A mirror to the mirror: the role of photographic professionals in North Queensland

Hutchison, Clive (2007) A mirror to the mirror: the role of photographic professionals in North Queensland. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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Rarely are working photographers the subject of creative photographic study. Within North Queensland there is a thriving microcosm of most of the extant fields of photography. There are photographers working in the areas of medical, wildlife, aerial, advertising, fine art, newspaper, and many other genres. This study aims to bring the photographer to the other side of the camera and to interrogate their working context. Sampling a cross-section of these North Queensland professional photographers, the study explores the nature and importance of their work. Fundamentally it also taps into, albeit in a heuristic manner, the critical and underlying question: ”What is it to be a photographer?”

Initial interviews revealed a diversity of motivations, practices and working styles from commercial to aesthetically driven. The data from the interviews and observations of the photographers at work were used as a basis for photographic portraits within the context of their own image making either at their place of work or on location. Photographer subjects were placed in broad groups based on their level of experience or relationship to the profession allowing closer and more meaningful analysis of the research findings.

In each case a unique creative photographic solution was sought as a direct response to these individual drivers. Not surprisingly, the final works are as eclectic in style as are the practices, circumstances, and personalities of the photographer subjects. The relevant photographic works provide insights into each photographer’s branch of their profession, their practice, and their personalities as integral elements in the crucible of creation. The thesis places these investigations within a broader context of the history of the photographic portrait and contemporary dialogue on photography and the photographer’s role. A review of current literature relating to photography’s place in the plastic and wider arts from photographers, photographic critics, and other commentators with an interest in photography, provide the foundation for this review.

The methodology by which data was collected and the creative, semiotic and philosophic basis of the photography are articulated. A brief vignette introduces the reader to the life and photographic practice of each photographer subject. Images are included with the text to illustrate the context of, and in some cases, the background to, each image-making event. In turn the parameters of the image making are canvassed for each subject and the final photograph is presented.

The dynamics of the public interface of the research are explored and articulated with commentary on the exhibition of works, and a profiling of the limitations of the study, future directions, and reflections and implications that might be drawn.

Item ID: 4819
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: photography, history of photography, photographers, North Queensland, Townsville, portraiture, photographic portraits, digital portraiture, photographic manipulation
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2010 03:03
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190503 Lens-based Practice @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 100%
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