On Friday 2nd May we travelled to London to visit the Photographers Gallery. Here we focused on 4 artists that have been nominated for the Deutsche Borse Photography prize 2014. My task we to decide who I felt should win.
For the last 16 years the Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by war. Richard Mosse travelled to the area and captured it using a special military film that showed up the invisible infra-red light spectrum. Each of his images have been reproduced as large prints that instantly capture your attention. You are drawn into the vast landscapes as the eye moves across these stunning colourful scenes. It seems almost unbelievable that so mooch death and destruction continues to plague a land that seems so untouched by human involvement.
Lempart originally trained as a biologist and this is reflected through his imagery. Fascinated by the natural world he explores this through shapes and patterns. Albeit tadpoles in a pond or swans on a lake he carefully captures the strange and interesting patterns they make, almost to abstract extremes. I found it quite difficult to fully absorb and it struggled to keep my attention for very long before I moved on.
Lorna Simpson discovered an archive of old photos taken of a black woman in America during the 1950’s and 60’s. Simpson was struck by the style and method of which the unknown woman posed and how each through each image she appears to be projecting a false stereotype at the camera. Americas national obsession with celebrity was at its peak at this time at these poses seem to reflect how that obsession reveals itself. Simpsons went onto explore this further with a series of self portraits that recreated these poses so she could try to better understand this mystery woman. I found the method of display confusing, there were dozens of tiny framed images crammed together on a wall and I felt that choosing fewer and displaying them larger would have been more effective. However you are drawn through them with your eyes quickly jumping from one to the next and the internal desire to ensure you had seen every single one.
Alberto Garcia-Alix was given a camera in 1975 by his parents and this began a project that spanned 4 decades. Garcia-Alix became fascinated by the way in would freeze a moment from his life in time and continued to make numerous self portraits. His images reflected the social and political climate in Spain with liberation from the rule of General Franco to exciting new freedoms. From barren rooms and loneliness to fun and wild excess each image tells the story of this artists life. All the images are black and white and reproduced as large poster sized prints. There are so many fascinating images it is hard to know which to look at first but once you find a starting point they keep you gripped until the last. There was also a video explaining a little about the artists, his vision and adding some context to the images. The video is helpful but I did find it a little distracting.
It is very difficult to choose a winner but ultimately for me I would choose Richard Mosse. His large images were simplistic and I found my self returning to his gallery for a second look. It is easy to lose yourself amongst his vast landscapes and the vivid colours draw you in. What I really like is how unique his work is, it is instantly recognisable and he has made this method his own.In a massively over saturated market he has genuinely managed to create something completely new.