James Ravilious, An English Eye

The National Theatre photo exhibitions are normally worth catching and the latest: James Ravilious: An English Eye is no exception – in fact it’s one of the best I’ve seen there.

Ravilious died in 1999 and the majority of the photographs were taken well before then. They, as the title suggests, offer a view (in beautiful and white) of English life, specifically the rural and the traditional. If the subject matter is unchallenging, the images are all beautifully composed and presented – the result of understanding the people and communities portrayed. It’s all a cut above the ‘standard’ village life shots.

A year or so again at the Host Gallery, I saw Chris Steele-Perkins’ Northern Exposures and was reminded of it by this exhibition. The key difference is that whereas there is at times a Martin Parr-esque comedy to the images of Northern Exposures, An English Eye keeps a straight face throughout.

Thoroughly recommended, it’s at the National Theatre until 16 May. Catch it and then have one of their nice glasses of wine to reflect on this capturing of a potentially vanishing England – and also the sad fact that it’s the tenth anniversary of the photographer’s death that’s prompted the exhibition.

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Caribbean life

I had a couple of goes taking ‘street’ (whatever the heck that is) shots in the Caribbean.

It’s not that easy to do with a Fujifilm A850.

However, it really seems to me that the combination of weather, life and contrasts between tourists and residents is ripe for capturing and yet I can’t seem to come across anything decent on t’internet.

There must be some good stuff out there.

I shall keep looking.

In the meantime, view the above image of Road Town, Tortola large and on black here.

Shatner. Again.

Last night I entered The Twilight Zone.

Nee-ni-nee-ni and all that.

It was a radio version of The Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. All a bit preposterous but just gripping enough at midnight in that surreal world when you’re not quite asleep.

Then I google it and find that in the TV original it was Shatner who played the man who can see gremlins on the plane’s wing. That man gets everywhere.

Radio version on the iPlayer for a bit.

Congratulations Paul Graham

The blog that’s 474th with the news is happy to pass on its congratulations to Paul Graham for taking this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

My thoughts and those of the Guardian are elsewhere on this blog.

Next up at The Photographers’ Gallery is The Photographic Object. Fair to say I’m reserving judgement on that till I see it properly.

A well-travelled pushchair

So the boys’ pushchair is now better travelled than I am.

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks – enjoying a family holiday in Antigua and the British Virgin Islands – very nice too as well. The only downside being that you can’t just walk there, or indeed between the two.

The flight back was so bad that we have a ‘some wine’ heading our way as compensation (compared to the flight out which was absolutely excellent but we didn’t give them any wine by way of thanks). However the biggest problem came when flying back to Antigua (we went Antigua-BVI-Antigua for convenience). We got off – the buggy didn’t. The following day it called to tell us that it was in St Lucia.

Or St Kitts. Being a ‘stroller’, it wasn’t too sure.

We got it back.

Eventually.

However I do not recommend being in baggage reclaim at the V C Bird International Airport with no pushchair, two tired children, and a slow speaking Italian delaying your ability to report said absence by forty fucking minutes.

Other than that it was tremendous. But I only took holiday snaps rather than high art. Some may follow though.

See the image above large here.

In the meantime, I can’t find any interesting BVI photos but here‘s an intriguing archive from the adjacent US Virgin Islands.

Dance … and drink … and screw …

The Guardian have been asking people to recommend songs about class and status, and that sort of thing. This is different to their 1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear which has the invisible brackets (Or Else You’re Shit).

Anyway, as you can see there were plenty of votes for Common People and Eton Rifles.

And why not.

And, as a bonus, William Shatner‘s version …

Photography at the V&A

I do like the V&A, even though I hardly ever seem to go there. The last time would have been for the Lee Miller exhibition which I mainly went to so I could squeeze more free entries out of my Museum of London staff card. It was a good exhibition, mind.

Anyway, they have a whole bunch of lovely microsites and the forthcoming display in the romantic sounding “Room 38a” is Libraries of Light – showcasing a small selection of the photographic books they hold.

I promise I’ll try to make it to South Ken to see it.

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