Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Bitterness and short memory

Laura Pannack's winning shot of the foto8 Summer Show. And no, I don't know him and I didn't ask him to pose. © Magnus Andersson

The wretched* thing that is the foto8 Summer Show took place last Friday and I was going to boycott it based on the simple fact that none of the three images that I entered got accepted. Plus it cost £10 to get in on the night, on top of the £15 entrant's fee that I'd already paid to enter my unsuccessful images. Bitter, me? Pfft!

If you are thinking of going with your dignity intact, please remember your rangefinder; in this case a Hasselblad X-Pan. © Magnus Andersson

I mean, come on, PPY charges £20 but all entrants gets a copy of the £17.99 book and free drinks if you can make it on the night, and its in a spacious venue to boot - The National Theatre. And the PPY book is bigger...

Size comparison: foto8 vs. PPY books. © Magnus Andersson

Anyway, I then got word from my friend Tiziano that there was a spare ticket going and would I be interested? Of course I would! Short memory, me? Hell yes.

Not sure what is going on her in terms of B&W/colour etc. © Magnus Andersson

Turns out that our mutual friend Alex couldn't make it to London in time for the show so instead I came along and acted as his intrepid reporter from the show. The lucky git had all three of his entries accepted.

Jon Levy announces that happiness is now to be enjoyed (for the remainder of the party, at least). © Magnus Andersson

From his perspective, he might have been a bit disappointed to that see 2 of his 3 pictures where hung right at floor level. Do you know how difficult it is to view an image at ankle height? If that wasn't bad enough, his trio of images all came from the same story but were not placed together. But these are my words - NOT his - and at least his work was good enough to to be included, so I just need to try harder next time [swallows bitter pill].

An Alex Masi print (R) hung at ankle height. © Magnus Andersson

Another Alex Masi print hung at ankle height. © Magnus Andersson

After several unsuccessful attempts of avoiding the free bar, we finally managed to get around to see the whole exhibition and I think the words 'information' and 'overload' comes to mind. And before I get an angry rant from Jon Levy, I must add that I really appreciate what foto8 are trying to do in this show case and in fact we need more people doing it, giving a space to all strands of current photography.

A print/back of heads. © Magnus Andersson

Having been part of a group exhibition before (which was nowhere near as complicated), I know how much time the foto8 team must have put in into hanging 153 (!) prints properly in such a small space, but more importantly, space or no space, as a showcase for current photography it is a must see!

Towards the end of the night you could actually see some of the prints properly. © Magnus Andersson

Perhaps this lack of contemporary photographic spaces reflect the lack of funding in the industry at the moment, but a show like this deserves a bigger space and I cant really fault HOST or foto8 for for pulling off the show and especially the opening night, year after year.

Live band in action on Honduras Street. © Magnus Andersson

Note to self (and anybody thinking about entering the Summer Show in 2011):

Don't go for IKEA frames. You'll disappear in the judges eyes. Saying that though, quite a few IKEA frames still made it...hmm. OK, just print BIG and you're in, no matter how average your pic is.

*Its actually brilliant, especially the opening night, which is worth a tenner in booze alone, not to mention the photography on display, so there.

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