The Leicester People’s Photographic Gallery is the largest collection of photographs outside London; it is situated in Leicester on the top floor of what used to be the central library, on Welford Road. I go there very often, there are two rooms of work, one has several bookcases (which have been listed) but are used to book out and showcase images, the other room is used to showcase special exhibitions, such as a person’s series or a collection of people’s photographs.
I went in to the gallery in the Easter holidays where the main exhibition room was showing the people of Leicester’s reaction the August Sander exhibition which was shown at Leicester’s New Walk museum. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase work of those “who haven’t shown their work before”. If this was the whole reason the exhibition was set up it achieved what it wanted, but it was still set up as a reaction to August Sander’s work hence the title of the exhibition “Sandergram”. On one side of the room was Leicester College’s student’s work and the other was the public’s. The exhibition was also a competition.
I did like the exhibition, it was interesting seeing people’s takes on Sander’s work and almost in itself documented the people of Leicester (and maybe a few others). The quality of the work was high and some portraits were really good photos. However, as a response to Sander’s work, I didn’t think it worked that well. There were some who did take photos in the style of Sander but others were just portraits albeit good portraits. Nevertheless the exhibition was meant to celebrate Sander’s work so surely the work should show that people celebrate him? For example Sander usually took photos of people that gave hints of what they did, like his iconic photo of the baker with the mixing bowl. None of the photos had titles or the person who took them next to the photos, this was showcased in a folder, I thought this was agood idea so nothing detracted from the photo but also did not give someone a reason to vote another photo as better because of who took it.
The photographs were displayed well but there was so many of them I found it hard to concentrate for long, but also usually photos are displayed around eyelevel one after the other but because of the shear volume of work most of the photos weren’t at eye level, which meant I accidentally neglected some people’s photographs. This is another reason why the folder of people’s images, title of work and photographer’s name was helpful because you could see all the photographs in a standardised way. Although, the photos on the wall were arranged in patterns, which broke up the pattern of constant images. For instance the photos would be laid out in a row for then in a clump.
Overall the exhibition was enjoyable and very good but I thought the exhibition would have been more similar to Sander’s work.