I found my inspiration in Bradford, but future students might not be so lucky | Alexandra Jones

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

If the National Media Museum closes because of funding cuts, we may never know how many potential voices will be lost

Just months after Newcastle’s art scene was sort-of saved by some nifty rejigging of financial responsibilities (50% cuts to funding don’t look so bad when the alternative is 100%), culture in the north of England is facing another crisis. The Science Museum Group has announced that it may have to close one of its three northern counterparts. Up for the chop are the National Rail Museum in York, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), and one that is particularly close to my heart, Bradford’s National Media Museum.

When I was 15, after spending an afternoon wandering through a photography exhibition at the National Media Museum I was so inspired that I decided to do an A-level in photography. I had known that I wanted to do something visual but my attempts at conventional drawing and painting were, to quote my art teacher, crap. That afternoon I remember thinking: this is an art I can do, I just need a good eye. Photography has been a passion ever since. It just speaks to me, and no photographer, as far as I’m concerned, speaks louder and with a more colourful lexicon than Martin Parr. A collection of Parr’s early snaps is due to be shown at the National Media Museum next year; the exhibition will bring Parr’s work together with that of a great inspiration of his, Tony Ray-Jones.

Parr and Ray-Jones both find such poetic comedy in the everyday – the frank gaze of a cow or the tilt of a dozing man’s head – that their pictures seem almost to become pastiches of the moments they capture. They are real life as seen through a pair of ironic but undoubtedly sympathetic lenses. Should the National Media Museum be shut down, this style of photography is a perfect metaphor for the tragedy of it.

Aside from the crippling effects it would have on Bradford’s city centre, given that the museum runs a hugely successful educational programme, its closing would mean that there are kids who simply would never get to learn about the impact of media on our world. And as with the Newcastle debacle, it is northern kids who will lose out.

So why, you might ask, why would children need “media” anyway? Well, film, photography, journalism et al add a level of understanding to the chaos of the world around us; creating narrative from the random, adding context to the isolated. Parr and Ray-Jones do it succinctly and often with great feeling. The Daily Mail, to pluck another example from the air, does it with crude brush-strokes and a staunchly unsympathetic perspective.

By closing a museum that brings media from the other end of the country to the doorstep of children who would never otherwise be engaged in its creation, by shutting off an amazing source of inspiration for northerners like me, there is a risk of losing their interest, of sending the message that a public voice isn’t for them. Because media isn’t just images, words or data – it is the representation of a person, thing or culture on a global platform. We engage with media more consistently and in more ways than ever before and the constant swell of the internet, the growth of social media and the increasing power of new publishing platforms means that we will continue to do so for a long time to come.

How many potential perspectives would we be losing? How many lenses are being put off, lenses that could offer a satirical but nuanced critique as opposed the broad brushstrokes of the media juggernauts? Minorities, women and northerners are already under-represented in the media. Perhaps we wouldn’t need to focus on, as Hadley Freeman puts it, identity politics and intersectionality, if there were more varied voices from different backgrounds getting air time. And the only way that can happen is through more, not fewer, opportunities to learn and engage.

All I can say for sure is that when I was 15, I was taken on a school trip that inspired me, that made me curious. It’s a rare and wonderful thing – let’s ensure it keeps happening.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | guardian.co.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/07/bradford-national-media-museum Alexandra Jones Thanks for reading Jay


About jayclappphotography

Professional photographer running http://www.jayclappphotography.co.uk Feel free to comment and discuss photos

Posted on June 7, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I love Spending my days in the media museum

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