A few weeks ago I was fortunate to have one of my beach debris images selected for the members exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society’s Visual Art group. A colleague kindly visited and took photographs for me when the exhibition opened as I could not get there. However when the time at the Clocktower was extended I took the opportunity (in week 25 of the FMP) to visit and see for myself how it was displayed amongst those of other members. Being a new member of this group it felt like an honour to have been included.
On the day I experienced the feeling that I was visiting a relative, something (rather than someone) so close to me because of its significance as part of my experimentation with scanning for my Final Major Project of the MA Photography. “Art is one of the major achievements of the human spirit” says Ross in the introduction to Art and Its Significance. While not spiritual in a religious sense a range of perceptible emotions accompanied me through the short time of the visit. Excited anticipation was mixed with concern. How did my digital submission look now it had been printed, mounted and framed? How did it seem to respond when captured within the constraints of a framed surround when I had let it roam free without borders mimicking its life in the ocean before reaching the shoreline? How did it sit among other images; were they complimentary or clashing in any way?
Arriving I was pleased with the quality of the printing. Not unhappy with the position of the image to one side of a display rather than possibly being lost surrounded by others, I was curious and would have liked some behind the scenes information about the curation and placement of images and whether there were themes in the groupings. Clearly there was a limited space in which to hang many photographs. I could pick out some reasoning behind the groupings but really these were only guesses.
The variety of work under the Visual Art umbrella seems to be infinite in its possibilities. In the ‘About us’ page for the group on the RPS website this is explained.
“The Visual Art Group’s activities encourage both traditional and contemporary interpretation of a wide variety of subject matter, from still-life, landscape and architecture, to portraiture and macro-photography.”
Pleased with my image I moved onto view the work of others and was particularly drawn to Decay 1 by Stephen Collinson LRPS, Light and Shade by Janie Chapman LRPS and Interceptors by Jack Rose FRPS. Not only interested in their immediate visual impact I wanted to know more about what they were and how the images were created.
Before departing I ventured into the museum with walls adorned with portraits of people who lived and worked in Croydon and a large display in connected rooms and spaces of memorabilia from the 20th Century including the two world wars and early silent films including one about the suffrage movement. A final room housed a special display about the bones and artefacts of people who lived in the area. Appealing to me with my interest in archeology and history I was prompted tho think about my beach finds in archeological terms as finds that will be discovered for thousands of years to come and those not found having already entered the food chain following their deterioration into infinitesimal pieces.
About to leave I took the opportunity to have one final look at my image. Coincidentally it was being viewed by a gentleman from a local camera club who took my photo with the image and spent time discussing how I had made it. A pleasant way to end the visit and leave the image.
ROSS, Stephen David. 1994. Art and Its Significance. An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory. 3rd edition 27 January1994. Albany: State University of New York Press.