I attended this at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, on 24th January, 2016
It was held in the basement and there were very few images, all in black and white.
The curator also doubled up as the shop assistant.
The location, setting and atmosphere spoilt it for me because it appeared to be an exhibition purely and simply to sell the work rather than to appreciate it for what it was. None of the other exhibitions I had seen that day offered the buying option.
Their subject was pre-WW2 London & the images were taken in the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Their position in the building’s basement made it appear to be a ww2 bunker & was quite depressing.
There was only one image which showed me a London I did not know & that was of St Paul’s Cathedral, c. 1942, seen through a broken, post bombing, window.
- when I asked why a group of 3 images were arranged together, the cashier / curator replied that the frame sizes determined where they went.
What I took away with me about the work:
- The way it was displayed and the darkness of most of it, gave it a look that made me think I had seen it all before. I don’t know what could have been done to have shown it differently.
What I took away from it about me:
- Photographs do not have to be so serious – the author tried to present something lighthearted, the swings on a merry-go-round, in a period in time which was fast going to become a very dark cataclysmic event but the 2 images are drowned in the darkness surrounding them.
- How & where you hang an exhibition is very important: here a dark, pre-war setting is hung in a basement, admittedly of a prestigious institution, but would you want to stay in there longer than it takes to whizz around the few images? I don’t think so.
Star rating: 2*