on our trip to bradford media museum we had a great day. we saw some of the greatest images captured but the greatest photographers who have ever lived. not just contemparary but going back, all the way back to the very beginning of photography. we were taken through the eras of photography and saw some of the earliest known photographic images, dating back to the 1820s, these three particular images were protected by glass and were in seperate frames under glass and watched by security cameras. this was necessary as they were the most rare and old photographs anywhere in existence in the world, and were produced by the pioneers of photography Joseph nicephore Niepce. they called this old process ‘heliograpy’ which means ‘drawing with light’. throughout the exhibition were the remarkable works of many photographers such as pioneers of photography such as Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron, also more contemporary works by some of today’s most influential photographers, such as Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill, Martin Parr and Steve McCurry.
Colin Harding (photography curator and photography technology specialist at the National Media Museum) was the curator of the ‘Drawn by light’ exhibition and his main goals were to show the best of the very best photography throughout time so a diverse range of people young, old, photographers and non-photographers could enjoy the excellece and the progression of photography since the 1800s. drawn by light was set out in a very interesting was because the images in the exhibition were set up not in chronological order as of when the images were taken, it was set up so that subject matter was the key element and that juxtaposes nicely, you could see how simular topics and types were represented in different eras which was lovely to see a very contrasted approach. Drawn by light offering out a condensed history of photography to the public is a very good idea because those who perhaps were not as interested in the arts as others can see all types of photography in one place and perhaps fall in love with the arts, as apposed to only seeing one style or one era and thinking it wasnt their ‘cup of tea’.
information throughout the day was clearly presented like they’d left all the working out where to go out and we were just there to enjoy it. labelling on each and every image was good as we had indication as to who it was by, when it was taken, when technique was used in the image process and also on most image when the photographer was born and when they died (if they had died). this is good from a students point of view as its a lot more convinient to have the information there but also from an observer’s point of view its nice to know a little history of the photographers themselves if you especially liked their image.
i think the general narrative is that because the exhibition demonstrates how photography has shaped the generations. photography is to capture a moment, a memory and that is a treasured thing. the As co-curator Colin Harding puts it, “The collection reveals how photography has fundamentally shaped our perception of the world and illustrates photography’s enduring power, richness and variety over nearly two hundred years of innovation and creativity.” and this is a good example of the entire story of the exhibition is but this is from my point of view of course, and i believe this to be
the day was very insiteful to me and i did have a few favorite images for different reasons but two of the images in the exhibition really spoke out to me personally and they are the ones i was thinking about when i left. when you linger at an image for 5 or so minutes you know its one of your favorites.
the first was an image entitled ‘Sadness’ by photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, taken in 1864. this piece really reached out to me as the honets look of innocence. this image actually of famous actor Ellen Terry, i then got more attached to this image as she was 17 at the time the image was taken. it was taken on her honey to a man more than thirty years older than her. ellen teryywas clearly a talented actor and has protrayed sadness well in the shooting process but the actor her self was unhappy as her marriage lasted less than a year.
my second favorite is by Lietenant Colonel Mervyn O’Gorman and is just a simple and elegant at the beach image. at first it seems nothing special just a snap but you look at it more and youre mesmarised by the colours and ‘christina’s’ beauty. its just a lietenant and a girl on a beach in 1913 but for a second it feels like youre there with them enjoying the day.
A simple chronology of great photographs would have been enough, but what is so remarkable about Drawn By Light is the way that the images are shuffled and juxtaposed so that they can talk to each other over time. i enjoyed the contrast of the old image and the contempary way the curator had decided to display the image with a kind of glowing light behind it, this emphasized colour and sharpness giving a more clear and enjoyable experience to look at the image.
Up until bradford i know that my understanding of narrative image making has developed vastly due to my knowledge of now knowing how to take an image for a certain situation say a sad woman or a confident actress. i know that changing the poster of the model or the position of a subject can make a big difference to the feeling of an image, going from a tall of proud stance to a arms crossed slightly slumped posture suggests fear and self-protection making an image defensive which effectively suggests that the person in question is scared or protecting themselves. i also know that location of an image is an important aspect of visual story telling as a castle and a car park could create to very different images. other aspects such as the background, surroundings and lighting techniques can take an image from gloomy to transcendent and from melancholy to ecstasy. simply changing exposure takes your image from dull to bright and in that changing a theme from supposedly sad to happy, these are easy changes that effectively make your image tell its story.
Here are the images i took for the 10 image challenge taken in Bradford city. i chose the word ‘Struggle’ to tell a narrative and this is the result.
the story is of a journey of struggle and getting help off others and saving the day.