From 1999-2009 Alasdair Foster was Managing Editor of Photofile magazine, Australia’s leading photomedia art publication. He also served as Editor in 2003 and 2006-07 and details of these editions are given below.

Key: § = contributing writer ¶ = commissioning editor


Photofile 82 – Guilty Secrets   § ¶

Reality and fiction. Truth and falsehood. The authorisation of meaning. Photography seems forever caught up in the vortex that swirls between these concepts. Photofile 82 had no formal theme, but concerns with reality, fiction and authorisation were all there. The traditions of documentary witness were to be found in the work of the artist-run photo agency Oculi and in the harsh realities made evident in Stephen Dupont’s extensive project on Afghanistan. However, Lewis Morley was dismayed that some of the classic photojournalistic shots of the 20th century were staged set-ups. On the other hand, the imaginative fictions in this edition cut to the heart of very real situations. Elaine Campaner’s tiny tableaux made acerbic comment on Australia’s detention centres and Graham Miller’s dramatised portraits evoked the melancholy of middle Australia. Meanwhile, the serious business of game playing and fantasy at the heart of Polixeni Papapetrou’s practice was the subject of the main interview. Li Guangxin’s ironic saccharine portraits took a satirical look at the ambivalent mix of vanity and vulnerability felt by China’s new consumer generation. In an incisive and critical article, artist Scott Redford took on the world’s leading curators. He argued that they have turned their back on the important cultural issues of our age in favour of cosy nostalgia. He made a powerful argument for greater democracy in the arts and more serious attention to be paid by the art world to the phenomena of Web2.

Summer 2008 Available here

Photofile 81 – Dream Girls, Strong Women & Bad Boys   § ¶

The construction of identity and the sense of place were themes that wove their way through this issue of Photofile. The gender gap was addressed variously by Julie Rrap, Samantha Everton, Pat Brassington, Shaun Gladwell and Ray Cook. Meanwhile, top of the arts league in 2007 were the Venice Biennale and Kassel’s Documenta; Reuben Keehan reported on both. Further east, Juha Tolonen found beauty in the dereliction of wastelands of central Europe and, nearer home, Adelaide’s Shoot Collective took to the streets. Magda Keaney and Gerald Keaney weighed up the benefits of social networking sites for do-it-yourself culture. And Pedro Meyer found democracy on line – at least when viewed from outside the western metropolises. Pursuing new media further Miao Xiaochun remade Michelangelo’s Last Judgement as a 3D virtual space and Daniel Crooks created elegant imaginary objects by rendering time as a spatial form.

Spring 2007 Available here

Photofile 80 – Panic & Paranoia   § ¶

Photography and the Law. Will it soon be illegal to take a photograph in public? Heading up this issue of Photofile Martyn Jolly and Katherine Giles sorted out the legal fact from the paranoid fiction. Meanwhile Adam Cuthbert warned of the danger of battlefield photography becoming a pornography of violence while Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont satirised the simplistic polarising of good and evil portrayed in wartime propaganda. Other featured artists include James Geurts who tells of his recent solo trip around the world’s equator to create an image that symbolically and conceptually integrates humankind and environment. Closer to home, a poignant series by Angela Blakely and David Lloyd documented the hopes and fears of young Aboriginal people of Mount Isa while experts from various professions argue to pros and cons of US artist Jill Greenberg’s controversial images of tearful toddlers. Main interview with Darren Sylvester. Portfolios by William Yang, Anne Noble, Bridgit Anderson, Murray McKeich, Joachim Froese and skater-artist guru Ed Templeton. In quieter vein, Helen Ennis reflected upon mortality on the eve of her forthcoming exhibition Reveries.

Winter 2007 Available here

Photofile 79 – Animals   § ¶

Photofile 79 explored the equivocal relationship between humans and the other sentient species with which we share the planet. Be it myth or monster, wild life or live stock, pedigree pet or rare steak, we construct identities for animals that suit our needs and our fantasies.

The disquieting black and white images of South Africa’s Roger Ballen contrasted with the whimsically interactive Disco Puppy at Ipswich Regional Art Gallery. Portfolios spanned the gamut from the pop-culture extravaganza of the Pet Photo Booth through Anne Zahalka’s ironic inventory of zoological dioramas to the poignant beauty of post-mortem wildlife in an art-historical setting. Peter Hill looked at the fauna to be found in the recent Melbourne International Festival while Susan Bright surveyed the current prevalence for furry, feathery and even scaly subjects in the wider international art scene. Non-thematic articles include a re-evaluation of Melbourne’s Sharpies and an in-depth interview with the indefatigable Trent Parke.

Summer 2007 Available here

Photofile 70 – Money & Power   § ¶

Money, power, fame and fortune – Photofile 70 considered the art of material success and its alternatives. In affable for modern times Robert Cook told of his father’s quest for fame in the maze of Australian funding. David Broker reviewed the bling at the Venice Biennale. Deborah Kelly considered art that effects social change while Lucas Ihlein presented an unReal Estate guide to finding your own gallery. Profiles of Australia’s photographic entrepreneurs and a guide to free money. Main interview with the eminently collectible Deborah Paauwe. Portfolios by Darren Sylvester, Matthew Sleeth, Narinda Reeders, Nat Paton and Toni Wilkinson. Obituaries for Olive Cotton and Rennie Ellis. Scott Redford was bored with Australian art.

Summer 2004 Sold Out

Photofile 69 – Suburbia   § ¶

Photofile 69 went Bogan as it took to the great Australian suburbs. Chris McAuliffe revisited suburbia. Robert Cook explored the lunar landscape of Perth, WA. Lee-Anne Richards, David van Royen and Bronwyn Wright revealed three very different perspectives on men in cars. Melbourne’s Sharpies gang was pictured in the archives of two very different artists: Carol Jerrems and Peter Robertson. Main interview with Anne Zahalka. Portfolios by Mark Kimber, Selina Ou, Emil Goh, Derek Kreckler and Jo Grant. Glenn Sloggett found hope in suburban failure.

August 2003 Sold Out

Photofile 68 – Futures   § ¶

The first edition in a new large-format, Photofile 68 looked to the future. The Australian futurologist Damien Broderick pondered post-human imaging while philosopher Leon Marvell considered the paradigm shift of the digital aesthetic. Mike Leggett grappled with the merits of open source over proprietary software for creatives while Alasdair Foster foresaw a future art without the artist. Photographers and curators worldwide predicted the future of photomedia. Main interview with Patricia Piccinini. Portfolios by Shoichi Aoki, Fiona Foley, Gary Lee, David Martin, Luke Roberts, Christian Thomson. Obituaries for David Moore and Ingeborg Tyssen. Ian Haig had a rant about interactive art and curators who just don’t get it.

April 2003 Available here
  • 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.