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Title

Wife's back


Artist

Jamie Bradbeer

Australia

1948 -


About

This image is from a series of four which also feature the photographer, his father and baby. While Jamie Bradbeer’s work is comprised largely of images of family members, it is, however, far from ordinary family portraits. His photographs suggest the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of family relationships. His inclusion as a subject in the series highlights the personalised nature of the work and, viewed together, they suggest emotional relations between the family members. Taken within intimate range Bradbeer communicates the potency and essence of his subjects and his relation to them in a single image. Using a double-development process similar to solarisation, Bradbeer transforms the everyday appearance of his family. The process which he uses causes tonal reversals to occur in shadow areas with often unexpected and magical results. He uses this manipulation technique for emotive and personal effect, as is evident in the image ‘Wife’s back’. The flattened image heightens the viewer’s sense of proximity to the subject, yet there is a tension in this closeness as the subject remains essentially closed off, back turned. Involved in the intimate exchange, the viewer is left to read the woman’s back for further insight as if participating in the relationship. There is a stoic, meditative quality to Bradbeer’s images, yet his sensitive use of process has imbued his subjects with an electric resonance both graphic and emotionally powerful.

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007


Details


Date

1980


Media category

Photograph


Materials used

gelatin silver photograph


Dimensions

24.0 x 18.8 cm image; 25.4 x 20.3 cm sheet


Signature & date

Signed l.r. verso, pencil "Jamie Bradbeer". Dated u.l. verso, pencil "...(1980)".


Credit

Purchased 1981


Location

Not on display


Accession number

232.1981


Artist information

Jamie Bradbeer

Works in the collection

4


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Judy Annear, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Magical realism', pg.226-245, Sydney, 2007, 236 (illus.).

Gael Newton, Re-constructed Vision: Contemporary work with photography, Sydney, 1981. cat.no. 3