My notes only scratch the surface of this enormous exhibition, this video gives a better idea:
This was a fascinating exhibition, as it was so large I could have easily returned a few more times as there was so much to see and take in. Both Klein and Moriyama had huge bodies of work spanning many decades and a range of formats, both are still working and are now in their 70's.
Both have used a variety of media over the years to push the boundaries of their art, Klein as an artist, film maker and photographer with a great many photo books to his name and Moriyama also with a great many photo books and as a magazine publisher.
The exhibition starts with the work of William Klein, who began as a painter and graphic artist studying under Fernand Leger, there were a section of his graphic works, including the panels he had his wife move whilst he took images creating the interesting graphical images and patterns with which Klein became intrigued.
The exhibition then moved into a room with enormous images, as this was the first time I'd looked at Klein's work the scale of the images blew me away. He gets up close to his subjects, in among the action, in many of his images there is someone looking at him in the crowd, sometimes suspiciously it seemed. There seemed to be a feeling of chaos which Klein had capture with the full, wide frames, some with blurring and a feeling of movement and action others were more controlled as in the one seen below with the fashion models who had been asked to walk back and forth over the zebra crossing with Klein taking images with a telephoto lens perhaps to be less obvious and therefore capturing the reactions of those around.
I am now a big fan of William Klein, I enjoy his edginess and style. I definitely got the feel of an artist with a need to be creative, expressing his creativity through various media and not being afraid to re work previous images but with a different approach as seen in his stills of previous work which he's painted on re-creating them "The jubilation of painting recalled the celebration of taking the photo. For me, taking a photo was a celebration, was physical and gave me a super charge"
I felt so inspired by Klein's work, I have developed real a love of black and white, I enjoy the way is shows the image graphically but also timelessly and intend to use it more in my photography. I am also inspired to be less concerned about how perfect my images are and instead concentrate on conveying the message or feeling. I don't think I'll be getting in the crowds with my camera as I am not sure that it would be appreciated, the world is a very different place now, I think people less afraid to challenge what they see and there is less of the innocence and fascination I saw in the faces of many of Klein's images.
The exhibition moved through the many rooms of Klein's work through to the beginning of Moriyama:
This video I feel captures Moriyama perfectly. It shows him walking around the Tokyo streets taking pictures on his compact camera. He has been described, following a particular image he captured, which became his signature image, as a 'stray dog', and that is certainly the feeling I got when looking at the exhibition, that he captured all areas of life. The video starts with him saying "I have always felt that the world is an erotic place. As I walk through it my senses are reaching out. For me cities are enormous bodies of people's desires. And as I search for my own desires within them I slice through time, seizing the moment. That's the kind of camera work I like"
I would have preferred to take a break at this point as the Klein exhibition had been so intense and time consuming that the Moriyama exhibition wasn't given my full attention or energy.
I wasn't really drawn to Moriyama's work initially, maybe because the images weren't on the scale of klein's or maybe just because I was tired and need to freshen my eyes I suppose. But on reviewing his work more on returning home I find him quite fascinating, his work seems to show a mass of technique and styles that were simply too much to take in on the day.
Moriyama's images seemed quite random in style which again gave the feeling of an artist with a need to create, this was reflected in the number of images in the exhibition was unfathomable. Some of his images were quite shocking, the aborted foetus which looked composed with consideration given to the lighting which only added to the macabre element of this image.
Moriyama says: "my approach is very simple - there is no artistry, I just shoot freely. For me, photography is not about an attempt to create a two-dimensional work of art, but by taking photo after photo, I come close to truth and reality at the very intersection of the fragmentary nature of the world and my own personal sense of time" I did feel this in his work, the randomness of his images and dare I say many looked a little point and shoot and I struggled to warm to his work.
The Klein exhibition was a positive inspiring experience for me and am now a complete fan.
The visit concluded with much valuable discussion with fellow students and OCA tutors over a cup of coffee. The exhibition was great experience, the study visit, as always, very rewarding.
Then off into a very cold but always fabulous London!