A Dark Adapted Eye (2006)

‘A Dark Adapted Eye’ by Karen Ingham in Stilled: Contemporary Still Life Photography by Women

Artists: Veronica Bailey, Sian Bonnell, Lucinda Devlin, Emma Hamilton, Gayle Chong Kwan, Sarah Lynch, Laura Letinsky, Martina Mullaney, Sang-nam Park, Helen Sear edited by Kate Newton and Christine Rolph

This substantial volume examines the still life genre which is conventionally defined as an ‘arrangement of inanimate elements that express pictorial narrative or metaphorical content’. Deploying a range of aesthetic strategies, 10 contemporary women artists test the parameters of a genre that is entrenched within fine art traditional painting. The photographic work offers a feast of imagery encompassing sexuality, humour, memory, the grotesque, domesticity, consumption and the banal. The portfolio of photographic plates is accompanied by a series of thoretical texts by leading critics and practitioners, including Camilla Brown, Senior Curator at The Photographers’ Gallery, the artist Rosy Martin, curator Celina Lunsford and artist and writer, Karen Ingham. These authors address the subject of still life in wide-ranging terms and provide the reader with a fascinating and extensive account of a category of art which has become increasingly eclipsed as a serious subject of study in contemporary practice. Stilled is the third volume of the IRIS International Centre for Women in Photography’s Ellipsis series which explores contemporary women’s practice under the headings of traditional photographic genres.