The Jerwood Photography Awards (2 stars)

Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 15 Jul


With the Jerwood Photography Awards partnership with Portfolio Magazine, it seems only right that the touring exhibition of the four 2006 winners should come to Edinburgh. Paul Winch-Furness’ series of photographs of Milton Keynes are named after the town’s very own ‘Master Document’ - blurring and sharpening vague distinctions between manmade and nature. In Peter Oetzmann’s images, we the viewer look upon the back of another viewer, who in turn is contemplating a rather gaudily painted English landscape.

An English landscape of sorts is also seen in Zoe Hatziyannaki’s photography of everyday London city streets. By picking out an innocent (or maybe not so innocent) passer-by from one of these shots, and then juxtaposing a pixelated CCTV style close up of them next to the original image, a definite comment of life post 7 July bombings is made. Indre Serpytyte’s works (pictured) are also political - although her narrative is told in a completely different way, she pushing you to see how we are often happier to accept the sticky gloss of contemporary culture than the harsh reality of what is going on out there. The judges seem to have picked works through which a thread of comparability definitely runs. And although the images are individually quite appealing (some more than others), you can’t help feeling that trying to keep things in the same vein may have eliminated stronger photography.

(Claire Mitchell)

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