Finishing the National Portrait Gallery

Sunday, Evan and I finally made it back to the National Portrait Gallery to see the rest of the exhibits, including the Vanity Fair special exhibit.

The museum is consistently great — even on my third trip, I felt I was still learning things and being introduced to new people. And I was still interested in reading more. I think my favorite room was the large room with glass dividers on the first floor — it just had some really interesting people as well as really innovative portraits.

The Vanity Fair exhibit, however, put me off a bit. While I was interested in seeing the then-to-now photos, I wasn’t interested in being crammed into a small room with hundreds of other visitors, all moving at a snail’s pace, obscuring the photos and bumping into me repeatedly. I just couldn’t enjoy myself when so physically uncomfortable. I noticed that as we were leaving, the room was getting close to empty, though — I should have just waited, though we went in when it was our time slot.

There were plenty of iconic photos, many of which I’d seen before — it is Vanity Fair — and plenty more photos that weren’t really all that impressive. A lot of the older photos seemed to not have fared well over time or had very low contrast. The exhibit was also especially crowded for the first half of our tour, making it hard to get close to and enjoy the older photos. It also didn’t help that these were all much smaller than the more contemporary photos, too.

I really wish I could have just walked through without the crowds and enjoyed the exhibit on my own terms.

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