Tuesday, 8 September 2009


It's a very long time since I visited the Film and Photography museum in Bradford. As a child, we lived on the outskirts of Leeds and very occasionally (maybe only once) visited the museum. But my memory failed to bring back any inkling of familiarity - it felt like the first time I'd ever visited. I have to say I was very impressed with the rail links and Bradford centre has improved no end from what I can recall. And for my first trip to an exhibition since starting the course I saw things so differently to how I did before. I visited two exhibitions: animalism and the Don McCullin: In England (http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/exhibition/donmccullin/index.asp).

Interestingly, I was drawn to images that I didn't expect to be. I enjoy taking landscapes, but Don McCullin's landscapes were, not captivating to me. But I did find his capture of life in Bradford in the 70's and 80's fascinating. Likewise in the animal exhibition (http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/exhibition/Animalism/index.asp) which I didn't think would directly relate to my photography, it was James Mollinson's monkeys which I was drawn to and Keith Arnott's dogs. I was drawn to images where you could see emotion in the eyes human or animal. The human factor and lifestyle images were, to me, very interesting and made me consider how what is around you seems normal, average and not worth photographing. Yet through the passage of time and in the eyes of others who live different lives elsewhere, the everyday and the average can infact be what makes the image speak!! I also observed how an image in its own right may not work independently, but the strength of a series of images and subject could make the photos compelling.

I am also finding the more I am exploring notable photographers work, the more inhibited I am feeling as a photographer. Not great . . . Don McCullin, for example photographed various wars and famine from around the world. His imagery was harrowing, humbling and the recording of important historic global events. My taking images of groynes on a beach or a favourite ornament seems trivial and insignificant. So, inhibiting on the one hand, but hopefully on the other it will make me think more about the images I am taking, why I like them and what messages I am portraying. The themes of Chrystel Lebas (http://www.chrystellebas.com/) encourages me with this. She has taken seemingly small events and made them intriguing, such as a person sleeping at night, a kill in the dark of night, a forest's varying light at twilight. So from my point of view, I need to work through what is important to me and develop some themes that can express this. Perhaps not as I thought, landscapes after all. Watch this space.


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