London Street Photography Festival 2011

Today I visited one of the exhibitions that form part of the London Street Photography Festival. The exhibition information tells me that  George Georgiou’s “In:visible London”uses the London bus as a vehicle to penetrate the private spheres people create for themselves while navigating public spaces.  The subjects are unaware of the image maker and so their thoughts and interactions are undisturbed at the moment of making the picture. It is only in later viewing that the audience has a glimpse of their private world.

The exhibition takes the form of six 19” monitors in two rows of three.  Against a background sound track of the noises that you might hear on a London bus journey the images change rapidly and seemingly randomly.  I found that there was a compelling sense of story even though there was no actual engagement between the photographer and his subjects.  Paradoxically, I found myself, as the viewer, both drawn into wondering about the stories of the people photographed, whilst at the same time being aware of the photographer’s isolation from them.  This was particularly true of those images made looking down from the vantage point of the upper deck of a double-decker bus.

Throughout the series, there was strong and clever use of colour with the subjects often vibrant against a more muted background.  The emotions of some of the subjects came through clearly, particularly when there was a sense of ennui.  In some ways the work reminded me of some of the work of William Eggleston.  I must admit I admired the composition of a number of the images – especially when taking into consideration the circumstances in which they were taken.  Perhaps there was significant cropping?

I shall take away from this exhibition an understanding of the possibilities offered by truly candid photography together with a sense of the scope for creating engaging compositions even when deliberately at arm’s length from those being photographed.

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