is a sense of innocence and softness that is often forgotten amid the bustle of commerce, tourism and day to day life in our capital.
So the snow put paid to my planned visit to the London Art Fair on Friday and unfortunately meant I did not get a chance to participate in the Macallan masterclass. The masterclass was an opportunity to discuss The Masters of Photography and the work of Annie Lebovitz with Roy Robertson, the President of the National Photographic Society and for the budding photographer get some insider tips on taking the perfect photo.
However, all was not lost as today, in still unforgiving English winter weather I ﬁnally made it to the Business Design Centre, Islington, all be it a little cold and snow swept! I have been to this venue before to a conference on the criminal justice system and the importance of offender education, but today I was ﬁrst struck by the creative energy that the space was playing host to. The art lovers were certainly not put off by the weather!
The nearest I have been to an art exhibition has been the obligatory trip round the National Portrait Gallery on a school trip, when I was taking GCSE art exams in 1999, so I was excited to see what the 131 galleries and 1000 artists exhibiting over the past ﬁve days had to offer a novice.
The work was eclectic but felt very modern, up to the minute, a lot of it on the pulse of twenty ﬁrst century London. A mixture of installations, animations, canvases and the Photo 50 project showing the work of documentary and photojournalism. Some of it I did not
understand and felt inadequate when stood beside the "experts' as they ruminated on form, composition and the artists vision and intention. Some of it I did not like and could not imagine it hanging on the walls of my home to be the talking point at a dinner party with friends.
After a wander through the exhibits it was ﬁnally time to make my way up to Level 2,towards the reason I had bought the tickets. To go and experience stand S1. The Macallan.
After taking the photos in I can see why she has deservedly been bestowed with the honour of being considered one of the greats in her ﬁeld. The photographs are simply stunning.
Now I could wax lyrical about how beautifully masculine and rugged Kevin looks in these photographs. For me he has never looked better. But we all already know that! We have all been the photographs. Yet today I saw much more than that.
There is something even more mesmerising about experiencing the pictures in person. There is something that gets lost in translation looking at them from behind the barrier of a computer screen.
To stand in front of the images is to feel their raw power, their authentic warmth. The images look expensive, enhancing the message of luxury and opulence the Macallan brand has come to represent. Your eye is drawn, at times, away from Kevin (believe it or not!) and you marvel at the details in the backdrop- the colours of the whiskey, the sharp cuts of the wardrobe, the imposing presence of the New York sky line.
My favourite photograph from the series is shown here on the banner advert for the Macallan stand. The intensity of Kevin's gaze, when you stand in front of it and look, is ampliﬁed. You feel as if he is connecting solely with you, inviting you, almost intrusively, in to an individual but shared moment. This image feels both meticulously put together yet has a quality that is totally organic.
As much as these images are corporate advertisements encouraging the whiskey lover to choose this brand, they are also examples of technical excellence. Sometimes all the right people are in all the places at the right time and that synergy merges to create a moment captured and recorded as art.
So my stand out moments from the London Art Fair 2013 consisted of warfare and whiskey.
For my ﬁrst steps into art appreciation I am glad that I got to take them with Kevin McKidd!
By Hannah-Adjoa Smith our UK Roving Reporter
London Art Fair