Photographing the Urban Everyday: An Aesthetic Re-Engagement with Perth

Mr. Lance Ward - Post Graduate
2012 Conference

This paper discusses how photography can facilitate an experiential re-engagement with the urban environment of Perth. Re-presenting functional objects that have become so common place that they are overlooked, or regarded as banal and mundane, I create photographic works that activate an experiential moment for the viewer by aesthetically asking them to pause and appreciate the aesthetics that are inherent in the everyday mundane world. Photographing objects such as piping, light boxes, light switches, drains and vents so that they be reconsidered aesthetically, I create large-scale photographs that monumentalise functional everyday objects found in the urban environment. Employing three kinds of aesthetics I term the ‘painterly’, the ‘cinematic’ and the ‘utilitarian’, I create photographs that either defy their own medium by taking on the qualities of a painting or a film still, or blatantly re-present functional objects in such a way as to position them as photographic ‘ready-mades’. Offering an alternative framework or ‘lens’ with which to re-engage with overlooked objects and their surroundings, this paper discusses how the methodology of photography can be artistically employed to bring about a new ways of looking and engaging with dominant representations and constructions of the urban environment of Perth.

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About the author

Lance Ward is currently enrolled at Curtin University in the PhD program. He has successfully completed his Bachelor of Art: Art & Design (honours) with a First in 2011. He has also completed a Diploma in Design for Industry in 2004. Ward has had been involved in a number of shows, recently the show Metamorphosis held at Free Range Gallery; he had his first solo show at the John Curtin Gallery where his large scale photographs were shown. The works from this show are now a part of the John Curtin Gallery collection. Ward has also been involved in delivering workshops and lectures, and has written catalogue essays for various exhibitions around Perth.