Health and Safety

Bonnell, Sian (2010) Health and Safety. In: Auto Focus,The Self Portrait in Contemporary Photography. The Monacelli Press, New York, USA. ISBN 9780500543894

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Abstract / Summary

Auto Focus is an exploration of the contemporary photographic self-portrait featuring 75 international photographers. The editor catechises photographers’ compulsions to make self-images framed by the observation that such image-making thus renders the ‘self’ in some respects always an ‘other’ (Bright, 2010: 8). The book’s fourth chapter, ‘Studio & Album,’ includes the series work 'Health & Safety,’ which comprises nine photographic performance self-stagings. ‘Health & Safety’ alludes to the apparent absurdities of contemporary regulations for safety at work. In these images the body is the object whilst utilitarian objects themselves 'act' for the camera., The focal point of the series is the wilfulness of a fifty-year-old woman who performs for the camera at a time when, in further areas of popular media, women of this age are removed or must contrive a youthful appearance. The research utilises Bonnell’s aesthetic of ‘Wilful Amateurism’ and her research of human behaviour to situate a boiler-suited older woman ‘dressing for work’ under generic EU guidelines but utilising domestic kitchen items as clothing. These domestic items are attached to the figure with red tape (jelly moulds act as steel toe capped boots etc.). The series builds to culminate in a vision of domestic madness. The performance uneasily straddles farce, absurdity and tragedy, drawing vitality from the instability of its foundation.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBN: 9780500543894
Depositing User: Sian Bonnell
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2013 14:20
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:03


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