Putting Aside the Falsities of Magic

Isabel Cordeiro and Ruth Legg, PLAN B, 2009

A research project investigating the mechanics and techniques through which images arise and how this process shapes the ‘meaning’ of an image.
The first phase of research, has included the collecting and archiving of numerous images and became a presentation in the form of an exhibition at artist run space Plan B. Following a publication will come.

This project was funded by:


Foto0702   Foto0714


IMG_9943   IMG_9955


Top: William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s The Wave (1896) was clearly painted in a studio with the nude reclining on what looks like a platform, with the edges made to look like rocks and the wave about to crash down behind her. Bottom: An un-credited US Department of Defense image release on the internet (November 2001) in a low resolution shows American Special Forces with members of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. There is evidence of the compression rate of the image being lowered, making it impossible to pick out details. This source comes from artist Sean Snyder.

Left: Mobile phone photographs taken during the London tube bombing (2005). The low quality of these recordings helps conveying the sense of what it is to be trapped underground. Right: Paul Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples (c.1875-1877), is one of many paintings of apples in which he looked for a way of depicting reality, that was more faithfully to an experience then a faithful representation of what one sees.

Inness’ painting The Lackawama Valley (1855) was commissioned as an advertisement for a North American railroad company. The company insisted on four train tracks in the painting, when in reality there was only one. Inness painted puffs of smoke to cover up the non-exist tracks, which he saw as a lie.

Left top: The Gang of Four (ousted members of the Chinese Communist Party) were removed from the original photograph of a memorial ceremony for Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square (1976). Left bottom: Stalin routinely erased his enemies from photographs. In this photograph a commissar was removed from the original photograph after falling out of favour (c.1930). Right: Oscar Rejlander’s The Two Ways of Life (1857) one of the first known photographs to have been constructed by more then one image, combining over 30 negatives. Rejlander later commented, “I am tired of photography-for-the-public, particularly composite photographs, for there can be no gain and there is no honour, only cavil and misrepresentation”.