Light from the Middle East

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Two contrasting photography exhibitions form the basis of the next London photography study visit on Saturday 16 February. In the morning we will visit the V&A’s review of contemporary photography from and about the Middle East. As is typically the case with V&A exhibitions, there is a mass of useful material about the work on their website, including this video which is well worth checking out.

In the afternoon we will visit the Photographers’ Gallery to see and discuss their exhibition of Laura Letinsky’s Ill Form and Full Void. Tutor, Robert Enoch, explains why he felt we should include this exhibition:

Her work shows some of the potential of contemporary still life photography, using simple arrangements of objects to suggest meanings in the tradition of the Vanitas and still life paintings of the past. What interests me here is the way everyday objects can be so arranged to suggest different meanings that both critique photography itself and reflect feelings and relationships in traces. This notion of the photograph as a mark, a sign, is particularly relevant to my work.

Why have we put these two shows together in one study visit? Well if there is a linking theme is is as Laura Letinsky says at the end of this video, it is about ‘how photography changes how we see and how we understand the world’

As we expect this to be a popular visit we will be joined by three tutors: Jose Navarro, Simon Barber and Robert Enoch. Places are free for OCA students. To book your place email

Image credit: Manal Al-Dowayan  ‘I am an Educator’


  1. AMANO 24 January 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Have applied – was waiting for an OCA visit to this exhibition – could be good! The one at The Photographer’s Gallery also sounds interesting.

  2. JS 24 January 2013 at 5:49 pm

    It’s being advertised too late to get cheap train tickets, and £50 travel puts it out of reach for me.

  3. Nigel Monckton 24 January 2013 at 7:19 pm

    This is an excellent exhibition and very well worth a visit. A lot of food for thought from a wide range of photographers.

    1. Nigel Monckton 24 January 2013 at 7:23 pm

      By ‘this’ I mean Light from the Middle East. Haven’t seen the other.

  4. Hazel 24 January 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Have booked train tickets – looking forward to visit

  5. Gill 25 January 2013 at 11:02 am

    I’m looking forward to both exhibitions – they certainly look interesting.

  6. Anna Goodchild 25 January 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I can’t open the video, what am I doing wrong.

    1. Paul 25 January 2013 at 1:07 pm

      What happens when you try Anna?

  7. Chris Woolgar 28 January 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I’m booked. I was thinking I might get some time in the V and A photography rooms, but that may not be possible if I’m to do both exhibitions.

  8. Dave 29 January 2013 at 7:45 am

    Disappointed. I applied as soon as the email came through but all the places have gone. I’ve been keeping an eye on this since it was announced (but with no dates).

    Perhaps the OCA could look at publishing the dates a little further in advance to allow students the opportunity of taking advantage of cheap rail fares?

    1. Lee 30 January 2013 at 3:20 pm

      We have released a few additional places, so you and most of the others on the reserve list should now be able to attend Dave. We do try to give as much notice as possible.

  9. Tanya 30 January 2013 at 3:44 am

    Madly jealous, Laura Letinsky has several books out- well worth checking out, she uses light so delicately and the ‘Light from the Middle East’ looks fascinating. I am interested in the cultural divides, does the artwork erase them or perpetuate them? Are the artists using ‘ Eurocentric’ art styles or something ‘Middle Eastern’? Does knowing what is written on this chalk board make a difference in viewing the image, is it exotic now and not after I tell you? (SPOILER ALERT!) It says the same sentence over and over… basically… ‘knowledge is light the darkness of ignorance’ (knowledge encompassing science not just education). I hope those of you lucky enough to go will chat about the experience here, it looks to be a very thought provoking exhibition.

  10. Dave 9 February 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks Lee
    I have a place now from the reserve list.

    What I meant by dates is that if you look at the future study is its list, there are visits planned but no dates. This makes it difficult for those of us who work and have to plan holiday dates, swap work patterns etc.

    Seriously looking forward to this now.


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