Because I only had a couple of days in London my list of "must-sees" was rather short. The Tate Modern definitely made the cut. While the list of museums that I'd like to visit in London is quite long I was very intrigued by what I'd find at the Modern given the cool structure and architecture of the place and the vibe and collections of modern museums, in general. The Tate Modern did not disappoint. We only had a couple of hours there so we decided to forgo most of the permanent collections and opted instead to purchase tickets for the Damien Hirst special exhibit. Photos weren't allowed but I've gotten pretty adept at shooting from the hip...don't judge, every one was doing it and at least I didn't use flash! Anyway, if you've got dead animals, fluttering butterflies, a giant ashtray and hand-cut synthetic diamonds, you've got Damien Hirst. The collection was definitely odd and certainly though-provoking. Even with all that cool and innovative art occupying the building, I was mostly enamored by the light (shocking, I know) and the shadows and the way the structure itself was really a work of art if you just stretched your mind a bit to see it as such.
And, by the way, shooting in RAW saved every single one of these photos. The light was SO bad in some parts of the museum that all of the images looked either washed out or too dark. Plus the day was very, very gray and quite rainy so whatever was streaming in through the windows was very dull. I had to push my camera and lens to the limit (and still had to deal with quite a bit of grain) to get the right exposure and then relied on post-processing techniques to do the rest.
The view from the cafe on the top floor where we enjoyed a nice bottle of white wine after touring the museum.
The entrance to the museum took my breath away. I loved it. The light...oh, the light.
When I first stood on the mezzanine to take these photos I was only able to see the space in black and white, but the color versions are pretty special too. It's hard to imagine that such a cold, industrial space could hold such beautiful and interesting works of art.
Even the escalators at the Tate Modern are cool.
Damien Hirst. Shot from the hip.
A cow split in half (blech) by Damien Hirst and my reflection. Shot from the hip.
This gentlemen was quite intrigued by the cow.