Photo London 2016

Hubbie had been unwell with a dodgy stomach since Friday. ‘Do you think you will be OK by tomorrow?’ I asked him as I handed him a glass of coconut water. ‘I’ll do my best’, he answered feebly as he rested his head on a pile of pillow and stared at the ceiling morosely. Oh, I feel for you, you are so unlucky…

Hubbie was so pi**ed off with himself because we were supposed to visit PHOTO LONDON the next day and he was not at all ready for it health-wise. The exhibition was designed to showcase the créme de la créme of photography from all over the world, and therefore, the scale of the show was massive – occupying almost all of the Somerset House, Strand. ‘Well, we shall assess the situation tomorrow morning, OK?’ I closed the bedroom door.

Then came next morning, Hubbie was significantly better, hence we set off for the exhibition by cab.

The venue was a lot busier than last Wednesday…

Each room was dedicated to a single gallery and the walls were covered with framed photographes in all sizes and shapes…

There were so many things to take in. The volume of visual stimulation we received by walking in and out of the galleries one after another was overwhelming and even a little mind numbing. In the end, I decided to focus on exhibits which grabbed my attention first and foremost in each room and to dismiss the rest.

Following images were the ones which caught my eye.

Ciels du Seine by Floriane de Lassée…

The images were created by giving the originals a 180 degree rotation. The idea and execution were simple. However, I found the results stunningly beautiful and they reminded me the film, Inception.

Abdulahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria by Pieter Hugo…

Is this a dog?! Then I realised it was a hyena. A beefy black man with his muzzled beast in a very raw urban landscape, the combination created a very powerful image.

Prints with acrylic paint by Chloe Sells…

I just found the artworks irresistible. Again, the technique was simple yet the results were vibrant and otherworldly.

There were also some classics from commercial photography too.

Girls in the Windows by Ormond Gigli…

One of the main attractions of this year’s exhibition was the show by Don McCullin

He is one of the most revered war photographers of our time and his career spans from the start of Cold War to the present. Some of his most iconic images were from the Vietnum War period and this was one of them…

The picture reminded me a book I read sometime ago. It was Band of Brothers by  Stephen E Ambrose.

– Although the men lived in constant danger—a direct hit from the railway gun would destroy whole buildings—they were in a sense spectators of war. Glenn Gray writes that the “secret attractions of war” are “the delight in seeing, the delight in comradeship, the delight in destruction.” He continues, “War as a spectacle, as something to see, ought never to be underestimated.” Gray reminds us that the human eye is lustful; it craves the novel, the unusual, the spectacular.-

What effect does happening to be in the midst of armed conflicts to a normal sane individual, I asked to myself. The image was powerful.

One definite grudge Hubbie and I felt towards PHOTO LONDON was not giving Don McCullin enough space and instead, dedicating too much room to Craig Horsfield…

We were very sorry to be judgemental but we found his works mediocre and wished if his exhibits to be swapped with Mr. McCullin’s.

The staircase of West Wing was a delight to climb up and down…

The staircase was an epitome of the charm which made visiting Somerset House so special. Histric remnants of aristocratic household were everywhere and it made me feel like I was a time-traveller.

The building started its existence as a Tudor palace by the Thames and it was repeatedly redesigned and extended as it changed hands. 

I hope this snapshot I took would depict the colossal scale of the structure…

Networks of the staircases and walkways were there to make the daily machinery of the complex to run smoothly. Don’t you think it resembles M. C.Escher’s artworks?

One more image which I found charming was “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness” by Julian Germain…

Both of us were completely exhausted by the end of the exhibition. It was so much to absorb and digest in one go. We staggered out to the street and hailed the first cab we spotted. ‘To John Lewis, please!’

We had to buy a super-king size fitted sheet but at first, we needed to refuel ourselves…

A burger and chips at Ham Holy Burger. They tasted great after a lengthy trekking at Somerset House…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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