Wednesday, 18 May 2011

An excuse to brush up on my Italian

I got a very nice surprise when I collected the post this morning... a package from Italy, with a copy of Fotografia Reflex inside. In Arles last year, at the Voies Off portfolio reviews, I met Claudio Marcozzi, who really liked my Brixton People project, and said he'd like to include it in this magazine. And, almost a year later... here is his feature! 8 pages, 14 images, and (from what I can understand) a very comprehensive text outlining the history of Brixton, describing the market, and a complimentary view of my photographs. So thank you Claudio!

The magazine is kind of the Italian equivalent of Practical Photographer, with reviews of cameras and software, and a showcase of different genres of photography including nature and the like. There is also an article on the Polaroid collection... so it's a mixture of all sorts, and i suspect it's targeted at the keen amateur. But I'm pleased to be included; my name is even on the front cover!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

If you don't ask, you don't get...

About 10 days ago, my Dad emailed me to let me know that there is an exhibition beginning at the end of May entitled Fifties, Fashion and Emerging Feminism. He thought that, considering my Retro Girls project, I'd be interested in attending the Private View. What I actually thought when I got that email, however, was "I want to be in that exhibition".

The show is held in a gallery connected to a firm of solicitors, Collyer Bristow. I couldn't find any information on the internet so I called them up. They gave me the number of the curator and I called her to tell her about my project. As I expected, she said that it was a bit late in the day, they were writing the press release etc, so not this time.

Then, five minutes later, she called me back saying that she and her partner had just looked at my website and they did like my project, and did think it would fit very well. They happened to be in a cafe in Clapham Common - I picked up my portfolio and raced over. An hour later, after a very pleasant coffee and chat, I had 3 pictures in the show.

Needless to say I am very excited! And very flattered that space was made for me at this late stage. Obviously it means I am not featured on the printed card, but I sneaked into the press release and will be on the website and other information. It just shows that, if you don't ask, you don't get...

The show runs from 25th May - 21 September, so there's plenty of time to go and see it! As it's part of a solicitors, it's view by appointment, and only during office hours, but it's dead central (near Holborn tube) and just a quick phone call should suffice. The exhibition features prints from the V&A archive by photographer John French, who was working in the 1950's, and new commissions on the theme by artists Alice Angus with Fee Doran, and Freddie Robins. The show is curated by Day&Gluckman, a partnership of two lovely women, Lucy Day and Eliza Gluckman. The private view is on the 25th May.

The address of the gallery is: 4 Bedford Row, London, WC1R 4TF. Tel: 0207 242 7363. Click here for a map.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Image of the week #12

Haven't done one of these posts for a while, but there's a very good reason for that; I recently spent a couple of weeks in America. After much deliberation as to which camera to take, I finally decided on my Mamiya 6, and my Contax T2. So, to make up for lost weeks, here are three images from the trip, taken in Austin, Texas.

Why they chose the final scene from Truffaut's Les 400 Coups to put on the side of this cinema is anyone's guess... but it was proof to me of how cosmopolitan a city Austin is.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Slideshows ARE the new black

Slideshows are the way forward. Last night I went to one organised by the ASA Collective, who regularly organise such events. The first event of theirs I went to was one they did in conjunction with Contact Editions, who also regularly organise "Slideshow Slams"; two projections shown simultaneously, each curated by a different organisation. These tend to be mingling, social events, with the slideshows occuring in the background, whereas last night's event was a sit down affair; each photographer's show went on for maybe 10 minutes, accompanied by sound, and then the photographer said a few words about their work and there was an opportunity for questions.

To me, this is the future of photography; or at least, the future of showing photography. Either set-up, be it two projections at once or a more formal event, are great ways of showing work. The first time I came across the idea was in Arles last year, and it blew me away. The thing is you can showcase so much more work in a slideshow, with many more photographers. And this suits what the industry has become; most photographs, if not taken digitally, are digitised at some point for websites etc, and there are many more photographers than ever before, making it all the more competitive to get exhibition space. And then there's the cost - printing and framing work gets very expensive, and yet a projection is, essentially, free (once a good projector and screen is bought!)

It's not easy putting on a good slideshow, though. It's not just a case of lining up some great images and pressing play. If sound is involved, it has to be good, and it has to go with the work. Sound plays on emotion so much that it can totally alter the way the images come across - sometimes it adds but it's terrible if it jars in some way. It's almost better if the sound is made or composed for the purpose of being with the images... a popular tune comes with all sorts of personal connotations.

Another consideration is how long each image is up for. This could potentially be the only negative point with a slideshow - your time in front of the image is preconsidered, so it's impossible to linger and impossible to go back. Perhaps now, with the Internet and the amount of images we are confronted with on a day to day basis, we can read visuals quicker and don't need to spend time in front of them. But I think that's a shame... contemplation in front of a photograph makes us see more, think more. So, in a slideshow set up, the longer the better.

©Chloe Dewe Matthews

All the work shown last night was by female photographers. A couple I was already familiar with, due to the firecracker website, but there were two projects which were new to me which I thought were excellent. The first was by Chloe Dewe Matthews, who immersed herself in the very macho world of banger racing to make her project Banger Boys of Britain. The images are arresting, disclosing an unfamiliar world, which, as she herself states on her website, "satisfies a common human urge; to create and destroy."

The other project which I was very happy to discover was Urban Cave, by Andrea Star Reese. These photographs of people who live in makeshift dwellings around New York (but don't want to be considered "homeless") tenderly portray a nomadic lifestyle, with all its trials and tribulations. Some of the images are raw, but to me these images show how resilient and proud these people are, living outside of conventional society.

So, go see some slideshows. You could start with the Slideshow Slam I'm organising at Photofusion on 19 May, in collaboration with Contact Editions. But this isn't just a plug. It's a genuine interest and enthusiasm for slideshows. I ♥ slideshows. Go see some.
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