The Fish and the Baby with a Bottle

I’m captivated by Rebecca Simon’s Letters from the Past project. The moment that stopped me dead was the juxtaposition of a caught fish supping at the air, dying, with the grandfather feeding his granddaughter a bottle of milk. It is heartbreakingly raw and reveals how powerful combining or simply bringing close two otherwise mundane images […]

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Lines, disruptions and what lies out-of-frame

“Family photography, as a genre, documents the ‘being with others’ of the domestic sphere,” writes Thy Pay, Elspeth H. Brown and Andrea Noble in their essay Feeling in photography, the affective turn, and the history of emotions. “These photographs record what Catherine Zuromskis has called ‘aspirational fictions’ that allow is to record ourselves and our […]

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Final Major Project Proposal: Other Mothers

My Final Major Project, Other Mothers, explores non-biological maternality, the mothering of a child who is not the mother’s own, whether through birth or adoption (1). It will hold a tension between issues of loss, abandonment and displacement on the one hand, and bonding, belonging and healing on the other. The project’s epicentre will be […]

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Photography and the strange world of ‘art’

“Museums and galleries are not neutral containers offering a transparent, unmediated experience of art,” writes Emma Barker in Contemporary Cultures of Display. She is, of course, quite right. Curators, critics and other opinion influencers, including collectors and artists themselves, not only play leading roles in deciding what is worthy of wall (or floor) space but […]

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Does seeing photographs of suffering deaden the conscience?

Photojournalism of the most pressing and distressing events of our times is frequently rounded upon by photography’s best-known critical thinkers. We have Susan Sontag attacking photography in general: The camera doesn’t rape, or even possess, though it may presume, intrude, trespass, distort, exploit, and, at the farthest reach of metaphor, assassinate – all activities that, […]

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Responsibility and Representation: The Photographer or Photography

Perhaps I would say this as a history graduate, but I firmly believe historical study provides the best, if often imperfect, means of understanding the past. Based nearly always (I’m excepting micro-histories here) on multiple sources – primary, secondary and historiographical – historical studies move towards an ever more refined and relevant understanding of what […]

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