Focus on Imaging at the NEC

I was very disappointed with my visit to the NEC for the Focus on Imaging Exhibition on Tuesday 5th March. I found it all a bit “geeky”, except for the Royal Photographic Society stand. I had a chance to look at their excellent journal and decided, for that alone, it was worth joining. I only managed to catch one of their presentations from a distance but it seemed on a different level to the other presentations I saw. I look forward to going to some of the RSP’s lectures in the future. I purchased two portfolios of photos from them and am beginning to see photos talked about that have appeared in other books I have read.

The article about Man Ray in the latest RSP journal by Professor Marina Warner was very enjoyable and has again whetted my appetite for the visit to the Man Ray exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery which I hope to do after Easter. It strikes me that to be able to photograph such eminent people as Ray did you not only have to be a great photographer but a “great” character too. I love the portrait of Lee Miller (Fashion Portrait) 1929: it seems so modern and has amazing shadows. Her pose shows such confidence.

Lee Miller – Wikipedia

I love these quotes:
“I was very fortunate in starting my career as a painter. When first confronted with a camera, I was very much intimidated. So I decided to investigate. But I maintained the approach of a painter to such a degree that I have been accused of trying to make a photograph look like a painting. I did not have to try, it just turned out that way because of my background and my training. Many years ago I had conceived the idea of making a painting look like a photograph! There was a valid reason for this. I wished to distract the attention from any manual dexterity, so that the basic idea stood out. Of course there will always be those who look at words with a magnifying glass and try to see ‘how’, instead of using their brains and figure out ‘why’. – Man Ray

I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive. I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence. – Man Ray – Interview in Camera (Paris; reprinted in “Man Ray: Photographer”, ed. by Philippe Sers, 1981).


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