Rankin & Sardinia

Two exhibitions down at Oxotowerland: Rankin photographing the rich, powerful and entrepreneurial at gallery@oxo, and just over the road we have three photographers showing the diversity of Sardinia at the Bargehouse.

A smarter man than me would be able to write a review effortlessly linking the old with the new, the modern and the traditional. But I’m not very smart so I won’t even try.

The Rankin exhibition is the more straightforward: twenty images of the twenty winners of the Essence Entre… oh some awards thing to reward the folks who set up websites to sell us tyres, clothes and the like and who are then able to spin something about redefining the paradigm. There’s a composite shot as well, and one of Peter Jones showing off his shiny suit and shiny, shiny shoes.

Needless to say, they all look lovely in a slightly Venture way – each with a prop, high contrast and a white background. Nobody actually screams, “Loadsamoney!” and the little labels talk about helping schools in Nepal rather than shafting their competitors. Still, it does all feel rather hollow.

As for Sardinia. They gave me a free bag, which was nice. And I wasn’t allowed to leave without chatting to two women who didn’t introduce themselves (one appeared to be an organiser, one a photographer) and saying which were my favourites. I went for a nice skyline that reflected the buildings on the shore (ah, a traditionalist) and the whole black and white set which, in a Magnum-y way, has some quite striking folk looking at the camera. I haven’t checked the contents of the bag but there did seem to be some connection with Sardinia tourism so the fact that everything looked lovely probably wasn’t accidental. It’s a nice exhibition though and somewhat more intriguing than the higher profile Rankin one.

Incidentally, Rankin is doing portraits for Oxfam for his latest project.

(See the slightly blurry large image of the.gallery@oxo here).

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