Sunday, 6 February 2011


Working in an office makes the whole world a little mundane I think. And it all revolves around what everyone is eating for lunch and what everyone’s plans are for the weekend. The pattern gets a little tiresome when I know that the usual conversations I hear on a Friday usually consist of a never-ending detailed list of things like ‘and then I’m going to the gym…’ and ending with my reaction of, ‘I don’t really care’. So when on Monday I was asked what I did on the weekend, I answered really loudly ‘I saw an amaaaazing exhibition in the V&A, you simply must see it’ I felt really smug that I had broken the pattern of boring food fest weekends.

‘Shadow Catchers: Camera-less photography’ is an exhibition at the V&A which shows exactly what is says on the tin. My friend Lily Barton dragged me to it and I have to honestly say I was looking forward more to the prospect of a natter and a good lunch (we went to La Bottega Italian delicatessen which is delicious!) beforehand than the exhibition itself.

You see, Lily is into art. I also enjoy a little Picasso but when it comes down to the technical stuff I’m afraid I’m a little bit of a caveman. And when she was trying to explain how one can take a picture of something without a camera, I gazed into the distance like my boyfriend does when I talk about clothes.

But you know what? I realised that this sort of photography is one of those things – where you kinda have to see the art to actually understand it. This is because all the artists that exhibited had an obsession with an alternative reality, one that’s not quite there but is….. Ok so I’ll try and explain. When you use a camera, the minute you press the button you have taken a picture, captured a moment in time which represents ‘reality.’ It’s sort of like a documentation of life. Whereas camera-less photography captures images that are manipulated by light, chemicals, dye, gelatin e.t.c It all gets a bit scientific but the outcome is really intriguing. So the subject being ‘photographed’ whether it be a person or nature e.t.c is a representation of reality seen through the eyes of the artist. So in a way it is portraying 2 worlds: one imaginary and exotic and the other material and inspiring.

And if you still don’t understand like I didn’t, you’ll just have to go see it yourself. Other than the artists’ work the exhibition has a video about each of them explaining their individual takes on the art and how it works technically. It’s only a £5er but well worth the trip.

Showing until 20/02/2011 Book online :

Sacha Harrison

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