I had a rather productive week in my research, I got the first piece of feedback on the work from Mauritius, so who knows when you’ll get some sort of finished edit. It’s still very rough so I might give a peek on here at what I was trying to achieve. Anyway, back to the original content of this blog.
Yesterday afternoon after a lecture, I decided to go see some exhibitions to get my creative juices flowing and visited three, which I will talk about individually. Today I will talk about Bettina von Zwehl’s piece Made Up Love Song, which is currently showing at the Purdy Hicks Gallery, Southwark.
I had had the pleasure of visiting Bettina whilst she was on a residency at the V&A earlier this year, where she was beginning to create this work. As 15 of us (being students) crowded around Bettina, she told us about her previous work such as her series shown at the Museum of Childhood and how she had come to start this piece of work.
Made Up Love Song is a series of portraits of an employee of the V&A, stood infront of a large window which inspired Bettina to return to continuously. This returning to the same place, the same pose, is a trait or at least a theme that runs through a lot of her work. As is her use of profiles. Her images have a delicasy to them which lends beautifully to the concept and execution of miniatures, it was no surprise that she was inspired by the miniatures collection at the V&A.
In miniaturising the portraits, I felt closer to these people, even though I felt like I was looking through a window myself into a world of miniature people. It felt like they were approachable, that you could let yourself read their emotions. Among the photographs of this beautiful woman, she had other portraits created in the same style.
What surprised me about these portraits is that my favourite photographs out of the selection shown at Purdy Hicks were when the subject is slightly turned towards the viewer. For me it was the same feeling as when you think something is a statue and then they suddenly move and you get the shock of your life, it’s that shock and drama in just including them that got me very excited.
Studying at London College of Communication, I get the priviledge of hearing her speak in a few weeks, so it will be interesting to see what she’ll say about how the work rounded off, whether it is in fact rounded off. To have seen the start of something and then the finished product is a wonderfully rare thing and I’ll be looking out at what Bettina gets up to next.
I would definitely recommend visiting Purdy Hicks (7th October-7th November 2011) and experience these photographs for yourself. Due to the nature of them, experiencing the prints in front of you is the only way you can really appreciate the depth and intimacy of them.
There is one quote I want to post from the press release which I thought was beautiful and really summed up the nature of the portraits and the relationship between photographer and subject.
When the Residency was all over, and I’d packed up all my things, I went back one last time to see if there were any traces from the broken glass, scratches in the stone floor. All I found were the scuffed out chalk marks left by Sophia and me. Two separate marks; Sophia’s position and mine.