Malta institute of professional photography july/august Newsletter 2017

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The official MIPP Newsletter

Photography by Keith Ellul


july | august

Photography Kevin Casha


President’s Viewpoint Dear Members, A Moment of Reflection … During a recent forced lull in my usual busy lifestyle, I was experiencing, not for the first and definitely not for the last time, a feeling of dissatisfaction about my photography. Trying to find inspiration and perhaps some answers to my ‘artist’s block,’ I picked up a book by Reza Deghati, entitled “War and Peace,” ( This book had been given to me a few months ago by one of my ex-students as well as a dear friend, Charles Mifsud. I had not yet had the time to savor it fully. Until a couple years ago, few of us knew who Reza was, but then we were lucky to have him in our midst of the occasion his visit to Malta to inaugurate his photographic exhibition at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. I was fortunate enough to talk fleetingly to Reza, but from the outset, I could grasp the stature and sensitivity of not only a great photographer, but also of the humble man. We have remained friends to this day, supporting each other during difficult moments. Most of you might place this incredible man’s work as it was also innovatively exhibited on the Sliema promenade. Seeing the incredible images in this book left me spellbound and with mixed, confused feelings. One cannot but be inspired and deeply moved, as well as sometimes shocked, by his images. This set me thinking. The more I leafed through the pages full of top world class photojournalism, most of them made possible by the unbelievable courage and resilience of this National Geographic photographer, the more I felt that deep sinking feeling in my guts that the bulk of my current photography, as well as most of what we are seeing in Malta, is at times story-less, gutless and just “pretty pictures.” Don’t get me wrong, there are some super photojournalists on the island as well as various photographers who regularly show us images with a storyline, with mood, with feeling. But what actually set me thinking is the question of what images are we actually leaving future generations? Just glamorous pictures of girls and models? Just semi or totally abstract images? Just record or “chocolate box” photographs? Are we sacrificing raw reality to arty, easy to achieve, contrived images?

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Photography Sergio Muscat All well and good, but I would really like to raise awareness in our local photographers to go out there and sweat on images which really capture for posterity our current lifestyle and issues. Where are the images of our troubled youngsters’ lifestyle in Paceville? The vanishing trades and crafts being taken over by industry? The problems of overcrowding, of pollution, of our children’s daily educational life? The giant and stifling local construction business, the old coffee shops, the kazini, the corner grocery stores being pushed out by monster supermarkets? Even most of our wedding photography does its best to portray idyllic and classic romantic images when it seems that these weddings are not lasting too much. Does it not make one think that we are living a lie? I wish we could all become more sensitive and aware of what is going on around us and start trying to capture these images before it is too late. Let us attempt, as Reza himself aptly puts it, to begin “Acting as witnesses to what is happening around us.” Let us use the power of the image to better not only our way of life but also that of future generations. As the saying goes, “A picture can say a thousand words.” Let us start “talking with images.” Note: Iranian photographer Reza Deghati is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. A renowned international photojournalist with over 40 years of work behind him, he has captured the world in photographs for many leading periodicals and his publications include over fifteen books. Reza lives in France because of forced exile from his country. Reza has devoted much of his life to documenting conflicts as well as to humanitarian efforts. His fearless dedication to showing the truth has not only many times caused him physical injury but he has also undergone torture during the Shah of Iran’s despotic rule and is still currently unable to return to Iran as his pictures depicting the Iranian Islamic Republic’s repression did not go down well with the regime. In fact, Reza has not been on his beloved soil since 1981 because of the specter of a pronounced death sentence should he ever return. Kevin Casha FMIPP FSWPP AMPS AMPA President.

Editor: Kevin Casha

Design: Articles: Sita Azzopardi & Malcolm Sammut Various contributors

Proof Reading: Louisa Tonna

Members Profiles: Daniel Vassallo

If you want your photos featured on the newsletter’s front page just send the images to: Your contributions are always welcome

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Contents MIPP President Moment of Reflection

pg 02

MIPP Book Launch and Forum by Carla Cantore

pg 05

To Play or Attend Art School by Marcus Flores

pg 06


pg 08

Keith Ellul by Daniel Vassallo

pg 09

MIPP Still Image Workshop

pg 20


pg 22

MIPP Calendar | Jot down dates

pg 24

Light Hearted Moments by Mario Casha

pg 25

Membership Renewal and newcomers

pg 27

MIPP Benefits of Being a Member

pg 28


6 21

8 22

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MIPP book launch and forum with Carla Cantore. MIPP book launch and forum with Carla Cantore. A different MIPP members’ night hosted an Italian photographer Carla Cantore’s book launch and a forum discussing the publication. “Love in the Mirror”, Cantore’s project, explores the issues that surround eating disorders. Participating on the forum panel were MIPP President Kevin Casha, Carla Cantore, Dr. Mario Caruana and Antonello di Gennaro. Tiziana Buriani helped as interpreter.

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TO PLAY TRUANT OR TO ATTEND ART SCHOOL; is it possible to be self-taught and to make the grade?

I recommend it wholeheartedly to all who can stretch to it. It is the definitive work on colour and it is impossible to really master colour without it. The book is not easy; but art itself, indeed excellence in art, is likewise not easy. Please do not buy the student-edition because it is cheaper: you need all the information, for, as John Ruskin, once wrote: “colour is a lifetime of hard study and observation!” But back to Johannes Itten: he was often asked, “is it necessary to study colour, lighting and composition and still become great?”He always gave his students the same reply: “if without study, you are producing

by Marcus Flores

masterwork after masterwork, then do not waste

Yes, it is possible to be self-taught and to make it

even make a decent picture, let alone a great work of

big-time in any art-form; though the climb uphill is

art, then study is a must. A sine qua non condition!”

your time on study; but if you are grappling daily to

steeper and slower than if you had a guide. I am not saying that every picture we do or show Yet there is one very important thing you

needs to be a great work. We often use the camera as

can never learn without art school and that is

a sketch-pad or memory-aid just as the painter does.



Much of what we do is merely an EXERCISE, and a

about joining the luminaries of the art? Johannes

beneficial and didactic one at that. But, let there be a

Itten, of the Bauhaus, wrote “THE COMPLETE ART

modicum, at least, of art, or emotion, in the pictures


we show to the public. If nothing of this spirit exists in



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our picture, then let us willingly consign it to the bin, cackling like a hen laying eggs as we destroy it...... Additionally, though idiom and style, form and content may change through the centuries, the same art-principles apply to every work, with a minor difference. Let us give examples: a landscape by Grout, a marine painting by Winslow Homer of more-recent vintage, and a still-more-modern work by Wassily Kandinsky: they are as different as they come; all three are beautiful and I have had the chance to study them at length: but I noticed in “Ernst Spass” by Kandinsky, that all the most profound truths about composition and colour were as present as they had been in Grout and in Winslow. “Ernst Spass” means “serious play” - the way children engage in it, and if you fixed your eyes on the picture, the abstract tiny drawings in it began to move and jump and twist-and-turn just like carefree kids do in a playground when school breaks up.

Yes, the idiom, the vein, the way we express ourselves, change over time, but THE PRINCIPLES REMAIN INVARIABLE. Photography is difficult for the camera is a machine, and machines are headstrong and recalcitrant. Master the principles and make it speak and say what you want it to say. N.B. the only difference between photography and painting lies in photography’s unique personal thrust: it can do things the painter cannot. Marcus Flores

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MIPP QUALIFICATIONS – SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN LICENTIATE (LMIPP) QUALIFICATION: Dear Members, We would like to inform you of a major change in the LMIPP qualification. As from this year, members can apply for an LMIPP qualification with a DIGITAL submission. The following are the deadline dates for the new LMIPP digital qualifications: Naturally one needs to think before to start preparing the panel. For full details refer to our website and if interested, submit your application right away to

4th July:

Closing date for submission of LMIPP digital panels.

7 – 9pm at Le Meridien Hotel.

25th July:


19.30 Le Meridien Hotel.

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Photography by Keith Ellul

Keith Ellul Interview by Daniel Vassallo

photographer Vince Bellizzi had asked Keith’s father

Keith Ellul was born and raised in Ta’ Xbiex. At a later

but Keith refused. Like many other teenagers, he just

time, he moved to San Ġwann where he now lives

wanted to enjoy life.

with his wife and daughter. For the past 22 years, he

In 2011, Keith reviewed his stance on photography

has been working at Continental Cars Ltd. as a Spare

and decided to take it seriously. He googled

Parts Manager. During his free time, he likes to go

photography courses in Malta and found Kevin Casha.

camping, drawing and photographing landscapes.

After contacting him, he joined the Malta Institute

Art runs in his family’s genes. Keith’s grandfather

for Professional Photography and undertook all the

was an artist, a painter, a sculptor, a writer and also

available courses with a Nikon D3000. Initially, Keith

an amateur photographer. Since he was a child,

focused on learning the technique until he mastered

Keith used to spend a considerable amount of time

it. Nowadays he concentrates more on the creative

with his grandfather and recalls the hours spent

and the artistic aspects of photography. His work

together inside the darkroom developing and printing

is very much based on thought and reflection and

negatives. A couple of his grandfather’s shots have

bringing out the mood.

to encourage him to start a course in photography

been also included in the latest book Photography in Malta – The History and the Protagonists written by

In 2013 he took part in a workshop - f1.4 organised

Kevin Casha.

by Zvezdan Relijc & David Pisani. This workshop

His father, though not an artist, used to work as a

involved the use of film cameras. David gave them

sales representative, selling photographic equipment.

2 rolls of 36 Kodak Tri-X 400 and their assignment

Therefore Keith has grown up in a photography-

was to shoot a series of shots. At the time, Keith was

friendly environment yet this did not influence him

still shooting many types of photography and had not

in his early years. He admits that he was not even

yet decided what his genre was. He started thinking

minimally interested in photography and used to take

about what he really loves shooting. Since he was a

it for granted. When he was a 13 year old teenager,

child, he has always spent plenty of time by the sea,

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where he feels at peace with himself. He has a deep appreciation towards marine surroundings and considers it as a huge natural force. Therefore he decided to capture a series of coastal images for the workshop and since then he has become one of Malta’s best Landscape/ Seascape photographers. Filters and tripods are essential in landscape photography. In the beginning he used to buy cheap quality filters on ebay to test them and he soon realised

Photography by Keith Ellul

that their quality was very poor. Eventually

although Keith stresses that most of his shots do

he discovered Lee filters some 3 years ago and

not exceed 2 seconds of time and not all landscape

purchased all the essential filters, mainly polarisers,

photos should be long exposures by default, it is not

several neutral density filters - namely the 4, 6, 10

just a matter of sticking a filter in front of the lens.

and 15 stop - and gradient filters too. His aim is to

It all depends whether the photographer wants to

achieve the best possible light in camera and spend

quieten the action or whether he prefers a more

less time on the computer during post processing.

dynamic shot.

In fact, he tries not to spend more than 30 minutes editing an image on the computer. Tripods have to be

For long exposures, Keith uses a cable release

sturdy and light at the same time, he recently changed

controller to avoid unnecessary camera shake that

from a three-way head to a ball-head and he finds the

comes with pressing the shutter release button.

ball-head much easier to set-up and compose the

During long exposures, camera shake is to be avoided


at all costs, otherwise the image recorded will be blurry. Some long exposures can take quite a lot of

Long exposures are a part of landscape photography,

Photography by Keith Ellul

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time. Keith’s longest exposure was 17 minutes long,

therefore getting it right the first time is crucial,

megapixels equate to increased file sizes. For every

otherwise he would need to wait another 17 minutes

single shot, he makes 3 backups of the RAW file as

to record the same shot again.

well as 4 backups of the TIFF file. These end up taking a lot of space thus requiring spacious hard drives,

Currently he shoots with a Nikon D800 and he has

NAS and cloud storage. But this is a price he is willing

owned this DSLR for the past 4 years. He owns the

to pay to prevent the loss of his photos.

following Nikon lenses, the 50mm 1.8G, 16-35mm f/4, 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8. Keith is

Many photographers complain that Malta does not

very meticulous in his approach towards photography.

offer opportunities to shoot interesting landscapes.

His gear is still in pristine condition because he treats

Keith thinks otherwise and his works are there to

it with care. At the end of every shoot, he goes

prove it. During the past few years he has managed to

back home and cleans his equipment thoroughlly

shoot more than 50 stunning landscape and seascape

to remove salt water which might cause rust on his

photographs around Malta and Gozo. He thinks that

camera and damage the coating on lenses and filters.

he has managed to explore Malta thoroughly but he

However he does not refrain from using his expensive

admits that he still has many places to capture in Gozo.

equipment in challenging situations, because that’s

He travels to Gozo around 4 times a year and he goes

what he bought it for.

there mainly for photography. ‘I lost an old friend’ is what he said about the loss of the Dwejra Window

The D800 is an ideal camera for landscape

in Gozo, the 28 metre tall limestone natural arch that

photography and that is why Keith purchased it. Its

has been a landmark not only for photographers like

36 megapixels offer a lot of detail and allow him to

him but also for people around the world.

print larger photos. As soon as Nikon releases the new DSLR in the D800 range, Keith is planning to

His favourite season to go and shoot in Gozo is winter

purchase it as a backup camera. However, more

because of the winter colours, the rough sea and

Photography by Keith Ellul

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Photography by Keith Ellul

cloudy skies that allow him to achieve

travelled abroad to shoot landscapes for the first time.

those dramatic shots. The magic moments during the day are sunsets

He went for a 7 day trip to Cornwall in the UK, with his friend

and sunrises and more often than not

Duncan Cauchi, with the aim of exploring new places and enhance

he goes camping for a few days to be

his wonderful collection of landscapes and seascapes. These apps

at the location during those brief and

have helped him to plan his itinerary 3 months in advance and the

special moments and record them on

trip was immensely productive because he already knew where he

his camera.

was going day by day and how and where the light was best. Other apps give him valuable information concerning the cloud cover,

Every single outing is pre-planned, he

precipitation and wind.

uses several apps on his smartphone that help him plan his outdoor

Wind is his greatest enemy, when the camera is standing on a tripod

photography by telling him times

recording long exposures, wind will affect the tripod ever so slightly,

and directions where the sun and

blurring the final image just a little bit and making it unusable. During

moon will rise and set. In 2017, Keith

these years, Keith has encountered harsh weather conditions, he

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was hit by freak waves in the search for extreme but

have been praising his work in the last couple of

unique locations to shoot from.

years and he started believing more in the quality of his work. This encouraged him to start taking part in

He protects his equipment from sea rush by always

international competitions where he is doing very

carrying with him duct tape and garbage bags that he


uses to cover the camera when conditions are tough yet still acceptable for shooting. However when the

His first competition was a single shot submission

conditions are not right, he packs his equipment,

for the Black and White Spider Awards which got

puts on his headphones with his favourite vikings &

nominated. Since then he kept participating in many

meditation music and simply enjoys nature. Leaving

competitions with one, two or a series of shots and he

the location he went to shoot at without taking

has always been nominated or given an honourable

photos happens very often because, as he says, he is

mention. In December 2015 he published a photo

at the mercy of nature.

book. A fellow photographer & publisher approached Keith and told him that he wanted to publish a series of

Keith is very selective with his shots and has very

10 books from 10 different photographers and Keith’s

high standards when it comes to choosing excellent

became the first book on landscape photography.

photos from good shots. He would rather wait for the right day and the right moment to acquire the best

In March 2016 Keith was encouraged to organise an

possible shot rather than settling down for something

exhibition by his employer who has supported him.

less than he has in mind. This mentality has paid off in

It was held in the Porsche showroom, a very well

the long run because his works are now recognisable

attended exhibition with a panel of 17 photographs.

and have a unique imprint. They are easily associated

Kevin Casha was his curator. Keith loves to involve

with his surrealistic, harmonious, silent and sometimes

Kevin in everything he does because he is a great

dynamic style. He created and developed his own

friend who has always believed in Keith and has given

identity, hence people can identify his shots without

him many opportunities to grow and develop as an

needing to watermark them.


Even though sometimes shooting landscapes requires

Keith has a personal website

climbing into dangerous positions, Keith thinks that

where he sells his photographs. Only a limited

no shot is worth dying for. He always takes all the

number of 5 copies of every image are sold, providing

precautions and also has an app on his phone that

a certificate of authenticity to his clients. Keith is a

alerts his family in case he does not move from the

true artist and a professional photographer and in the

same location for more than 60 minutes. He takes

near future he has many more interesting projects in

what he calls calculated risks but even during one of

store, so we only need to wait and see!

the monthly lectures given to the members of the MIPP about landscape photography, he underlined

Interview by

the importance of preparedness and safety in

Daniel Vassallo.

preventing avoidable accidents.

waking up early, struggling in difficult weather conditions and getting into risky positions and situations. Great shots do not come on their own, you need to work for them and that is what Keith has been doing. International landscape photographers

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The single most important

component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it Ansel Adams


To obtain those shots, he had to do many sacrifices,


Continental Cars Ltd.

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Photography by ANGIE CONTI

Reflecting on life by | Photography by DUNCAN CAUCHI

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Photography by BRIAN AGIUS

Photography byNIK D’ANCONA

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Photography by JASON SPITERI

Photography by ANDREW MUSCAT

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Photography by SITA AZZOPARDI

Pulmos Mundi | Photography by Sergio Muscat




Still Image Workshops Some behind-the-scenes images taken at a recent Still Image Award workshop session on Fashion photography, courtesy of the students.

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DOWNLOAD THE HANDBOOK 21 | The official MIPP Newsletter



Photography by Suman Cona

A selection of images taken at a recent INGUARDIA re-enactment in the impressive main square of Fort St. Elmo, Valletta. The MIPP would like to thank the Malta Tourism Authority and Heritage Malta for their co-operation during the workshop.

Photography by Kevin Abela

Photography by Malcolm Spiteri

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Photography by Ivan Ebejer

Photography by Daphne Cassar

Photography by Glenn Buhagiar


No man ever reached to

excellence in any one art or

profession without having passed through the slow and painful


process of study and preparation Photography by Henry Aquilina

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July /2017


MIPP Members’ meeting


PUBLIC JUDGING OF LMIPP DIGITAL QUALIFICATIONS Tuesday 25th July | 19:30 Hilltop Gardens, Naxxar

July /2017

MIPP GOZO PHOTOGRAPHY ONE DAY WORKSHOP For details and booking Sunday 9th July Ferry departure: 08.15 – return: 18.00

July /2017

August /2017




MIPP Members Meeting

(members to send 3 jpg images – not more than

Rik Van Colen

Tuesday 8th August | 19:30

Tuesday 4th July | 19.30


Hilltop Gardens, Naxxar



2mb – by 30th July on Hilltop Gardens, Naxxar

Lecture & Lunch (Details tBA)

Bookings by 15th August on Saturday 19th August | 10:00 Hilltop Gardens, Naxxar

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The perils of long exposure

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by Mario Casha

CANON RENTAL SERVICE Photography equipment available for hire • • • • • • • •

EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM EF 70-200mm 1:2,8 L IS II USM EF 24-105mm 1:4,0 L IS USM EF 24-70mm 1:2.8L USM EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM fisheye EOS 5D III body EOS 6D body Speedlite 600 EX RT

For full details and conditions visit or call on 2148 8800 Ask about our ‘Try before you buy’ scheme!

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Membership Renewal = =

We would like to remind you that we are now accepting payments for 2017 membership renewals. By renewing the €40 fee (from 2016 it is €40 even for those that have been members for 5 or more years), you will have a chance to

Become a qualified photographer with our three levels of qualification: Licentiate, Associate and Fellowship

Reciprocal photographic qualification with the best UK Institution

Get reduced rates to our courses and workshops

Informative monthly lectures and newsletters

Exclusive photographic competitions ONLY for MIPP members and much more


One may pay by either sending in a cheque to: “27, Moonlight, Giovanni Papaffy Street, Ta’ Paris, Birkirkara, BKR 4021, Malta”, together with the relative membership fee.

(Cheques are to be made payable to “The Treasurer, MIPP”)

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Pay directly from the BOV website: and log in to BOV internet banking with your Securekey.

OR When attending an MIPP Event. 28 | The official MIPP Newsletter

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Avantech are pleased to announce that they now form part of the global partner network for AXIS Communicaঞons, a Canon subsibiary company. Axis Communicaঞons are global market leaders in network cameras and video encoders, driving network video development, providing a variety of network video products and creaঞng various products to broaden the use of IP networks.

“Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll nd an Axis network camera to suit your needs. From robust outdoor cameras to discreet products for sensiঞve environments.” AXIS cameras provide excellent HDTV image quality regardless of lighঞng condiঞons and the size and characterisঞcs of the monitored areas. And they do it while minimizing bandwidth and storage needs to help you save energy. Analyঞc applicaঞons developed by Axis transform network cameras into business tools. They can alert you to developing situaঞons and help you make smart decisions about operaঞons and resource allocaঞon. Data can also be integrated with your other systems. For more informaࢼon on the full range go call on 2148 8800 and ask for Nakita A ard Vassallo.

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THE MIPP SPONSORS Non-Profit organizations like the Malta Institute of Professional Photography are constantly in need of funds in order to be able to function in a modern and professional environment. That is why it was important to have various sponsors interested in networking with the MIPP and at the same time involving them in important issues concerning the photographic trade. The MIPP feels it is vital to stimulate joint events and initiatives together with our sponsors. This policy helps our members to be constantly aware of products and services that our sponsors market thus not only encouraging an increase in business but also benefitting our members through special occasional offers and deals. This co-operation and belief by our sponsors, most of who have been with us since the MIPP’s inception, has helped in no small way in making the Institute what it is today. It is one of the MIPP’s main objectives to help keep this co-operation improving. We urge our members to truly support our sponsors by making use of their services and products whenever possible. Our sponsors show faith in the MIPP so it is only fair that our members should reciprocate. Give your custom to those companies and entities that help us.

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Web: Email: Address: 27, Moonlight, Giovanni Papaffy Street, Ta’ Paris, Birkirkara, BKR 4021, Malta Tel No: 21486097

2017 July / August