Posts Tagged ‘artists’

East End Artists

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

I’m not a huge fan of portrait photography as it is generally practised and for example exhibited in the annual prize event at the National Portrait Gallery. Occasionally a decent picture creeps in, but most I find rather ordinary, occasionally worse.

Of course there are many photographic portraits I do admire. Bill Brandt took some truly splendid ones, mainly on magazine commission, and there are some good photographers now whose work appears regularly in newspapers and magazines.

Most of the pictures I take now have people in them, sometimes concentrating on an individual or small group, but usually because of what they are doing rather than to make some kind of statement about them as a person. Certainly I don’t think of myself as a portrait photographer though I think I have taken some pretty decent pictures of people.

I’ve mentioned the Spitalfields Life blog here before, and some time ago its author published EAST END VERNACULAR, Artists Who Painted London’s East End Streets in the 20th Century with work by many artists, many of whose work I knew as I’d worked in some of the same streets, and including a few I’ve met over the years. It is described as presenting “a magnificent selection of pictures – many never published before – revealing the evolution of painting in the East End and tracing the changing character of the streets through the twentieth century.”

Now an article on the same blog, Artists of East London Vernacular has some fine portraits of some of those featured by photographer Stuart Freedman who I’ve also mentioned here on several occasions. I think they are fine examples of photographic portraits, taken with great thought and care, a dozen quite different images. You can see more of his portraits on his web site, and I think some of these are among his best.

Who Are We?

Friday, June 7th, 2019

You can now watch the video presentation Who Are We? 2019 – Shahidul Alam played at Tate Modern last month, part of Learning Lab 2: Artists who Risk and Artists at Risk, 25 May 2019. I found it an interesting insight into his work and in thinking about our own work as artists – and he says we are all artists.

Who Are We? is a cross-platform event designed for Tate Exchange (Tate Modern) reflecting on identity, belonging, migration and citizenship, open free to the public, and has been held annually since 2017 and is a partnership with the Tate, Counterpoint Arts and the Open University.

Probably I don’t need to say anything about who Alam his, or about his arrest last year. I’ve written at least a dozen times about his work as a photographer and also about his other incredible activities in Bangladesh, setting up Drik and Majority World agencies, the Bangladesh Photographic Institute, the South Asian Institute of Photography, Pathshala and the Chobi Mela festival. Here is a link to just one of those posts, 25 Years of Drik.