A Positive View – Somerset House – Exhibition


It’s not often that I find myself so deeply involved and blown away image after image (the last exhibition that came close to that for me was Jim Goldberg: Open See (Photographers Gallery, London: http://www.photonet.org.uk/index.php?pxid=956, where I found myself almost brought to tears I was so moved and in awe at the wealth of images shown). I was just walking around the exhibition writing my notes of what I thought, things to look up, things to think about for my own work… With 100 images there, I wasn’t too surprised that I had 6 pages worth of notes written! There were so many images that took my breath away, work I’d never seen, work I was jittery to see in the flesh (as such), media I’d never seen… Work I’d forgotten… Absolutely incredible work.

I think the best way to really pick apart this exhibition for me is to pick out a couple of my favourite works and talk about those.

The work that I find still echoing in my mind is this print by Robert Polidori looking at the floods of Hurricane Katrina.

6328 North Miro Street, New Orleans © Robert Polidori/Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York (2005)

I kept staring at this particular image and looking at all the details. It shows chaos and the absolute destruction that hurricane Katrina had on people’s lives. It’s so gothic in the mood of the image, it’s meant to repulse us in it’s dereliction. At the same time; because of it being a bed, I have this urge to feel comfort. The mud and stains all the way up to the cieling, makes me feel slightly claustrophobic as if the mud and water is still filled in the room. The colours and tones of the fairly large print were absolutely superb, as if you were right there looking at the bed through a window. I have done work for a luxury villa business (www.villademaitres.com), and many of the images of the bedroom are constructed the same. Yet those images are of perfection and indulgences, whereas the two images speak the opposite; of destruction, chaos and ruin. It depicts absolute despair. The light from the window suggests a little hope or perhaps more like a reality check, that as much as this is pain and destruction, life goes on as the sun rises and sets. It’s quite a haunting photograph, definitely in my big list of favourite images.

The second image that I can still imagine so clearly is this beautifully quiet image here. Probably mostly because it is very much my taste in photography.

Tierney Gearon – Untitled

It has the same aesthetic and architecture design as the holiday home I spent a lot of my childhood in, in Wales. It reminds me a lot of when my brothers and I would play on the carpet infront of the large windows looking out onto the sea. When it comes to the subject of the image on face value, there are many questions to be asked, Is this the photographers’ family/home? Why is the baby in the box? Why is the boy staring at  the box? Did the boy put the box over the top of the baby? Are they siblings? Is the baby okay? Is this a game? Is the boy jealous? These are all the questions that I ask myself when I look at this image. The colours inside are so warm and comforting, yet the colours from the light blues/greens from the ouside seem to creep into the image, including the box with the baby in it with it. Perhaps this suggests the baby being an outsider coming into the young boy’s life, perhaps the boy is jealous of the baby. The way he looks at the box isn’t menacing or worry, it’s as if he is looking at a fish in a tank or an animal in a zoo. There’s a barrier between them (physically and emotionally) even they are so close to eachother.

The third and last image I’m going to talk about specifically is by artist, Gwon Osang.

Osang Gwon, bbd babidi boo, 2009, Courtesy Arario New York


In itself, I have never seen another work quite like it before, especially upclose. I have been always intrigued by how photography can used in more than just 2D. To see this incredibly unique style of work from Osang Gwon, is so refreshing. I spent a while staring at how he had chosen some parts to be almost suggesting movement (in the hands), then others were different shades. It echoes the photo-montages of David Hockney and yet it takes the idea to a completely new level. The imperfections are what makes this work for me, as well as the clearly marked out edge of the prints. It’s like throwing in our face that this IS a sculpture but it IS made of photographs, it’s not been painted or just printed as a hyper-real likeness of a woman. It is honest in what it is. From reading a short interview (link is above), I can see that he is an excellent sculptor yet using a 2D medium to create his 3D ideas. I can really see how an image (as shown here) can show this sculpture justice.


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