Over the holiday break I had a chance to go to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) where they showcased a fantastic photography Exhibition “Wildlife Photographer of the Year”. In short it was awesome. The photos were breathtaking.
A majority of the time I really dislike photography exhibitions. They tend to be really pretentious, and full of eye rolling modern art. Now I’m not saying all modern art is bad. But in my opinion a lot of photographic art is contrived BS. Often those exhibitions try too hard to convey meaning, or try to create something that isn’t there and explain it through artsy gobbledegoo.
What I liked about this exhibit is it was so accessible. Any person seeing that exhibit could appreciate the photographs. Anyone could admire the sheer beauty of nature captured beautifully through a combination of skill, good equipment, and luck. I think a lot of these images encapsulated what good photography is; capturing an amazing moment, an amazing scene, or just something that looked interesting. Some of these singular photographs told an entire story.
One thing I particularly liked was the photos included a paragraph describing the situation or story behind capturing the moment as well as the technical details. It’s cool seeing both sides to capturing the image. When reading certain descriptions I pictured the photographer sitting and waiting in the forest for 4 hours just to get one shot. I also liked taking apart the photo technically imagining what settings I would use to capture that shot then comparing to what the photographer actually used.
The photos themselves are just stunning. Now as I look at some samples on the ROM website I think they look pretty good. But when you see them in full size and backlit they are so much more impressive. The rich colours and textures pop so much more in comparison to what you will see online. As mentioned earlier some of these photos are so powerful they tell a story just through a single shot. One of my favourite shots was a photo of a Gorilla and her two baby Gorillas. The mother sitting in the rain clutching her twins looking right at the camera just gave me the chills. The expression of each of the gorillas was so human.
Being a giant people watcher I also liked seeing how the audience was reacting to the photos. The exhibit featured winners in various categories as well as runner ups and so on. It was interesting to see people debating the merits of photos in various categories. I myself was surprised by some winners in comparison to other strong contenders in certain categories.
Overall it was fantastic. Go see it! Do it! Way more impressive in real life then flipping through on your iPad.