When it comes to photography, London is not just the sum of an incredible array of topics, but a precious hub for displaying the results. So, with long nights and cozy interiors, November seems to be a favorable time to visit exhibitions. Here’s two of them.
On the north bank, at Somerset House: Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour. It’s one of those tiny, free of charge, yet pretty dense exhibitions set in flamboyant rooms. There’s plenty to take from this one. It features 10 Cartier-Bresson photographs never before exhibited in the UK, alongside over 75 works by 14 international acclaimed photographers. It all starts with Cartier-Bresson’s affection for black and white photography, yet the exhibition is full of colour and it will leave you stuck in some sharp memorable greens and reds. It’s a matter of minutes, but it feels like you’ve seen a couple of hours of documentaries. The challenge to capture the ‘decisive moment’ in colour photography too is met in this surprisingly passionate display of unique moments and stories. Definitely a question of talent.
Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
On the south bank, at the Royal Festival Hall: The World Press Photo 2012. It paints a grim picture of the world during the past year. Revolutions, mass killings, nuclear disaster, natural disasters, injustice, to name just a few of the topics. It’s an international showcase of 169 award-winning photographs that set a standard in photojournalism. But beyond the skills of the photographers, what will stick with you are the tension and the pain of a suffering world. It even comes with a warning, and it’s not recommended for a ‘young audience’. Unlike other years, there are too few pictures (if any) that will make you smile. It’s one short walk that will drain you out and keep you wondering what’s wrong with this world, while you’re making your way out through the happy talkative Southbank crowd sipping wine.
Samuel Aranda, Corbis/NYT/World Press Photo
Actually, this could be a good time to rush over Waterloo Bridge straight into Cartier-Bresson’s search for ‘decisive moments’, away from the disturbing specter of now.
Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour from Nov 8 until Jan 27
The World Press Photo 2012 from Nov 9 until Nov 27