We recently visited the Royal Photographic Society's 153rd (!!) International Print Exhibition in association with Allen & Overy at their offices in Spitalfields.
Some really good images in there but some fairly mediocre (and occasionally terrible) photos too. I was surprised to see some otherwise brilliant captures where heads and feet were out of frame, which would have been a fail for me and I found this genuinely distracting. My agony over this whole issue continues. Is it OK or not?
My favourite photograph was 'Red Bed' by Bob Moore. Outstanding faultless composition and perfectly lit and captured. There were also some beautiful images in the section my husband described as "photographs taken by people who want to be painters"" ... The best for me was 'Fragrance' by Guo Jing. I do wish there had been some information about the equipment used and whether or not the pictures had been digitally manipulated.
One thing that really started to bug me as we wandered around the exhibition was how many excellent photographs were ruined (for us anyway) by their titles. The cheesy titles either totally overworked what was being portrayed in the image or added a superfluous element that destroyed some of the mystery and appeal. 'Captured', 'Running Home'; 'The Hat Chase'. Unless they were pronouns or descriptions of places, I felt the titles detracted from the images.
Jeff Wall (Canadian photographer, b. 1946): "You could have seen this - you might not understand it, but you could have seen it. Because it is not accompanied by narrative, it's not journalism, meaning there's no accompanying story that proves to you that this is that and is caused by this - it can never be known. A journalist puts forward a truth claim in his account, and it's a very familiar one. I'm also putting forward a claim, but mine is suspended; it's not proven or dismissed but suspended, and in that suspension is pleasure. The claim is put forward not to be proved but to be experienced."