‘voyeurism, surveillance and the camera’

We went to Tate Modern last week, primarily for one of the weekly life drawing workshops, but we went in time to have a good look at Exposed, the exhibition of covert photography.

The exhibition was much larger than I expected, and covered many types of undercover images, starting with innocuous informal shots taken surreptitiously on trams and in the street. Celebrities depend on publicity, but the shots of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor relaxing on a yacht made me feel surprisingly uncomfortable.

Countering this, the long slide-show of a photographer’s friends and family felt warm and relaxed, an intimate collection where faces became familiar. But that was a brief respite, for soon we were at what felt like the nadir of the exhibition – death. Victims of urban crime were followed by victims of genocide, executions and lynchings.

After these imagees, conceptual photography and photographs about espionage seemed insubstantial and tiresome. We needed a long break before we could attempt the drawing class, but that’s for another post.

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Saturday, July 10th, 2010 art, photography No Comments