Interview with emerging artist Amy Thornett, by Maren Smith.
Amy Thornett takes photographs of female adolescents. ‘Will I need to be photographed naked?’ is a question one of her subjects asked; it’s a question that reflects the anxieties surrounding both the transition to adulthood and the nature of photography and exposure.
“Pictures of children are at once the most common, the most sacred, and the most controversial images of our time. They guard the cherished ideal of childhood innocence, yet they contain within them the potential to undo that ideal” – Professor Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The History and Crisis of Ideal Childhood
Attending COFA during the uproar surrounding Bill Henson’s now infamous 2008 exhibition, Amy Thornett has explored the potent politics of female adolescence as refracted through the lens, both as an academic and as an artist. Thornett graduated from COFA with Honours, her thesis titled ‘What the image of the child is matters less than what we think it is’. This photographic series is an expansion upon her previous works highlighting anxieties surrounding adolescence and photography.
Thornett’s subjects have choice of their own clothing and pose, she only asks that they look directly into the camera, bringing sharp attention to the nature of the gaze, the camera and the authorial power wielded by a photographer to steal a fraction of time and re-situate it. The adolescent’s figures merge with the suburban landscape, their faces, in contrast, stand sharply out of that materiality and emerge into the plane of the spectator, asking us to examine our own reactions.
Amy Thornett’s debut solo exhibition ‘Will I need to be photographed naked?’ opens 6pm Wednesday 31st October at Firstdraft Gallery in Surry Hills, along with White Box by Alex Pye, Life & Times by Mark Etherington and Joy Addiction by Michelle Helene. It will be open Wednesday to Sunday until November 17th.
In this week’s alternative arts podcast you’ll hear the full interview with Amy Thornett about ‘Will I need to be photographed naked?’, a discussion around politics around the false dichotomies of child/adult, innocent/sexual, anxiety about the budding breast and the power of photography to capture and distort the real.
To hear this free Something Else podcast with Amy Thornett simply open iTunes or your media player of choice, in the ‘Advanced’ menu, select ‘Subscribe to Podcast’, and in the dialogue box paste the following URL- http://www.cpod.org.au/feed.php?id=308
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