Creative Paddington: Emmanuel Angelicas

By Lola Pinder


Emmanuel Angelicas is a Sydney-based photographer. His work is internationally celebrated, featured in the collections of major galleries and libraries from Sydney to Amsterdam.  

Angelicas dreams large and defies any apparent conceptual and technical limitations in his photographic practice. His exhibition, BUKA, at the ACP in 2013 moved beyond the singular still image of photography, to evoke an experience. In the darken space and theatrical spot-lit works hung in the ACP galleries, Angelicas’ exhibition blurred the religious and the taboo. The immersive display of the works counters the ephemeral imagery that inundates the average viewer on a daily basis. Here, the photograph in series and its surrounds to hope capture the audience’s imagination.

Angelicas appreciates the potential of modern printing processes. For the production of BUKA he, and David de Freitas at Vision Graphics, used ultraviolet printing techniques to transfer Angelicas’ photographic works onto non-traditional surfaces such as silk, snake-skin, mother-of-pearl and brick. By doing so Angelicas’ photographs become sculptural with each image extending beyond its frame.

His work slips between styles, evading traditional photographic codes. His work is intuitive, he is considered in his study of character, both in his social interactions and through his photographic portraiture. 

Angelicas’ work is imbued with contradictions that test the borders of pleasure and pain, beauty and eroticism. His depictions of sex, drugs and the underground in projects from Marrickville to Pattaya, Nippon and Bali have meant many have labelled him as the bad boy of photography. However, Angelicas’ knack for documenting human nature has another side. The photographer has harboured a long artistic relationship with the Westmead Children’s Hospital, beginning over 20 years ago with his contribution to the project Handle with Care when he was selected as one of 10 photographers to document wards of the hospital, that was then located in Camperdown. This year Angelicas returns to The Children’s Hospital with an ambitious project of 20 photographers, documenting in 20 photographs, a variety of hospital departments over 20 hour stints. This is the first project for the Australian Museum of Contemporary Photography (AMCP) since its reestablishment this year. Angelicas is cofounder and director of the AMCP. This group supports the personal and the creative in photography, outside of the dictates of the industry. 

This post is part of the Art Month Event Creative Paddington taking place on March 7th in conjunction with Metro Screen and UNSW Art & Design.



Images 1 & 4 (installation BUKA) courtesy and © Michael Waite.

Images 2 & 3 (detail of works on mother of pearl and snakeskin).

Image 5 (printing process on brick at Vision Graphics) courtesy and © Vasili Vasileidadis.