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What makes us choose the photographs we take? What makes something art?
From East Anglia, where he now lives, to the unlikeliest corners of Eastern Europe, Ian Jeffrey seeks out art in the world about us. ‘My idea, I think, is that things have to be left alone for a time, so they can develop into art… It has to be run down, departed from its glittering moments. It also has to be something pictured.’ It may be a dusty ship’s figurehead in Southwold, or a stuffed zebra in a museum in Bucharest, or an illuminated image of the Great Wall of China in a Nagasaki take-away. And, being run down, only photography will preserve these savoured images from oblivion. ‘Photographs simply allow me to look at things longer and to reflect on them.’
Well known as an art and photographic historian, Ian Jeffrey acknowledges that our choice of images – of what we pay attention to – is strongly influenced by the art we have experienced. His photographs have hints of history or landscape painting, but also of Dadaism, Pop Art and Minimalism. Together they constitute a world picture or a miniature and rearrangeable National Gallery.
What Strikes You?
Apart from photographing the family and the pet dog, why do we take photographs?
In his exhibition ‘Universal Pictures’, Ian Jeffrey reflects on why he takes photographs of particular things. Why is he drawn to one thing rather than another? And what influences his choice?
Before and during that exhibition we invite you to let us see what catches your eye and imagination. A frieze of photographs of ‘the nearly missed’ will develop in the Education Room and, at 15.30 on 14 January, Ian Jeffrey will be here to discuss them.