Stills Gallery is delighted to present White Sheet Series by celebrated Australian photographer Stephen Dupont. Over the past two decades, Dupont has produced a remarkable body of work that captures his subjects with great dignity and intimacy, often in some of the world’s most dangerous regions. His images have received international acclaim for their invaluable insight into traditional cultures and communities that are fast disappearing from our world.
White Sheet Series presents a great diversity of people including Saddhus spiritual men in India, tribal members in remote Papua New Guinea, school kids in Cuba, and young women dressed in their best at the Royal Randwick Racecourse. All are in front of a simple white sheet—Dupont’s travelling, makeshift studio.
Dupont’s use of a white sheet makes critical reference to the history of blank backdrops made common in early portraiture and ethnographic photography. This photographic impulse has long sought to isolate subjects from their broader context and imply an omnipresent, objective gaze rather than the photographer’s subjective and socialized perspective.
Instead, Dupont allows us to see beyond the sheet edges: to people holding up its corners and peering into frame or to the scarred walls of buildings behind. The expanded frame embraces the fact that these temporary studios are contrived spaces in which identity is performed, meaning is malleable and the truth is constructed. As collaborations with entire communities and with proud individuals, these images are inclusive rather than exclusive, revealing not just one perspective or one person, but an ethos, an era, an interaction.
Marking an exciting foray into what is a new territory for Dupont – his homeland – the Randwick Races portraits offer a taste of things to come as he turns his gaze to the myriad cultures and personalities of Australia.
Stephen Dupont’s work has earned him some of photography’s most prestigious prizes including; the 2016 Olivier Rebbot Award for his book Generation AK (Steidl, 2015); a Robert Capa Gold Medal citation from the Overseas Press Club of America; a Bayeux War Correspondent’s Prize; and First Places in theWorld Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, the Australian Walkleys, and Leica/CCP Documentary Award. In 2007 he was the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography for his ongoing project on Afghanistan.In 2010 he received the Gardner Fellowship at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. Dupont has twice been an official war artist for the Australian War Memorial for his photography, with commissions in The Solomon Islands (2013) and Afghanistan (2012).
Dupont has held major exhibitions in London, Paris, New York, Sydney, Canberra, Tokyo and Shanghai, and at Perpignan’s Visa Pour L’Image, China’s Ping Yao and Holland’s Noorderlicht festivals.Dupont’s handmade artist books are held in the National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian War Memorial, The New York Public Library, Stanford University, Yale University, among many other esteemed collections.
9 Nov – 10 Dec 2016