Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Exam Trip

The exam trip took place on the 13th March 2013. I met with a group of friends at East Croydon at 9.30 then got the train to London Bridge then got the train to Charing Cross. We met with the rest of the classes and teachers then went to the ICA. At the ICA I looked at the Juergen Teller exhibition:Woo. After lunch we went to the National Portrait Gallery  to view Man Ray Portraits exhibition. 

Jeurgen Teller
Jeurgen Teller is one of the most important photographers of our time. The exhibition shows a journey through his work, presenting iconic images of celebrities such as Lily Cole, Kurt Cobain, and Vivienne Westwood. Also exhibited are more recent series such as Irene im Wald and Keys to the House, which reveal the photographer's more personal world in his hometown in Germany and his family home. 

Cerith, Suffolk 2011 is a photograph from the series The Key to the House. The name of the photograph doesn't really tell you anything about the image which leaves it up to the viewer to make the connection. To me I can only think that it may be the name of the man lying in bed. In the photograph is a man in yellow clothing lying in bed with helium balloons floating from the bed and a cake with candles placed onto the bed covers. From this image there is no immediate obvious meaning to it so it is open to interpretation. I think this image is quite controversial as I see it as a man that has passed away lying in bed and the cake and balloons representing his life, where as others may see it as someone celebrating his death. As his eyes are open and he is laying there so still I would assume that he has passed away and that the balloons and cake are a celebration of his life. Also the balloons could symbolise lifting his spirit to heaven. The subject matter is realistic as it hasn't been enhanced, distorted, abstracted or digitally manipulated. I like that it is realistic as you get to see it in its purest form without being tampered with. The original quality of it gives it a sense of purpose. This image links to my exam theme of Inside,Outside, In Between as I would interpret it as showing  the celebration of life but behind the outward appearance the feelings and emotions are hidden from the viewer to see. As the image is in colour it makes it more of a happy image as the balloons and the clothing is brightly coloured, whereas if it was in black and white it may symbolise the feelings of family members and the feel of the subject matter itself. This photograph makes me feel on edge because I don't know what the meaning behind it is and whether or not the man is alive. I feel for the family if he is dead but from the image you cannot tell what they are feeling or what is going on behind the camera. It makes me think twice about death, everyone sees it as a sad time and a time for people to mourn over loved ones, but from looking at this image it makes me think why not make it a more happy time by celebrating the life of the person. 

The exhibition in general was bizarre, from the title of the exhibition to the arrangement of photographs. In each room the size of the photographs changed dramatically. The first photographs you see when you enter the exhibition is a huge print of a kitten staring into the camera, the cat draws the eye but the focus in the first gallery becomes the triptych of large portraits of Vivienne Westwood lying naken and luxuriating on a Louis XIV style sofa. Having posed on both sides of her body, she sits up, laughing and parts her legs. This room sets you up to know what is later to come in the gallery. As you walk through the first room the images change from the kitten to nude photographs to more personal images of family members walking through the woods. In the second room the mood completely changes, being filled with small photographs and magazine pages of naked people in many different settings and styles. I like the way Teller had invaded and captured the celebrities personal space in urban locations which we don't expect to see people in the nude. Teller’s fascination with nudity reveals an intimate trust between subject and photographer. Growing up in Germany, where nudism and naturism are popular, could explain his profusion of naked self-portraits. The most surprising and mature work on show is a series of small prints arranged like a storyboard. Text and images document the photographer’s childhood and his relationships with his parents, particularly his mother, Irene. Irene im Wald reveals many details of her life and her son unfolds stories as she walks through the woods. This revealing new work has no need for exposing himself through nakedness but reveals a serious, emotional character. I think the purpose of this exhibition was to explore a variety of lifestyles and backgrounds from celebrities to family members. I like the way he has arranged the photographs by placing two completely different images in subject matter next to one another, the initial feeling to the gallery is shocking but as I went through it my feelings changed and made me see the differences in lifestyles and the trust between the subject and photographer. 

Man Ray Portraits

The National Portrait Gallery showcased 150 photographs and vintage prints from Man Rays career during the years of 1916-1968. The portraits celebrate his contemporaries as he photographs friends, lovers and members of his highly esteemed social circle.
Two of his most well known photographs that caught my eye as well as many others were his Solarised portrait of Lee Miller and Le Violon d'Ingres.
 Inspired by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's La Grande Baigneuse, Ray used Kiki de Montparnasse wearing a turban as a model for this piece. He transformed the female body into a musical instrument by painting sound-holes on her back, playing with the idea of objectification of an animate body. This image caught my eye as I was confused as to why she had sound holes on her back, I didn't know whether this image is realistic or whether it had been manipulated. Having painted the sound holes onto the print it gives the illusion of a violin, the curves of the back follow the curves of a violin. Solarised Lee Miller is also other image that caught my eye.The name of the photograph tells you who the image is of so it does not allow the viewer to interpret the photograph in their own way. The photograph of Lee Miller has been enhanced by solarisation. The photograph was taken of Lee miller then started to develop but interrupted by exposure to more light to develop further then fixed. This allows the image to become inverted by light areas becoming dark and dark areas becoming light, it gives the image an overall silver look to it like embossing.


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