When you get bitten by the photography bug, it can sometimes be very hard to stop and draw breath. With our omnipresent smartphones, we rarely leave the house sans camera and the saturation of images can leave us questioning exactly what’s valid and what’s not. Conversely, we can also all have moments of the exact opposite problem, leaving us with the photographers equivalent of writers block.
But whether you’re stumbling or flying, a sure fire way to recalibrate your creative thoughts or just to gain confirmation that you’re not alone in your visually obsessed outlook, is to go and see what the photographic masters are all about. And this year, around the world, we are being treated to some truly blockbusting photography exhibitions.
If street photography is your thing, then this is one show not to miss! Unlike many of his contemporaries, Winogrand (1928-1984), had not yet been treated to a lavish overview of his career. Leaving behind scant detail about his work and caring little about exhibitions and fine art printing, Winogrand has long been viewed as a tricky character. This legacy is further confused by his leaving behind of some 250,000 unedited frames! A truly towering figure in the history of street photos. See the show, buy the book, revel in the attitude and love every minute!
The exhibition starts at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and then travels to Washington D.C, New York, Paris and Madrid.
Long before the advent of smartphone photography, Wolfgang Tillmans, (b.1968) had a show at the Tate Gallery in London called ‘If One Thing Matters, Everything Matters’. As an eerie harbinger of our times, Tillmans had spent the 90s photographing everything: his life, friends, dinners, drying clothes… He is considered the ‘documentarian of his generation.’ Tillmans photographs felt immediately intimate and recognisable – a fact helped by him rarely framing prints in galleries and his constant presence in influential magazines like ID.
His new retrospective is at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany.
Cindy Sherman – ‘Untitled Horrors’
Cindy Sherman (b.1954) is one of the most important fine art photographers of late 20th century and she has almost exclusively used herself as the basis for her image making. Often virtually unrecognisable in heavy make-up or prosthetics, her photographs pose her in scenarios and filmic settings that echo the stereotypical way women have been represented on celluloid.
So, if you think you’ve run out of ways of photographing yourself, get along to the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Norway or later the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and let Cindy Sherman show you something different!
Sebastiāo Salgado – ‘Genesis’
With smartphone cameras now even being used by war correspondents, their role in photojournalism looks like an unstoppable trend! But, if you want to feel like slowing down time for just a moment, get along to the world premiere of Sebastiāo Salgado’s latest masterpiece, ‘Genesis’ at the Natural History Museum in London. Landscapes, wildlife and remote communities by one of the most inspiring photographers on the planet. An absolute must for any photography lovers!
Man Ray – ‘Portraits’
The next time you’re playing with effects on your photos, stop a moment and cast a thought back to Man Ray (1890 –1976).
Although Man Ray cannot claim to have invented the process of solarisation in photography, it was he and Lee Miller who fully exploited its use and saw it accepted as a legitimate visual aesthetic. (Solarisation is the phenomenon of reversing the tones in an image).
The show in London is the first major museum retrospective of his portraits and includes images of Man Ray’s important circle of friends and colleagues such as Picasso, Duchamp, and Miller.
We can guarantee that each and every one of these exhibitions will inspire you to look at smartphone photography in a whole new way. But, if you can’t make it to these events, what other techniques do you use to get the creative juices flowing?
Image credits: Adam Monaghan + Tezzr