The Radical Eye

If you had a shedload of money, more than enough for necessities – enough to seriously collect something – what would it be?



still thinking…


Elton John, with a lifetime’s creative work, accidentally fell into the art love of his life – black and white photography.  Fortunately for us, he collected “avariciously” and is displaying it, generously, for all to see at Tate Modern until 7th May 2017.

The show is called “The Radical Eye – Modernist photography from the the Sir Elton John Collection” (Ticket price:£16.50 for one adult).

A writeup about it here, on Tate Modern’s site:

(excerpt from collection notes)  This unrivalled selection of classic modernist images from the 1920s to the 1950s features almost 200 works from more than 60 artists, including seminal figures such as Berenice Abbott, André Kertész, Man Ray, Alexandr Rodchenko and Edward Steichen among many others. The exhibition consists entirely of rare vintage prints, all created by the artists themselves, offering a unique opportunity to see remarkable works up close. The quality and depth of the collection allows the exhibition to tell the story of modernist photography in this way for the first time in the UK.

There is a fascinating video of them in his home – and this has more colour and impact and excitement (for me) because they are literally jampacked together.


Some of the display walls in the exhibition show photographs well spaced apart over a blank wall – this gives each photo space to be seen on its own….. but completely removes the conversation beween them.  Artists are usually very aware of other people’s work and respond to that as stimuli (whether they love it or loathe it or it gives them pause for thought)- so closer spacing offers opportunity for juxtaposition.  At first glance, I prefer the mad closeness of display in his flat.



His photo collection has only been on public display once before, in 2013, when Elton showed a wide range of colour as well as black and white photographs in Atlanta, with the title “chorus of light”.  Insightful 12 minute video here:


And if you’ve finally decided what you would really really love to collect – here’s how Sir Elton John continues his collecting…. he buys one photo each week.


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