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What's in a face?
aspects of portrait photography

Left: Edward Weston (USA 1886-1956) Guadalupe de Rivera, Mexico 1924, printed later gelatin silver photograph, 20.7 × 17.8 cm. Gift of Patsy W. Asch 2000 © Centre for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents. Right: Loretta Lux (Germany b1969) The waiting girl 2006, Ilfochrome photograph, 38 × 53 cm. Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors’ Program 2007 © Loretta Lux/Bild-Kunst. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

All portraits reveal something of the sitter, the photographer and also of us as viewers, but none reveal a whole and complete being, no matter how much we believe this could be so. This is part of the enduring fascination with the photographic portrait, which purports to be an exact likeness but operates more accurately as a metaphor for the self and how that self might exist in the world at a particular point in time.

– Judy Annear, senior curator, photographs

What’s in a face? aspects of portrait photography is an exhibition of more than 45 photographs from the Art Gallery of NSW collection. It focuses on some of the crucial points in the history of photographic depictions of the human face, ranging from studio portraiture in the late 19th century to contemporary practices today.

Works by Australian photographers, such as Paul Foelsche, Olive Cotton, Max Dupain, Carol Jerrems, Destiny Deacon, Darren Sylvester, Petrina Hicks and others, are placed in an international context, represented by Man Ray, Edward Weston, YAMAWAKI Iwao, Nan Goldin, Ben Cauchi and Loretta Lux.

24 Sep 2011 – 5 Feb 2012

Free admission

Photography gallery