Street Photography. Museum of London

A collection of street photographs from depicting London. The prints are displayed in chronological order around the room. Small groups. Some linear some otherwise. Images are presented as a timeline of London and photography. Notices of trends and technical changes break up time into bite size pieces.
Along with these are small screens showing film from the period. If available. Most of the images are small as are the screens for the films. The viewers snake along the wall edge trying to see the images. They are drawn into them, towards them. Intimate. In away. Yet the edge is full, there is a pressure to move. The snake pushing you along. Pushing/halting/obscuring. It doesn’t make for a pleasant environment to view the images. I crave larger prints or fewer people or the book but the book didn’t convince either. Caught in the snake, I and others seemed to also forget the display cabinet in the centre of the room. Photobooks and ephemera.

A couple of photographs that I remember and therefore obviously stood out for me were Wolfgang Suschitzy’s “Charing Cross Road, St. Giles Circus c. 1935” which seems so open. The low light doesn’t close the picture down. Areas do not disappear into darkness or light. The planes of the different elements exist together. different moods. The buildings at the back hazy and dreamy. The reflections on the buses. The yawning face. It feels like a theatre set. Exit stage right.

Another picture, was it Ian Berry? A woman in cloak crosses a junction. The buildings have gone. Demolished. Everything thing seems ethereal, the mist, hoardings in front of vacant lots (do they have holes or notices like eyes?) the cobbled street. The past. Ghosts. Only the figure seems solid. Dark heavy blacks. But the figure wears a cloak? a pointed hat? and looks as mysterious as the set. red riding hood going to see grandma? or the red-coated killer from “don’t look now” grown tall? But it is also a picture of somebody crossing a road.

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Filed under August 2011, Thoughts

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