Photography often seems to get second rating in the art world but I think things may be slowly moving forward in the right direction. Finally the BBC are bringing out a photography talent series on TV, quite a rare thing, with the Great British Photography Challenge and I have to say, I’m quite looking forward to it!

The series will be mentored by the renowned portrait photographer John Rankin, founder of Dazed magazine back in the day and he is one of our great photographer’s. Rankin’s work has captured a multitude of celebrities, from Kate Moss to The Rolling Stones and the Queen, who he photographed for her Golden Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth II by Rankin

Queen Elizabeth II by Rankin


Kate Moss by Rankin














Rankin is an honest photographer, who said about his work ‘… for me it’s about trying to make a connection.’  And this is no doubt something that comes across in his portraits and gives them that constant modern freshness, so I am sure he will make a great mentor for those in the challenge. I love the idea that every program will start with everyone just using a smartphone to take images with, making this a true test of eyes and not equipment. Also, nobody being ‘knocked out’ is a good thing.

There is of course a big difference between taking a photograph of someone who knows you are taking it and those where they don’t. My way is more in and out, I do like to feel a connection with the scene and the people but I also want to be alienated from them, for me I need to drop into other worlds, I want to feel that alienation, it’s important to me and helps me remain much more objective.  I think in the world where everyone is a photographer this objectivity probably is much more prolific in photography now. It’s interesting to hear Emma Cahusac BBC Arts commissioning editor of the show talking about the increase in smartphone photography and the huge increase in the fascination of taking a good photo – she’s so right and no doubt this programme could be up there in popularity with Bake Off – nearly everyone cooks at some point and nearly everyone takes photographs at some point too! So many people are going to want to know how to take the best photo’s, the tips and tricks of the trade and how to nurture the talent that is needed to get that right image – because it’s not always as easy as it might seem!

Art is not like food or dance. There is no right or wrong, just interpretation, which can’t be judged in the same way. As to what I won’t like, well like you, I’ve got to watch it first !

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