Sir J. F. W. Herschel 1869
albumen silver photograph
32.4 x 23.8 cm (image and sheet) 36.5 x 28.1 cm (comp.)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1977
Portrait photography is a complex and fascinating area of photographic practice that, at its heart, has a dynamic process of collaboration between the sitter, the viewer and the camera operator.In this exhibition, a provocative interchange between historical and contemporary photography has been created to suggest how photographers work to construct, question or reflect the notion of ‘role playing’.Role Play contains three broad thematic groupings, namely allegorical portraiture (H.P Robinson, Julia Margaret Cameron, Cindy Sherman, William Wegman, Rose Farrell and George Parkin); portraits that either typecast or question social roles (August Sander, Edweard Muybridge, Anne Ferran); and theatrical photographs in which the sitter acts a role, (including G.B Poletto’s wardrobe photographs of Ava Gardner in On the Beach).