Wednesday, June 23

Are rude blog post titles shit?

Chris Steele-Perkins laid into the Photographers Gallery in a recent talk at HOST in London, describing it as "shit" and a "tub of lard". A few days later his football show opened at the Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff, so I jokingly initially gave the previous thread advertising his show the title "Is Chris Steele-Perkins shit"?

On reflection a couple of hours later, I thought that he might not like his remarks, made in a talk to a small audience, advertised across the whole Internet, so I changed the title to something more anodyne.

However, since then Steele-Perkins has repeated his views on camera and in print. So for those who were puzzled by my title, here's his problem with the Photographers Gallery, as detailed on the duckrabbit blog.

"I am delighted my comments, made in passing, have evoked a lively response. I stand by my remarks of course, but for the sake of clarity I outline my position in a bit more detail.

I was around when the Photographers’ Gallery was started by Sue Davies, and it was exciting and showed, mainly, great shows and inspired people. It had a buzz!

A lot has changed. When I talk to people, from photographers to others in the arts I never, really, never find one who has a good thing to say about the Photographers Gallery. The response is from a disdainful shrug - that’s what we are stuck with, to an explosion of anger that the promise and hope that Sue Davies brought to the place has been so profoundly betrayed.

I care about photography, in its richness and complexity and I am angry at the way the possibility of the Photographers’ Gallery has been strangled over the years leaving a limp corpse requiring vast funding from the public purse to maintain its mediocrity.

I am angry that there are many more exciting, relevant galleries that are starved of funding because the money goes into maintaining this vegetative-state-gallery. Places like Side, Host, Open-Eye to name but a few.

I am angry that Photographers’ Gallery has become a misnomer. It is not about photography or photographers; it is about a narrow thread of photographic curation that is frequently dull, and/or poorly conceived. I also admit they do have a few good shows, but far too few, and across far too narrow a spectrum of the medium.

On the web-site it states "we are the place to see photography in all its forms". This is a grotesque claim and so patently untrue. Why lie? If it indeed was fulfilling that claim, with the caveat - at its best - then it could claim the name Photographers’ Gallery, and it would not be betraying the initial ambitions of the project.

I am angry it makes no attempt to support or promote British photography.

Someday I will write more about this, but I am sorry that the quality and relevance of the PG is not publicly debated in forums like the BJP and RPS Journal, and the Guardian Arts Page and the national media. This is a publicly funded institution (40%) and should be a beacon, but is an irrelevance; an expensive one.

People seem to be scared to speak out, I am not sure why. One thing is for sure, more money is going into it, and it will get bigger, and a larger corpse does not stop rotting."


Tom Hole said...

Got to say I agree.

The way I see it is,

The Photographers Gallery is good.

British Photography is great

Obvious disconnect between the two I think!

duckrabbit said...

Oi Paul, fuck off.

Only joking.

Thanks for the plug you shitstirrer.

Lensgrunt said...

It is shite ! You can get a good sarnie in the cafe though and the best toilet access for street photographers in the west end.

Paul Russell said...

Yes, the toilets are very convenient (ouch, no joke intended).