Australian Book Review
A lover of photography since childhood, by the time Olive Cotton, who was born in Sydney in 1911, was in her twenties she was already creating the pictures that were to define her as one of Australia’s foremost women photographers, although this would not be acknowledged until the 1980s. Apart from the photographs she made, Cotton left little material trace of a life that spanned nine decades (she died in 2003). This lack of physical evidence presented a challenge for biographer Helen Ennis, a former curator of photography at the National Gallery of Australia and an art historian, who has nonetheless managed to weave a compelling, if at times diaphanous, narrative.... (read more)
Philip Jones reviews Capturing Nature: Early scientific photography at the Australian Museum 1857–1893 by Vanessa Finney
The photographic resources of museums and their archives have emerged as key sources for studying the natural world and human cultures, particularly as those studies have widened to include the techniques and modus operandi of scientists and anthropologists themselves. Their notebooks and field equipment ...... (read more)
Roger Ballen’s art is not for the faint hearted; it is confronting, haunting, and at times repellent. It is also fascinating, brilliant, and jaw-dropping. These images seethe with malodorous discontent, menace, and psychosis. The best way to experience his photographs is to surrender and resist the desire to read the images literally ...... (read more)
How do you visually portray a concept like human rights? Much of the scholarship around this question focuses on the idea that to understand what human rights might look like, we have to visualise life without them. Historically, photography has played a significant role in exposing violations of human rights to a mass audience ...... (read more)
Vivian Maier has received the kind of attention most photographers and artists can only dream of – multiple monographs, documentary films, commercial gallery representation, extraordinary public interest, and now a biography. However, all this activity and acclaim has occurred posthumously. In her lifetime ...... (read more)
Bernard Whimpress reviews 'Feeling is the Thing that Happens in 1000th of a Second: A season of cricket photographer Patrick Eagar' by Christian Ryan and 'Lillee & Thommo: The deadly pair’s reign of terror' by Ian Brayshaw
A modern cricket photographer using digital single-lens reflex cameras and high-speed motor drives can take 5,000 photos in a day’s play. With such a surfeit of images, the quality of seeing is diminished. For most of his career from the 1970s to the 2010s, English photographer Patrick Eagar would shoot four or five rolls of film ...... (read more)
The text tells us this is Venice, or more precisely Giudecca, but what we see is an empty arcade, a distant tower, and the long shadow of the photographer. It is a scene with an understated surrealism, like a painting of de Chirico, but both photo and adjacent text are by Teju Cole. Giudecca, writes Cole, means ‘“Jewry,” though there’s no proof a Jewish comm ...
Even young trees bear the signature of deep time, if not eternity. For most of humanity’s existence, men and women have looked upwards through trees, wondering at the tracery of their branches piercing the firmament, the domed lid of the earthly world. Recorded mythology confirms that trees have occupied that special place in every ancient belief system; rooted in ...
Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'William Yang: Stories of love and death' by Helena Grehan and Edward Scheer
William Yang is one of Australia's best-known and most prolific photographers. In William Yang: Stories of love and death, Helena Grehan and Edward Scheer interrogate the political and aesthetic themes running through this artist's output....