Hid­den gems

The Photographer's Mail - - Editorial - Lara Wy­att

Just like that favourite dish at a restau­rant, which you keep com­ing back to be­cause you know you’ll al­ways en­joy it, I find that when I book my­self in to at­tend an event, I tend to grav­i­tate to­wards the same type or genre of art per­for­mances, be they theatre, mu­sic, pho­tog­ra­phy, or oth­er­wise. But what I’ve found lately is that I am re­ally en­joy­ing the feel­ing of break­ing away from what I know and love, and chal­leng­ing my­self to ex­pe­ri­ence a wider ar­ray of per­for­mances.

Some­times, all that seems to be re­quired to find per­for­mance types I haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore is to delve deeper than the main­stream and heav­ily pro­moted arena that I seem to be drawn to­wards. Of­ten, you can ex­pe­ri­ence some in­cred­i­bly high-qual­ity work from the less-es­tab­lished, some­times over­looked artists of the world. What I am re­ally en­joy­ing lately is hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to talk to photo-me­dia and vis­ual-imag­ing stu­dents from around the country and be­ing able to see the work that they’ve been pro­duc­ing for their univer­sity cour­ses, as well as their own per­sonal projects that they’ve been chip­ping away at. There’s so much ex­cite­ment and en­thu­si­asm sur­round­ing the up-and-com­ers in the pho­tog­ra­phy in­dus­try that I al­ways come away feel­ing mo­ti­vated and in­spired to get to work on what­ever project I have reached a stale­mate with.

I’m also be­com­ing more and more aware that a per­for­mance or ex­hi­bi­tion does not just oc­cur within the walls of a gallery; there is an enor­mous num­ber of variations and ways to present work. Photo books are one of them, and even my brief visit to the li­brary re­cently opened my eyes to a huge num­ber of ex­hi­bi­tions all tidily lined up on the shelf. You may walk into a theatre and see the walls un­ex­pect­edly adorned with pho­to­graphs or art pieces — th­ese un­planned mo­ments are of­ten my favourite: you’ve gone in with no ex­pec­ta­tions and come away with a slice of arts and cul­ture that en­riches your day and of­ten un­cov­ers the work of an artist you may never have heard of be­fore. This of­ten hap­pens to me in cafes. I’ll pop in for a take­away cof­fee and end up spend­ing 20 min­utes longer than I in­tended to, tak­ing in the works and try­ing to hunt out the artist on so­cial me­dia so I can keep up­dated with what they’re work­ing on.

It just goes to show that art ex­plo­ration isn’t some­thing we de­vote an al­lo­cated time to, to head to a gallery or theatre — it’s lit­er­ally just all around us, hid­den in plain sight and ready to brighten any­one’s day who hap­pens to stum­ble across it.

I’m al­ways on the look­out for in­trigu­ing and cap­ti­vat­ing events to ex­pe­ri­ence, so, if you’ve got one of your own, or you know of some­thing com­ing up, keep me in the loop so I can get my­self there.

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