An ex­hi­bi­tion con­tin­ues at Truro’s Shel­ter­box HQ with a se­ries of pho­tographs as stun­ning as they are mov­ing, writes Ewen Mac­Don­ald

Cornwall Life - - UNMISSABLE ART -

Apho­tog­ra­phy ex­hi­bi­tion doc­u­ment­ing drought, dev­as­ta­tion and refugee camps isn’t likely to be on any­body’s itin­er­ary for a fun day out. Hav­ing stud­ied both the hor­rors of the Holo­caust and the ex­cru­ci­at­ing blood­bath that was the French Revo­lu­tion, at univer­sity dur­ing my de­gree in his­tory, you would imag­ine I would be in­ured to the pain and suf­fer­ing rou­tinely in­flicted on this planet both by na­ture and hu­man be­ings. Un­for­tu­nately, or for­tu­nately, I have a weak con­sti­tu­tion for the im­ages of death and de­struc­tion.

I need not have wor­ried vis­it­ing this ex­hi­bi­tion as the im­ages on dis­play here show great com­pas­sion, em­pa­thy and dig­nity to­wards their sub­jects. None were in any way ex­ploita­tive of the sit­u­a­tion, a com­mon ac­cu­sa­tion against western jour­nal­ists and pho­tog­ra­phers. As the ti­tle sug­gests this ex­hi­bi­tion is about bring­ing a re­source­ful­ness and de­fi­ance in the face of seem­ingly in­sur­mount­able odds.

With the ex­cep­tion of Dougie Wal­lace’s work which was pre­sented as a slideshow on a screen, the other pho­tog­ra­phers work was mounted as a tra­di­tional set of prints and these were shots were taken by truly ta­lented pho­tog­ra­phers. Tom Stod­dart’s work is in black and white im­ages, so clas­si­cally taken and framed they could have come from any pe­riod in pho­to­jour­nal­is­tic his­tory.

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