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Mike Smith
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Articles written by Mike Smith

Online Vote: Best of the A to Z of Photography

Well it had to come… the final installment of the A to Z of Photography appeared last week and with that a huge void in my life! With every end there is a new beginning, but before we reach that, where did the A to Z start, what topics did it traverse in its winding journey, and what were some of the highlights?

A to Z of Photography: Zeiss and Emile Zola

And so with some sadness, tinged with a sense of relief, we reach the final letter of the alphabet. And what better way to finish than with a vastly successful company that has virtually spanned the lifetime of photography, along with some photographic input from yet another novelist.

A to Z of Photography: Weegee and Wet Plate Collodion

The cult of celebrity is alive and kicking, now seemingly the domain of the "influencer". However history is littered with photographers who attained celebrity status — step back 80 years and Weegee made the unusual step from press photographer to, well, influencer! This was long after the second of our two articles, which looks at the wet collodion plate process.

A to Z of Photography: Von Wong (Interview) and Vivitar

This week we continue the A to Z of Photography with an interview with contemporary photographer Benjamin von Wong, renowned for his attention grabbing, fantastical images. We follow this with a history of Vivitar, a camera and lens manufacturer that didn't make cameras or lenses!

A to Z of Photography: Ultimate Confrontation and Umbo

We now arrive at the second of the three tricky letters of the alphabet. Unfortunately, U is uselessly underwhelming but ultimately and uniquely utilitarian! The first an iconic photo of political protest and confrontation, a theme that continues to this day in newsrooms across the world. Then discover Umbo.

A to Z of Photography: Tilt-Shift and Train Wreck at Montparnasse

This week we turn to a train wreck of an image — yes the iconic photo "Train Wreck at Montparnasse Station"! But before we get to that, step back to the dawn of photography and understand the principles behind tilting and shifting the lens relative to the sensor. Some of the highest profile photographers use tilt-shift lenses in their day-to-day work, so find out why that is.

A to Z of Photography: Reflex Camera and Tony Ray-Jones

At pretty much three-quarters of the way through the alphabet we stop at R, an eminently popular letter, to look at the foundation of pretty much all contemporary cameras — the Reflex. This is followed by the inspiringly funny work of Tony Ray-Jones whose career was cruelly cut short.

A to Z of Photography: Wayne Quilliam and the Queen

In this issue of the A to Z of Photography we turn to possibly the thorniest letter of the alphabet: Q. Fear not as we take you on a journey from an interview with the antipodean photographer Wayne Quilliam, through Elvis, Brahmanandam Kanneganti, Kim Kardashian, Princess Diana, and Donald Trump before finally arriving at the Queen.

A to Z of Photography: Noise and Helmut Newton

Moving on to N, we enter the second half of the alphabet and with that a headlong rush to Z. It's been a blast getting to this point, but now we start the countdown. In this issue the A to Z of Photography we visit that most unwanted of digital acquaintances, noise, before taking a peek at the cover work (and Polaroids) of Helmut Newton.

A to Z of Photography: Lenna and Leica

This week we move on to L in the A to Z of Photography and an image of Lenna that has impacted every photographer, along with the little red dot… yes, this article gives a brief overview of the history of Leica, a brand that has influenced everyone directly or indirectly through either their design or the photos shot with them.

A to Z of Photography: Yevgeny Khaldei and Kodak

How could we pass K without perhaps the last word going to the most iconic of iconic brands? Yes, this installment of the A to Z of Photography outlines the rise and fall of Kodak. Can the phoenix arise from the ashes of it's photographic self-immolation? Yevgeny Khaldei accompanies Kodak and, whilst not a household name, his signature image is one of the the most recognizable. Read on.

A to Z of Photography: JPEG and William Jackson

J takes us back to the very foundations of digital photography with none other than the, love-it or loathe-it, JPEG file format. If that seems like old hat, then step back another century to the iconic work of William Henry Jackson who produced some of the first photos of Yellowstone National Park.