I was already used to waking up in a room of six, so a room of seven was not too bad to get ready for the day in. The view outside of our room in Arles made it much easier though! Instead of looking out to more walls and windows of the hostel like in Prague, we have the view of a side street, and the room across the hall has the amazing view of Théâtre Antique d’Arles.
After eating a breakfast of baguettes, we travelled down the road to our first photography exhibits. A woman named Auréliá Frey(pictured above) not only walked with us and presented the four exhibits to the group, but she also kept us all on our toes and asked how many photos and entire exhibits made us feel and think about what the photographer was trying to portray.
The first exhibit was photographed by a man named Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt. His photographs made one think about humanity. The second exhibit we viewed was photographed by Wolfgang Tillmans. His photos made us think deeply about what was trying to be portrayed, but also how we individually felt about the photo. He may have been trying to prove the point that all minds are different and will have separate ideas for each photo.
The third exhibit was photographed by Pieter Hugo and told viewers that everyone is equal and no man is better than another by making photos of faces black and white and similar-looking. The fourth exhibit displayed how passion for art does not have to come at a young age, and that you can be as clever as you want, if you put your mind to it. The photographer, Gilbert Garcin, put so much thought into his creations and his wife even participated in his photos with him. My favorite exhibit was the second because the photo titled “Silver” reminded me of how I became interested in photography in the first place.
“Silver” was an enlarged photo of an original piece of unexposed photo paper that was placed in the developer chemical used in the darkroom. What was displayed on the photo was the dust and leftover material from photos previously developed. It was a neat idea and brought back my own memories from the dark room at my high school where I started learning about photography.
Sophomore year of high school was when I chose to enroll in a black and white photography class. Looking back, I do not remember why I even chose to take the class that ended up being an enormous part of my life. It was with a film camera that I started to think more creatively about the composition of photos. It was in the dark room where I would feel the excitement of enlarging negatives and placing them in the tubs of different chemicals to see an image form on a blank sheet of paper. It was in the classroom that I could finally examine the picture in the light and see what my teacher thought of it.
“Silver” brought those memories rushing back, and I started to appreciate how much I’ve learned since that black and white photography class, and realize how much more I can learn. On this trip I’ve already gained so much knowledge, and as we keep traveling I know there will be even more amazing opportunities. The exhibits and the city of Arles itself has already given me so much to think about that I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the week.