Talks | Echo Chamber: Emerging Research on Photography | CCP Australia

Thursday 25 June 2015, 6pm
Centre for Contemporary Photography
Free event, no bookings required.

CCP’s Echo Chamber represents a series of occasional, ongoing public programs showcasing current emerging research in all areas of photography, including historical research, technology, communications and contemporary discussion.

Applications to present research for future Echo Chamber public programs are welcome.

Chair: PIPPA MILNE, Curator, Centre for Contemporary Photography


Does the policy fit the crime? Government responses to high-profile offending

This research seeks to explore the relationship between high profile crime, the media and criminal justice policy change in Australia. While there is a wealth of literature on each of the themes, little scholarly attention has focused on examining how the three elements interact and this project seeks to help address this gap. The relevance of the research being conducted at this time is apparent when one considers the public and political responses to the murder of Jill Meagher, the spotlight on sex offenders since Brian Keith Jones (Mr Baldy) was released from prison and the ongoing struggle of Julian Knight to gain parole. While two of these crimes were committed several years ago, they continue to attract media attention and community concern at regular intervals. Large, carefully selected colour photographs of both offender and victim accompany emotive and sensationalist headlines and work to keep the community and politicians interested and engaged in these notorious cases. Through analysing the hardcopy and online newspaper media coverage of four prominent crimes, and conducting interviews with key actors, this research aims to expose the level of influence the media has in changing criminal justice policy in Victoria.

Hannah Williams is a PhD candidate in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She completed a Master of Public Policy and Management at the University of Melbourne in 2011 and has worked for several years within the criminal justice system. She is interested in how the media influences public opinion and political reaction in relation to high profile crime.
Lucy Willet

Exploring new methods in the preservation of motion picture film

Cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate motion picture films are inherently unstable materials, with deterioration accelerated through poor storage (Morgan 1991, p9).

Effective preservation of these materials largely relies on expensive storage methods. Often in conjunction with cold storage, adsorbent materials are used in collection stores to trap excess moisture and the autocatalytic vapors given off by degrading cellulose acetate and cellulose nitrate films. Commonly these adsorbent materials are activated charcoal, molecular sieves or silica gel. These materials have proven effective in extending the lifespan of cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate, but they can be difficult to obtain and expensive to buy. This presentation will present research into alternate adsorbent materials to use in the preservation of motion pictures films that are accessible and more cost effective. Tea leaves will be explored as a potential alternative to commercial products. Three different kinds of tea were analyzed in the course of this research; black tea, green tea and red tea (Rooibos). These teas were tested in comparison to activated charcoal, molecular sieves and silica gel to determine their relative absorbance through water adsorption testing.

Lucy Willet is an Objects Conservator graduating from the University of Melbourne Masters of Cultural Material Conservation in 2012. She has an interest in the conservation of photographic materials motivated by an undergraduate degree in Fine Art Photography from RMIT. Currently Lucy is Collection Relocation Coordinator at Museum Victoria.

Todd Johnson

Image: Todd Johnson, Evidence #89 2014


Playing Against the Camera: Materialist Photography in the Digital Age

The camera is an apparatus that distances human control by limiting a certain level of the operator’s involvement. In the digital age, we have become accustomed to the camera apparatus controlling our movements; it passes through our eyes and our consciousness without being noticed. Knowledge of the technical, mechanical and algorithmic components is abandoned as the camera apparatus determines ones decisions through its internally hidden and complex program. This process is an illusion of freedom, a subliminal programming of ritualistic, automatic actions. Having identified the limitations of conventional photographic technique, we are led to ask if a more deliberate ‘materialist’ approach will open the parameters and press the givens of photographic representation. This presentation investigates a number of ‘materialist photographers’ that supplement and/or extend the camera apparatus, by allowing their own body and elements of the landscape to more overtly steer the photographic process.

Todd Johnson is an artist and educator currently undertaking a PhD at Deakin University. His research interests include photographic authorship, index and materialism in the digital age. Todd is a casual lecturer at Deakin University and Australian Catholic University in the Department of Photography and Visual Arts.