Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Prefix Photo essay and show mourns passing of traditional photography


Prefix Photo magazine and its associated gallery is marking the passing of traditional photography with a feature called The Last Photograph by Brazilian artist Rosângela Rennó. Inspired by the corporate decision to stop the manufacture of photographic paper, she mourns the death of traditional photography in her most recent project. It's an exhibition curated by Elizabeth Matheson, in its North American premiere accompanied by an essay "Beautiful Death: On Rosângela Rennó’s Última Foto," by Cuauhtémoc Medina in Prefix Photo 17.
The Last Photograph consists of a series of photographs of Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado hill alongside the cameras that were used to take them. Rennó’s project brought together practitioners of diverse photographic orientations in order to comment on the mechanical processes involved in traditional photography, processes eliminated in the shift to digital photography.

Rennó’s choice of photographic subject challenges the edict of the archdiocese of Rio, which claims copyright over the public statue. Giving to each photographer a camera from her collection, Rennó commissioned all forty-two photographers to shoot the statue and the surrounding neighbourhood. The results include black-and-white as well as colour images, and range from landscapes to portraits. Rennó then permanently fogged the lenses of the cameras and mounted each of them beside the photograph it had produced. These diptychs constitute an elegant lament for the extinct processes of traditional photography.
An opening reception for The Last Photograph will be held on Thursday, May 1, 2008 from 7 to 10 pm at Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, located at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124. The reception will be preceded with an artist/curator walk through at 6:30 PM. The exhibition is part of Contact 2008 and continues until June 7.

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