So I’ve just got back from the Ikon Gallery’s opening night of the new exhibitions. After taking an extremely long route from Birmingham New Street Station, we managed to find ourselves in Brindley Place looking at a beautiful building. Had it not been absolutely freezing, and had I was not in desperate need for wine, I would have documented the moment. I will get a shot at a later date and will probably go back to this exhibition anyway out of pure interest.
Inside was the photographic works of Stuart Whipps, John Myers and Dean Kelland. The most interesting work of Stuart Whipps was that of Uncatalogued Boxes (2011): it is the archival material of John Madin (Birmingham architect) which Whipps retraced from Madin’s time researching in America. Whipps photographs the boxes where images of the old libraries, when they were new. Therefore making a connection between past and present.
Whipps presented his images on projectors, three of them, and the series were shot over the three of them, making the viewer flick from wall to wall. I don’t know why he designed it in this way and I am to email him with my thoughts. However, I liked how he presented this images on a large scale so that a whole room of people could easily view; yet, with the nature of what he was photographing, we could not see inside the box. Quite teasing, but it made me think about the past and how it is filed away and not shared. Once its gone, its gone.
Bradford-born photographer, John Myers, was on the second floor. The first image on the left was a large format contact print of a man and his motorbike. This frame was a stand alone piece and relatively small which made it more intimate. It was not clear who the man was, but perhaps it was a relative. Middle England is a series of black and white photographs from the 1970s in the midlands. They are portraits of people he lived close to and where they lived. The mixture of portraits and landscape clearly documented how life was during the 1970s.
What I personally really liked about the portraits were that although they were staged for the camera, the subjects were in places familiar to them so that a landscape of their personality was created.
I would like to return to the gallery and take some pictures when it isn’t to busy. Until then, anyone in the Birmingham area: it’s worth a visit!