The V&A has recently opened a new photography gallery.
The initial display, apart from a commission from Thomas Ruff, is a broad selection from their collection. These pages give a quick overview of some of the highlights. They are presented in the order in which they were photographed which is, more-or-less, the order in which they were hung.
I have ordered a polarising filter to reduce reflections in the future.
Here's a list:
- Anna Atkins
- Bill Brandt
- Mark Cohen
- Cohen Collection
- Bernard Eilers
- Peter Funch
- Nan Goldin
- Hillelson Collection
- Jan Kempenaers
- Rudolf Koppitz
- Noël-Marie-Paymal Lerebours
- McCartney Collection
- Dieter Meier
- John Somerset Murray
- Floris Neusüss
- Cornelia Parker
- Oscar Gustaf Rejlander
- Thomas Ruff
- Cindy Sherman
- Aaron Siskind
- David Spero
- Otto Steinert
- Josef Sudek
- Edward Weston
- Masao Yamamoto
b: 1958 West Germany
There is a film running in the exhibition in which Ruff describes his process. As I understand it, he photographed Tripe's negatives with his mobile then back at his studio, reversed them to positives and manipulated and retouched them.
The point of the whole exercise was rather lost on me. I do not see that Ruff brings anything advantageous to Tripe's images, other than to remind us that they exist: I prefer the clarity of the originals.
Inspired by some of the earliest photographs of India and Burma (Myanmar), Ruff's series, 'Tripe | Ruff', commissioned by the V&A, reimagines a set of 1850s architectural and topographical images by British Army Captain and photographer Linnaeus Tripe. Encompassing over twenty prints, 'Tripe | Ruff' is the latest series in Ruff's 35-year investigation into the medium of photography.
In preparation for the series, Ruff scoured the museum's collection of over 800,000 photographs. He was captivated by the haunting quality of Tripe's large-format paper negatives, revealing temples, palaces and monuments that in some cases no longer exist. Made over 160 years ago, when he was an official photographer for the East India Company, Tripe's work is widely regarded as one of the great achievements in early photography.
Ruff was drawn to the scale, beauty and aesthetics of Tripe's negatives – specifically the way in which discolouration and damage to the paper mark the passage of time. He was also fascinated by Tripe's early 'retouching' processes, in particular his painting the reverse of negatives to add different effects, such as clouds and foliage. V&A
b: 1943, Pennsylvania
Mark Cohen (born 1943) is an American photographer best known for his innovative close-up street photography.
Cohen's major books of photography are Grim Street (2005), True Color (2007), and Mexico (2016). His work was first exhibited in a group exhibition at George Eastman House in 1969 and he had his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1973. He was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1971 and 1976, and received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1975. Wikipedia
b: 1956 Cheshire
an English sculptor and installation artist …
Parker is best known for large-scale installations such as Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) – first shown at the Chisenhale Gallery in Bow, East London – for which she had a garden shed blown up by the British Army and suspended the fragments as if suspending the explosion process in time. In the centre was a light which cast the shadows of the wood dramatically on the walls of the room. This inspired an orchestral composition of the same name by Joo Yeon Sir.
In contrast, in 1997 at the Turner Prize exhibition, Parker exhibited Mass (Colder Darker Matter) (1997), suspending the charred remains of a church that had been struck by lightning in Texas. Eight years later, Parker made a companion piece "Anti-Mass" (2005), using charcoal from a black congregation church in Kentucky, which had been destroyed by arson.
b: 1968 Belgium
From the artist's web site,
Jan Kempenaers (BE, 1968) lives and works in Antwerp. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. He has been affiliated with the KASK School of Arts in Ghent since 2006. Since the mid-eighties, Kempenaers has been photographing urban & natural landscapes, architectures, as well as monuments. In 2012, he completed a PhD in the visual arts about the picturesque. Currently, he is working on a postdoctoral project about the aspects of photographic abstraction. jankempenaers.info
In Spero's Settlement project, he photographed a number of self-sufficiency communes. The quote is from an article in the Guardian,
A trip to Glastonbury festival in 1994 first sparked my interest in this type of community. Some people were demonstrating how to build a bender – an eco-dwelling made of hazel-wood poles, bent and tied and covered with canvas. The structures we build and the communities they embody have always been a way of understanding the world, and these benders stuck with me. In 2004, I decided to record communities around the country living in these and other kinds of low-impact structures. Guardian