Dali by Colin O'Brien

Decisive Moments

by Colin O’Brien

Private Preview
Sunday 16 July 2017 12-5pm
with tea and cakes 2 – 4pm
Exhibition Dates:
17th July – 12 August 2017
Hanbury Hall, 22a Hanbury Street (Spitalfields), London E1 6QR
08:00-17:00 Mondays to Fridays
10:00-17:00 Saturdays
12:00-17:00 Sundays
This is more than a retrospective collection of the black-and-white ‘social documentary’ style photographs of the late East London based photographer Colin O’Brien.  It follows on from our first ever exhibition by this Gallery, ‘East London Life’, and the one at Bootstrap we later supported, around his book ‘London Life’, and his last planned exhibition, which we held shortly after he died in 2016, ‘This England’.  It captures some of his many ‘decisive moments’ as a most engaging person and sympathetic photographer, with a gallery-curated selection of pictures taken, not just in London or England, but also in Italy, France and Africa. The majority of these photographs have never been exhibited before, including the three below, taken in Zambia, Lerici and Bethnal Green, respectively.
The title reference is from ‘The Decisive Moment’ by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. It was chosen for this diverse collection of Colin’s work to characterise his own conception of photography as touching all its aspects in key moments –  technique, composition, sequence, and even ‘colour’ in the sense of his extensive use of black – in order to better chronicle the lives of ordinary people. Both the exhibition’s location, Hanbury Hall, and its being in Spitalfields, are highly significant, in that it was in the Hall that Colin exhibited some of his ‘London Life’ pictures as part of the 2016 Hidden Corners exhibition. It was in this area that he took many of of his early photos and in doing so established a working friendship with The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life, who became his book publisher.