Edinburgh Photographic Exhibition
I went to this exhibition just as I was beginning the course in August. It was a mixture of photos of all descriptions from a number of different photographic societies in the UK. There were two photographs from our local society on the Isle of Man. I think both of these photos to a certain extent epitomise Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ‘The Decisive Moment’ which I am asked to look at in detail in Assignment 3. The first photo taken by Sue Blythe is of a polar bears on ice.
Henri Cartier-Bresson in his photography emphasised the importance of composition but also spoke of the luck or chance element as demonstrated in his figure of a man jumping in the air to avoid a puddle – he claimed he had just poked his camera through a railing and in fact hadn’t realised the man was there until the photo was developed. In the case of Sue’s photo the composition is good but the fact of a bear being in that particular spot is down to chance. Ruth Nicol’s photo which won a gold award from the British Photographic Society is a clear example of the ‘Decisive Moment’. She first entered this in one of our local competitions in colour as I recall the car being in blue. It is a photo of a street in Havana, Cuba with the old fashioned buildings and a classic car. What turn it into a decisive moment is school boy stepping into the road. For this exhibition Ruth had turned it into a monochrome print.
Much like Cartier-Bresson I felt this improved the photo as the detail seemed even clearer and the early morning light shining down the street highlights the boy.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition – Natural History Museum, London, 18 December 2016.
I went to this exhibition on my way to a holiday in Costa Rica where I would see a lot of wildlife. I also had in mind my next assignment on the ‘Decisive Moment’ thinking that much wildlife photography would happen by luck or chance. However, I soon realised from looking at the captions this was not the case. In nearly all the captions the photographer spoke of the careful planning he/she had undertaken in order to capture these brilliant photos. Unlike Cartier-Bresson the majority were in colour. The overall winning image is of an orangatun peering up through the bush with lovely lighting. The caption speaks of how he planned to be high up looking down and the careful forethought that went into the photo. The photo is part of the Wildlife photojournalist award. Henri Cartier-Bresson was known as a human photojournalist and I felt that this was the equivalent in wildlife photography. The element of chance was that an orang-utan would appear in this particular spot and make eye contact with the photographer.
The photo can be accessed at the following link http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/gallery/2016/index.html (accessed on 5/2/2017).
The Radical Eye Exhibition 4 January 2017 at the Tate Modern
This exhibition is a small proportion of 8000 images from the collection of Sir Elton John. Nearly all were portraits with a smaller number of ‘Experiments’ and ‘Bodies’, ‘Documents’ and ‘Objects’. The title of the exhibition came from Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (symbols) who stated that photography would change not just ‘what’ but ‘how’ we would see and that this would radically change our vision. In documentary photography or street photography this gave a new perspective on society. Today photography is imminently accessible and is a dominant theme – the ‘selfie’ along with social networking sites has opened up a new world to the general public.
Exhibition by Malick Sidibe (symbol) – The Eye of Modern Mali, Somerset House, 4 January 2017
I was a bit short for time by the time I found my way to this exhibition as I was catching a flight back to the Isle of Man the same day. However, it was an interesting exhibition which showed how the youth culture in Mali is changing – with the traditional dress and values of the village to the new modern youth in the urban areas with night clubs and music. The advertisement for the exhibition states that the photographer has ‘contributed to its history, enrich its image archive or increase our awareness of the textures and transformations in African culture…” There are 45 prints from the 1960s and 70s. It is accompanied by a musical soundtrack.