Cherine Fahd @ PHOTO 2021, MelbourneAustralian Centre for Photography
18 February – 7 March 2021
In response to PHOTO 2021's theme The Truth, Cherine Fahd has created a series of ten broadsheets featuring her project Camera Gun (2019). Fahd questions photography’s complicity in clouding political, social and cultural issues, saying:
Given the history of the photograph and its use to psychologically manipulate the viewer, we have intuitively learnt to question the veracity of images, especially those appearing within the media.
In this series, the artist comments on how photography has been used historically as a device of imperialist colonial and misogynist agendas. More specifically, those instances where images of heroic acts of war and aggression were employed to propagate notions of power. The Camera Gun project considers photography’s slippery relationship to truth, not simply as a twenty-first century question but one that has existed since its invention.
To mount her critique, Fahd refers to Robert Capa’s renowned image The falling soldier (Loyalist militiaman at the moment of death, Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936), 1936. Then exercising the proposition of the art theorist Susan Sontag that ‘a camera is a sublimation of a gun’, Fahd has paired her self-portraits with sourced images of men holding, shooting and posing with rifles. Each of these couplings is extended further with a published quote by an unknown, naturalist photographer.
As a performance of accumulation, the public are invited to interact with these ephemeral broadsheets, one of which is available free at select festival venues. In collecting the series, the festival goers are able to re-inscribe the textual and visual commentary of the original images and critique their authenticity.
This series of works was commissioned by Australian Centre for Photography
Ballarat Art Gallery; Bendigo Art Gallery; Centre for Contemporary Photography; Geelong Gallery; Heide Museum of Modern Art; Horsham Regional Gallery; La Trobe Art Institute; Linden New Art Gallery; Monash Gallery of Art; RMIT; The Substation
Image: Cherine Fahd, #2, from the Camera Gun series, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist and the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney