Philippe Chancel – Datazone
This is an exhibition on a grand scale showing what we are doing to our planet and our people. His work ranges from the environmental issues of global warming at the arctics to the rapid changes taking place in Khazakstan. He presents images of new walls and dividing fences growing around the world. Powerful images of North Korea. The work is well curated. It tells a coherent and frightening story of what we are doing to our own planet and each other as we walk blindly in to the abyss.
The exhibition is in sections for each region and topic he covers. Each section has its own power and then becomes a jigsaw piece in the bigger story. He has created this work over a period of 20 years.
This image presents horror, humour and a sublime beauty. You missed with an x in between suggesting perhaps this is where the bullet needed to go to succeed.
The images here are harrowing. A barbed wire fence creating a border keeping people in and keeping others out. There is an ordinariness to the clothes being arranged neatly, (to dry?), as the human beings accept where they are and get on with their lives. These images do important work as they show us what we are doing to other human beings now. This image has a horrific beauty to it.
Here he has cleverly captured melting ice in the arctics but in the shape of a falling man. There is irony and metaphor in this image. Again it does important work to inform. Whether human beings are capable of responding to this information in a sensible way is doubtful to me.
An informative image again about what is going on in Nigeria as oil resources are being exploited. It shows a human hand covered in oil and the pictures around show desolation and disregard for the local communities. This one makes me thoughtful as I worked for BP for 30 years and experienced great efforts to make our business ethical in all its actions. How does this happen then? The photograph asks for journalistic enquiry to tell the story. Does this oil come out as gasoline in Shell petrol stations? If so how can this be acceptable? I imagine that somewhere there is a shady crossing of a line. All the problems in this picture can be portrayed as the actions of the corrupt officials giving out ‘legal’ licences and not enforcing the required health and safety measures. At some point the shading line is crossed to provide petrol that goes in to your car and mine.
Oliver Klink – Cultures in Transition
Before writing about the images I want to talk about this beautiful book. The cover, the heavy pages and the silky paper are all a real pleasure. Then add in the images that somehow achieve the incredible range, depth and texture of his images on the wall and I hold a masterpiece.
Oliver has put this work together over a period of 15 years and says this work is now complete. The images are remarkable. Interview with Oliver Klink.
Walls of Power – Man Made Barriers Throughout Europe
A powerfully curated exhibition of what human beings are doing to each other. I left with a deep realisation of the number of conflicts taking place now which we effectively turn a blind eye to. The conflicts in Serbia and Hungary resonate personally as my family on my mothers side were migrated from Croatia up in to Hungary which was then annexed in to Austria before my mother came to England. After seeing the images I felt tearful and frustrated. I feel what I am seeing here is so so wrong but feel helpless to do anything about it. Can this be right? Photography is doing its job when it presents images like this.
Speechless, frustrated and try to understand.
I cannot even begin to imagine what these people are feeling.
Istvan Bielik must go to great efforts to be able to record these images and I will research more in to his work. The job he does as a photographer is important to make all of us aware of what is happening now in the world. What is shocking and deserves more consideration is why these images are not on the front pages of our newspapers every day.
A powerful selection of photographs from the Movida movement in Madrid post Franco 1978-88. Great change was taking place during this time. I am running out of time to write about the many interesting takes but include a couple.
I am interested in what the surface image shows about what is going on behind the surface. This image caught my attention for the savage portayal of a kiss. The colour saturation also adds something to the effect. Is it a deconstructed kiss or a snarl? Look at the eyes. Disturbing but captivating.
The eyes caught me in this image. They penetrate and look in to me as if I have disappointed her and she is trying to understand why. It is a simple pose of a friend of the photographer but it works so powerfully.
Valérie Belin – Painted Ladies
The images in this exhibition immediately caught my eye and held it. The images are a mixture of a painting and a photograph and I was not sure which. Going in closer made it no easier. Beyond that there is something about these images that appears to dig deeper in to the person presented.
The photographer Valerie is going to say that there is no real person there. A model, some face paint and some digital manipulation presents something I project on to. But I do it so convincingly and I believe it. In Madrid I was taken aback when Elina Brotherus replied to my question which best represented her with a ‘none of them’ ‘none of them are me. These images of Valerie are real and convincing but I know they do not exist as human beings to touch, be with or embrace their soul.
Karel Forman just started covering the walls of his house with images as his parents looked on. This is the end result. Hits the eyes in the show and must be quite a sight. Elton John did a similar thing with black and white photographs covering all the walls and ceilings of his house in Atlanta.
This area is one of my steep learning curves and this my first visit to a photobook exhibition. I clearly have lots to learn.