ARTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER, CINEMATOGRAPHER in no particular order.


“No nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling, even if it be only the faintest shadow — and if it does not do so it is bad art and false morals.”
— Kenneth Clark





Sturgeon Magazine

Camera Systems: Hasselblad, Lighting: Broncolor & Profoto
Pix Studios. Sydney, Australia

Mark



#atwar
Brenda May Gallery, Sydney





Penrith Panthers
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
pigment prints on archival paper, 2000 x 500 cm
Photographed for artist Craig Walsh — 17 hyper-large and hi-resolution pigment prints,
Museum of Contemporary Art and Pentrith Panthers Club.





Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne
pigments print on archival paper, various sizes





One and Three Faces, Elegy
Brenda May Gallery, Sydney
Publication Foreward





Nevermore
Black & Blue Gallery, Sydney





Flag Waving and Drum Thumping
Brenda May Gallery, Sydney


Collection+: Shaun Gladwell
UNSW Galleries, Sydney

Strange Leaves
Somedays Gallery, Sydney
GJAPS Interview


Strigiformes



#atwar

︎ Email
jr@joshraymond.com
︎ Instagram
@joshraymond


HASSELBLAD Medium Format Digital
ELINCHROM Lighting
RED Digital Cinema Systems
BLACKMAGIC DESIGN  Camera Systems
DJI Aerial Platforms

Josh has been at the nexus of photography, digital cinema and contemporary art for over two decades.


He has exhibited in Australia and internationally and is often sought as a cinematographer and photographer for other significant Australian visual artists.

He also works commercially as a photographer and cinematographer and has been commissioned for work in major print publications, theatre, television and film.





ARTIST STATEMENT
Josh's artwork addresses the problematic bond between photography, anthropology, and history often using a visual economy that invites multiple interpretations. He is interested in the traditional crossroads laid between vision, knowledge, and history, which lie at the heart of photographic image making.

TEACHING
2018
Tutor. School of Architecture, Design and Planning. University of Sydney.
2017
Tutor. School of Architecture, Design and Planning. University of Sydney.
2012

Tutor. University of Technology. Photography and Situated Media. Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.
1999

Tutor. Electronic and Temporal Arts Studio. Sydney College of the Arts. University of Sydney.
1996

Studio Supervisor. Electronic and Temporal Arts Studio. Sydney College of the Arts. University of Sydney.
EDUCATION 1995
Bachelor of Visual Arts. Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney
2008
Masters of Documentary Photography. Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney


SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
2018
Wynscreen, Wynard Walk, Transport for NSW, Sydney
2016
#atwar. Chashama Gallery, 4 Times Square, New York, USA
2013
#atwar. Brenda May Gallery, Sydney
2012
In League. Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Sydney
In the Mirror. Brenda May Gallery, Sydney
2011
Body Language. Brenda May Gallery, Sydney
End of the roll. Kind of Gallery, Sydney
2009
Us. Philips Photographers Gallery, New York, USA
Head On. Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney
Photographs. Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.
2008
Watch this Space. Brenda May Gallery, Sydney
Year is Over. Black&Blue Gallery, Sydney
Post Graduate Degree Show. University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney
Sao Paulo. New York. Japan. Black&Blue Gallery, Sydney
2007
‘Re-Imagining Vanuatu,’ Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, Volume 5, Number 2, August 2007
Amongst Us, Somedays Gallery, Sydney
2005
An Electronic and Temporal Arts (ETA) Retrospective 1995 – 2004, SCA Gallery, Sydney
1999
The Need for Speed, COFA Exhibition Space, Sydney
1998
Josh Raymond & Shaun Gladwell, COFA Exhibition Space, Sydney
1996
landlines, University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney
Matinaze@Experimenta, Experimenta 96, Melbourne
Matinaze 96, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1995
Group Loop, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
LIMBO, University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney
1994
ext. 264, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
ISEA 94, International Symposium on Electronic Art, Helsinki, Finland
War on Art, Batty Street Gallery, Balmain
World Trade Centre, Sydney
1993
Karma Klub, Harbourside Brassiere, Sydney


TEXT
One and Three Faces Foreward
GJAPS Interview

CONVERSATIONS
Sydney  Contemporary 2018 Panel
ACMI Interview



GRADUATE JOURNAL OF ASIA-PACIFIC STUDIES


5:2 (2007), 12-15

ART EDITORIAL
‘RE-IMAGINING VANUATU’: IN CONVERSATION WITH JOSH RAYMOND


Juliet TREVETHICK
University of Auckland

Juliet Trevethick discusses Vanuatu as a site for revisiting and rewriting the process of anthropological documentation with artist and photographer Josh Raymond.

JR: In planning a trip to the South Pacific I was distrustful of the idealism conjured by tourism’s promotional images and descriptions of Vanuatu, which always include ancient cultures, miles of sand, and tropical waters. Promotional packages from various websites offer how to sample from cannibal history, a cultural tour, the world’s most accessible volcano, rivers, cascades, beaches, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. I saw Vanuatu as accessible, and even exotic, which I think contributed to some sense of obligation to uncover a part of it.

JT: What was your experience of the cultural presence you experienced in Vanuatu? Did they differ from your expectations?

JR: My experience – particularly photographing – in Vanuatu was really quite different to what I had expected. I had no sense of any traces of “colony” – even on the island of Espiritu Santo, where baguettes and cafe au lait are served in the wet heat of a cafe that no locals I saw dined at. Santo is ostensibly focused on wreck diving. By Pacific standards, its tourist infrastructure is very simple. Embittered Pacific locals who never adjusted to Vanuatu's cultural or structural quirks 'filled' us in. ‘Its just so difficult here, to run a business,’ they said. They commented that staff required more training and that the climate was relentless. The expatriate life in an island paradise always seems at odds with tourism, where barely 5% of tourists venture out of Port Villa on the island of Efate. It is difficult then, given the hardships of the locals and the absence of migration from it, what to expect of the place. They are always going to be ‘white children in the eyes of many Ni-Vanuatu. After the Americans left the allied bases of the Central and Northern islands after World War II, a lot of that infrastructure was laid to ruin, almost as if it were never needed or wanted, certainly by the local population.

JT: Can you contextualise the key image of the young Ni-Vanuatu boy holding a Polaroid of his own image?

JR: This image is an interesting one for me, as it comments on the cannon of early portrait photography where subjects posed with their own image. It was a time when photography was precious, magical even, and something far from the Kodak democratisation of photography that followed a century or so later. Subjects nursed their own reflections like they were nursing themselves their mother, or a child. The people I gave Polaroids to in Vanuatu treated them as something very precious. It was a fascinating exchange of the haptic, as a form of touching an image of one’s self. The image of the boy is such a direct visualisation that touches upon the tension within the act of photography, and the gaze and desire of the viewer to search for the identity of a photographic subject. Walter Benjamin speaks of, ‘the desire of contemporary masses to bring things “closer” spatially and humanly…’.1 Benjamin’s idea references landscapes, but also a particular relevance to visualising ‘developing cultures’, their imaging and their tourists’ eyes. I’m always interested to have a spectator’s response to that portrait, in this case, paradoxically within its own image.

JT: How did your participants react to this process of imaging? Did their responses configure how you framed your subjects?

JR: The image contains a wondrous loop for me, a spectre that always has me fascinated, like when Barthes happened on the photograph of Jerome, Napoleon's youngest brother, ‘I am looking at eyes that looked at the Emperor.’ 2 It’s quite an odd thing for me, a 'dead image of oneself, a skull, a husk of a person, and it almost functions as a vanitas prop within the scene. The photograph here is as a prop that announces vanity, frailty and an inherent death of a ‘moment’. It is a question of whose death, a death of a native or the perception of the Other. What is unclear is whether such a loss is, or could be, lamented in Vanuatu.
Susan Sontag’s ideas of imaging the traces of a subject differ from Barthes’ when she says, ‘a photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stencilled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask.’ 3 I couldn’t help but feel this when in Vanuatu – that the act of photography as a historicised medium reaches back in the past and wells up all these moments.

JT: Photography takes place as an interesting metaphor for how the Lacanian notion of the Real operates, as it is specifically the elusiveness of the Real, which renders it an unobtainable extension of the imaginary. It is the same with the process of viewing photograph after the act as it becomes symbolic of that cultural imaginary that is impossible to record.

JR: It sounds portentous now, but at the time I remember being conscious of the way in which I photographed and what that actual exchange was, or meant, for my subjects. What did it mean for them to hold their own image, for they surely looked upon it. I’m not sure what they saw.

JT: How do you see Vanuatu as a particularly relevant site to reframe and revisit cultural experiences?

JR: The myths of these cultures and the way they are marketed to the adventure traveller amplify a sense of cultural superstition. Vanuatu is full of cultural superstition, real and practised today. Post-war Cargo cults 4 still exist in a weird mix, brushing up against Christianity and aid work. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works with Malaria sufferers on Malekula, a fairly remote island. There is something uneasy about this kind of tourism, yet something fascinating about the dynamics of spectatorship that seems unavoidable when looking at otherness.
One afternoon, on the Island of Tanna, we happened unexpectedly on the preparation of our cultural display. I remember seeing women putting on grass skirts and men taking t-shirts off. There was a sense that the Ni-van kastom (traditional knowledge, practices and skills) had already shifted by the process of re-enactment, and I wish they hadn't dressed up for us. I preferred the unease and blend of their display, where the tension is made visible, just as the elephant in the zoo scratches against the fake palm tree to knowing onlookers. John Berger where he is talking about zoos, ‘The zoo to which people go to meet animals, to observe them, to see them, is in fact, a monument to the impossibility of such encounters.’ 5 I think the same can be said for attempts to ‘inhale’ other cultures. The Ni-Vanuatu people which tourists have the most contact with are often established as ‘filters’ for the rest of the local population. This adds yet another layer of complexity when a manufactured enaction and dressing up of apparently traditional and ingrained cultural practices in fact become current and Real. In some way kastom is being protected, and at the same time, given up for consumption by tourists.

JT: How do you see the documentation of culture in Vanuatu? Has it ‘survived’ colonisation?

JR: Because of all the ideas of dying cultures (Australia’s own indigenous culture for example), and in this heightened state of assessing our nation’s people, its culture, animals, etc, our drives are always in question. Do we want to survive? How can we mitigate our drives? Vanuatu has a remarkable culture. It’s so close to Australia (geographically), yet so remote. It is so culturally diverse with hundreds of languages amongst a relatively small population. With new popular anthropological/ environmental writing 6 there are alternative assessments of how culture died, which cultures survived and why. I feel like my images are documents, not just of my own photographic moments and experiences, but also part of some greater moments in the teleology of cultural survival.

NOTES
1 Walter Benjamin, Trans. c1968 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., Illuminations: Essays and Reflections: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Schocken Books, New York, 1999, p. 223.
2 Roland Barthes, Trans by Richard Howard, Camera Lucida, Hill and Wang, New York, 1981, p. 3.
3 Susan Sontag, On Photography, Picador, New York, 2001, p.154.
4 Cargo Cults were particularly pronounced after World War II as Allied forces abandoned their bases in the Pacific. The John Frum cult that developed in Vanuatu is difficult to trace in origin but is thought to have arisen from an individual or the idea of a benevolent provider. Within the tradition of cargo cults someone who arrives with objects that are completely foreign will often be regarded as magical and celebrated long after their traces are but a distant memory or story. The John Frum cult still celebrates this idea every year for the last 50 years.
5 John Berger, About Looking, Vintage, 1992, p. 21.
6 Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking, Penguin Books, Australia, Camberwell Victoria, 2004.


One and Three Faces


FOREWORD


‘With regard to a certain exchange–value; it is also, no doubt the tangible intangibility of a proper body without flesh, but still the body of someone as other. And of someone as someone other that we will not hasten to determine as self, subject, person, consciousness, spirit and so forth. This already suffices to distinguish the specter not only from the icon or the idol, but also from the image of the image... more than one feature.” Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx, trans. Peggy Kamuf, (Routledge:1994)

A narrative of decomposition, reconciliation and ghostliness haunts One and Three Faces. Raymond’s borrowing of Joseph Kosuth’s logic is particular to the set of conversational rules governing objects as subjects, where this privileging allows and promotes a certain conversational order. In featuring the face, here Raymond illustrates the most basic and shared device functioning as an enunciation of his own photographic narratology. Here, the logic of One and Three in Raymond’s photography follows a curious exile across these four Pacific sites titled: Elegy, Nevermore, Fallen and Strange Leaves.

Elegy is weighted with a specific task of narrativising Raymond’s own family connections through the imagery of his mother and the haunting of the visible images of his grandfather’s photography. Equally as relevant is the inherited act of imaging as the presence of the frontality of these images, held up, covering and omitting faces in the red room series. In a similar confronting fashion, each of the male portraits emphasise an aesthetic of touch by appearing very central and ‘up close’, inducing a sense of haptic touching where the eye meets the image on paper. The effect illuminates the fleeting nature of portrait photography as a drawing out of the subject and a positioning: a ‘push and pull’ effect which renders them sitting uncomfortably within the frame. They are at once familiar, and too close for comfort. Such a presence of family ties is felt in Elegy. A literal mourning which Raymond sets out to narrativise, results in viewing himself through the mimesis of male imagery, and the descendence of his own capabilities as a photographer through his mother and grandfather (mother’s father.) This lineage is carefully juxtapositioned to illustrate the cartography Raymond sets at work throughout.

The following three sections: Nevermore, Fallen and Strange Leaves are set in Tokyo, Bali and Vanuatu and construct a lineage in each of these ‘homelands’ as extensions of Raymond’s position in his own. These locations in the Asia-Pacific settle together here as instances of local sentiment. Raymond’s status as an Australian photographer is expressed in the Balinese and Japanese series’ where the observer is the subject of tension in the portraits. The city becomes the subject of portraiture, a living, growing landscape where trees are refracted upon the glassy exterior of skyrisers and the featured decay of cosmopolitan life. There is a strong sense of voyerism, the Japanese women are caught gazing skyward, literally as both subjects of their own image aware of the photographic process, and as objects out of focus, distant and observing. The image of a young Japanese girl, her portrait, itself framed, marked by the ghostly figure of the crouching photographer. The title of this section Nevermore is reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven (‘Quoth the Raven, Nevermore’) as a borrowing of darkness and light illustrated by the image itself (the contrasting image of the bird against the sky) and the literary criticism which responds to the hauntology of Poe’s gothic allegory.

Fallen, the Balinese series, continues Raymond’s concern of disenfranchised figures and their positioning as ‘closed figures’ facing away from the camera. It is as though the heads of these figures appear as an objet petit a, a small repeating visual figuration as a signifier of hauntology at work. The figures which turn away articulate for Raymond, ‘the terror of attraction’. This abjection activates the objet petit a; the turning away as a conscious activity. In Bali, Raymond feels a curious disembodiment. The compositional space of the statue of the diety is dissected by the vertical (power) lines, and the figures of four Mulsim women on the beach are still and spectral, again, faces turned away. The shots on the Balinese beach look south towards Australia, as a statement of Raymond positioning himself within these images as observer.

In Strange Leaves, Raymond’s Vanuatu portraiture is a experiment of departing from the nature of ethnographic photography. The series featuring Ni-Vanuatu children illustrate the camera as an active participant exposing, exoticising and elegising the subject(s). The exotic, or the native is a position held by the observer, and an uneasy form of reference for European settlers. This exotic point of view is captured by the young boys posing (deliberately or casually) for the viewer, functions as something distinct that happens afterwards; a realising of a pose, just as the documentation of people and land by ethnographers stands as an effect of looking. Raymond’s positioning of his subjects as specters in One and Three Faces is itself at stake in this fragile state where nothing is beyond decomposition.

JULIET TREVETHICK