States of America

Nottingham Contemporary Exhibition

During the audio recording made after reviewing the exhibition, I mention the sad fact we cannot photograph the images at the display. The staff were excellent and explained that for copyright reasons no one would be allowed to take a picture inside of the exhibition.

The copyright excuse is similar to police and other authorities who use terrorism for reason not to explain a truth.

I suspect greed is the motivation behind this restriction.

Add another reason…

The exhibition is as poor as it was lit. In fact, the lighting was so dim and the images poorly presented. Any snaps taken with iPhones and cameras will have the same quality as pirate videos taken in 1980 porno cinemas. It is evident to me, the curators are in fear of the public, realising the images are nothing brilliant. They are images taken of day to day life in the period between the 50 – 60 – 70’s in America. That’s it, folks, Bugs Bunny bites the carrot.


Listen to the review above and realise that without the images, you can only hear why I am not impressed with the images. If my narration accompanied the images, there would be a better understanding of my observations and opinions. The review is recorded minutes after leaving the exhibition. It is free flowing and made without notes, I felt it was important to record my immediate feelings before my memories became faded. As the narration continued, the realisation was, without the images, there is no way I could provide an adequate review of the images. Without a photograph of the interior, I am unable to show why, the density of a photograph is influenced by the reflective interior lighting of the gallery.

The exhibition is billed as recording three decades of a changing nation. If you believe this to be accurate, that fine. The cynic in me suggests the images were taken in the same way as many street or ‘nothing else to do with their time’ photographers. They took pictures because they could. Arbus let me down, Winogrand’s image betrays a spy like approach, many images look like covert photos. Ok, we see him working on YouTube, and he takes pictures, smiles and clicks another. However, the printed image betrays a machine gun technique. You can do this without a second thought. I cannot write further on the exhibitions content, the MP3 is sufficent.

Do you realise the problem for me is I cannot give a proper appraisal of the exhibition because I cannot provide a reference (a picture) to explain my opinion? Do you read the point? You have to trust my words only, with images, I could verify my observation.

Why not take photos of the images in the exhibition? Most people cannot afford the originals costing thousands of dollars. If you could afford one of these photos, to my mind, they could give little emotional gratitude. The printing is poor, the composition is ‘seaside snapshot’, end of story. The curator may argue, the images will fade in daylight. If this is the argument, it is lying and there is no understanding of the permanence of the correctly made silver image.

In her defence, the curator may argue, the images will fade in daylight. If this is the argument, it demonstrates a misunderstanding of photographic presentation or the permanence of a correctly printed silver image.

The Exhibition gets 4/10 – The curator of Nottingham’s Asset – 1/10 – a waste of the public purse which paid for the building (lotto, donation or Nottingham Council contribution). I comment in the recording we have to thank or appreciate ‘The Contempory’ for putting on the exhibition. I thank them for being brave enough to believe the public is artistically ignorant. Travel to see it if you are desperate to see poorly presented images in dull and boring galleries. Why not save yourself the time, if you like any of the photographers work, buy their expensive books from Amazon. At least you’ll be sure the copyright is not in doubt and the snappers or their estate will recieve their royalties.

More of my work here


  1. Ah yes, I see…a case in point. Good to have your review…disappointing that again it’s show and no substance.

    1. There are millions of ‘street’ and social images in the world Samantha. The golden era of street ‘snapper’s’ is over and thank goodness for this mercy. I accept my review is poor and not structured, perhaps it represents the moments after I left the exhibition. It was poorly set out and as I already mentioned, badly lit for the density of the prints. As always thank you for taking the time to comment. Ian

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