Graham Howe

Sly Conspiracies: Photographs 1968-2008
by Colin Westerbeck
Publisher's Description
By the time Graham Howe founded his Pasadena-based company, Curatorial Assistance, in the late 1980s, he had spent almost two decades being a photographer. To avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest between being an artist himself and his new vocation as a curator, he quit exhibiting and publishing his own photographic work then. But he didn t stop making photographs. It could be argued that his photography became an even purer art form because it was more disinterested, since he no longer had to care about advancing an artistic career. Now, twenty years later, Colin Westerbeck has persuaded Howe to come out of the shadows of the past again and bring us up to date on his photography. There s an extraordinary continuity here, Westerbeck says, that has permitted the work to remain what art often is at its best spontaneous, playful, carefree. Howe has preserved throughout the forty years he has been photographing the irreverent wit and freshness of view that an artist too often begins to lose after the first flush of success. In the exhibition Howe emerges as a photographer whose vision began to turn inward, as well as out, early in his career. He was then, as he remains today, a street photographer commenting with a dry wit on the foibles of everyday life as lived on our sidewalks, in our shopping malls, and at other public venues. But in the mid-1970s, when he came from his native Australia to study under legendary UCLA professor of photography Robert Heinecken, Howe's work developed another dimension. He began using his camera to write essays on the optics of vision itself on the phenomena of depth perception, the differentiation of colors, and the very different perspective on the world that other creatures, such as birds, must have. What remained the same, however, was the key quality of mind that he shared with Heinecken: his deadpan sense of humor. Over the course of forty years Howe has accumulated a powerful and rarely seen body of work that confronts any art historical assumptions that he not only questions but tears down with wit and humor. Howe redirects our ways of seeing and in doing so has mapped new territory in art with this remarkably innovative body of work.
ISBN: 0982304625
Publisher: UCR/California Museum of Photography
Hardcover : 156 pages
Language: English
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