Photography as Dialogue

Book Review: Restricted Images: Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia, by Patrick Waterhouse. In Photography and Culture.

October 2019

Photography As Dialogue brings together writing, projects, research and a film that explore how communities, researchers and artists are using photography to carve out and open up spaces for conversations. This special issue of the academic journal Photography & Culture, edited by Tiffany Fairey and Liz Orton, explores the dialogical potential and limits of photography. It brings together an eclectic range of projects from around the world that demonstrate the plural ways that photography can open up reflexive spaces in which dialogue thrives while also acknowledging how photography can act to close down conversation. How is it that images and image-making serve to facilitate, catalyse and obscure dialogue? What is particular about the talk that happens through and with images?

Gemma-Rose Turnbull reviews Patrick Waterhouse’s book, Restricted Images, which uses collaborative photography to re-negotiate the history of the colonial and culturally invasive representation of Aboriginal people and places. Inviting Aboriginal artists to “restrict and amend” his photographs (images which he had made of them) with their painting (dot patterns that are elements of traditional visual storytelling), Waterhouse proposes to symbolically return agency over their images to Aboriginal communities. The resulting images are captivating but Turnbull points out that insufficient detail about the image-making process is provided to evaluate how much agency the Aboriginal artists have had.
Turnbull, Gemma-Rose. Review of Restricted Images: Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia, by Patrick Waterhouse. Photography and Culture 12, no. 3 (2019), 403-407. doi:10.1080/17514517.2019.1654246.

Read here.