© 2018 Madeline Yale Preston & John Rampton

Madeline Yale Preston | Photography Specialist | Arts Advisor | Consultant 

Agents of Meaning

Divergent identities, cultures and languages springing from previously marginalised locations are having a radical effect on the organisation and structure of photographic thought. The field has widened its borders to include photographic artists and artworks from cultures hitherto considered peripheral to the discourse’s Western centre...

Building Images, Building Spaces

The meteoric rise of the internet and digital culture, in tandem with the perceived obsolescence of analogue image-making, has triggered new modes of thinking about photography’s materiality and how meaning is constructed in its circulation. This expanding critical territory reflects how photography itself has entered into an increasingly complex, layered and, at times, turbulent existence that regularly defies specific ontological classification...

Shaweesh: Superheroes

Humorous and satirical, the series merges pop culture with established visual documents that reference particular historical moments, such as Palestinian refugees fleeing occupation in the 1940s and Emir Faisal's delegation at the Paris Peace Conference after WWI. Shaweesh’s comic re-writes of these significant events, captured in black and white, are arrestingly cinematic reinventions of the real...

Curating the Imperfect: Madeline Yale Preston interviews Dr. Marta Weiss

The subtitle “Photographs to electrify you with delight and startle the world” is an alluringly contemporary introduction to the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition of 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Curated by the museum’s curator of photographs Dr. Marta Weiss, the exhibition features highlights from the V&A’s collection of Cameron’s works and related ephemera...

The Fringes of Palestinian Representations: Tanya Habjouqa's Occupied Pleasures

Living with fear of the “terrible that has already happened”, to creatively borrow from German philosopher Martin Heidegger, is arguably what the Palestinian population residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt) has endured for generations...

 

(Re) Regarding Borders

In the rare opportunity for one to reflect on a past curatorial project, I set out to explore and critique my own exhibition Regarding Borders, and with the hope to arrive at a new point of view. It is a popular belief that once an exhibition opens (and its attendant catalogue is published), it is a fait accompli...

 

Deconstructing Steve Sabella's Sinopia

In the 14th century, the artistic practice of preparing frescoes with a dark reddish-brown earthy pigment began to emerge. Known as sinopia, this method of under painting or sketch creates the illusion of multi-dimensional, layered depth. Beneath a work’s finishing layers of paint and gloss varnish lie accumulations of process...

Representation (In)Location

In the series (In)Beautification and (In)Consideration of Myths, Tarek Al-Ghoussein embodies both the participant and observer in spaces where quasi-built environments collide with nature. These ‘sets’ are man-made constructions of progress, industry, and enterprise, bordered by the peripheries of sky, sea and dirt in the photographer’s frame...

Firsts, Lasts, and In-Between: Art in Noor Ali Rashid's Documentary Practice

A documentary photograph may seem a simple, objective rendering of reality, its success largely attributed to its mechanical, technical capabilities of production. Yet, a photographer’s calculative decisions are what makes it successful; firstly, the decision to be present, followed by methodological considerations...

Freefalling into the Future: Steve Sabella

Photography is a strange and powerful beast. Shortly after the artist Louis Daguerre invented the first-known method of ‘fixing’ an image, writer Oliver Wendell Holmes proclaimed daguerreotypes as mirrors with a memory, ‘faithful witnesses’ of reality. Fast-forward to nearly two centuries later: the flawed assumption that a photograph can be...

Steve Sabella and Madeline Yale Preston in Conversation

Madeline Yale Preston: Independence was born on an annual summer road trip that you take, which recalls for me the legacy of the photographic road trip in America following WWII, such as Robert Frank’s The Americans, Stephen Shore’s American Surfaces, and even Ed Rusha’s conceptual Twentysix Gasoline Stations. These bodies of work describe the sociocultural conditions of a specific nation – one whose principal ethos is regularly positioned as ‘independence’...

Tarek Al-Ghoussein K Files

Landscape can be a construct of architecture, environment, and human form. Ala Younis, curator of the first-ever Kuwait Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, insightfully grounds the landscape in Tarek Al-Ghoussein’s K Files as examples of Kuwait’s modernist aspirations in the capital city and its fringes...

 

Spinning Love: Hadieh Shafie's Eshghe

Introduced in 1910, the Gestalt theory of perceptual organization, simply put, argues that the whole is greater and different than the sum of its parts. Its principles – proximity, continuity, and symmetry, to name a few – describe the human condition to visually order what we see into aesthetically pleasing patterns in an effort to achieve wholeness...

Home Stills

Like Kerouac in On the Road or Travis in Wim Wender’s “Paris, Texas”, Bastienne Schmidt’s character roams America’s suburban terrain. She demurely shields her face from the camera’s gaze, tempting us to daydream about her ruminations while we participate as curious onlookers in her journeys. We travel through these deadpan cinematic...

Color Falls Down - Priya Kambli

To the left, a mid-20th century studio portrait presents her mother in mirrored duplicate – a prophetic reflection of dual identities. Dressed in a decorative Indian sari for everyday wear, Muma stands cautiously, avoiding the photographer’s gaze. On each forehead rests a tilak, a sacred mark of auspiciousness resembling the third eye...

Stephen Shore and Tarek Al-Ghoussein in Conversation with Madeline Yale

In November, Stephen Shore and Tarek Al-Ghoussein conversed about their recent work made in Abu Dhabi and Emirati Expressions, a series of workshops with 10 emerging Emirati photographers over a 4-month period led by Shore and assisted by Al-Ghoussein. Both discuss their new series and their experiences as educators...

Photo Opportunities - Corinne Vionnet

For most, to sightsee is to photograph. Inspired by images we have seen of exotic locations, we embark on treasure hunts to find renowned monuments of grandeur. Framing sites of mass tourism in our viewfinders, we create photographic souvenirs that are integral to the touristic experience. These products, coined “photograph-trophies” by Susan Sontag, separate our leisurely pleasures from the real everyday experiences of work and life...

 

Witness from Baghdad

Dislocation from one’s homeland provides an opportunity for self-reflection about a dispossessed relationship to and within a particular place. Displacement generates a sense of loss, a desire to grasp ever-distancing memories of ‘elsewhere’, and pluralities of vision continually impacted by new circumstances...

Heritage in Metamorphosis

Within the realm of cultural theory and the visual, intersections between gender, heritage, memory, and belonging in a globalized world are recent sites of critical negotiation and contestation, raising a diversity of questions about historical translations and the contemporary mapping of such junctions. Artist Meera Huraiz works around and within these...

Interview with Walid Siti

Madeline Yale: Your relationship with Iraq is the focus of your work. What is your personal history?

 

Walid Siti: I was born in Duhok in Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-independent region. In 1976 I graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad. I wanted to continue my studies in art...

Mark Pilkington's Soundings

Soundings. At once, it seems an unlikely pairing with photography. Sound-ings. How can a photograph – a silent object – resound the ineffable? It is inherently still and links to only one sense: the visual. While this word may describe something audible, it is also a ‘measurement of depth, particularly as it relates to water; a probe, a test, or...

Ion Zupcu's Painted Cubes

Romanian-born Ion Zupcu is playfully methodical when it comes to making art. The artist draws and sketches almost daily in his studio in Hope Junction, NY, where he maps out ideas for three-dimensional experiments with the camera.

A Modernist aesthetic has resonated throughout Zupcu’s art since he began making it in the 1980s...

I.U.[Heart] at the Third Line

In 2000, then-Iranian president Mohammed Khatami presented to the United Nations his proposal “Dialogue of Civilizations”, calling for peaceful, multilateral communication among countries, communities and cultures East and West – an exchange of compassion and love. Artists were among the interlocutors he identified to lead...