Major Modernist Photography from Elton John’s Collection opens at Tate Modern


Glass Tears 1932 Man Ray

The Radical Eye: Modernist photography from Sir Elton John collection opens at the Tate Modern on November 10.

Sir Elton John owns one of the largest collections of modernist photographs in the world with over 8,000 prints from the early twentieth century to the present. The exhibition showcases 190 of them in the frames in which they are displayed at his home.

The Radical Eye has a duel meaning being not just the eye of the artist, but also the idea of the camera lens being a different way of seeing the world. The majority of photographs are black and white.

Artists in the modernist period exploded what the camera could do that the human eye alone couldn’t. This re-evaluation coincided with a period of upheaval from the 1920 to ‘50s. The exhibition charts a changing emphasis from the subject of an image to the visual qualities of the photograph itself.

For the first time, rather than emulating other art forms, photography began to embrace qualities unique to itself. This stretched from its ability to reproduce the world in sharp detail to its capacity to create through the manipulation of light, chemicals and paper.

Sir Elton John speaks about his collection in the audio that accompanies the exhibition. There is also a video taken in his home where he talks about how he discovered photography, his commitment to it, and the pleasure he derives from it.


Black Boys Helen Levitt c1940

The exhibition runs until 7 May, 2017.

Open from 10.00 -18.00 and until 22.00 Friday and Saturday. T. 020 7887 8888

About Natasha Blair

Travel journalist who enjoys discovering new places in style, where possible, with her dog, a Coton de Tulear, called Poppy. Good food, not necessarily gourmet, is important as is the atmosphere as she also writes about restaurants. Culture is another love, and as she is based in London, she reviews theatre and art exhibitions.
This entry was posted in Culture, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.