Predictably, it’s raining. And damned chilly, with a cold easterly wind making being outside something only mad dogs and a few Englishmen would do.
Clearly, I’m one of the latter and braved the mist and drizzle; our 8th floor hotel aerie looks out over the Westfield centre in Stratford. Yesterday, I’d shot some nicely toned sunrise shots from the window. Today is completely driech and the miserable, wet unused car park below our window beckoned.
The roof area definitely fulfilled some promise I’d hoped to find. The purple walkways painted on the tarmac are meant to guide the visitor unerringly to the shops. Other signs extol everyone to remember their row – that’s where they’ll hopefully find their car(s) when they return later, laden with essentials and tchotchkes in probably equal amounts. Those images will appear soon.
Curiously, there’s no camera shop in the centre. Just as well really, as Pascal’s last Monday Post has me developing a serious Jones for one of Fuji’s new X-H1s. But that’s for another day too.
Today is DS regular Steve’s fault, if blame is to be apportioned. He asked me a few days ago whether I had plans to see the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, while we were in town. Doubtless, my quizzical look was expected, as he quickly said “The $3 million photograph?” and my ignorance was no more.
The Gursky show is at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank and brought home to me not that he was a great photographer, but a complete Photoshop wonk. I’m not qulified to estimate anyone’s photographic abilities, but guess that given equal creativity, opportunity and equipment, most of us could have taken the same, or perhaps similar images.
What we couldn’t have done was his emulate extraordinary PS skills, bringing together panoramas from the most ordinary and extraordinary places and scenes, into huge prints that would grace any corporate haven, boardroom or annual report.
And there’s the rub; I’m not sure I would want one of Gursky’s images on my wall – even if I could afford it.
Two days later, following my daughter’s recommendation, another gallery show, this time at the Barbican.
Another kind of life; Photography on the margins is the work of 20 photographers, including Bruce Davidson, Paz Errázuriz, Casa Susanna, Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, Boris Mikhailov, Daido Moriyama and Dayanita Singh. The show guide states that the show explores the “dialogue between art, society and politics”.
It’s more than that. It’s an eyeball-to-eyeball immersion into the deeply uncomfortable waters of personal tragedy, family abuse, hopelessness, sexual deviance, transition, drugs and just about everything in between. Harrowing would be a good word to describe the work – mostly black and white – of these photographers.
If you’re in London in the next few days, both shows are highly recommended.
All images shot in the two galleries – Fuji X-Pro2 with Fuji’s amazing 35mm f1.4
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