Against a backdrop of a giant reimagined façade of the Tate Britain galleries, three girls wearing black leggings, red sweaters and chunky oversized white bead jewellery position themselves along white lines marked out on the floor. They are at first still, not making eye contact with the audience, but posing in the way dancers do – good posture, composure – waiting for the performance to begin.

Photo by  sara~  [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Photo by sara~ [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Then they begin to dance, or at least it is a kind of dance. More made up of individual poses, hand movements and small actions – this choreography is based on Baroque – a kind of early balletic style from 16th Century France that emphasised grace and elegance. The girls move slowly through the three Duveen galleries from the mural based on Tate’s Millbank facade near the entrance to the gallery to the one facing it on the other side which is based on the 1980’s designed Clore entrance. There is no music to begin with but in the central gallery one of the performers breaks off to switch on speakers, filling the gallery with music.

I have been looking forward to seeing this new commission from Pablo Bronstein at Tate Britain for a while, sucked in by the rather nice poster campaign that seems to be all over my bus route to work and also by the prospect of live performance in the Duveen Galleries.

The end result is sort of interesting but also a little underwhelming. I had imagined something a little more decadent and showy from Bronstein, perhaps a little more theatrical and transformative for the Tate spaces. Instead I felt both the scope and the energy of the display seemed quite reserved and subdued. My companion, rather more kindly, commented that the performance made you think back to a time when these highly subtle and restricted movements, the idea of the courtly dance, an expression of social self-expression and emotion and also a way of defining a social era, one of elegance and highly stylised courtship rituals. She is right, the references are all there. But the sort of non-immersive nature of the activated installation that Bronstein has created was making my thoughts wander off into different territories – how the white criss-cross lines that define the dancers route through the gallery reminded me of those floor lines in Victoria Station that lead you by colour code to different tube lines and destinations; how the large scale murals lacked the uptight obsession of Bronstein’s smaller drawings and also looked like those facades they stick up on buildings like St Pauls when they do maintenance work. I always enjoy tourists having their photo taken against a giant drawing of a building they can’t see. I was also interested in how some modern elements of the contemporary gallery fuse with the historical references – the performers outfits seem just like normal gallery attendants (minus the jewellery) and indeed they themselves seem just like regular gallery attendants – the right age to be part-timers from whatever performing arts or sculpture course.

Photo: Victoria Tills

Photo: Victoria Tills

No doubt there are some beautiful moments with this commission - the right time of day, the right atmosphere in the galleries, a different set of performers with a different energy and dynamic - but I left the galleries feeling rather deflated and that the performers were, in some way, just going through the motions. But then that is also kind of the point of Baroque dance. I also went home and started googling Baroque dance classes - so some impact must have been made. This is a commission I would definitely make time for again when visiting other temporary displays at Tate Britain to figure out what I really feel about it. I’m not sure yet.

Pablo Bronstein: Historic Dances in an Antique Setting runs at Tate Britain until 9 October 2016. 

AuthorSacha Waldron


Another month has ticked over as so that means another whole raft of photography competitions and contests that enable you to get your work out there and the chance to win some great prizes. Point102 blog takes you on a whip round of five deadlines coming up in May.

Geometry – New York Centre for Photographic Arts

NYC4PA are inviting photographers to submit images on the theme of ‘geometry’ for its May competition. This can be interpreted formally though the composition of an image or can be the result of effects and manipulations applied in the post production of a particular image. Prizes include participation in the New York exhibition, online promotion and various cash prizes (in USD). It’s also open to all mediums although the finished work has to be 2D. They are charging a fee for entries: $35 for the first three images and then $10 for each additional image with no limit to how many you can submit.

Deadline: 8 May


Guardian Witness Readers Travel Competition

As ever, this one is only open to UK residents and invites submissions on the theme of travel. You just upload a high res image to the Guardian Witness website along with a really short description and then every month these are then judged with the winner normally getting some sort of holiday or travel experience. May’s prize is a seven-night self-drive holiday in Iceland, inclusion in the annual photo competition exhibition at Guardian HQ and a framed print of your photograph from us here at Point 101.

Deadline: 25 May


View bug – Challenges

This site is rather new to me, I think we featured one of their challenges last month, but it seems to be a great way to participate in a plethora of smaller competitions that are created by the sites own users. There are no cash prizes, it’s more for the participation and enjoyment of just getting your stuff out there and recognised and, as a user, you can set your own photo challenges which seems to be a great way to link up with other photographers who might be working with a similar style or theme. It seems also this might be a good way to find images for, say, a publication or project you’re working on. This month there is a comp around photographs of bubbles and the Glacier National Park in Montana. You seem to win View Bug points with these challenges but it’s unclear what you actually do with them. They also have a whole section of contest/challenges that DO have prizes. May’s Image of the Month contest, for example, enters one photographer's work into the final overall yearly comp where you get a blog feature on the site and other perks. It’s a resource that’s well worth checking back on regularly to see the range of opportunities.

Deadlines: Ongoing


Magnum Photography Awards 2016

2017 will mark the 70th anniversary of Magnum and ahead of this they have partnered up with LensCulture for this inaugural photography award which invites work from international photographers in the categories of Documentary, Street, Portrait, Fine Art, Photojournalism and the everything else category ‘Open’. There will also be 5 ‘student spotlight’ awards given to the best in up and coming talent. Apart from being recognised by Magnum, which is pretty great in itself, the competition offers some epic prizes including $18,000 (cash) for the overall winner, exposure in the online gallery, international press opps, a portfolio review and much more besides. Not free to enter unfortunately, it costs $60 for a ten photo series entry, $50 for up to five single images and $20 for just a single photograph. One slight perk is that for every five images you submit, Magnum and LensCulture will give you a free submission review.

Deadline: 24 May


Siena International Photo Award

This internationally focussed award is open to both professional and amateur photographers. There is a ton of different categories including travel, People and Portrait, Architecture (or ‘Architetture’ according to the website), Sport and Wine. If you feel your work doesn’t fit into any of these broad categories then there are also ‘Open’ and ‘Storyboard’ categories – so basically you can submit just about anything. Although we normally focus on prizes and competitions that are free to enter this one does have a fee for participation (from € 15.00 for up to three images) although the top prize is € 1,500.00.

Deadline: 10 May

AuthorSacha Waldron


It’s been a little while since Point 102 did a round-up of photography competitions so this week that’s what we’re doing! We bring you our five picks of a diverse range of opportunities open in April from the UK and around the world - from microscopic photography to travel to social change. Where possible we also always try to focus on the ones that are free to enter. 

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016

Entrants can submit up to ten images for the annual Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition which closes fairly soon. With both adult and young person (15 years and under) categories, the prizes are quite generous with £10,000 (cash) for the overall Adult winner, £1500 for the Young category and quite meaty cash prizes for 2nd/3rd/Highly Commended in both. The prizes also include inclusion in the exhibition of the competition which is held at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and inclusion in the exhibition catalogue.

Deadline: Midday (BST). 14 April 2016


Photocrowd Wanderlust Amateur Photography Competition

Photography platform Photocrowd have a whole heap of challenges on their site where you can win anything from photography gear to holidays. Their Wanderlust prize which closes in a couple of weeks is quite a big one with the best travel-focussed image winning the photographer a scholarship on a Maui Photo Expedition. You will stay for five nights at the Four Seasons in Maui and get treated to tuition, excursions, camera equipment and there is also an exhibition held at the end of each expedition where participants can promote, and hopefully sell, some of their work. This all sounds pretty sweet. The way it works is you upload your image on Photocrowd and it gets judged by both the public and the judges who then make the final decision.

Deadline: 15 April 2016


Guardian Readers Travel Competition

This year The Guardian’s monthly Readers Travel Competition has no set themes and photographers are just encouraged to submit their best travel shots. As ever, this one is open to UK entrants only and you just submit via Guardian Witness during the month and the winner is normally announced on the first of the following month. This month’s prize is a self-drive holiday to Iceland, inclusion in the annual Guardian photography show at Guardian HQ and a professional print for you to hang on your own wall produced by us here at Point 101!

Deadline: 11pm. 25 April 2016


IREX 5th Annual Photo Contest 2016

This competition, which comes with a $1000 cash prize split between four winners, invites images from amateur and professional photographers whose work fits into one of the following four categories: Empowering Youth, Cultivating Leaders, Strengthening Institutions and Extending Access to Quality Education and Information. Quite specific and quite broad at the same time. You can submit up to five images. There will also be a People’s Choice Award voted for my the public on IREX’s Facebook page and there seems to be another $250 prize for that category.

Deadline: 23.59 (EDT). 25 April 2016


Nikon Small World Competition 2016

This competitions celebrates all things in the world of microphotography/microscopy. Last year’s winner, Ralph Claus Grimm (Australia) captured dandelion pollen stuck on to the eye of a honey bee and in 2014 Rogelio Moreno Gill chose to close-up on a rotifier - a type of microscopic wheel-animal that is found in water. Although the majority of past finalists do seem to have captured the natural environment, past winners and finalists have also focussed subjects such as the circuitry in DVD readers. The competition is open to international entrants (over the age of 18) and the prizes are money towards buying Nikon equipment. This may seem a little limiting but might be useful to kit out your office with a couple of things. Top prize is $3,000 going down to $100 if you are placed 11 – 20th.  Additionally the winning image are taken on an exhibition tour to various science centres and galleries across North America. There is also a video version of the prize which has been running since 2011 – more info on that can be found here.

Deadline: 30 April 201

AuthorSacha Waldron