Chaos in the Gallery!
Most photographers whose work leads them to photograph on the streets of the UK nowadays can expect to occasionally meet with a hostile, if not hysterical, reaction from the people that find themselves in the viewfinder. And so one would think that interesting subject matter for the street photographer becomes even harder to access.
There is, however, a “street photographer” (his description, rather than mine) whose sheer nerve in pursuit of his images occasionally leaves me dumbstruck. His name is Gareth Jukes and I’ve known him since we began studying together in 2004. Since then, we were co-members of the photographers group “5 Go Shooting“.
Gareth is currently an MA Fine Art student and still as fearless when behind his camera as he was when I first met him. Like many street photographers, he freely acknowledges that his field is extremely unilkely to lead to high volume image sales or fame and fortune, but he continues to shoot at a prolific rate whenever possible, funding this work (as many do) with more commercial types of photography.
Gareth has the very rare gift of being simultaneously bold and unobtrusive. Shooting at three successive EDL (English Defence League) “demonstrations”, or riots as they became, in Dudley last summer, he somehow managed to align himself alongside the police, young asians staging a counter-demo, and even the EDL’s middle-aged skinheads in order to get the angles he wanted. This is all the more surprising when you realise that Gareth is a young black male.
I am proud to announce that “Chaos“, a solo exhibition by Gareth, will commence at Fotofilia from next Tuesday (1st March). The title comes from early discussions with Gareth about what aspects of his work to include. I suggested one shot, taken in the back streets of Istanbul, and another amazingly close shot of the Pope’s Birmingham visit, to which Gareth said, “But where’s the chaos, man?” Chaos is certainly a feature of the exhibition, but so too is spontaneity, and real beauty.
Expect images from any or all of Gareth’s photographic expeditions, to the USA, Turkey, France, Ireland… and not to mention many of the major cities in the UK. Gareth’s approach is akin to that of Robert Capa – get in close, shoot fast and keep your head down. His images have the same sense of atmosphere and energy, sometimes at the expense of technically perfect compostion, focus and exposure – something that Gareth refuses to correct in post-production (even though he has excellent Photoshop skills).
Come along to Fotofilia over the next couple of weeks and spend some time looking at, and beyond, these images. The real story is often hidden beneath the surface. Come along on Tuesday 1st March (6:30-9pm) and Gareth will explain them to you personally.