This post was first published by Gyal In A Gallery and reposted with kind permission on Bajan Art
Lens Speak by the Barbados Photographic Society at the Barbados Arts Council
“Lens Speak” features over 60 photographs by 26 photographers with varying levels of experience. It is the annual show of the Barbados Photographic Society and is hosted at the site of the Barbados Arts Council in Pelican Craft Centre, Harbour Road, St. Michael. Overall, I quite liked it!
When I entered the Barbados Arts Council, I expected to see a range of images. I was not disappointed. There were all kinds of work: landscapes, still lives, portraits, pictures of animals… It was a wonderful array of different work, and I was very glad to see the catalogue that helped me keep it all straight.
It’s the Little Things
Frequent blog readers might know that I usually sigh when a show doesn’t have a catalogue or artist list. So imagine my joy when I saw the catalogue for “Lens Speak”. It gives each person’s name, contact info, and tells you a little about each one. It also shows which photographer took which picture. Needless to say, it was very helpful.
Now On to the Work
Looking around, there did not seem to be any particular organization to the show (unlike some others that I have attended.) Some black and white images appeared together. Other than that, I did not notice any particular order. As a result, my notes are somewhat scattered.
As a general rule, I tend to prefer photography leaning towards the abstract. This show had plenty for me to view. Mark Wellington served up two pieces, “True Blue” and “Red and Wet” that made bold statements about colour. “True Blue” featured some garbage cans—but the bluest, most intense, most saturated cans you could find. And “Red and Wet” appeared to capture water droplets on red plastic, and looked like the prettiest red out of an acrylic paint tube.
Along those lines, I also enjoyed work by Cheryl McCollin-Walker. Her piece “Spiral” may have captured some kind of seed pod, or perhaps the branches of a tree from directly underneath. But her final image showed a strange, architectural shape that twisted and turned. I also quite liked her photograph “Portal”, which was a quiet study in light and shadow, using a piece of metal as its subject.
But there were some non-abstract pieces to be enjoyed. Niat Dokraz presented “Red Moon” and “Sleeping Giant.” “Red Moon” captured the moon rising to an eclipse over the sea. Meanwhile, the black-and-white “Sleeping Giant” showed the famous landmass on Barbados’ East Coast, and used white and black and shades of grey to highlight the shape.
I also enjoyed the black and white “Two” by Hugh Walker. This featured a two-seater boat tethered to a dock. The light boat stood out sharply against the dark water, with ripples of light here and there to draw the eye around the composition. It was a very peaceful shot.
A Joyful Show
There were far too many interesting pieces to list them all here. Instead, I can give an overall view on the show. It might be an odd term to use, but the show felt quite joyful. There were many different kinds of images from different skill levels in photography, from fairly recent photographers to those with fifteen years experience. Photographers showed a variety of subjects, and seemed to try out many different techniques, which made for a varied show.
Further, looking at the catalogue, several photographers mentioned that they had once had an interest in art or had tried photography, but had given it up to pursue their career. It was quite wonderful to see that they had been able to come back to photography.
But that Crick in the Neck
But it was not all great. I had some issues with the hanging of the show. Several photographs hung in very odd places. Some images hung above doorframes, next to air conditioning units, and over tall windows. I actually almost missed a few because of their strange placement.
One such piece was “Palm Curls” by Victor Gittens, which showed the delicate curls on a palm frond. It was a fascinating piece, and when I finally did notice it, I had a bit of a crick in the neck looking up at it (I am not short.) I understand trying to use all available space. However, the work should still be fairly easily viewed.
Further, I found the lighting to be somewhat uninspired. I will admit that I viewed the show on a rather dreary and rainy day. That aside, I did find that the lighting did not particularly set off photographs to their advantage, especially when it came to the more oddly placed works.
The Final Verdict on Lens Speak
In conclusion, this show featured a variety of interesting work from a group of photographers in different stages of their photography journey. The show sometimes suffered from odd hanging and dull lighting, but I would still recommend going to see it.
“Lens Speak” will be at the Barbados Arts Council Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, Harbour Road, from September 11, 2017 to September 23, 2017. The Gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On weekdays, the gallery closes from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch.
List of Photographers: Alison J. Elliot, Audrey Bryan, Bradley Benskin, Cheryl McCollin Walker, Corrie Scott, Hugh Walker, Jenny Gonsalves, Julian Moore, Kevin Culpepper, Mark Wellington, Markley Bryan, Michael Evans, Michael St. A. Turton, Niaz Dokrat, Nicola Hutchinson, Patrick Richardson, R. Bruce P. Evelyn, Raymonte Forde, Raymond Maughan, Sherlock W. Lorel, Sybil Edghill, Victor Gittens, Winston Edghill