Brian Griffin

Face to Face: A Retrospective. Brian Griffin. Outdoor and indoor exhibition Snow Hill Birmingham.

Only I could visit on the last day of this exhibition  to find the indoor exhibition closed! Hence I was only able to view the displayed outdoor images outside Snow Hill station. It was very cold so I was not inclined to spend too long viewing, but I really like his distinctive approach to portraiture. Double exposures have been used for some of the portraits, blurring reality. A photographic portrait is a  visual representation of an individual, most commonly  this includes the face and especially the eyes. Two images exclude recognisable facial features, the face, and eyes, but both subjects are instantly recognisable because of how he has chosen to depict them. Admittedly they are both famous figures , but I feel Brian Griffin has tried to show each subject as an individual, and has chosen to show what makes each of them unique. Both portraits are in black and white against a plain grey background. Brian May dressed completely in black, is photographed from behind, a head and torso composition, reduced to an outline against the plain background .George Melley hides  behind his hands, rings on each of his little fingers replace his eyes but the image captures what was his unique personality, an extrovert and slightly eccentric character.

My favourite portrait was of Liam, a steel erector at St Pancreas. Looking at this image I could imagine it as an Old Master in oils. After my visit to the exhibition I  watched a video interview with Brian Griffin who commented this image was “inspired by religious art”.


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