Sunderland Winter Gardens, Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2016

My Initial Response

Although the work presented within this exhibition had no direct link into the question I have chosen to answer, it was still very interesting to view such a wide variety of styles and formats from a vast number of photographers.

You could argue that in a sense portraiture does link into Instagram due to the trend of the ‘selfie’ as it is a form of self portraiture that has worked its way into our everyday society.

A particular piece that stood out to me was titled ‘Martha’ by Sian Davey. The images were captured over two summers where Davey spent time with her daughter, Martha, and Martha’s friends. Davey’s intention was to capture their lifestyle as it something that interested her, perhaps to create a contrast of her younger years and allow her to reminisce and feel a sense of nostalgia.

Lifestyle seems to be the running theme of Instagram, through images of food; to shopping hauls; to the selfie. The user is presenting their interests, hobbies and experiences to their audience to form their own unique and personal online identity.

Questions can be raised as to how honest these depictions of ourselves and personal lives are, but that seems to be something constantly held in the back of a viewer’s mind perhaps due to the blow up of TV series ‘Catfish’ where the two presenters allow online friends and relationships to meet in person – some are real, some are completely different people. It may be down to other things such as personal experience or other photographers and artists raising these very questions.

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Quality of Learning Evaluation:

As said previously there were no direct links into the question I chose to answer within this exhibition, by this I mean there were no images directly linking into Instagram or other forms of social media such as Flickr or Facebook etc.

However, interestingly I could decipher themes such as lifestyle, self portraiture and fitness from the images presented and be able to link them together to form the overall theme constantly portrayed through instagram – identity.

What I find interesting about this is how easy it was for me to do so, and it has caused me to question the impact that social media platforms such as Instagram has had upon society.

So although I did not take any direct reasearch from this exhibition such as artists to reference etc. it enabled me to question the impact of social media as well as the fact that themes of professional photography and amateur Instagram photography go hand in hand.

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