Jamie Bradbeer

(Australia 1948 – )

Wife's back

Location
Not on display
Further information

This image is from a series of four which also feature the photographer, his father and baby. While Jamie Bradbeer’s work is comprised largely of images of family members, it is, however, far from ordinary family portraits. His photographs suggest the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of family relationships. His inclusion as a subject in the series highlights the personalised nature of the work and, viewed together, they suggest emotional relations between the family members. Taken within intimate range Bradbeer communicates the potency and essence of his subjects and his relation to them in a single image. Using a double-development process similar to solarisation, Bradbeer transforms the everyday appearance of his family. The process which he uses causes tonal reversals to occur in shadow areas with often unexpected and magical results. He uses this manipulation technique for emotive and personal effect, as is evident in the image ‘Wife’s back’. The flattened image heightens the viewer’s sense of proximity to the subject, yet there is a tension in this closeness as the subject remains essentially closed off, back turned. Involved in the intimate exchange, the viewer is left to read the woman’s back for further insight as if participating in the relationship. There is a stoic, meditative quality to Bradbeer’s images, yet his sensitive use of process has imbued his subjects with an electric resonance both graphic and emotionally powerful.

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Year
1980
Media
Photograph
Medium
gelatin silver photograph
Dimensions
24.0 x 18.8 cm image; 25.4 x 20.3 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r. verso, pencil "Jamie Bradbeer". Dated u.l. verso, pencil "...(1980)".
Credit
Purchased 1981
Accession number
232.1981