Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014

What is the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize?

"Since being established in 1996, each year the Prize has celebrated the best in photography, whether a publication or exhibition. It is one of the largest art prizes in the UK, proving a pivotal point in many photographers’ careers."

Out of the four winners, two stood out to me particularly: one that I loved, and another that I really disliked...

Like: Richard Mosse, The Enclave 2013
I first saw this piece of work at the Venice Biennale 2013 show cased in the Irish Pavillion. Stunning pieces of photographic work, totally original and not lacking in content. Mosse has photographed and challenged perceptions of war throughout his career. He uses infrared colour film which as explained in the exhibition was previously used by the military to identify camouflaged targets by revealing infrared light reflected from green foliage in bright shades of pink. Mosse has used something that allowed the military to effectively destroy something [a target] to produce gentle and peaceful images of soldiers at war. In a way, this undermines the process providing a critique on violence in war.
Below is my favourite image in the collection:

Dislike: Alberto Garcia- Alix, Retrospective
Almost in opposition to Mosse's work, Garcia's is unoriginal and therefore very obvious. The collection spans over 40 years of self portraits by the artist and a video of photographic stills narrated by his own poetry.
Some of the images include pornography, nudity, crying and a very messy kitchen. It feels as though the images are trying to shock, trying to be controversial but sadly just seeming pretentious. Among some of the great photographers who produced similar work such as Corrine Day and Nan Goldin, Garcia's images don't stand a chance. It's been done before- which naturally is hard to avoid in creative industries, however, not all recycled concepts are lacking, they just need to offer a slightly different perspective- a tiny abstraction. The only difference about Garcia's work is that it is about him which quite frankly did not hold my interest.
Below is the strongest image in the collection entitled "My Feminine Side, 2001". Really?

The exhibition is currently in at The Photographer's Gallery until June 22nd.

Monday, 19 May 2014


I'm taking the liberty of defining this image as a self-portrait not a selfie. 

Walker Evans, Self-portrait in New York Hospital Bed, New York City, June 1928

Why SATC Was Bad For Feminism

I my late teens I watched A LOT of Sex and the City. After sixth form I would come home and divulge in an episode or two (or five) of Carrie and the girls.
You know what, SATC made me feel empowered and inspired, it made me assess my image and how I came across to people or how I felt about my visual persona in private. Samantha made me think that no men could ever defeat me, and Miranda, the strong, independent character who can still fall in love. All of Carrie Bradshaw’s quote’s basically brainwashed me into thinking men were shit, women were better but in the end- men would still win because we can’t live without them but they’re still from Mars and women will eternally be from Venus…

It wasn’t until earlier this year that I realised the implications of what SATC tells women. I started following Carrie Bradshaw on twitter (a faux account that tweets the characters best quotations) and eventually got sick of the man bashing, gender binary stereotypes and general preaching that women are at their best when drinking cocktails and being fabulous.  All right so the show is very 90s and rings true some of the values of first or second wave feminism- but in retrospect Carrie Bradshaw is a hideous role model for women!

My understanding of feminism is exactly what a number of my previous posts express- equal opportunities between men and women. This means no double standards, no one rule for the weak women and man bashing openly. No stereotypes that girls wear pink and boys wear blue, or outrage when a man doesn’t hold open a door because you’re a women, and no private club where women can be feminists and leave men out because they won’t understand. Feminism should be inclusive- it’s for everyone who upholds the core value to share that with each other be it men, women or non-gendered person’s.

Here are some of the tweets that illustrate my thoughts:

“Never underestimate a man's ability to make you feel guilty for his mistakes

Women don't need to make sense... women are always right.

Don’t start an argument with a girl because they all have 5330194 GB memories and will bring up something you did at 04:24PM on 12/04/2003

Boys are good for cuddling and killing spiders. And that's about it.

The way to a woman's heart is through new shoes...

Dear guys, a little effort never hurt anyone.”

This language promotes a gender binary outlook on sexuality and gender and they make sweeping statements about the sexes that I think is actually really offensive- I can vouch that not all women are shallow enough to allow new shoes to win their hearts…

SATC is exactly the sort of programme that separates men and women further from each other, that fuels hatred toward ‘useless’ men and alienates men who should be feminist allies, perceiving ‘strong’ women as angry feminists. 

This is bad for feminism, right?