Tuesday, 28 October 2008

HOT: This is War! Robert Capa at Work, Barbican Art Gallery

This Barbican photography exhibition has Robert Capa in its title but actually encompasses many other artists/photographers' work framed around the subject of war. In fact, I found Capa's work the least inspiring - his pictures lacked heart and were very macho in their stylings - men with guns, men at camp, men marching and men in munitions factories. His most striking images were actually his accidentally blurred photographs of the D-Day landings which captured the chaotic invasion of Omaha beach. In contrast, I really enjoyed the retrospective on his lover, Gerda Taro. She used a square as opposed to rectangular format to great effect; sometimes to enhance the close-up, warmly personal framing of her war-torn and war-weary subjects, and other times referencing the stark sharp angles of Communist propanganda posters. Finally, I ran out of time to fully appreciate the modern works shown in accompanying exhibition 'On the Subject of War', but I was particularly struck by the intimate and confronting photographs of the Iraq war taken by Geert van Kesteren.

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