Monthly Archives: May 2014

Assignment 5 research – photographers

Having decided on the theme of my photo story I then spent some time researching photographers known for their images of industrial architecture and who I felt could either be an inspiration or an influence when finalising my shooting and processing plans.

Bernd and Hiller Becher

As a starting point for my research I began by looking at the work of the Bechers, a German couple who are well known for their series of images of industrial buildings and structures.  They had an encyclopaedic approach to their work and systematically produced typologies by taking a series of images of a single subject and displaying them in grids – see examples here and here.

They both taught at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and were influential to a group of photographers, including Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, loosely known as the ‘Düsseldorf School’ [1].   Their work is documentary and deadpan in nature, comprising full-frontal images with flat lighting and often without context, and to be honest is not really my cup of tea being too objective and clinical for my liking.  Although I did not find their work hugely inspirational for my assignment, my further research revealed their influence appearing in a number of other photographers’ work that I looked at, hence their inclusion in this post.

Albert Renger-Patzsch

I first came across Renger-Patzsch when reading Bull (2009) and he has been a huge influence on my assignment.  A German photographer who covered a number of genres, it is his industrial images that really interest and influence me.  Leaning towards documentary-style images, he successfully combined the factual recording of a structure with a great use of framing and composition and this is something I have tried to do in some of my assignment images.  Here in ‘Industrial harbor view, 1920s‘ the way that Renger-Patszch used the scaffolding to frame the image immediately caught my attention.  Guided by the frame, the eye is drawn through the image to the city beyond, aided by the  light emerging from the cloud and highlighting the city buildings.  Through his careful composition Render-Patzsch has managed to create a relationship between the harbour and the city, showing a good use of juxtaposition and this image was a strong influence on my cover shot.

Ruhrlandschaften, Hafenabstraktion, 1928 (ca)‘ is another image with a clever use of juxtaposition.  The viewer again looks through a frame, this time created by an ugly-looking harbour structure in the foreground, to the more attractive city beyond, the eye being drawn through the image to the spire at the back.  Interestingly I had looked at using a similar compositional structure when shooting early test shots at Ipswich Marina to find out if my assignment idea was viable so it was gratifying to find through my research that I was on the right track.  I subsequently used Renger-Patszch as an influence when planning a number of my assignment images and thinking about what I hoped to achieve through them.

Another image of Renger-Patzsch that influenced my assignment was ‘Düngesalzfabrik 1938‘.  Translating as ‘Fertiliser Salt Factory’ this image is more straightforward in composition than the previous two and reflects Renger-Patzsch’s desire to objectively record exactly what he saw rather than trying to beautify objects; he was a believer in documentation rather than art [2].  I found this image interesting with regard to my assignment as I have been looking at the old factory buildings around the Marina.

Hamburg, Port, c. 1929′ is another image which looks at the relationship between the city and the harbour.  What drew me to this photograph was the fact that it was used as a cover image for Renger-Patzsch’s book  ‘Hamburg: Photographische Aufnahmen‘ (1930, Gebrüder Enoch Verlag) and it provided inspiration for the cover page of my assignment piece.  Again I am influenced by Renger-Patszch’s  straight-forward and precise style, with its sharp focus and purposeful framing.

Eric de Maré

De Maré’s work also proved influential for my assignment.  Another photographer whose images leaned towards the documentary, he trained as an architect before becoming a photographer [3]. I drew inspiration from the way that de Maré concentrated on the functionality of the buildings that he photographed, as demonstrated in his image of Jarrolds Printing Works, Norwich.  Like Renger-Patzsch he had the ability to frame his images well as shown in this photograph ‘Transporter  Bridge, Middlesborough, Cleveland‘.

David Lynch 

Lynch’s exhibition ‘The Factory Photographs’ which I visited in March (see review here) stirred a lurking interest that I’ve had for a while in industrial architecture.  Lynch’s work was influential in my preliminary assignment planning as it showed that it was possible to bring emotion (a fundamental point in my view to a successful photo story) to architectural images.  It also proved to me that a series of images of derelict buildings, provided that they are curated well, can be absorbing and form a connection with the viewer. Although I liked the sombre moodiness of Lynch’s work this was not something that I was looking to recreate in my story, wanting more of a sad, desolate feel to the unused and unloved buildings featured my images.  However the exhibition laid the seeds of an idea  which remained in my mind as I developed the assignment.

Gabriele Basilico

Basilico’s work was directed at city and industrial landscapes, again shot in a documentary style and mostly in black and white.  Another photographer who trained as an architect, his images are very disciplined with a good use of form and composition.  Stripped back, straight-forward and unsentimental photographs, with no people in them to cause a distraction, I found my attention to be completely focused on the buildings themselves and how they relate to each other within the image.

Here in his image ‘Dunkirk, 1989’ (image at top of page) his use of light adds interest to an otherwise very regulated, geometric composition (with wonderfully straight verticals).  Again light plays a part in the success of this image of Milan apartments  (second image from top)  from his ‘Interrupted City’ series and shot in 1999.

[1] Source: Hamilton, E. (2011) (online).  Instant Expert: Bernd and Hilla Becher .  American Photo.  Available from  http://www.americanphotomag.com/article/2011/11/instant-expert-bernd-and-hilla-becher  [accessed 07 May 2014]

[2] Source: Janzon, T. (online) . Overview, ‘Photographer of Objectivity’. The MIT Press.  Available from  http://www.mitpress.mit.edu/books/albert-renger-patzsch   [accessed 15 May 2014]

[3] Source: Hodgson, F. (2010) (online).  Eric de Mare at RIBA, London.  Financial Times.  Available from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/ed95ddfe-d4d5-11df-b230-00144feabdc0.html#axzz32XrDJgkp  [accessed 06 May 2014]

 

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Resources – Narrative and Illustration

Using photography to tell a story rather than just to create a set of visual static images was a completely new concept for me. The course notes provided a good grounding but I realised that some more research was necessary if I was going to be able to do myself justice in the final assignment. Here are some of the resources that I found useful for this module and which I hope will be helpful to others.

Books

The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrrative’  by Michael Freeman (2012) was a welcome Christmas present, put on my wish-list specifically with this part of the course in mind.  It formed a core part of my research, in particular for the assignment, as it covers in detail both the structure of a picture essay and as well as how to put one together, including guidelines on planning, shooting and editing.  I read this book in conjunction with ‘Context and Narrative’ (Short, 2011) (see below) and found that both books complemented each other well as they brought different aspects of learning and knowledge to this section of the course.

Context and Narrative’ by Maria Short (2011) was a useful introduction to the subjects of context and narrative and was a good starting point when commencing this part of the course as it provided a good overview of the basics.

Pictures on a Page: Photo-journalism, Graphics and Picture Editing’ by Harold Evans (1997) was recommended by a tutor in a comment to a post on ‘WeAreOCA’ as probably the bible for image layout.   It is now out of print but there are used copies still around for sale at the time of writing and I was lucky enough to find a copy in my local library.  Well worth getting hold of if you can in my opinion – Evans is the former editor of the Sunday Times and has written what I think is an excellent book on photojournalism, discussing how photographs are taken, selected and edited for newspapers and magazines and providing excellent advice on composition and cropping.  As an aside, it also makes interesting reading purely for the news articles that he includes.

The Photographer’s Eye’ by Michael Freeman (2007) has a useful chapter on intent, discussing the purpose of the photograph and how it is going to be used, giving some guidelines to help the photographer determine what it is that he wants to achieve from his images.

Behind the Image, Research in Photography’ by Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana (2012) came off my bookshelf once again as I find it extremely valuable reading on how to research a project.  I find myself dipping into it before each assignment.  It also contains an extremely useful Photography Project Self-Evaluation Form which is a helpful project review tool.

Web resources:

When looking at resources for putting together a narrative picture essay for the first exercise in this module (and also with the assignment in mind) I soon realised that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ in this instance so I ended up using resources from a number of websites.  I intermingled various points to compile both planning and shooting frameworks which provided me with useful guidance (see my full research post here).  I’ve listed below the websites that I found helpful:

There is also a useful article on Photo.net by Michael Freeman entitled ‘Three tips to help your photos tell a story’.

Photographic essays:

Michael Freeman wrote an interesting online article for WeAreOCA which discussed the production of the classic photo essay ‘Country Doctor’, shot by W. Eugene Smith and published by Life magazine in 1948.

W. Eugene Smith is widely known as the master of the photo story and his ‘Country Doctor’ essay is mentioned above.  However Smith shot an number of other classic photo essays, including ‘Nurse-Midwife’ and ‘Spanish Village’  which were useful to look at as a reference point in terms of style and captioning.

Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson appears to base most of his work on projects and series and has published a number of photo essays. My take-away from his work is his intimacy with his subjects – he gets close in where it matters and this is reflected in his images.

Although not a photo essay per se, David Lynch’sThe Factory Photographs’ series shows a number of similar characteristics with the images being arranged thematically to create a visual tour for the viewer and a variety of different types of shots and viewpoints being used.

 

Exhibition: Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now

At the end of April I visited the ‘Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now’ exhibition held at Somerset House in London and presented by the Cultural Institute at King’s.  The exhibition was showing the work of eleven Rwandan professional photographers, together with invited guests, and was the result of a week-long workshop held in Kigali run by Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo and American photojournalist Brendan Bannon in which participants were encouraged to question the way their country is internationally portrayed following the Rwandan genocide in 1994 [1], [2].

To many outsiders, Rwanda is still seen as a country of death, violence and horror and the intent of the exhibition was to show the viewers images of life in Rwanda today as seen by Rwandans themselves.  The exhibition presenters also asked visitors, by way of anonymous questionnaire, to consider what they saw, to look at the images through Rwandan eyes, which I thought was an excellent and sensitive treatment by them to provoke thought and raise awareness.

The exhibition begins by asking two telling questions: ‘When you imagine Rwanda what do you see?’ and ‘Who has shaped these images in your mind?’  It is eager to show the public that Rwanda has changed following the events in 1994 and the first half of the exhibition is full of images that portray, both in content and style, how far the country has developed.  Highly saturated images of training workshops reflecting things such as job creation, barbershops, craftsmen at work, new buildings changing the country’s appearance are almost overwhelming; I felt bombarded by frantic colour.  The second part of the exhibition calms down a bit.  Images in more muted colours show how less-fortunate families are being helped out of poverty; there are images showing the excitement of aid arriving at a refugee camp in Kigeme and also an interesting series of photographs showing genocide survivors with their beloved cows which become part of the family.  We are told that survivors of the genocide are still today disproportionately affected by poverty and that whilst huge progress has been made, Rwandans still live in different categories – poor and rich.  The images become more sombre and we are shown pictures of dereliction, of slum living.  In the same room, another set of images, taken by  Esiebo, portrays the ‘returnees’, those Rwandans who were forced into exile during the violent years and who returned to their country after the genocide in order to assist with its rebuilding. Bright and radiating positivity they provide a stark contrast to life in the slum.

The exhibition had been running since mid-March and I must admit that it hadn’t been of particular interest to me until I saw some images taken in Rwanda by Simon Norfolk in the book ‘For Most Of It I Have No Words; Genocide, Landscape, Memory’ (Norfolk and Ignatieff, 1998) at the time of the genocide.  I then felt a need to visit this exhibition, to see and feel the positive contrast that I thought it would portray.  Did it meet up to my expectation? Yes, it met its intent of showing Rwanda to the outside world, as seen through Rwandan eyes, but rather than feeling upbeat about the positive strides the country has made in the last twenty years, I was left instead with an intense feeling of sadness for those survivors of the genocide who seem to have been left behind in the bright new world of Rwanda, those who are sleeping on the ground as they do not have mattresses.  A cabinet in the first room of the exhibition showed, though displays of magazine covers and newspaper articles, how photographers and journalists repeatedly picture the dead and walking wounded of Rwanda in some ways as an antidote to their realisation that the western world failed to stop the massacres.  So maybe there is a case of publicity over-saturation and people becoming numb and reduced to inaction with regard to continued help, whether monetary or in other forms, for the genocide survivors.

As an exhibition, it certainly made the viewer think and it was an inspirational idea of the presenters to ask the visitor to try to look at the work on display through Rwandan eyes rather than their own.  However I consider that it could have been curated in a slightly better manner; I felt that in the first half the viewer was overwhelmed with a large number of highly saturated images heading all over the place; in my opinion fewer, well-chosen, images would have provided a stronger focus.

Contextually, this exhibition has helped influence the direction of my final TAOP assignment, not through the subject matter, but through the emotion, the feeling of sadness and desolation that I took away from my visit.  The exhibition ratified my decision, gave me permission in my  mind to go with my gut feelings of what I wanted to convey in my assignment images; a sense of loss, of what has been left behind.

[1] Source: Arts and Humanities Research Council (online).  ‘Rwanda in Photographs – Death Then, Life Now’.  Available from  http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/News/Pages/Rwanda-in-Photographs—Death-Then,-Life-Now.aspx    [accessed 09 May 2014]

[2] Source: exhibition leaflet ‘Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now’  King’s College London. (2014) Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now.  Somerset House East Wing, London.  Date viewed: 28 April 2014

 

 

Exhibition: Neda Dana-Haeri and Melissa Pender – ‘Passages’

On a visit to the Barbican library in April I came across an exhibition of work by Neda Dana-Haeri and Melissa Pender.  Comprising twenty five prints, the theme of the exhibition was the exploration of the interplay of the narratives of community versus structure, time versus memory [1].  The two artists based their work on the Barbican in London, looking at the idea of community movement in two very different ways.

Pender is mainly a printmaker and for this exhibition she used the technique of photopolymer etching whereby original photographic images are transferred to light-sensitive plates which are then inked and printed using intaglio techniques [1].  Her work in this exhibition was based on architecture in and around the Barbican, making use of lines and form with often one print being repeated in different colours which led to an effective series.  Some of her exhibition images can be seen here. According to the leaflet accompanying the exhibition, Pender ‘investigates the passages of continuous movement between the past and the future.’ [1].  As a photographer who loves architecture, I appreciated the strong form and design elements in Pender’s work although I found some of the pieces a little sombre for my taste.

Dana-Haeri used painterly print-making techniques for her exhibition pieces.  Her work was a contrast to Pender’s, being very abstract and visually  appearing much lighter and softer due to her use of curves and blends of soft colours.  The exhibition leaflet stated the Dana-Haeri’s work ‘addresses the narrative of time and cultural memory with the Barbican as representing the passage of time and its role in what is remembered and what is passed on’ [1].

I must admit that I didn’t really know what to make of this exhibition.  Although I found things to like aesthetically in the work of both Pender and Dana-Haeri, I struggled to make any connection between the conceptual ambition of the exhibition and the artists’ work.  I am sure that this is down to being a Level One student and a relative novice at reading contemporary art, however I found this lack of understanding on my part quite disheartening.  I now try and consider the intent and meaning of the exhibitions that I visit and I felt that my reflection process had been improving recently, however this exhibition brought it home that I still have a lot to learn.

Although I did not find any inspiration from the pieces on display with regard to my own work, one take-way from from the exhibition was that the title of ‘Passages’ gave me an idea (‘Hidden alleyways in the City of London’) for my final TAOP assignment as it reminded me of the number of alleyways and passages in the City, many not obvious at first glance to the passer-by.  I later discarded this line of thought for the assignment for a number of reasons, however I like the idea of this as a project so will keep it up my sleeve for another time.

[1] Source: ‘Passages’ exhibition leaflet.

 

Exhibition: Alex MacLean – ‘Aerial Perspectives’

After visiting the ‘Bailey’s Stardust’ exhibition I had enough time at the end of the day to go over to the Beetles + Huxley gallery in Swallow Street, London to have a look at the Alex MacLean exhibition ‘Aerial Perspectives’.

 I’ve found that I’m becoming fascinated with aerial photography (looking at it, not doing it!).  It all started with seeing Edward Burtynsky’s and David Maisel’s aerial images at the Landmark: Fields of Photography exhibition in May last year.  The work of both photographers was beautiful and striking to view yet horrifying in what it portrayed, how man is destroying the natural environment.  Later on I came across the work of Daniel Beltrá whose ’Spill” visually showed the world the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, images again that were beautiful in appearance yet obscene in what they documented.

MacLean gained a degree in architecture and his pilot’s licence before setting up his own company which specialises in aerial photography for planners, architects and designers as well as environmentalists [1].  The exhibition consisted of forty-one large wall-mounted photographs and the first thing I noticed when walking into the gallery was the sheer colour, brightness and vibrance of the images, aided by clever use of lighting.  Many of the images tell a story of modern life, documenting the everyday evidence of humans – housing developments, huge car parks, crowded beaches, the agricultural industry however MacLean does not ignore the negative environmental impact caused by man; his images of pit mines and tailings resembling abstract paintings and two photographs of rows and rows of disused and rusting B-52 bombers remind us of man’s seeming desire to destroy his natural environment.

As the subjects are photographed from above and the view is invariably flat, three-dimensional objects become two-dimensional and, seen from high above, form patterns, lines and curves. Simply awe-inspiring for those of us who love elements of design.  In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition MacLean explains his use of composition:

One thing you see clearly from the air is the arrangement of man-made objects and distinct markings that tell us so much about culture and the people living on the land.  With the distance of the aerial perspective, it’s as if you are looking at a perfect model of basic organisational principles. (p3)

 He goes on to say

Perhaps what is most fun is highlighting these patterns through composition and light angles. (p3)

Whilst MacLean’s images showed his concern for what man is doing to the environment, I didn’t get the impression that he was trying to make too much of a socio-political statement through his work.  Whilst I can see a similarity in his work with that of Burtynksky, Maisel and Beltrá, for me MacLean’s images are more of a gentle, thought-provoking and intriguing investigation into man’s relationship, both commercial and personal, with the environment rather than trying to make a strong point about the negative effect that man is having on the natural world.

Although MacLean did not provide an artist’s statement to accompany this exhibition, a look afterwards at his website tells us that:

His powerful and descriptive images provide clues to understanding the relationship between the natural and constructed environments [2]. 

Although this exhibition was only a small part of his work I felt that the images reflected this intent, albeit sometimes in a humorous manner, for example ‘Marked Territory, Viareggio, Italy, 2010’  and ‘Umbrella Territory, Camaiore, Tuscany, Italy, 2010’  both reflect upon the quirkiness of human behaviour en-masse at play, and sometimes bizarrely, as shown in ‘Golf Oasis in Desert Hills, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 2009’  and ‘Community Pool without Community, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 2009’.

This was an exhibition that I really enjoyed.  I was sucked into the colour and the graphic design and I could have easily compiled a shortlist of ten or so images to take home.  My favourite without question was the striking ‘Bay Channel, Fremont, California, USA, 1984’  due to its simplicity, both in style and colour as well as the curve of the channel which sweeps the eye through the picture and which is complemented by the diagonal line of pylons in the foreground.  Close runners-up were ‘Directionless Lobster Boats, Tremont, Maine, USA, 2008’ for the sheer randomness of the pattern (it looks a lot more impressive in real life that on screen), ‘Hadley Tobacco Barns, Hadley, Massachusetts, USA, 1978’ for the colour and lighting and ‘Logging Rafts, Olympia, Washington, USA, 2005’  for its simple yet effective abstraction. Would I have paid money to see this exhibition?  Absolutely.  Would I go and see MacLean’s work again?  Definitely.

[1] Source: MacLean, A. (2014) Aerial Perspectives. London: Beetles + Huxley

[2] Source: Alex S. MacLean: Aerial Photographer (online). Alexmaclean.com.  Available from http://www.alexmaclean.com/#/about/biography   [accessed 12 May 2014]

Exhibition: David Bailey – ‘Bailey’s Stardust’

At the end of March I visited ‘Bailey’s Stardust’, a major exhibition by David Bailey of over 250 photographs held at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Although I am not a lover of portrait photography, this exhibition for me was a ‘must-see’ for two main reasons; firstly for those of us who grew up in the sixties and seventies, Bailey was the photographer that everyone knew of and whose name was synonymous with his profession: ‘Who do you think you are – David Bailey?’ was often heard when as kids we were messing around with small instamatic cameras.  Secondly I unashamedly wanted to go ‘celebrity-spotting’; to see the classic Bailey portraits of rock stars (many of whom I revered as a teenager and still do), fashion models and the like.

Spread over the majority of the ground floor of the National Portrait Gallery, this was a story and celebration of Bailey’s career.  Curated by Bailey himself, which probably explains the eclectic mix of images, the exhibition was arranged into fourteen groups, mainly of celebrity portraits, from ‘hard men’ through to rock stars, actors and models from the 1960s up to the present day, photographed in Bailey’s signature style of black and white on a plain white background, minimalistic with no props and with the subject usually looking straight at the camera.

However there were some surprises; Bailey included images from his travels to Australia, Papua New Guinea, India and Nagaland, mostly in vibrant colour, as well as of his humanitarian trip to East Africa in 1985 where he took pictures (for free) in support of the Live Aid fund-raising effort.  There was also a room displaying images taken by Bailey using a smartphone mostly in the clubs and theatres of London and Harlem. These to me were the disappointment of the exhibition; ordinary images that in my view lacked the ‘stardust’ quality of his other work on show.

Bailey dedicated one room to his fourth (and current) wife Catherine; the room was crammed full of images spanning their life together.  As well as photographs of Catherine in modelling poses there are far more personal family pictures, including images of Catherine heavily pregnant and also giving birth.  This was the first time that I saw real personality in Bailey’s images; images with depth rather than just what the sitter and photographer wanted us to see.  Some of these images were rather graphic and quite discomforting to look at and it was interesting to read a statement by Catherine displayed on the wall of the room.  Responding to the question as to whether she ‘feels used in any way, objectivised, nailed and made public’, her response was ‘Good God no, I am always in control.  Always.’

So what is the key to the success of his portraiture?  For me it is the fact that his images really show the character of the subject as we (the general public) imagine it to be.  Bailey most of the time gets this right – too little character would make for a bland image, too much would become a caricature.

I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition.  It matched up to my expectations (the classic Bailey celebrity portraits) and also provided some surprises and food for thought – through his travel photography I saw a side of David Bailey as a photographer that I was not aware of previously.

I asked myself the question: Would I have enjoyed this exhibition if it had been of ‘ordinary’ people?  In a nutshell, no.  The reason why I was drawn to the majority of the images is that they were recognisable; David Bowie looking gorgeous, Kate Moss looking stunning, the Krays being the hard men that they were, Ralph Fiennes looking moody.  This aspect, the feeling that you ‘know’ the subject makes it hard to be objective; I found it difficult not to base my opinion of the image on the person photographed rather than the quality of the image itself. Taking the time to look deeper into the images though reveals Bailey’s skill as a photographer; his photograph of Seal (1994) is just one of many images that bears testament to this.  Taken from behind, it is almost a silhouette of Seal’s head to his waist with Seal looking to the right.  The lighting is just superb giving definition by picking out highlights on the face, shoulders and arms.

Would Bailey’s work influence my own?  At first glance, probably not as I am currently have no interest in taking portraits of people.  Looking deeper, the no-frills minimalist style of his portraiture strikes a chord with my own work.  Although it is necessary to see the majority of Bailey’s portraits for what they are – simple, face-value images without much depth or insightfulness – I am influenced by the way that he manages to capture the essence of the sitter’s character, something which brings his images to life.  His lighting techniques are also superb, it is his use of light that makes his deceptively simple images really stand out from the crowd.

My favourite image of the exhibition?  It just has to be Jack Nicholson grinning manically at the camera.

Exhibition: Alan Ainsworth – ‘New City: Contemporary Architecture in the City of London’

Working not far from the Barbican, I took the opportunity in March to visit ‘New City: Contemporary Architecture in the City of London’, an exhibition of photographs by Alan Ainsworth held in the Barbican library.

Ainsworth, who worked in the City until 2006 and is now a full-time architectural and urban photographer [1], has worked in collaboration with Alec Forshaw (author) on the production of a book ‘New City: Contemporary Architecture in the City’ published in 2013 and which examines the recent development of modern architecture over the past twenty five years in the City of London [2].  The exhibition was advertised as showcasing Ainsworth’s images from the book so, given my love of modern architecture, I decided to go along and have a look.

The exhibition comprised of forty three images, the majority of which were in colour, and included exterior and interior shots of many well-known buildings in London.  Most of the shots were of a commercial nature showing off the architecture of the buildings concerned, which is understandable given that they formed part of the book and therefore had a specific purpose, however my preference was for Ainsworth’s more abstract shots in mono, some of which were from his works  shown here.  There were also some high level shots taken from some of the City’s taller buildings, giving good views over the Square Mile as well some street-style images where Ainsworth had sat and watched the City goings-on. Images taken at differing times of day and evening added a good dimension to the mix.

This exhibition should have been right up my street with lots of steel, glass and reflections however I came away feeling a little disappointed.  I must stress that I think that this is due to my changing attitude to my photography rather than the exhibition itself; I find that I am bored at the moment by ‘commercial’ images of shiny new buildings, preferring a more abstract look and photographs with more depth.  The exhibition was based around an informative, rather than abstract, view of the City and Ainsworth’s website shows a much wider and more eclectic range of architectural images.

I think that the exhibition fulfilled its conceptual ambition as it met its purpose of showcasing the published book by demonstrating the recent development of modern architecture in the City. This could be seen by the factual style of many of the images. As mentioned above, Ainsworth displays a wider range of image on his website where he has not been constrained by a brief and I particularly like some of his more abstract and minimalist work which shows a varied personal style.

My main take-away from this exhibition was confirmation of a growing realisation that my photographic interests are changing. They still lie within architecture and graphic elements, however it is the use of these elements within a building that attracts me photographically rather than the actual building itself – the pieces rather than the whole.

[1] Source: Alan Ainsworth Architectural and Urban Photography [online]. Available from: http://www.alanainsworthphotography.com/about.html [accessed 19 April 2014]
[2] Source: ‘New City: Contemporary Architecture in the City’ [online]. Amazon.co.uk.  Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-City-Contemporary-Architecture-London/dp/1858945984/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399483935&sr=8-1&keywords=new+city [accessed 19 April 2014]