Review Structures.

Throughout this post I will explore elements of exhibition reviews from Source magazines in order to influence my own final review for this unit.


Source, The Photographic Review, Autumn 2013, Issue 76, p54-55. 

Ever Young, James Barnor, Impressions Gallery.

The Time of Optimism.

Review by Mick Gidley. 

James Barnor, Eva, 1960

James BarnorEva, 1960



Mick Gidley’s review of the Ever Young exhibition by James Barnor consists of descriptive paragraphs about the exhibition and it’s content. Throughout the introduction Gidley gives us an insight to exactly who he is talking about, a short biography of the photographer and what they’re all about. For the duration of the review we read heavy descriptions about the work being shown and the exhibition, what it consists of, what it represents and what it’s intentions are. The review seems to be mainly descriptive about what to expect in the exhibition, a descriptive insight which tells you about the contextual side of the show. Unfortunately the review for me doesn’t do the show or images justice, after researching more about Barnor and finding more images online I was excited by what I saw, for me the description even though elaborate for a short review does not come across as anything other than unfortunately quite dull.

More information at:


Source, The Photographic Review, Spring 2013, Issue 74, p50-51.

Woo!, Juergen Teller, ICA.

Serious Photography.

Review by Eugenie Shinkle.

Juergen Teller

 Juergen Teller, Vivienne Westwood, No.1, London, 2009. 



Personally I find this review to be much more experimental and imaginative with the use of words compared to Gidley’s review of Ever Young. The review starts with a controversial statement about how ‘serious photographers don’t do fashion’ and by listing other photographs works who we are familiar with helps to give a better understanding of what to expect within the exhibition. After this, much like Gidley there is a short biographical paragraph about Juergen Teller and his past work which gives you an understanding of his background and why this show is not what you’ll expect. Onwards the review again is very descriptive about the exhibition, more specifically this time with an explanation of what is exactly in each room without giving away too much, just enough to make you want to go and see for yourself. Towards the end of the review Shinkle talks about the main controversial element of the exhibition being the nude photographs of Vivienne Westwood, including this keeps the reader interested as it’s a popular part of the show. The end summary explains critical concerns but in a tasteful and respectful way. The controversy creates debate around the review and exhibition. I find this review to be much more to my taste as the vocabulary is rich and vibrant, every adjective seems to be invigorating and makes for a much more interesting read.

More information at:


Source, The Photographic Review, Autumn 2013, Issue 76, p60-61. 

Man Ray Portraits, National Portrait Gallery.

With Mystery.

Review by Isabel Stevens. 


Man Ray, Catherine Deneuve, 1968. 

Reviewing a show by a well known famous pioneer has a different output compared to contemporary, it is unnecessary to be descriptive of the photographs because generally people who read the review will already be aware of what they will look like. The intro still consists of a slight biographical piece of information but the structure is different, it does not list facts but alternatively elaborates on well known information in an attempt to try and write something which has never been said before. Throughout the duration of the review there is clear evidence of historical research and facts which you may or may not be aware of, these facts are extended with interpretations and opinions of what the photographs may have meant at the time and how they are perceived today. What I found to be interesting in the review was the explanation of Man Ray’s photographic practice which is included in the show, that fact alone made me want to visit the show for myself, as it sparks intrigue of the reality, secrets and mystery’s of working process of the surrealist photographer.


Starting from scratch.


Considering the Past –


During our first lecture for the unit we looked at various blogs such as:

This was a great starting point for starting my blog from scratch using word press. WordPress is a completely new web hosting service to me, but as I can see that high end professionals are using it I am enthusiastic to conquer the features of the blog host throughout this unit.

Looking through the recommended blogs has influenced my choices on how to present my blog as well as what to include within the content.

Lenscratch was my favourite of the blogs I’ve looked at so far. After reading the most recent post on the homepage I am thoroughly impressed with the content and layout, it’s easy to use and clear to read whilst looking professional yet not overwhelming. The blog posts continuously start with an eye catching image to draw your attention, once you are hooked the text to accompany does not fail to disappoint.

The homepage post ‘Considering The Past’ is an article which allows me to appreciate why it’s in the top 10 rated photography blogs by Source Review, Rangefinder, and Instyle magazine. It helped me to justify questions I’ve been asking myself for a long time now, for example:

Do photographs improve with time?

A psychologist might suggest we are busy projecting value upon the past so that our present, soon past, will hopefully have a like value one day.. 

It is a level playing field to stand along side work that has the patina of age? 

I constantly think about leaving my dignity behind and selling out to become a commercial photographer, as it’s a competitive industry at the present and I question wether I can afford to wait such time to potentially become widely recognised for achievements.

I can not agree more with the statement below and can only hope one day that my own images can be appreciated in this way by myself, my friends, family and the rest of the world.

“I do believe that almost any work that lasts, that was/is appreciated enough to be kept intact, will simply get better with time. It may be a romantic delusion but I feel the average snapshot of today will somehow manage to make us cry when we are creaky with age and juggling gauzy memories.” 

Also, I could not agree more with the next statement and again only hope that my efforts will become recognised long before I am dead and gone. I guess you could call it hope, paranoia or aspiration.

What distinguishes the good work from the celebrated work often has as much to do with synergy and being in the right time and place as it does anything else.”

Look to The Suburbs.

Source Magazine, Issue 75, Summer 2013.

pg, 71-74 Look to The Suburbs, Garry Winogrand, Yale University Press.

Book Review by Mark Durden


6/1/14 – Danielle Pugh

During the first session of our visual exploration unit as a group we generated a series of questions in order to interrogate a review and begin to understand the purpose and intentions of the writing.

1) What is the intention of the review?

The intention of the review is not in fact to sell or promote the book. Durden is informative about the content of the book with plenty of quotations and references to other people’s opinions and interpretations. Towards the end of the review it becomes more opinionated as he interrogates and interprets, questions and other interpretations within the content of the book.

2) What was your interpretation of the content & photographic outputs through the review? Did the writing give a good understanding of the show or books in question?

The review is very informative about the photographic content, it informs the reader about the social and political eras and other elements which affected and influence the meaning behind the images outcomes.

3) What is the review critically focused on and what type of photography is being explored?

The type of photography being explored is street photography, depicting the social issues and attitudes during the 60’s within the portrayal of the American lifestyle. The review seems to inform us mainly about the biography of photographer Garry Winogrand but also interpretations on the narratives of his work affected by sociology and democracy.

4) Is the reviewer’s opinion the most important part of the review or is it the factual and descriptive elements of the review that are most important?

I think an honest, opinionated review is important if it’s from someone who is authentic, established and well respected. However this review is less about the opinions of the writer and more factual, informative and descriptive about the biography of the photographer and their work within the book. There are elements of opinion which justifies the authenticity of the writer as well as where it has been published. I think that the factual elements are probably most important though, as it will not influence your own opinion and enables you to give the book a chance yourself.

5) How was the review researched?

Throughout the review the main sources suggested was John Szarkowski as well as the book itself, the contributors, exhibitions, central essays for the book, discussions, biographical details and quotes.

6) Why have they written it in this way?

This provides an intellectual and informative source for someone to find out reliable information or opinions on the book before reading it, combining summary and synthesis provides us with an informative and well written response to the source we are looking up. I think that the reason they have strayed away from too much opinion is to avoid influencing your own opinion on the book, as it may be different to theirs.

7) What were their influences towards the work: That is how wide are the references used in the text?

The influence of the review seems to be from wide variety of legitimate sources including the writer himself. I think this makes for a good review as you can see that it’s not just one person’s opinions and that it’s factual and informative.

8) Does the intention of the work/book/exhibition come across?

The intention is clearly stated within the first paragraph by saying the book endorses Szarkowski’s judgement  as well as seeking to rectify the dearth of research and understanding the authors feel Winogrand’s work has met with in the decades since his death.

9) What was your interpretation of the book/exhibition from the review?

I preferred the review to be more factual as it leaves room for me to develop my own opinion and interpretation of the quotes and content from the book. If it was purely someone else’s opinion there is always a chance it may be different to my own and within interpretations of photographs there is never one right or wrong answer. However I always find it interesting to listen to what the photographer has to say, so since it seems to be more biography based I’d be inclined to read it.

10) Did you understand the issues covered/intended to come across from the review?

The review is well written and long enough to explain the intentions and issues relating to the book and it’s content. Although, not long enough and so is just a short source of information regarding the chosen literature.