Articles on Photography

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A 1928 cigarette card classifying an ‘Egyptian beauty’: these cards depicted women as exotic creatures, a trend that can still be seen at beauty contests today. Author provided

Classifying ‘national types of beauty’: from cigarette cards to Miss Universe

Collectable cigarette cards once depicted 'exotic' beauties, classified by the colonial eye. And today's beauty contests still present women as exotic representatives of their nation.
Exhibition installation view of Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 27 Oct 2017 – 18 Feb 2018. All artworks © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission. Photo: AGNSW, Christopher Snee

Friday essay: Mapplethorpe and me

The distinctive visual style of Robert Mapplethorpe’s beautiful, oversized images seems now more classical than shocking. But he can still reveal the subconscious of an era we think we have outgrown.
Ryan Kelly’s iconic photograph of the moment that James Fields’ car plowed into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ryan M. Kelly/AP

Is Ryan Kelly’s iconic photograph an American ‘Guernica’?

Ryan Kelly's iconic photograph from Charlottesville evokes a 'Unite the Right' moment from 1937 – and the anti-war masterpiece by Picasso that emerged from it.
A photo entitled “Apprehension” is part of the Still Here project at the University of British Columbia’s Men’s Health Research Program. The project uses photos to engage gay and bisexual men who have previously struggled with suicide.

Why do so many gay and bisexual men die from suicide?

Pride Month: It's time to talk about the shockingly high rate of suicide among gay and bisexual men. Photos and stories in the Still Here project document the complex reasons.
Syrian doctors treat a child following a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria. Edlib Media Center, via AP, File

How much power can an image actually wield?

Will recent photos of chemical attack victims in Syria provoke a short-term emotional reaction or a sustained humanitarian campaign?
A light graffiti image of Ms Dhu is projected on a building in Perth. Ethan Blue

Seeing Ms Dhu: how photographs argue for human rights

Noel Pearson has accused the ABC of racism in dwelling on indigenous alienation. But many advances in the status of Aboriginal Australians have been prompted by revealing ill-treatment, which is why Ms Dhu's family want footage of her last hours made public.

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