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Jane Brown, Decommissioned Art History Library, University of Melbourne, 2012-2013, courtesy the artist and Stills Gallery, Sydney.

Echo Chamber 4: Emerging Research on Photography

Wednesday 7 October 2015, 6pm
at Centre for Contemporary Photography.
Gold-coin donation, no bookings required.

CCP's Echo Chamber represents a series of occasional, ongoing public programs showcasing current emerging research in all areas of photography, including historical research, technology, communications and contemporary discussion.

Applications to present research for future Echo Chamber public programs are welcome.


Michelle Mountain
Gallery Manager, Centre for Contemporary Photography


Hugh Hudson
The Backwards Glance: Art History and Australian Photography

Taking as its point of departure Helen Ennis' 2011 article 'Other histories: photography and Australia', this presentation will look at how Art History as a discipline has and has not contributed to our understanding of Australian photography, and how, in any case, photographers in Australia have engaged with Art History. The paper will ask such straightforward questions as 'What defines Art History as a discipline?' and 'What peculiar insights might it offer the study of Australian photography?' before looking at the other side of the equation: 'How have Australian photographers responded to Art History?' The work of artists such as Bill Henson, Fiona Hall, Anne Zahalka, Anne Ferran, Lyndell Brown and Charles Green, Siri Hayes, Brook Andrew, Nici Cumpston, Ross Coulter, and Patrick Pound will be discussed.

Hugh Hudson has a PhD in Art History from The University of Melbourne, and has worked widely as a lecturer, supervisor, and researcher. He has held fellowships at The British Museum and The State Library of Victoria, and has published articles in The Burlington Magazine, the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Master Drawings, and Oud Holland. His interests cover a broad range of media and periods, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary multimedia.

Robert Shumoail-Albazi
A Different Eye: Contemporary Art and the Military Drone

Military drones or, as the United States military refer to them, 'unmanned aerial vehicles' (UAVs) and 'unmanned combat air vehicles' (UCAVs), signal a sinister technological development in which the high-resolution video camera has become mobile and armed. Alongside an increase in public awareness and critical theory regarding drone wars, many artists have made works critiquing these machines and questioning them within broader technological contexts. Although part of a military network of observation, the data-driven visual capability of the drone is indicative of the larger online networks in which the public have access to satellite imagery and video feeds across physical boundaries. Photography, film and public image databases such as Google Earth have thus been used by artists to reveal little-known details about military drones and the under-reported conflicts in which they are used.

Robert Shumoail-Albazi is currently completing his honours year in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Monash University. His research focuses on the use of military drones as a subject in contemporary art practices including considerations of art and technology, surveillance and online networks.

Wil Polson
Straight Photography Under the Queer Gaze

This research casts a net into the concept of straight photography. The term 'straight' can be interpreted, redefined and reimagined within creative photographic practice as well as examined through the physicality of a photograph using pin-sharp focus, strong composition, and exemplary tonal range. When exploring straight photography one must acknowledge the underlying connotations to human sexuality and thus my research also spills into the realm of queer theory. Through this talk, I will look at artists from the past century who have grappled with the concept of 'straightness' in their work and also how straight photography has evolved into the digital age. Straight is about adhering to the rules, whereas queer resists boundaries and refuses to be defined. How might we think about straight photography in a post sexual-revolution context? Now that it is no longer necessary to subvert the straight photograph in order for queer people to avoid persecution, what does it mean to discuss queer concepts using straight photography as a framework?

Wil Polson is a PhD Candidate and tutor at RMIT University. An early career researcher, Wil's work centres around themes of autobiography, the personal photographic essay and queer theory. Wil makes photographs using FujiFilm FP-100c in order to explore notions of straight photography, the archive and the cumulative assemblage of identity.

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