Taylor Wessing Photographic Exhibition visit at the Beaney

This exhibition was a display of contemporary photography from around the world from a number of different artists as part of a competition. The main focus was portraiture and there was an extremely diverse array of styles given how broad the subject matter was. There were over 57 different photos, all printed on a large scale, and each one was accompanied by a description of the artist and their photograph.

There were a number of great artists' works on display, and they were all extremely varied and unique. Some of the immediate things I noticed about the photography was the focus on figures' expressions and moods. Regardless of whether they were spontaneously captured in moments with family or friends, or instead professionally devised with perfect lighting and colour, all of the images seemed to tell one story or another, based on how the figure looked. I found that it was really beneficial that each photograph had been paired with an appropriate description of the artist and the context, as learning about why each photographer chose to capture their image helped me to understand the art work much better, and engage with the subject matter.

One of my favourite artists was Tamara Dean, whose works on display included 'Sabrina' and 'Nakisha'. The most striking elements of her works were her use of subdued lighting and a muted colour palette, whilst also creating a stark contrast in her images, making them look very visually appealing. In her art work titled 'Sabrina', the atmospheric shadows and dim, single-point illumination recall art works from the seventeenth century, which directly contrasts with her contemporary subject matter, portraying femininity in a modern and unique way. The work was apparently part of a series of portraits of 'androgynous' Australian youths who were photographed in dilapidated buildings, creating a brooding atmosphere that I really liked. I also like the mix of purple-tinted shadows in combination with the muted browns of the background. Her other work, 'Nakisha', conjures similar emotions. I also liked the artist Anouch Abrar, because of his use of black and white and strong contrast. The figure in his photograph looked somewhat  melancholic, which matched the style well.

Therefore it was a really interesting and informative exhibition, with lots of inspiring works of art which helped influence me in the creation of my film work as part of my arts award. Next time the exhibition is held, which I believe to be next year, it is well worth a visit, even if you are not necessarily interested in taking photos or videos.

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Gabriel Johnson

Gabriel Johnson Centre

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