Author Geoffrey Batchen with his book and Len Lye's photograms in the exhibition <em>Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph</em>

Author Geoffrey Batchen with his book and Len Lye's photograms in the exhibition Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph

New publication - EMANATIONS The Art of the Cameraless Photograph

01 Jun 2016

A unique exploration of the art of cameraless photography, this expansive book offers an authoritative and lavishly illustrated history of photographs made without a camera, along with a critical discussion of the practice.

Authored by Geoffrey Batchen, this major new publication Emanations The Art of the Cameraless Photograph is co-published by Prestel/DelMonico books (Munich/New York) and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Since the early 19th century and the invention of photography, artists have been experimenting with various methods for creating photographs without a camera. At once exhaustive and compelling, this book reveals the myriad approaches artists have used to create photographic images using just paper or film and a source of radiation.

Simultaneously a chronological history and a thematic study, this book explores a range of practices, some of which have been in use since the dawn of photography, while others are entirely contemporary. From placing objects on light-sensitive paper and drawing on blackened glass plates to radiography, photocopying, and digital scanning, this is an elemental kind of photography that repudiates the idea that technology advances in only one direction. By eliminating the camera, artists are able to focus on other ways of making photographic pictures. They allow the world to leave its own imprint, to speak for itself as itself.

This volume includes more than 170 exquisitely reproduced works of this kind. In turns abstract and realist, haunting and intricate, they seem to capture the very essence of their subjects.

Featuring artists from the 19th century to today, this book explores cameraless photography as an important and influential medium that deserves to be included at the forefront of today’s conversations about contemporary art.

The book has an initial print run of 20,000 copies distributed worldwide. An image by Len Lye features on the cover of the New Zealand edition of the book and an image by Anna Atikins is on the cover of the international edition (the Govett-Brewster holds stock of both editions).

It contains a 25,000 word essay by Geoffrey Batchen, curator of the exhibition by the same name and same theme at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand (29 Apr – 14 Aug 2016).

RRP: $89 with a $75 exhibition opening weekend special (Fri 29 Apr – Sun 1 May 2016)
ISBN: 978-3-7913-5504-7
  

Image: Emanations The Art of the Cameraless Photography book editor Geoffrey Batchen at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s exhibition by the same name and theme.


EDITORS’ NOTES:  

What is a cameraless photograph?

A cameraless photograph is a contact print in which something (such as a botanical specimen, a piece of clothing or rays of light) is made to touch a piece of light-sensitive film or paper and leave an impression, without any mediation.

The earliest surviving photographs, from the 1820s, were made in this way. This is also the first type of photograph most people made during the analog era, when first introduced to a darkroom or to photographic chemistry.

A cameraless photograph usually reproduces its subject as a reversed-tone image – what we would also call a negative – so that the subject appears to be emanating its own light.

Cameraless photographs can look like abstractions but they are in fact the most realist photographs; in them, nature gets to represent itself. These photographs strip away everything that is extraneous to the act of photographing and let the world speak to us directly – as an emanation of that world, rather than as its copy.

 

Associated Events

Curator’s Floor Talk
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Sat 30 Apr I 10.30 – 11.30am
Free entry
Join Geoffrey Batchen, curator of Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph for a walk and talk around the exhibition. Professor Batchen heads the Victoria University of Wellington art history department and is a world-renowned historian and curator of photography.

Monica Brewster Evening
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Thu 28 Apr I 6 – 8pm
Entry $15 I Friends $10 I Students with ID free
Geoffrey Batchen, curator of Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph, has selected a wall of artworks in the exhibition and he’ll put the 1940s and 1950s into a bigger context. On the last Thursday of each month, the Monica Brewster Evenings, in association with Govett Quilliam – The Lawyers, bring an impressive array of national and international artists and cultural thinkers to New Plymouth. Enjoy a drink and nibbles until 6.30pm and an opportunity to meet our speaker afterward.

 

For high-res images, further enquiries and/or a review copy of the book Emanations please contact:
Kelly Loney
Communications Co-ordinator
M: +275 839 2660
E: kellyl@govettbrewster.com
W: www.govettbrewster.com


About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum in the coastal city of New Plymouth, Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific Rim. The Govett-Brewster is also home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901–1980).

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was founded with a gift to the city of New Plymouth, from one of its greatest ‘Friends’ Monica Brewster (née Govett). A globetrotter before the age of air travel, Monica Brewster envisaged an art museum for her hometown that would be an international beacon for the art and ideas of the current day – the sort she had become familiar with on her global travels.

The Govett-Brewster continues in the legacy of Monica Brewster by taking on and presenting the most provocative, audacious and confident works of art in the global arts landscape.

The greatly expanded museum re-launched on 25 July 2015 with the addition of the Len Lye Centre. With its curved exterior walls of mirror-like stainless steel, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre is the country’s first example of destination architecture linked to contemporary art.

This latest addition to the Govett-Brewster – the Len Lye Centre – is New Zealand’s first institution dedicated to a single artist, the pioneering filmmaker and kinetic sculptor, Len Lye.

In 1964 Len Lye said “Great architecture goes fifty-fifty with great art”.

The Len Lye Centre building, adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, is an example of innovative thinking in both engineering and architecture. The architects are Patterson Associates, one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised architectural firms.

The new Len Lye Centre features Lye’s work in kinetic sculpture, film, painting, drawing, photography, batik and writing, as well as related work by contemporary and historical artists.

It also houses a state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema – a welcoming environment for audiences to experience Len Lye’s films, local and international cinema, arthouse and experimental films, and regular film festival programming.

 

 

 

This volume includes more than 170 exquisitely reproduced works of this kind. In turns abstract and realist, haunting and intricate, they seem to capture the very essence of their subjects.