London Photo Festival at The Crypt
The London Photo Festival is a biannual event that offers budding amateurs and semi-professional photographers an invaluable platform to exhibit their work to the public. With all the pieces available to buy it also creates a space for lovers of photography to provide patronage to some up-and-coming talent in a fiercely competitive field, based purely on the merit of the works presented. Festival-goers are invited to vote for their favourite photograph in the “F-Factor” competition, with the winner is showcased on the festival website.
The theme of this month’s festival is “Travel”. “Think National Geographic not National Lampoon’s Vacation!” exclaims the entry page on the website. Truly, all four corners of the Earth are represented, with pieces from Morocco to Burma, the USA to Kenya, Vietnam to Wales, Switzerland to Australia and almost everywhere in between! If a picture paints a thousand words you would need nearly a million to write a review commenting on each of the works exhibited. The sheer volume of pieces is almost overwhelming.
There’s certainly a rich and varied tapestry of subject matter and form, all very loosely woven together by the theme. There are pieces of bleached-out monochrome by Scott Sampson, the clean but timeless lines of black-and-white (Alan O’Riordan) and photographs with bold, bright colours, larger than life, that almost leap off the wall, by Lucia Hrdà.
For the most part, the photographers have heeded the plea of the festival-organisers; many of the photos exhibited would look right at home on the pages of National Geographic. In this sense you might say that by its own terms the festival is an unmitigated success: there is a plethora of works that are of professional standard in their particular ilk.
While this is no doubt impressive for a group of amateur and semi-pro photographers, there is still something lacking from most of the work, something intangible. Yes they paint some very pretty pictures, or offer a sense of place, or even evoke an emotion, but very few of them effectively communicate a whole story that cries out to the audience, which the greatest photography often does.
This festival will probably appeal most to fellow photographers interested in seeing some technically adept photos – and of course to readers of National Geographic.
Photos: Allie Suwanrumpha
London Photo Festival is at The Crypt, Borough High Street until 18th May 2013. For further information visit the festival’s website here.