Made By Mrs M

The Radical Eye

Art, Exhibition, London, Photography, ReviewKate Marsden

Now I do like a surprise (sometimes - don't ever plan a surprise party for me please)... Not being a fan of Sir Elton John (although I have been catching myself singing a few of his earlier hits recently), I wasn't sure what I'd make of Tate Modern's exhibition sharing his photography collection.

Man Ray 1890-1976Glass Tears (Les Larmes) 1932Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper229 x 298 mmCollection Elton John© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

Man Ray 1890-1976Glass Tears (Les Larmes) 1932Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper229 x 298 mmCollection Elton John© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

I expected it to be ostentatious (the man's flower bill is famous after all) but I was pleasantly surprised. His photography collection does extend to 8000+ prints, so it's not modest, but I was impressed by the images on display, and really liked the way the exhibition had been put together. The use of mismatched, gilt and silver frames made it unlike most gallery photography exhibitions I've seen and my favorite part was a whole wall featuring many images (with a conveniently placed bench in front of it so I sat there for a while).

The content was pretty good too - taking me back to my teenage fascination with Diane Arbus and Dorothea Lange - I was reminded of a much thumbed book I had about female documentary photographers (this one) and I plan to dig it out and have a read.

Flicking through Diane Arbus Revelations (and Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange 1936 in the exhibition guide)

Flicking through Diane Arbus Revelations (and Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange 1936 in the exhibition guide)

The images on display focus on the first half of the 20th century, taking in experiments in early photography and including many famous images and portraits.

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection is at Tate Modern until 21 May 2017.