Eye on London: Magazines on display

By: Sydney Adamson, Columnist

I have a confession to make: it’s taken me over two months to visit a single museum in London. I hope my former art history professors aren’t reading this, but if they are, I offer my sincerest apology.

I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the Horst P. Horst photography exhibit. Horst was a 20th century photographer who worked very closely with Vogue Magazine. He photographed countless covers and editorials for the magazine and has had an immense impact on fashion photography and photography in general.

His exhibit is very large, spanning multiple rooms with his life’s work on display. In one particular room, which is my favorite, the walls are lined with almost life-size pieces of Horst’s color photography (a change from his usual black and white photography). In the middle of the room is a long, glass case and in it sits 30 years worth of Vogue Magazine covers, spanning from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. Each cover in the case was photographed by Horst.

This year, I spent the end of January through August interning at the teen fashion and lifestyle magazine, Girls’ Life and I’m a magazine junkie at heart; so when I saw that case full of vintage magazine covers, I was completely overjoyed. I don’t think that many people view fashion photography as art, so it was wonderful to see that case (and the entire exhibit) dedicated to Horst’s work. Horst also worked with Salvador Dali, Coco Chanel and other well-known names, and in other mediums, too. The exhibit even included his sketchbooks, photo shoot plans, contact sheets and other similar artifacts.

I attended the Horst exhibit with my photography class and was the last student out of the museum by a long shot, so that should be an indication of how much I enjoyed it.

On Saturday I spent the afternoon photographing street musicians in an area called South Bank and when it was too dark to take any more photos, I decided to head into the Tate Modern since it was nearby.

At Tate Modern I saw several of Picasso’s paintings, two exhibits of black and white photography and lots of art I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I respect any art as it is, but I definitely don’t have the capacity to understand most of it. The photography exhibits however did provide me with a wealth of ideas for my film photography final project. I enjoyed the Horst exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum more so than Tate Modern, but both were equally inspirational. Both museums house so much work that I’ll definitely need to return to them for a second look.

I’m hoping that in my remaining three weeks here I’ll be able to do that, as well as visit more of the beautiful museums London has to offer.

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