Of nine exhibiting photographers, the images of Mishka Henner captured the theme of “Consumption” in the Prix Pictet exhibition of shortlisted photographs at the Victoria & Albert Museum. In this instalment of Prix Pictet’s efforts to “harness the power of photography” to draw attention to the global impact of “Consumption” Henner’s big and bold photography prints stood out, closely followed by Hong Hao’s. Neither Henner’s or Hao’s photographs should be beautiful but they are while simultaneously driving home a message to us. Both readily stair up debate, which could either be about the environment, photography or aesthetics.
Henner’s Coronado Feeders uses a brutal beauty to foretell a brutal truth. Of course there is the danger that Henner’s images are so politically apt and on trend that they are clichéd but what was interesting looking at Coronado Feeders, for example, was the creation of visual impact from so politically on-trend and so emotive a subject matter. Juxtaposed with Hao, we see what visual arrest and the mosaic of impact the consumption of one individual is capable of (Hao) compared to the scaring arrest and impact of the consumer demands of a town, country, region or the globe at large (Henner).
Prix Pictet at the V&A, The Porter Gallery, Thursday 22 May 2014 – Saturday 14 June 2014.
By Depo Olukotun