Well as my exhibition of work at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham comes to a close, it was time to make one final visit this week to do a public talk about my work.
I’m not really shy about talking in public as I had enough practice whilst at University. I have a genuine passion about what I shoot and needed no notes or bullet points to help me remember what I was supposed to be talking about. Although I was only speaking for ten minutes, it went well and it was a great opportunity to answer questions about my ongoing project in Ukraine.
Now this also gave me an opportunity to see what comments had been written in the visitors book. As I flicked through each page, I am pleased to report that the feedback was positive, with most comments being similar to the one below in the image.
After having an exhibiton held at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham I have been receiving some great feedback. Not only about my images but about the current situation in Ukraine. This is great as it shows that people are not only looking at the images but are attempting to engage with the content.
I am pleased to see that these images are now being used to promote a photography course called ‘Through The Lens Of Realism’ which aims to document the seemingly ordinary scenes around you using a digital camera. These are inspired by gritty photographic works on display in New Art West Midlands.
It’s Monday morning in Kyiv and I’m flying home on a evening flight. Having spent the weekend here I decide to kill my remaining hours by heading into the centre to take a few images. I’m not sure what I want to shoot but I’ll know it when I see it.
As I cross the street I spot a large crown gathered around the Lenin statue (a monument in Kyiv which has had a 24 hour guard around it for as long as I can remember). Curiosity gets the better of me and I decide to take a closer look.
Now as much as I try to stay out of politics, Ukraine is a country where this cannot be avoided. Although in all honesty, having a good knowledge of politics here is no bad thing. It helps to answer many questions.
As I approach the monument, red flags are flying and many members of an older generation dressed in Soviet military uniforms start laying flowers. It’s Lenin’s birthday. An occasion celebrated by those who still hold close to their chest the days of Soviet rule.
The atmosphere is good and my eye is drawn towards a babushka who has chosen her wardrobe carefully today. Everything red as one might expect. I decide to put my Russian language skills to the test and ask if I can take her picture. In the past this has often been met with an abrupt refusal but today is different. We exchange pleaseantaries and she strikes a pose which would not look out of place on Victory Day.
Since my work has been exhibited at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, feedback has been great. Turning Point West Midlands are now exhibiting one of the images from the exhibition on their website. Many people have emailed me asking for more information about the current situation in Ukraine so I am really please that the images are making people question the narrative behind the work.
After attending the exhibition opening at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, I managed to get hold of the exhibition catalogue which was now available. It features two of my images and an excellent write up explaining the background to both myself and my project.
Inside it states ‘O’Brien’s photographs illustrate a genuine understanding and compassion with the people who feature as well as an objective criticality to the wider situation.’
Yesterday I travelled over to Birmingham for the ‘Private View’ where my work which is being exhibited at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham. It was a great evening where selected individuals were allowed to view all the images before the official opening today.
The exhibition showcases eight images from my ongoing project in Ukraine documenting social change and it still seems strange seeing the images presented in such a glorious setting. The curation team at The Barber worked really hard ensuring that the images were given a large amount of space to breathe and I can’t begin to thank them enough. Of course, it goes without saying that there are lots of people to thank. Those who continue to support me with this project and all those involved with setting up this exhibition and making it happen.
The images are being exhibited from 8th March until the 19th May 2013 so please make an effort to go if you get the chance.
Today I travelled over to Birmingham to work alongside the curation team at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham. Eight of my images from my long term project in Ukraine are being exhibited from 8th March until the 19th May 2013.
It was great to be working alongside a group of people who are as passionate about my work as I am. It also seems surreal that my work is being exhibited in such a fine establishment as this.
The exhibition runs for just over two months so I hope that those interested get the chance to go along and see the work as it should be seen.