On my first excursion across Olympic London since the start of the 2012 games - and not without adventure, I arrived at Tate Britain in Pimlico. This was once I had navigated a triangle of barriers in aid of a cycle race and had been refreshed by one of the summer’s ‘rainy season’ precipitations. The rendezvous was with my esteemed friend, James Barnor, and a kindred spirit, visiting from Ghana, interior design consultant, Jennifer.
James is one of the artists showing in ‘Another London’, a photographic exhibition at Tate Britain and, a commentary of his work and viewing of co-exhibitors’ photographs, couldn’t be missed. We were able to contribute to conversations with him and other viewers - discussing the images through the perspective of his lens and a long distinguished documentry of life in Ghana and London.
“Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London’ c.1967, copyright James Barnor, Courtesy Autograph ABP
The photographers share iconography, histories and journeys through London’s environments and communities. James’ work contributes images of the great Muhammad Ali, the elegant ‘Eva’, a cosmopolitan Ghanaian woman. In another of his recognisable photographs is a scene with a dapper gentleman, blessed with a striking resemblance to a young Sidney Poitier, (which I remarked upon).
Leaping off the exhibition catalogue’s cover and postcard book is James’ image of ‘Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London’. One can see why this dynamic representation of London has been chosen to open the book. Photographed in the late 1960s, it captures a seemingly carefree moment on the steps of Eros, a landmark that has been a place of another rendezvous for Londoners and visitors alike. It is unusually clear of present-day human or vehicular activity that fills the city’s premier junction - allowing the subject to enjoy a moment to ‘spread his wings’.
The digital age enables vibrant flashes of imagery and branding on the famous boards of Piccadilly Circus. The photograph acts both as a time capsule of communication technology and, anchor in the art of brand advertising - as in the BOAC VC10 display. British Overseas Airways Corporation past, is a brand precursor of British Airways present.
The exhibition runs until 16 September 2012
Another London – International Photographers Capture City Life 1930-1980
Tate Britain Millbank London SW1P 4RG Call
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