Saturday, July 28, 2007

British Petroleum's environmental scheme

A secondary school exhibition display on farming

In the atrium of the BP Building in Trinidad and Tobago, in front of Jacki Hinkson's mural, an exhibition is set up in a typical fashion. Plinths are covered with a black mat tarp and from a quarter off the floor, a decorative pattern runs along the edge. Distracting as this may be, it is also cluttered with matted photographs. These are the photography winners from the BP competition on the theme of the Energy for Life in Trinidad and Tobago.

But one wonders if truly the winners reflected particularity on the theme. The photographs encompassed images found in farming and the natural environment. These included animals, details of flowers, birds and photographs capturing the sun as the source of life, perfectly composed in the centre of the photograph and not neglecting the flare off some individual. Some photos looked doctored and others seemed staged including the first prize winner, Ronald Chung with his photograph of a farmer sprinkling beads of water on a plant. Second and third place winners captured Pigeon Point at dust and a child running with a fish, respectively. The winner of the amateur level, Brian Batholomew snapped a candid portrait of children and the overall photograph attempted to reproduce a Karen Sylvester moment with light permeating through a bamboo patch. images quite apt for an annual report cover and for their archive of over 500 submissions to which they have the rights to.

This exhibition could have been reduced to only five pieces, and the winner should have deservedly been awarded to Mr. Batholomew for the warmth and human element from his work. Otherwise, the exhibition showed an overwhelming degree of literal meaning, void by the theme itself, Energy for Life, and the pun on Energy/ BP/TT was never explored. Photographs were reduced to clich├ęs and photographers romanticized the notion that all is well in this never ending flow of oil in picture-perfect-moments. BPTT Photographic exhibition at the atrium of the BP Building, Port of Spain runs till 29 July, 2007.

Fuel of the future: Hydrogen /Water. And when the oil reserves are depleted, the island will sustain it self with the abundance of hydro-liquid called, We Sea - thebookmann


Anonymous said...

Wow, that gallery set-up looks pretty bad. From your description of the winners, it looks like things may be even worse than they appear! Too bad the prizes don't include a few rolls of Tri-X.

thebookmann said...

Dear Rory,

What really disappointed me about this exhibition was the fact that BP had purported to present it self as a patron to the Arts and spent large sums of money with its full page press Ads regarding the photographic competition.

To walk into a space a see a presentation so weak, you are lead to believe that BP's interest was a slap in the face and a token to us. Not much money was spent on the presentation and the whole thing look quite shoddily.Perhaps, this is what is expected, and what we generally except it.

"But look what they doing for We Culture"

What truly lacked was the heart of the company from a small country that provides so much to others.

Anonymous said...

I understand your point completely. I saw a photographic exhibition at BP headquarters in Houston some years ago. Simply put: it was fantastic. The prints were mounted to aluminium: no cheap matting there!

A company like BP would certainly do its homework with respect to the prevailing aesthetic standard deemed 'acceptable' by the majority of people for a particular venue. They'll then come up with the best acceptable exhibition setup to cost ratio for a particular venue. So, Houston gets spiffy lighting with aluminium mounts on granite walls, and we get cardboard. Figures.


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