Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894 – 1986)

Today I went to The Photographers’ Gallery to see the exhibitions Home Truths: Motherhood, Photography & Identity, and Jacques Henri Lartigue: BIBI.

The former of these exhibitions was not exactly my cup of tea. Something about it made me wonder whether it was essential to be a mother or a parent to really grasp it. Even being slightly broody, as I often am, I feel was not enough to be able to appreciate it’s worth. There was, however, an artist displaying an interesting and slightly horrifying exhibition which blurred the lines between mother/son, man/woman boundaries whereby the artist took very erotic and compromising photos of his mother over the span of eight years or so. In any case, it’s always good to challenge ones own morals and ethics.

The latter ‘BIBI’, is a wonderful, exuberant exhibition of photographs from the 1920s documenting Lartigue’s life with his wife Bibi and their time spent in numerous destinations around the globe, towards the end often capturing moments showing the harder times of their marriage, and their eventual separation. Something about the exhibition made me feel almost nostalgic – like I yearned to go back to a time I never experienced. I think it’s easy to build up a romantic picture in one’s mind of the past. It all looked so simple and organic and frivolous… so glamorous. When I walked out of the gallery I felt almost like I’d lost something. I wanted to go back to a life I’d never lived.

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Perfect exhibition to get you thinking. Both are on until Jan 5th 2014.

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