FESTIVAL OF WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHERS FEATURE
out. But what about when it goes in? Why is that so terribly dangerous and frowned upon‘?’ Much of the work isn’t erotic. It’s interesting, an illumination of a new place which woman have only fumbled with in the dark. ‘My work could be seen as quite clinical,’ says Robin Shaw, whose images in the show are close-ups of the underside and skin of a penis. ‘But it could be seen as looking at textures in the same way as rock. It is concerned with what I actually see when I look at my lover or other men. rather than what’s supposed to be attractive and aesthetic. When I actually looked. l was absolutely fascinated.’
In Portrait of my Mother. 50 female artists from Europe. Latin and North America have contributed highly personal images and pieces of text. In styles ranging from carefully observed documentation to abstraction and surrealism. the work is as varied in approach as the subjects. Old photographs. such as one of young women on an ostrich taken in the 1920s. series of images. and single powerful portraits. portray the mother figure in multiple ways. She is nude and sexy. warm and friendly or cold and distant. and the portraits reverberate with a
mixture of celebration. discovery. acceptance and sorrow. ‘My mother did not want my father.’ writes Claude Alexander in the text beneath her
photograph. ‘My mother did not want a husband. My mother did not want children. But she got it all and could not stomach it.’ Reflecting the role of the mother in contemporary society. the images also express something of the relationship between mother and daughter. and for many. the act
their differences as well as similarities. ‘l have not taken that many photographs of my mother. although I take a lot of my family.’ says American photographer Sylvia Plachy. ‘because she would stiffen up when I took her picture. The picture in the show is one of the only two she ever liked. She was a very beautiful woman but whenever I photographed her. she didn’t like what she saw.’
Plachy‘s mother is pictured laughing with her father in what looks like a perfect and romantic relationship. She looks like Katherine Hepburn. But is it real orjust the projection of what Plachy would like to see?
‘A photograph can liejust like anything else.’
of photographing was an acknowledgement of
OTHER SIGNALS EVENTS
Exposures Sat 8 Oct. 10am—4pm. £35 plus vat (£25 plus vat). Stills Gallery. Edinburgh. Robin Shaw and Rosie Gunn offer a male nude photography Workshop. a ‘hands on’ experience. Places limited so book in advance.
Seminar 1 Oct. Royal Lyceum Theatre. 10am-4pm. £10 (£4). A day of talks and discussions with ﬁve leading photographic artists. writers and curators including Maud Sulter. Karen Knorr and Hilary Robinson.
SIGNALS EXHIBITIONS OUTSIDE GLASGOW ANO EDINBURGH
I CRAWFORD ARTS CENTRE 93 North Street. St Andrews. 0334 474610. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 2—5pm. Aase Golsmith. Patricia MacDonald and Ruth Stirling explore different points of view.
I SMITH ART GALLERY ANO MUSEUM Dumbarton Road. Stirling. 0786 471917. Tue—Sat 10.30am—5pm; Sun 2—5pm.
Inge Morath: Photographs 1952—1992 Until Sun 2 Oct. An exhibition of the exceptional work ofthis Austrian reportage photographer and Magnum member.
I GRACEFIELO ARTS CENTRE 28 Edinburgh Road. l)umfries. 0387 60445. Tue—Sat 10am—5pm. Picturing Women Until 10 Sept. Diverse and unusual work by Della Matheson. Lorna Bates. Andrea Kringer and Franki Raffles.
I SCOTTISH ARTS COUNCIL TRAVELLING GALLERY 1n Dumfries and Galloway. call 0387 60445 for locations.
Face Values Until 8 Oct. Sutapa Biswas and Anne lilliott look at memory and explore the ways we remember.
Clockwise from top left: La Sommell de ma Grand-Mére by Emmanuelle Schmitt, 1988; Cookerel Cock 1 by Herlinde Koebl, 1984; Abroad by Diane Baylis, 1992; Untitled (Loving Cup) by Deborah Hammond, 1993
she admits. ‘and a relationship between a mother and daughter. just like any relative. is really complex. Ofeourse we love each other but there are so many past experiences of growing up and going through all those stages. so one photograph can never reveal the relationship. But it will reveal a little part of it. even maybe something we wished it was.’
Chila Burman has taken a single photograph of her mother and superimposed images of money over her face. It’s a work which reflects her own Asian background and the way her mother has adapted to the Western world. ‘The use of the £5 superimposed over the image speaks about the nature of circulation of meaning and money. our society. our colonialism. our imperialism.’ says Burman. ‘My mum still can’t understand the recession and unemployment. The imagejust seemed to fit on my mum. it wouldn’t have on my dad.’ And in the image of the mother. the daughter can’t help but see herself. ‘I think my mother is a reflection of myself.’ says Burman. ‘I look like her. and my brothers say I’m just like her in terms of character. She likes to rule a little bit. and I’m like that too. She is a wild character and not the stereotypical Asian woman.’ Sylvia
Plachy agrees. ‘I think people take photographs
of everything because they see something themselves. That’s what it is photographer. You see yourself. in a way. in anything and see others in you. It’s both of it. Them in you and you in them.’ Q
Portrait of my Mother is at the French Institute. Ifdinlntrgh tutti] [7 ()(‘L
What She Wants is at Stills Gallery. [Edinburgh from 24 Sept until 22 00!.
See Art listings for other Signals shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The List 23 September—6 October 1994 11