Thursday, October 21, 2010

Opening doors

In 1972, there was an invitation from a museum in London, UK, the Camden Arts Center, to participate in an exhibition called “Photography into Art”.
At the time photography was seen as an applied art form.
Like fashion and ceramics.
Work made to serve another purpose not decided by the photographer.

But even as a student the thought had come up never to work for anybody else but only to do the fantastic ideas that came up constantly in the own mind.
Using photography as a tool as artists use painting and sculpting.

This has been a major development in photography and it happened in the early 70’s of last century.
Artists who transformed photography from an applied art form into an independent art form.

The clever curators of the Camden Arts Center in London, UK were one of the first to notice this development and therefore organized the exhibition “Photography into Art” in 1972.
A very good title, “Photography into Art”, because it explained that photography had been upgraded by artists to become a serious art form.

A catalog was published with this exhibition “Photography into Art”.
A large book and if it is in your library it is an asset of great value now.

When the proposal came to participate in this exhibition “Photography into Art”, it was refused to show existing work.
Instead, the request was made to go to Camden, London and make work especially for the exhibition.
Somehow there was money for this and soon weeks were spent in London doing three different photo projects.

One of them was called “Camden Interiors”.
The plan was to try to get as many persons living in Camden to this exhibition “Photography into Art”.
Not only the elite but the common man and woman and children as well.
To change the museum from being the ivory tower it very much was in the early 70’s into a public place interesting for anybody.
The trick was to show and promote something in the museum the people had created themselves to make those the objects of the exhibition.
Obviously, the self made object was their living room.
An environment the result of the private taste, history and creativity.
Another reason to chose for this particular expression of personal taste was the knowledge that always there is curiosity to want to see how exactly the neighbors live.

It was a laborious job to find 50 persons who were accepting to let the photographer and his charming assistant in and to be photographed in the living room standing next to the TV set.
It took two weeks of knocking on doors, using never failing enthusiasm and never accepting disappointment.
The assistant was truly great for this job.

The persons that accepted to be photographed and to be in the exhibition received a document.
With this they could come to the show in the Camden Arts Center and receive a free copy of their image.
Another way to promote to come to the museum.

Meanwhile the Camden Arts Center had informed their press contacts about this unique photo project.
Result was that the newspaper The Times did a story and the BBC radio as well.
This had the fantastic effect that many people from Camden and elsewhere in London came to see the exhibition to check how other people were actually living.

“Camden Interiors”, a series of 50 black and white pictures, was purchased by the Camden Archives shortly after the exhibition.
And guess what, again they are doing a show of these images!
Aidan Flood, the curator:

“Your photographs, apart from being beautiful, have acquired an added dimension as historical documents showing fashion, furnishings, and living styles from an era that has passed but which will resonate with many of the viewers”.

When in London between October 22 and December 19, 2010, go and see this exhibition of the “Camden Interiors” in the Swiss Cottage Gallery on 88 Avenue Road.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You feel what is reported to be a big earthquake today? You ok?