banal ball(s)

Writing in today’s Observer newspaper, Laura Cumming’s review followed the headline (at least in the print version) ‘These swings don’t mean a thing’ describing the Superflex installation in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern as ‘by far the worst Turbine Hall commission in the history of the Tate Modern’, and went on to suggest that, if she were Hyundai (who sponsored the commission), she’d ask for her ball back.

I am no art critic, but I wonder if her review missed part of the essential point of the Tate Modern? It is an open expansive space, much of which can be viewed freely. A space where those unfamiliar with art can have their eyes opened, their lives changed. The vast expanse of the Turbine Hall is indeed a challenging space for any artist to fill, no matter how sweeping their ambition or profound their talent.

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the ongoing moment

Everyone was nowhere to be seen
― Geoff Dyer

During all my frequent flying, I’ve finally got round to reading Geoff Dyer’s The Ongoing Moment, which I purchased in The Tate Modern Bookshop well over a year ago.

I’ve been particularly fascinated by the hatted figures in raincoats which feature in the work of Kertész. Blurred, and often awkwardly placed within the frame, strangely compelling, we share a fleeting moment in the life of these strangers.

This morning, as I nursed a cup of strong coffee after an overnight flight from Accra to London, I also lingered over an image of a group of people on a bench, World’s Fair New York 1964, made by Garry Winogrand.

I was about to delete the image above (too blurry and clumsy), but there was something about the group of people, the interplay between them, the connections, the role played by the pictured photographer unaware of her own involvement in another photo, something that made me stop pressing the delete button.

So, this image, blurry and unsatisfactory though it is, is my homage to Geoff Dyer for opening my eyes and encouraging me to learn from the work of some of the greatest photographers.

pedestrian (a modern reflection)

beautiful insane
in the rain
― Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans


Everything but pedestrian, for WordPress weekly photo challenge.

Today, I finally bought my own copy of The Americans by Robert Frank with a sublime introduction by Jack Kerouac.

The perfect blend of photography, writing and poetry.

Inspired by one of my sporadic visits to the Tate Modern.


*Shot with Fujifilm X100F with fixed 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent) lens at ISO 800, f/5.6 and 1/200s with edits applied in Lightroom CC and Analog Efex Pro 2*

structure

Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man
― Henry Adams

My photo captures a sculpture on the South Bank of the Thames in London. It caught my eye because the distorted reflection of grandiose structures that now shape the financial district, the City of London, appeared so much like the Earth as I imagine it from space.

The placing of the fantastical city on the edge of the beautiful blue earth seemed a metaphor for man’s misplaced sense of mastery of the universe.

I wonder how many passing by that day felt the same?

For WP Weekly Photo Challenge – Structure

*shot with Fujifilm X100F with fixed 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent lens) at ISO800, f/9.0 and 1/900s*

corner (the second)

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length
― Robert Frost

This is my second interpretation of this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Corner (you can see my first interpretation here).

*Shot with Fujifilm X100F with fixed 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent) at ISO800, f/4 and 1/900s from the top of The Shard in London*

connections

Those who were living now are dead
Those who were breathing are from the living earth fled.
If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.

From the impassioned poem on the fire at Grenfell, by Nigerian writer, Ben Okri, whose poem, published in the Financial Times on 23 June, 2017 is a searing statement from which it is impossible to hide, impossible to avert one’s gaze, impossible to forget.

I wrote earlier this week about my arrival in London, on the red-eye from Lagos, and my efforts to both stay awake and entertained before being allowed to pass through the portal of my hotel.

I decided, after grabbing some breakfast, and scribbling a short poem, (which I published on Facebook), to walk along the South Bank to the Tate Modern. During my walk I found some inspiration by shooting the various vans being prepared for the hordes of tourists soon to fill the streets which at that time were still and relatively quiet.

What I hadn’t counted on was the degree of connectivity I felt with the things I saw and experienced that morning.

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In Wetin You Go Do?

In Wetin You Go Do?
– Title of an installation at the Tate Modern, created by Nigerian born Otobong Nkanga

The title of Nkanga’s piece, when translated from Nigerian Pidgin, an English-based Creole language widely spoken across Nigeria, is ‘What are you going to do?’. ‘In Wetin You Go Do’ integrates voice and sculpture to reflect on contemporary anxieties.

The theme of anxiety stitched a ragged thread through the time I spent lingering in the Tate Modern after my early morning arrival in London. Or perhaps, when visiting a gallery such as this, the feelings we have, that we bring in through the door, colour the way we see the exhibits, determine the way we select what to linger with and what to pass on by?

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shard (revisited)

Do you mean to tell me that you’re thinking seriously of building that way, when and if you are an architect?
– Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Back in August last year, I shared a series of photos of The Shard, shot with my Nikon D700 and Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8 D lens.

Yesterday, equipped with my Fujifilm X100F with its fixed 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent), I made these images.

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chewing gum man

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
– W B Yeats

I like to contribute to the weekly photo challenge hosted by WordPress and must confess I hadn’t quite found inspiration for this week’s prompt, which frankly is quite unusual for me, which seems apposite as this week’s theme was indeed unusual.

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