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DAVID REÍD Portraits
Today the seemingly once mnocent attribute of the photograph to unproblematically retlect reality or to be a window onto the real world is no longer tenable. Now any pho-tographer or viewer interpreting a photographicic scene is expected to negotiate a complex field of dis-courses. Application of these dis-course, (cultural estudies, critical theory, gender studies and psycho-analysis amongst others) to pihoto-graphy has resulted in much con-jecture, not only on representation withm photography, but a I so u pon photographic meaning and use. From such application inportant questions have arisen which have placed the photograph into the debates of cultural polltics, It is now importan! when looking at a photograph to consider who is making the representation? Who is attomp-ting to speak for whom?. Why has the photograph been made and who has it been made for?. Further to this developmenl, emp-hasis has been given to the notion that any representation we may make of a human subject is an ima-ginary one in which our knowledge of another being can never be com-
plete. This representation oí the imaginan/ is presented within or against languages of symbolic codes which attempt to fix identity with certain cultural valúes. So accepting that the photograph in its purest State may still exhibit something of the real, it is now ack-nowledged that.we incorpórate the imaginary and cultural coding into the processes involved in looking at images. For each of us a particular photograph may signify diffe-rently, and its meaning is no longer so easily fixed.
It is within such a contexl that my photographic portraits are made. In this particular work I look at how a re-articulation of men's gaze towards women may be presented via an implied imaginary and symbolic narrative. It is a narrative that attempts to represent "real women" and their relation with aspects of their uves that are concerned with temporality, independence and responsibility in a time of great social change. A further intention for the work is for it to have an inte-rrogative response towards the processes involveti in photographic representation from both the place of the photographer and from the position of the portrayed.
October 1995.