Working my way through my list of places to visit this year and I took the first trip to The Photographers Gallery in Soho.
The gallery is situated just off Oxford street and stands at 5 floors high, although it doesn’t seem that big when inside the building.
I wasn’t sure what exactly was on show before visiting so it was a bit of a surprise. The two exhibitions I saw were 4 Saints in 3 Acts and Instant Stories – Wim Wenders’ Polaroids.
4 Saints in 3 Acts
Described as a snapshot of the American avant-garde, 4 Saints in 3 Acts is the first exhibition to focus on the photographic dimensions of the ground-breaking American modernist opera. The show was renowned for having an all African-American cast that were recruited from the choirs and nightclubs of Harlem and offered unique glimpses of a largely unknown community. The photos capture the action on stage, behind the scenes and portraits of the classical music performers.
Many of the photos on display were quite small and with the larger ones you could see the age of them by the wear and tear but this added to the history and story of the photos. A very simple but delightful exhibition.
Instant stories – Wim Wenders’ Polaroids
This collection of work offers a rare opportunity to see the personal and previously unseen polaroids taken by Oscar nominated filmmaker, Wim Wenders. Featuring over 200 images taken between the 1960s and 1980s of his journey across America he captures the people around him, still lives, street photography and landscapes.
These images in particular caught my eye, it seems people were taking photos of their everyday food long before Instagram was around!
Again a lot of the photos were very small (obviously because they are polaroids) but there were also books so you could see Wender’s images close up. There was also a note board so visitors can share their views on the work which is a nice touch for the artists to get feedback.
On the top floor was an opportunity to be part of the exhibition via Instagram. There was a set up studio area and rails of outfits and accessories so you could take your own photos and share online.
As well as having work on show The Photographers gallery also has loads of workshops, talks and courses. There is a quaint café on the ground floor and a bookshop in the basement that you could spend ages browsing.
If you visit before 12 when it is less busy there is free entrance so it is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The two shows I saw are on until 11th February so I will be looking out for future exhibitions that I can see there!