My head is bowed for so many reasons but no need to go into it. Blogs and bloggers should be consistent. This failing, good blogs can be resurrected. Seems like this one went into summer hibernation but as the everlasting white cloud determines the mood of London and keep us indoors (and as I search for distractions from studying road signs), it seems an appropriate moment to revive the notice board that is Artfeelers.
I went to two exhibitions this weekend and watched one documentary. All but one were unplanned and all related to photography and its development and simultaneous recording of society's development.
The first was a retrospective on German Photographer (from the important Dusseldorf school, we're told) Thomas Struth at the Whitechapel Gallery. Whitechapel appears to be concentrating heavily on photography lately - the last exhibition was Paul Graham and the archive is showing a photography exhibition entitled 'This is Whitechapel'. Wha did I think? I can see how he is important. Technically amazing work no doubt. Extremely formalistic and curated in such a way that we get a bit of everything and not enough of anything. Also it cost £9.50 for punters, which I thought was a little steep, £7 would have seemed more reasonable. That said they only do one pay for exhibition each year so I think we can cut them some slack for this. Maybe they should try charging less for two exhibitions a year...
The second was London Street Photography at the truly admirable Museum of London, which you must be warned ends soon on 4 September. I was expecting one of those epic room to room, leg-tiring, brain-clouding exhibitions but was pleasantly surprised by a focused room with a slide show annexe to the right and a short documentary interviewing highly experienced and respected contemporary London street artists to the left. Inside was a quadrangle of chronologically and artist/ photographer ordered photos from the 1860s to present day. There was enough to feel you didn't need to look at all and not too much as to not feel overwhelmed. I even bought the catalogue (for my Dad!).
The documentary was presented by Paul Merton on BBC, (there's only BBC channel now, iPlayer) about the 'Weird and wonderful world of early cinema'. The Lumiere Brothers of course featured, as did Edward Muybridge but someone less well known was considered at length - filmaker and shinning star, George Melies. Watch the video below for a taster, the man is magical. There are diligent archivists out there ensuring as much of his work is still accessible despite George burning all the original negatives in later old age depression when he was reduced to selling childrens toys in a road side kiosk.
In terms of the ever growing interest and importance of photography and despite the warnings and fears that common over usage will jade us and fade its relevance, we are constantly fascinated, frightened and delighted in varying measures by the medium and ultimately the reflection of ourselves and our take on the world seen through it. I must add while I am discussing it that two of the best art books i have every read were both by Susan Sontag on both on photography; 'On Photography' and 'Regarding the Pain of Others'.
Promise to be back soon.
Enjoy the current East End Photography focus if you can: