Monday, 25 April 2011

The Exhibition

Thursday, 7 April 2011


I began reading the Bang Bang Club book as I wanted to read about the history in South Africa, expecially the apartheid. This book details the lives of four photographers who covered the conflict there.

The book inspired me and got me thinking about the multicultural society that we live in, after a discussion with Richard about the various cultures in Blackburn it became apparent that this was the direction my work was going in.

I was limited with getting around due to my foot and needed somewhere that I could hobble to as I couldnt drive or walk very far and needed crutches.

I had always been intrigued by the people living on the street near me 'Beech Street' and this proved a very accessable option as it was so close to home.

The Concept

One of the Key things that defines Britain is the fact that it has the highest rate of mixed race partnerships in the world. Our Multicultural society has developed over the years and is an integral part of life in areas such as Blackburn and Burnley especially.

I live in an area where many cultures are sucessfully integrated, although it wouldnt be fair to say that we necessarily go to each others houses for tea, we speak in the street, live amongst each other with no segregation and life is quite peaceful.

I started thinking about this idea and found this article that i thought really summed up the good and the bad points in this part of our society:

I am sure there are negative things about the mix of cultures where i live but either way i think this would be interesting as Photojournalism to explore the cultures and the people that live around 'Beech Street'.

This seemed totally appropriate for an exhibition in South Africa due to their history with the apartheid, to look in more detail at how different cultures here live together. I think this would be interesting to South Africans to see this side of Britain and compare it to how they are integrated with each other. Also for my FMP this should represent the best work, this would be a major challenge for me so would represent perhaps one of the hardest things i have had to do.

I looked at this work by South African photographers and it made me think about the way they photograph people, being no different to how you or I may approach a situation. I began to consider the human condition even further and think about how regardless of our upbringing or country of origin we all have many things in common just by being human. I was surprised by the technical capabilities of the photographers and the contemporary twist on the portraits they took.

I love this image by Peter Hugo, he has made a sensitive subject almost comical. The subjects gaze is almost discomforting and its definitely no coincidence that this could be seen as a concept influenced by the apartheid.

Its almost ironic that the two adults are almost frightening in their stare and the black youngster looks scared, could this represent a feeling linked to the fact that white south africans were more powerful and often considered the enemy during the apartheid? I think there is definitely a link.

This is contemporary portraiture that shows the level of thought and consideration that goes into the work in South Africa, just as it does in the Uk or anywhere else in the world. This work touches on the multicultural concept that I am working with, and considering the history of Apartheid in South Africa this becomes even more poignant.