One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to become a better photographer. Constantly looking for inspiration, I was delighted to learn London has a gallery dedicated to photographs!
The Photographers’ Gallery hosts a number of talks, events, courses, workshops and, of course, exhibitions. Currently on until 30th March is a showcase of work from Americans Andy Warhol, David Lynch and William S. Burroughs – all of which aren’t synonymous for their photography work.
David Lynch: The Factory Photographs
David Lynch: The Factory Photographs in the John Lyon Gallery. I love industry. Pipes. I love fluid and smoke. I love man-made things. I like to see people hard at work, and I like to see sludge and man-made waste.
Despite the quote, the photographs do not feature a single soul hard at work. Instead, the black and white photos focus on various nuances of deserted factories – the monochrome only enhancing the environments eeriness and age. This feeling is subconsciously enhanced by the accompanying sound installation. Marrying heartfelt images with a ghostly soundtrack won’t come as a surprise as Lynch uses his knowledge from his cinematic background. Locations of the factories vary from Europe such as England, Poland and Germany and crossing the Atlantic to New York and New Jersey – but this matters little.
All of the photographs could have been taken from a single location, suggesting the homogonous decay every abandoned factory faces. The images almost humanise the factories, particularly those which show broken or dirty windows, looking out on a world developing without the need for them to create and build. The thought that at one point in time, each of these factories would have been filled with action and gusto contrasts with the opposite end of the spectrum – the slow death of industrialisation in today’s world.
Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs
Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs showcases the work from one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. The works celebrate the centenary of Burroughs’ birth and in turn highlights the writers work away from words, although the images do all of the talking here.
Taking Shots is just that. Burroughs’ work shows no single theme, but features scenes from everyday life.
Andy Warhol: Photographs 1976-1987
It may be little known that the famous painter and filmmaker was also a keen photographer. The introduction of compact camera’s in the 70’s allowed him to capture everyday details, often taking more than 36 photos a day.
Much like Burroughs’, Andy Warhol: Photographs 1976-1987 offers no single theme – except that of everyday life. This celebration of daily sights varies from streets and cityscapes to people and celebrity parties. The series of images almost act as an autobiography from this select date range. Warhol imposes his signature repeated imagery by stitching the photos together in classic grid form.
Tickets are only £4 and I feel is worth a lot more. The black and white photography has given me inspiration for my own work. It’s also given me food for thought towards the subject of my photography. I always focus on a landmark in London for example, but there’s so much more to shoot.
The theme of documenting everyday life is interesting. Not in the Instagram sort of way of course, but capturing people and little things which you don’t really take notice or appreciate every day.