in itself), it captured Ghandi as never before, the simple man at his then infamous charkha, she was the first woman to break into the photojournalism field, her photo was the cover of the very first TIME magazine, and the list of her accomplishments goes on.

The amazing thing to me is that she became famous for doing something she originally didn’t want to do, photograph people, especially those in politics. She started out shooting waterfalls to make ends meet, then into a bit of architecture, until she got to shoot subjects she was passionate about, machinery, things in industrial America (and the wider world), then into photojournalism, the war, etc.

I could go on, but you should check our her story yourselves, as well as photos from those earlier periods.

So let’s talk, got opinions? got questions, let’s chat!

Original post to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook group was done on April 3rd, 2020. Original comments and discussion can be seen on that post.

Bruce Gilden – Street Photography

PhotoTalk 2020/05


Let’s venture into some Street Photography discussions (almost always contentious).

There are different types of Street Photographers, yes there are, who would have thought it!? Among them are those who sit patiently and wait for the right moment, there are those who walk about and capture as they go, there’s a few others, I won’t go into all. Mostly, street ‘togs tend to use small cameras, to be as discreet as possible, to not interact or affect the scene… mostly. There are those who interact with the subjects amiably and derive some amazing street portraits as well, and then there’s Bruce Gilden.

What made Bruce different was his habit of walking around with his camera and a flash attached to it, and he would walk right up to his intended subject(s) and press the shutter button also triggering his flash, most times shocking the unsuspecting subject.

You should check more of his work, this image is but one that represents his collection, his work captured the 1980s New York City scenes memorably.

Is Street Photography simply about capturing candid moments? Some of us may consider it voyeuristic, is it? Is such photography an invasion of privacy? Is Gilden’s approach any better than that of other street togs who choose not to interact? What’s your opinion and your own questions?

Originally posted to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on April 1st, 2020. original comments and discussions can be seen on the original post.