“Colour is too noisy; the eye doesn’t know where to rest"
December 21, 2014 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Bye Bye Jane; RIP
Jane Bown died today aged 89. Her portrait of Beckett is legendary.
The Observer ( Guardian on Sunday )editor, John Mulholland, called her "part of the Observer’s DNA”.
Obituaries: Guardian and Telegraph.
A brief look at her life in photography.
She gave her archive to he Guardian where she worked for 65 years.
Known mainly for her portraits of the great and the good here is the unseen Jane Bown
For over 40 years she used an Olympus OM 1 released in 1973.
Earlier this year a BioPic was released 'Looking for Light: Jane Bown'
posted by adamvasco (13 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Thorzdad at 3:51 PM on December 21, 2014

Camera Club: How to take a Jane Bown portrait -- Photographer Eamonn McCabe on Jane Bown's genius and how to get the look in your own photographs (a short clip on The Guardian).

Summary of key points for portraits:
  • Make people comfortable
  • Use available light; no flash, but a spot of additional accent light is OK
  • Find a plain background; use the ground if necessary
And I love her spirit and spunk, as told in Jane Bown: a life in photography – in pictures
Jean Cocteau (with Madeleine), Paris, 1950
Jane: ‘I was 24 and had never been to France, so with the cheek of youth I put a proposition to the Observer. If they paid my expenses, I would go to Paris (not speaking a word of French) and photograph four people – it was quite an escapade really’
Thanks for this post, and a . for Jane.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:24 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

*dusts-off his box of old, moldering OM-1's and lenses*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:30 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by allthinky at 4:31 PM on December 21, 2014

posted by humanfont at 5:00 PM on December 21, 2014

posted by lalochezia at 5:11 PM on December 21, 2014

Love the Betjeman.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:12 PM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by jim in austin at 7:29 PM on December 21, 2014

posted by motty at 7:30 PM on December 21, 2014

I admit I'd never heard of her until now, but I immediately love her work. The OM-1 was my first professional camera, I used it as a photojournalist, and used flash for my people pictures as little as possible. It's a simple philosophy of photography, but she carried it out far better than I ever did.

posted by lhauser at 7:48 PM on December 21, 2014

That Orson Welles shot is really something. The Jagger was the only one of hers I'd seen before. Thanks for the post.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:07 PM on December 21, 2014

I enjoyed this very much. Her portraits are superb and remind me of a thought I've had before: We see in color, yet portraits in black and white seem infinitely more real to me - how amazing that is. The hair always seems so touchable and soft and the hands tell more about the person than the face, I think. The eyes seem to have more expression than they do in person, too.

Thank you for a great post.
posted by aryma at 1:42 AM on December 22, 2014

Jane Bown remembered.
posted by adamvasco at 11:55 AM on December 28, 2014

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