Tate Britain’s exhibit on photographing Britain was very powerful exhibit. It took you through the history of photography through pictures in Britain’s past, instead of just giving you facts and dates about the evolution of photography. This way of telling history through the images helps convey the importance of each image to the viewer. The New Freedoms in Photography section was one of the more important sections in the exhibit. It showed a significant step in the turning of photography from portraits into art and expression and emotion. In particular Angus McBean’s Frances Day fused photo and painting and all the while showing a slightly controversial image for the time.
Another area that is guaranteed to catch your attention, weather you agree with it or not, was in the Urge to Document section, where Derek Ridgers’ photo of a girl from the counter culture scene titled Yasmin, Kings Road ’84. The photo shows this girl dressed up and covered in makeup with the perfect expression of apathy combines together to perfectly convey her feelings on popular culture and her attempt to break away and be a part of what she wants, not what is told to want.
However, arguably the most powerful photograph in the exhibit was in the final room called Reflections on a Strange Country. There were three giant photos of very close up faces of three Marines. The first was showing the typical, battle hardened gung-ho Marine ready for war, the second Marine was visibly scared but still wasn’t going to let that stop him from doing what was required of him. The most important was the final picture showing a much more humanistic image of a scared young adult in a military uniform, terrified that his life might end for the will of a leader he has never met. The third Marine is on the verge of tears and sweating and showing his feelings very openly and obviously, showing that although they are trained for war, not all are ready for it.