No Social Commentary

Today is the day I realised without a doubt I’d never be a great artist. Or a great art critic.

This train of thought had started a week or so ago when we went to see the new photographers gallery space in London where the current exhibition is Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2009 (the exhibition ends 13th April so you still have time to see it). Selected works from Four shortlisted photographers battled it out for a £30k prize.

To be honest only one photographer really struck me, Taryn Simon. The others I could kind of see what they were trying to do and they had some interesting ideas but the photographs themselves left me cold. Maybe I’m being unfair since the works were selected for a whole body (a full exhibition or publication) and maybe I would have liked the ones not on display.

Paul Graham – was selected by the Jury for his publication, a shimmer of possibility
The winner. I thought the idea was neat and I haven’t seen the whole publication (which you can buy from Amazon) but the photos I saw were just kind of uninspiring to me personally.

Tod Papageorge – nominated for the exhibition Passing Through Eden – Photographs of Central Park
This one was interesting and would have been my second choice. The idea of going back to one place over 30 years and taking photos is very cool. I liked some of the photos but not them all (you can’t like them all can you).

Emily Jacir – nominated for her installation, Material for a Film
This was quite an interesting idea to take a person’s life and document it this way but the least visually interesting of the four.

Taryn Simon – nominated for her exhibition An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar
She was robbed. I thought this was the most interesting idea and the photos were visually exciting and very inspiring. To judge a culture based on obscure and strange references is a fascinating notion. My fav pictures were the Playboy: Braille edition and the nuclear waste abstract.

But back to my point, why do I know that I will never be great? What do all these photos have in common? A social commentary. And today while the riotous G20 protesters were swarming all over bank station just outside my office window was I in the thick of it with my camera? No. Was I on the edge? No. Knowing that there would be the potential for some great social commentary today I didn’t even bring my camera in. I should be ashamed of myself.

On the up side – being stuck inside at lunchtime enabled me to find a new photoblog to follow: check out the very interesting – “Graf Nature Photography | Notes from the woods”

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3 thoughts on “No Social Commentary

  1. Wow,

    Just stumbled on this. Cool images. Especially Shell.

    Are you still blogging or is it hard to keep it going. Interesting stuff. Please check out my blog – http://www.brianmclane.com. Perhaps we can exchange links? (I’m blogging everyday and getting close to 200 hits now). Weird huh?

    So I’m just looking for interesting stuff to link to and with.

    Please let me know. Going to start a blog roll.

    Thanks,

    Brian

  2. Yeah, I still blog. Mainly when I have something to say or when I have new photos though. Blogging everyday does increase hit count but I found that I wasnt blogging a consistent quality, I didnt want to end up blogging drivel and sending away people who’d stayed with me for years 🙂

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