Museum of London - Street Photography
As I come to the end of this course with the OCA I am tying up a few loose ends before formal assessment in November. I recall a visit to the Museum of London made earlier this year which never made it to my blog at the time. The images from the museums own collection show the streets of London between 1860-2010.
I was interested to read that it is only since 1979 that the museum has had it's own curator of photographs and that most of the images have been collected since then with only a few photographs making it into the museums collection prior to this as "documentary records" of London. I suppose this reflects the huge increase in the accessibility of photography and interest in images for their own artistic or historical significance which has occurred in the last half of the 20th century.
I always find it interesting to see images of familiar places from past decades. Some may have changed dramatically over the years while others appear totally untouched by time until you notice the current fashion or means of transport.
Works by Paul Martin, Laszlo Moholy Nagy and Nick Turpin were on show - all names I have come across before but have not had a chance to fully study yet. There were dozens of images on display but one in particular made me laugh - Adrian Fisk It's Pants in Walthamstow, 2002. http://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/Online/object.aspx?objectID=object-783378&start=8&rows=1 I wonder how long the photographer had to wait before this perfect photo opportunity arose or if it was just a happy coincidence. Either way it made me laugh.
One of the other images that I immediately had an emotional response to was by Lutz Dille Outside a branch of Woolworths, 1961 http://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/Online/object.aspx?objectID=object-767316&start=9&rows=1 You can imagine a lot about a persons character from a single image. I say imagine because unless you actually know the person in the image you can't know the character and can only read your impression of the person or be influenced by how it is presented. In Lutz Dille Outside a branch of Woolworths, 1961 (above) I like the juxtaposition between the lady's attire which suggests she is well to do and the fact she is outside the cheap and cheerful Woolworths. The lady looks most displeased and stern.
I was immediately reminded of my great grandmother when I saw the image. (My great-grandmother is pictured below on the right). Probably taken at around the same time judging by the fashion but my great-grandmother was far from well to do or stern.
|My great grandmother (right)|
The last thing I would have expected was to be reminiscing about my family after a visit to the Museum of London. I suppose that just shows how an image can elicit an emotional response in a person even when it shows something as mundane as a lady outside Woolworths.
I would love to have been the photographer that captured some of the moments in these images. There are a few photographers such as Lutz Dille and Adrian Fisk who I am sure I will look up again when I commence the People and Places module of my studies. The London Street Photography exhibition was a fascinating insight into the City of London over the years and gave me a lot to think about in terms of my own image taking.