Category Archives: Art Galleries

Photo Stroll LOOK13 Liverpool International Photography Festival Pt 1 – Rankin’s Alive: In the Face of Death

The second edition of LOOK13 Liverpool International Festival (17 May -15 June 2013) opened in May and closed this weekend, but you can still catch some of  the exhibitions taking place in Liverpool.

In collaboration with some of Liverpoolʼs well-known museums and galleries, LOOK/13 presented “a diverse programme of contemporary and historical exhibitions” that includes new work by the portrait photographer Rankin, Alive: In the Face of Death (until 15 September) at the Walker Art Gallery in a show in which he “sets out to explore and challenge our perceptions of death”; rarely-seen early photographs by Martin Parr and Tom Wood in Every Man and Woman is a Star (until 18 August), and Double Take: Portraits from the Keith Medley archive (15 September). Bringing together influential and established photographers, presented alongside international emerging talent, LOOK/13 explored ideas of subjectivity and selfhood, based around the question, ʻwho do you think you are?ʼ.

Today’s post is a Photo Stroll through, Alive: In the Face of Death – a slick offering encompassing a diverse range of photographic approaches to the subject of death, which will also be the subject of a BBC2 Culture Show documentary this summer. The Walker Art Gallery is impressive and the space given over to the show is substantial – there’s even a wall for visitors to record their responses to the show with coloured post-it notes and details of The Dying Matters coalition, an organisation that seeks to encourage more open discussion around dying, death, and bereavement.

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Alongside portraits of those who are terminally ill, or who have faced death, are photographs of people whose business is death  – from a gravedigger and the only UK maker of death masks, to a studio where the ashes of a loved one can be incorporated into cremation tattoos. Rankin’s own responses to the subject feature too, reflected in a series of self portrait, as well as in his ‘life’ masks, including the one captioned, Michael Jackson, which caused some confusion.

From skulls – whether they are Vanitas, Day of the Dead, Damien Hirst or Salvador Dali-influenced ones – to ‘life’ masks, Rankin hones in on familiar symbols of death, borrows heavily from them and then offers back his collection of works beautifully packaged. His heart-shaped display Anne + Roy is a tribute to his now dead parents and the variously-sized photos of his parents mirrors the ongoing fashion in contemporay photography for the vernacular, the personal archive and the family album. Death is an emotive, and often gloomy, subject but in Alive: In the Face of Death, Rankin celebrates life.

Outside Focus – Voices of the People: Man Ray Portraits opens at The National Portrait Gallery

This year I’ll be inviting contributors new to photography to review some photo shows to get a different perspective. Today’s post is by third-year journalism student Kerrie Braithwaite, who is new to photography and has written the following review of Man Ray – Portraits on show at The National Portrait Gallery. I also asked Kerrie to do some Vox Pops (Vox populi – interviews with members of the general public).

The National Portrait Gallery is currently exhibiting a comprehensive collection of Man Ray’s surreal photography until the 27 May.

Le Violon d'Ingres

Le Violon d’Ingres, 1924 by Man Ray
Museum Ludwig Cologne, Photography Collections (Collection Gruber)
© Man Ray Trust / ADAGP © Copy Photograph Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln

Although mostly known as a painter, this collection shows the development of Man Ray’s photography in the early 19th century, in chronological order based on the places where he was living. The show is curated in a way that allows the audience to have an insight into the photographer’s life through looking at his technique, style and subjects.

Henry Crowder

Henry Crowder, 1928 by Man Ray
Collection du Centre Pompidou, Mnam/Cci, Paris, AM 1994-394 (463)
© Man Ray Trust / ADAGP, Paris © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN / image Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI

Man Ray Self-Portrait with Camera

Man Ray Self-Portrait with Camera, 1932 by Man Ray
The Jewish Museum, New York, Purchase: Photography Acquisitions Committee Fund, Horace W. Goldsmith Fund, and Judith and Jack Stern Gift, 2004-16. Photo by Richard Goodbody, Inc © 2008 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2012 © Photo The Jewish Museum

There are portraits of many creative people, including writers, poets, actors and artists, such as Mina Loy, Jane Heap, and Gertrude Stein, some of whom he met during his involvement with both the Dada and Surrealist movements.

Although my lack of photographical knowledge leaves me with many questions as to Man Ray’s technique and purpose when it comes to the style of his portraits, the exhibition gives the audience an insight into his development of solarisation techniques and photograms as well as other photographic processes of the time. Man Ray’s love of photographing women is evident along with his portraits of other creatives, all of whom he manages to portray in a way that suggests the essence of the character of the person.

Solarized portrait of Lee Miller

Solarised Portrait of Lee Miller, c.1929 by Man Ray The Penrose Collection © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2012, courtesy The Penrose Collection. Image courtesy the Lee Miller Archives

Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve, 1968 by Man Ray
Private Lender
© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP / DACS

Towards the end of the show, a room is dedicated to Man Ray’s work in Hollywood where he continued to work with his surrealist style of photography. Some of the portraits are small , wallet-sized photos from the 1930s as though from the pocket of the artist himself, others take up an entire free-standing wall. Much of Man Ray’s portraits in this show cannot be found online, which makes the exhibition that much more worth the visit and that much more interesting due to its authenticity.


Juliet,1947 by Man Ray
Collection Timothy Baum, New York
© Man Ray Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP/DACS

Carol: “I was quiet interested in the French poet Paul Eluard and I love the portraits of Jean Cocteau. Man Ray manages to capture what you imagine his character might have been. The show is arranged chronologically which is interesting because you can see the development of his work.

Roy: “My wife wanted to see the exhibition and I came along. I’m interested in photography so I’m looking at it with a technical eye. Some of the earlier photographs seem rather amateurish, although the solarized prints are, technically, a bit more intriguing. The photographs are very small and it’s interesting to see portraits of familiar names, However, I’m surprised he made a living out of it.

Bryher: “My friend recommended the exhibition and although I’m familiar with other Surrealists, I haven’t actually seen any of Man Ray’s work. I like the portraits of the other surrealist artists who he was friends with. The way the show is curated, at times, you’re kind of jostling to see some of the pictures.

Mark: “I know Man Ray’s work and I did a little research before I flew into London. I really like the portrait of Erik Satie. When I think about Satie’s work, this photo really captures his persona. It’s a good collection of portraits and it seems pretty definitive in the scope of the exhibition.”

Stephanie: “I’m seeing a lot of shows today and I do know of Man Ray. I like the photographs of Marcel Duchamp, it’s nice to see them in real life and there’s a lot here to see.

Post by Kerrie Braithwaite.

Photo News – Laura Noble issues open letter about closure of Diemar/Noble photography gallery and launch of new L A Noble Gallery

Today Laura Noble sent out an open letter to her network about the closing of the Diemar/Noble Gallery, billed as “one of the capital’s top spots for photography” (see below). The word was out and about on twitter where followers commented on the demise of the gallery. However, it’s not all bad news as from the ashes new things – the L A Noble Gallery – are created, so I’m sharing the letter with you all:

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness I write to tell you that, after three amazing years, Diemar/Noble Photography has closed its shutters for the last time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for your support. Without the patronage of clients and visitors, the enthusiasm of the press and the ambition and talent of our artists, we would not have achieved so much in such a short time.

Diemar/Noble was always more to me than a gallery, it was – and remains – a community. If the legacy of the gallery is to leave even a little more passion and excitement for photography in this City, then it is an achievement I will be very proud of.

Without you sharing in the vision, the gallery could never have hoped to become “one of the capital’s top spots for photography” (Time Out) over such a modest time. I hope you can share my pride in all that the gallery has achieved.

My time as Co-Director at Diemar/Noble has been a life affirming one and deepened my love for all things photographic. The opportunity to explore different avenues in the future may have drawn this venture to a close but my commitment to photography remains and the next chapter promises to build on that. My involvement with photography is an on-going and passionate one. I will continue to carry out portfolio reviews and consultations, lectures for photographers and collectors as well as my other writing and curating projects.

Most exciting of all, I have now established the L A Noble Gallery, which I shall be launching at the Unseen art fair in Amsterdam on the 19th of September. The website will also be launched on the same day.

Now looking forward to my next challenge, I am excited to see what the future will hold for myself, the photographers with whom I work and those exciting new talents we have yet to discover.

I do hope that you will stay in touch and join me for future endeavors.

Yours faithfully in gratitude,

Laura Noble

Performance in Frames: Video Mobiles


The Roaming Eye missed this show at The Substation Gallery in Singapore but is intrigued:
“The artist’s body is captured into a series of frames, each frame a moment paused in time and space” from the programme.


VIP Art Fair 2.0 returns for a second year online from 3 to 8 February

Enter the Art World online from tomorrow, preview day today.

VIP Art Fair online discussion with Catherine Opie 3 February 10:00 EST

For the second year, the VIP Art Fair 2.0 (Viewing In Private, not Very Important Person) goes live to the general public from tomorrow 3-8 February and further expands its geographic footprint, with over 115 galleries representing 33 countries. New for the fair is the Editions and Multiples hall, where museums and art institutions will offer multiples and editions for purchase during the fair.

There are a number of online discussions including:

VIP Art Fair online discussion with Ai Weiwei 3 February 10:00 EST.

The Art Market with Michael Plummer today at 10:00 EST as well as Catherine Opie: ‘Girlfriends‘ with Diana Nyad and Ai Weiwei: ‘Surveillance Camera’ tomorrow at 10:00 EST. You need to sign up to take part.

VIP 2.0 is available on all browsers, iPad, and all major mobile devices. See last years’ post about the Gagosian Gallery at the VIP Art Fair.