Look Photo Festival ’13.

After pancakes I got the train to Liverpool to check out Look ’13.

I went to Tate Liverpool but the galleries were shut due to a union strike or something akin to that so that was a bit of bum note to start the trip. Whilst at Tate Liverpool I asked some of the help desk people where the rest of the venues were located, since I only know where two other venues were and they didn’t even know what Look ’13 was: I soon realised Tate wasn’t a part of the festival.20130530-202728.jpg

So I wondered to the Museum of Liverpool.20130530-202804.jpg
They had the Caravan Gallery’s MersyStyle on show and I had a quick gander at some of that. Some of the work was quite humorous, the stand out image was of crates of red cabbage and fennel at a green grocers with comments along the lines of; “No idea what is it, but £1.39 anyway.20130530-205653.jpg(The image is from the Look ’13 booklet.)

After a little look at the Caravan Gallery exhibit I went down to the first floor to look at another exhibition, but this exhibit is about our progression as humans from as far back as 16,000BC, quite interesting, they had chert arrow heads from nearby digs and video of what the place might have looked like back then.

I left the Museum of Liverpool and went to the Open Eye Gallery.20130530-203551.jpg
Inside the Open Eye were a multitude of different series by the same photographer, all stemming from the same theme of “Who Do You Think You Are?” The key theme of Look ’13.

On the ground floor I saw a series called ‘Short School Haka.’ It is, as far as I’m aware, about New Zealand high school students who want to play for the All Blacks Rugby team. I’m not going to go into detail because I’m not in the know. But one photo from the series caught my eye and actually made me think of Dragon Ball Z, I think it’s the stance and the facial expression.20130530-203735.jpg

In the same room there is a series of what appeared to be African army generals and their wives. The images were quite formal, similar in aesthetic and they all reminded me of Kenya. I thought about the reds in all the images, as you can see they stand out against the green uniform and the bland colours of the desert. Whist thinking about the reds I wondered what the images would look like in Kodachrome. I only thought about this because of a talk with a tutor a couple weeks back, he said they delivered the slides in a box that fit perfectly through your letterbox. But I digress.20130530-203818.jpg

On the upper floor of Open Eye is a series of found photographs edited in a sly collage kind of way, using background objects; predominantly curtains and drapes to obscure the subject and highlight our voyeuristic imaginations.20130530-203940.jpg

I photographed the information to make it a little clearer.20130530-203946.jpg

I bought one of the books that accompanies ‘Wilder Mann’; which was in the entrance to Open Eye, partly because I haven’t purchased a contemporary photo book in quite a while and the images have settings which I want to photograph myself. The actual images on the walls are fantastic too, the costumes are genius.20130530-204105.jpg

Before I left Open Eye I asked where some of the other venues are, they named Walker Art Gallery and The Bluecoat, both of which were in the booklet they gave me, but not knowing where they were I asked for directions. The lady who didn’t speak too much named FACT, she said it wasn’t related to the Look ’13 festival but she said the war veteran stuff was worth a punt.

So with map in hand and a rubbish sense of direction I got lost, I had my map orientated right I just don’t know left from right. I eventually found the rear entrance to FACT after a good 20 minutes of walking down the wrong side street that runs parallel. I blame the map a little too, the site marking is a bit vague.20130530-204406.jpg

These are my favourite two images from the war veteran series. All the other images were similar, each subject facing the same way, body positioned the same with their war memorabilia on show. I guess keeping tight control over the variables of how the images are shot opens up the images and we see the subtler things in the images: I know I did.20130530-204418.jpg

I photographed the text on the wall relating to the series of images to clarify the meaning behind the photographs.20130530-204413.jpg

After looking at the war veteran work I gave into my bellies rumbling and got a beautiful BLT, I’m not into Instagram or photographing my food so you’ll have to imagine a warm beast of a sandwich.

After the sandwich I headed to The Bluecoat, getting lost on the way, to see the Sander/Weegee exhibition.20130530-204627.jpg
Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to grab any quick snaps of the show so I photographed the image out of the booklet. 20130530-205647.jpgThe trip to The Bluecoat was quite short, I’ve seen most of the work in Manchester over the years, and in books I’ve lent from the library. The only difference was the way it was shown, with the two photographers having their work shown in the same room together. But the obvious contrast in style was interesting to look at.

I finally headed over to the Walker Art Gallery to see Rankin’s work, but the gallery shuts at 5 and with only three minutes left they wouldn’t let me upstairs. I’m not massively fussed, I didn’t leave the best till last; I’m not a huge fan of his work.20130530-205947.jpg

I plan to go back on the 6th of June to attend a talk, if I have enough energy after that I’ll head over. I might even look at Martin Parr’s work, just to humour friends who like his work, again I’m not a fan.

At the beginning of the day I wasn’t much pleased to be using mixed media but it’s worked out quite well, certain bits of the day wouldn’t be in the post if it weren’t for the iPad, if it were a human I’d pat it on the back.

One last note, the Look ’13 booklet is beautiful. Whether it’s because it’s printed on thick matte paper I don’t know, but it’s a quality little thing and the layout is clean and minimalist. I hope my end of year show book is as nice.

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