Did I enjoy photo London 2016 – Honest answer? I’m not really sure.
For many reasons i was both looking forward too and not looking forward to this years event.
A friend of mine had recently passed away and the pilgrimage to events like this was one of those things we did together. Going without him was both difficult and also a little event of commemoration.
The train was booked and the excitement built up over the preceding days; any trip to London is always looked forward too but a trip to a gallery or show especially so. I look forward to feeling challenged by the work, to be made to think, to being inspired and amazed and sometimes overwhelmed.
This years show was different though. Now it might be that my friends passing has left me a little un-receptive, a bit hollow at the moment, but it has to be said that this exhibition left me a little cold and disappointed.
There were some highlights: Nick Brandt’s new work was both stunning and thought provoking. It’s always a pleasure to see original work by the masters (several original Fox Talbot’s grabbed my attention). it seemed however to lack much of anything that you’d really call ‘new’.
I suppose it’s difficult for galleries to show new work if there is no new work to show, maybe it’s just been a very fallow year, but perhaps it also shows a need for them to look a bit deeper and take some risks on some new talent as well as the known artists.
There was a lot of work from the galleries that you’d also hesitate to call ‘photography’. I get it from a fine art point of view and they were certainly very creative but the purist in me was not happy.
I will take some inspiration away from this event and in that respect it was a worthwhile trip. I think due to recent events, it just wasn’t the right time.