Photofile 82 - Guilty Secrets




Editor: Alasdair Foster

Reality and fiction. Truth and falsehood. The authorisation of meaning. Photography seems forever caught up in the vortex that swirls between these concepts. This issue of Photofile has no formal theme, but these concerns with reality, fiction and authorisation are all here. The traditions of documentary witness are to be found in the work of the artist-run photo agency Oculi and in the harsh realties made evident in Stephen Dupont's ongoing project in Afghanistan. However, Lewis Morley is dismayed that some of the classic photojournalistic shots of the 20th century were in fact staged set-ups.

On the other hand, the imaginative fictions published here cut to the heart of very real situations. Elaine Campaner's tiny tableaux make a biting comment on Australia's detention centres and Graham Miller's dramatised portraits evoke the melancholy of middle Australia. Meanwhile, the serious business of game playing and fantasy is at the heart of Polixeni Papapetrou's practice - she discusses her approach in the main interview. And Li Guangxin's ironic saccharine portraits take a satirical look at the ambivalent mix of vanity and vulnerability felt by China's new consumer generation.

In an incisive and critical article, artist Scott Redford takes on the world’s leading curators. He argues that they have turned their back on the important cultural issues of our age in favour of cosy nostalgia. He makes a powerful argument for greater democracy in the arts and more serious attention to be paid by the art world to phenomena such as YouTube, Facebook and Second Life.

  • Editorial
  • The Third Degree: Mr Artlife, Andrew Frost, is brought in for questioning
  • Previews: a critical appraisal of some of the upcoming events nationally and internationally
  • Debut: discover the enchanted world of Magdalena Bors
  • Profile: the rise and rise of FotoFreo
  • Interview: Polixeni Papapetrou gets serious about dress-ups, art and her critics
  • Points of View: four perspectives on Tracey Moffatt's sunny new portrait of Eubena Nampitjin
  • Rant: Lewis Morley demands more honesty in photography
  • You Are the Content: Scott Redford calls the ├╝ber-curators to account
  • Culture Warriors: David Broker gets to grips with the National Indigenous Art Triennial
  • The Eyes Have It: Sandy Edwards looks into the work and workings of the artist-run Oculi photo agency
  • Lonely Ain't No Eyesore: Robert Cook embraces the deep melancholy in Graham Miller's evocation of dystopian suburbia
  • Narcostan: images from Stephen Dupont's award-winning documentary project in Afghanistan
  • Infatuation: Huang Du introduces a rising star of Chinese photomedia, Li Guangxin
  • Model Society: Maggie Finch finds the harsh realities of Australian politics in Elaine Campaner's tiny tableaux
  • First Cut: Pat Hoffie considers Martin Smith's incisive synthesis of image and text
Exhibition Reviews:
  • Christl Berg: Intimate Encounters at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Inveresk
  • Living Elvis at RMIT Gallery, Melbourne
  • Daylesford Photo Biennale
  • Role Play at National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Selina Ou at Grant Pirrie Gallery, Sydney
  • New Blood: Magnum Photos 60th Anniversary Exhibition at Stills Gallery, Sydney
  • Transmission at South Australian School of Art Gallery, Adelaide
  • Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles
Book Reviews:
  • Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection
  • Matthew Sleeth: Ten Series / 106 Photographs
  • Christopher Day: Surprise Hard Times
  • Gary Carsley: Draguerrotypes

IMAGE © Li Guangxin Noise Prohibited 2007

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