I’ve always loved photography. I think of it as an art, even though that may draw some debate.
Today, photography seems all too accessible, especially with everyone having a camera on their smart phone. As a result, photographers, especially younger ones, have had to become more creative in their process. (It’s almost a shame the day of the dark room seems to be over.)
The Annenberg Space for Photography (in Century City) is one of my favorite hangouts. There is currently an exhibition up that focuses primarily on the measures photographers have had to take in order to pursue their passion. Aptly, it’s entitled EMERGING.
And unlike other shows that focuses on one theme, this exhibition has a little bit of everything.
The first image I saw (and didn’t take a picture of, as one of the employees was standing right next to me telling a young mother not to take pictures — but like that would stop me anyway… just didn’t get that one) was of a beautiful elephant with its head up against a wall in a crowded room.
(I’ll see if I can’t sneak back again later to get that photo and the photographer’s name.)
Another was of a small self-published book in a glass case. The photographer is Billy Kidd, who used crowdfunding (specifically Kick Starter) to get his book published. (Helmut Newton’s influence is quite prevalent in his work.)
There were images that were, well, average. We’re all inundated with images. To have something captured that is unique, or so real that it speaks to you, is rare. Or, unless you’re someone like Cindy Sherman or David LaChapelle where fiction is the realm of photography. There was a bit of that, too, at the Annenberg under the title of “Fictional World.”
But, it was the photo journalism that peaked my interest most.
Some stand outs were Andrea Gjestvang from Norway – an image from her series Disappearing Ice Age was of a woman in her 40s washing dishes in her kitchen. It was simple, yet powerful. Two large fish were on the floor, many framed photos hung on the wall, and there was a large boom box that seemed to be staring directly at the viewer. I could have looked at that photo for hours.
Another image that stood out was by Mosa’ab Elshamy from Egypt. It was of a woman holding a gas mask to her mouth as she was kneeling in what looks like an area just blown up. She holds a bowl in her other hand, and a plastic water bottle is by her side. Her body language reminded me of a jaguar ready to pounce, if necessary. It was stunning, and yet haunting.
A photograph by Katie Orlinsky (USA) stuck with me as well. It was of two women, possibly a mother and daughter, sitting in what looked like a make shift doctor’s office, both with tissues over their mouths, waiting for medical care.
The truth of these moments caught in photographs is what I found to be most appealing.
The Annenberg also creates a documentary about the filmmakers for every exhibition (one of the highlights to their ongoing series). I happened to catch the part about two young American photographers sharing their experiences working for Target and GQ, while I happened to be looking at an image of a dead man in his home in Afghanistan. His body was surrounded by his family. An adorable toddler girl in the background stared innocently at the camera. It was an interesting juxtaposition.
Bravo to the Annenberg for always exhibiting interesting images – glimpses into other worlds as well as presenting much food for thought. The Annenberg also a offers an ongoing lecture series in conjunction with the exhibition, and this summer they are including lots of extras. The website is worth checking out.
Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles