National Portrait Gallery – Road to 2012

A couple of weeks ago I went to see this exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery in London and found it truly inspirational. Not only from the photographic point of via, but on so many different levels. Viewing so many beautiful photographs and reading the stories behind the images was a really humbling experience.

In this post I would like to write about the photographer Jillian Edelstein. I saw a number of her portraits of people behind the scenes of organising the London Olympic Games but I absolutely loved her portrait of Jan Matthews, the Head of Catering,  Cleaning and Waste for the London OLympic Games. 

I found it quite difficult to analyse and verbally describe images, especially if they are mine, so take every opportunity to learn more about this kind of analysis. It was really helpful to see a short video of Jillian Edelstein describing the set up and thoughts behind this image. I was amazed at how complex the thought process was and how many different factors came together to create the final image.
Jillian loves the theatre culture and art, and the idea of being on a stage. She really did not want the photos to look too corporate, but aimed for a theatrical images of these people who played essential roles in preparation and running of the Olympics  – the reason for this was to give them the chance to  stand in front and be the stars – and of course to capture engaging and dramatic images.
So the plastic curtain being used in the photo was used as if it was a curtain in the theatre. The location for this shot was Smithfield  Market and it symbolised the dedication of the team to use british produce, as well as proving a fantastic background for the photo shoot.
The resulting image is effortless, natural looking, and very captivating – simply perfect in my view….

Jillian Edelstein

For Aiming High, the final series of portraits for the project, Edelstein portrayed those involved in the final preparations for Games Time and the specialists responsible for the on-going transformation in east London.

Relishing different ways of using photography, Jillian Edelstein has built an award-winning career in both portraiture and photojournalism.

Born in South Africa, Edelstein (b.1957) worked as a press photographer before moving to London in 1985. Her first job with ‘The Sunday Times’ led to portrait commissions from top international magazines including the ‘New York Times’ and ‘Vanity Fair’. In ‘Truth and Lies’ (2001), a powerful project on

the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and her new book, ‘Here and There: An Expedition of Sorts’, she weaves together portraiture, photojournalism and landscape.

For the Road to 2012, Edelstein drew on her passion for film to create cinematic vignettes with her sitters. She uses intriguing locations, and carefully crafted lighting to reference the stories behind the final preparations for Games Time and the legacy work in the East End of London.


via Road to 2012.

This entry was published on October 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm. It’s filed under Photos I like... and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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