Although I was born and bred in London (many years ago now) I no longer live there and I rarely have a reason to go there these days either. Whilst I understand the appeal of living and being part of a big, vibrant, cosmopolitan city with all its inherent attractions, it no longer appeals to me. Yes, I enjoy the occasional visit but I have to say I breathe a sigh of relief when I am on the train returning home.
If you happen to be in London before the 6th May and have an interest in photography then I can highly recommened you visit this superb exhibition. Even if you think photography isn’t your thing, then just go along anyway – it’s that good.
Given the disturbing nature of many of the photographs on display; they include graphic pictures of war, poverty, famine and conflict, it is difficult, if nigh on impossible not to be moved by what Sir Don McCullin has captured over many decades as a photojournalist. Nor will you be using words such as ‘lovely’ or ‘enjoyable’ to describe your visit but these are the very reasons to go and not stay away.
What follows is a summary of my visit and a few personal thoughts. I have included a selection of images (photography for personal use is allowed) coupled with McCullin’s quotes to give you a flavour of what the exhibition at Tate Britain has to offer.Read more
I recently went to The Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, London to see three exhibitions. The Great Spectacle – An exhibition celebrating 250 years of The Summer Exhibition, this years Summer Exhibition itself, and last but not least ‘Landscape’ by Tacita Dean. More than enough to fill the day. It was also an opportunity to see how the newly opened gallery spaces and link between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens improved the visiting experience. Please note that all three exhibitions have now closed.
Before going any further I should just say that this post is quite long and includes 30 images. However if you are interested in a wide variety of art, both historical and contemporary please click on the ‘read more’ link below to see the whole post.
Shortly after I acquired my Leica M Monochrom, I became aware of an issue relating to the CCD sensor; not only to this camera but also the M9 and the ME. The problem was one of corrosion on the sensor which could manifest itself at any time. Leica was quick to respond to this news when it broke a few years ago and guaranteed that for the lifetime of the camera a faulty sensor would be replaced. In fact they went further and said that even if a sensor was replaced the guarantee would apply to the new sensor as well.
This is old news really, but aware of the issue I have always been on the lookout for the problem. The good news being that I had comfort in knowing that if ever I discovered any sign of corrosion, the camera could and would be repaired at no cost. But I would of course have to suffer the inconvenience of being without the camera for several weeks as the work can only be undertaken by Leica in Germany.
When processing the above image of ‘Clouds over Prinsted’ I was cleaning the picture for sensor spots and noticed a number of marks which were not typical of dust on the sensor. In fact they were more like ‘flying saucers’ – a dark spot with a light and dark halo. (See the screen grab below of the offending article – just above the tree line).
Fearing the worst I did some research which only confirmed that the dreaded ‘corrosion on the sensor’ issue had finally reared its ugly head. Yes, I could clone out the marks, but assuming the corrosion might spread the camera would have to be repaired. Bad News!
I rang the Leica Store in Mayfair in London and they said that whilst the camera could be collected by courier, if I took the camera in personally, they would provide me with a loan M Monochrom for the duration of the repair at no cost. They informed me the turn round time would be approximately six weeks. Having access to a replacement camera was Great News! I would have it for my planned trip to Pembrokeshire in Wales which comes up shortly and by the time I travel to Scotland the repair should have been carried out and my Monochrom would be back in my hands.
So yesterday I caught the train up to London, swapped cameras at The Leica Store in Mayfair and took the opportunity to visit Tate Modern, specifically to see The Radical Eye exhibition. A superb collection of photographs owned by Sir Elton John. I will write about this exhibition in a future post. All I would say is that if you can get to London do go – it continues until 21st May 2017.
A couple of days ago I posted an entry depicting the people, light and their shadows inside this same venue. You can read my words and see the images here.
When I first arrived at Tate Modern I was fascinated by the way the afternoon sun came through the vast roof light above me and the tall vertical windows in the west wall. Together they created many interesting shadows and patterns of light on the building’s structure, the textured concrete floor and in some cases the reflective surfaces enclosing the Turbine Hall. For your information this hall is 152m long and 35m high; it’s huge.
I liked the view at the head of this post, but I did wonder what it would be like if taken at ground level. The next shot is looking into the same corner of the hall, but has a more abstract feel to it.
It was then that I noticed the light and shadows falling on the floor being mirrored in the the ‘polished’ wall surface. Would a slightly different view point and a more abstract composition give me an image which truly bought all these elements together and what would be the result?
Here is the final image in this short series of three. You may wish to click on the picture to see a larger version.
It has a rather surreal look about it. There appears to be a layer of ‘floating light’, hanging above the floor. It’s an optical illusion of course but the way the light and shadows are being mirrored produces this effect and for me this is the most visually interesting of the three.
Here are two other photographs taken inside the Turbine Hall.
Here again I like the way the people behind the glass are distorted whilst the light makes interesting patterns, adding further interest to the overall composition.
Finally here is a shot looking towards the tall vertical windows. Taken through glass the reflection of the hand rail is distorted and a small figure stands alone in the bottom left hand corner. A point of interest but also necessary to give scale to the image.
I only spent an hour or so wandering around, but I am inspired to go back. Arrive early and leave late – Watching, observing and waiting for the light to change direction and intensity during the course of the day. Waiting for a suitable person or a group of people to be in the optimum place, moving in the right direction to enhance the composition. When all these ingredients come together I will press the shutter, and who knows what the results may be. I can’t wait to return!
All the images in this post were taken with the Leica M Monochrom using a Leica 90mm f2.4 Summarit lens, processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro. Do click on any of the photos to view a larger version.