Transformations – Unit 1: Pt 5 Field Trip

No classroom session this week, as Zig had an important hospital appointment to attend. Instead, a class evening visit to The Flash Centre in town had been arranged. As this was at 6.30pm, I decided to combine it with a visit to the Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House.

This is the tenth year of the awards exhibition, which included works by Martin Parr who won the awards Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize.

Having visited the exhibition for the first time last year, I had an idea of what to expect. It was a mix of beautiful, disturbing, amusing, thought-provoking images. Here is a selection, including the work of Fredrik Buyckx who won Photographer of the Year.

After the exhibition, I walked from Somerset House to The Flash Centre. This place is an Aladdin’s cave of photographic gear, available for either sale or hire. Our class was warmly welcomed & given an overview of the equipment, such as flashes, power packs modifiers (including diffusing umbrellas & softboxes) & other light accessories. The great shop sells a range of cameras, bags & lots of things you didn’t realise you wanted. Ahem, I mean ‘need’…

One main benefit of being a student is a 20% discount on all equipment hire &, if you register with The Flash Centre, you don’t have to pay a deposit. The other tip is to hire equipment on a Friday – as long as it’s returned the following Monday, you only pay for one day’s hire. Bargain!

After extracting ourselves from all that wonderful stuff, the class made it’s way to see the Wellcome Collection. I’ve heard of this place, but never got round to visiting. To quote the website:

“Wellcome Collection is the free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, it explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The venue offers visitors contemporary and historic exhibitions and collections, lively public events, the world-renowned Wellcome Library, a café, a shop, a restaurant and conference facilities as well as publications, tours, a book prize, international and digital projects.”

It’s also free to enter & open until 10pm on a Thursday evening.

There were two exhibitions we visited. The first was Medicine Now, a permanent display that represents a range of ideas about science and medicine, reflecting the experiences & interests of scientists, doctors and patients.

One display that caught my eye was a black & white film of typhoid & choler bacilli. The movement of the infections was quite fascinating to watch. It’s also one of the earliest surviving footage taken of these cells.

The second exhibition we looked at was Medicine Man. This is a grostesquely fascinating collection of extraordinary objects from Henry Wellcome’s collection. Ones that I remember were amputation saws (complete with friction ridges on the blades), Japanese ‘marital’ aids, a Chinese doctor’s door sign made up of human teeth & Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.

After a sit down & chat with my classmates in the café (dangerously close to a bookshop with too many intriguing books), we made our way home.

Tasks 1, 2 & 3

 

 

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