The Object of Photography

The Object of Photography

1996

An installation of colour photographs, lamps, mirrors, suspended glass and metal bowls, reflected light and shadows.



'The Object of Photography 1996 plays on UFO photographs, which are notoriously often forgeries. According to one theory, the modern fascination with UFOs expresses a collective desire for something beyond the here and now. UFOs are somehow thus projected, elusive manifestations of such a need or expectation. Susan Fereday gathers her images from small fragments of magazine advertising, through which she means to evoke the displacement of desire by the lure of consumer items. These images are combined with saucer-shaped objects, suspended and casting their shadows on the wall - a juxtaposition which tests photography's promise to reveal things as they are against the banality of the "real things" themselves.'

Linda Michael, curator, Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography! exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 1996

'Conceptually most pertinent to photography and its relationship to subject matter are the investigations of Susan Fereday. Her 1994 installation The Object of Photography is comprised of photographs of circular and disc-like shapes found in magazine advertisements. The photographs are presented with a number of real objects: chromed shaving mirrors which create shapes made with reflected light and shadows. It is about the illusion of the object and the reflection of the desire for the image. For this photographer, objective reference is fragmentary and illusive, always in the process of transforming. The image is no longer a record of the natural world. Instead, it equates with forged UFO documentary photographs or with signs of the displacement of desire through luxury consumer items. For Fereday, and other conceptually astute artists, photography remains a dominant tool of visual production, transforming expediently and promiscuously all cultural usages while disclaiming captivity to any of them.'

Anne Kirker, excerpt from essay "Unreal Worlds" in catalogue The Power to Move: Aspects of Australian Photography, Queensland Art Gallery, 1995