Monday, April 11, 2005

Saturday on my mind

On Saturday, we also visited The Photographers' Gallery to see work by the four artists shortlisted for this year's £30,000 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. These included Luc Delahaye's monumental panoramas from war-torn frontlines, Jörg Sasse's manipulations of "found" photographs, JH Engström's magically tense portraits and interiors (below) and Stephen Shore's colour-saturated slices of American life (above).

The latter two were my favourite, and although both photographers share a fondness for capturing abandoned meals on tables and unmade beds in motel rooms, their photographs are quite different.

Engstrom's are ethereal, nervy, twitchy, tense photos of subjects and objects caught trying to escape the lens. His people and interiors are lonely and forlorn.

I've written before about my fondness for Shore. His photos of Americana are rooted, grounded, solid, posed, composed -- objects and subjects presenting themselves to the lens. His is a crisper, brighter world.

Of course, we then ended up in the wonderful cafe, perusing the papers, drinking tea and eating chocolate cake.

Afterwards, we made the grave mistake of watching Sahara, featuring actors who are as monumentally monotonous as the plot. I'll leave it to The Guardian's wonderful Mr Bradshaw to sum up the acting in a way no one else can:

"Once again, Matthew McConaughey proves that he is modern cinema's Mr Zero Charisma. He is the celluloid equivalent of Rohypnol: a deadening whiff of pure boredom that deprives you of the power to think, speak or move your limbs. It wears off after a few hours, leaving you face-down in a stagnant pool of vanilla Diet Coke."

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