Degas and Salgado in London

Went to London yesterday to see the “Degas and the ballet” exhibition at the Royal Academy.

I love his compositions that look like a snap shot but are very carefully planned. Many of his paintings have a diagonal composition or the use of negative space. He lets bits his subjects disappear out of the frame like I have done here.


Degas was a bit snooty about the skills required to make a photograph until he got a camera in 1895. From then on he was a convert and used photography to inform his later paintings up untill his death in the 1920’s.

The Salgado Amazon Exhibition at Somerset House has many stunning pictures. I have been look at exhibitions of Salgado’s work who is one of my heroes since the late 1980’s. I think his technique is to shoot B&W film on a Hasselblad and then scan the Negs. I have always been blown away by the quality of the subject matter in the pictures and the extremely high standard of the printing.

I learnt a very important lesson from Salgado’s printer – be very careful not to over-print skies.


The above picture was made with noise and shadows, my starting grey and flat colour picture is shown below. Taken on a grey and damp November afternoon at the Skating Rink at Somerset House. Post production in Lightroom 3 and blue toning to the shadows. Taken on a Compact camera.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

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