Nancy Breslin goes to Ireland and London and finds pinholes in the gallery shop rather than on the exhibition wall.
My husband and I just got back from a month away, mostly in Dublin and London. While some of the time was spent visiting family, we tried to squeeze in museums and galleries, particularly keeping our eyes out for interesting photography. We did see some memorable work. At a show of photo graduates from the Dublin Institute of Technology at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin, I was particularly taken with images by Ciuin Tracey and Clive O’Donohoe. At the Tate Modern in London I was introduced to Taryn Simon’s “A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters” (through Nov. 6) and the Victoria & Albert Museum currently has a survey of contemporary South African photographers (through July 17). These were just a few of the shows we visited but, sad to say, the closest I came to finding any trace of pinhole or alternative process (aside from some 19th century work, such as at the “London Street Photography” show at the Museum of London, through September 4) was in museum gift shops. Buy a Holga! Or sun-print paper! One of the most entertaining shows we saw was “Watch Me Move” – an extensive (but oddly uninformative) display of animation at the Barbican in London. The shop was full of books and knick knacks related to animation. And for some reason they were selling pinhole camera kits.
I’d rather see pinhole and other alternative photography on gallery walls. We know there is lots of great work out there. But I suppose a presence in the gift shop is better than nothing.