Archive for October, 2011

30
Oct
11

Archive: Elliott Erwitt’s Archive 
to be Housed at the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin

October 2010

 

Many thankx to the Harry Ransom Center for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Elliott Erwitt. BRAZIL. Buzios. 1990.

 

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
BRAZIL. Buzios. 1990.
Gelatin silver print
© Elliott Erwitt/MAGNUM PHOTOS

 

Elliott Erwitt. USA. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 1950.

 

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
USA. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 1950.
Gelatin silver print
© Elliott Erwitt/MAGNUM PHOTOS

 

Elliott Erwitt. Jackie Kennedy, Arlington, Virginia, 1963.

 

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
Jackie Kennedy, Arlington, Virginia, 1963.
Gelatin silver print
© Elliott Erwitt/MAGNUM PHOTOS

 

Elliott Erwitt. Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon, Moscow, 1959.

 

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon, Moscow, 1959.
Gelatin silver print
© Elliott Erwitt/MAGNUM PHOTOS

 

 

The archive of photographer Elliott Erwitt (b. 1928), which includes more than 50,000 signed photographic prints, will be housed at the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin. Spanning more than six decades of Erwitt’s career, the archive covers not only his work for magazine, industrial and advertising clients but also photographs that have emerged from personal interests. Collectors and philanthropists Caryl and Israel Englander have placed the archive at the Ransom Center for five years, making it accessible to researchers, scholars and students.

Born in Paris to Russian émigré parents, Erwitt spent his formative years in Milan and then immigrated to the United States, living in Los Angeles and ultimately New York. In 1948, Erwitt actively began his career and met photographers Robert Capa, Edward Steichen and Roy Stryker, all who would become mentors. In 1953, Erwitt was invited to join Magnum Photos by Capa, one of the founders of the photographic co-operative. Ten years later, Erwitt became president of the agency for three terms. A member of the Magnum organisation for more than 50 years, Erwitt’s archive will be held alongside the Magnum Photos collection at the Ransom Center. While many of Erwitt’s photographs capture the famous, from Richard Nixon arguing with Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow in 1959 to Jacqueline Kennedy at her husband’s funeral, other subjects include everyday people, places and even dogs, a longtime love of Erwitt’s.

“The work I care about is terribly simple,” said Erwitt in “Personal Exposures” (1988). “I observe, I try to entertain, but above all I want pictures that are emotion. Little else interests me in photography. Today, so much is being done by unemotional people, or at least it looks that way…I mean, work that’s fascinating and fun and clever and technically brilliant. But if it’s not personal, then it misses what interesting photography is about.”

Exhibitions of Erwitt’s work have been featured at institutions ranging from The Museum of Modern Art in New York to The Museum of Modern Art in Paris, and his work is represented in numerous major institutions.

“Whether capturing the everyday or the extraordinary, Erwitt’s work always has a wonderful element of accessibility,” said Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley. “Housing the collection here adds a new dimension to that access.”

In addition to providing access to the archive, the Ransom Center will promote interest in the collection through lectures, fellowships and exhibitions.”

Text from the Harry Ransom Center website

 

Elliott Erwitt. USA. New York City. 1988.

 

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
USA. New York City. 1988.
Gelatin silver print
© Elliott Erwitt/MAGNUM PHOTOS

 

Elliott Erwitt. USA. Reno, Nevada. 1960.

 

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
USA. Reno, Nevada. 1960.
(on the set of the film The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable)
Gelatin silver print
© Elliott Erwitt/MAGNUM PHOTOS.

 

Elliott Erwitt. CUBA. Havana. 1964.

 

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
CUBA. Havana. 1964.
(Che Guevara)
Gelatin silver print
© Elliott Erwitt/MAGNUM PHOTOS

 

Archivist Amy Armstrong inspects a box from the archive of Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt.

 

Archivist Amy Armstrong inspects a box from the archive of Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt
Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center
Photo: Pete Smith

 

 

The Harry Ransom Center
21st and Guadalupe Streets
Austin, Texas 78712
Phone: 512-471-8944

Exhibition galleries opening hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday and Sunday Noon – 5 pm

Library Reading/Viewing Rooms opening hours:
Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday 9 am – Noon

Harry Ransom Center website

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28
Oct
11

Sculpture: ‘Everything’ by Fredrick White, 2011

October 2012

 

Fredrick White. 'Everything' 2011

 

Fredrick White (Australian)
Everything
2011
steel
210 x 120 x 250cm

 

 

A new sculpture by Fredrick White is appearing in the Lorne Sculpture Prize (now Biennale) which opened on the 16th October and continues until 5th November, 2011. The work continues the artist’s exploration into the matrix of what is seen and not seen, what lies above and below.

Marcus

.
Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Fredrick White. 'Everything' 2011

Fredrick White. 'Everything' 2011

 

Fredrick White (Australian)
Everything
2011
steel
210 x 120 x 250cm

 

 

Fredrick White Sculpture website

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26
Oct
11

Exhibition: ‘Polly Borland: Smudge’ at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates:  22nd September – 29th October 2011

 

Many thankx to Paul Kasmin Gallery for allowing me to publish the text and photographs in the posting. Each photograph has been printed in three editions (small: 44 x 38.5 cm, edition of 3 plus 3 APs; medium: 76 x 65 cm, edition of 6 plus 3 APs; and large-scale prints: 147.5 x 122 cm, edition of 3 plus 3 APs).

 

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled III' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled III
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled IV' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled IV
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XIII' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XIII
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXXIV' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXXIV
2010
C-print

 

 

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Polly Borland from her Smudge series, curated by Danny Moynihan. Opening on September 22, 2011 at 511 W. 27th Street, this will be the artist’s first show with the gallery.

In this body of arresting portraits, Borland dresses and directs her models; manipulating their various costumes, makeup and body positioning to create her own visual language. With faces obscured by wigs, nylon hose and masks, her anonymous subjects are captured in moments of great openness and vulnerability.

Of his experience modelling for Borland, the musician Nick Cave writes, “I am struck by Polly’s deep love for her subjects and the dignity that exists in their dysmorphia. Because her pictures are never voyeuristic, never observational and never merely shocking. Rather, Polly seems to me to be shooting into a distorted mirror and simply bringing back heartbreaking refracted images of herself.”

Borland’s captivating, intimate portraits convey a keen sensitivity to her subjects. “It’s a long time that the camera has been bringing us news about zanies and pariahs, their miseries and their quirks. Showing the banality of the non-normal. Making voyeurs of us all…” writes Susan Sontag in her essay accompanying Borland’s The Babies catalogue, “…But this is particularly gifted, authoritative, intelligent work. Borland’s pictures seem very knowing, compassionate; and too close, too familiar, to suggest common or mere curiosity.”

Borland was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1959, and moved to the United Kingdom in 1989. She has recently relocated to Los Angeles.

Text from the Paul Kasmin Gallery website

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXIV' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXIV
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XL' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XL
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXVI' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXVI
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXXVIII' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXXVIII
2010
C-print

 

 

Paul Kasmin Gallery
293 Tenth Ave.
New York, NY 10001
511 W. 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212.563.4474

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm

Paul Kasmin Gallery website

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23
Oct
11

Exhibition: ‘Raphaël Dallaporta: Observation’ at Foam, Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 2nd September – 26th October 2011

Foam Paul Huf Award 2011

 

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Fragile, Blood 1' 2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, Blood 1
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

The positive pleasure of inflicting cruelty at an ambiguous physical and ethical distance. Use limited only by the imagination of the user. Detonated remotely using a laptop computer. 10 million times. US$3 each.

Marcus

.
Many thankx to Foam for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980) 'Domestic Slavery, Angha' 2006

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Domestic Slavery, Angha
2006
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

Raphaël Dallaporta 'Domestic Slavery, Henriette' 2006

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Domestic Slavery, Henriette
2006
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Domestic Slavery, 2006

Cold, distant images of building facades are associated with text. The narratives are written by Ondine Millot to describe the events that took place at the exact address of the buildings in the photographs. The spectator comes to understand that the series deals with an often undocumented consequence of human trafficking: modern slavery.

The images force us to come to terms with the upsetting reality that is hidden behind the ordinary facades. Raphaël Dallaporta denounces unbearable situations where one human being reduces another to the status of thing, and gives it depth through the distance of the photographs and his refusal to sensationalise.

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Ruins (Season 1), The Balkh-AB gorges, Afghanistan' 2011

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Ruins (Season 1), The Balkh-AB gorges, Afghanistan
2011
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Ruin, Season 1, 2011

In the autumn of 2010, Raphaël Dallaporta took part in an archaeological mission in the Bactriane region in Afghanistan, scene of Alexander the Great’s mythical conquest. Using a drone he designed himself, he took aerial photographs of endangered or heretofore unknown archaeological sites in a country at war. The remote controlled device was timed to take photos of unrivalled precision every five seconds. The way the images are put together with their voluntarily asymmetrical contours depict these inaccessible monuments and places at their best. The most cutting-edge technology reveals the artist’s themes – destruction, the precariousness of things. It brings to light that which was and is no longer. Is this not the very definition of all photography?

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980) 'Fragile, "Four Moods", Black Bile'  2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, “Four Moods”, Black Bile 
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Fragile, Cardiopulmonary system' 2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, Cardiopulmonary system
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Undetermined circumstances

The body of the subject whose presumed identity is …, aged 92, was found in a ditch around 10.05am by a walker whose attention had been attracted by his dog.

The autopsy that we carried out on the body showed the presence of a state of extremely advanced putrefaction with partial skeletonisation, consistent with a death dating back one month in an outdoor environment; it is not possible to be more precise. There is no immediately detectable cause of death. No lesions suggesting recent detectable violence were observed. As for identification, the deceased is an adult male, wearing a pacemaker and an old surgical scar on the abdominal wall.

 

Fragile, 2010

Raphaël Dallaporta photographs organs, like the encyclopaedic colour plates for an anatomy class. The legend, again, explains the origins of these silent images. The organ represented is not the issue; the reason for its presence on the slab is the issue. The apparent neutrality of the shot, according to a strict protocol (frontal shot, on a black background enabling the strong lighting of the « subject »), isolates each fragment of the body as a clue that enables to determine the cause of death. These relics of flesh and bone have a real role to play. But the way they are shot lends them a metaphysical and philosophical dimension that reminds us of life’s ephemeral nature and human vulnerability.

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Fragile, Pacemaker' 2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, Pacemaker
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

French photographer Raphaël Dallaporta (b. 1980) received the Foam Paul Huf Award earlier this year from an international jury. The prize is organised by Foam and is awarded annually to up and coming international photographers below the age of 35. A major aspect of the award is an exhibition. Observation appears at Foam from 2 September to 26 October. Characteristic of the show’s four series is the clinical, perceptive style of photography. Dallaporta’s photos possess an inner tension that stems from the beauty of the object and the serious tone of the subject. The photographer works intensively with specialists in fields relating to his series. Jury chair François Hébel (director of Les Rencontres d’Arles international photography festival) comments on Dallaporta’s work that ‘He combines involvement with a highly analytical approach to social perversities. His uncompromising, conceptual and extremely creative approach mark him as an authentic artist who stands out in the young generation of photographers.’

The landmines in the Antipersonnel series have an exquisite beauty: small, with pleasant colours and an attractive form. Elegantly photographed, simply framed and persuasively presented, their aesthetic quality is what first attracts attention. Until we realise the full purpose of their existence: pure cruelty.

Fragile features frontal and objective shots of organs and limbs taken from corpses. Dallaporta worked with a team of forensic surgeons for this series. While the physicians were looking for causes of death, Dallaporta recorded the body parts they examined and the instruments they used. The power of this work comes from the combination of apparently neutral images and texts relating to human pain.

Dallaporta also worked with experts when making Ruins. He travelled with a team of French archaeologists to Afghanistan. Using a drone – a small remote-controlled helicopter – he took numerous photos of the war-ravaged landscape. In combination, these form a single large aerial picture that also shows traces of ancient civilisations. Past and present come together in this series of almost scientific photos.

In Domestic Slavery, Dallaporta (pictures) and Ondine Millot (text) tackle the tragic reality of this phenomenon: people, many unregistered migrants, held against their will in places where their voice cannot be heard. While their names have been altered, the stories are true. Dallaporta’s clinical, unsentimental pictures of the buildings in which these modern-day slaves are kept testify to the banality of day-to-day inhumanity.

Text from the Foam website

 

Antipersonnel, 2004

Unknown objects seem to emerge from the darkness. The legend quickly informs us that they are anti-personnel mines. Raphaël Dallaporta deals with the object reproduced to scale and lets us imagine the consequences of its existence. There are no bloody reportage images to illustrate the mutilations caused by these devices. The photographer presents us with contemporary still life that appear inoffensive but that tend to be aestheticised by photographic techniques all the better to erase the actual use of the object.

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Blast Mine Type 72B China' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Blast Mine Type 72B China
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Type 72 blast mines are said to make up 100 million of China’s 110 million antipersonnel landmine stockpiles (Chinese officials claim this figure is exaggerated). Manufactured by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), Type-72s are reportedly priced at US$3 each. The Type-72B includes an anti-handling mechanism that makes it impossible to neutralise – if the mine is moved more than 8º from the horizontal, it will explode, amputating the limb that activated it.

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Submunition BLU-­3/B USA' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Submunition BLU-­3/B USA
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

On release from a CBU-2C.A bomb this 785 g submunition – known as the “Pineapple” – is stabilised and slowed in its descent by six fins. Each CBU-2C/A contains 409 BLU-3/Bs, of which nearly 25 percent do not explode on impact. d: 73mm W: 785g

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Bounding Fragmentation Mine M-16, USA' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Bounding Fragmentation Mine M-16, USA
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

When detonated the M-16 antipersonnel bounding fragmentation mine is shot up approximately 1.5m in the air and explodes within 0.5 seconds, creating a lethal radius of 10m. Nicknamed the “Bouncing Betty,” each mine is supplied with four tripwires (two olive-green, two sand-coloured) and a wrench. In September 2002 (the most recent statistics available) the USA had 465,330 M16s in stock.

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Directional Fragmentation Mine M-18/A1, USA' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Directional Fragmentation Mine M-18/A1, USA
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

A “Claymore” directional fragmentation mine releases 700 steel balls when detonated by a hand-turned dynamo, a tripwire or, when used with the “Matrix” system, remotely using a laptop computer. (Multiple Claymores can also be linked together using a detonator cord.) A 1996 Department of the Army filed manual states that, “the number of ways in which the Claymore may be employed is limited only by the imagination of the user.” In September 2002 (the most recent available statistics), Claymores made up 403, 096 of the 10, 404, 148 landmines stockpiled by the USA.

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980) 'Antipersonnel Bounding Fragmentation Mine, V-69, Italy' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel Bounding Fragmentation Mine, V-69, Italy
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Antipersonnel Bounding Fragmentation Mine, V-69, Italy. The V-69 can be set off by footfall pressure or through a tripwire. When detonated the fuse sets off propellant gases that fire the mine’s inner body 45cm above the ground. This explodes sending out more than 1,000 pieces of chopped steel. Between 1982 and 1985, its manufacturer Valsella sold around 9 million V-69s to Iraq. The mine was given a nickname by Iraqi minelayers: the “Broom”. 120mm, 3.2kg.

 

 

Foam
Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: + 31 20 5516500

Opening hours:
Daily from 10am – 6pm
Thu/Fri 10am – 9pm

Foam website

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21
Oct
11

Opening: ‘Movement and Emotion’ and ‘Jodie Noble Solo’ exhibitions at Arts Project Australia, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 20th October – 26th November 2011

Curator of Movement and Emotion: Paul Hodges

Artists: Steven Ajzenberg, Patrick Francis, Brigid Hanrahan, Paul Hodges, Chris Mason, Cameron Noble, Jodie Noble, Lisa Reid, Anthony Romagnano and Cathy Staughton

 

 

Catherine Staughton. 'Juggle Ball Hand Jump Roller' 2011

 

Catherine Staughton
Juggle Ball Hand Jump Roller
2011
Gouache and felt pen on paper
38 x 56cm

 

 

Opening night speech by Dr Marcus Bunyan

Thank you for your welcome to Arts Project Australia on this auspicious occasion, the first ever exhibition to be curated by an Arts Project artist, Paul Hodges. Together with the Jodie Noble solo exhibition in the front gallery I am sure you will agree that the gallery is full of vibrant work. There are some things that may be said about both bodies of work.

I asked Paul what had been the inspiration behind Movement and Emotion. He said that he often goes to the National Gallery of Victoria and looks at the pictures and imagines the artist painting. He wonders how they were feeling and he visualises the pictures coming to life, especially pictures of dancers in which he has a personal interest. He came back to Arts Project and started thinking about the work in the collection and after much thought made the selection you see here tonight. He used his imagination, his feelings and his understanding of the world to curate the exhibition.

Let’s consider the title Movement and Emotion.

Emotion can be defined as an agitation, a strong feeling, a departure from the normal calm state of an organism. The logos of emotion begins in the experience of ‘being moved’ in some manner. Any emotion holds within its structure some potential for movement, whether it be physical or mental. You can be physically still yet be mentally moved, causing you to have emotion. Some emotions occur over a period of seconds (for example, surprise), whereas others can last years (for example, love). In the word ’emotion’ is the very act of movement, namely motion. Hence e/motion is the root of this wonderful feeling that I get from these artworks. Emotion is movement. Emotion is feeling. Emotion is passion.1

And it is this very act that sustains the work in both exhibitions. The work is personal. It speaks from the heart. It is intimate, transcendent and enigmatic. It moves me like little contemporary art ever does. When I first saw the artwork in the space at the back of the gallery, when they were revealed to me I gasped at their simple, eloquent beauty. Whimsical and playful these works possess an element of the carnivalesque,2 a riot of colour and form that exist on the border of art and life. Mingling depictions of high culture and personal narrative the works have no pretence but a visceral immediacy: a direct connection from the artists imagination of the world, through the eyes to the hand and the paper to depict what is in the world. As Susan Sontag observes, “A work of art is a thing in the world, not just a text or commentary on the world…”3

Some of you may be familiar with the American photographer Walker Evans – his famous US Depression era pictures are a thing in the world, as well as text/commentary on the world. He refers to this working method as ‘transcendent documentary’4: a watchful intelligence that recognises a moment of seeing, a movement of emotion – and then describes it. Yes, a quest for ‘the thing itself’ but more than that, the imagination to describe the substance of our existence, the nature of reality. Objects, people and places are transformed from things seen to things that we known. Intimately. Inherently.

In their unique vision it is the artists relation to self, the nature of what they see and feel around them that creates e/motion. They transcend form while ordering it at the same time. It is both the immediate world, simply described, perceived as it stands with the whole of consciousness coupled with the imagination as always there, between our eyes and the world, for it is the imagination that defines our humanity, declares our consciousness. They imagine, they perceive the simple radiance of what is.

That is what these artists do.

Perceive.

What is.

.
In Movement and Emotion, and in the portraits of Jodie Noble we see what is and imagine what should be. The photographer Elliott Erwitt in his book Personal Exposures (1988) said, “The work I care about is terribly simple … I observe, I try to entertain, but above all I want pictures that are emotion.”5

Those pictures are here, e/motioning, all around us. I enjoy these pictures tremendously. Congratulations to all the artists for the experience that you have given us.”

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Endnotes

  1. See Robbins, Brent Dean. Emotion, Movement & Psychological Space: A Sketching Out of the Emotions in terms of Temporality, Spatiality, Embodiment, Being-with, and Language. Duquesne University, 1999 [Online] Cited 08/10/2011
  2. Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World (trans. Helene Iswolsky). Cambridge: MIT Press, 1968, p. 7
  3. Sontag, Susan. “On Style,” in Against Interpretation and Other Essays. New York: Delta Book, 1966, pp. 21-22
  4. Anon. “”A Revolutionary Project” Brings Cuba to the Getty Museum,” on Cuban Art News [Online] 05/10/2011 Cited 08/10/2011. No longer available online
  5. Erwitt, Elliott. Personal Exposures. W. W. Norton & Company, 1988 quoted on Anon. “Photographer Elliott Erwitt’s Archive to be Housed at Harry Ransom Center,” on Harry Ransom Center: The University of Texas website [Online] 22/09/2011. Cited 08/10/2011. No longer available online

 

 

Cameron Noble. 'Not titled (Blue Lady)' 2011

 

Cameron Noble
Not titled (Blue Lady)
2011
Dry pastel on paper
57 x 37.5cm

 

Jodie Noble. 'Not titled (red dog)' 2006

 

Jodie Noble
Not titled (red dog)
2006
Pastel on paper
76 x 57cm

 

Paul Hodges. 'Not titled (Pink Dancer)' 2010

 

Paul Hodges
Not titled (Pink Dancer)
2010
Ink on paper
50 x 35cm

 

Steven Ajzenberg. 'Harlequin' 2010

 

Steven Ajzenberg
Harlequin
2010
Gouache on paper
55.5 x 38cm

 

Jodie Noble. 'Geisha Girl' 2011

 

Jodie Noble
Geisha Girl
2011
Dry pastel on paper
35 x 25cm

 

Jodie Noble. 'Not titled (girl wearing pink dress)' 2010

 

Jodie Noble
Not titled (girl wearing pink dress)
2010
Prisma colour pencil on paper
50 x 35cm

 

 

Movement and Emotion

This exhibition will explore movement in paintings and the emotions of people in everyday life. These works are vibrant, expressive and each work is unique; they jump out at you. Key themes investigated include carnival, dance and portraits. This is the first exhibition Paul Hodges has curated.

“This is a wonderful show presenting movement and emotion in art by ten artists that I have collected from Arts Project Australia’s studio.”
Paul Hodges, 2011

“When I walk past Jodie Noble’s paintings I can almost feel what she is feeling … Jodie is telling us what she is feeling through her paintings.”
Paul Hodges 2010

 

Jodie Noble Solo

Jodie Noble’s current work is figurative and often incorporates an autobiographical narrative. While occasionally painting from life, her work also references popular culture. In particular, Noble is inspired by contemporary famous figures, from Frida Kahlo and Francisco Goya to Queen Elizabeth II. Noble’s work is descriptive, expressive and infused with a sense of physicality.

In this exhibition, Noble has selected a series of portraits on paper that are autobiographical and of people she knows in her life. This is Jodie’s second solo exhibition.

 

Brigid Hanrahan. 'Not titled (Ballet Dancers)' 2009

 

Brigid Hanrahan
Not titled (Ballet Dancers)
2009
Colour pencil and fineliner on paper
20 x 30cm

 

Anthony Romagnano. 'Madonna' 2010

 

Anthony Romagnano
Madonna
2010
Prisma colour pencil on paper
50 x 35cm

 

Jodie Noble. 'Not titled' 2010

 

Jodie Noble
Not titled
2010
Ink and fine-liner on paper
38 x 28.5cm

 

Lisa Reid. 'Great Aunt Edna' 2003

 

Lisa Reid
Great Aunt Edna
2003
Gouache on paper
55 x 37.5cm

 

Lisa Reid. 'Not titled (Adam Baddeley)' 2001

 

Lisa Reid
Not titled (Adam Baddeley)
2001
Pastel and pencil on paper
50 x 33cm

 

Cameron Noble. 'Not titled' 2011

 

Cameron Noble
Not titled
2011
Dry pastel on paper
38.5 x 32.5cm

 

Patrick Francis. 'Not titled' 2011

 

Patrick Francis
Not titled
2011
Acrylic on paper
70 x 50cm

 

 

Arts Project Australia
24 High Street
Northcote Victoria 3070
Phone: + 61 3 9482 4484

Gallery hours:
Monday – Friday
 9am – 5pm
Saturday 
10am – 3.30pm

Arts Project Australia website

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16
Oct
11

Essay / review: ‘In camera and in public’ at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne

Exhibition dates:  16th September – 23rd October 2011

Curator: Naomi Cass

Artists: ASIO de-classified photos and footage, Denis Beaubois (France/Australia), Luc Delahaye (France), Cherine Fahd (Australia), Percy Grainger (Australia/USA), Bill Henson (Australia), Sonia Leber and David Chesworth (Australia), Walid Raad (Lebanon/USA), Kohei Yoshiyuki (Japan)

 

 

Persons Of Interest - ASIO surveillance 1949 -1980. 'Author Frank Hardy in the doorway of the Building Workers Industrial Union, 535 George St, Sydney, August 1955'

 

Persons Of Interest – ASIO surveillance 1949-1980
Author Frank Hardy in the doorway of the Building Workers Industrial Union, 535 George St, Sydney, August 1955
NAA A9626, 212

 

 

Un/aware and in re/pose: the self, the subject and the city

Keywords of essay: surveillance, surveillance photography, the gaze, the camera, photography, stolen images, voyeurism, scopophilia, public/private, disciplinary systems, facework, civil inattention, portrait, social history, persons of interest, the city, the self, subject, awareness, repose, reciprocity, the spectacle, the spectator.

 

 

“The paradox is the more we seek to fix our vision of the world and to control it the less sure we are as to who we are and what our place is in the world.”

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Marcus Bunyan 2011

 

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”

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Walker Evans

 

“Texts that testify do not simply report facts but, in different ways, encounter – and make us encounter – strangeness.”

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Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub 1

 

 

Curated by Naomi Cass as part of the Melbourne Festival, this is a brilliant exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne. The exhibition explores, “the fraught relationship between the camera and the subject: where the image is stolen, candid or where the unspoken contract between photographer and subject is broken in some way – sometimes to make art, sometimes to do something malevolent.”2 It examines the promiscuity of gazes in public/private space specifically looking at surveillance, voyeurism, desire, scopophilia, secret photography and self-reflexivity. It investigates the camera and its moral and physical relationship to the unsuspecting subject. Does the camera see something different if the subject is unaware? Is the viewer complicit in the process as they (repeatedly) stare at the photographs? Are we all implicated in a kind of “mass social surveillance” based on Foucault’s concept of the self-regulating disciplinary society, a society that is watched from a single, panoptic vantage point (that of the omnipresent camera lens) and through the agency of the watchers watching each other?3 More on this later in the writing.

 

To the left

A selection of photographs from the series The Sleepers by Cherine Fahd, A4 sized black and white photographs of homeless people, asleep on the grass in a park, taken in secret from a sixth floor apartment in Kings Cross, Sydney. Fahd “went to great pains to make sure her subjects were anonymous, unidentifiable, their faces turned away”4 resulting in photographs of corpse-like bodies on contextless backgrounds – wrapped, isolated, entwined, covered in shadow, the bodies disorientated in space and consequently disorientating the gaze of the viewer.

 

To the right

A selection of photographs from the Crowd Series (1980-82) by Bill Henson. Snapped in secret these black and white journalistic surveillance photographs (‘taken’ in an around Flinders Street railway station in Melbourne) have a brooding intensity and melancholic beauty. Henson uses a flattened perspective that is opposed to the principles of linear perspective in these photographs. Known as The Art of Describing5 and much used in Dutch still life painting of the 17th century to give equal weight to objects within the image plane, here Henson uses the technique to emphasise the mass and jostle of the crowd with their “waiting, solemn and compliant” people.

“When exhibiting the full series, Henson arranges the works into small groupings that create an overall effect of aberrant movement and fragmentation. From within these bustling clusters of images, individual faces emerge like spectres of humanity that will once again dissolve into the crowd … all apparently adrift in the flow of urban life. The people in these images have an anonymity that allows them to represent universal human experiences of alienation, mortality and fatigue.”6

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Henson states, “The great beauty in the subject comes, for me, from the haunted space, that unbridgeable gap – which separates the profound intimacy and solitude of our interior world from the ‘other’… The business of how a child’s small hand appearing between two adults at a street crossing can suggest both a vulnerability, great tenderness, and yet also contain within it all of the power that beauty commands, is endlessly fascinating to me.”7 His observation is astute but for me it is the un/awareness of the people in these photographs that are their beauty, their insertion into the crowd but their isolation from the crowd and from themselves. As Maggie Finch observes, it is “that feeling of being both alone and private in a crowd, thus free but also exposed.”8

In the sociologist Erving Goffman’s terms the photographs can be seen as examples of what he calls “civil inattention”9 which is a carefully monitored demonstration of what might be called polite estrangement, the “facework” as we glance at people in the crowd, holding the gaze of the other only briefly, then looking ahead as each passes the other.

“Civil inattention is the most basic type of facework commitment involved in encounters with strangers in circumstances of modernity. It involves not just the use of the face itself, but the subtle employment of bodily posture and positioning which gives off the message “you may trust me to be without hostile intent” – in the street, public buildings, trains or buses, or at ceremonial gatherings, parties, or other assemblies. Civil inattention is TRUST as ‘background noise’ – not as a random collection of sounds, but as carefully restrained and controlled social rhythms. It is characteristic of what Goffman calls “unfocused interaction.””10

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This is what I believe Henson’s photographs are about. Not so much the tenderness of the child’s hand but a fear of engagement with the ‘other’. As such they can be seen as image precursors to the absence/presence of contemporary communication and music technologies. How many times do people talk on their mobile phone or listen to iPods in crowds, on trams and trains, physically present but absenting themselves from interaction with other people. Here but not here; here and there. The body is immersed in absent presence, present and not present, conscious and not conscious, aware and yet not aware of the narratives of a ‘recipro/city failure’. A failure to engage with the light of place, the time of exposure and an attentiveness to the city.

As Susan Stewart insightfully observes,

“To walk in the city is to experience the disjuncture of partial vision/partial consciousness … The walkers of the city travel at different speeds, their steps like handwriting of a personal mobility. In the milling of the crowd is the choking of class relations, the interruption of speed, and the machine.”11

 

On a pedestal

Travelling in the city, in a machine (in this case a subway train) is the subject of the next body of work in the exhibition, represented by the book L’Autre (The Other) by French artist Luc Delahaye.12 Using a hidden camera Delahaye photographs the commuters faces in repose.

“I stole these photographs between ’95 and ’97 in the Paris metro. ‘Stole’ because it is against the law to take them, it’s forbidden. The law states that everyone owns their own image. But our image, this worthless alias of ourselves, is everywhere without us knowing it. How and why can it be said to belong to us? But more importantly, there’s another rule, that non-aggression pact we all subscribe to: the prohibition against looking at others. Apart from the odd illicit glance, you keep staring at the wall. We are very much alone in these public places and there’s violence in this calm acceptance of a closed world.”13

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This is another example of Goffman’s civil inattention as Delahaye stares into the distance and feigns absence long enough to get his stolen photograph (much like Walker Evans earlier photographs of people on the New York subway photographed with Evans’s camera concealed inside his overcoat).14 Here the photographs are much closer cropped than Evans’, allowing the viewer no escape from staring at the stolen faces. The faces seen in repose remind me of the composite portraits of criminals and the diseased, Specimens of Composite Portraiture c. 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, remembering that one of the earliest scientific functions of the camera was to document the likenesses of criminals, degenerates and other aberrant beings. We must also remember that, as Geoffrey Batchen suggests, “we are so used to the idea that we are always being watched that we might have turned our whole lives into “a grand, impenetrable pose” because we assume the camera eye is always present.”15

In the physiognomy of these faces the viewer is asked to assess a person’s character or personality from their outer appearance. While the viewer may be complicit in this task we must also remember that the photographer who stole these photographs has also re/posed these faces, choosing which people to secretly photograph and culling images that did not meet his conceptual project. We find no smiling or laughing faces in the book, no context is given (the photographs being tightly cropped on the body and face) and the phatic image, the one that grabs us has been manipulated, reposed and restaged for our edification. While the subject may be unaware of being photographed and their face may be in repose, this repose is as much a cultural construct as if they had known their photograph was being taken.

As John Berger and Jean Mohr write,

“The photographer choses the events he photographs. This choice can be thought of as a cultural construction. The space for this construction is, as it were, cleared by his rejection of what he did not choose to photograph.”16

 

On the wall in front

Series of images from Persons of Interest: ASIO surveillance photographs 1949-1980 taken in secret to record the state’s purported enemies (ASIO is the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australia’s national security service, which is responsible for the protection of the country and its citizens from espionage, sabotage, acts of foreign interference, politically-motivated violence, attacks on the Australian defence system, and terrorism). The photographs were not taken as art and served a purely utilitarian purpose, that of recording and documenting the conversations and movements of persons of interest to the powers that be. “The camera can’t change the world, but there’s an idea that it can protect us – hence surveillance, which promises to watch over us, and watch out for us, rather than merely watch.”17

According to Haydn Keenan, director of the documentary Persons of Interest “Surveillance secretly records an image of someone so that the recorder so that the recorder can have advantage over the subject. Sometimes it’s political, sometimes social, but the very essence of surveillance is the secret theft of the image.”18 Keenan goes on to identify four types of photographic surveillance:

  1. Photographs taken by ASIO agents who are known to the person of interest. These are particularly disconcerting because they are the kind of intimate photographs that you would see in a family album
  2. ASIO photographer taking photographs in public, at demos and public meetings, always happening to get the person of interest “in the frame” so to speak.
  3. Long lens photographs taken by setting up an observation post and then sitting down and waiting.
  4. Photographs taken by what was called a ‘butterbox’ – a camera concealed in another object like a briefcase.19

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There are thousands of these images, photographs of people in the wrong place at the wrong time. The closely cropped black and white photographs have an intimacy and anonymity to them. They build up a mental image of the changing face of what the State saw as threat: Aboriginal land rights, gay rights, women’s liberation, anti-Vietnam demonstrations, youth culture, Communism – and now terrorism. These photographs evince an inherent suspicion about social issues and they had the power to dramatically alter lives (through the loss of work or home, through imprisonment). “Yet what ASIO didn’t realise is that they were constructing an invaluable social history of Australian dissent as they gradually confused subversion with dissent.”20 The eye of the beholder cast a dark shadow but one that would not remain private forever.

 

Around the corner

The largest series of the exhibition, The Park by Japanese photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki (1971-1979), features twenty-five luscious A3 sized black and white photographs with deep blacks, framed in thin white, wood frames. The photographs were taken in Japanese parks at night where fornicating couples use public space as private space. In most cases the couples were not aware they were being observed by voyeurs and if they were, “with exhibitionist complicity, they fornicate to an audience of peeping Toms.”21 What they were definitely not aware of was that they were being photographed. As Amelia Groom observes, “The levels of complicity, performativity and victimisation of the subjects remains ambiguous.”22

These informal, grainy, infra-red flash photographs, “were first published in 1972 in the popular ‘secret camera’ genre magazine Shukan Shincho and were not initially considered as art photography … however they also sit within a broad tradition of voyeurism in Japanese art.”23 Starting in mid-distance the photographs eventually close right in on the subject matter, tightly composed on the mass of hands going everywhere, the flash over exposing various elements of the infra-red composition. The photographs are most effective when the viewer does not see the object of desire, but is positioned behind the voyeur who is hidden behind the hedge, looking. The viewpoint of the erotic act is denied, is out of shot/sight. We are literally “lined up right behind Yoshiyuki in the chain of voyeurism”24 imbibing the camera’s active, desiring masculine gaze. “Looking at Yoshiyuki’s images induces an uneasiness that has something to do with seeing the seer looking while seeing ourselves being seen looking.”25 The photographs are multiply voyeuristic, implicating the watchers, the photographer and us.26 But they implicate us only as part of a larger cultural signification.

Penny Modra in The Sunday Age M magazine observes of these photographs that, “you are a peeping Tom peeping at peeping Toms peeping at people.”27 I believe it is more than that. The definition of “peeping” is that of stealing a quick glance; to peer through a small aperture or from behind something (peering through a small aperture number is quite an appropriate metaphor since we are dealing with the photographic lens). While this may be true of the act of photography itself it is not true of the process of photography that took place to get the photographer to the point of exposure. Yoshiyuki himself “assembled the story of his association with the park voyeurs and details how the series was shot after spending six months getting to know those observers in the shrubbery.”28 Much as Diane Arbus befriended the subjects in her photographs, Yoshiyuki, rather than having a furtive glance of desire, planned his series using the all seeing narrative eye trained on its target over several months. He positions his subject squarely in his line of sight. And while a voyeur “can be defined as a person who observes without participation, a powerless or passive spectator … a photographer, contemplating a nude or any sexual subject is also a voyeur, but someone with a camera, or the means to distribute a photograph, is not entirely passive or powerless.”29 This power can be seen in the fame that the series has bought the photographer, his infamous series now heralded around the world.

 

At the centre

Black and white ‘snapshot’ photographs from the series Lust Branch by Percy Grainger, printed between 1933 and 1942, that document his sadomasochistic sexual practices including ‘self beating’ which he believed were intrinsic to his creativity. The envelope containing some of the photographs was marked “Private Matters: Do Not Open Until 10 (ten) Years After My Death.” The archive has the quality of forensic records as it documents, in a quasi-scientific Victorian tradition, evidence of his proclivities, his normalcy. The dark 4″ x 5″ brown-toned photographs show Grainger posing in a domestic setting (in Kansas) with a chair and also show the use of a suspended mirror to document his fustigations. Robert Nelson states that the shock of these images isn’t the flagellantism itself but that we’re looking at it. “The transgression isn’t the perversity but the breach of privacy the composer orchestrated: he lashed himself not only with a whip but a camera.”30 Personally I don’t register this shock as S/M practices have regularly been part of my life. What I find more disquieting is people who try to define what is normal and what should be recorded or not and by whom and who gets to see them.

I vividly remember going to the Minor White archive at Princeton University and seeing photographs of erect penises taken by White (who was gay) and thinking why I hadn’t seen these photographs before. The shock was not of seeing them but the fact that they were still hidden and had never been reproduced. Similarly, at The Kinsey Institute there are colour photographs of 1950s physique magazine body builders having full on sex, never to be seen in public. Also at the Kinsey are erotic photographs by the gay George Platt Lynes, taken for his own pleasure but never exhibited in public.31 Lynes had to resort to sending his erotic work to an early German pornographic magazine to get the photographs published. Taking these photographs is not a breach of privacy but an expression of normalcy, freedom and creativity.

 

In conclusion

“The idea of a photographic ‘gaze’ relates to a specific way of looking, and being looked at through the camera, and implies a certain psychological relationship of power and control.”32 Foucault’s analysis of the gaze as a means of surveillance, which is predatory and controlling, used to classify and discipline, allows the camera and mirror to be equated as tools of self-reflection and surveillance, where the double (created through self-reflection and surveillance) can be alienated from the self, taken away (like a photograph) for closer examination.33 Victor Burgin in his seminal 1977 essay Looking at photographs “argues that the ‘recording eye’ of the camera sets it apart from the subject at which it looks. The camera creates an ordering device which ‘depicts a scene and the gaze of the spectator, an object and a viewing subject.’“34 The camera’s gaze is not passive, it is active; it imparts its own subjectivity forming a triangular relationship between the object being photographed, camera and photographer. It has its own reality.

In a society where we are living in the age of ubiquitous networked photography35 the borders between public and private are collapsing. The idea that the gazer is able to see but not be seen; in essence, that the looking is anonymous36 is becoming a fallacy. Everything, even the watcher, becomes visible (after an ever shorter time). The separation that takes place between the looker and the looked-at is disappearing; we all know we are being watched even as we watch (and post) ourselves. “The act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle … are [becoming] one.”37

I would suggest that there is no fixed definition of private and public. For example even after people sign out from Facebook the sites they visit are still tracked.38 Anything that you post on Facebook, the music you like – if you just listen to it, Facebook takes it to mean that you approve of it and distributes it too your friends. Similarly with CCTV, ASIO images, mobile phone images, what is thought of as an invasion of privacy is eventually made public through FOI, leaking, teenage girls posting online (Ricky Nixon) etc … As noted earlier someone with a camera, or the means to distribute a photograph, is not entirely passive or powerless.

Even as the photographer “lifts” the object of his attention with his machine, the camera, he “takes” a picture, “and in so doing he makes a claim for that object or that composition, and a claim for his act of seeing in the first place … transposing a particular and emphatically personal point of view”39 and making a claim for the very act of seeing itself. The thing itself (the object photographed) and the way the photographer looks at it cannot be separated. In other words, in constant oscillation, we stand behind but also in front of the metaphorical camera: “I am nothing; I see all.”40

We know that we are being monitored and so we conform; even if no one is there, even if we cannot see the guard (as in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon prison) we suspect we are being watched and so self regulate our behaviour. “And yet, our contemporary society … has ironically embraced surveillance … This is most apparent in social media where millions of people regularly upload their most intimate moments via webcam … we happily embrace the mechanisms devised to control us and turn them into a kind of freefall celebration.”41

“It is though the millions of people, artists or not, who produce and publish images of themselves, their friends, surroundings and ideas in a sort of mass social surveillance (while often being tracked by the devices they are using) are implicated … in surveillance as a source of entertainment and personal gratification.”42

Surveillance, sousveillance as the sight of (perverse) resistance.

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These contradictory, constantly shifting contemporary information and image flows tends to erode the moral authority of any social order, patriarchal or otherwise, opening up an expanded and abstracted terrain of becoming. Images exceed, incorporate or reverse the values that are presumed to reside within them.43 These phatic images, for that is what they are – targeted images that force you to look and hold your attention – “produce a ‘message-intensification’ within the visual image that accentuates pictorial detail while simultaneously forcing image context and location to recede or disappear. The phatic image is at once technically-mediated, manipulable, intensified and perhaps most importantly for [Paul] Virilio de-localized.”44 This can be observed in bodies of work in this exhibition: most have no image context or defined location while intensifying their message through close-up details. All have been circulated around the world for consumption. Vision is everywhere and nowhere at one and the same time.

The person who gazes is not unfamiliar with the world upon which he looks; he understands the image as seen from without as another would see it, in the midst of the visible.45 No longer is the image seen or considered from a certain spot. That vision is decentred by the networks of signifiers that come to me from the social milieu …

“The viewing subject does not stand at the center of the perceptual horizon, and cannot command the chains and series of signifiers passing across the visual domain. Vision unfolds to the side of, in tangent to, the field of the other. And to that form of seeing Lacan gives a name: seeing on the field of the other, seeing under the Gaze.”46

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While the self and environment are under constant surveillance in an attempt to resemble the truth, to re-assemble the referentiality of the image, it is not the breakdown of an already existing web of visuality (the disciplinary gaze of surveillance) but the wilful amending of its intent that opens up new terrains of becoming. In the public city it is the publicity of the image that will continue to thwart the controlling eye. We are all actors in a performative space, transforming the gaze and collapsing its vision into the tactile worlds of virtual reality (Ron Burnett), “engaging with ideas of pose, of masquerade, of performance, of witness and record as they transact across increasingly contingent boundaries of private and public, fact and artifice,”47 to question who we become in the necessarily public register of the photographic – the public register of memory and history.48

Each enframing of reality opens up the possibility of new discourses. The paradox is the more we seek to fix our vision of the world and to control it the less sure we are as to who we are and what our place is in the world. Does the painting emerge from the figure or the figure from the painting?

Does the image/reality emerge from the image …

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Word count: 3,870

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Many thank to the CCP and Naomi Cass for allowing me to publish the text and photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. Text © Centre for Contemporary Photography 2011.

 

Endnotes

  1. Felman, Shoshana and Laub, Dori. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. London: Routledge, 1992, p. 5 quoted in  Fisher, Jean. “Witness for the Prosecution: The Writings of Coco Fusco,” in Fusco, Coco. The Bodies That Were Not Ours. London: Routledge, 2001, pp. 227-228
  2. Stephens, Andrew. “Who’s watching you?” in The Saturday Age. 23rd September 2011 [Online] Cited 14/10/2011
  3. Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated from the French by Alan Sheridan. New York: Pantheon Books, 1977 cited in McDonald, Helen. “It’s Rude to Stare,” Footnote 9 in Radok, Stephanie (ed.,). Artlink: Art & Surveillance. South Australia: Artlink, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2011, p. 25
  4. Stephens, Op. cit.,
  5. See Alpers, Svetlana. The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century. University Of Chicago Press, 1984
  6. AnonBILL HENSON: early work from the MGA collection. Education Resource. A Monash Gallery of Art Travelling Exhibition [Online] Cited 14/10/2011. No longer available online
  7. Henson, Bill quoted in the exhibition catalogue. First published as a pdf for the exhibition In camera and in public. Curated by Naomi Cass. Centre for Contemporary Photography, 16 September – 23 October 2011
  8. Stephens, Op. cit.,
  9. See  Goffman, E. Behaviour in Public Places. New York: Free Press, 1963
  10. Giddens, Anthony. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991, pp. 82-83
  11. Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993, p. 2. Prologue
  12. Delahaye, Luc. L’Autre. Phaidon Press, 1999
  13. Delahaye, Luc quoted in the exhibition catalogue. First published as a pdf for the exhibition In camera and in public. Curated by Naomi Cass. Centre for Contemporary Photography, 16 September – 23 October 2011
  14. Morrison, Blake. “Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera,” on the The Guardian website 22nd May 2011 [Online] Cited 14/10/2011
  15. Stephens, Op. cit.,
  16. Berger, John and Mohr, Jean. Another Way of Telling. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982, pp. 92-93
  17. Morrison, Op. cit.,
  18. Keenan, Haydn. “A Job for the Dogs,” in Radok, Stephanie (ed.,). Artlink: Art & Surveillance. South Australia: Artlink, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2011, p. 18
  19. Ibid.,
  20. Keenan, Haydn quoted in the exhibition catalogue. First published as a pdf for the exhibition In camera and in public. Curated by Naomi Cass. Centre for Contemporary Photography, 16 September – 23 October 2011
  21. Nelson, Robert. “Snapped in the moment – forever,” in The Age newspaper. Wednesday, October 5th 2011, p. 19
  22. Groom, Amelia. “Seeing Darkness,” in Kohei Yoshiyuki: The Park. Institute of Modern Art pamphlet for the exhibition
  23. Cass, Naomi quoted in the exhibition catalogue. First published as a pdf for the exhibition In camera and in public. Curated by Naomi Cass. Centre for Contemporary Photography, 16 September – 23 October 2011
  24. Groom, Op. cit.,
  25. Ibid.,
  26. Goldberg, Vicky. “Voyeurism Exposed,” on Artnet magazine website. 2010 [Online] Cited 14/10/2011
  27. Modra, Penny. The Sunday Age M magazine. September 25th, 2011
  28. Gefter, Philip. “Sex in the Park, and its Sneaky Spectators,” in The New York Times, 23rd September 2007 cited in Lida, Shihoko. “Gaze without Subjectivity: Kohei Yoshiyuki and Yoko Asakai,” Footnote 4 in Radok, Stephanie (ed.,). Artlink: Art & Surveillance. South Australia: Artlink, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2011, p. 28
  29. Goldberg, Op. cit.,
  30. Nelson, Op cit.,
  31. See Bunyan, Marcus, “Thesis Notes II – Research Notes and Papers: Research Notes on the Photographs from the Collection at The Minor White Archive and The Kinsey Insitute,” in Pressing the Flesh: Sex, Body Image and the Gay Male. 2001 [Online] Cited 14/10/2011. Click on the menu on the left hand side
  32. Finch, Maggie. Looking at Looking. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2011, p. 2
  33. Ibid.,
  34. Burgin, Victor, “Looking at photographs,” in Burgin, Victor (ed.,). Thinking Photography. London: Macmillan Education, 1987, p. 146 quoted in Finch, Maggie. Looking at Looking. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2011, p. 3
  35. Palmer, Daniel and Whyte, Jessica. “‘No credible photographic interest’: photographic restrictions and surveillance in a time of terror,” in Philosophy of Photography Vol. 1, No. 2, 2010, p. 182
  36. Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings in Braudy, Leo and Cohen, Marshall (eds.,). New York: Oxford UP, 1999, pp. 833-44 cited in Boen, Ashley. “The Male Pornographic Gaze,” on Boen, Ashley. Cultures of the Camera: The Male Gaze website [Online] Cited 15/10/2011. No longer available online
  37. Parrington, Vernon Louis. Main Currents in American Thought 1927-1930. New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1930 quoted in Blinder, Caroline. “”The Transparent Eyeball”: On Emerson and Walker Evans,” Footnote 11 in Mosaic: a Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature. Winnipeg: Dec 2004. Vol. 37, Iss. 4; pg. 149, 15 pgs
  38. Bloomberg. “Facebook in tracking suit,” in The Age newspaper. Monday, October 3rd 2011, p. 3
  39. Blinder, Caroline. “”The Transparent Eyeball”: On Emerson and Walker Evans,” Footnote 11 in Mosaic : a Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature. Winnipeg: Dec 2004. Vol. 37, Iss. 4; pg. 149, 15 pgs
  40. Ibid.,
  41. Marsh, Anne. “Surveillance Art: Genre and Political Action,” in Radok, Stephanie (ed.,). Artlink: Art & Surveillance. South Australia: Artlink, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2011, p. 57
  42. King, Natalie and Fraser, Virginia. “People Who Love To Watch,” in Radok, Stephanie (ed.,). Artlink: Art & Surveillance. South Australia: Artlink, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2011, p. 15
  43. Lumby, Catharine. “Nothing Personal: Sex, Gender and Identity in The Media Age,” in Matthews, Jill (ed.,). Sex in Public: Australian Sexual Cultures. St. Leonards: Allen and Unwin, 1997, pp. 14-15
  44. Virilio, Paul. “A topographical amnesia,” in The Vision Machine. London: British Film Institute, 1994 cited in Thumlert, Kurt. Intervisuality, Visual Culture, and Education. [Online] Cited 10/10/2011. No longer available online
  45. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Le Visible et l’invisible. Paris: 1964, p. 177 (trans. by Alphonso Lingis, Evanston, 1968, p. 134) quoted in Damisch, Hubert. The Origin of Perspective. (trans. John Goodman). Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, 1994, pp. 34-35
  46. Foster, Hal (ed.,). Vision and Visuality. Bay Press, Seattle: Dia Art Foundation Discussions in Contemporary Culture, Number 2, 1988, p. 94
  47. French, Blair. “The Things That Bill Sees,” catalogue essay from the exhibition Perfect Strangers. Canberra: Canberra Contemporary Art Space, 2000, np.
  48. Ibid.,

 

 

Cherine Fahd. 'Untitled' from the series 'The Sleepers' 2005-2008

 

Cherine Fahd (Australian, b. 1974)
Untitled
From the series The Sleepers
2005 – 2008
Lightjet print
28.5 × 40.2 cm
Courtesy the artist

 

Cherine Fahd. 'Untitled' from the series 'The Sleepers' 2005-2008

 

Cherine Fahd (Australian, b. 1974)
Untitled
From the series The Sleepers
2005 – 2008
Lightjet print
28.5 × 40.2 cm
Courtesy the artist

 

 

In 2003 I began photographing people I didn’t know in the streets of Paris, working in a conventional street photography style. I became a prowler searching for photographic opportunities in the faces and gestures of total strangers, fascinated with capturing private moments within the public realm.

In 2005 I was living on the sixth floor of an apartment in Kings Cross, Sydney, below was a park unadorned by play equipment or even a bench. From my window I could see homeless people asleep on the grass in the middle of the day. What struck me most were their bodies resting in dappled light and gesturing in ways usually saved for private moments. The drape of their clothes and the quality of light reminded me of so many paintings I had seen.

So The Sleepers began. I photographed people asleep in the park with my mini DV camera, which allowed me to zoom in and capture detail but also allowed for a grainy image reminiscent of surveillance footage. In the sleeping posture – curled up or lying flat – people generally covered their faces, ensuring their anonymity. I liked this aspect of the work. Although I was photographing them unawares, I wasn’t really intruding if I couldn’t see their faces. Oddly, I have stopped working in this candid way. I wasn’t sure why at the time. In retrospect I understand that it became too difficult because audiences became obsessed with whether I had permission to photograph people. I never considered asking anyone if I could take their photo. It would have defeated the whole point. People change when they know there is a camera present, better to let them be.

The moral dilemmas engulfing candid photography are not something I am interested in addressing in my work. I would much rather ponder whether their faces, or their bodies, or their gestures are cues to something more mysterious, spiritual and human.

Cherine Fahd 2011 text from the exhibition catalogue

 

Kohei Yoshiyuki. 'Untitled' 1971 From the series 'The Park'

 

Kohei Yoshiyuki (Japanese, b. 1946)
Untitled
1971
From the series The Park
Gelatin Silver Print
© Kohei Yoshiyuki, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

 

Kohei Yoshiyuki. 'Untitled' 1971 From the series 'The Park'

 

Kohei Yoshiyuki (Japanese, b. 1946)
Untitled
1971
From the series The Park
Gelatin Silver Print
© Kohei Yoshiyuki, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

 

Yosi Milo Gallery Kohei Yoshiyuki artist
Untitled 1971, 1972, 1973, 1979 from the series The Park
Edition various of 10
25 gelatin silver prints
40.64 – 50.8 cm
Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
Kohei Yoshiyuki: The Park is presented in association with the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

 

 

Kohei Yoshiyuki’s now infamous documentation of voyeurism features confronting photographs of public space clandestinely used as private space at night: Japanese parks where, in the absence of privacy, young people perform intimate acts while being watched by onlookers.

During the 1970s, young commercial photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki (a pseudonym; his real name remains unknown) frequented Tokyo’s Shinjuku, Yoyogi and Aoyama parks at night with a 35mm camera, infrared film and a flash. Photographed over a decade, the series was exhibited at the Komai Gallery in Tokyo in 1979 where the images were printed life-size and exhibited in the dark while visitors used hand held torches to view the photographs. These prints were subsequently destroyed.1

Images from The Park were first published in 1972 in the popular ‘secret camera’ genre magazine Shukan Shincho and were not initially considered as art photography.2 However, Yoshiyuki’s series also sits within a broad tradition of voyeurism in Japanese art, including eighteenth and nineteenth century erotic ukiyo-e prints and in cinema.

In 1980 Yoshiyuki published a further selection and, in 1989, he wrote about the process of getting to know the park voyeurs. In 2006 Yoshiyuki was included in Martin Parr’s publication The Photobook: A History: Volume 2 as an unknown innovator, prompting Yossi Milo Gallery to track down the reclusive artist and convince him to reprint the remaining negatives for what became a highly successful exhibition in 2007.

Of the relationship between couples and voyeur Yoshiyuki wrote: ‘The couples were not aware of the voyeurs in most cases. The voyeurs try to look at the couple from a distance … then slowly approach toward the couple behind the bushes, and from the blind spots of the couple they try to come as close as possible, and finally peep from a very close distance. But sometimes there are the voyeurs who try to touch … and gradually escalating – then trouble would happen.’3

Naomi Cass text from the exhibition catalogue

 

  1. Amelia Groom. ‘Seeing Darkness’, in Kohei Yoshiyuki: The Park exhibition catalogue, IMA, Brisbane, July 2011
  2. Shihoko Iida, ‘Gaze without subjectivity’, Artlink: Art and Surveillance, 31: 3, 2011, p. 28
  3. Philip Gefter, ‘Sex in the Park, and its Sneaky Spectators’, The New York Times, 23 Sept 2007

 

Luc Delahaye. 'Untitled' from the series 'L'Autre' 1995/1997

 

Luc Delahaye (French, b. 1962)
Untitled
1995/1997
From the series L’Autre
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia

 

 

I stole these photographs between ’95 and ’97 in the Paris metro. ‘Stole’ because it is against the law to take them, it’s forbidden. The law states that everyone owns their own image. But our image, this worthless alias of ourselves, is everywhere without us knowing it. How and why can it be said to belong to us? But more importantly, there’s another rule, that non-aggression pact we all subscribe to: the prohibition against looking at others. Apart from the odd illicit glance, you keep staring at the wall. We are very much alone in these public places and there’s violence in this calm acceptance of a closed world.

I am sitting in front of someone to record his image, the form of evidence, but just like him I too stare into the distance and feign absence. I try to be like him. It’s all a sham, a necessary lie lasting long enough to take a picture. If to look is to be free, the same holds true for photographing: I hold my breath and let the shutter go.

Luc Delahaye, from L’Autre, Phaidon Press, London, 1999 text from the exhibition catalogue

 

Luc Delahaye. 'Untitled' from the series 'L'Autre' 1995/1997

 

Luc Delahaye (French, b. 1962)
Untitled
1995/1997
From the series L’Autre
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia

 

 

To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.

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Susan Sontag On Photography 1977

 

 

In camera and in pubic is about the relationship between camera and subject when this is fraught in some way, in particular, where the subject is not aware of being photographed, where the contract between photographer and subject has been broken.

Candid photography has been critical in the development of art and evidential photography, in revealing aspects of our history and society which have been hidden, ignored, lied about or simply abandoned. Candid photography has delivered some of the most widely regarded, potent and treasured images.

However, the camera is merely a technical device and some would even say a dumb device, which can be, and is used for contradictory and malicious ends. Candid photography has also hurt, harmed and destroyed people. There are more images in the world than ever before, and image sharing technologies in the hands of those with subversive, destructive or immature desires. Paradoxically, on one hand there is greater access to unmediated information of all genres through the internet but also a counter move of public disquiet about candid photography. Many well-regarded, indeed renowned photographers will no longer photograph at the beach, by a pubic pool, at a junior sports match, on the street. The context for photography has changed.

This exhibition looks at the physical and moral proximity of camera to subject in both historical and contemporary work by Cherine Fahd, Bill Henson, Luc Delahaye, Sonia Leber and David Chesworth, Kohei Yoshiyuki, Denis Beaubois, Percy Grainger, Walid Raad and declassified ASIO images from the late 1940s to the 1980s.

In viewing In camera… it is sobering to consider where the photographer is positioned, to viscerally experience the proximity of camera to unsuspecting subject because, importantly, the exhibition moves from candid photography taken with the sole intention of making art (Henson, Fahd, Delahaye, Leber and Chesworth, Raad and Yoshiyuki) through to the intention of surveillance. Not surprisingly, on first view, even the declassified ASIO images are compelling and beautiful.

Of the artists, the viewer might well ask, have you obtained permission to photograph? But as we all know the unprepared body and face reveals quite a different story than the figure composed for the camera. It is the non-composed figure which is the lifeblood of much art and photography.

Surveillance is in part the subject of work by Denis Beaubois, Walid Raad and to some extent in Leber and Chesworth’s multi-media work. Certainly Beaubois, Leber and Chesworth consider the role of architectural space and the all-seeing eye of the state and in the latter, the eye of god within the panopticon of the domed cathedral. Walid Raad puts the tedium of surveillance in perspective when his fictional operative repeatedly forgoes his designated work to relish the setting sun.

In camera and in public exploits the form of CCP’s nautilus galleries and reflects the progress of the camera turned towards an unsuspecting subject until Gallery 4 where, in the hand of Percy Grainger, the camera is turned towards himself, in an astonishing series of vintage photographs, possibly created for display in the Grainger Museum. ‘In camera’ and in public, indeed. In 1941 Grainger wrote, “Most museums, most cultural endeavours, suffer from being subjected to too much taste, too much elimination, too much selection, too much specialisation! What we want (in museums and cultural records) is all-sidedness, side lights, crossreferences.”

We all love to stare, to linger, to see what we might have missed, and with advancing technologies, to see what is unavailable to the naked human eye, and here lies the problem. In looking at these images, are we implicated in an act of transgression?”

Text Naomi Cass September 2011 from the exhibition catalogue

 

Denis Beaubois. 'In the event of Amnesia the city will recall…' 1996-1997

 

Denis Beaubois (Mauritius, b. 1970)
In the event of Amnesia the city will recall…
1996-1997
DVD
9 mins 30 secs
Courtesy the artist

 

 

This work explores the relationship between the individual and the metropolis. Twelve sites were selected around the city of Sydney where surveillance cameras are prominently placed, the locations were mapped out and the stage for this work was created. A daily pilgrimage was made to the sites for a period of three days. No permission was sought for the use of these sites. The performer arrived unannounced and carried out his actions. Upon arrival the performer attempted to engage with the electronic eye. The performer’s actions were directed to the camera, which adopted the role of audience.

The primary audience was the surveillance camera (or those who monitor them). Their willingness to observe is not based upon the longing for entertainment. It stems from a necessity to assess and monitor designated terrain. Imbued with a watchdog consciousness, the primary audience scans the field for suspects, clues and leads. Like many audiences, it assesses the scene and attempts to pre-empt the plot. However this audience is extremely discerning and, ultimately, by assessing and reacting to the event it also adopts the role of performer.

Within this metropolis the walls do not have ears but are equipped with eyes. The city must understand the movements of those who dwell within its domain. To successfully achieve this it must be capable of reading its inhabitants. What can be read can be controlled in theory. Yet the city’s eyes are not content following the narrative provided by its inhabitants. The city weaves its own text within the surface narrative. A paranoid fiction based on foresight.

Denis Beaubois 1997 text from the exhibition catalogue

 

Denis Beaubois. 'In the event of Amnesia the city will recall…' 1996-1997

 

Denis Beaubois (Mauritius, b. 1970)
In the event of Amnesia the city will recall…
1996-1997
DVD
9 mins 30 secs
Courtesy the artist

 

 

In camera and in public represents a very different approach to this year’s Festival theme of protest and revolution. Taking a look at society through the lens of the state, the street photographer, the artist and the eye of the voyeur, this exhibition curated by Naomi Cass examines the abandonment of the contract between photographer and subject.

Ranging from candid street photography through to surveillance photography, In camera explores the camera and its relationship to the subject, unaware of being photographed. From images taken in public spaces, including a series of striking faces taken on the Paris metro, the exhibition proceeds to the grainy anxiety of declassified ASIO photos from the 1960s.

Kohei Yoshiyuki’s now infamous documentation of voyeurism, The Park (1970-1979), features confronting photographs of public space clandestinely used as private space at night: Japanese parks where, in the absence of privacy, young people perform intimate acts while being watched by onlookers.

At the heart of CCP galleries are Percy Grainger’s extraordinary naked self-portraits from his so-called ‘lust branch’ collection, hand printed by Grainger between 1933 and 1942. Here the camera is turned on himself, in camera.

Cherine Fahd offers frank photographs of daytime sleeping bodies in a Kings Cross park taken from her 6th floor apartment, while Bill Henson captures hauntingly beautiful crowd scenes during the 1980s. Sonia Leber and David Chesworth secretly film from the dome of St Pauls Cathedral, London and Walid Raad impersonates a fictional operative who failing in his surveillance task, repeatedly films the sunset.

Finally, Denis Beaubois, with a playful and performative video, seeks a kind of revenge of the subject, through his attempts to engage with a number of surveillance cameras, inviting the camera to respond to pleas earnestly delivered on cue cards.”

Press release from the CCP website

 

Bill Henson. 'Untitled 1980/82'

 

Bill Henson (Australian, b. 1955)
Untitled 1980/82
Gelatin silver chlorobromide print
From a series of 220
57.5 × 53.4 cm
Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

 

 

Bill Henson (Australian, b. 1955)
Untitled 1980/82
Gelatin silver chlorobromide print
from a series of 220
57.5 × 53.4 cm
courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

 

 

The great beauty in the subject comes, for me, from the haunted space, that unbridgeable gap – which separates the profound intimacy and solitude of our interior world from the ‘other’ and in trying to show, in this case through envisioning the crowd, how an awesome, unassailable, even monumental, beauty and grace might attend the undulating, fluid mass of a wall of people as they move toward you.

It is the contradictory nature of life and the way in which this can be suggested in art which first drew me to photograph crowds – much as this underpins my interest in any art form…

The business of how a child’s small hand appearing between two adults at a street crossing can suggest both a vulnerability, great tenderness, and yet also contain within it all of the power that beauty commands, is endlessly fascinating to me.

Bill Henson 2011 text from the exhibition catalogue

 

Persons Of Interest - ASIO surveillance 1949-1980 'Writer Frank Hardy, St Kilda, July 1964'

 

Persons Of Interest – ASIO surveillance 1949-1980
Writer Frank Hardy, St Kilda, July 1964
NAA 9626, 212

 

Persons Of Interest - ASIO surveillance 1949 -1980. 'Eddie Mabo, CPA district conference, Townsville, September 1965'

 

Persons Of Interest – ASIO surveillance 1949-1980
Eddie Mabo, CPA district conference, Townsville, September 1965
NAA A9626, 162

 

Persons Of Interest – ASIO surveillance 1949-1980
Curated by Haydn Keenan
Selected surveillance images from a forthcoming documentary series from Smart Street Films

 

 

I discovered these images as part of my research for our documentary series Persons Of Interest which will be screened on SBS early next year. They are part of a massive archive of pictures secretly recorded by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) from 1949 onwards.

These images are not art. Unlike art these pictures have the power to alter lives dramatically. Be photographed at the wrong place and you’ll find it hard to get a job, when you do you’ll get the sack soon after. Appear in these images and your career will go nowhere without explanation. The eye of the beholder will cast a shadow you will not see until thirty years later when you get access to your file.

The photos create a strange world of frozen youth, high hopes and issues that were seen as subversive then but are now so integrated into the mainstream that they need explanation for Gen Y. ASIO was created to hunt down and eliminate a Soviet spy ring operating in Canberra in the late 1940s. Most of the members of the spy ring were connected with or were members of the Communist Party of Australia. For the next forty years ASIO followed everything the Party did.

The purpose of photographic surveillance is to identify Persons Of Interest in a definitive manner and to record their associations and contacts thereby building a network. Surveillance would occur during demonstrations, May Day marches and at political meetings. It would also occur at specific locations and everyone entering or leaving the location would be recorded. Each person in a photograph with an ASIO file would have an identifying number marked on the image next to them.

I have thousands of these images and what I have noticed is that one builds up a mental image of the changing face of what the State saw as a threat. What starts as the hunt for Communist spies gradually evolves into suspicion about social issues like Aboriginal land rights, youth culture, Women’s Liberation, anti Vietnam, Apartheid – even amateur actors at New Theatre were thoroughly photographed. There’s even a file on the Mother’s Club at Gardenvale Primary School. The absurdity is evident in hindsight. Yet what ASIO didn’t realise is that they were constructing an invaluable social history of Australian dissent as they gradually confused subversion with dissent.

They recorded many people, especially in the 1960s filled with youthful exuberance, high in hope and action. These people were questioning the central values of a society their parents had created. Here they are frozen in the malevolent eye of the security services. Whilst it’s invasive, seedy and incompetent, even they can’t diminish sunlit youth.

Haydn Keenan 2011 text from the exhibition catalogue

 

 

Percy Grainger (Australian, 1882-1961)
Private Matters: Do not open until 10 (ten) years after my death
1955-1956
Envelope
25.1 x 32 cm
Courtesy the Grainger Museum, The University of Melbourne

 

 

Internationally renowned Australian pianist and composer Percy Grainger (1882-1961) built new sounds by modifying old instruments. He built electronic instruments from recycled materials; he built new words, new types of garments and previously unforged links between folk and classical music. He also built the Past-Horde-House, his term for museum, in which he curated his life.

In these photographs, hand printed between 1933 and 1942, Percy Grainer turns the camera on himself (and to a lesser degree his wife Ella) to document his sexual practices, which he believed were intrinsic to his being and his creativity. These works form part of what Grainer called the ‘lust branch’ of his Museum.

Grainger was a sadomasochist and wrote to his partners and friends quite openly about his thoughts on sex, including what he called ‘self beating’. However when in 1956 Sir Eugene Goossens, British composer and Sydney Symphony Orchestra conductor was detained for bringing pornography into the country, and was subsequently destroyed by the scandal, Grainger, like a number of prominent Australian artists, either left the country or outwardly restrained their behaviour. Consequently, Grainger sealed his ‘lust branch’ of the Museum, a selection of books, whips and photographs related to sadomasochistic behaviour in a travelling trunk, and left the instruction: Not to be opened until 10 (ten) years after my death (exhibited). Contained within the accompanying envelope is a kind of manifesto in the form of a letter, the pages of which are carefully bound together by hand, in which he writes, ‘The photographs of myself whipped by myself in Kansas City and the various photographs of my wife whipped by me show that my flagellantism was not make-believe or puerility, but had the element of drasticness in it. Nevertheless my flagellantism was never inhuman or uncontrolled.’

While Grainger was the subject of intense, international media scrutiny, marketing and photography, to document their sadomasochistic practices Grainger had to teach himself photography. The archive he left has the quality of forensic records, consistent with the quasi scientific method he practiced in other aspects of his life. Exhibited is Grainger’s self-printed, hand-made album, Photo-skills Guide in which he makes technical observations, similarly evident in and on other ‘lust branch’ photographs.

Grainger considered his sexual expression integral to all aspects of his life, indeed for Grainger sexuality was inseparable from his renowned life as a pianist and composer. It is probable that the ‘lust branch’ images were designed for display in the Museum, in a more enlightened period. In 1941 Grainger wrote, ‘I have a bottomless hunger for truth … life is innocent, yet full of meaning. Destroy nothing, forget nothing … say all. Trust life, trust mankind. As long as the picture of truth is placed in the right frame (art, science, history) it will offend none.’

Naomi Cass 2011 text from the exhibition catalogue

 

 

Centre for Contemporary Photography
404 George St, Fitzroy
Victoria 3065, Australia
Phone: + 61 3 9417 1549

Opening Hours:
Wednesday – Friday, 11am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm

Centre for Contemporary Photography website

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09
Oct
11

Free Symposium: ‘Photography as Crime’ at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne

Saturday 15th October 2011, 1 – 5pm (with interval)

Presented by Monash University and the Centre for Contemporary Photography

 

What are the key legal and philosophical issues relating to photography in public places? What pressures are recent changes in the relationship between publicity and privacy putting on the meaning and significance of ‘privacy’, the body and the human face? How are photographers and other artists responding to transformations in urban space brought about by increasingly participatory and automated forms of surveillance?

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Chaired by Dr Anne Marsh, Professor of Art Theory in the Faculty of Art & Design at Monash University, with presentations by:
Dr Melissa Miles, Lecturer, Art Theory Program in the Faculty of Art & Design at Monash University
Dr Jessica Whyte, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the School of English, Communication and Performance Studies, Monash University
Professor Mark Davison, Faculty of Law, Monash University
Dr Daniel Palmer, Senior Lecturer, Art Theory Program in the Faculty of Art & Design at Monash University
Dr Martyn Jolly, Head of Photography and Media Arts at the Australian National University School of Art

 

Symposium program

Welcome: 1.10 – 1.30

Professor Anne Marsh (Chair) Dr Anne Marsh is Professor of Art Theory in the Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University. She is author of LOOK! Contemporary Australian Photography since 1980 (2010), Pat Brassington: This is Not a Photograph (Quintus/University of Tasmania, 2006), The Darkroom: Photography and the Theatre of Desire (Macmillan, 2003) and Body and Self: Performance Art in Australian, 1969-1992 (Oxford University Press, 1993).

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Session 1: 1.30 – 3.00

Dr Melissa Miles Photography and its Publics

There has been a recent shift in our perception of photography and privacy. The view that our privacy is under threat has created an atmosphere of paranoia and fuelled demands for law reform in relation to photography in public space. As photographers and privacy advocates battle each other by opposing the right to privacy with the right to free expression, there seems little chance of finding a workable solution. This paper seeks to address this issue by analyzing the links between photography, privacy and the public, and assessing the cultural and political implications of this new climate.

Dr Melissa Miles is a photography historian and theorist based at the Faculty of Art & Design at Monash University. Her interest in the interdisciplinary qualities of photography informs her first book, The Burning Mirror: Photography in an Ambivalent Light (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2008).

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Dr Jessica Whyte Sexting, anxiety and ‘photographic injuries’

Recent ‘sexting’ cases in Australia and the United States have seen girls as young as 14 charged with producing and child-pornography for taking and distributing photographs of themselves. Undoubtedly, the ease of distribution enabled by new technologies creates extra hazards for teens, who may come to regret images that may circulate far further than they had desired. Yet, the other trajectory, which could see teenage displays of sexuality resulting in lengthy jail sentences and teenagers having their names and faces publicly displayed on lists of sex offenders for at least the next decade is hardly an attractive one. This paper questions the assumption that protecting young people’s privacy from themselves justifies laws that both criminalise them and reinforce their status as powerless victims whose sexual experimentation is too dangerous for the state to turn a blind eye.

Jessica Whyte is a post-doctoral fellow in the School of English, Communication and Performance Studies, Monash University. She has published widely on contemporary continental philosophy (Agamben, Foucault, Rancière), sovereignty and biopolitics, critical legal theory and critiques of human rights.

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Professor Mark Davison Law of Photography: What is it and how is it decided?

Taking photographs in public places and subsequently distributing those photographs is subject to a multitude of laws that may impose criminal or civil law consequences on photographers. There is also considerable uncertainty about the nature and operation of some of those laws. For example, what constitutes offensive conduct in the context of, say, taking photographs on a beach is difficult to define. Similarly, care needs to be taken in defining what is a public place and what is a private place in a legal sense because those definitions will vary according to the context in which the distinction is being made. One consequence of this uncertainty isthat incorrect statements of the law come to be acted upon with a further consequence that incorrect perceptions of the law actually become the law in a practical and de facto manner. This presentation will be designed to give an overview of some of the key legal issues relating to photography in public places.

Mark Davison is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at Monash University. His main areas of expertise are intellectual property and contract law. He is a member of the Commonwealth government’s Expert Advisory Group on plain packaging of tobacco products and a member of the Intellectual Property Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

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Break: 3 – 3.30

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Session 2: 3.30 – 4.30

Dr Daniel Palmer Social Space in the Age of Networked Photography

In the era of ubiquitous networked photography, cameras have colonised social space in new ways. One result, according to Michael T. Jones, Google’s Chief Technology Advocate, is that “the earth itself is like a table of contents for direct exploration of all the photographs that have ever been shared by people around the world, automatically.” This paper explores some of the unexpected consequences of GPS-enabled camera phones and Google Street View for our understanding of the dynamic relationship between photography, surveillance and social space. As urban space is transformed by increasingly participatory and automated forms of visual mediation, how are photographers and other artists responding?

Dr Daniel Palmer is a Senior Lecturer in the Art Theory Program in the Faculty of Art & Design at Monash University. His publications include the books Twelve Australian Photo Artists (2009), co- authored with Blair French, and the edited volume Photogenic: Essays/ Photography/ CCP 2000 – 2004 (2005). He is currently writing a book on digital photography as part of the ARC Discovery Project Genealogies of Digital Light.

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Dr Martyn Jolly Facial Velocities

What pressures are recent changes in the relationship between publicity and privacy, as well as advances in technological surveillance, image capture and dissemination, putting on the meaning and significance of the human face? After a brief historical excursion to Kaspar Lavater, Charles Darwin and Lillie Langtry, I will focus an a range of examples drawn from: the current ‘war’ between celebrity and paparazzi; tabloid scandals about the nocturnal indiscretions of footballers; social media; developments in the use of facial recognition algorithms; plastic surgery; and recent developments in movie CGI motion capture techniques. Using these examples I will argue that there has been a subtle but profound shift in the concept of the face from the ‘private’ in the sense of the ‘discreet’, to the ‘private’ in the sense of the ‘owned’. And further, that faces now do not so much have expressive features, as transactional velocities.

Dr Martyn Jolly is Head of Photography and Media Arts at the ANU School of Art. He is an artist and a writer. This year he was a Scholar and Artist in Residence at the National Film and Sound Archive, working in their magic lantern slide collection, and a Harold White Fellow at the National Library of Australia, working on Australiana picture books of the 1960s.

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Closing Panel 4.30 – 5pm

 

 

Centre for Contemporary Photography
404 George St, Fitzroy
Victoria 3065, Australia
Phone: + 61 3 9417 1549

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Friday, 11am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm

Centre for Contemporary Photography website

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08
Oct
11

Exhibition: ‘A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer’ at Tacoma Art Museum

Exhibition dates: 2nd July – 16th October 2011

 

Virna Haffer. 'Eleventh Street Bridge' c. 1930s

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Eleventh Street Bridge
c. 1930s
Woodblock print
Tacoma Art Museum, Gift of Carolyn Schneider

 

 

It is such a joy constructing this blog. I get to educate myself on these wonderful, half-forgotten photographers and then bring their photographs to you. What a life Haffer must have had: she found success as a photographer, printmaker, painter, musician, sculptor, and published writer. Independent-minded and self-sufficient, as most artists are, this is an artist I would have liked to have met!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the Tacoma Art Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Virna Haffer. 'Abstract #2' c. 1960s

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Abstract #2
c. 1960s
Photogram
Collection of the Washington State Historical Society, gift of the estate of Virna Haffer

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974) 'Untitled [tree and chair]' c. 1962

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Untitled [tree and chair]
c. 1962
From the series Aftermath
Photogram
50.8 h x 40.6 w cm
National Gallery of Australia
Gift of the Estate of Virna Haffer 2011

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974) 'Swirl' c. 1940

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Swirl
c. 1940
Gelatin silver print
39.4 h x 31.8 w cm
National Gallery of Australia
Gift of the Estate of Virna Haffer 2011

 

Virna Haffer. 'Aftermath' c. 1962

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Aftermath
c. 1962
Photogram
Collection of the Washington State Historical Society, gift of the estate of Virna Haffer

 

 

One of the most inventive Northwest artists of her time, Virna Haffer was an internationally recognised and respected Tacoma photographer who has slipped from both regional and national art history books. This summer, Tacoma Art Museum uncovers her innovative artwork.

In a career spanning more than six decades, Haffer found success as a photographer, printmaker, painter, musician, sculptor, and published writer, though she is known first and foremost as a photographer. Self-taught, she began her ambitious career in the early 1920s, both running a successful portrait studio (where she photographed the likes of the Weyerhaeuser and Chihuly families) and also exhibiting her unique artistic images around the world.

The curatorial team of Margaret Bullock, Christina Henderson, and David Martin searched through more than 30,000 of Virna Haffer’s photographic negatives, prints, and woodblocks at the Washington State Historical Society and Tacoma Public Library’s Special Collections to create this exhibition and its accompanying catalogue.

“It is an amazing opportunity to be able to bring the life and work of Virna Haffer to light once again,” said Margaret Bullock, Tacoma Art Museum’s Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions, and a co-curator of the Haffer exhibition. “Her artistic curiosity is palpable in her work, which in itself is staggering in its volume, diversity, and range. Her role in and impact on the Northwest photographic community is just beginning to be uncovered and understood as we explore her unrivalled photographic legacy.”

Raised in the utopian community of Home Colony in South Puget Sound in the early 1900s, Haffer’s love of photography was sparked when she was just ten years old. Raised to be independent-minded and self-sufficient, she left school at the age of 15 to become a professional photographer. In 1914 she apprenticed herself to Tacoma photographer Harriette H. Ihrig where she absorbed the necessary technical skills along with the business know-how to run a commercial studio. She started exhibiting her fine art photographs in 1924.

Haffer tirelessly experimented with techniques and evolved her own rules, pushing beyond the boundaries of her medium to methodically master a variety of photographic styles and techniques. Her body of work includes images that can be classified as pictoralist, surrealist, documentary, and modernist. She experimented with a wide range of imagery, such as multiple overlapping exposures, eccentric viewpoints, composite images, and a non-mechanical photographic process called the photogram.

“Virna Haffer has been an all too well kept Tacoma secret,” said Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum. “Her work has been quietly appreciated for decades awaiting reconsideration. Given her Tacoma roots, pivotal role in Tacoma’s art community throughout her career, and diverse and stunning body of work, Virna Haffer is a perfect subject for the museum’s Northwest Perspective Series, which celebrates the work of regional artists.”

Haffer’s passion for photography not only brought her success in business with her own portrait photography studio, but also international recognition. Her commercial portrait work can be found in homes all over Tacoma, while her fine art photographs can be found in the permanent collections of institutions as prestigious as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Text from the Tacoma Museum of Art website

 

Virna Haffer. 'Mina Quevli' c. 1930

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Mina Quevli
c. 1930
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Washington State Historical Society, gift of the estate of Virna Haffer

 

Virna Haffer. 'Franz Brasz, The Artist' c. 1937

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Franz Brasz, The Artist
c. 1937
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Washington State Historical Society, gift of the estate of Virna Haffer

 

 

Franz Brasz

Arnold Franz Brasz (July 19, 1888 – April 1, 1966) was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker who was born in Polk County, Wisconsin on July 19, 1888. He studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and also with Robert Henri in New York. By the early 1920s, he was dividing his time between southern California and Wisconsin. He is considered a member of the Ashcan School, and his public commissions include Fruit Pickers, a 1940 mural in the city hall of Redlands, California showing four Native American farm workers. Brasz died at his home in Glendale, California on April 1, 1966.

 

Virna Haffer

Virna Haffer (1899-1974) was an American photographer, printmaker, painter, musician, and published author.

Born in 1899 in Aurora, Illinois, Haffer and her family moved to the utopian community of Home in South Puget Sound in Washington State in 1907. When she was 15 years old Haffer became the apprentice of the photographer Harriette H. Ihrig. She opened her own portrait photography studio in Tacoma, Washington and began publishing her photographs in 1924. Haffer was known for experimenting with unusual, quirky techniques and created her own artistic style that stretched the boundaries of artistic classifications in the early twentieth century. Haffer’s work was eccentric; she produced pictorialist, modern, surreal, and documentary style work.

Haffer was married three times, the second time to socialist and labor advocate Paul Raymond Haffer, with whom she had one son, Jean Paul Haffer. One of her works as a commercial photographic portraitist was a childhood picture of future glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Haffer’s work was first exhibited in 1924 in the Fifth Annual F&N Salon of Pictorial Photography, and in 1928 at the Seattle Camera Club’s Fourth International Exhibition. By 1930 her work was internationally recognised, and often appeared in publications such as the American Annual of Photography. In addition, she won recognition and prizes in photographic competitions in the United States in the 1930s. In the 1960s she took an interest in producing photograms, and in 1969 she published a book about the process called Making Photograms: The Creative Process of Painting With Light. Haffer’s work was also the subject of several solo exhibitions at locations including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1960; California Museum of Science and Industry, Los Angeles, 1964; New York Camera Club, 1967 and the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, NYC, 1968. A posthumous retrospective of her work, A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer, was produced at the Tacoma Art Museum in 2011.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Virna Haffer. 'Old Tacoma Hotel Fire' c. 1935

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Old Tacoma Hotel Fire
c. 1935
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Washington State Historical Society, gift of the estate of Virna Haffer

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974) 'The Family' 1929

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
The Family
1929
Woodblock print
Collection of the Washington State Historical Society, gift of the estate of Virna Haffer

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974) 'Hooverville' c. 1936

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Hooverville
c. 1936
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Washington State Historical Society, gift of the estate of Virna Haffer

 

Virna Haffer. 'Self Portrait' 1929

 

Virna Haffer (American, 1899-1974)
Self Portrait
1929
Gelatin silver print with added pigmentation
Private collection

 

'A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer' catalogue cover

'A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer' catalogue pages

'A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer' catalogue pages

'A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer' catalogue pages

'A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer' catalogue pages

 

A Turbulent Lens: The Photographic Art of Virna Haffer catalogue cover and pages

 

 

Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98402

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm

Tacoma Art Museum website

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07
Oct
11

opening: ‘movement and emotion’ and ‘jodie noble solo’ at arts project australia, melbourne

October 2011

 

I am opening the exhibitions Movement and Emotion and Jodie Noble Solo at Arts Project Australia, Northcote on Wednesday 19th October 2011 from 6 – 8pm. All welcome, would be great to see you there. Details on the flyer!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

 

 

 

Arts Project Australia website

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06
Oct
11

Vale Steve Jobs

October 2011

 

I work with you every day Steve. You have enriched my life; my many Macs have become stalwart friends. I truly thank you and send you good wishes on your journey…

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Jonathan Mak

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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