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Exhibitions and Images; Eerie and Intriguing

September 21st, 2012 No Comments

Living in Mexico, born in Congo, father from Belgium and mother from Hungary.  And now featured in a solo exhibition, Alice in the Land of Zapata, at the Hungarian House of Photography, is Nadja Massun whose photographs bespeak sensitivity most of all, a sensitivity probably heightened and refined by her peripatetic childhood.

“I am especially intrigued by faces and their expressions,” explains Massun, “the gestures and the movements of the body that encompass a particular state of mind or mood while also telling a story.”  Strangely, even when no living person’s face or expression is in-picture, one of Massun’s photographs fascinatingly conveys “a particular state of mind or mood.”  Would you agree that it is atmospheric and sort of haunting?

I wish Hungarian House had published more of Massun’s photographs.  As things stand, we have only a hint that this may be a very fine exhibition indeed.

A photographer and a poet have teamed up to present and interpret “the night – a mysterious time, full of darkness and secrets, shadowy corners and brief flurries of activity.”  Granted, it may sound like an artsy-fartsy project but Night Photography is an unusual specialization, and that in and of itself makes this project intriguing and attention-catching.  

Deserted downtowns, archways, ruins, graveyards (of course), all lend themselves to night shooting and Alison Wills and Hazel Hammond have hit upon a novel way of conveying the bewitching splendours of the night in a photo-poetry exhibit, The Woman who slept with Bones, at the Bristol Poetry Festival.  (Some more photos on the website, please?)

Remember that cheesy 70’s song Killing me Softly?  In the song, the ‘soft-killing’ is done with . . . a song; on the current Vogue Hommes cover, the soft-killing’s done with a gentle hand that playfully chokes a model.  Does that photo project, encourage or glamourize violence towards women?  A number of American watchdog organizations think so:– 

“While this cover was perhaps intended to shock and thrill potential readers, the truly shocking fact is that it glorifies violence against women as an act of love,” is how they admonish the magazine’s publishers in their screed.  “Choking is not a fashion statement, and certainly not something that should be used to sell magazines.” 

Is this typical American Political Correctness run amok?  Or does this photo cross a red line?  It’s definitely a ‘shade’ of ‘grey’ . . . but for a magazine cover, it is a valid expression of photographic imagery that should not be subject to any censorship.


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