Every day 1.8 billions pictures are uploaded and shared on the Net. Proud parents posing with their babies, endless series of food, the sea in Santorini, the beach in Thailand, drunk Brits in Greece, hot girls in Lebanon … Snapshots of life. The good, the bad and the show-off. Everybody is a photographer these days.
What separates photo makers from photo takers?
I wonder as we walk into the Whitebox gallery for the KL International Photo Awards. Pretentiously framed boredom is my first reaction. Most artists seem to be in need of inspiration or Prozac. Some are trying, most are trying too hard.
At least three photographers try to impress with transgender – after Caitlyn, we’re not impressed. Another trio had the idea of framing a sparsely lit face in a sea of darkness. The 3 pics are great but shown side-by-side, reducing them to gimmicks. Another artist endlessly repeats the same, depressing view from his window. Don’t we have webcams for that? I also see a lamp shade in grainy black and white, poorly shot rickshaw drivers in Melaka, top shots of construction workers …
Why is there so much life on webpages, so little on gallery walls?
In this ocean of boredom – a few shots are absolutely mind-blowing. A mother’s mother holds her baby in a loving embrace. It’s a Renaissance work painted with light. A woman cries out her anger in Ukraine. How can something so heartbreaking scream so much beauty? An all American girl posses with an oxygen tank and scary tubes in her belly – the image is magically filled with self-pride, not self-pity. An older woman – the Welch writer Lucy - poses with a horse. Hardship is sculpted in the lines of her forehead. And yes, I connect with Maja Topcagic’s shots of freckled redheads.
One shot really stands out
Inspired by 17th century baroque painting, Lotta Van Droom shot a man with a Spanish collar made of suds. The artist only had minutes to put the suds on a hidden, paper frame before they dissolved. You think she used Fairy? (Joy)
The expo still runs till Aug 15, 10-6 daily, free – at Whitebox Gallery, Publika shopping center, Solaris Dutamas – A meter taxi from KL center should cost around 12 RM.