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Tag: Galleries

Trespassing on Gallery Walls

Sir Arthur C Clarke in his Colombo home. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

“I’d better put on my sincere smile” he said as he straightened up realising I was about to take his picture. Arthur C Clarke, the king of Sci Fi, was only half joking. The sincere smile is certainly not the monopoly of the pre-election campaigner. I find myself doing it when I spy a camera. Or put on a more sombre expression depending upon what seems more appropriate. I straighten my hair. Others turn away, some beam, some get embarrassed. The camera is rarely something one is inert to. Our image something we jealously guard.

The photograph trespasses in other ways. The fine art critic, unsure of how to value the medium, is uncomfortable in photographyland. Flirting with reality, rejecting the norms of classical art practice, the deliberately banal, the quietly provocative, the inanely repetitive and even the stunningly picturesque photograph, unsettles viewers on gallery walls. Is it good? Should I like it? Should I pay?