ImagingInfo.com |

Online Article Page

  

Industry News
Celebrity Backers of Photography Plentiful in Europe
Evening Standard Column


Gallery Director Brett Rogers

If the City bonus this year does not run to a painting worth 10,000, it may still buy you a top-quality photo at 3,000. You can buy at the Photographers' Gallery for 300-500.

"It's part of our remit to start people collecting," says Rogers. "People feel intimidated about going into chi-chi galleries in Mayfair and asking perhaps nave questions about art, but with photography that's less of a problem. We want to educate people and we don't mind those sort of questions at all."

In an indirect kind of way, Rogers came to London because of photography.

"I grew up in the Sixties and my whole image of Britain was formed through photos in magazines. I used to cut out those images of fabulous swinging London from Vogue, Nova, Harpers & Queen and so on, and stick them on my wall. London was the place to be - and I wasn't there. That's how I fell in love with Britain and that's why I came. I still think of photography principally as being a vehicle through which we understand other cultures."

Rogers has been at the Photographers' Gallery for little more than two years, but was a force in British photography before that as deputy director of the Visual Arts Department at the British Council.

"Once you start working here and realise what a wonderful cultural wealth this city has, you can never ever go home," she says. And during her time in London, of course, she has seen huge technological change - the arrival of digital photography, the ability to print images instantly, the use of the internet as a tool to disseminate work.

In response to this, on the ground floor of the new building in Ramillies Street, she is going to install what she calls the Democracy Wall. "We want people to come into the caf and upload pictures directly from computer terminals or laptops onto the wall of the gallery. She pauses and grimaces. "We'll have to moderate that very carefully of course."

In no other art form, indeed, are there so many amateur practitioners. Yet for Rogers the difference between a good amateur and a seasoned professional, or artist, is still easily defined. "It's not just about technique but sustained commitment. The art of pursuing photography in a concentrated way is very different to producing one or two good photos. All four nominees for this year's Deutsche Borse Prize show us how, over time, you build up layers of meaning and history - something you just can't get with the quick shot. It's about having a body of work that deserves attention." At the same time, she insists, the Photographers' Gallery is not a snobbish institution.

"The democratisation of photography is a great thing. People are much more sophisticated nowadays at reading photography and it's up to us to take that visual literacy and enhance it. Oh yes, we are all photographers now." Everyone, that is, except for her.

The Deutsche Borse Prize exhibition is at the Photographers' Gallery (020 7831 1772, www.photonet.org.uk) until 6 April


   







PTN Dailes HERE