Curated by Simon Baker to examine the relationship between storytelling and photography, Performing for the Camera presents a range of imagery spanning everything from the introduction of print photography to today’s social media-governed society. In an interview with the Tate, Baker states that photographic language is taking over modern day culture, and that we, as a society, are becoming increasingly familiar with the consistent need to perform for the camera. This makes his curation ever timelier, and he explores a range of sub themes within it, presenting ideas from how these stills can document a performance to the opportunities surrounding self-portraiture.
Of particular interest was the Staging and Collaboration space, as it relates directly to any fashion feature or editorial shoot produced both in the past and present day. It examined how photographers stage scenes in order to create a certain mood or theme as opposed to simply capturing a natural event. What was most interesting about this curation was the exploration of how this notion has evolved over time, with black and white photography stealing particular focus. In his interview, Baker states that photography is; ‘a much more sophisticated operation than simply documenting a performance.’ This room that elaborates on that.