A few posts back I mentioned my outrage at the Phaidon 55 book on Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama. Since then every photo magazine I look at has been going on about how amazing his work is and how important the images are for the field of street photography.
I must admit that the constant deluge of images has had a positive effect on me and I can see some artistic beauty in them (in some of them anyway). In order to broaden my horizons further I thought I better go along to the Tate Modern and view their special exhibition on William Klein and Daido Moriyama.
Due to other commitments I only had an hour at the gallery. Having been to several exhibitions this year I thought that it would be enough time but I was wrong. This is one of the largest photography exhibitions I have seen and the space devoted to the two artists is extensive.
The photo above shows part of the Klein space. I hadn’t realised that he was also a videographer and there were two of his films on show on a constant loop – I didn’t have time to watch both but they will be something I include on my next visit. The picture doesn’t really show the scale of the images on display. The ‘small’ white panels on the left of the shot have been used to divide the room and they are over two metres high.
Some of Klein’s work has been displayed in a contact sheet style as seen in William ABC these panels were very large in size and totally dominated some of the rooms.
As I moved through the Klein galleries I recognised several of the images from his work. I am not very familiar with much of it but have ordered some of his books to brush up on this important street photographer. Aware of the time I pressed on into Moriyama’s gallery space and was greeted by an image I knew only too well from my previous post: a prostitute smoking a cigarette.
Walking through the gallery and studying the pictures I found that several images jumped out at me, all ones that I had seen in photo magazines over the past few months. It took me a while to find the famous fish net tights shots (as seen on a recent cover of the BJP magazine). Individually there were several images that I thought were weak, just snap shots that had been converted to black and white with the contrast cranked up to full. As a series they were far stronger and served to show the Shinjuku region of Tokyo in a dark but interesting light.
One whole wall was devoted to the various version of the stray dog image that I so lambasted in my previous post. The original image is the small shot in the bottom left of the frame and was detailed and only slightly over exposed. It was interesting to see the process that Moriyama had gone through to create his perfect vision of this image. I think there is a lot of character in this simple capture and have grown to like this image. I’m sorry that my photo is clipped but these were massive images and I only had a 50mm lens on my camera.
As you leave the final room you are taken through into the exhibition shop. There is a really wide selection of books from the two artists complimented by some general works on street photography. I was lucky that I managed to escape the building spending less than £100 and could so easily have spent a fortune. I was quite excited by the prospect of getting my hands on some issues of the ‘Record‘ magazine but at £33 each (gulp) I had to put them back on the shelf. One thing that was missing from the store was an exhibition book that covered the works on display – perhaps there were licensing issues?
After I got back home I went through the street images I had taken whilst at the Tate. So, in homage to Klein and Moriyama, I present my photo ‘Mirrored’ taken right outside the front door of the gallery. Perhaps I need to add more contrast and grain? 🙂