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I attended the Free Range show at Brick Lane during the summer. Here’s a brief write up on this annual event:
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Its an interesting show with lots of scope, nevertheless its probably too big to be effective in terms of viewing. Too many student photographers and considerably over-saturated in terms of viewing potential. As one of my fellow students said in her blog review on the show – “less is more.”
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One of the many halls at the exhibition – this is Nottingham University’s section.
Perhaps this particular show would be better with a mix of different media which helps the viewer to focus more easily and to go for particular genres. Of course one realises it might provide organisational problems for the different departments but then again it could improve the quality of the shows. Other than this, it’s obviously a great opportunity for networking – that’s something I will discuss in a different post however.
The number of sound installations were fewer than I expected, indeed several of those who had large LCD tv’s as part of their installations chose to show silent videos or more appropriately videos with subtitles which was good. Hats off to those who chose non-sound installations and a big no-no to those who chose the headphones route.
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Subtitles are at least good enough. No different from having photo-captions.
If a photographer cannot make their pictures work without sound then it is clear they are not photographers but ‘videographers’ and they probably should not be exhibiting in a photography based setting. The reason for this is clear. A photograph doesnt speak, doesnt have sound, yet it can say a lot of things, convey many different messages and meanings. To add sound with video clearly means (at least to me) those photographers have fallen short of the medium.
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‘Ere ‘ere! Headphones do not boost ratings!
There were a lot of universities in attendance, and it was difficult to decide which had the best installations. Some had their own photo books too whilst a few individuals were very creative. I particularly liked the attempts by students who made a lot of effort to make their displays look both interesting, enticing, and also provide slightly unusual ways of advertising themselves, such as business cards wrapped in plastic with sweets or biscuits.
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Each photograph had a book complementing it.
One student in particular had a series of books to complement each of their photographs – and this (and other similar examples) are great ways of improving and enhancing photographs without defaulting on the medium’s parameters.
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Equine compositions by a University of Westminster student
Overall the quality of the exhibitions was fair, there were a lot of photographs that could be considered run of the mill and didnt show very much passion (as an arts student friend I had with me said.) I’m not very good on emotions but it is clear that passion for photography and the desire to create a good and unusual subject is something that should be adhered to. Its not just about taking brilliant photographs and its not about taking photographs and complementing them with sound either.
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Definitely armchair photography!