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

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

Deborah Paauwe: Dark Fables

~ Innocence is a quality frequently misapplied to the young. It is a notion projected onto children by adults. Adolescents particularly crave knowledge and experience (if not actually academic learning). Childhood games typically anticipate what it might be like to be grown up (to be an agency in the world). A tiger cub leaping onto … Continue reading

Paula Luttringer

~ “Memory is not about ‘evidence’,” Paula Luttringer once said, “but about connecting with the ‘experience’ of the past.” That is very contemporary notion – full of the subjectivity of postmodernity. It is important to remember this because the work itself can look deceptively classical. Shot in a poetic-documentary style and rendered in the fine … Continue reading

Art without the artist

He glowed. His jacket and trousers were luminous, extending a soft halo around his fey frame. The allusions were, of course, immediately apparent: Alec Guinness in the classic Ealing satire, The Man in the White Suit (1951); Duane Michals’ subway commuter metamorphosing into a spiral galaxy (The Human Condition 1969) and any number of sub-Spielberg sci-fi … Continue reading

The Art of Sadness

There is a deep sadness and a disquieting peace in the work of Luis González Palma. Many of his images are portraits, close-cropped and large in scale. His subjects are the Mayan Indians of his homeland of Guatemala adorned with symbolic decoration drawn from both indigenous culture and Hispanic Catholicism. Indeed the images are filled … 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.