Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Service and Street Photography

William Klein + Daido Moriyama
Where: Tate Modern
When: November 2012

I love a good bit of street photography and this exhibition didn't disappoint.  Split into two sections, one for each artist containing a mix of photography and films that both artists have produced.  The first half of the exhibition is dedicated to Klein and kicks off with a short film about Times Square that feels like being thrown into Travis Bickle's New York.  In fact the film was shot 15 years before Scorsese's masterpiece.  Then there are lots of small "candid" shots of his native New York and his adopted home in Paris.  Off to the side was a fascinating short film where Klein explains his working process for capturing the perfect moment on film, watching, waiting for the figure to line up with their environment.  There was then a selection of clips from a number of Klein's films.  The rest was a little forgettable and played with Klein's notions of image selection as per the earlier short.

Next up was Moriyama's work.  His photos felt more constructed but lacking Klein's excellent powers of selection.  For every inspiring misty road there was something that left you feeling a little bit "meh" for want for a better word.  Where as Klein was fantastic at capturing people, Moriyama seemed better at capturing the landscape and all it's wonderful light and texture.  Overall this was an inspiring and worthwhile exhibition to attend.  Additionally by going during the week it was an oasis of calm allowing you to slowly take in the works on display rather than fighting from frame to frame, shoulder to shoulder with every tourist in London.


First impressions are important, but thankfully in my book they are not the be all and end all.  Whilst it's true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, it is equally true that you have all the time in the world to make up for it.  I had read about Brawn on one of my favourite internet resources, Chowhound where it was talked up to be a nice, simple, reasonably priced French restaurant, the kind of place that never seems to exist outside of France.  Alighting the Overground at Hoxton we were faced with a less than helpful station map as google maps refused to tell me where I was.  We then faced a wet walk past what must have been about 20 Vietnamese restaurants only to double back on ourselves through a dark and lonely council estate before arriving at some closed shops and a restaurant with no sign above the door and not many more customers.  "Is this it?"  "According to google maps I think so, let's go in".  After being greeted by a wall of staff behind the bar, one who was practising his 1000 yard stare, the man furthest from us twigged none of his colleagues were going to welcome us in so stepped up to the plate, welcoming us warmly and getting us settled in.  After the initial glares the service was decent, though I did get the impression a few of the staff seemed more interested in having a chat behind the bar rather than helping their customer's maximise the dining experience.
Menu's are created daily and split into 3 sections, Pig, Cold, Hot and don't come with much description as to what makes up a meal or exactly what it is you are ordering, so you are not sure if you are over or under ordering.  My partner was not feeling particularly well and this was reflected in her choice of food.  I had a lovely, if not over priced glass of Ardeche Red, a Tuscan Bean Soup to start, Pork Belly for main and treacle tart to finish, with copious amounts of freshly cut sourdough bread to keep me topped up.  The soup was delicious and after a cold and wet trek to the restaurant it was just what I wanted, however from the portion size it was definitely a main course soup and not a starter.  The pork belly started off with a slightly to fatty first bite and then moved to perfection from every bite that followed, crisp skin, plenty of soft meat and only a little fat holding it together.  The cabbage was seasoned with sage and plenty of salt and cut beautifully through the fat of the pork.  Dessert was nice, a rich without being sickly treacle tart, served with what may have been a creme fraiche ice cream.

My partner went with a green salad followed by a Beef Bourginion and she followed this up with a chocolate mousse.

It was a long hard walk back to the Overground, an even harder walk to the bus stop.  I don't think I've eaten so much in a meal since Charlie Palmer Steak in Vegas, at least this meal didn't need a trip to the Grand Canyon to help walk it off!  In all, despite the bad start to the service, the food was fantastic and the price was more than reasonable considering you could easily spend close to the same amount of money eating inferior food at your local Cote.  If I can get over the slight hipster pretensions I will definitely return for another round of food.

William Klein + Daido Moriyama - Tate Modern: Exhibition - 10 October 2012 – 20 January 2013
Brawn -  49 Columbia Rd, Bethnal Green E2 7RG - 0207 729 5692

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