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Black presence in the Taylor Wessing photographic exhibition.


The Taylor Wessing Exhibition was packed on the day that I visited, and the quality of work was of an impressively high standard. I’m sure that the two things aren’t unrelated.

The Exhibition is an annual fixture at the National Portrait Gallery, and focusses exclusively on contemporary photographic portraiture, with around seventy photographs on display chosen from over four thousand submitted from around the world. There’s been a degree of whispered criticism in previous years that the judges are predisposed towards a certain style of portrait. That there’s a Taylor Wessing look, if you like; a house-style that favours pictures of distinctive and unsmiling faces staring straight at the lens, or full-length studies of people standing square-on and stock-still in front of unusual or anomalous backgrounds. The judges have also been rumoured to like pictures of pale-skinned girls with red hair. And to simply adore pictures of babies. I’ve even…

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Everything is Connected


Following the installation of a yellow line connecting the Wasdale Oak to the shores of Wastwater, we’ve had a strong reaction – both positive and negative. One of the important roles of art is to provoke debate and discussion, so this isn’t unexpected, but our intention was never to cause an upset. We thought it would be useful to reiterate the context for this piece.

The line will be in place for less than two weeks. It is 1.5 metres wide and just over a hundred metres long. This is tiny in proportion of the landscape, yet it does disrupt the accepted view of Wasdale Screes. It is a trigger for a consideration of the way we view and celebrate our stunning landscapes and how we are inspired by them and care for them. Fittingly enough, these are the main subjects that have arisen in the debate about the line…

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