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Field trip to the Tate Modern: William Klein/ Daido Moriyama

Entrance to show - Tate Modern c.2012

Entrance to show – Tate Modern c.2012

It was a dreary day and I had a cold, but I had wanted to visit this exhibition ever since it was announced back in the summer, so I soldiered on, knowing the deadline for this article was imminent!

Stepping out of the tube station I dutifully followed the route mapped out by the orange signs to Tate Modern. Whilst meandering through the back streets of Southwark, I was reminded of a time some 15 years ago when I assisted a photographer on Union Street; it’s changed.

Back then one Photographer I admired was William Klein. He was something of an inspiration to me, and I spent a fair amount of time in the vicinity of Bethnal Green and Spitalfields. It was quite run-down then maintained an air of Dickensian London. I was experimenting with grainy film-effects and movement. This area was perfect.

Old Man Crossing -Aldgate c.1997

Exhibiting alongside Klein at Tate Modern was Daido Moriyama, someone I had not heard of prior to this exhibition, but my hat goes off to the curators.

The two bodies of work were tied together brilliantly and it was easy to draw links even though the artists’ work is quite different.

There are seven rooms showcasing the diversity of Klein’s work; from film, photography, graphic design and abstract painting from where he began.

There are an equal number of rooms for Moriyama.

Glass cabinets showcase photobooks created by each artist. I noticed that several of these were on loan from Martin Parr’s extensive collection.

One of Moriyama’s books, Hunter, was inspired by reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Moriyama went on a road trip of his own, documenting Tokyo through an open car window.

This desire to present the world to us through documenting life on the streets has been a constant for both throughout their careers.

A sense of movement and life itself as well as almost crass and over-inked black & white images are motifs that Klein and Moriyama share.

Casino – Las Vegas c.2000

There is some colour in the show: upon entering the space you are welcomed by a cacophony of sound and colour in the shape of Klein’s first film ‘Broadway by Light 1958 which is his representation of New York through its garish neon signage.

I loved an observation made by Klein in his film Contacts.  Whilst talking about what you might know of a photographer’s work, he supposes you are aware of 125 images of one photographer. Then suppose the photographer shoots their pictures at 125/th second. On that assumption, even the most prolific photographer’s body of work would amount to two seconds of their life!

I felt like I had gained a lot more than a two-second clip of these two men’s experiences from behind their lenses.

The exhibition runs until 20th January 2013 and costs £12.70 for a full paying adult.

Amanda is available for photographic commissions and offers one-to-one and small group tuition.

Amanda Eatwell

07798 837969         www.ajephotography.com

[email protected]

 

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