The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection – TATE MODERN

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection 

Tate Modern – 10 NOVEMBER 2016 – 7 MAY 2017

Who knew that Elton has such an incredible collection of prints? Who knew Elton was even interested in photography?

With over 7000 rare antique prints, Elton John is thought to have the biggest private collection of modernist photography in the world. 

The collection includes work from the likes of Rodchenko, Cartier Breson, Berenice Abbott, Man Ray and Dorothea Lange to name but a few. 

“Each of these photographs serves as inspiration for me in my life; they line the walls of my homes and I consider them precious gems… I hope the exhibition audience experiences as much joy in seeing the works as I have had in finding them.”

I spent most of my sunday at Radical Eye Exhibition, wandering around dumbstruck. I never thought I would have the opportunity to see some of those images in print form. They are even more spectacular in the flesh. This is a one off opportunity to see this incredibly rare and extensive collection, thank you Elton! 

At this point I feel I ought to mention Elton’s taste in framing. A lot of the images are from the 1920/30s, and are mounted in stunning deco frames, often quite ornate and grand. The frames are in direct contrast to the content of some of the images. For instance, Dorothea Lange’s photograph of the Migrant Mother during the Great Depression is housed in a silver deco frame. This choice of presentation, at first, may seem inappropriate for a photograph depicting a mother and her children in desperate poverty. In print and in that frame, the mother seems more beautiful, more powerful and important than ever. The frame gives the woman and her children the glory and celebration they deserve. After all she is a timeless and iconic symbol of survival and the strength of motherhood. 

Definitely an absolute must see exhibition.