The International Garden Photographer of the Year at Kew Gardens

International Garden Photographer of the Year 2012, Kew GardensCordoned off and shut down

The International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition at Kew Gardens sounded like it couldn’t fail. In the wake of the success of other photography exhibitions, like the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History museum, it was poised to impress. However, a shockingly bad opening day meant that the exhibition got off to an ugly start.

Firstly, the photography was beautiful, genuinely impressive, and highlighted the dedication and talent of the photographers that have been selected. However, the only reason I know this is because I jumped the barriers that surrounded the exhibition all day for its opening to get a better look. Despite getting a few funny looks and embarrassed laughs, I didn’t get a chance to really appreciate the exhibition. Hedgehopping skills don’t compensate for a barricade surrounding an exhibition on its opening day.

The problem was that some of the photography wasn’t stuck on properly and it had fallen off the open air exhibit early on in the day, so the poor girl left in charge (it was her first day on the job apparently) decided to close it down (with the help of the police apparently, not sure why). What could have worked well was let down by a lack of good planning by the management at Kew Gardens.

Despite the dodgy looking barriers around the exhibition, the really ugly point of the day was when some of the visitors that had come to the gardens specifically to see the exhibition requested a refund or tickets for another week to return to see the exhibition when it was fixed were told that they would get nothing. Hours of journey time, waiting around and ultimately disappointment was compensated with an indignant “no”. The managers of the place should be genuinely ashamed.

Ugly turned to grotesque half way through the day when I witnessed the peacock that roams the park cornered underneath the tree top walk by a group of happy snapper, muppet faced, rat sh*t brained tourists. I shouted down to them to let it out, but they simply turned to me as though I was a new rarity to be gawped at.

The International Garden Photographer of the Year 2010 at Kew Gardens review: 1/5