Brendan Gara Photography

On Y Va



I did write notes whilst travelling, and also planned to put something online whilst away, but to be honest we were having too much fun. London for a few days first, then Brugges, and then onto Paris before spending Christmas with my sisters’ family in Cognac. And all by train.

I looked back at my London notes and have pretty much just copied and pasted them here (That’s not to downplay London in any way, but it was a solid three days worth of cultural cramming. I like London, but I wouldn’t want to live there).

Dinner to kick off at the National Portrait Gallery overlooking the London skyline was nice. Sea bream, a much underrated fish here in the UK compared to Sea Bass, the “hollyoaks” of fish (looks pretty on the plate, not at all inoffensive, but it’s all over the TV in one way or another).

Then off to the Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize: very interesting, I can see why the winner won, hints of Caravaggio, but still a snap compared to the documentary work also on show.

Guy Bourdin at Somerset House was an unexpected treat, as I’d read ages ago something was on, but had forgotten until I saw the poster on the underground. If you’re going to use colour then make it bright and bold, and if you’re going to use flash, then make it look like you’re using flash.

Egon Schiele exhibition also at Somerset House was “difficult” both in terms of pictures but also in terms of the sheer number of people walking around it. He makes sense though when you see a picture of him: rake-thin and hollow backed. If it weren’t for the Spanish flu, who knows what he would have done.

Thoroughly recommend the Chris Stein and Blondie exhibition, also at Somerset House (we stumbled between Bourdin’s naughty colour treats through Schiele’s scratchy visions, the Fortnum and Mason Christmas market, ice skating and into 80’s “New Yoik”, Richard Hell and David Byrne, then Debbie Harry: every teenage boys ultimate sex symbol).

Turner at the Tait Britain: accidental superstar (the later ones were unfinished, but gained critical acclaim in modern times), huge washes of yellow and orange (I think I read somewhere he was developing cataracts which would explain the colours compared to his drearier early work), and some frankly stunning seascapes.

The Turner prize: didn’t bother to be honest as our feet were hurting and you had to pay.

Horst at the Victoria and Albert museum was also very good. The museum had limited numbers at each allocated time spot, so it was never crowded. Big colour prints from 10×8 cameras weren’t sharp (studio lighting rather than flash), but super smooth transitions of colours. Again if you’re going to use colour, use it boldly, but simply.

Lunch at Tredwells was very nice Sunday dinner and Hendricks gin with a slice of cucumber is a new favourite.

Caught by accident the Royal Photographic Soceitys exhibition at the Science Museum.  Really good, as most of the work was older and ether were a lot of now termed “alternative” processes.  Also saw a print of one of my favourite pictures (Bewengungstudie by Rudolpf Koppitz).

Popped into the Natural History Museum, saw the big dinosaur and went back to the hotel.

Lots of artichokes- I feel like I’m on the Humphrey Bogart diet of artichokes, beans and scotch (although it’s Bushmills rather than scotch).

Then onto the eurostar to Brussels and Brugges.

I have about 20 rolls of film to develop and scan, before posting about Brugges, so bear with me. Happy holidays and have a happy New Year!



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