Course: The Possibilities of the Photographic Body
Mondays, 21 October to 25 November, 18.30–20.30
Delve into what it means to photograph the human body in this six-week course led by artist Tom Lovelace
This workshop series examines contemporary approaches to the compelling and ever-present subject of the human body and how it is represented in photography. Using the body as a starting point, participants will explore contemporary photographic practice through a range of themed sessions including the digital body, performance, architecture and gendered forms.
This course is open to all however it is particularly suited to those who have a creative practice that may or may not include the human figure and are interested in questioning and re-imagining its presence in photography. Each session will include lectures, group discussion, practical activities and readings. There will also be opportunities to share and discuss participants’ own research and artwork throughout the course though this is of course not compulsory.
Week 1: Introduction
What is the role of the body in photography today? This week is an overview of the presence of the body and its ability to express meaning in the photographic image. This session includes a visit to the exhibition Shot in Soho.
Week 2: Public Bodies
What effect does the human form have on the world around us? Using Soho as a backdrop, participants will work together to experiment in making their own photographs using the body’s engagement with local architecture and public space. There will also be a visit to Webber Gallery.
Week 3: Private Bodies
Recalling how photographers and other artists using photography have worked and experimented in studio spaces, we will look at the diverse and inventive ways to play with the staged image. There will also be opportunity in this session for participants to share and present their own practice.
Week 4: The Digital Body
Where does the body sit within the digital imaginary? What happens to the body as subject and art object when matter is replaced by code? We’ll look at these questions and more as we consider the body and its relationship to technology and the dematerialised image. There will also be opportunity in this session for participants to share and present their own practice.
Week 5: Collaborative Bodies
How can the combination of individual practices create new meaning? Despite key differences in photography and across other disciplines, collaboration can be critical in growing and expanding your work. In this session we will explore one-off creative partnerships and ongoing collective working. This session features contributions by artist Emma Bäcklund.
Week 6: The Absent Body
Concealed, abstracted or just gone, the absent body poses new questions concerning practices situated on the human figure. This week we will look at representations of the body and identity through material, metaphor and symbolism. We will also reflect on themes and ideas from previous weeks. Starting with the question that first conceptualised this course, we will examine the role of the body in photography today and look to new possibilities of what the body could do and be.
Tom Lovelace is a London based artist, working at the intersection of photography, sculpture and performance. Central themes to his research and visual inquiry encompass the collaborative histories of photography, the semantics of the everyday and the role of Minimalism within contemporary visual culture. International residencies include: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017); Lendi Projects, Switzerland (2015); European Capital of Culture, Aarhus, Denmark (2013); and the Anna Mahler International Foundation, Italy (2012). Lovelace studied Photography at the Arts University Bournemouth before reading Art History at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art, London.
Image: Tom Lovelace, A Tense Present 2019. In collaboration with Typhaine Delaup. Materia Gallery, Rome.
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