While I was in London I’d earmarked a couple of other exhibitions that were free to get in and not too far away from the Tate. Originally at Somerset house for the Cartier-Bresson exhibition, we actually came to this one first after lunch and a break to refresh ourselves after the Tate. Unfortunately it was really busy in there so I wasn’t able to take as much time as I would have liked looking at the images, and secondly it was in a number of smaller rooms that weren’t helped by the large props placed around.
Walking in, my eyes were first drawn to the prop of a giant Spitfire plane at an angle as opposed to the image it featured in. I love the mix of fantasy and reality in photography and this seemed to follow on nicely from some of the Photoshop experimentation that I had undertaken as part of the exercises in the previous module, Digital Photographic Practice. The outstanding feature was that everything in Walker’s images was carefully considered and meant to be there, there wasn’t anything left to chance and the details really drew me in as a viewer. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently with other work, and am now trying to consider that everything in there should be there and to be aware of all the components of the frame not just the main subject. While some of the images were grotesque and others beautiful, because of the colours and detail, I still enjoyed looking at them and some were quite humorous such as the people mocking up traffic signs or flowers and lips overlaid onto a photograph.
Again it was a shame that photography wasn’t allowed as it was a really well put together show and the little rooms and large props such as the giant swan carriage and giant snails helped to give a magical feel as you walked through. In contrast to the fantasy and the fashion images were a series of portraits that have to be my favourite so far. All of the portraits of these famous people had the same location, a white background and a white desk to sit at, the rest was the subject and any props they’d chosen/had chosen. The non cluttered background made the subject quite striking and really stand out and for sheer amusement; the series of the Monty Python cast with smoking bowler hats was striking, being clever, witty, amusing and technically perfect. Certainly something to aim towards in my portrait work. It did feel a little bit like a throwaway exhibition being in a gallery off the courtyard and through the smaller rooms but after viewing it, it certainly deserved the attention it was getting and I’d certainly recommend a visit to this and the Cartier- Bresson show.
– Composite images can be as valid as a standard photograph
– Presentation can help the experience and to echo the contents of the collection or the subject matter
– Giant dolls are scary especially when filling a room but giant snails are fun
– Photography doesn’t have to be serious
– Consider everything little element in the frame
Giant snail prop Some portraits