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© Vivian Maier

Although I didn’t go out very often to take pictures (well in fact not at all, with the exception of weekend trips to Paris and Oslo), I did manage to get to a few exhibitions. A purely photographic one was a retrospective of work by Vivian Maier at Beetles & Huxley http://www.beetlesandhuxley.com/exhibitions/vivian-maier-2015.html  

Going on the opening night was not necessarily the best idea although we were treated to Prosecco or beer. Her work however was quite arresting and moving in places. All in black and white, it was all about the detail – be they bold or more complex. My favourite compositions were of the smoking topless man, the child with the Mickey Mouse ears and the child in his Sunday best (who reminded me of me!).

The reason why I liked the topless smoking man so much was the simplicity of the composition – a white background, a black muscular man, a cigarette and a white/off-white sun hat. Effectively two colours and little tone in between. However what got me was the texture – the vibrancy of his skin, the definition of his muscles and bone structure. It’s this sort of simple but visually interesting portrait that I would like to be able to take!

The the second exhibition was hardly photographic at all but nonetheless interesting. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/shoes-pleasure-and-pain/ at the V&A Museum was all about shoes – yeah the title was a bit of a giveaway. They exhibited shoes from several centuries right up to modern times – the Vivian Westwood heels that Naomi Campbell famously fell on the catwalk in (and believe me they were truly high heels), fetish shoes, kitten heels, mules, boots, and a few futuristic pairs too. No photography allowed but the arrangement of the exhibits gave me a small insight into composition for this type of exhibition including lighting. Well worth a visit (it’s still on – until 31 January 2016).

The final exhibition which unfortunately finishes this weekend was the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/bp-portrait-award/exhibition.php. Some of the portraits were just outstanding in their technical application with some of the, looking like photographs. What I found most interesting this year was the large number of self portraits (selfies) and I wonder whether this has anything to do with the advent of selfie sticks 😊😊😊😊. Again it was great to observe the use of light and shadow in a non-photographic medium.

So Zig, I may have taken only a few photos this summer, but I did still keep up with some creative study.

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© Vivian Maier

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