Photographic exhibition at the V&A: Paul Strand

by Liz Taylor

Posted on 2016-03-25 (467 VIEWS)

The V&A is my absolute favourite London museum. Who needs to look at the exhibits when the building itself is a work of art? I could wonder around marveling at the floor tiles alone for hours. But on this sunny Good Friday morning, after a brisk walk over Primrose Hill and through Regents Park, both bursting with the promises of spring, I ended up in the relative darkness of the latest V&A exhibition - Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century.

My confession: I've never heard of Paul Strand. But I do love learning about new things and after a mesmerising trip to the Taylor Wessing exhibition at the National Portrait Museum a few weeks earlier I was ready to dip my toe further into the world of photography.

Paul Strand (1890-1978) was an influential American photographer who dabbled in film as well as print. I was particularly drawn to his later work where he studied everyday people going about their everyday lives. Portraits of journeys to villages in Ghana, Italy and France - all rich in details of the 50s and 60s - were fascinating. But my absolute favourite of his photo-books, was his trip to South Uist, much nearer to home in Scotland. Accompanied by haunting Gaelic Music, the faces, weather worn, had a warmth and depth that moved me.

Paul adored his beautifully crafted cameras probably as much as his three wives. Many photographers today will appreciate how he was constantly looking for the latest gadgets to give his work the edge. A delightful selection of his equipment is also on display. Check out the travel weary wooden tripods, it makes you reflect on how far the technology has come over the last 100 years and begs the question; what are the next big innovations around the corner?

The exhibition is on until the 3rd of July 2016. Tickets cost £9 pounds though members go free (and you get access to a light filled triple height secret members cafe = not to be missed!).

Introduction from the curator:
A major retrospective of the work of American photographer and film maker, Paul Strand (1890-1976), and the first in the UK since the artist’s death. Strand was one of the greatest and most influential photographers of the 20th century whose images have defined the way fine art and documentary photography is understood and practiced today.

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