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: http://autograph-abp.co.uk/exhibitions/james-barnor-ever-young


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: http://www.ica.org.uk/whats-on/juergen-teller-woo


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.


Social Identity.

How do you think the role of photography in our culture is changing, when you think about how it is being used on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc? I’m particularly interested to hear your opinions on how you think photography, particularly self portrait photography, is being used to define an individual’s identity. How is our ‘identity’ constructed through the choice of photographs we post online? 


My Response:

As humans from early Greeks to modern day we have demonstrated an interest in self-exploration. Our current ‘selfie’ craze is a revolution, which reinforces our social identity over the Internet. Sociological research shows that humans are only capable of intimately knowing 150 people, due to social networking we feel we ought to share with more, as man is a social creature and the thought of loneliness drives us mad.

The problem being is we’re rapidly collecting online friends and not distancing quantity vs. quality. In a world where time is money and we are pressured to achieve more, when it comes to socializing it takes place in real life, in real time where you cannot control how you look or what you say. We’re obsessed with building an online persona so we can present ourselves as we want to be seen, we can edit and therefore delete. We can share pictures of when we look our best; it’s endless personal promotion.

However, sacrificing mere connection for conversation is what makes us feel lonely, we claim to have all these online friends but how many of them can you spend a day with, how many can you have a personal conversation with? We share to feel connected, to define ourselves and to feel less alone but in fact it’s doing the exact opposite as you loose physical human interaction.

Technology is rapidly changing who we are as we feel more and more lonely and vulnerable we turn to social media for what we believe to be stability, a controlled network of friends. Sharing a ‘selfie’, getting likes and comments makes one feel good about themselves but what is the actual value of this? We’re slowly forgetting how to physically interact socially face to face with one another, as we feel more comfortable hiding and controlling who we are via technology.


Discussion Forum: 

‘Instagram has ruined photography as an art form.’

‘The app Instagram which allows everyone to post photographs on the internet for the world to see has ruined the art of photography. Now, everyone is a photographer. There are filters that allow the photograph to be transformed from not very good to mediocre imagery that is now celebrated worldwide.’ 

by Kristianne Drake. 
Thursday, 13 February 2014, 12:33 PM.
My response:
Art can be appreciated primarily for it’s emotional power and beauty. If photography is simply freezing a moment in time or creating an image using light then there is no limit to how we produce images or where they are posted. Either way there will be an audience for them somewhere along the line.

Just because a photograph has been taken on a mobile phone, it is of poor quality or simply posted to instagram does not mean if can’t be appreciated by someone else.

Some of the most iconic moments of history last year were captured on mobile phone’s, these images have gone on to become widely circulated around the globe and continue to overwhelm nations.

Tim Holmes (not pictured) and his wife Tammy (second from left) huddled under a jetty for three hours with their grandchildren while their hometown in Tasmania was destroyed by wildfires.

Tim Holmes (not pictured) and his wife Tammy (second from left) huddled under a jetty for three hours with their grandchildren while their hometown in Tasmania was destroyed by wildfires.

A mobile phone is ideal for someone who is in the right place at the right time, whether they are a photographer or not. The image they create whether it be iconic or not can still be considered art to some people, even if it is just for themselves.

At David Bailey’s ‘Stardust’ exhibition in London, there is a whole section of mobile phone images. Maybe it’s all he had at the time but he still considered them to be worthy for his show as every image was hand picked by himself…

If life is only so short then who are we working to please? surely it’s ourselves…

Instagram gives anybody with access to a smartphone and internet the ability to create images to share with their family and friends, it allows people who enjoy photography as a hobby to create and share images they are proud of. What right does anyone have to deprive someone of that thrill just for the sake of saving ‘art’. Art will always exist, it’s just forever changing and we should embrace that instead of chasing old ways.



Whilst dashing around London from gallery to gallery I managed to take a few photographs of what caught my eye. Here I deconstruct and analyse why I may have taken them and what they represent to me.


To start off I know exactly why I took this photograph, the music these buskers were playing was some of the happiest melodies I’ve ever heard. The individuals were gleaming with joy and enthusiasm. It was close to impossible to walk by without at least smiling, these guys put me in a great mood from the start of the day and throughout. I feel it’s important to keep busking alive, by dropping even loose change to entertainers you make it worth while for them to spend their time performing in the street, raising spirits and moods all year round.

Trafalgar Square.

Having passed Trafalgar Square a dozen times I’m unsure why this composition sprung out to me on this day, there was something about the blueness of the sky reflecting upon the water in the fountains that caught my attention. The colours were naturally enhanced due to the bright sunlight but the sheer oddity of the hanh/cock which occupies the plinth in-between the richly historical engagement of the square is what steals the centre of this image. Perhaps unconsciously I took this photograph as an appreciation of my fascination with contemporary art and or how art changes over time.


This sight draw my attention for the amount of detail, everything seems to have been placed in that exact way for a reason but it just so happens that the building was under construction and the bus passing was at the right time.

I guess in a way this deals with a narrative of time, as the building is slowly constructed over time, the bus passes at a certain time moving people from location to location over the course of the day enabling them to be in a particular location at a certain time. And the tree occupies the frame with how it has naturally grown in that way over the passage of time.

Yoko Ono quotes “Time is a concept that humans created.” I feel this is an incredibly ignorant statement, perhaps due to the fact I’m not a fan of her anyway but it occurred to me that the passage of time is a part of nature, it’s not a concept at all, it’s simply that we have identified it and named it, we are not controlled by it or at least we don’t have to be.

Photographer's Gallery.

As the day came to a close whilst sat in The Photographers Gallery as our last location we noticed a rainbow occupying the sky outside of the window in front of us. My fascination with colour and light compelled me to photograph the rainbow. I owe this fascination within the optical and meteorological phenomenon to my interest in photography. The scientific understanding of the reflection and refraction of light within the water droplets is closely related to  those scientific elements of  photography I adore specifically to how simply we make and see images but the complex science behind it is endless.

Anni Leppälä.

Purdy Hicks Gallery, London.

24/01/14 – 22/02/14

Young Finish photographer Anni Leppälä’s exhibition at the Purdy Hicks Gallery in London explores concepts of time specifically within the relationship between the past and present in her life. The images featured in the exhibition certainly have a distinct style and a rather stunning one to say the least. They are all visually extraordinary in a soft dreamlike kind of way. The exhibitions conceptual approach seemed to be a bit far fetch, just another broad narrative about time there was nothing special about it in that sense. Freezing time, making a moment motionless, for me it seemed unfitting for what I was really seeing. However, I found all the images to be far from real, almost like tiny plastic scenes from the life of a distorted figure in a doll house. The stylised photographs tended to focus upon small sections within the everyday life, the small and specific then appears to look almost strange and surreal sort of like they were inspired by something from Alice In Wonderland. Each images draws upon some element of fragile construction much like a china doll for example.

Do you see where I’m coming from?


Hand, 2013. 


Buttons II (Marble), 2014.


Hands (Thread), 2014


Muotokuva | Portrait 2013. 

More information about the exhibition at: http://www.purdyhicks.com/display.php?aID=8

Richard Billingham.

Guest Lecturer: Richard Billingham. 

Possibly the most unfulfilled and longest two hours of my life.

Thank god someone noticed Richard Billingham, he certainly got lucky in that department as far as I’m concerned.

Billingham’s work is incredibly interesting, inspiring, important, controversial and heavily contextualised, it continues to be celebrated but he couldn’t have done it alone.

Untitled, 1995, from the series ‘Ray’s a laugh’ by Richard Billingham.

Untitled, 1995, from the series ‘Ray’s a laugh’ by Richard Billingham.

I was so excited to hear Billingham talk about his own work, perhaps I raised the bar too high but unfortunately the lecture was so mind-numbingly tedious. It was almost as if he had no idea how others have interpreted his work, the apathetic towards his own work was difficult to comprehend.

The way he explained his photographic process seemed to have no regard to contemporary art or photography whatsoever and gave the impression he was just a celebrated snapshot photographer from someone else’s interpretation of his work.

Maybe he was having a bad day, I’m unsure but how he became a part time lecturer is beyond me. The lecture was elongated, mundane and most disappointingly uninspiring. However I continue to admire his work, but I hold no hope for his upcoming projects.

Starting from scratch.


Considering the Past – http://lenscratch.com/2014/01/looking-backwards/


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.”