Thursday, 12 February 2009

Lecture: Tom Wood

Please excuse my rant and sarcasm, but today, there was a presentation by Tom Wood at Uni. I was in two minds as to whether I wanted to go or not but decided I would as I thought it could be quite interesting.

The uni timetable described Tom and his lecture as;

"Tom Wood is a major contemporary street photographer who for many years has focused almost exclusively on Liverpool and Merseyside in his work. Born in the rural west of Ireland he moved to Liverpool in 1978 where he produced Looking for Love in 1989 which features the infamous Chelsea Reach Nightclub in New Brighton and All Zones Off Peak which features images taken on Liverpool buses. A retrospective, Photie Man, was published in 2005. His work is in many public collections including MoMA; the V&A Museum and the British Council and he has done commercial photography for the fashion and culture magazine I-D".

Well, I thought, even though I'm not really a fan of this type of work, it would be interesting to see what he had to say...who wouldn't? And the mention of Liverpool just had Chambre Hardman ticking over in my head despite their work being so different!
HOW WRONG I WAS!!!!!!!!!!!
It was supposed to run for an hour....1 hour and 50 minutes later we finally managed to escape.

Tom started off by plugging his books followed 15 minutes later by telling us that he now does landscape photography but showed NONE of this work and from the impression that I very much got, its because he doesn't make a living from it so it is it really that amazing?
He then displayed a slide show of his images from the 70's/80's and droned on the whole time something similar to; 'I took this photos of these too girls and round the corner there was a public toilet and I took another photo there' and 'I always worked in colour as I liked it but I couldn't afford it so I worked in black & white'. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!

He was also extremely rude and I felt very much like he needed to pull his head out of his backside. He kept telling Adrian (a Uni employee) "change the next slide" and "focus the slide Adrian" repeatedly in quite an arrogant manner.

The main thing for me was, after the lecture, I didn't feel like I had learnt anything at all. It was like listening to a great great grandparent with dementia for nearly 2 hours. I didn't feel like he knew anything about photography afterwards and he certainly didn't demonstrate the he did.
I just came away thinking he was one of the few people who was lucky enough to have a camera and access to developing who took random photos while he was out with his mates when most people only took photos of their family and that is why his images are in demand now. Followed by another 15 minute plug for his books...
Tom didn't talk about how he got to where he is today or anything useful to help us further our knowledge or careers at all in my opinion.

Fair enough, he has made his name but come on - can we have a REAL photographer who isn't going to spend 30 minutes plugging his books and droning on about nothing particularly useful???!!!
I know that LCAD is an arts college, but there are other styles of 'art' - after all, it is a matter of taste and I know that most people who attended the lecture were in a similar mind as I was after!

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