Photography Blog

Gay Photographers Network - patterns

GPN London’s first film festival featured a wide variety of art film styles taking us on a journey starting from Davids’ showering movie, heckled with shouts of “watch out for Norman” (as in Bates, see “Psycho”), clearly his GoPro is actually waterproof.
Matt’s fetishistic detail shots of leather and skinhead boots in slow motion.
Kam’s short film for “Drinks of London” featuring detail shots from London’s South Bank lovingly depth layered and edited very tight and punchy.
WA’s “Alchemist”, portraying a highly symbolic initiation with implied chems, between a tattooed man and a smooth-skinned athlete; intimate and erotic but not overtly sexual.
Jon’s deconstruction of the static and dynamic form and textures of body skin and surfaces using hard video keying.
And finally a segment of Stephen’s documentary work-in-progress about his childhood upheaval when his family uprooted from Ireland, a searing experience to which many gay people may relate.

Read more: GPN mini film festival

Ice skating outside the Science Museum in South Kensington

The interest in a survey of photography in India since 1857 is that it is initially a distillation of British photography which then takes on its own life after national independence.
The Science Museum in South Kensington isn’t where I would expect to find a photography exhibition but this is part of their season “Illuminating India”. We get a chronological survey starting with documentary images of destruction of the Lucknow uprising (1857); these albumen prints, used as source for engravings for journals and magazines, led to a fashion for “Mutiny tourism”.

Read more: Illuminating India - Photography 1857-2017

GPN17 at 117 Wallis Road, London E9

rebuilding of Hackney Wick station
My photo of the rebuilding of Hackney Wick station, which, when completed, is expected to drive the regeneration of this area.

Thirty-eight photographers exhibiting in Hackney Wick, some their first public exhibition, some well-known names showing their private work, some their commercial work. Many intriguing, thoughtful images from voices that aren’t seen/heard widely enough. If the art world is to discover another Mapplethorpe to celebrate then maybe it will be one of these photographers or another from the 4000-strong Gay Photographers Network.

Read more: GPN17 at 117 Wallis Road, London E9

Mapplethorpe,at the Kunstal, Rotterdam

A major retrospective of the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe drawn from the Getty collection. The curators are proposing Mapplethorpe as an artist: his photographs are presented in an art gallery. By featuring his commercial portraiture as much as his more well-known (notorious) leather subculture photography, the curators are rebalancing his oeuvre and particular reputation as well as advancing the general cause of the photographer as artist. This exhibition was originally mounted in New York, then Los Angeles, followed by Montreal.
This is light touch curating, it would have been useful to have commentary remarking on the various visual references Mapplethorpe employs, from David Bowie to Andy Warhol. Equally the way in which Mapplethorpe’s work has influenced and inspired a generation, from Grace Jones’ cover for “Portfolio” through to the adoption of leather fetish imagery by mainstream fashion image makers.

Read more: Mapplethorpe, a perfectionist - Kunsthal, Rotterdam

Touching van Gogh’s sunflowers at the Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam

Vincent van Gogh’s story is, on the face of it, straightforward: young man leaves rural Dutch religious family home to become an artist in Paris, moves to Arles in Provence, falls in to bad ways but creates exceptional art; is rescued by his brother but commits suicide. Van Gogh’s story is unusual because he produced such memorable work in the short productive period between finding himself and loosing himself through “madness”. I always enjoy visiting the town of Arles, but recognise for myself that the heady allure of its old stonework and streets, strong light and position at the head of the Camargue are best visited rather than made home.

Read more: Touching van Gogh’s sunflowers