Flourishing: Art, Participation and the World to Come

> How can we flourish? We have come to understand both art education and creativity as forms of industry; as the means by which to generate trained individuals and monetisable artefacts. It is a technocratic approach that understands value in narrow measurable terms that are ranked by metrics employed to determine relative success or failure. … Continue reading

Latin America: Two From 100

ALASDAIR FOSTER was invited by the Colombian website Fototazo to write about two Latin American artists of his choice for their series ‘LatAm f100’. He chose the Peruvian artist Cecelia Cecilia Paredes and Antonio Briceño from Venezuela. Fototazo asked fifty curators, gallery owners, blog writers, photographers, academics and others actively engaged with Latin American photography … Continue reading

Questioning the Image

“When approached with an open mind and heart, art can catalyse empathy and respect between people who, on the surface, seem immiscible’ Question the Image: A View from Two Poles of the World IN APRIL, the online magazine LensCulture published an interview with Alasdair Foster, who was to be one of the panel of judges for their … Continue reading

China and the Pacific Conversation

THE FOCUS OF WORLD AFFAIRS IS SHIFTING. Where once it was dominated by the nations of the North Atlantic, primarily the United States and Western Europe, attention now is turning to the Pacific, not least drawn by the exponential economic rise of China and the Asian Tigers. Culturally, the regions of the Atlantic and the … Continue reading

Art and Industry

On Being Industrious CHINA: on 23 April 2016 Alasdair Foster delivered a short speech on behalf of the international delegates attending the grand opening of the Shenyang Festival of Industrial Photography. Below is an extract from that speech setting a wider philosophical frame for considering the many diverse works in the festival. FOR MORE THAN … Continue reading

The Art of Connection

IN 2015, VIVAPHOTO was ten years old. Based in Krasnodar in southern Russia, this collective of photographers organises, among other things, the annual PhotoVisa festival in the city. To celebrate their anniversary, VivaPhoto published a book looking back over the preceding decade. They asked Alasdair Foster to write a short text to include within the … Continue reading

Photography and Remembering

:: Memory Holds the Future :: This is an edited version of a speech given by Alasdair Foster at the opening of ‘A Conversation of Memories’ at the Krasnodar Institute of Contemporary Art (КИСИ) on 15 October 2015. Curated by Alasdair Foster and presented by PhotoVisa festival, the exhibition brings together work by seven artists … Continue reading

On Censorship and Liberty

~      Capture magazine is tackling the perennial and thorny issue of censorship in its May issue. As part of her gathering of views, the journalist Armani Nimerawi interviewed Alasdair Foster by email. It is a complex subject and even his relatively brief coverage was too lengthy to include in full in the article. … Continue reading

The Mirror of Three Kingdoms

~ ~ A version of The Mirror of Three Kingdoms was published (in Chinese translation) in《摄影之友》~ (‘The Photographer’s Companion’, China); May 2012. A PDF of the Chinese language version can be found here… ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ These were, in one way, modest collections of family snaps and formal identity portraits collected into simple wooden frames. But, as … Continue reading

Photography’s Third Age

~ Quo vadis, photography? Where is the medium going? Aside from the obvious technical developments, though facilitated by them, there are significant shifts in who makes a photograph and why. It is my view that the medium of photography is entering its third age. ~ The first age of photography was about bringing distant things … Continue reading

Jan Saudek and Sara Saudkova

BALLARAT INTERNATIONAL FOTO BIENNALE 2011 Dolce Vita Like all true love affairs it transformed life into poetry; made all the more exciting by a lacing of the illicit. And like all true love, it lasted beyond the first infatuation to mature into a deep, unspoken understanding; a profound sense of connection. So it was with … Continue reading

Fotofreo: Edward Burtynsky

THE SPINIFEX EFFECT “Art can only be truly universal when it is fundamentally local.” Joan Miro The images in this book are remarkable for three reasons.  The first is, quite literally, the most obvious:  the subject matter itself. For these lines and curves, textures and colours, mounds and depressions are writ into the land on … Continue reading

A Reformation of the Arts

Economic, social and cultural paradigms continue to change with increasing speed. The shift in emphasis from the creation of real concrete products to a virtual world of images and ideas means that now in Australia (to give an example that’s local for me) there are more people employed in the storage and retrieval of information … Continue reading

Ray Cook – Beer, Blokes and Buboes

Ray Cook’s photographs address a number of distinct, if interconnected, ideas and concerns – sexuality, AIDS, unanticipated survival, shifting identity, male bonding – but they share a strong defining quality. A sensibility. A style. More than a style, a character. It’s an approach to image making that not only creates the theatrical mise-en-scène but articulates … Continue reading

Normality is not a virtue

~ Sex is Mother Nature’s best invention. As a way of ensuring the continual mix of genetic material and the unending synthesis of new forms it is at the very heart of the living world – drawing us out of the primordial soup and into a future beyond our imagining. The clever part was the … Continue reading

Death Becomes Them

~ NARELLE AUTIO Mercy Street It’s carnage out there. According to the NSW Wildlife Information and Rescue Service, at a conservative estimate 1.2 million animals are killed on Australian roads annually. [1] Other research suggests that every year over five million frogs and reptiles alone are killed by motor vehicles in this country. [2] It is this … Continue reading

Keeping Our Distance

Everyone loves a list – especially when there are winners and losers. Lists give us something to fight about, evoking passions we hardly knew we had; they give a sense of purpose to the anonymous blogger and bring a therapeutic dose of indignation to the chat-room babble. To have a list you need a scale … Continue reading

Trent Parke: Dream/Life

~ “I like chance.” ~ Trent Parke leans forward intently. “If I know exactly what’s going to be on a film then I can’t be bothered processing it!” His gestures seem to engage his whole body. Long and lithe, he is like a coiled spring; his shoulder-length hair swaying about his face as he stares … Continue reading

QCP: Departure Lounge

~ I love the departure lounge of airports. You’ve schlepped your luggage to the terminal, stood in line for god-knows how long to check in, dismantled the laptop and removed half your clothing to clear security and now you wander the concourse of the hopeful traveller. You begin to switch off the areas of your brain associated … Continue reading

Matthew Sleeth – Survey

The relationship between the photographic image and the world around us has had an inconstant history. From Fox Talbot’s conceptualising of photography as an extension of drawing to Weston’s strict specifications for the ‘purity’ of a truthful photographic image; from Cartier-Bresson’s belief in the collapse of narrative into a single ‘decisive moment’ to Baudrillard’s obsession … Continue reading

  • The majority of the texts on this site are by Alasdair Foster and represent his opinions. However, in order to facilitate a useful diversity of views, some texts have been invited from artists and colleagues around the world, while others appear as independent comments. These opinions and comments are not necessarily those of Alasdair Foster or Cultural Development Consulting (CDC). All data and information on this site is provided on an as-is basis. While every effort is made to be as thorough as possible, neither Alasdair Foster nor CDC make representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.