Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Afterburn, Torridon by Richard Childs

Afterburn, Torridon by Richard Childs
Afterburn, Torridon, a photo by Richard Childs on Flickr.
This image is everything I strive for; beautiful, structured, dynamic, simple. Another image that convinces me that I need to go up a format despite the challenges that lie ahead.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Gerhard Richter in 'Panorama" at the Tate Modern

Betty 1997 
Having read about Gerhard Richter for my photographic studies, I was very keen to see his work in the flesh.

Currently showing at the Tate Modern, this exhibition spans over 50 years of his work.

 It doesn't disappoint. The retrospective of the artist now in his eighties, is as varied as it is expansive. This is an artist who questions, tests and experiments with the role of art in the presence of other media. He breaks down 'the painting' to a series of brushstrokes in a single tone of grey, only to move onto multicoloured, mathematically derived abstracts containing over a thousand different colours. He paints in the manner of a photograph, or a newspaper advertisement, and then moves on to the most beautiful portraits inspired by works of the great masters. The variety and scale of works is astonishing. 

As photography is not allowed in the exhibition I don't have much to show for my visit; I don't really know why it isn't, as a photograph never compares with the real thing. Nothing prepared me for the beauty of his portrait "Betty" shown above. In the flesh it is richer, smaller, and more beautiful than any photograph.

I saw several people taking photos on their mobile phones, particularly in the large mirror that is one of the exhibits. Watching the public interacting with art is always entertaining, and no-one does it better that Thomas Struth. I had to make do with some postcards as a reminder of my visit.

Taking photos in galleries is something that adds to the visit. I was pleased to be given permission to take some photos at the Hamilton Gallery of Tom McCullin's work in  his exhibition 'Platinum' that ends today. Their view was that all the images are readily available in books already.

Don McCullin platinum print

I found this small show incredibly moving; the quality of the 16x20 inch platinum prints was quite breathtaking; they have a glow and depth, together with clarity and detail that only a medium or large format image can have. They had been printed especially for him by a third party, and were available in editions of 10 for around £10,000 each.

the presentation of this print in a dark alcove adds to the subtlety
They convinced me that I should be striving for quality in my prints; something that I have been seriously considering with my recent exploits in large format photography; I'll tell you how I got on in my next missive; suffice it to say, it is a challenge!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

RHS photographic competition

Treetops © Caroline Fraser 2011

Am delighted to receive a highly commended certificate in the RHS 2011 photographic competition for my image 'Treetops'. The image was taken at Hawkwood, my local haven in suburbia, but could have been taken anywhere, being an abstracted version of treetop silhouettes.

 It is interesting to consider what the value of entering a competition is. Many cynics say that all competitions are of more value for the promotors than the entrants. Given the entrance fee for many competitions, and the publicity that surrounds the event, you might think that it would be a worthwhile exercise, but if you take a look at the RHS website home page, you will be hard pushed to find any information relating to the competition, and in order to find the results I had to do a search using their search engine. It may be that Medici cards are the big winners here; they get to use their choice of winning images for their cards. I received a certificate, but can safely say that being a winner has not directed a single person to my website...........!

One winning photographer is the incredibly talented Polina Plotnikova , a friend of mine, who has a whole page to herself on the RHS website for her stunning plant portraits. She sells prints via the RHS, so it may be that  winning a competition has allowed her to work with the RHS in a way that really benefits her.

one of Polina's plant portraits

It seems that both entrants and the organisers have potential to benefit; you just need to win big, not be a runner up!