Over the summer I went to visit the V&A's photography gallery to see the history of photography exhibition. I really like a lot of the photographs and saw a lot of photographers that I have researched into in previous projects. I feel that visiting this exhibition has also helped me see more documentary photography work and photographers that I can researched more in depth for the current documentary project that I have picked for A2.
The photographers gallery is a quite a new room display at the V&A and opened to the public on 24 October 2011. However the V&A has had previous photo exhibitions such as 'the history of photography' which was shown from the 1840's to the 1970's. The V&A was also the first museum that started to collect photographs in 1852. The current exhibition being displayed at the gallery is a re-hang of 'The history of Photography' and the museum say that it will be re-curated every 18 months and will be showing temporary displays such as contemporary photography in other galleries in the museum.
I really liked the arrangement of the gallery room and really liked how it was new, fresh and organised. Even though there was a small paragraph about each photo and photographer below each photo. The different types of documentary photographs and the years they were taken in were grouped together alongside a big information board for each group around the gallery which explained about the period in which the photographs were taken and the history of photography in this time. These were the names of all the group sections and what the info boards were called: After the war: Personal Vision, Facts and Focus, Documents, Records and Travel, Discovery and Modernism. Alongside these information boards there was also two boards called In-Focus which focused in depth on two photographers shown in the gallery. When I went the two photographers were 'Eugene Atget' and 'The Bechers (Bernd and Hilla Becher)'. Photographers such as: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Irving Penn and Diane Arbus were shown in the gallery.
This was one of the photographs I liked a lot from the gallery and is by a photographer called Antanas Sutkus. Antanas Sutkus (born 27 June 1939 in Kluoniškiai) is a renowned Lithuanian photographer and was one of the co-founders and a President of the Photography Art Society of Lithuania. This documentary portrait photo on the left is one of Sutkus's most well known photographs called ‘Pioneer, Ignalina’ or ‘The First Grader’ and was taken in 1964 in Sutkus's homeland of Lithuania. Since 1953 Sutkus spent most of his time documenting the changing life of his homeland of Lithuania. This photo is of a young boy dressed with the scarf of a young pioneers, which was a communist party organisation for young people. In the description of the photo it says Sutkus was trying to show honesty and intensity. I really love how he's done this and he has gone down to the child's level and been able to line the camera perfectly up with the child's face so that you can really see the emotion of how the boy looks tired, upset and quite confused because of how he is gazing into the camera. I also like how the boys behind have different emotions to this one boy in front because of how they are quite interested and happy when looking at the camera. I really like how the lighting isolates the boy from the other children behind because of how you can see his bold outline of his head, upper body and also the detail of his scarf. I feel that the lighting is natural but quite bright high contrast light coming from the left upper side because of how the boys in the background have a lot of shadows on the right side of their faces and parts of the sun glares on their hair.