This was a travelling exhibition of fine art photographic prints of David Bowie by Denis O’Regan (David’s photographer during the 70s and 80s).
There was a mix of live, posed and situational shots in both black and white and colour. O’Regan successfully caught the showman/energetic nature of performing Bowie, as well as more natural shots where Bowie is looking reflective and distant.
O’Regan’s work demonstrates the quality of shot of a huge star that can be obtained if you’re talented and lucky enough to gain the trust to acquire such a job.
Magic Party Place by CJ Clarke is part of the Format Festival in Derby.
This exhibition was in two pieces: one was black and white images shown on old 70s’ style portable televisions showing black and white stills of the reality of a New Town Utopia, where the modern-day concrete reality is very different to how the new towns were marketed post-World War II.
The other part of the exhibition was a set of black and white photographs depicting the area “… it is middle England territory, a town dominated by skilled manual workers … whose values, habits and preferences are believed by both left and right to hold the key of electoral success.”
The pieces show the state of the country in a post-BREXIT vote England. The desolation in a once new town and how the people still have a small sense of community. Black and white always seems to be the choice when showing the depressed political state of the country!
Ahead Still Lies Our Future is part of the Format Festival in Derby in March 2017. The photographs in this exhibition are from a variety of photographers and each piece challenges the viewer to question what they’re really seeing regarding the depicted habitat.
Hannah Darabi’s Waiting Grounds features a town in Tehran under construction. The photos are intended to show “the state of waiting for a suspended future in a country where history has been rewritten over and over again, and where each revised history has its own glorious past, in turn becoming an example for a potential future.”
I didn’t enjoy this collection. I found it flat and lacking in interest.
Sadie Wechsler’s work was more interesting. Her use of superimposing images on other images led to a series of images that both confused and questioned the brain as to what was real and what was not. I’d like to investigate more of her work and the techniques used to build the final prints.
Ester Vonplon’s photographs of Swiss glaciers covered in sheets during the summer were fascinating. The dark blotches on the cloth are from glacier milk which then keeps direct radiation from the ice on sunny days. The photographs “reveal the use of the cloth as a desperate attempt to counteract the effects of climate change.” The images also remind the viewer of shrouds protecting a human body – the loneliness and helplessness of a dead body.
http://www.formatfestival.com/events/ahead-still-lies-our-future [Last accessed: 30/09/2017]
Whilst on holiday in The Algarve, I stumbled upon an exhibition of Manual Alexandre’s work in a museum in Lagos.
His black and white images are very atmospheric showing an infinity of depth as he focuses on his foreground subject matter and lets the background ‘melt’ into white. Many of his photographs feature rivers or the sea, and harsh/strong reflections of the subject matter. The images evoke a sense of stillness and calm.
This style is very different to my own. At some point, I’d like to emulate this work – though I’m not sure I’d capture the same air of tranquility and beauty in my part of England!
https://www.alexandrephotography.com/algarve [Last accessed: 30/09/2017]
I visited Gathered Leaves by Alec Soth at The Science Museum, London in March 2016.
This exhibition features works from Soth’s collections Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), Niagara (2006), Broken Manual (2010) and Songbook (2014). The exhibition showcases Soth’s documentary style, taking the visitor through each collection book by book. Each person Soth photographed looks like they have a story to tell, and many of their stories are included in the books that are also displayed in cases.
Soth pulls no punches in how he shoots his photographs. Each person is shown in their own habitat – often in their own rooms or outside their houses. he depicts a life of loneliness and, in some cases, misery/unhappiness for his subjects. Each image wanting the viewer to know more about the subject – though we wouldn’t necessarily want to visit or meet the people concerned!
One of the things I admire about Soth’s work is his persistent search for a new person to photograph, and how he appears to quickly gain their trust for them to share their stories and to let him into their ‘world’ for the photograph.
I visited The Rhubarb Triangle by Martin Parr at the Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield in March 2016.
The Rhubarb Triangle is an area in West Yorkshire famous for producing early forced rhubarb. Parr’s exhibition covers multiple aspects of the farming process surrounding the rhubarb, and features many of the characters working on the farms as well as coach parties that feast on the rhubarb.
As is common in Parr’s work, the colours are very vivid and the subject matter shot sharply. The reds and pinks of the rhubarb dominating the shots and drawing the eye away from any distraction in the out of focus backgrounds.
I enjoy the humour in Martin Parr’s other work, so I was pleased to see that some of his older work was included in the exhibition. This work covered images from his early work to his more commonly known work The Last Resort
I visited Saul Leiter’s Retrospective at The Photographer’s Gallery in London in March 2016.
Leiter’s street photography is summed up by the quote on display ‘It is not where it is or what it is that matters, but how you see it.’. Many of his photographs are poorly focused, yet he still captures the sense of what’s going on and evokes an emotion – the key requirement of a street photographer!
His early photographs are a stark black and white, however it’s his vivid use of colour which really helps to bring alive his images. For example, the Coca-Cola red in this image called Postmen. If the image were in back and white, it would look much more miserable than with the ‘Christmas-y’ red.
His magazine shoots are even more vivid, almost hyper-defined. Apparently this was due to his use of poor quality colour film, however, the results are amazing.