Issue 15 — Summer 1998
Meeting with photographers during the portfolio days provides us with useful feed back about the contents of the magazine. These conversations seem to suggest perceptions are polarised into two camps: that we are an 'art photography magazine' or 'a documentary magazine'. These categories are frustratingly vague and at odds with the increasing cross-fertilisation of approaches that informs gallery based work and that appearing in newspapers and magazines. The phrase 'Art photography' is also frequently used to describe any set of images that can not be understood and consumed instantly. We hope to continue to publish work that is challenging and innovative regardless of categories.
Photographers attending the Portfolio Days have expressed interest in starting informal groups of like-minded practitioners. These groups would provide another layer of debate, stimulus and support for the photographic community in Ireland. We hope that the magazine can help with the initial organisation. In this issue Fabienne Barre uses a variation of the rayograph and photogram techniques of Man Ray and Laszio Moholy-Nagy to produce stark abstracted figure studies. These photo-drawings present faceless figures that seem to push out from the surface of the page. Eoin McCarthy's work explores feelings of vulnerability and displacement through photographing himself naked in empty corridors, the night landscape and in domestic situations. David Cavanagh challenges his own conditioned responses to nudity and the connection between nude and female perpetuated by the media. Colette Lewis choreographs an apparently headless dancer who moves and gestures in a ritual derived from animal behaviour. Alexa Brunet and Mij Rothera weave their own peculiar stories. With people and props they play with humorous and theatrical scenarios to create their own unique and unsettling worlds. We also examine the photographic image sent to every household in Northern Ireland on the cover of the historic political agreement. We reveal its location and the identity of the uncredited photographer.
lt gives me great pleasure to announce continued and increased financial support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Their vote of confidence in our activities comes with news that Olympus have signed a three year sponsorship deal with the magazine. In this issue we are pleased to publish the first of the newly created Olympus sponsored portfolio pages. The two featured photographers and all those appearing subsequently on those pages will receive an Olympus camera. More incentives to get involved.
— John Duncan