Sunday, 1 April 2012

Roger Ballen: Janet Hall Memorial Lecture & Conversation. Tues April 3rd /// Mshed lecture on Collecting in Bristol. Sat 7th April

Twirling Wires, 2001, Roger Ballen 

Hello all, yes I'm back blogging again & by means of explaining the longer than usual gap between posts I am pleased to announce an event in which I shall be taking part in on Tuesday evening: 

The Janet Hall Memorial Lecture with Roger Ballen & yours truly as the interviewer/conversationalist (for want of a better title as to my role in the proceedings). Here is a brief quote about the lecture's history:London Independent Photography organises an annual lecture with a renowned photographer working on independent projects. The lecture takes place each year in memory of co-founder member Janet Hall who passed away in 2005. She was our energetic, original program organiser and a driving force in establishing London Independent Photography in 1987. The sale of her photographic equipment, bestowed to the group, made the original Janet Hall lecture possible. Previous speakers have included Martin Parr, Brian Griffin and Simon Norfolk.
Having known of Roger's work for many years & first meeting him some years ago I am thrilled to be asked to take part. There are many contradictions & visual acrobatics in Ballen's work which I am keen to discuss. For every question I have an anticipated answer which could fall on either side of the coin. 

What do I mean by this? I have imagined the many answers, from the research  I've done & prior knowledge of his work & interviews from the questions I am thinking of asking him. Of course on the night these questions may change as the answers may be included as part of his lecture. However, to expand on this I've posed some of the multiple possibilities below.

For example:

A question I could ask: Do you think that your portraits of poor white South African's are exploiting their unfortunate circumstances for arts sake, as this work is not classed as photojournalism? 

(Of course he will not agree with this statement, but bear with me I am playing devil's advocate here)

Possible imagined answer 1: Not at all. In fact the Apartheid Government were keen that this group of South African's should be kept hidden from the general public...

Possible imagined answer 2: They are as subjects very interesting both visually & socially & should not be omitted from the artistic canon because they pose an uncomfortable aesthetic.... 

Possible imagined answer 3: I think that they are beautiful & portray them as I do to expose that beauty...
OR is photojournalism exploitative? Discuss....
(ooh I am putting the cat amongst the pigeons today)

Can you see my dilemma here? I do not wish to appear aggressive towards Ballen, but feel that there must be an element of challenge to his practice & work as it absolutely invites it. This is perhaps its strength. It should prove to be a very interesting conversation...

I hope I have whetted your appetite & if you can make it or know of anyone who may be interested in attending I look forward to seeing you there. This prolific artist is rarely in the UK & it is well worth the entry fee I am sure. Please note that it is cheaper to pre-book than get a ticket on the door so go online to book today! Doors open at 6.30pm, lecture starts at 7pm prompt!

An Eye for Fashion: 
Norman Parkinson Photographs 
British Designers 1954 -1964

And now for my second bit of news: 
This coming Saturday 7th April I shall also be giving a lecture on Collecting Photography at the Mshed Gallery in Bristol. This talk is to compliment the current exhibition on display there: An Eye for Fashion : Norman Parkinson Photographs, British Designers 1954 -1964. The show displays over 60 vintage photographs of his work & should prove to be a great day out in the lovely surroundings with plenty to see. 

If you are wondering how to spend your Easter weekend why not come to Bristol & visit Mshed. They have also combined clothing form the period to really show how Parkinson brought the clothes to life through his lens. It is important to see the vintage print on display whenever possible as so many technical changes have taken place in recent years regarding the printing of photographs. The richness & depth of a print is always exquisite when in the hands of a great photographer & I sincerely hope that you will spread the word regarding both events in this blog to anyone you think may be interested. I look forward to seeing you very soon.

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