Towner Exhibition

Academic Curiosity

Just after my work was taken down from the Towner Art Gallery (Sussex Open Exhibition 2017) I was contacted by an art student who wanted to write about the image.

The resulting piece can be seen here:

Suzy Ridgwell Blog

Wolfgang Tillmans at the Tate Modern

Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition at the Tate Modern

I've never been as big a fan as some of Wolgang Tillmans work as some. His casual style has often left me a bit cold. However, seeing a broad overview of lots of his work here went someway to changing my mind. Quite an impressive body of work really, with a consistency that suggests there is more craft going on than immediately meets the eye. Exhibition now closed. I suspect he is faster at updating his website than I am.


Digital Exhibitions

Peter Pan at The Devonshire Park Theatre.

Last winter I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time at Eastbourne Theatres while they put together their seasonal Pantomime show along with Jordan Productions. It was a massive, new, show, with a huge cast that came together in a remarkably short time considering all the various elements that had to be squeezed into the delightful but smallish Devonshire Park Theatre. I've just put a large selection of the images online, hopefully you have already had a chance to take a look, but in case you haven't, here's a link (and a photo).


I had hoped to have a physical exhibition of the images. I may well still do - the few I've had printed so far are an absolute delight to look at, but finding the right location for such an exhibition has proved to be a bit tricky. I had the rather ambitious idea they would look good in the foyer of the National Theatre - Or perhaps in the Towner Gallery right next to the Devonshire Park Theatre itself, but both routes seem fraught with complications and difficulties. Smaller, less prestigious spaces are available locally, but I struggle to justify the expense of such an undertaking against the exposure the images would receive.

I was contemplating all these issues in the spring when I found myself at an Annie Leibovitz exhibition in San Francisco, that was touring the world - and nearly all the images were being displayed on very large digital screens. (See my blog 03/03/2016) It had more in common with a trip to the cinema than a traditional photographic exhibition, where most people viewing the images stayed still in a large hall, and the images alternated across the screens. It struck me then that going to all the trouble of printing and framing individual prints might be a thing of the past, that this is now the way to display images.

Of course, creating wonderful prints, framing them to archival standards behind non reflective glass and hanging them in a great location can still create a dramatic and wonderful effect, but the last print I had prepared in this way cost me close to £400 to produce. I had a short list of around 1000 images from my Pantomime project and creating the high quality exhibition that I was hoping for was beginning to look out of reach.

So, I came to the conclusion the pantomime project might have to be displayed digitally if I wanted it to see the light of day. The resulting images went online yesterday, on the day this year's pantomime opened at the same theatre (Snow White - I'm looking forward to seeing it myself) I sent out a few links and tweets to various people involved in the project and after about 24 hours something like 200 people have been onto the website to look at the images, staying for an average of just under three minutes each to look at the 300 or so images. If I had opened the show in a small gallery and had the same number of people in over the same time period, I'd have been delighted, and of course, the images will be available to view for a long time to come yet. My only slight disappointment is that the rather lovely physical quality and detail of the printed images will not be seen and appreciated by anyone, but maybe there will be a "proper" exhibition at some point in the future. If you have any ideas or suggestions as to how this might come about, please do get in touch and pass them on.

Martin Parr in The City.

Martin Parr at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

I Dropped into see Martin Parr's latest collection of images at the small but impressive Guildhall Art Gallery in London yesterday. I don't think this is a great collection of images, but has a few gems tucked amongst the rather straight laced collection of photographs that claim to show an unseen side of the ceremonial life of the city. There was also a refreshingly relaxed attitude to photography in the gallery too which is to be applauded.

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Exhibition is on until the end of July, Guildhall Art Gallery, London EC2V 5AE
Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 12-4
Entrance £5/£4

Website here

Women, New Portraits, Annie Leibovitz

Women, New Portraits, Annie Leibovitz.

Currently working it's way around the world, I have just managed to catch this show after missing it in London. There is a lot of new work on show here, or at least, Images that I haven't seen before, and quite a lot of old images too, but it's a real delight to see this work altogether. The 4k presentation screens deliver her images in stunning quality and at it's best it's actually pretty breathtaking. Set in a semi-derelict atmospheric industrial unit the show gathers in the audience, who are surrounded by these iconic images. The style of this show gives the whole collection a modern feel, despite her best work (in my opinion) being done in the more formal, pre-digital photography, style, rather than the casual off the cuff look that is the more modern way. Having the images on the screen also means you can't linger over the original prints as you could in a gallery - the pictures rotate and move on, making the experience as much like a film as an exhibition, but a very impressive one none-the-less.
More details here.


Another Great Exhibition

I was in downtown San Francisco yesterday, trying to keep out of the rain, and stumbled across another great photographic exhibition at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery at 464 Sutter Street. The prints are mostly black and white images of the civil rights protest movement in the 1950's and 60's but there are also some wonderful portraits and some surprisingly graceful colour images too. The photographer was Gordon Parks, and the images are taken from his work for Life Magazine. Definitely worth a look, even if it's not raining outside.

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Image above by Rohan Van Twest, courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Photo exhibition

Images above by Gordon Parks © The Gordon Parks Foundation, courtesy of the Jenkins Johnson Gallery
(Reproduced from opening reception leaflet)

Exhibition continues until April 2. 2016.

Pier 24

I've just spent a very enjoyable couple of hours at the delightful Pier 24 Photographic Gallery, here in San Francisco. Wonderfully presented work, in an almost perfect setting. You have to book in advance and numbers are restricted so that one feels as though you have the place to yourself. It's a really high quality experience, for the consideration of serious photography. All free too. The current show here by British documentary photographer Paul Graham is only on for a few more weeks, but I suspect whatever is showing at this gallery is always going to be worth seeing.

More information here.