Viewfinder (2011)

Viewfinder (2011) Rachel K Gillies

Viewfinder (2011) Rachel K Gillies

Inkjet Print, 2000mm x 610mm (unframed) “about PHOTOGRAPHY” Exhibition, Dunedin School of Art Gallery, Dunedin 5th – 9th September 2011.

This work was exhibited as part of an exhibition called about PHOTOGRAPHY at the Dunedin School of Art Gallery (New Zealand) in September 2011. It was a group exhibition for students and staff from (you guessed it) the photography department (Dunedin School of Art) organised by colleague Su Ballard and myself.

My work is a comment on the phenomenon I had recently witnessed on a trip to Venice where the visiting holidaymakers appeared to be spending so much time and energy taking photographs that they were missing actually seeing the sights in front of them. Obsessed with capturing the showcase images that say to others “I have been there and seen this” I got the feeling that they hadn’t really seen anything at all, and then, only through their cameras’ viewfinders.

As a co-curator of the exhibition I also had the fun task of thinking around some of the challenges group exhibitions bring with them. How to frame the idea of the exhibition, how to market it, how to hang it so that it is coherent. We started with the name  about PHOTOGRAPHY . In the end we realised that that was what the exhibition was doing, with such a variety of artists working with different concepts and photographic media; showing that there are so many ways to work with contemporary photography, curating them together really was about photography.


“about PHOTOGRAPHY” poster
design: Rachel K Gillies (2011)

The poster was purposefully and enigmatically left blank, making the title more of a provocation in the run up to the exhibition opening. Installing the exhibition was great fun! Su had the genius idea that we install of the work on the one large wall that runs the length of the gallery and in that way, we really do make a statement as to what photography is about. I was immediately on board. I’ve never seen this done anywhere else and for me it was like a life-size graphic design project! Totally up my street!


“about Photography” exhibition (2011) Installation

One of the most interesting things was how it changed people’s behaviour at the opening. Normally at openings, people wander round inside the shell of the exhibition space, talking to each other and not necessarily looking at (or being able to look at) the work on the walls. In this case, people came in and almost forming their own wall, stood and faced the work for the entire opening.

Some shots from the installation and the opening below.

"about Photography" exhibition (2011) Installation View

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