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Galleries: Combat and Worship

July 15th, 2013 No Comments

The past 24 hours have offered up two extremely contrasting galleries: one devoted to combat; the other to worship!

Combat

Kainaz Amaria on NPR’s ‘the picture show’ discusses a War Photography exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington.  She says, “it has the usual array of iconic war photographs” but the real strength of this exhibition is “in the presentation of our collective war story.”

Actually, another strength may be the exhibit’s sheer breadth and range: it features “more than 185 photographs from 25 nationalities with conflicts spanning 165 years.”  Exceptional quality and selectivity are two more strengths: over one million photographs were viewed from which the exhibition images were culled.

The article includes 20-odd photos in a mini-gallery.  See a sergeant treating a recruit to a staredown and compare it with a grunt’s glazed stare.

 A photograph of Nicaraguan rebels is one of the most unusually colourful war photos you’ll ever see.  Just like bursts of bright colour, ballet and art are not associated with war either, yet this photograph of infantrymen leaping over a trench is artistic and balletic exploring form, movement, and warriors in the abstract.  If overt warfront action is more your style, this mini-gallery has you covered.

Flick through the gallery for even more overt photos, a couple of which may be gut-wrenching.

Worship

Today’s installment in Baltimore Sun Darkroom is a gallery of photographs revealing the inner workings of the seldom-seen Baltimore Carmelite Monastery where fewer than 20 sisters live of whom you can see three chanting vespers and five in prayer.

The gallery begins with the hint of a sunswept lawn seen through a dim corridor that is dominated by stained glass with a religious motif.  However, this is a modern residence for women devoted to religion and not a hillside cloister: witness other photographs that are documentary and prosaic, such as this image of a sister gardening and one that could have been taken in any suburban kitchen.

That said, this modern-day monastery has a Seventeenth Century antiquarian book or two and its own religious relics.

Combat and Worship

We close with a convergence of our two topics by way of the Spanish Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona in which a holy day – a remembrance to a saint – is marked by combat in the bullring.

The festival took place last week.  Kevin Fischer identifies two photos that are not the same old, same old.  Here’s a photo of a bull being kept at bay by stick-toting men and another of a cow leaping over scared revellers.  

 

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