Today I visited 2 galleries in London; The Photographers Gallery at Ramillies Street and The Mall Galleries just down the road from the Queens House. It was a long journey again on the National Express from where I live in Wiltshire but I quite enjoy the journey now, it gives me time to take in the view, catch up on some reading, sleep and a bit of music as well. This is my second visit to London in a couple of months. I’m not really very good with large crowds of people, the city, enclosed or confined spaces like the underground etc but I am trying to find coping strategies, bringing along a friend helps. First on the agenda is to get a strong cup of caffeine, I haven’t had any yet today and I’m slowly slipping away into some strange state of dreamlike-zombie-walking akin to the walking dead. We stop at a coffee shop in Trafalgar Square then head on up to The Photographers Gallery, we are travelling by foot today, I prefer it that way,especially after a 3.45hrs sat on a bus.
The Photographers Gallery
Its gone midday by the time we arrive at the gallery and there is a bit of a buzz around the place. At the Gallery today there are a range of exhibitions on show, the gallery exhibitions are split out over about 5 floors, the ground floor has a restaurant/cafe and the basement has a shop full of photo-books and camera gear along with print sales today showcasing some early black and white photos on display from Martin Parr called The Ceremony of Life, you can see at this early stage in his photographic career he just has this eye for noticing and framing things beautifully. I watched a clip on YouTube with Martin Parr giving a speech I think to students, he basically said you need to take more crap photographs, take more crap photographs, that’s how you get the good ones essentially, or something like that. I thought it was funny but also spot on!
The first exhibition I come across in the Wolfson Gallery shows photographs by British Photographer Roger Mayne which illustrates the urban city of West London and Sheffield during the 1950’s and 1960’s there is also a projector room setup with multiple projectors which fires of a series of slides every couple of seconds, called The British at Leisure I found this a little hard to watch as there are around 6 photographs being displayed for a couple of seconds then they all change, it gave me a bit of a headache so I went back to looking at the the printed images. I really enjoyed viewing Roger Mayne’s photography on display here, he really managed to blur himself into the background as a photographer to almost be unnoticed to show the unseen world and culture of the time, the playfulness of youth, you feel like you are peering into these people’s life’s and there are some really interesting characters captured on film, from the teddy boys to the kids playing in the streets.
Next up in the John Lyon galleries are photographs on display as part of the Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize 2017 with images from Sophie Calle, Dana Lixenberg, Awoiska Van Der Molen, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs.
I am drawn to the the large scale photographs by Awoiska van der Molen, which explore landscapes, place and I think isolation. I have had that moment when you are on the trail alone and stare into the darkness of the deep dark woods and a little part of you stares back at you like a reflection, a bit of excitement but also some fear of the unknown.
I was also really keen on the work by Sophie Calle called My mother, my cat, my father, in that order. The photographer of objects she relates to her parents or cat with large scale accompanying text explore the death of her parents and her cat and these relationships. I thought this was a great display and made me think about my own relationships I hold with the people in my own life.
Some i-Phone images from the visit:
The Mall Galleries:
On the suggestion of my friend who is an artist, we also decided to visit The Mall Galleries which displays a range of contemporary art. It’s free to get in and they also have a cafe in the gallery space. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I must admit I was really pleasantly surprised and also impressed by the incredible works of art on display. As with all art, everything is subjective and somethings I preferred to others. When I visited there was art on display fin the main gallery for The Lynn Painter-Stainer’s Prize 2017 there was also an exhibition displaying some fine art by John Sprakes. I would highly recommend a visit. I really enjoyed some of the beautiful landscape art that was on display from the likes of Emma Haworth and Tessa Coleman.
I have included some i-Phone snaps from my visit below :