John Riddy’s photographic exhibition, Palermo, at the Frith Street Gallery, London, is finishing on 1st June. Pop in this weekend and see for yourself before you form an opinion!
I was intrigued to learn more about this exhibition because the comments posted on The Guardian website were not very flattering. The images are described by readers as ‘uninspiring’ and ‘boring’ (are they?) but the review in the Guardian was very positive. Maybe this paragraph explains it perfectly;
“Sitting with the catalogue beside me, I realise how lacking the images in the book are compared to the larger prints made by Riddy in his studio and framed on the gallery wall. It isn’t just a matter of scale. The extreme clarity, the depth of field, and something of the light is missing. They look like pictures of photographs, and too much nuance and detail is lost.”
Sometimes you have to visit an exhibition and see the work to really see the work.
The series of photographs of Palermo were made over a three year period starting in 2011. As with many of Riddy’s previous projects, his interest was sparked by 19th century art – in this case, the photographs taken in Palermo by Gustave Le Gray, shortly after Garibaldi’s entry to the Sicilian capital in 1860. The last three images posted here are Le Gray’s images. It is interesting to see them together, do you not think?
Riddy gives us an insight to his work when he writes … “so much has happened recently in terms of technique and process. At it’s crudest we are all aware that a photograph can now be “made” at a desk. But the progression from subject to print can be refined and driven by individual sensibilities… for me that progression has to start outside my conceptual compass. I spend more time looking to make fewer photographs, and even longer trying to make a complete print. ”
What wonderful advice… spend more time looking to make fewer photographs.