Aye up

September 16, 2008

Hello and welcome to my photography blog.
I’m a documentary photographer from Manchester in the UK. You can see my work at my website: www.dunni.co.uk
There’s a short film or three here on vimeo and you can read my publications here at Issuu. 


Modernist article

March 24, 2015

page 1

engineeringI’m very pleased – nay honoured! to have an article in the new issue of The Modernist, the magazine about 20th Century design published quarterly by The Manchester Modernist Society, a snip at £5. The theme for this issue is ‘Engineering’ and my article is about the Moulton bicycle. There’s also a feature on the Brompton folding bicycle, electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, pylons and other erudite entertainments. The article grew from a blog entry I wrote for Vulpine and they’ll be another on a similar theme in the next issue of The Moulton Club magazine. You can read the text of the Modernist article here, but you will have to go and buy a copy to read the rest and support a very worthy enterprise.  Read the rest of this entry »


Picturing Armageddon #2

March 23, 2015

There are thought to be just 35 photographs taken in Hiroshima on the day the atom bomb was dropped. 4 photos of the burning city, 5 photos of wounded residents, 1 photo of a truck transporting victims, and 25 photos of the mushroom cloud. In the case of 29 of these photographs, the negatives or prints are preserved in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum or by newspaper companies. The negatives or prints for the remaining 6 photos, cannot be located, though they once appeared in print. 5 of the 35 were taken by Yoshito Matsushige, a photographer for the Chugoku Shimbun newspaper.

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Matsushige said:  “The scene I saw through the finder was too cruel. Among the hundreds of injured persons of whom you cannot tell the difference between male and female, there were children screaming ‘It’s hot, it’s hot!’ and infants crying over the body of their mother who appeared to be already dead. I tried to pull myself together by telling myself that I’m a news cameraman, and it is my duty and privilege to take a photograph, even if it is just one, and even if people take me as a devil or a cold-hearted man. I finally managed to press the shutter, but when I looked through the finder for the second time, the object was blurred by tears”. Read the rest of this entry »


Picturing Armageddon #1

March 22, 2015

“In that terrible flash 10,000 miles away, men here have seen not only the fate of Japan, but have glimpsed the future of America”. – ‘Dawn of a New Atomic Era’, James Reston, New York Times, 12 August 1945.

Atomic_cloud_over_HiroshimaWe understand many of the key moments of 20th Century history through the photographic record of those events. There is a relative sparsity of images of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In a way this tells us something of the hidden history of the event, which as I’ve written elsewhere, sees the atomic bombings as the beginning of the cold war rather than the end of the second world war.

There are two perspectives of Hiroshima. They each illustrate and reinforce either an heroic or a tragic narrative. Heroic as seen by the victors above and tragic by the victims below the mushroom cloud.

For their part the Americans took three sorts of photograph on 6 August 1945. Firstly, the historical record of the first military use of an atomic weapon, what U.S. President Harry Truman described as “…the greatest thing in history!” Enola Gay the aircraft that dropped the bomb, had to perform a manoeuvre immediately after releasing the weapon to escape the blast. (Another aircraft would therefore film the explosion.) Read the rest of this entry »


Conflicting stories

March 18, 2015

Don-McCullin-The-Sunday-TimesSo far, this century has like most others been shaped by war (the title given to Don McCullin’s major retrospective exhibition and book). Since the end of the second Gulf War (the invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2011) invasions and battles between armies of nation states have been largely replaced by terrorism and insurgency, intervention and drone strikes. This period has also seen great changes in the way war is reported as the nature of war itself and the technology used to record events has developed.

What is important is how our understanding about conflicts are actually shaped by the availability of images. If images are not available events go under or unreported, or sometimes the side with the best images gets to control the narrative.  Read the rest of this entry »


Strangely Familiar

March 14, 2015

It’s not often I review exhibitions, so I’m not going to now – but the current exhibition ‘Metamorphosis of Japan After The War’ at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery until 26 April 2015, coincided with some reading I was doing. It features the work of eleven Japanese photographers, who sought to portray and understand the seismic changes their country was going through in the period from the end of World War 2 in 1945 to the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. 

Hiroshi Hamaya, The sun on the day the war ended, 1945

The exhibition begins with a photograph taken on the day the war ended. The caption tells us that on hearing the news of his country’s surrender, Hiroshi Hamaya impulsively ran outside and took a picture of the sun. It is a simple, graphic image that elicits a simple, obvious interpretation that is probably wrong.

The blinding flash of the atomic bombs, which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki was likened to “the sun falling on their heads”. History as written by the victors, tells us that this event made Japan surrender and ended the war. But authors including Paul Ham in ‘Hiroshima Nagasaki’, suggest that this generally accepted version of history is too simplistic, although convenient for both the victors and the vanquished.  Read the rest of this entry »


Freedom of the press

January 14, 2015

The murders in Paris of journalists at Charlie Hebdo magazine has dominated the news and social media. Photographs that were widely seen in newspapers showed world leaders leading one of the biggest marches ever seen in France, and seemingly showed them showing solidarity with the victims of the attack. Or did it? The reality and the use of the photograph reminded us to critically question everything we see in the media (or read on websites). People have used the event to advance a number of opposing views, but many revolve around the notion of the right to free expression, such as the same world leaders are trying to limit in their own countries.

TOPSHOTSFrench President Francois HollaHere’s one version of the photograph.







Here’s the same moment (different photograph) as printed in a conservative Israeli newspaper. The female leaders, including Angela Merkel the German Chancellor, have been removed from the picture – perhaps the Editor would have preferred them to wear veils, which unfortunately banned in France.






women onlyI’m all for balance, so here’s the photo with all the male heads of state removed:







And finally, they weren’t really mixing with the lumpen masses, as this alternative angle shows:




Curtain call

January 7, 2015

curtains for websiteAs I’ve not bothered updating it in a long time, I’m shutting down my photography website www.dunni.co.uk when the web space comes up for renewal (in about an hour). The domain name will probably be redirected here.

Well I did tell you…
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