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<EM>Untitled</EM> by Eric Lee-Johnson

Hear curator Sarah Farrar talk about this boldly lit photograph.

Untitled by Eric Lee-Johnson
<P>This recording was created for Te Papa’s in-gallery audio tour.</P> <P>Transcript:</P> <P><STRONG>Sarah Farrar</STRONG></P> <P>All photographs are, by definition, creations of light, but some, like this one, use light itself as subject matter. </P> <P>In this image, two bicycle wheels are captured by hard sunlight. The effect is that the shadows and patterns of light seem to have almost as much substance as real objects. </P> <P>In fact, at a casual glance, the wheels and their shadows are a bit hard to visually separate . Where exactly are the wheels in relation to one another? How big are they? How much depth is there in the picture?</P> <P>In the end, the image functions on two levels. Yes, it’s a depiction of three-dimensional reality &#8211; it shows objects in the real world. That’s what we expect a photo to do.</P> <P>However, it was never really Eric Lee-Johnson’s intention just to document some bicycle wheels. Because of the way he composed and lit this image, we see it mainly as a play of abstract shapes.&nbsp; It is an image of silhouette and shadow &#8211; visual effects created by light.</P> <P data-associrn="362526"></P>

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Eric Lee-Johnson, Untitled, August 1956, black and white photograph, gelatin silver print,
Purchased 1997 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds.
Full object info is available on