A picture taken from inside a bus window is more typical of a holiday photo album than a gallery exhibition. By using existing markings, graffiti and reflections on the windows of Sydney buses, photographer Gilbert Bel-Bachir presents something different and familiar at once. The difference in this exhibition stems from its mundaneness. Art critic Terence Maloon notes in the exhibition catalogue: “A click of a shutter no longer brings the imitation of eternity, but shows the whisk and while of time.”
Sydneysiders viewing the exhibition will be able to identify some of the locations from the images. There are known streets, intersections, public spaces and the familiar sight of looking through the bus window on a rainy day. One striking image is of a man with a red bag, waiting at an intersection to cross the road. With an upright posture and gazing skywards, it’s almost as though he is posing for the shot. Many of the images are blurred. Bel-Bachir uses this as a technique to assert subjectivity, according to Maloon, “as opposed to the objectivity of the ‘perfect’ photograph.”
Bel-Bachir’s past work has been in black and white, and shot in far off locations such as north Queensland, the South Sea Islands, Pakistan and Africa. The images for Looking Through Glass were shot closer to home on Sydney’s inner city bus routes over four years.
The everyday subject matter makes Looking Through Glass a refreshing exhibition, and a must see for photography enthusiasts.
Until Jul 14, King Street Gallery on William, 177 William St, Darlinghurst, free, 9630 9727, kingstreetgallery.com.au