Friday, 21 June 2013

Love in London Town

Love Padlocks – Charlotte & Ralf © Graham Dew, 2013
Love Padlocks – Charlotte & Ralf 

There are times when I feel so provincial that it’s easy to forget that I grew up in greater London and the big city is only an hour away by train.

Love Padlocks – If Music Be… © Graham Dew, 2013
Love Padlocks – If Music Be… 

On Sunday we travelled up to the open afternoon at the Arena exhibition in the Menier Gallery. The exhibition looked splendid BTW, with most of the members putting out the best of their recent work, and it all looked beautifully curated and hung by Kirsten Cooke. After the show, our family went for lunch at the nearby Borough Market and then on for stroll along the South Bank as a slow way of getting back to Waterloo. There was a nice relaxed vibe as everyone was enjoying the first of summer sunshine and warmth. We go the Tate modern and my son suggested that it might be nice to wander across the Millennium Bridge to look at the city and catch the breeze. It was here that we came across these ‘love padlocks’ that had been shackled to the thin steel hawsers that make up the fence and handrails for the bridge.

Love Padlocks – Voor & Emelina © Graham Dew, 2013
Love Padlocks – Voor & Emelina 

Although there were many people out with cameras I was the only one who was photographing these love padlocks. I guess I must have appeared like a country bumpkin complete with pitchfork and, smock and straw hat expressing wonder in the completely obvious and banal aspects of city life. I showed these pictures to my daughter a couple of days later, who told me the padlocks on the Millennium Bridge are nothing compared to those on the Pont des Arts in Paris. Yes indeed, search on Google you will see that that bridge is completely encrusted with the things, and in many ways has lost the poetry of the few that are in London. Wikipedia has a page that describes the phenomenon and underscores the fact that I don’t get out and about enough.

Love Padlocks – Stephane Mille + Mary © Graham Dew, 2013
Love Padlocks – Stephane Mille + Mary 
The padlocks still seem cute to me however, and a more gentle way of lovers leaving their mark on a city without vandalising the place by carving names on wood or spraying graffiti on walls.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Arena Photographers at the Menier Gallery

Looking at the date of the previous post I’m rather embarrassed to notice that it is almost one month since the last post. All the blogging guides stress the need to regularly post to maintain readership, and I’ve fallen well short of my target of at least one post per week. In my defence I’ll say that June is always a busy month in our family with many significant dates to be planned for and celebrated, the allotment is has plants growing like topsy requiring care and nuture, and the kids are keeping me busy with cricket matches and driving lessons. All of which has meant little spare time for photography, and what time I have had has been spent preparing for the Arena exhibition that opens in London today.

Beech Tree, Crabwood, 2011

This exhibition is the largest Arena has held for some time. In the past, the group has been able to hold shows at some prestiguois venues, including the Barbican Gallery and NMPFT. These days it is much more difficult to secure a good gallery in which to show work. The demand for exhibition space has increased at the same time as the supply of suitable venues has dried up. So for the next couple of weeks Arena has taken the bold step of renting a commercial gallery in which to hold a display of our work. After a lot of deliberation we settled on the Menier Gallery, situated on the edge of Borough Market, for its combination of exhibition space and busy (we hope) footfall.

Telegraph Hill, 2012

My contribution to the Menier exhibition are the four joiners shown here. Framed in two 70X70cm and 80X60cm mounts, these prints are somewhat larger than I normally exhibit and have taken a fair amount of effort to get printed, mounted, framed and packaged ready for the exhibition. These joiners look very good printed large, and I wonder how large I could make them. Since each individual cell could easily be printed to 30X30cm at quality print resolution, I could technically make a joiner bigger than I have wall space for at home.

Spring Trees, 2011

 I won’t be able to see the exhibition until this coming weekend, but I am sure that it will be very worthwhile and will look excellent. I must give a big public ‘thank you’ to Kirsten Cooke who has been the driving force behind this exhibition from its conception and has done a wonderful job in organising a disparate group of photographers into producing a good show. If you are in London over the next couple of weeks please take a look at the wide variety of work that is on display. For more information please visit the Arena website.

The Arena Summer exhibition is at the Menier Gallery in central London, 10th to 22nd June 2013.

Winter Field, Barton Farm, 2012