Through the Lens is an exhibition of photographs that draws from local, private, and public collections to illustrate lives and times of Brandon and its soldiers during World War I. These visual records reveal home-grown stories of life, love, and loss during an international crisis that shaped an era. By bringing together images that play radically different roles, Through the Lens explores how the circulation and production of photographs participated in every stage of the Great War; from recruitment to battle, documentation, reassurance, as well as private and public mourning. Looking back through these images and being confronted with the anonymity of many of their subjects, we are tasked with understanding the collective and personal histories touched by the war and its commemoration.
Responding to Suyoko Tsukamoto’s research, this exhibition addresses the gaps within the official retelling of war histories through archival images, family photographs, and works by Dianne Bos, Sarah Crawley, and Steve Gouthro. To Bury the Sun looks at the responsibility and burden of remembering, both collective and personal. Bos’ pinhole images of War War I sites are idyllic and haunted, sheep grazing on the landscape shaped by trenches and bombs. Crawley’s images of ‘dead albums’ contain only traces of absent photographs, while their original contents have been moved into archives. They are an archive of absences, images severed from their context. Meanwhile, Gouthro’s work in the scale of historical war painting subverts the expectation of a grand narrative and replaces it with the mundane - a soldier is a surprising passerby on a familiar city street.
Curated by Natalia Lebedinskaia
Image (detail): Dianne Bos, Flanders Fields Stars, Chromogenic print, 2014, 20" x 20"