FRAMING PERCEPTIONS -Gallery Review

Kafayah Runsewe

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Back In March, I went to the National Gallery of Photography and saw the Graeme Robertson: ‘Framing Perceptions’ exhibit. The exhibition featured photographs by the award-winning Guardian photographer Graeme Robertson, who visited Sight savers-supported social inclusion projects in Uganda and India. The photographs show the reality of life for people with disabilities in developing countries. Some have missed out on opportunities and live with the devastating impact of exclusion, while others have been empowered to transform their lives and gain independence.

I decided to see this exhibit because I love photography that captures everyday life and events. Photography is field that I have a keen interest in and would like to learn more about in the future and I am really interested and I thought the gallery trip was an eye-opener in another form and perspective. When I arrived at the exhibit, we were greeted by a gallery tour guide and she showed us the sign of the exhibition we came to view which read ‘FRAMING PERCEPTIONS’ and she gave a brief background on the gallery itself and other exhibitions available. She also mentioned gallery contributors and popular artists that have contributed to the gallery over the years.

Some of those photographers are Ted Russell, whom is the mind behind the ‘Bob Dylan NYC 1961-1964, Eamonn Farrell, Kim Haughton, Qingsong Wang, ‘Wars from the Victims Perspective’ by Jean Mohr, John Myers, Mark Curann and Tom Wood. Many of the photographers also had similar work to Robertson, for example, John Mohr in ‘Wars from the Victims’. At the exhibit I got to look at the pictures differently in an artist point of view and most importantly as a reviewer. Instead of looking at them just as a gallery visitor, I paid close attention to detail, the way the photo was taken, and what might be the meaning behind them and what camera angles were used. For instance, in one of the photographs by Robertson, the one titled ‘I like learning by Susan Atimen’, when looking at the photo you feel a sense of emotion and liveliness in Susan’s facial expression.

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Copyright Image by Graeme Robertson. (Susan Atimen).

The camera is focused on her sitting in a chair, with natural sunlight lighting. She looks as if she is hopeful and the background helps play into the mood of the picture with the chalk drawings in the room. Susan, who is just 10 years old, in primary school lost her right eyesight. She has the map of the school in her head so she can move around easily and enjoys helping other visually impaired children.

Through her education, Susan is gaining important life skills which she hopes will allow her to be an active member of her community and fulfil her dreams. You also get a sense of personality from the picture and you can feel what she feels through the picture. I think that is why the picture stood out to me most out of all the pictures and how captivating it is. It just attracts you and draws you in. Another photograph that had the same effect as well as Susan’s photograph from the ‘Framing Perspective, which was the picture of ‘Swabil Magumba’.

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Copyright Image by Graeme Robertson( Swabil Magumba).

This is a mid-shot picture of Swabil’s in his school uniform and you can see every bit of emotion and bitterness in his face because you can see everything in his face like the burns and scars on his face and all that together make up the expression and sense of tiredness. I thought this picture was interesting because since it was a mid-shot, they’re usually in black & white but this one was in colour which made it feel real and the photographer managed to capture his face expression vividly in the photograph and felt like you were looking at the person and not just a picture of portrait.

The main purpose of the exhibit was to show the reality of life of people with disabilities in developing countries through photographs and witness how certain people miss out on opportunities and live with devastating impact of rejection because of their conditions which is not entirely their faults, while others have been permitted transform and live their lives the way they please without any exclusion. Also how to experience the two worlds simply through photographs. I enjoyed the exhibit; it was interesting and did a good job of showing life issues and photography, I just wish that the exhibit was bigger and had more to show. The National Gallery of Photography isn’t really a big place and also because there was a lot of students on the day. I hope the gallery gets bigger and better.

I also learned things that I didn’t know; I had no idea that Graeme Robertson was a photographer and I hadn’t a clue about the Sight Savers Campaign. I liked how the pictures were displayed around the room, all of the walls were covered with pictures, the top floor also had big portrait type pictures on them and a little info and autobiography about the person in the picture. The tour guide also gave out the exhibit leaflet with all the information of the photographer and details about his work. The format of the room added to the exhibit, it gave it some movement since the pictures can’t move.

All of the photographs were different sizes which also added to the different shapes and styles that with the colours in the photographs. The colours are so bright that they pop out at you as soon as you see it. I really liked how this exhibit and the photographers used colour, they didn’t use boring and ordinary colours, they used colours that would get you thinking and wondering why they did what they did and keep you interested. Graeme Robertson, truly is an exceptional photographer with detailed and classic works. His camera angles, lighting, positions, frame settings, atmosphere really added to the creation of this beautiful work. The use of colour also highlighted the mood of the characters in the pictures.

I love the whole concept of ‘FRAMING PERCEPTIONS’, simply because the exhibition was fresh, new, motivational and educative. I enjoyed this exhibit and looking at the photos showed me, how much photography has changed, and elevated. The exhibit space has also showed me how things have changed and how photographers would go through any extent to capture real life events around the world. This exhibition contributed to my knowledge of the history of photography by showing how photography in the past has evolved and contributed to what we can do today. It showed how you can tell stories through photos and how a pose or facial expression could add to a photo and give a meaning and allows you to interpret things how you see them.

Go for a visit to the Gallery of photography in Merrion Square West , Dublin 2 in City Centre and view their latest collections of European and Irish Fine Art  plus Admissions are FREE !!!

Check what’s on this week with this link http://www.nationalgallery.ie/planavisit

 

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Kafayah Runsewe