Photography gets a reaction – Ashley Gilbertson

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General Photography Photographic Technique

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Graham Miller

Its interesting and quite rare to hear about photographs provoking strong reactions from the public. The curator at one of Diane Arbus’ early exhibitions talks about wiping spit from images at the end of each day.Ashley Gilbertsons exhibition has generated a strong response. From his reaction the work was not presented such that he was encouraging the public to  interact with it in a physical way. I’m wondering just how far we go to provoke the reaction, response that we all crave…..

I’m also wondering if Gilbertsons work has been enhanced in its meaning through being defaced and shoes being added?  It seems to me the work now has an additional dimension and depth that the photographer had not considered and that it has been enhanced. Should we then as photographers encourage a physical reaction to our work?

During last years exhibition of photos from my Walled Garden project I took around 60 A4 images of the garden and hung them on bulldog clips on the wall in a group inviting visitors to move the photographs around. I described it as being representative of the way the garden changed day to day and asked visitors to help me recreate the garden as a backdrop to the portraits of workers shown nearby. Judging from comments it proved very popular.

Makes me think now, every time, about how we can take a step from emotional, visual engagement to physical to create more impact.

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