One of the most remarkable things about photography, something that shook the Victorian world, but which we today take for granted is how it could capture the moment. How through the single act of taking a photograph, the world was caught forever in time. It opened up a new way of thinking about recording, instead of relying on the written word, or the artist sketch, now anyone with a camera could record an instance. The impact on the world of reportage was phenomenal – newspapers now carried photographs. Today we can get a measure of how revolutionary it was through the explosion of smart phones capturing everyday events and uploading on the web. But it is when you see how members of the Royal Photographic Society Documentary Group “capture the moment “ in a series of photographs do you really gain a sense of how special it is and what a truly remarkable skill it is, to regain the Victorian sense of awe. That can now be experience by visitors to a brilliant exhibition “Capturing the moment” award winning photographs by the Royal photographic Society Documentary Group.
The exhibition is an amazing opportunity to see some outstanding photography that marries both the skill of the photographer and the skill of reporter/story teller. It is about reporting or documenting the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. So whilst we may not have the award winning photographs in our domestic space they certainly do deserve to exist. One example is telling the tragic tale of the death of a calf and the life of the farm where the tragedy occurred. Now we are so distant from rural life the images unsettle. Other images such as the celebratory events of the colourful Sonepur festival with its touch of the exotic and the Appleby Horse Fair, equally life affirming and ethnographic – recording of cultures - can be seen as enchanting. In its own way the Closure of a Strip Pub in London is a brilliant study of a death as much as the death of a calf, both portraying that sense and capture of loss.
Horsham Museum & Art Gallery are delighted to have the rare opportunity to show such amazing photographs and through the exhibition creating the opportunity for people to reflect. Amongst the hurly burly of Christmas festivities and the fake bonhomie of advertising it is good to have a bit of grit, to make you think about the world around you. Thanks to the Victorian invention of photography and these 6 documentary photographers we can do just that, as they are Capturing the Moment to enable us to see a different world.