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Articles on Photography

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The Wall of Death at the former Auschwitz concentration camp – a place for solemnity, not smiles. Nicole Low/AAP Image

Death tourism, Auschwitz selfies, and online souvenirs

Ouch. I think my entire body physically cringed when I came across the latest story of a misjudged tweet gone viral this week: the case of Breanna Mitchell, the naïve teenager and self-styled “Princess…
BP Portrait Award 2014 Shortlisted entries, L to R: Richard Twose, Jean Woods 2013; Thomas Ganter, Man with a Plaid Blanket, 2013; David Jon Kassan, Letter to my Mom, 2013. National Portrait Gallery

Portraits are a fine art, so let’s embrace the selfie

The BP Portrait Award 2014, which opens at the National Portrait Gallery this week, might seem to some like the celebration of a dying art. In our digital age, portraiture might seem to be less and less…
Tracey Emin, Paul Smith, Alex James, Stephen Jones, Norman Cook, Vivienne Westwood, Nick Moran, Patrick Cox, Helena Christensen and Norman Reedus. British Vogue, London, 1999. © Mario Testino

Mario Testino: how photography breached the gates of high culture

Photographic exhibitions feed the celebrity industry, in the way they exalt the status of individual photographers as well as how they represent their subjects. As such, they have had a history of being…
Fairfax staff are on strike today in protest against cuts to the picture departments at the company’s mastheads. AAP Image/Julian Smith

We need press photographers to record the first draft of history

In the documentary Gallipoli from Above, an Australian production that recently aired on ABC TV, Hugh Dolan, author of 36 Days: The Untold Story Behind the Gallipoli Landings argues that at 4am on April…
Sue Ford, Self-portrait (1986). A major retrospective of the feminist photographer and film maker is on display at the National Gallery of Victoria. Sue Ford Archive, Melbourne © Sue Ford Archive, Melbourne/National Gallery of Victoria

Feminist maverick Sue Ford at the National Gallery of Victoria

Australian visual artist Sue Ford built a reputation as a feminist maverick through her 23 solo exhibitions from 1964 until her death in 2009, and a major exhibition of her work is on display at the National…
Richard Mosse, ‘A Thousand Plateaus’. © Richard Mosse, courtesy Edel Assanti

Another planet? Photographing conflict in eastern Congo

In an extraordinary moment at the Eichmann trial, an Auschwitz survivor who gave himself the name Ka-Tzetnick (from the German initials for concentration camp) described the world into which millions were…
Emanuele Rosso

Why does analogue still feel good in a digital world?

Is analogue better than digital? Is digital better than dialogue? Though the source of much heated debate, it would seem digital is now virtually unstoppable. There’s not going to be any 35mm film at the…
An Indo-European family form part of a new photography exhibition. National Gallery of Australia

Garden of the East – a look at how we look at Indonesia

Say “Indonesia” today and what visual associations does the word prompt? For many Australians, an ambivalent mix of pleasant and troubled images, no doubt. But a new photography exhibition at the National…
The government is using a graphic novel depicting an asylum seeker’s failed journey to Australia as its latest method of deterrence against boat arrivals. DIBP

Graphic novel versus Taliban: an asylum seeker deterrent?

The immigration department has added new contemporary imagery to the growing list of iconic works that surround the vexed issue of asylum seekers. Most Australians can already vividly recall media of the…
Gerrit Fokkema’s photographs of everyday Sydney and Canberra in the early 1980s are examples of Australian photography becoming more self-aware. These decisive snapshots of suburban life reveal an irony and conjure Fokkema’s own history growing up in Queanbeyan. Though captured in seemingly banal settings, the images intrigue, pointing to issues beyond what is represented in the frame. The housewife watering the road and a young tattooed man in front of a car are both depicted alone within a sprawling suburban landscape, suggesting the isolation and boredom in the Australian dream of home ownership. The sense of strangeness in these images is consciously sought by Fokkema, aided by his embrace of the glaring and unforgiving ‘natural’ Australian light. Purchased 1986 © Gerrit Fokkema

Australian Vernacular Photography offers a look at our reality

Opening this week, Art Gallery NSW’s latest exhibition, Australian Vernacular Photography, explores the Australian photographic…
This picture, from a trove of historic Sydney Harbour photos, shows the ferry South Steyne rounding Bennelong Point. Graeme Andrews 'Working Harbour' Collection, City of Sydney Archives

Harbour life: tracing early Sydney’s watery history

Never mind the bush and the outback – Sydneysiders were a maritime people from the start. For proof, browse through the Working Harbour collection, 10,000 images of Sydney’s maritime history recently donated…
Glamour photography sells both the experience and the product. WEExp/Shutterstock

Glamour photography makes suburban stars of us all

In shopping centres and malls across much of Australia and North America, a peculiar and particular type of photography business makes itself at home. It goes under a number of names and guises, but is…
Double-duckface-synchronised-selfie. Very fresh, very now. Chris Gansen

Note to selfie: you’re more than just a narcissist’s plaything

We truly live in a digital age. The “selfie”, has been announced by the Oxford English Dictionary as this year’s most popular word and, by me, as this year’s most unremarkable word. This new-found trend…
A photo of a balloon, mid-burst, can be achieved by amateur photographers. Brent Schneeman

A snapshot of high-speed photography (and how to do it)

High-speed photography in still images and cinema seems to be the latest rage. And while modern technology has made much of the equipment easily accessible, the basic techniques have been used since the…

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