Photography Exhibition at the Institut Français

Vaibhav Iyer, Year 10

On 6th February 2018, Upper School students visited the Institut Francais in order to observe a photography exhibition that was being showcased.  Prior to this day, we had been informed that the exhibit was being held by the photographer who had captured eccentric photos during his unique travel experiences.

As we arrived, my attention was rapidly drawn to the large motorbike that had been placed in the middle region of the exhibit.  The motorbike carried travelling equipment and I soon came to the realisation that it was the same motorbike as the one in one of the photographs on the wall.  As I was comparing the motorbike in the photo to the one in front of me, I met Mr. Jorge Serpa, the man who had personally taken all the photos.  He told me that the bike was what he used to travel with and that the supplies were just the things he needed on a daily basis.  He also told me that the photo of the motorbike was taken during one of his travels, and that he had visited 84 countries in total – 26 of which were in Africa.  He also told me of his Portuguese decent , and that he was currently an American citizen.

When asked of the inspiration behind this exhibit, he said that the staff at the Institut Francais had asked him to set up an exhibit and he had agreed because of the time of year.  He said that January and February are the times of year when New Year’s resolutions are being formed, so he wanted to inspire people like us to travel more and take an interest in photography.

As I continued browsing through the gallery, I noticed various notable techniques employed in his style, such as the use of geometric shapes, light contrasting and the use of ‘framing.’  One photo that especially appealed to me was of a warthog that was crossing an orange winding road.  What caught my attention was the focus on the warthog’s face and the slight blur effect behind it, which complemented the flamboyant colours.  He described his use of a wide aperture lens to capture the depth of the photo and various other mechanics.  Soon it was time, so I bid Mr. Serpa goodbye and wrote a positive comment on the feedback sheet.

This fruitful experience brought out the artistic side in all of us, as we tried to analyse each photo.  However, it also made many of us realise that photography is not simply a casual and amusing career; there are many mechanics that go into each photo, and a photographer must hold a wide array of knowledge regarding the operation of a camera.  This trip really made me appreciate photography more and encouraged me to travel more to seek out the myriad of artistic beauties in the world.

Abigael Meto, Year 10

Jorge Serpa’s exhibition was indeed very interesting.  It clearly showed the photographer’s passion for adventure and his travels around the world (83 countries, to be exact) with his main mean of transportation – his motorbike.  About 18 different photos were displayed at the Institut Français, each making you want to visit and explore other horizons too.  My favourite photo of all was of Lac Nokoué (Bénin).  What I liked the most in that photo was its simplicity, the angle from which it was taken and the contrasts in it.

Sidney De Souza, Year 10

The outing to the Institut Français completely changed my way of thinking about art and photography.  I realised that art is not only about the way or manner in which things are done.  It is also about the way one can perceive different things, such as culture, tradition and sometimes places.  I realised that photography gives glow to anything; no matter how meaningless it appears to be.

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