Personal favourites: ‘Montparnasse’ 1993 was incredible to see at this scale, the detail and untold, existential narratives within it were really powerful. ‘Toyota / Toys ‘r’ Us’ was super minimal, bleak + hilarious at the same time,. Wonderful!
It was great to see Solferino from 1990.
The ‘breakthrough image where he first got his ‘mojo’.
Some images I wasn’t so taken with (as you’d expect.) Not so keen on the recent Pyongyang images and also a shot of a cattle ranch felt a bit too similar to the epic photography of Ed Burtynsky, which I’m not that keen on – I’m with Geoff Dyer* on that one, Burtynsky’s a bit too stadium rock, lacking in subtlety / intimacy. Sorry, don’t have an image for this one.
* essay, 'Edward Burtynsky' from 'Working the Room: Essays' by Geoff Dyer (2010)
It was great to see it large scale and also to be able to have a close-up view of the finer details – usually missing from books, google images, my own lectures etc. A lovely orange plastic bottle, litter in the grass and a set of mysterious steps leading to the sky!
I felt a strong affinity and connection with this image – probably a mutual love of minimalism, but also the complexity within that.
I always encourage students to explore the experiential in viewing work in the real (i.e. not mediated by book or screen) and this exhibition really was an object lesson in this. Our students were generally really impressed too, which was great to witness.
And time for some jokes too – I spotted my colleague Becky Goddard laughing at (or rather with) an early photo of a grey carpet, which I too found really mischievous and serious at the same time.
My moment of hilarity was a small-scale image (‘Mobile Nr.3’ 2017) taken by mobile phone at the top of a dark stairway. It looked out of focus but I thought that it was my eyes and as I got closer it would come into focus. Nope! It was out of focus. Hilarious! A wonderful photographic joke.
Highly recommended exhibition. I’ll be back for another visit for sure!