On Tuesday 26 September, the new cohort of Pre U photographers headed off to London. One of the prominent themes they have been responding to so far is ‘there’s no place like home’. With their investigations they have developed ideas around what ‘home’ means to them individually and how photography is frequently a narrative media. At the Photographers’ Gallery they saw the latest exhibition by Gregory Crewdson titled Cathedral of the Pines. With this series, produced between 2013 and 2014, Crewdson departs from his interest in uncanny suburban subjects and explores human relations within more natural environments. In images that recall nineteenth-century American and European paintings, Crewdson photographs figures posing within the small rural town of Becket, Massachusetts, and its vast surrounding forests, including the actual trail from which the series takes its title. Interior scenes charged with ambiguous narratives probe tensions between human connection and separation, intimacy and isolation. This exhibition was over three floors and one of the largest by a single photographer in this Gallery for some time.
Also at the Photographers’ Gallery were two further but very much smaller exhibitions: Food for being looked at and Tom Butler’s Divided Self. Luscious, playful, fetishised: Food for being looked at considers the history of food through its image culture. Images of food, from preparation to the final dish, are shared and ‘consumed’ widely across print and digital media. Comparably, Butler’s Divided Self uses a background in sculpture and fine art to manifest an interest in manipulating surfaces, re-framing memories and uncovering hidden psyches. These adapted, delicate nineteenth-century cards and prints were beautifully manipulated.
Later on the students headed to the Tate Modern, to gain inspiration for a ‘dreams and nightmares’ project and to see other works related to ‘there’s no place like home’. We focused on small collections of photography, comprising Boris Mikhailov, Daido Moriyama, Larry Sultan, Mike Mandel and Jiri Kolar. It was in the Tate that Mike made a new friend… (see picture below)