This autobiographical exhibition celebrates Robert Graham’s practice of over forty years as a critic and collector. Brought together here are works from Tom Gibson, Donigan Cumming and Michel Campeau, as well as Eadweard Muybridge, Miroslav Tichý and Martin Parr.
Imagine a Venn diagram in which one circle represents the set of all things photographic and the other circle the set of every human conflict, from limited regional insurrections to totalizing global wars, since the eruption of the Mexican- American war in 1846 to the Arab Spring of 2011.
Gabor Szilasi, qui a fait partie de l’exode hongrois après 1956, est arrivé, à l’âge de 29 ans, au Canada où il s’est installé à Montréal. Là, en tant que participant actif, collègue attentif, il est devenu un des principaux acteurs à l’origine de la création et du développement d’une communauté de photographes contemporains à Québec.
Michel Campeau’s “Territoires” are fields where natural history meets the mythopoetic; where states of material being show their symbolic decay and transmutations; and where the resultant mutations point to renewal. Natural history is the temporal account of change in our physical environment. The constancy of nature (the laws of conservation of energy /matter) suggests that all change is a question of the interaction, transformation, and succession between states. At the chemical level, each of the states of matter can transmute into, and be relayed to, another. Chemistry can track the interaction, turns of succession, and replacement between the states of material being.
Norbert Elias, the historian of manners, identified the great “civilizing” change occurring in Western society with, among other indicators, the “transformation of the nobility from a class of knights into a class of courtiers.” In the earlier sphere, violence was “an unavoidable and everyday event”, but the development of a series of social interdependencies replaced a warrior environment with one in which the State arrogated to itself “the monopoIization of physical violence.”
Initially, Roger Lemoyne began his photographic career as a traveler with a degree in film-making who took up photography for the independence it seemed to offer. Returning home he found that he could sell his pictures and this new found market gave him a reason (and means) to travel again. As a freelance photographer he could choose his destinations and his pace. The photography and the traveling supported each other.
Graham, Robert. (2003, September 19). Combat Photography [conference presentation]. Symposium for Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Quebec.
What can be said about photography in general is heightened in the case of modern combat photography, which has brought the images of war “home with immediacy.” 2 Immediacy is the collapse of spatial distance and temporal duration into the here and the now. Nowness is a condition of amnesia – unreflective, heedless of the past and indifferent to the future. Hereness is body-bound closeness, intimacy- no further than you can smell. Images of immediacy are proximate and fleeting, pictures hastily formed and consumed, fugitive and in close focus. Variations in speed and scope attend to different ways of experiencing and knowing.
Once, to be observed was considered to be attended to. Visibility was much preferable to invisibility in that it meant that your existence was noted, that you had presence and perhaps effect. But increasingly the image apparatus is being experienced as overbearing. To be visible now means to be exposed. Any time you occupy an observable space, you are vulnerable to being mechanically scrutinized. Scrutinizing space is increasing: streets, shopping malls, interior and exterior public spaces, work, even home.
While mindful that cross-disciplinary analogies can be dangerous and misleading, I would like to borrow from linguistics its third division and consider the possibility of a “photo-pragmatics”: the study of the ways in which photographs act in the world to have effect and promote certain behaviour.