Gallery Inspiration....... / by Neil Genower

©Chris Killip

©Chris Killip

Horst P Horst

Horst P Horst

So, when did you last see a print, or even hold one? We all have instant access to almost every picture ever taken or painted by anyone with any worth, and billions of those with none. There is no substitute for actually eyeballing the print. Here in London we are fortunate enough to have free access to almost all the galleries in town and can just call in anytime to take a look at some of the world's greatest art. Admittedly, we do have to pay for the guest exhibitions. I wonder whether we absorb as much from a picture viewed on a monitor as we do from the real thing. I think not. As a photographer, I draw significant knowledge and ideas from paintings. I can't paint to save my life but I can admire and appreciate the use of colour and light from painters. Looking through the galleries at the National Portrait gallery in London, you notice how many painters used the light coming in from the left, as you look at the picture. This is thought to be because we read from left to right, so our natural inclination is to read a picture from left to right and of course our eye will always go to the brightest area of a picture first. If you want to learn more about colour and how colours of opposite hues can complement each other, check out some master artists. Renoir used the contrasting colours of blue and orange, opposites on the colour wheel, to facilitate the aesthetic appreciation of his work. My point here is that we should all take the time to see more original works, whether they are photographs, painting or sculpture. They come to life in a way computers are unable to represent. So, when you get the chance, go and see real art, it will inspire you and hopefully encourage you to take your pictures off the pixel and get them onto paper. If you're in London, the Tate Britain has a wonderful exhibition of photographs from documentary photographer Chris Killip and it's free. At the V&A museum there is a must see exhibition from photographer Horst. If you're a portrait photographer, you really should see this show. The Getty museum in Los Angeles has a terrific exhibition of photographs from Minor White. Wherever you are, see what is going on in the galleries, you may just see something that triggers an idea.

Minor White

Minor White

Renoir

Renoir