I had the pleasure of writing about eccentricity and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot for Issue 7 ofARTICLE. Here’s a sneak peek of the text (and beautiful art direction by the ARTICLE team):
“To be eccentric, fundamentally, is to deviate from the norm — to be notably singular, different or peculiar. In Christie’s cosy, affluent England, Poirot is all these things. Both dandyish and foreign, he naturally stands out. He doesn’t adhere to the traditional tropes of masculinity: he is physically delicate (complaining regularly of problems of the estomac); he is a bachelor, living a largely sexless existence; and he labours over his toilette in a manner more traditionally associated with women.”
My article on Florence Nightingale and Harriet Martineau’s book, England and her Soldiers, has been published in the Science Museum Journal. A peer-reviewed text, it draws on content research I undertook for the Museum’s new Mathematics Gallery.
A sumptuous auditorium stretches across two square metres of photographic paper. Every detail is clear: the white painted curls of the wooden chairs; the flying figures on the painted ceiling; the steps of the stairs, peeping out from behind the balcony. Candida Höfer’s camera has recorded every flourish of ornamentation in the Yusopov Palace. It ought to be lifelike and yet, somehow, it isn’t. Continue reading Candida Höfer’s Memory, at Ben Brown Fine Arts
I’m delighted to have been selected as a Runner Up in the 2015 Observer/ Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.
Pieces were selected by a panel of judges chaired by the novelist and playwright Kate Mosse and including the writers Alexandra Harris and Ruth Scurr, and associate editor of the Observer newspaper Robert McCrum.
My piece, a review of Candida Höfer’s exhibition at Ben Brown Fine Arts, can be read here.
Funny Face is a 1957 musical comedy directed by Stanley Donen. Set to a Gershwin score, it centres on the romance between Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) and Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn). Avery is a fashion photographer at Quality magazine; Stockton is the Greenwich Village intellectual who becomes his model. Itis a frothy fantasy, in which the ‘plain’ bookish girl is swept into the world of haute couture, yet it also draws on real figures in the 1950s fashion industry. Continue reading Take the Picture! Richard Avedon and Funny Face
American photographer Marie Cosindas rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with her experimental work, which combined painterly composition with new Polaroid technologies. Compared by Tom Wolfe to artists including Caravaggio and Gustav Klimt, Cosindas’ images were exhibited at New York’s MoMA in 1966 (a solo show which predated William Eggleston’s famous MoMA exhibition by some ten years). Until recently, however, Cosindas had fallen into relative obscurity, a situation exacerbated by her own aversion to lending works to galleries. In the past decade, this has been remedied by her inclusion in a number of exhibitions, notably 2010’s Beyond Color: Color in American Photography 1950-1970 at Bruce Silverstein Gallery. Continue reading Women Photographers in Focus: Marie Cosindas
The New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer once aptly described Evelyn Hofer as ‘the most famous unknown photographer in America.’ Hofer was a prolific photographer whose work appeared in publications including LIFE, The New York Times Magazine, and Vogue. Her work frequently illustrated literary travel writing and she was one of the first practitioners to adopt colour for fine art photography. In spite of this, Hofer has not been granted the attention afforded her male peers.