Issue 46 — Spring 2006
Photography is not always thought of as an amusing business. For those wishing to have fun with photography Richard West and David Evans discuss photography board games and toy cameras: both ways in which you can play at being a photographer without actually having to take any pictures.
Once you are enjoying yourself you may wish to question if photography is the best way to represent pleasure. Wiebke Leister looks at photographs of people laughing and notes that it is not always easy to tell if their expression represents pleasure or pain. This has a lesson for portraiture and photography in general that does not wish to be understood indexically.
Susanne Nielsen trained as a painter and has worked with photography over the last few years as a way of exploring ideas. Her latest work has developed out of an interest in the Russian painter Malevich, one of the pioneers of non-representational art, in particular an engagement with two concerns of Malevich’s work; the tension between weight and weightlessness and the relationship between the body and spirituality. Her work reanimates individual paintings by the artist by flying them in kite form and she remakes and performs in the costumes from his Cubo-Futurist operas. The work is contextualised in an essay by Charlotte Douglas who discusses Malevich’s paintings and set designs looking at references to flight and his use of aerial photographs as source material.
From his collection of figurines that he has been amassing for the last twenty years Gérard Mermoz has created a series of photo-based fables. Through a process of pairing figurines from different origins (Europe, Africa, Middle East, India, Ancient World, etc.) and different categories (toys, ornaments, ritual objects, archaeological remains, etc.) he stages imaginary encounters which playfully explore the basis of human conflicts symptomatically revealed by body language and their materiality.
Lorraine Burrell’s work centres on ideas of domesticity. She documents small performances in some cases carefully choreographed and in others the result of more spontaneous actions. Using herself and enlisting the help of her family Burrell’s work is both humorous and playful as well as a record of small transgressions of normal domestic routines and the conventions of family photography.
— The Editors