Saturday, 11 June 2016

National Media Museum


I realised with pleasure that one advantage of my daily commute through Bradford is that I can more easily pop in to the National Media Museum to see the exhibitions. It stays open until 6pm, just a nice time to call in after work, when it isn't too crowded. It's quite an imposing building, a rework of a 1960s concrete monstrosity that has now become quite fashionable again. (Photo taken a few weeks ago; there are more leaves on the trees now.)

The current exhibition is photographs by an American, Alec Soth - see here for a review.  I am never quite sure what I make of some of the modern photography exhibitions.  Often it is the concept that is interesting... here were photos of road trips taken through America, studies in towns and cities across the country - vast landscapes, people, fine art and grim reality combined. Such works often seem vaguely unsettling and sometimes moving - and yet, carefully crafted as they are, photographed 'properly' on a large format film camera on a tripod, I often feel that I would have discarded some of the images if they were among my own efforts. I think I am missing something... or perhaps I have been in camera clubs too long and too influenced by camera club judges' notions of what is and isn't 'good'.

The Media Museum has been the subject of recent controversy. A huge archive of Royal Photographic Society photographs has been permanently transferred to the V&A in London, in a move that many have interpreted as a snub to the north of England and a large shift in the focus of the Media Museum. It only recently survived a threat of closure in a row over funding.

3 comments:

  1. I take it the glass wall was an addition in the reworking- that would off set the 1960s architecture.

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  2. I like the curvy glass wall!

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  3. The building looks pretty nice, a bit like the Hartford Public Library. That photographer? Not interesting to me, at all. Some "famous" or at least frequently shown and published photographers are pretty awful, in my opinion. Last year I bought "Hold Still," a memoir by well known photographer Sally Mann, and thought that 90 percent of the photographs she showed were somewhere between awful and meh.

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