Monday 25 March 2013

Address Unknown; Sharing World's Experiences Through The Lens

If you could look back on the previous year through the eyes of the world, with all its different cultures, beliefs, experiences, and environment what would you see? It would certainly be a hard concept to grasp, like a million television sets all broadcasting different films of unfolding events.Yet amidst the chaos of visual onslaught that feels like it might overload the senses comes a clarity that opens the mind to shared global experiences. Through this clarity  one or more of these speak to us through resonance and perhaps even empathy. Address Unknown, a photo card exhibition made up of over 500 images from 30 countries taken during the year 2012, encapsulates something similar. The exhibition opened on Saturday 23rd March at the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre and will be open all this week.

Address unknown was organised by Melanie Gow, Managing Director of Glow Entreprise Community Interest Company, and events & fine arts photographer Gill Aspell who put out a call for anonymous submissions of photographic images to feature in the exhibition. The brief was simple; whether they be amateurs or professionals, photographers from all over the world were asked to submit what they felt was their single best image taken in 2012 they would like to share with the world. The names of the photographers would remain anonymous until the end. The photo postcards are on sale with the proceeds supporting Photovoice, a charity that helps disadvantaged and marginalised communities use innovative participatory photography and digital storytelling to affect social change. 

Opening night of Address Unknown was as grand and exciting as any other, with the unveiling of the hundreds of images team Mel and Gill had been inundated with from all over the world.  Postcards adorned the room from floor to ceiling, as well as covering the walls and windows in a rainbow of varied images. The exhibition was packed with supporters and curious viewers excited to see for themselves the images on display. Address Unknown was opened by organiser Melanie Gow before surrendering the floor to its patron, a veritable legend in the world of photography, Lucinda Lambton who described the exhibition as "a diamond that could not help but sparkle." After regaling us all with stories of her life which featured meeting Soviet Astronaut Yuri Gagarin and entertainer Bing Crosby, as well as a  comical encounter photographing a men's public lavatories as part of her Temples of Convenience publication, it was time to see up close the final submissions.

As you would expect from an internationally sourced exhibition the themes and formats were visually varied and highly engaging, although there was a  definitive feel of the old Red, White and Blue of the Union Jack flowing throughout. Last year was a real spectacle for the UK and so it was inevitable that the Queen's Jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics would be a prominent feature, with my favourite being a collection of red white and blue coloured paper boats forming the Union Jack. The exhibition was of course about more than just sporting and royal celebrations of the homeland, featuring sunrises, sunsets, a bustling metropolis, animals at play, couples in love, lingering wilderness and even some a touch more abstract. The exhibition not only displayed varied themes but also incredibly talented use of light and colour. These range from colour to black and white, or black and white with a single colour brought to the fore. There are also modern digital images amongst many with a more retro feel for anyone who remembers the glory days of the Polaroid, or are regular users of Instagram. 

Address Unknown has something for everyone from avid photographers to enthusiastic art lovers. It is a true testament of how the power of a photographer's lens can be used to record and share  images and events from all the over world to bring them together in one forum. Through it's diversity comes a unifying rainbow casting a colour view of the world through many different eyes. 

Website -  Address Unknown
Visit Address Unknown on Facebook
Follow on Twitter @addressunkn0wn and hash tag #AddressUnknown


  1. Beautifully written piece. You bring the exhibition vividly to life for all of us who wanted to be there at Saturday's launch, but couldn't be. Thank you :)

  2. A brilliant piece Ramon, giving us a wonderful picture of the opening night and a great introduction to what Address Unknown is all about. Thank you so much

  3. Ditto the comments above! Thank you Ramon.