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Archive for August, 2014

My Father joking around in Drag (1950s)

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

My father grew into a man who found it hard to be wrong. He burned bridges. But I can see off old home movies and photographs with his family and friends that some time way back he really enjoyed self-deprecating humour. These photographs of my father and aunt were scanned from 6cm x 9cm film negatives made by my paternal grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). It looks like on this occasion my father and aunt may have swapped their clothing for a bit of a laugh.

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The German Photographic Annual 1960 (Book Review)

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

The German Photographic Manual 1960

Opportunity shops and antique shops are well worth digging around in for photography books. For example, I paid a whopping AUD$5.00 at a local antique shop for The German Photographic Annual 1960 (in German published as Das neue deutsche Lichtbild 1960) edited by Wolf Strache and Otto Steinert. Wolf Strache edited the annual publication from 1955-1979 and from 1960 co-edited with Otto Steinert. This 1960 edition was the first year Steinert was brought into the editorial team.

There are four interesting essays in this book that reflect onto 1960: This Photographic Age by Oliver Storz, The Questionable Nature of Color Photography by Hermann Speer, The Epic of Everyday Life: Trends in the Development of Documentary Photography by E. J. Klinsky and Turntable of Photography by Wilhelm Schoppe. Each essay offers insight into contemporary thoughts on German photography in 1960, but remain more than valid within contemporary photography today.

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On the Sexualisation of Children & Teenagers

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

There would be few less contentious areas in photography than the issue of exploiting children. In 2008 the New South Wales Police raided a Paddington gallery to seize child pornography shot by the well known artist Bill Henson. No charges were brought to court. In 2010 he put more provocative pictures onto gallery walls as New South Wales law was changed to make it unlawful to produce child pornography for an artistic purpose. In 2013 he pulled work from a South Australian gallery exhibition after a senior detective lobbied the Premier to intervene. But, after all the rhetoric on this subject, is the work really about sexualisation of children?

The 19th Century photograph I’d begin the discussion around is Alice Liddell as the Beggar Girl. The photograph was made by Charles Dodgson (1832-1898), better known to most as the author of Alice in Wonderland under the pen name Lewis Carroll. The girl, Alice Liddell, was inspiration for his famous children’s tale. Simon Winchester wrote a worthy read called The Alice Behind Wonderland that I would highly recommend. In this book it is made clear that although today’s eyes view the Alice Liddell as a Beggar Girl photograph as highly sexualised, it was not viewed that way at the time. Accusations and innuendo surrounding Dodgson’s proclivity towards pedophilia is without real merit, based on loose conjecture and a page missing from his diaries.

Photography, to a great extent, is about learning how to see and understand pictures. There is historic lineage behind certain images or forms of representation. There is the context of the picture being made – what is included and excluded from the frame. And the context of where it is viewed and for what purpose.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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