The Modern Kids
Jona Frank’s The Modern Kids acquires the essence of LOOK/15, focusing on the life of young boxers and skaters in the city. The detailed expressions captured by Jona personalise the work making it easy to relate and the pictures of the boxers are visually very powerful. The simplicity and bold colours bring her work to life and allow us to question the thoughts of the youth. Jona said that her work is about the expressions of the subjects, not the boxing. She has also created a film to go with her photographs called Baby Faced Assassin which infuses her artwork with the community and will be shown in a local cinema.
G20 Double Take
G20 Double Take by Billy Macrae is another stunning exhibition on show at the Open Eye Gallery. Billy’s unique technique exposes the violence from the street protests in 2009. The visual contrasts produced by his photographs are easy to appreciate and would otherwise be hard to imagine. Billy clearly knows how to produce clean photography and his work is bursting with visual excitement as well as relevant context for the festival.
Juvenile In Justice
Richard Ross‘ is, arguably, the most powerful display of photographs on show at the festival. Juvenile In Justice is displayed in its own encapsulating room in the Open Eye Gallery which completely absorbs you in his work. The exhibition is a collection of photographs of young juvenile in various facilities around America. The strong colours in his work bounce off the white walls of the room, forcing you to engage in the tragic story behind each image. Richard hides their faces to add a mystical element to his work and the clever curation of the exhibition leaves you in silence, surrounded by misunderstood juveniles.
Helen Marshall’s Project Tobong is arguably the most eye-catching material at LOOK/15. The exhibition evolves around the last remaining nomadic theatre troupe in Indonesia and Marshall brings together the hilarious facial expressions and eccentric fashion of the ancient Asian dancers, and the modern urban environment. This results in a bizarre series of photographs that grab hold of your imagination and force a smile to arise. There is also a degree of melancholy brought round by the dying art form of the dancers which engages you with Helen’s work.
Body parts for sale… Reasonable prices
Student Kiera Daley has used the remains of broken Barbie dolls to create a mutilation scene and a separate kinky bedroom display. The effects are dramatic and it represents a small snapshot of her mind. The work reflects her viewpoint on the new trend of radical feminism and how she spends her life in the comfort of her bed. The imagination and subject of her work fits with the spirit of LOOK/15.
Liverpool Photographs 1972-74
Tricia Porter presents Liverpool Photographs 1972-74 at The Bluecoat gallery, which vividly portrays the way of life in the city almost half a century ago. The photographs have hardly been seen in 40 years and they allow us to look back with a smile despite the economic troubles of the time. The black and white photographs largely represent the working class and each of the small photographs has its own tale to tell and is the perfect addition to the community aspect of the festival.
AOP photography awards
This showcase of award winning photography is hung in St George’s Hall and has heavy emphasis on the theme of women. Julia Fullerton-Batten’s work is very mysterious and hosts a very powerful appearance. The artwork is all hung facing each other down a long, narrow corridor and the curation of the photography allows each piece to feed off the energy of others.
If Only It Could Speak
Tony Mallon’s work If Only It Could Speak focuses on homelessness and explores how people treat the subject. Tony shows us what is left out or what is left behind in institutes of care. The particular piece that stands out is Tony’s photographs that cover the front of an old picture house in town. The pictures are off ex-residents’ belongings in a homeless hostel storeroom and although they are part of LOOK/15, they are also there as an attempt to save the derelict building it covers. The rest of Tony’s fascinating work is on display at the Foundation of Art and Creative Technology.
Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty?
This collection of work by Max Pinckers explores honour killings in India caused by the restrictions of love and marriage in the country. Max uses newspaper cuttings and striking photography to expose the tragic consequences of love to create a powerful real life story. The Love Commandos are a group of guys that aim to save young couples who have fallen in love from honour killing and Max’s photographs deliver a deeply emotional portrayal of modern society in India. St George’s Hall provides an almost spooky presence to the beautifully tragic story behind the work.
‘Social portraiture’ is the theme behind Louis Quail‘s work at the Open Eye Gallery and his ability to catch momentary facial expressions allows his work to connect with the audience. Louis focuses on American office workers to suggest a lack of identity in their small cubicle. This creates a powerful message and together with the clarity of the photographs, allow us to explore the emotions of the office workers.
By Shay Waterworth